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!

Shelter Story

Puppies and kitties in our Storytime Shelter eagerly await adoption…bring your custom pet set (complete with carrier, treats, blanket, ball, collar, and food dishes) and find your forever friend!

We read Who Wants Broccoli? by Val Jones (Harper, 2015). Breezly’s Animal Shelter has many pets, but none quite as big, energetic, loud, and messy as Broccoli the dog. The problem is, most people want a slightly less…ah…enthusiastic pet in their homes. So Broccoli gets passed over time and time again. But when little Oscar moves across the street, a big energetic dog is EXACTLY what he wants. Yes! Broccoli and Oscar, together in love and loudness.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large tissue box
  • A box cutter
  • 1 strip of poster board
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • 1 dog adoption papers template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper
  • Various pet accessories (more on this below!)
  • Scissors, tape, and stapler for construction
  • Markers for decorating

Accessories vary according to what you have on hand, but here’s our pet set…a carrier, treat canister, plastic ball, blanket, collar with bell, and a water and food dish.

We used a 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” craft box, but a large tissue box works too! Use a box cutter to make a little door in one side of the box. We added a foam bead knob to the door, and used a hole punch to create “air holes” as well. The pet carrier’s handle is a strip of poster board stapled to the lid. You can decorate the carrier with markers, or used color masking tape and patterned tape like we did.

We wanted the top of the carrier to open so kids could stash their supplies, but we didn’t want the lid flying open while they were carrying the box. So we rigged up a latch using foam beads and a small rubber band. It worked great!

In terms of accessories, our treat jars were old film canisters, the balls were leftover from our Willy Wonka escape room, and the food and water dishes were snippets of a toilet paper tube. A little bit of ribbon, a bell, and a square of fleece fabric completed the set.

But the REAL surprise? You actually got to take a dog home, courtesy of a major Beanie Baby donation to our library!

Yes! When kids were finished their pet carrier set, they walked over to our Storytime Shelter (which was a cardboard facade propped up by two small tissue boxes).

Kids waited outside the shelter while Katie asked them the following questions…

Do you like dogs that bark, or dogs that are more quiet?
Do you like dogs that do tricks?
Do you like to play ball?
Do you want an adult dog? Or a puppy?
Will you take good care of your dog?

When all the questions were answered, Katie would select a Beanie Baby dog and “run” it out the shelter door to the kids, and the official adoption papers would be signed!

After everyone had a dog, we made another special announcement. You would get to select ANOTHER Beanie Baby companion for it! And out came a massive box of Beanie Babies to choose from. Were the kids excited? Oh, they were WAY excited! So were the grown ups! Hah!

We had enough Beanie Babies to allow younger siblings to adopt pets as well. So no one left the Storytime Shelter empty handed.

And now, an incredibly sweet coincidence…one little girl selected a cat from the big box of Beanies. She selected the VERY same version of the Beanie Baby kitty that had been her mom’s lovie so many years before. As the lovie was in storage, the little girl couldn’t have possibly known it was the twin to her mom’s. But she picked the very one.

Tears in my eyes!

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