Purrfect Pet

purrfect petRecently, it occurred to me that we’ve done story time projects with dogs, monkeys, chicks, ponies, mice, hamsters, butterflies, birds, crocodiles, bugs, rabbits, and chickens in hot air balloons…but no CATS! To correct this egregious oversight, I present you with the purrfect cat story time.

We read Hookwinked by Arthur Howard (Harcourt, 2001). Mitzi (who is a witch) adores creepy things. So when it’s time to find a pet, she heads to the creepiest store in town. She selects a toad. But all the toad wants to do is eat bugs. She returns the toad and gets a pair of bats. But all the bats want to do is hang out with each other. She returns the bats and leaves the store, completely discouraged. The next day, however, there’s a scratch at her door. It’s an adorable little kitten. Naturally, Mitzi is disgusted by the kitten’s cuteness, but she agrees to let it stay one night because it’s raining outside. That night, the kitten stays by Mitzi’s side as she hunts ghosts, purrs on Mitzi’s lap during a scary movie, and licks Mitzi’s chin when she reveals her deepest fears. Mitzi’s heart is won, and she realizes that looks aren’t everything!

You’ll need:

  • 1 small oatmeal container
  • Construction paper
  • A rectangle of tagboard (approximately 4.25″ x 6″)
  • 3 pieces of twisteez wire (or very thin card stock strips) approximately 4.5″ each
  • A small rectangle of self-adhesive foam (approximately 1.25 ” x 1.5″)
  • 2 wiggle eyes
  • A 16″-18″ piece of ribbon
  • A small circle of card stock (approximately 1.5″ in diameter)
  • Scissors, tape, and glue stick for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hole punch
  • Hot glue

First, wrap your oatmeal container in construction paper (we offered black, white, orange, and gray). Cut the hind feet out of a tagboard rectangle, then glue the tagboard to your choice of colored construction paper. Trim the construction paper to fit the tagboard feet. Your tag board hind feet are now covered with construction paper on one side.

back feet stepsSet the feet aside for a moment, and cut a tail out of your choice of colored construction paper. Our tails were 2.25″ x 12″ rectangles and they looked great. Round one end of the rectangle, then wrap the tail around a marker to give it an awesome curl.

Hot glue the hind feet to the bottom of the oatmeal container, then hot glue to tail on top of the feet. To keep the tail anchored and less likely to tear off, I suggest hot gluing at least 3″ of it to the feet.

glued feet and tailTo create your cat’s front feet, cut two, 1.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles of construction paper, round one end of each rectangle, and then fold the rounded ends up to create paws. Hot glue (or tape) the legs to the front of the oatmeal container.

front legs attachedTo make the cat’s furry bib, cut a 4″ x 4.25″ rectangle of construction paper into an upside-down bell shape, then cut little ripples on the edges to create “fur.”

bibHot glue (or tape) the bib to the front of the cat. Make sure the bib covers the tops of the front legs, but also leaves room for your cat’s face.

bib attachedUse a marker to draw a smile on your cat and little “toe lines” on it’s feet (metallic Sharpie markers work great on black construction paper). Next, bunch together 3 pieces of twisteez wire (or 3 very thin card stock strips) and tape them over the mouth like so:

whiskersCut a piece of self-adhesive foam into a cat nose and stick it over the whisker tape. Hot glue a pair of wiggle eyes above the nose, and hot glue (or tape) a pair of construction paper ears next to the eyes.

nose, eyes, and ears The final touch is your cat’s name tag. Punch a hole in a circle of white card stock, then decorate the circle with your cat’s name. Thread a piece of ribbon through the hole and tie the ribbon around your cat’s neck. Invite a few friends over for a grand night out.

purrfect gangAnd there you have it…a splendid cat story time! I wonder what animal’s next? We’ve already covered flamingossquirrelslong-haired rainbow yaks

Surely You Jest

court jesterIt’s comedy old school style with this jester motley (a.k.a. “cap ‘n bells”) and scepter (a.k.a. “bauble”). A scroll of hilarious jokes is included, such as: Why did Cinderella lose the football game? Because her coach was a pumpkin! Oh ho ho!

We read Serious Trouble by Arthur Howard (Voyager Books, 2007). Prince Ernest has very serious parents who expect him to proceed seriously through life and eventually rule the kingdom. Seriously. The problem is, Ernest wants to be a jester. But his occupational dream couldn’t come at a worse time, because the kingdom is being threatened by a terrible three-headed dragon. When Ernest sneaks out of the castle to practice some jokes, he unfortunately runs into the dragon. The grumpy dragon agrees to let him go if Ernest can make him laugh. Can the princely comic deliver? Of course he can (it helps that dragons are way ticklish)!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large poster board strip for hat band (approximately 2.5″ x 22″)
  • A selection of color masking tape
  • 3 poster board triangles in different colors (mine were approximately 8″ at the base and 17.5″ tall).
  • 5 medium pom-poms (mine were 1″)
  • 6 jingle bells
  • 1 paper towel tube
  • 1 piece of construction paper, any color
  • Multiple pieces of curling ribbon
  • Multiple pieces of fabric ribbon
  • 1 small rectangle of construction paper (approximately 2.75″ x 6.5″)
  • 1 jester head template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ white card stock
  • 3 small pom-poms (mine were 0.5″)
  • 1 set of Ye Olde Funny Jokes, printed on standard 8.5″ x 11″ paper
  • Stapler, hole punch, scissors, and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

jester hatStart with the hat! Decorate the large strip of poster board with color tape. Then circle it around your head, remove, and staple to create a hat band. For the pointy part of your hat, use long poster board triangles that look like this:

trianglesTuck each triangle inside the hat band and staple into place. It’s absolutely OK if the bases of the triangles overlap. In fact, it looks rather snazzy.

overlap okNext, punch a hole at the end of each triangle. You want the hole to be close to the tip of the triangle, but not so close that the jingle bell might tear loose.

triangle holeThread a small piece of curling ribbon through each jingle bell, and then knot a bell through each hole. Don’t knot the ribbon too tight, or it will cut through the poster board!

bellFinish by hot gluing 5 medium pom-poms around the exterior of the hat band. Done!

hot glue hatNow for your scepter. Wrap a paper towel tube with construction paper, and use color masking tape to add some stripes. Then, take a 5.5″ piece of color masking tape and place it sticky side up on the table. Gently press the ends of the curling and fabric ribbon onto the tape. Include at least 3 pieces of curling ribbon.

ribbonWrap the ribbon tape around the top of the paper towel tube BUT…drop it about 1″ from the top of the tube.

wrapped ribbonTrim the ribbon if it seems too long, and then knot a jingle bell onto each curling ribbon (the fabric ribbon is too soft for threading). Next, cut a zig-zag pattern into the small rectangle of construction paper…

collarThen wrap it around the top of the paper towel tube. Like the ribbon tape, you’ll want to drop the zig-zag paper about 1″ from the top of the tube.

wrapped collarUse markers to color the jester head template, then curl the long tabs of the template around the top of the paper towel tube and fasten with tape. Finish by hot gluing 3 small pom-poms on the ends of the hat.

finished scepter All you need now are jokes! I printed the joke sheets in advance and used a piece of curling ribbon to turn them into scrolls. Then I hid the jokes around the gallery and turned it into a jester quest. The gallery was full of giggling, jingling kids. It was fabulous!

If you are in need of a dragon to accompany this project, try this fella!