Whale Tale

whale tale

Join a big blue whale on an ocean of adventures, and don’t forget to stop by your adorable lighthouse island to play in some waves, chill on the beach, and collect shells!

We read Beachy and Me by Bob Staake ( Random House, 2016). Pixie Picklespeare is the only child living on a very tiny lighthouse island. She is BORED. But after rescuing a beached blue whale, the new friends spend a whole summer playing games, riding waves, and exploring the ocean. But when Beachy the whale hears the call of migration, Pixie is alone and bored AGAIN. But what’s that she hears? Her whale friend, coming back to visit, just like he promised.

You’ll need:

  • 1 corrugated cardboard base
  • 1 small box
  • 1 small oatmeal container
  • 1 plastic cocktail cup
  • 1 wine cork
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

The lighthouse island is basically a small oatmeal container and small box, hot glued to the top of a corrugated cardboard base. The light is a plastic cocktail cup flipped upside down and placed on top of the oatmeal container (we left it unattached so the construction paper light bulb taped inside can rotate).

front of lighhouseOur “ocean” consists of a curved, light blue crepe paper streamer and a fringe of dark blue construction paper waves. We had mini shells handy for the beach, but you can use images of shells, or just have the kids draw the shells on the beach with markers.

lighthouse beachWe also decided to cut the backs out of the box and the oatmeal container to create a dollhouse. Use a circle of white card stock to create the second floor of the lighthouse, then decorate the walls and floors with paper. Need furniture and some framed artwork? You’ll find templates and instructions in this post.

You can see our cork person creation in the photo as well:

back of lighthouseWhen the lighthouse islands were done, we announced that a whale had been spotted in the library’s main lobby. This was a red wagon with a whale facades taped to both sides. Kids took turns getting rides and smiling at local whale watchers!

whale rides

Take the Cake

take the cakeA trio of birds has invaded your kitchen, intent on repeatedly interrupting your bonding with a baked good. Can you get the birds out of the kitchen and still take the cake?

We read Marigold Bakes a Cake by Mike Malbrough (Philomel Books, 2017). On Monday, Marigold the cat ALWAYS bakes. With no distractions, Marigold measures and mixes the ingredients just so. Everything is going well…until birds start unexpectedly visiting his kitchen. This drives uber-organized Marigold more and more crazy until he finally loses it in a total feline frenzy. Can the birds and Marigold reach a cake-appreciating middle ground? Hilariously, as it turns out, they cannot.

This project was designed for a little girl who has been coming to Tiger Tales for 3 years! Marigold Bakes a Cake was the (totally awesome) book she selected for her final visit with us. Diana, this one’s for you!

You’ll need:

  • 1 small tissue box
  • 1 small paper plate
  • 1 paper cup
  • 3 toilet paper tubes
  • Construction paper
  • 1 cardboard box kitchen (more on this later!)
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

First, the cake! This was a small tissue box decorated with construction paper and marker. We also added pom-poms, fabric flowers, and ribbons for more texture. The cake stand is a small paper plate flipped over, and hot glued to a similarly flipped paper cup. We used patterned tape to decorate the cake stand, but markers work great too!

cake on standTo make the birds, wrap 3 toilet paper tubes with construction paper and add paper wings. Optional: self-adhesive foam beaks, eye stickers, and feather crests. Or, just use markers to add features to your birds.

cake birds Once you have your cake, cake stand, and birds, it’s time to play the kitchen game! Katie and I used a bunch of recycled boxes to build a kitchen with a fridge, counter, sink, range, and oven.

front of kitchenCut into the back of the set were little trap doors. The trap doors (and the hole in the sink) allowed me to sneak the toilet paper tube birds into the kitchen.

back of kitchen Ready to play the kitchen game? First, kids handed me their birds and placed their cakes on the counter. Then, they took 10 steps back to the starting line. I would hide 1 bird in the kitchen and shout “The bird’s in the freezer!” The kid would race forward, find the bird, and run back to the starting line. We repeated this, using different kitchen locations, until all 3 birds were captured. The prize was their cake!

grab the birdsIf you don’t have time to construct a kitchen, simply tape images of kitchen elements onto boxes. Then drop the birds into the boxes for the kids to locate.

Hit the Road

hit the road

The open highway beckons, so top off the tank, jump in the truck, crank the tunes, and let the cows do the driving. Wait a minute…COWS?

We read Sakes Alive! A Cattle Drive, written by Karma Wilson, and illustrated by Karla Firehammer (Little, Brown, 2005). When two inquisitive cows lift the truck keys from Farmer’s pocket, they quickly learn (as does the rest of the town) that cows can’t drive. But they can inspire a bit of a parade!

We crafted a pull string truck and put two toilet paper tube cows in the front seat. Then the story time kids drove across scenic New Jersey, complete with billboards, pit stops, and of course…tolls.

You’ll need:

  • 1 small tissue box
  • 1 pickup truck template printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 4 circles of black construction paper (approximately 2.5″ in diameter)
  • A piece of string (approximately 24″ long)
  • 1 mini craft stick
  • 3 toilet paper tubes
  • 1 rectangle of poster board (approximately 4.5″ x 5″)
  • 1 open highway (more on this below!)
  • Hot glue

finished pickup truckThe truck for this project is a duplicate from our “Ultimate Road Trip” post (you’ll find the  instructions here) with one exception: we added a front seat for our cows to sit in.

cows in front seatTo make the seat, cut a toilet paper tube in half. Fold a rectangle of poster board in two, then hot glue the toilet paper tube “legs” to the bottom of the poster board seat. Secure the completed seat to the inside of your truck with hot glue. Here’s a shot of the front seat from the back of the truck:

front seat of truckThe cows are simply toilet paper tubes, wrapped in white construction paper, with construction paper ears and hair tufts. Decorate with markers. We used eye stickers, but you can draw the eyes on with markers too.

cows driversOnce the truck and cows are done, it’s time to hit the road! We crafted a New Jersey road adventure, which we will share below. A simplified version of this could be print outs of buildings, billboards, and road signs. Or heck, just draw some directional arrows on Post It notes! Our journey begins at the “Welcome to New Jersey” sign…

welcome to nj See that cute little gas station in the background? Here’s a close up of it. Katie crafted the nozzles out of mesh tubing and kiddie scissors. The pointy end of the scissors are shoved into a bit of PVC pipe.

gas station You might also want to stop at Shake Shack for a little treat. These were cotton ball shakes in little sample cups served with a snippet of paper straw. The stand was run by a volunteer older kid.

shake shackRound the corner, more billboards…

billboardsAnd one more turn takes you to Katie’s amazingly crafted EZ Pass toll booth!

ez passThen it’s just a quick jump onto the NJ Turnpike to begin the loop anew!

nj turnpikeBut keep an eye on your speedometer, because there was a cop on the premises to catch cows over the speed limit! This was another older kid volunteer. We had a police hat ready, some ready-to-fill speeding tickets, and a siren sound effect on my phone.

copThis kid played his part to the hilt, and his speeding tickets were hilarious! There was one speeding ticket for $9,000. And some double tickets. I must admit, I gave out a couple tickets too.

speeding ticketsBy the way…Katie you still owe me $1000 for your story time speeding ticket. Just sayin’.