Teeter Tower

teeter tower

Balance the animals in a teetering, tottering tower…but will your stack stick the landing?

We read Chicken Cheeks, written by Michael Ian Black, and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Simon & Schuster, 2009). When a bear spots a honey-laden hive at the top of a very tall tree, he enlists a number of friends to attempt the reach it. The funny thing about this book, however, is that the narrative is driven by the…ah, alliterative body part each animal must balance on to stack upwards. Hence, “Chicken cheeks.” We’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

You’ll need:

  • An assortment of oatmeal containers, small boxes, and tubes
  • A selection of construction paper
  • A selection of eye stickers (optional)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

This project consists of a set of critters constructed out of tubes, boxes, and construction paper. We used eye stickers, but you can draw eyes on with markers as well. Any combination of animals will do, but here’s our story time stack:


MOOSE

The moose was the biggest and heaviest, and thus at the bottom of the stacking tower. This was a large oatmeal container wrapped in construction paper.

stack moose


DOG

This was a small box wrapped with paper. We went with a grey dog since there was already a lot of red and brown in the stack.

stack dog


TOUCAN

Our toucan was a round packing tape core, though a small box can easily be substituted. We used a cone water cup for the beak, but a cylinder of construction paper works as well. Feather crest optional!

stack toucan


POLAR BEAR

We decided to go easy with this one…the polar bear is a white craft box with a face. Done!

stack polar bear


TURKEY

Everyone’s surprise favorite was the turkey! It has a tape core body, but the tail is kids’ hands repeatedly traced onto construction paper. In other words, the classic kiddie turkey drawing, rendered in 3-D!

stack turkey


GIRAFFE

This is the same paper towel tube giraffe we created at our Don’t Rock the Boat story time. And if you want to add a tiger, turtle, parrot, ladybug, monkey, skunk, or elephant to your stack, you’ll find that post as well!

stack giraffe


BEE

By the time we got to the bee we were almost out of time. So I handed these to the kids almost fully constructed. They just had to add the pre-cut construction paper stripes (or draw them on with marker), choose a twisteez wire antennae, and stick the eyes on.

stack bee


Yes, this project was a lot of critter-building, but it was well worth the work. Especially when the artistic towers started growing taller and taller. Just look at this awesomeness!

Banned Books Week 2019

Strega1_2

DePaola, Tomie, Strega Nona: An Original Version of an Old Tale. 1st Little Simon board book ed. New York: Little Simon, 1997. Cotsen Collection, Moveables 37931

This week, Cotsen’s curatorial blog has been honoring Banned Books Week with multiple posts and insights on banned books in our special collections. We invite you to hop on over and check them out…

And Tango Makes Three
Captain Underpants
The Story of Ferdinand
Strega Nona

Can’t resist a subsequent Strega Nona connection on this blog, however. Check out the amazing marzipan pasta-infused confection from our Gingerbread Cottage Challenge!

Pancake Power

pancake power

We’re serving up fast flapjacks in this fun duel-player racing game! But who will take home the golden syrup pitcher trophy? Check out our high-action video at the end of the post!

We read Hey, Pancakes! written by Tamson Weston, and illustrated by Stephen Gammell (Harcourt, 2003). Mom and Dad are sleeping in, so the kids (and the dog) head to the kitchen to cook up some amazing, sticky, super yummy pancakes! Yes, it’s a mess, but a little maple syrup never hurt anyone!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large tissue box
  • 1 corrugated cardboard rectangle
  • 4 small paper plates
  • 3 paper cups
  • 2 jumbo craft sticks (ours were 8″ long)
  • Tin foil
  • 1 knives and forks template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 2 corrugated cardboard circles
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

To make your pancake game table, hot glue a large tissue box to the bottom of a corrugated cardboard rectangle (we used a 10″ x 14″ cake pad).

pancake tableSet the tabletop with 2 small paper plates, 2 paper cups cut down to 2.25″, and the knifes and forks from the template. Optional: adding cotton ball “liquids” inside the cups, paper napkins, and decorating everything with construction paper, color masking tape and patterned tape.

top of pancake tableWe recommend NOT attaching anything directly to the tabletop. Later, when you’re playing your race game, it’s much funnier when things go flying off the table!

To make your pancake skillets, hot glue jumbo craft sticks to the backs 2 small paper plates, then cover everything with tin foil. The pancakes are 5″ diameter corrugated cardboard circles. Definitely use cardboard. Poster board and construction paper pancakes don’t fly through the air – they just flutter disappointingly. Add a self-adhesive foam foam pat of butter if you so desire:

pancake skillet Finally, the golden syrup pitcher trophy! This is a paper cup. We added a gold mirror board handle and spout as well. And a gold embossed foil seal for extra bling.

golden syrup pitcher trophyTo play the race game, set the table, then have the two players sit some distance on opposite ends. On “Go!” both players must attempt to toss their pancakes to the plates. Keep tossing until a pancake lands on a plate. First one to the plate wins the trophy!


Many thanks to Franny Zawadzki, our new office jill-of-all-trades, for shooting the video. We are delighted to have your talents at Cotsen, including your previously untapped sports announcer skills!