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!

Merry Mixer

mix it up

Even with practically zero prep and minimal supplies, this story time will get kids sharing and giggling at different crazy creature combinations. The silliness is endless!

We recommend reading I Saw a Bullfrog by Ellen Stern (Random House, 2003). Playful from the very start, this book takes kids through the twisted linguistics and hilarious illustrations of a bullfrog (bull head and frog body), rat snake (rat head and snake body), tiger shark (tiger head and shark body), and so on. At the very end, however, the author provides the actual illustrations and interesting information about the real mammals, reptiles, plants, insects, and birds depicted in the book.

You’ll need:

  • Paper plates (the sturdier the better)
  • Pencil, ruler, and scissors for construction
  • Markers for decorating

The key to getting this project to work? Making sure your creatures’ body sections ultimately mix and match with the other paper plates. In order to do this, use a ruler and a pencil to divide the bottom of each paper plates into 3 sections. Then make 2 little “notches” along each dividing line. I made my notches at 2″ and 4″ like so:

marked paper plateThat’s ALL the prep you need! Now draw your creatures on the plates (we went fantastical instead of realistic). Make sure the necks, bodies, and tails start and stop along the notches:

paper plate creaturesCut the paper plate along the pencil lines, resulting in 3 separate pieces. Have the kids walk around the room with their pieces, mixing and matching with others. The results are very funny…

mixed up creatureYou might wonder why we used paper plates instead of index cards or pieces of paper. We found the elevation of the paper plates nice to draw on, and the workspace just tall and wide enough for many forms of creatures. Also, the raised edges of the paper plates make it easy for little hands to pick up, manipulate, and match the pieces.