Manage That Mane

manage that maneIs your mane getting a little wild and unruly? It might be time to tame those locks with a firm hand and LOTS of hair bows!

We read Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex Smith (Scholastic Press, 2015). Little Red is going to be eaten by a lion. At least that’s what the lion THINKS is going to happen! But Little Red has other ideas and this sassy and resourceful girl gives him quite a schooling. A delightful play on Little Red Riding Hood, this book was a super fun read-aloud…especially the last page!

In the book, the lion gets an amazing, but ultimately unwanted, makeover. It’s hilarious and we wanted to capture that in our story time project. So we designed an oatmeal container lion with a fabulous mane for cutting and styling!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large oatmeal container
  • Brown, yellow, and white construction paper
  • A circle of corrugated cardboard
  • 1 mane styling template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ white card stock
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

lion a little smallerThe lion is an oatmeal container decorated with construction paper and (optional) wiggle eyes. The original instructions can be found in our Lion-Hearted Hero post. However! You’ll need to do one significant modification to the lion’s face…a cardboard circle foundation to hold all those mane extensions:

lion comparisonGlue a circle of yellow construction paper to a 7.5″ diameter corrugated cardboard circle (we used a cake circle). Attach the brown mane circle, and add the lion’s eyes, ears, nose, and muzzle. Next, tape a bunch of yellow and brown construction paper fringes to the back of the cardboard circle. Finish by hot gluing the entire thing to the oatmeal container body. We recommend reinforcing that connection with tape as well.

Color and cut the hair bows, comb, and blow dryer from the template, then stand your lion in front of a mirror and start cutting and styling! We also offered paper clip barrettes and extra mane fringes to take home for future haircuts.

mane styling set

Home Aquarium

home aquarium

Need an aquarium in your home? How about we just make the whole HOUSE the aquarium? Turn the tab at the top of this house to twirl ocean creatures past your window. Video, of course, at the end of the post!

We read Faucet Fish, written by Fay Robinson, and illustrated by Wayne Anderson (Dutton Children’s Books, 2005). Elizabeth adores fish, and spends quite a lot of time at the local aquarium. Alas, she only owns a guppy, and her parents aren’t keen on getting any more fish. But one day, a trout drops out of the faucet! The faucet fish keep coming, getting larger and larger until a baby beluga emerges in the tub. Only one thing left to do…turn the entire house into an aquarium!

You’ll need:

  • 1 small tissue box
  • A box cutter
  • A square of blue cellophane
  • A selection of construction paper
  • 1 brass fastener
  • 1 snippet of poster board
  • 1 plastic cup
  • 1 strip of white card stock
  • Scissors, tape, and hole punch for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

The box for this project definitely requires a lid! We used a 4.5” X 4.5” x 6” craft box, but a small tissue box works as well (just flip the tissue box upside down). Use a box cutter to create a small slit in the center of the box’s “roof.” Next, cut a window in the box. Use leftover cardboard scraps to craft window panes, and tape blue cellophane over it.

window of aquarium houseNow decorate the outside of your house! We offered construction paper, color masking tape, and patterned tape, but you can also just use markers. One thing to note…the roof is just a triangle of paper attached to the front of the box. It doesn’t extend backwards over the top of the box.

home aquariumNext, decorate a strip of white card stock with ocean creatures. Make sure to measure the strip carefully…it needs to wrap fully around your plastic cup and not extend past the top or bottom. Our strip was 4″ tall x 11″ wide. And can I say what a fine job Katie did with her ocean creatures? Just look at that happy jellyfish!

strip of ocean crittersThe final piece of the project is the spinning cylinder. This is a plastic cup attached to the roof of the house with a brass fastener. Two tabs extend from the top of the box, allowing you to easily turn the mechanism:

plastic cup attached to houseOur tabs were created with a 0.75″ x 3″ snippet of poster board. Punch a hole in the center, then thread a brass fastener through the hole. Push the ends of the fastener through small slits cut in the top of the box and the bottom of a plastic cup. Unfold the fastener’s prongs inside the cup.

You really want the connection to be strong, so we recommend hot gluing AND taping the head of the brass fastener on the snippet. Hot glue a small square of cardboard over the prongs inside the cup as well:

reinforced cup connectionFinally, wrap your strip of ocean critters around the cup. As you can see in the above photo, the cup is tapered, so the strip won’t wrap around it in a perfect circle. No problem! So long as the strip is secured tightly to one point of the cup (we suggest the strip’s seam) it will work. Here’s a shot of the finished mechanism, which is then tucked inside the house. Secure the lid down with tape.

finished aqarium cylindarReady to see this little contraption in action? The colors were a little muted in the video, so I removed the blue cellophane from the window to showcase the ocean critters more clearly. Swim my little friends, swim!

The Gift of Garden

the gift of garden

Create some potted plants, and then share the love with a delightful on-the-go garden!

We read Anywhere Farm, written by Phyllis Root, and illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Candlewick Press, 2017). Want to grow a farm anywhere? All you need is soil, sunshine, water, and a seed. From alleyways to the insides of a old trumpet, your garden will blossom and bloom! The rhymes in this book are so clever and endearing, and the illustrations are delightful depictions of gardens everywhere and anywhere. A highly recommended story time read!

You’ll need:

  • Several toilet paper and paper towel tubes
  • A selection of construction paper
  • A selection of pipe cleaners
  • Scissors, glue, and tape for construction

For the optional wagon:

  • 1 large tissue box
  • 1 wheel assembly (more on this below)
  • 2 drinking straws (our were 10″ long)
  • An 16.5″ piece of string
  • 1 small rectangle of tagboard (approximately 1.25″ x 2″)

little potted plants

First, your garden! Cut toilet paper and paper towel tubes down to 2″. Then create plants using construction paper and pipe cleaners (we also provided , patterned tape, fabric flowers, tissue paper, and plastic buttons for decorating). We asked kids to make at least one pot that wouldn’t mind trading at the end of story time.

You can end the project with the pots, or you can take it a step further…we loved the idea of an anywhere garden on-the-go, so we crafted tissue box wagons to make things mobile! The wagon and wheel assembly instructions can be found on this post.

finished red wagonWhen the wagons were assembled, kids popped their potted plants in and we circled the library’s lobby. Everyone was invited to trade at least one pot with Katie (and we pre-made a number pots for this purpose).

sharing plants

Some kids also traded with each other spontaneously, which was VERY sweet!