Crunchy, Colorful Leaves

crunchy colorful leavesSchool has started, fall is around the corner, and the leaves are starting to change. So it’s the perfect time to post a simple sound and color story time featuring fall leaves!

We recommend reading Ska-tat! by Kimberly Knutson (Macmillan, 1993). Leaves are falling off the trees with a “Sh-kah sh-kah” sound, and there is so much to do! Scoop them up with a “Krish-krash! Ka-rak!” or jump into piles with a “Sha-shoo! Ska-tat!” This highly poetic book beautifully creates sound words for various fall leaf activities. It’s a fantastic and fun read aloud.

You’ll need:

  • Green, orange, yellow, and red cellophane
  • Scissors

First, a word about cellophane. While rolls of green, yellow, and red cellophane can be founds in most dollar stores (and this is a good, cheap option for tight budgets), the color orange can be a little elusive. Also, when you use rolls of cellophane, the shapes you cut out tend to curl back into their original roll positions. It’s rather annoying. So I was very happy when I discovered cello sheets:

cello sheetsI bought these 8.5″ x 11″ cello sheets at Discount School Supply ($7 for a pack of 48). The sheets are flat, so no problem cutting out shapes and having them curl up on you. The trade off, of course, is volume. In the above pack of 48 sheets, there are only 6 of each color. However! I did spot a 104 pack on Amazon with 13 of each color for $9. If you ultimately decide go with rolls of cellophane instead of sheets, try flattening the shapes under a stack of books overnight to see if that helps uncurl them.

four leavesFor the story time project, cut various leaf shapes out of cellophane. Then have the kids crumble and crunch them, crinkle them madly, stomp on them, toss them in air, slide with them under their shoes, put them over their eyes to see the world in red, yellow, orange, and green…in short, PLAY. When you’re done, tape the leaves to a window to brighten things up!

More Cowbell

more cowbell

Is that a drum solo? Or the sound of a massive stampede? YOU decide when your buffalo finger puppet performs on this awesome drum set! It took a little work, but we figured out how to get this entire drum set on a single sheet of paper. Just cut, color, fold, and rock out!

We recommend reading Teach Your Buffalo to Play Drums, written by Audrey Vernick, and illustrated by Daniel Jennewein (Balzer + Bray, 2011). From the first time you brought that baby buffalo home, you knew he was destined for great things. So order a drum set and wait for the magic (and don’t forget a couple cases of earmuffs for the neighbors)!

You’ll need:

First, cut the drum set from the template. It will looks like this…

drum set step 1Decorate it with markers, and don’t forget to write the name of your band inside the circle of the bass drum! When you’re done coloring, flip the drum set template over:

drum set step 2Roll the lower drums inwards, and tape them to the back of the set.

drum set step 3Next, fold the tabs downward along the dotted lines. These are your drum heads. Use scissors to shape them to the tops of your drums, then secure them with tape.

drum set step 4Repeat the same process with the upper drums.

drum set step 5Now fold the long base of the drum set upwards, tucking the cymbal stands between the lower and upper drums.

drum set step 6Turn the set around, and stick small tape loops to the tops of each cymbal stand. Pinch two circles of tin foil onto the tape loops. Your cymbals are ready, and your drum set is done!

drum set step 7Use scrap paper from your template to fashion a pair of drum sticks and finger loops. Tape the sticks to the finger loops, and slide them over your fingers.

drum sticksFinally, your buffalo drummer! Cut and color the buffalo finger puppet from the template (or use the full color version here). Cut finger holes in the chest. Then ready your drum sticks, step behind the drum set, and JAM!

more cowbell


Whip up this amazing batch of donuts for your friends to enjoy! All you need are tape cores and felt (or construction paper). These beautifully crafted delectables were created by Marissa, whose love of donuts knows no bounds!

We recommend reading Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony, (Scholastic, 2014). Mr. Panda has a box of tasty looking donuts to offer (and a cute little hat), but he very bluntly changes his mind every time a customer demands a donut. The problem? Everyone forgets to say “Please!” Finally a lemur utters the magic word and receives the entire box of donuts (and the hat)! To the politest, goes the prize.

You’ll need:

  • Several masking tape cores
  • Stiffened felt or construction paper
  • Scissor, hot glue and/or tape for construction

I love Marissa’s creativity and ingenuity…the “donut” is actually a masking tape core!

donut masking tape core 3 Wrap the outside of the tape core with felt and secure the felt in place with hot glue. The top of the donut is a circle of stiffened felt. Marissa left the donut tops unattached so you can mix and match your donut styles. Genius.

felt donut 3If felt isn’t your thing, construction paper works for this project too – and you can use tape instead of hot glue. Here’s my construction paper donut with self-adhesive foam sprinkles to give it some texture (but construction paper sprinkles work just as well).

construction paper donut 3Marissa crafted a custom cardboard box for her set of donuts and, best of all, made a cardboard panda hand to smack away greedy donut eaters. You can see the whole thing in action on her Instagram. You can also check out her fully stocked alphabet refrigerator, shadow puppets, bug sculptures, and 7 foot hand-crafted wall hanging. Girl is on FIRE!