This Little Light

this little lightThis sweet and simple lantern was created at our Let it Shine story time. A younger sibling, upon seeing her brother’s fabulous painted lantern, tearfully asked if she could have a little lantern too. I whipped this one together in seconds, mostly using leftover program supplies. She was very, very happy (and, her mom reports, still using it)!

You’ll need:

Drop the LED votive candle in the cup (this provides some ballast when you are attaching the pipe cleaner and the ribbon). Tape the ends of the pipe cleaner to the cup, then knot some shimmer ribbon on either side of the pipe cleaner. Decorate the cup with foil star stickers.

sample lanternAt the original story time, we turned off the lights and decorated our lanterns with their LED lights twinkling and lullaby music playing. You can do this during the star sticker attaching phase of the project. Or, you can gather together with your lanterns and sing “This Little Light” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

If you’re looking for a all-together different sort of lantern, check out our Spooky Old Classic story time.

Let it Shine

dream friendsTwinkle twinkle little light! Are your ready for your journey to dreamland? This beautiful lantern and dream friend will help guide you on your way!

little lanternWe read Dream Friends by You Byun (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2013). Melody has a very special friend…a dream friend. They fly, play hide-and-seek, have marvelous adventures, and watch fireworks. But only in her dreams. In reality, Melody is a shy girl in a new neighborhood. Since her dream friend can’t leave her dreams, Melody decides to close her eyes and imagine her friend is with her. While dancing on the playground, Melody draws the attention of another little girl who asks to join her. Soon, the whole playground is dancing with Melody. Magical!

You’ll need:

  • A 5″ plastic bucket container (more on this below)
  • A 3.5″ x 5″ rectangle of mirror board
  • A selection of foil star stickers
  • Regular markers
  • Hole punch
  • 1 LED votive candle
  • A set of window markers
  • Lullaby CD
  • A selection of shimmer ribbon
  • Gold curling ribbon

A bucket container (also sometimes called a craft container) is constructed of plastic and metal. It’s meant to hold party favors, candy, etc. I purchased mine from Oriental Trading Company. You can purchase them individually at Michael’s Craft store.

bucket containerTo begin this project, use regular markers to draw a “dream friend” on the back of the mirror board (i.e. the white, non-reflective side). You could use white card stock instead of mirror board, but the mirror board is fantastic at reflecting the light of the lantern in the dark.

When cutting out your dream friend, make sure to leave a little tab at the top. Punch a hole through this tab (and round the edges if you’d like). This is where your ribbon will go later.

dream friend stepsOpen the bucket container and stick the foil stars on the “floor” of the container and the underside of lid. Some kids stuck stars on the plastic sides of the container. This is fine – just make sure they keep the stickers on the interior of the container so they won’t interfere with the markers later.

Now for the fun part. I dropped a twinkling LED votive in each container, darkened the room, put on a lullaby CD ( I highly recommend Sweet Dreams: Lullabies for Guitar by Nina Gerber), and the kids used window markers to decorate the exterior of their containers. The room was full of excited yet peaceful kids, decorating away amidst mellow, glowing lanterns.

dream workshopA tip about window markers. I purchased this brand from Discount School Supply (alas, there is no purple marker in this set). I know from experience that this particular brand works on glass AND plastic.

window markersYou have to draw slowly with window markers and allow them a little time to dry (about 30-45 second). Once they completely dry, then you can go back over them with another color. Otherwise, they get smudgy. So if you want to draw little stars with smiley faces like mine, just wait 30-45 seconds before you use the blue marker to draw the face on the yellow star.

decorated containerTo complete the project, thread some shimmer ribbon and gold curling ribbon through the punched hole in the dream friend, then tie to one side of the lantern. Sweet dreams!

lit up

Dream Boat

dream boatEveryone needs a jaunty Dream Boat hat. And this one has a special night time surprise on the back!

We read Arthur’s Dream Boat by Polly Dunbar (Candlewick 2012). One night, little Arthur has an amazing dream about a “pink-and-green boat with a striped mast, polka-dotted sails, a golden flag, and a beautiful figurehead.” As he continues to describe it, the boat (which first appears on his head) gets more and more elaborate. The only problem is, no one in the family is listening…until Arthur’s amazing dream boat simply can’t be ignored!

You’ll need:

  • 1 plastic fedora (I bought mine at Oriental Trading Company)
  • 1 strip of white poster board for a hat band (approximately 22″ x 2.5″)
  • A box (I used a 9” x 4 ½” X 4 ½” brown craft box, but a large tissue box will work too)
  • A selection of color masking tape (optional)
  • 1 wooden dowel
  • 1 tall wooden bead that the dowel slides into (test it first!)
  • 1 piece of white construction paper
  • 1 strip of dot stickers for portholes (optional)
  • 2, 4″ x 2″ pieces of tagboard
  • 1 wooden clothespin
  • Glow-in-the-dark glue (or stickers, or stars)
  • Hot glue
  • Tape, hole punch, and scissors for construction
  • Markers for decorating

Cut the lid (or top) off the box. I also cut the sides of the box to make it a little more boat-like. I cut the long sides concave (1) and the short sides convex (2).

cutting the boatUse the color masking tape to decorate the boat, and dot stickers to create portholes (or, simply use markers for this step).

Next is the mast. Slide the dowel onto the wooden bead FIRST, and then use the color masking tape (or markers) to create a pattern on the dowel.

mastWhen the mast is complete, use hot glue to really, really, really attach the wooden bead to the bottom (inside) of your boat, right in the middle. I put a big glob of glue on the bottom of the bead and then added more around the edges once I stuck it to the boat. I also had the kids sing the ABC song while waiting for the hot glue to completely harden.

This might seem like overkill but trust me, masts are delicate things, especially when kids start blowing on the sails or adding stuffed animal passengers!

With the mast in place, it’s time for the sails! Cut two tall, triangular sails out of white construction paper. My large sail was about 12″ x 8″ and the small sail was 10.5″ x 4.” Punch holes in the top and bottom of each, then decorate with markers.

sailsTo “hoist” the sails, slide the bottom hole of the large sail on first…

sail step 1Slide the bottom AND top holes of the small sail on next…

sail step 2Then slide the top hole of the large sail on last.

sail step 3Top it off with a flag! Cut a 4″ piece of color masking tape (we used golden metallic tape to match the description in the book) and wrap it around the top of the mast. Then snip the end like a banner.

mast flagThe figurehead is next. Take a 4″ x 2″ piece of tagboard and cut out your figurehead shape. Color with markers and hot glue a clothespin on the back. Clip to the front of your ship.

figureheadThe hat band is next. We suggested drawing waves, but each kid customized his/her hat band in different ways. Tape the hat band around the hat. Hot glue the boat to the hat to finish the project.

But there IS one last step. The day before the program, we used glow-in-the-dark glue to write “Dream” on a 4″ x 2″ piece of tagboard. After hot gluing it to the back of the boat, we invited kids to step into a darkened storage closet to see their dream boats light up. They LOVED it. In fact, my son still checks on his glowing Dream Boat every night at bedtime.

dream signIf you don’t have glow-in-the-dark glue handy, the same effect can be achieved with glow-in-the-dark stickers or stars.

As you can imagine, there were some pretty amazing Dream Boats. In fact, later that day, a mom sent me this fantastic photo of her rainbow-loving daughter and super stupendous Dream Boat!

dream boat girlFABULOUS!