Wait ‘Til the Midnight Hour

It may be midnight, but there’s always time to explore this awesome little 2D library, and possibly discover a hidden letter or two!

We recommend reading The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara (Roaring Book Press, 2014, read here by the Ingleside Public Library). Welcome to a very special library: it’s only open from midnight to dawn! The little librarian, along with her three assistant owls, work together in the dark and help the forest animals find a place to play music, read the perfect story time book, and even sign up for a library card!

You’ll need:

  • 1 midnight library template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper
  • 1 clear piece of 8.5″ x 11″ plastic (more on this below!)
  • Sharpie permanent marker
  • 1 piece of black construction paper
  • One flashlight template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • Scissors for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Optional: fine tip dry erase marker

Begin by printing the midnight library template. Then, place a piece of plastic on top of the template and trace it using a Sharpie permanent marker. We used archival mylar, but you can also use the clear cellophane rolls you find in the gift basket section of your local craft store!

Replace the paper library template with a piece of black construction paper. Tape the corners of the black construction paper to a tabletop, then tape the corners of the plastic to the tabletop as well. Really to explore the library? Slide the flashlight’s light beam between the construction paper and plastic to “illuminate” the scene!

Want to take the project up a notch? Use a fine tip dry erase marker on the plastic to “hide” letters in the library, and ask your young readers to locate them. Once all the letters have been discovered, you can erase them and start anew! You can make the letters random, or ask kids to string together various words and/or messages. For example, I’ve hidden the word “hello” on this shelf…can you find it?

That’s a Big Bunny

It’s a simple DIY projector that creates an enormous shadow friend! All you need is a sheet of paper, an oatmeal container, and a cell phone flashlight. And have we got the PERFECT storytime book for it!

We recommend reading The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers (Candlewick, 2006, read here by Storytime with Miss Abi). When Rabbit is stalked by an enormous Black Rabbit, he tries everything to escape his foe. He loses him in the deep dark woods, but unfortunately encounters a hungry wolf! Rabbit gets chased and just when things look bleak (and with juuuuust the right amount of sunlight), the Black Rabbit appears and saves the day!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large oatmeal container
  • 1 piece of black construction paper
  • Scissors or a utility knife
  • Hot glue or tape

First, cut a circle of black construction paper that fits over the open end of a large oatmeal container. Then use scissors or a utlilty knife to cut a design into the circle. Attach to the oatmeal container using hot glue or tape.

On the other end of the oatmeal container, cut a pinhole that’s just a tad larger then your cell phone light.

Find a darkened room, activate the flashlight on your cell phone, and place the light against the pinhole of the container. Point the image towards the wall and watch the magic happen! Move closer to the wall for a smaller projected image, and further away for a super large projected image.

FYI: we discoverd that a cell phone flashlight definitely works best. We tried a regular flashlight and found it produced a blurrier, less definied image, as seen below.

Make one shadow projector, or create several and put on a fabulous show!

Far Out Friend

far out friend

Meet your new companion from a galaxy far, far away…and all it takes is two cups!

We read Your Alien, written by Tammi Sauer, and illustrated by Goro Fujita (Sterling, 2015). When an alien crash lands on earth, a boy adopts him. They have a total blast until bedtime, when the alien starts to cry for his parents. So the boy brings out ALL the holidays lights and decks out the house. It works! The relieved parents spot the signal in space, and the family is soon reunited.

You’ll need:

  • 1 paper cup
  • 1 plastic cocktail cup
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

First, wrap a paper cup with construction paper, then flip the cup upside down. Use markers to draw a face (or use an eye sticker, like we did). Drop a plastic cocktail cup helmet in place, and add an (optional) snippet of sparkle stem.

You and your new friend are ready to hang out!