Air Your Happy Laundry

air your happy laundry

Everyone has a grumpy and un-positive load of laundry from time to time. But a suds and spin in our optimistic washer and dryer will DEFINITELY help!

We read Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer (Albert Whitman & Company, 2016). Penguin is in a flat out grumpy mood, and stomping his feet and shucking his rain gear doesn’t help. But a nice bath, cozy pajamas, hot cocoa, favorite book, and grumpy pants on a positive spin cycle? Ahhhhh…THAT did the trick.

The cool thing about our little story time washer is that it really spins your laundry…

You’ll need:

  • 2 small boxes with lids.
  • 1 corrugated cardboard base
  • 1 paper cup
  • 1 brass fastener
  • A box cutter
  • A selection of patterned paper
  • 1 piece of yarn (ours was 29″ long)
  • Scissors, glue and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

The washer and dryer are two small boxes with lids.The washer opens from the front, the dryer opens from the top. Both are hot glued to a corrugated cardboard base.

washer and dryer We added a white poster board instrument button panel to the top of the washer, foam bead buttons and dials, and decorated our base with color masking tape, but that’s all optional, of course.

Also optional are a little paper cup laundry basket, a toilet paper tube soap container, and a tiny box of fabric softener sheets (which were banana scratch and sniff stickers)!

basket soap fabric sheetsThe turning mechanism for your washer is a paper cup inside the box (we cut ours down to 2.25″). The cup pivots on a brass fastener. It’s important to get a tight connection, so we hot glued a circle of silver mirror board over the head of the brass fastener to strengthen it (white poster board works too):

inside washer

On the back of the washer, we doubled tabbed a piece of poster board to make it easier for the kids to grasp and turn (and again, we reinforced the connection with hot glue):

back of washer

Your washer and dryer are ready. Now for the laundry! Our laundry was 2 matched sets of patterned paper….a wrinkly “dirty” set, and a “clean” flat set.

dirty and clean clothes on line

Did you notice that the clean clothes are taped to a yarn clothesline? We taped the other end of the line inside the dryer…

inside dryerSo you can drop your wrinkly dirty clothes into the dryer and magically pull the flat clean clothes out!


The final part of the project? In keeping with the beautiful self-care message of the book, we asked kids to write grumpy things on the backs of the dirty clothes, and then the solutions on the backs of the clean ones!

laundry solution b

Hey U!

hey uThere’s trouble at the ranch…the letters are getting mixed up and causing a word ruckus! Grab your lariat, jump up on that cow pony (with your stuffed kitty, Kiki), and let’s wrangle the alphabet ya’ll!

We read Lexie the Word Wrangler, written by Rebecca Van Slyke, and illustrated by Jessie Hartland (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2017). Lexi is a word wrangler, taking little words and roping them together into bigger words. But lately, some pretty strange things have been happening at the ranch. Someone is stealing words, putting them in different places, and switching things around. The final straw comes when Lexie goes to sleep under the S-T-A-R-S and finds herself under the R-A-T-S. Looks like she’s got a word rustler to catch, but maybe, just maybe…they can be friends?

You’ll need:

  • A stick horse (more on this below)
  • A paper mâché or card stock letter (more on this below too!)
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • A long strip of poster board
  • Yarn
  • Hole punch, stapler, scissors, and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

cowboy stick horse

We made our standard story time stick horse for this project…you will find the instructions for it here, in our Show Jumping post. Our only modification was to add some construction paper spots. Our cow letters were also recycled from another project…

front of cow uYou might recognize the paper mâché letters from the activity we did at our grand gallery reopening. We added paper horns, hair fringes, wiggle eyes, and a sparkle stem nose ring to our cow letters, but you can just go with markers if you like!

The 8″ letter you see above was purchased online from Consumer Crafts. At $2 each they can be a little pricey, so our alternative is to print the card stock vowel template from our Fishing for Vowels post. In order to stand the letters upright, hot glue pieces of toilet paper tube to the back.

back of cow uThe final piece of the project is the lariat, and this is very easy. Staple a 1.5″ x 28″ strip of poster board in a circle. Make the circle as wide as possible and definitely using staples, as it gives the lariat some heft when you’re tossing it. Punch a hole in the circle, then knot some yarn through it. Done!

lariatTo wrangle, place your cow letter on the floor, swing up on your stick horse, circle the lariat, then drop it over the letter! Yelling “YEEHAW!” optional.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…

it was a dark and stormy nightStorms can be very scary, but this story time project lets YOU be in charge of the clouds, rain, and lightning!

We read Stormy Night by Salina Yoon (Bloomsbury, 2015). A storm is booming, and Bear can’t sleep – and neither can his stuffed bunny Floppy, his Mama, or his Papa! But a sweet song, kiss on the nose, a tickle on the ear, and good book can do wonders, and the family rides the storm out together.

You’ll need:

  • 2 corrugated cardboard rectangles
  • A box cutter
  • 2 strips of poster board
  • 2 paper towel tubes
  • Construction paper
  • 1 small box
  • 4 jumbo craft sticks
  • Scissors, tape and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

This theater is divided into two pieces: the back and the front, which are later hot glued together to create a free-standing theater. Here’s the back piece…

back of storm theaterFirst, glue a piece of blue construction paper to a corrugated cardboard rectangle (we used 9.75″ x 13.75″ cake pads). Next, cut a silhouettes from black construction paper and glue it down as well. Definitely make sure to glue these down tight, so the edges don’t snag on your puppets later. Here’s the front piece…

front of storm theater step 1Use a box cutter to cake a window in the second corrugated cardboard rectangle. Then glue or tape 2 strips of poster board to the front of the window (definitely use poster board, construction paper is a little too saggy). Add a pair of optional window curtains. Then flip the front piece over…

front of storm theater step 2Shorten 2 paper towel tubes so they fit inside the sides of the window, then hot glue them firmly in place (we reinforced the connection with tape as well). Hot glue the tubes to the back piece of the theater. Now there is a gap between the front and back of the theater.  This is where you drop your stick puppets! We also hot glued a small box to the very back of the theater to keep it more steady (our box was white, sorry, it’s a little hard to see in the photo!).

top of storm theaterTo make the stick puppets, cut a lightning bolt, fringe of rain, crescent moon, and storm cloud from construction paper, then glue or tape them to the bottom of a jumbo craft stick (ours were 8″ long).

storm theater puppetsTo operate the theater, simply drop the puppets into the gap and narrate the story as storm clouds move in, rain comes, lightning strikes, and the skies finally clear to reveal the moon!

finished storm theater

We also gave kids the option of creating cozy rugs with markers and ovals of white construction paper. Love the rainbow and storm cloud in the one above!