Beautiful Butterfly Surprise

beautiful butterfliesJust a quick, clever little flip…and your giant leaf reveals a gorgeous butterfly mobile!

We read Wild Baby by Cori Doerrfeld (Harper, 2019). Mama is slowly waking, but wild baby orangutan is ready for an adventure – with or without her! As mama tries to keep up, wild baby doesn’t quite realize the trouble he’s causing…or the danger he’s in! When mama finally does catch up, baby gets a big scolding. But then he reveals a beautiful present for her, resulting a heartfelt hug.

You’ll need:

At the end of the book, it’s revealed that wild baby has been collecting butterflies to give as a present to Mama. She opens a big leaf and they fly into the sky. We definitely wanted to capture that surprise with our project!

Begin by cutting a leaf from green poster board. Then fold it in half, lengthwise. Note: the leaf has to be fairly large to hold and shelter all the butterflies. Our finished leaf was 16″ long, and 11″ wide.

big green leafNext, knot 4 pieces of clear elastic beading cord around a wooden dowel. The strings need to be fairly long (15″ or so) to allow the butterflies to dangle well below the edges of the leaf. Once all the strings are attached, hot glue the dowel along the spine of the leaf.

leaf with attached dowel Now your leaf needs a finger loop. Fold the leaf in half, then use a box cutter to make a small hole in its middle. Thread an 8″ piece of twisteez wire or pipe cleaner through the slit, then circle the wire to make the loop (you can also use markers to draw veins on the outside of the leaf like we did!).

finger loop on leafNow for the butterflies! Color and cut the butterflies from the template. The way I positioned the butterflies on the template allows you to fold them double sided. But you can also go single sided if you like! Arrange the butterflies on the elastic beading cord, then secure with tape.

attached butterfliesTo operate the mobile, tuck the butterflies into the leaf. Slide your finger in the loop, and, keeping the butterflies tucked, hold the leaf upwards. Find the person you’d like to surprise, then quickly flip the leaf upside down, releasing the surprise butterflies!


You can also simply hang the mobile from the finger loop, and enjoy the butterflies dancing in the breeze.

Goodnight Moon

goodnight moonLearn about the phases of the moon (and track them yourself!) using this awesome, 3D, double-sided, lunar calendar! Katie and I dubbed this “the story time project of the year.” Because STEAM power!

We read A Kite for Moon, written by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, and illustrated by Matt Phelan (Zonderkidz, 2019). A little boy on the beach spots the lonely, daytime moon and sends her a message on his kite. He promises to visit her someday. Years go by, and the little boy grows into a man who studies numbers, astronomy, and piloting. Eventually, he takes a rocket ship to space, where the moon has been watching and waiting for that promised visit.

You’ll need:

We’ll start with the front of the calendar. Use dark blue construction paper to create a sky on your corrugated cardboard backdrop. Glue or tape an 3.25″ x 3.75″ rectangular pocket to the right-hand side of the sky. Later, this will become your “moon stick pocket.”

moon stick pocketNext, use black construction paper, a toilet paper tube, and a small box to create mountains, a tree, and a house (we recommend adding a little yellow window to the house as well). The hot glue the tree and the house to the backdrop. Important! In order to get the calendar to stand up, the house needs to be attached in the center of the backdrop:

house attached to backdropTo the right of the house is a small lunar phase calendar. Tape or hot glue a binder clip to the backdrop, then clip the calendar in place. I custom designed our calendar for June-December 2019, but seeing as time inexorably marches on, you can find a current calendar with a Google search. Add some white card stock stars to the sky, and you’re done with this side.

back of lunar calendarAbove is the other side of the calendar. First, use construction paper or poster board to create a pocket (our pocket was 4.75″ x 12″ silver poster board), then tape or glue the phases of the moon chart template on top.

Finally, the phases of the moon sticks. Cut eight, 1.5″ x 4.5″ strips of dark blue construction paper (or, better yet, poster board), then glue or tape each phases of the moon stick image and a phases of the moon stick label to each strip like so:

finished full moon stick This was a great part of the story time project. Watching the kids methodically checking and matching the labels, to the chart, to the sticks was really sweet. And very science!

checking the lunar chartTo use your new lunar calendar, match the date on the calendar to the appropriate phase of the moon. Identify the correct moon stick, then slide it into your night sky pocket. Keep checking the calendar to track the moon’s phases. Oh, and we also used glow-in-the-dark paint to fill in our stars and moon sticks. So this calendar glows at night!

Sweet Snoozer

sweet snoozer

This hibernating bear will have the sweetest of slumbers, thanks to the amazingly cozy shelter you’ve crafted!

We read Brave Bitsy and the Bear, written by Angela McAllister, and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke (Clarion Books, 2006). When Bitsy the purple bunny gets lost in the woods, she tries to stay brave, even when confronted by a big bear. Fortunately, the bear is very friendly, and offers to take her home. The problem is, it’s close to winter and the bear is very sleepy. Bitsy finally gets home, but worries her new friend won’t make it back to his cave. She ventures out to discover that yes, bear has fallen asleep in the middle of the woods! Fortunately, Bitsy and her forest friends chip in to build bear a cozy winter shelter, and he wakes up in the spring happy, well rested, and very grateful!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large tissue box
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • A selection of construction paper, including brown
  • 1 corrugated cardboard base (ours was 7″ x 10″)
  • Scissors, tape and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating

finished snoozing bear

First, the bear! We used a 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” brown craft box, but you can also wrap a large tissue box with brown construction paper. Add a tail, front legs, back legs, and ears. The nose is a toilet paper tube cut down to 1.75″ with an oval of self-adhesive foam on the end (but black construction paper works too!). Next up, the shelter…

finished bear shelterHere’s the shot from the front. The shelter is basically 1.5″ x 22″ strips of brown poster board arched over a corrugated cardboard base and secured to the underside with tape (but brown construction paper works too). Place the bear on the base while crafting to insure your arches are tall enough! We added green construction paper leaves and s (but you can craft the flowers out of construction paper or skip them entirely).

finished bear in shelterWhen the shelter is done, tuck some (optional) green paper crinkle to make things extra snug. Then, feel free to cozy up with your bear for a nap!

bear nap