These Royals? Totally Rocked It

these royals rocked it

You don’t need to wait until coronation day to rock the royal look…be bold, resplendent you EVERY day!

We read Princess Hair by Sharee Miller (Little, Brown, 2014). Princesses of course wear crowns, but what about the hair underneath that sparkling circlet? In this fun rhyming book, a number of different hair styles are paired with various principals of princess positivity…puffs play pretend, twist outs twirl about, kinks love to think, curls wear pearls, bantu knots bake a lot, braids throw parades, and so on!

You’ll need:

  • 1 crown
  • An assortment of construction paper
  • 2 paper cups
  • Poster board (ours was 15″ in diameter)
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating

First, the crown! We purchased “Gold Foil Crowns” from Oriental Trading Company ($5 a dozen), and provided both large and small sheets of construction paper to craft hair. If you desire texture to your locks, here are our 3 favorites…the accordion fold, and 2 types of curls achieved by wrapping the construction paper fringe around a marker or pencil:

crimp & curl If you’d like to make a beard, fringe a sheet of construction paper and attach a mustache. Tape a piece of twisteez wire to the back, then loop the wire around your ears to secure the beard in place.

beard constructionThat takes care of the crown and hair, but we wanted to go big with the bling…so we also made bejeweled collars and bracelets! The collar is a folded circle of poster board (we used gold) with the center cut out so kids can slide the collar over their heads.

royal collarThe bracelets are paper cups (again, we used gold) cut to fit the kids’ wrists. We decorated everything with large gemstones, sparkle stems, textured metallic paper, gold embossed foil seals, and scrap pieces of gold poster board. I went with a textured neckline for my design…

collar with red jewels   And Katie went with a bold metal block for hers…

collar with green jewelsResplendent, indeed!

Turtle’s Terrific Town

turtle's terrific town

Why go to town, when you can BE the town? One turtle ventures forth to find the answer!

We read The Town of Turtle, written by Michelle Cuevas, and illustrated by Cátia Chien (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018). Turtle lives a quiet life with only his shadow for company. But he dreams of a big, beautiful town full of light and laughter. So he decides to build one on his shell, complete with houses, gardens, parks, a library – even an ice-skating rink! Exhausted, Turtle falls asleep, and his dream ventures forth to other animals, telling them of the amazing new town. Enchanted, they move in. When Turtle awakes, he is surprised to find exactly what he always wished for – a lively town of happy friends, riding right on his back!

You’ll need:

  • 1 corrugated cardboard base (ours was 7″ x 10″)
  • 2 toilet paper tubes
  • An assortment of small boxes and tubes
  • An assortment of construction paper
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating

turtle tableFirst, build your “turtle table.” This is a corrugated cardboard base with 4 toilet paper tubes halves attached to the bottom. We used heavier weight poster board for the head and tail, but construction paper works too. Then, gather assorted boxes and tubes to create a town!

finished turtle townWe offered patterned paper and construction paper to decorate the boxes. The windows and doors are old mailing/file labels and dot stickers. Some green pom-pom shrubs finished the look. But some kids opted to simply decorate their boxes with markers. Really, anything goes!

Two questions: 1) Does this project remind anyone of Terry Pratchett’s Great A’Tuin; and 2) Have you seen this awesome cake version by Kayleigh’s Creations?

A Moving Map

a moving mapA shifting map full of flying horses, hungry demons, mystical landscapes, and the New Jersey turnpike? This could only be a project for To Be Continued, our chapter book story time for ages 6-8!

We read The Serpent’s Secret: Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond by Sayantani Dasgupta, with illustrations by Vivienne To (Scholastic, 2018). Kiranmala is a regular girl, living in New Jersey with her loving, if not slightly eccentric, parents. For example, they insist that every Halloween (which also happens to be her birthday), she dress as an Indian princess, complete with bangles, necklaces, and a silk sari. In fact, they insist she is a REAL Indian princess. Oh, and they also want her to sleep with the curtains open during a full moon, and dig a snake moat around the house.

Everything changes the day Kiran turns 12. Her parents disappear, a rakkhosh demon demolishes her house, and 2 princes on flying horses (one armed with a sword, the other with sarcasm) inform her that she is, indeed, a princess from another dimension. Now Kiran must rescue her parents, save her friends, and discover who she really is in the process.

In the book, Kiran and her “friend” Prince Neel (it’s complicated) use a moving map to locate Kiran’s parents. As the name suggests, the land masses in Kiran’s dimension don’t stay in one place, they shift – requiring a map that can shift as well. Hmmmm…a continuously shifting landscape? Sounds like a job for myriorama cards!

myriorama cards for the serpents secret combo 1Myriorama cards, which debuted in 19th century Europe, are these cool little decks of cards with matching skies and horizon lines (I review of a modern deck of myriorama cards in this post). No matter what order you put the cards in, they always sync to create a continuous landscape or story. See how I flipped the above cards around a little to make a new map below?

myriorama cards for the serpents secret combo 2You’ll need:

  • 1 pack of 3″ x 5″ blank white index cards
  • Pen and markers/color pencils

It’s easiest to use 3″ x 5″ blank index cards. On the first card, use a pen to mark where you want your horizon and land lines to go. Next, mark the other cards in the deck, making sure they all match. Now draw a landscape or scene on each card, always matching the horizon and land lines.

moving map stepsFor our story time activity, I gave each kid a colorful envelope bedecked with a silver embossed foil seal (a subtle nod to a moon maiden in the book). Inside the envelope were 6 finished myriorama cards to get the kids started (including characters and scenes from the book, of course!). The cards were black and white so the kids could color them in. There were 3 blank cards in the envelope, as well as a stack of more blank cards, so they could let their imaginations run free.

Also in the envelope? Some large gemstones – another nod to the book. One story time kid got the Serpent’s Secret reference right away. He grabbed a blank myriorama card and quickly sketched a moving map, then gazed through the Python Jewel to decipher it! #superproudliteracyeducator

moving map and the python jewel If you’d like the myriorama cards I drew, you’ll find the black and white template here, and the color template here. However! I will say the cards are not perfect. The horizon and land lines matched up when I drew them, but somehow between scanning them, setting them, and turning them into a pdf they don’t quite match up on the final templates. Did the kids care? They did not.

Also! I’m not a trained artist…even though I have to say, I liked how my rakkosh turned out.