Let’s Do Donuts

lets do donutsThe shop is open, the customers are arriving, and you, the donut chef, must make the most delicious, different, and decadent donuts you possibly can. But wait, there’s more! Your donut shop doubles as a matching game, thanks to the coupons tucked behind the counter!

We read The Donut Chef by Bob Staake (Golden Books, 2008). A donut chef owns a very popular donut shop. But when another donut shop opens on the very same block, the two chefs start competing for customers. They keep their shops open later, up the frosting level, and introduce unique flavors such as “Peanut-Brickle Buttermilk” and “Gooey Coca-Mocha Silk.” As things escalate, the donuts get weirder. There are square donuts, calamari donuts, pointy donuts, and cone donuts. So when little Debbie Sue walks in and orders a plain glazed donut, the donut chef is completely taken aback. Plain? But he whips one up and Debbie Sue loves it. And as his customers clamor for more of those plain glazed donuts, the donut chef realizes what his customers really want. Simple, delicious, donuts.

You’ll need:

Here’s the finished set with all its pieces. If you don’t have a clear plastic box to make a display case, don’t worry! I’ll have an alternative display option for you a little later in the post.

donut shop with partsFirst, glue a piece of patterned paper (or construction paper) to the top of the corrugated cardboard base. It’s OK if it doesn’t cover the entire base. Decorate a box with patterned tape and/or markers (we also used star stickers). Hot glue the box to the base, but not smack in the middle. You’ll need to leave a little room in the front for your shop signs, and a little room on the right-hand side for an extra counter.

donut shop step 1Fold, then tape a piece of tagboard to the side of the box to create the extra counter.

donut shop step 2Set the base aside for a moment, it’s time for donuts! Because we wanted to display, remove, and reset the donuts on the tray, we made them magnetic. Use markers to decorate various foam beads like “donuts,” then attach a little piece of self-adhesive magnetic tape to the back. Attach a matching piece of magnetic tape to a tagboard “tray.” We made 2 trays of donuts for our shops.

donuts on trayI made display cases for the shop using leftover plastic boxes from this firefly lantern project. As you can see in the photo below, I slid a triangular white poster board base inside the plastic box, then placed the donut tray on top.

display caseIf you don’t have a plastic box, just use the triangular base! To keep your donut tray from sliding off, tape a small piece of plastic drinking straw to the bottom of the base.

simple standYour shop will need a cash register, and you might recognize the one on the template from  this lemonade stand story time (which, curiously, also featured a book by Bob Staake). First, fold the bottom tab of your register inwards like so:

cash register step 1Then, fold both sides downwards from the base like this:

cash register step 2Curl the tab around to meet the opposite side of the register

cash register step 3Then secure the tab with tape. Hot glue (or tape) the register to the extra counter.

cash register step 4I couldn’t resist adding a napkin holder to the set too. It’s a folded piece of silver poster board with little bits of paper towel tucked into it. Hot glue (or tape) it to the counter.

napkinsThe blank signs on the template get colored in and attached to folded pieces of tagboard.

shop signAnd finally…the giant donut sign! Write the name of your shop on the banner, and tape (or glue) it across the giant donut. Tape the sign to a wooden dowel, then tape the dowel to the side of the extra counter. Here’s a finished stand with a display case:

finished shop with caseAnd here’s the version with the simple display stand. Both are totally adorable.

finished shop with standWe had some blank white visors in the art cabinet (from Discount School Supply – 24 cost $9), so I dug them out and we decorated them with the names of our donut shop as well.

donut shop visorYour shop is ready, now you need to entice your customers to try some donuts! We developed a simple coupon matching game for the kids. Print the coupons from the template, then draw donuts on the coupons that match the donuts in your case. As your customers arrive with their coupons, see how fast you can find and match their orders!

donut couponsMake sure to hot glue (or tape) an envelope to the back of the counter for convenient coupon storage.

coupon envelopeWe wish you the sweetest success in all your donut endeavors!

Fair Trade

wagon and goodsPack your wagon and get ready for a long journey! We made a little covered wagon and 2 sets of goods to go inside it. Then, we traveled to the story time store to do some good old-fashioned trading!

We read Ox-Cart Man, written by Donald Hall and illustrated by Barbara Cooney (Viking Juvenile, 1979). A farmer prepares for a journey, packing his ox cart with all the surplus things his family has produced throughout the year – wool, mittens, brooms, apples, etc. Then he sets off on a ten day journey to Portsmouth, where he sells everything (including the ox and the cart) and purchases items for his family especially (and this was very important when I was a little kid) 2 pounds of wintergreen peppermint candies. Pockets still full of coins, he returns to his farm and the beautiful cycle of seasons, work, and life begins again. It’s a lovely, lovely book.

For the wagon, you’ll need:

  • 1 box (mine was 4 ½” X 4 ½” x 9”)
  • An 8.5″ x 14″ piece of tagboard (optional)
  • 1 wagon wheel template, printed on an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of white card stock
  • 1 piece of string (approximately 37″ long)
  • An 8.5″ x 11″ piece of white card stock
  • A selection of colored masking tape
  • Scissors, glue stick, and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

For the goods, you’ll need:

  • 1 quilt template, printed on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of white paper
  • craft sticks (mine were 4.5″ long)
  • 2 rectangles of brown construction paper
  • 1 brown paper lunch bag
  • 1 small bunch of polyester fill
  • A selection of colored masking tape
  • 2 pieces of twine (mine were 57″ long)
  • 2 paper baking cups
  • Red & brown pom-poms (mine were medium-sized, about 0.5″ in diameter)
  • Scissors for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • 1 trading post (more on this later!)

Begin with the wagon! Cut the top of the box off, and cut the sides down to about 3″ high.

wagon 1The next step is optional (but fun). Cut strips of tagboard to fit the sides of the box, draw wood grain patterns on each of them, and use tape, a glue stick, or hot glue to attach them to the sides of the box. Or you can go super simple and draw wood grain on the sides of the box. Or skip this step entirely and leave the box blank.

wagon 2Next, color and cut the wagon wheels from the template and tape or hot glue them to the box.Make sure the wheels are flush with the bottom of the box. Otherwise, the wagon won’t slide very well.

wagon 3Time for the pull string! It’s important to really attach this well, so you don’t have any pull string fails during your long journey. Cut a slit in the front of the wagon. Then, knot the end of the string (I used heavy kite string) and slide the knot into the slit. Tape the string to the inside of the box, and then put another piece of tape above the knot it’s really secure.

pull string stepsThe final step for the covered wagon is…the cover! Use colored masking tape to create two “bows” on the piece of card stock “canvas” (the bows are the wooden ribs that hold up the canvas on a real covered wagon).

bowsNow hot glue (or tape) the ends of the card stock canvas to the insides of the wagon. Be sure to adhere it no lower than 1″ from the top of the wagon (if the canvas is too low, it makes it hard to get the stuff in and out of your wagon).

attaching canvas topYour wagon is finished…now for the goods! Remember, you’ll be making two of each item (with the exception of the bag of wool). For the quilts, use markers to decorate and cut out the quilt template.

quiltsFor the broom, fringe 2 rectangles of brown construction paper, then wrap them around the bottom of the craft sticks. Attach the construction paper to the craft sticks with colored masking tape.

broomFor the bag of wool, cut the bottom off the paper lunch bag. You want the sides of the bag to be no taller than 3″. Open the bag and pop the polyester fill inside it.

woolFor the rope, simply coil and knot the two pieces of twine. Or don’t coil them and leave them loose. Plenty of kids did!

ropeFor the sacks of produce, fill two baking cups with red and brown pom-poms to represent apples and potatoes. Your wagon is ready to roll!

The ox-cart man traveled quite a long way to get to the market, so I decided to replicate that experience. I  set up a little store at the end of the an exhibit gallery that is adjacent to the entrance to our library. It’s a looong gallery, and I tucked the store off to one side, so I marked the way with red arrows made of colored masking tape.

The store consisted of a copy paper box lid stocked with some fun doodads – shells, spotted feathers, large gemstones, finger puppets (left over from this program) tiaras made out of pipe cleaners, gro-dinosaurs, and cake erasers left over from this story time.

trading postKids could trade 3 things in their wagons for 3 things in the store. With 20 kids at story time, we did a pretty brisk business that day.

at the trading postThen, laden with goodies, the wagons headed off home (sorry the photo is a little blurry, but you get the idea)!

wagons heading home

Want Fries With That?

want fries with thatIt’s flippin’ fun! This fast food restaurant will have you grilling like a pro and serving up some tasty shakes to your customers.

serving upWe read Fast Food! Gulp! Gulp! by Bernard Waber (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2001). Welcome to fast food town, where meals can be eaten in under 30 seconds and the menu reads like a rhyming list of dreams for fast food fanatics. The book cavorts at a mad dash until…the cook up and quits. She heads to a health food place to enjoy life at a slower pace.

Here’s a bird’s-eye view of the whole shebang:

birds eye viewAnd a view from the front!

zipsBefore we get started, it’s important to note that we made two of everything food-related. 2 burgers with all the toppings, 2 servings of fries, 2 pickles, 2 shakes, 2 straws, and 2 bags for your customers to take their orders home!

For the restaurant part, you’ll need:

  • 1 large box (mine was 16.5″ x 12″ x 6″)
  • 1 smaller box (mine was 9” x 4 ½” X 4 ½”)
  • 1, 6 – 8oz plastic cup
  • A selection of colored masking tape
  • Strips of yellow and red cellophane
  • 4 jumbo craft sticks
  • 1 large strip of silver poster board (approximately 8″ x 1.25″)
  • A menu and sign template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 1 paper visor (I bought mine online at Discount School Supply)
  • 2 white paper bags
  • 1 small strip of silver poster board (approximately 7.75″ x 1″)
  • 1 sparkle stem
  • 1 square of silver poster board (approximately 2.5″ x 2.5″)
  • Scissors, tape, hot glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating

For the food, you’ll need:

  • Felt for various “burger” colors: tan for buns, brown for patty, yellow for cheese, red for tomato, and green for lettuce
  • Multiple strips of yellow construction paper (approximately 0.5″ X 3.25″)
  • 2 pieces of green craft foam for pickles
  • 2, 6 – 8 oz. paper cups
  • A selection of dot stickers
  • 2 straws
  • 2 handfuls of polyester fill
  • 2 pipe cleaners, 1 brown & 1 pink

The first step is to decorate the large box and the small box with the colored tape (I went for a single red line around the boxes). Then, you’ll want to hot glue the smaller box to the surface of the large box, right in a corner. Finish by hot gluing the plastic cup inside it.

box and cupDirectly behind the box goes the “grill.” First, tape your strips of yellow and red cellophane to the box’s surface. I had great success with twisting the strips of cellophane to add a little “flame” texture.

flame twistsThen I wrapped the craft sticks in black masking tape, and hot glued them on top of the cellophane. Some kids decided to leave the craft sticks brown, or just colored them with markers. It all looked great!

grillNext comes the milkshake faucet, which is the large strip of silver poster board, curved and taped inside the box.

faucetNow for signs! Color the menu and signs template and attach to the front (or the sides, depending on the size of your box).

menu and signsThe milkshake buttons go on the back of the small box, by the faucet. If your box is too small, you can attach them to the back of the larger box, or embed them in the top of the counter.

milkshake buttonsSince you’re already in a coloring frenzy, this is a good time to decorate your visor and your paper bags. To make the bags easier to open and close, I cut off the tops, resulting in a bag that was 6.5″ high.

Now for cooking implements! To make the french fry tongs, simply fold the small strip of silver poster board in half. To make the spatula, fold the sparkle stem in half and tape to the back of the silver poster board square. Flip it over, then bend the sparkle stem slightly upwards to finish. This spatula is kid-tested. It does flip the burgers!

spatulaWe prepped the burger materials in advance (and dotted the top bun with a brown Sharpie marker):

burger partsThen piled them up to create the ultimate burger!

burgerTo make crinkle fries, accordion-fold the strips of yellow construction paper and drop them in the plastic cup to “cook.” You’ll definitely want to “crinkle” the fries, otherwise the tongs won’t pick them up. And don’t forget the pickle (a pickle-shaped piece of green craft foam, with lines drawn in with markers).

pickleFinally, milkshakes. Start by decorating the paper cups with dot stickers. Then, shorten the drinking straws so they fit better in the cups. I cut 0.75″ off the top, and 1.25″ off the bottom of each straw. To create a flavored shake, roll the polyester foam between your palms (like you’re making a clay snake). Then wrap the pipe cleaner around it in a loose spiral, and drop it in the cup.

shake stepsPop in the straw and you’re done!

milkshakeWant to SUPERSIZE it? Sink your teeth into this gigantic burger story time! Or perhaps you’re looking to round out your meal with some fruits and veggies? Check out our fabulous produce stand.