Castle, Cats

castle cats

It’s a castle, it’s a tossing game, but mostly this project is about an awesome abundance of…CATS!

We read A Castle Full of Cats by Ruth Sanderson (Random House, 2015). The Queen looooves cats, and they are everywhere in the castle. The king, despite all the cats’ winning efforts (scratching art into the wall, leaving dead mice in his shoe) feels more then a little left out. So he gets a dog. Is the dog there to chase away the cats? NO! The dog’s job is to play with the cats. With the felines otherwise occupied, the king can now spend a little time wooing his beloved wife.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large box (ours was 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” – a large tissue box works too!)
  • An assortment of toilet paper and paper towel tubes
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

finished cat castle

First, the castle! Cut the top off a box of your choice, then decorate it with construction paper and/or markers. Our castle towers are shortened paper towel tubes with cone water cup turrets. The flags are mounted on wooden coffee stirrers. We used self-adhesive foam to add some texture as well. Like THIS castle. Just look at that texture!

awesome castleWe also decided to add a carrying handle to our castle, so our towers are hot glued slightly to the front of the box. The handle is a 1.75″ x 16″ poster board strip that pivots on 2 brass fasteners.

finished cat castle handleFinally, the CATS. These are variously-sized toilet paper and paper towel tubes decorated with construction paper. We used self-adhesive foam bits and eye stickers to create the faces, but plain old markers work too!

all the castle catsTo play the game, place your castle on the floor, and then try to toss all the cats into the box. The more cats that land in the box, the more likely the last few will bounce out, so warning…a major case of the giggles may occur!

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.

So FLUFFY

so fluffy

He’s big. He’s soft. He’s…so…FLUFFY. This simple box kitty is also incredibly stylish.

We read Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty by A.N. Kang (Disney Hyperion, 2016). Papillon is a big, fluffy kitty. In fact, he’s so fluffy, he can float on air! Miss Tilly fears her cat will fly away and get lost, but then she discovers that clothing keeps Papillon on the ground. She begins designing costumes for Papillon, each outfit more ridiculous than the next. Papillon finally puts his paw down and refuses to wear anything. And, just as Miss Tilly fears, he floats out the window and gets lost in the scary woods. Papillon tries fashioning a hat, scarf and belt out of leafy vines so he can walk home, but they don’t work! Luckily, a friendly bird tows Papillon home. When Miss Tilly meets Papillon’s new friend, she has her best design idea ever…a birdhouse hat to keep the friends together, and Papillon somewhat grounded.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large box (ours was 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” – a large tissue box works too)
  • White poster board
  • Cotton balls
  • Black construction paper
  • 1 paper cup
  • Hat decorating supplies (more on this below)
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Hot glue

cat box

Basically, each kid started with a cat box, as shown above (it’s remarkably similar to this one, but we used a box instead of an oatmeal container this time). Definitely use hot glue to fix the pieces down, and use poster board for the hind legs, front legs, tail, and ears. Anything less sturdy is going to buckle under all that glue and cotton balls. Because you’re going to use lots and LOTS of glue and cotton balls…

fluffy catBasically, just cover the box with cotton balls! The fluffier, the better! For the face, we used large, 1.5″ eyes stickers from Oriental Trading Company (a roll of 100 pairs is $2.50), and a bit of self-adhesive foam for the nose. You can just use construction paper to make these, though. The whiskers are construction paper as well.

Once the fluffy cats were finished, the costuming portion of the project began. We made hats. The basic hat was a 5.25″ circle of white poster board with a paper cup hot glued to it. Kids could choose the color, and height, of their paper cups.

cat hatThen, out came the Bling Bin, as well as sparkle stems, duck quills, patterned paper, and fabric flowers. And things got FANCY.

When the costumes were finished, each cat received his/her very own bird friend. This was a little wooden bird whistle, left over from this epic robot story time. Tweet tweet!

cat hat bird