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.

An Ape About Town

ape about town

New York City is the place to be, especially if you are an ape who has escape the Central Park Zoo and are determined to take in all the sights! He’s wearing a disguise and the master of hiding – can you find Marvin the Ape?

We read The Escape of Marvin the Ape by Caralyn and Mark Buehner (Dial Books, 1992). It’s feeding time, and Marvin makes his move. Leaving a baffled zookeeper behind, Marvin enthusiastically explores the subways, museums, restaurants, shops, and parks of New York City. He’s definitely not going back to his former life, and what’s more, Helvetica the Hippo is hot on the heels of his success!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large oatmeal container
  • Construction paper
  • 1 paper bowl
  • Scissors, glue, and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

This is a simple project and a hide-and-seek game to boot! You can construct your oatmeal container ape entirely using construction paper, or you can add a few things like dot sticker eyes and a self-adhesive foam nose with dot sticker nostrils.

finished apeThe baseball cap is a trimmed paper bowl with a card stock (or construction paper) brim. We recommend using hot glue to attach the hat and the feet to the oatmeal container.

ape baseball hatThe baseball hat is just one optional for headgear of course. We basically gave the kids a bowl, a strip of white construction paper “shirt” and the Bling Bin and let them put together whatever ape disguise they wanted.Check out this feathery tiara and killer eye shadow!

fancy apeWhen everyone was done decorating, we played a game of Hot/Cold Hide-and-Seek. Kids hid their apes around our gallery and invited their grown-ups to find them. The kids gave hints if the grown-ups were getting “hot” or “cold.” Hiding games are always popular at our story times. One enthusiastic group played for over 15 minutes!

hiding apes

The Hummingbird of Happiness

the hummingbird of happiness

Help your oatmeal container bear reunite with his friend hummingbird in this gentle (and super silent) game of hide and seek!

We read Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith (Arthur Levine Books, 2015). Hector is a bear who lives in Peru, and Hummingbird is his best friend. The problem is, Hummingbird likes to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk and doesn’t realize Bear is becoming increasingly annoyed with his chattiness. Finally, Hector blows his top and yells at Hummingbird that he wants to be left alone. But silence and solitude aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and Hector soon wishes for his friend to return. Zip! Hummingbird returns in a flash (he’s been hiding close by on every page) and all is well. These days, the two friends still talk, but they also spend time enjoying a little companionable silence…sometimes.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large oatmeal container
  • Brown and black construction paper
  • 1 pair of large wiggle eyes
  • 1 pair of small wiggle eyes
  • 1 jumbo pom-pom
  • 1 medium pom-pom
  • A selection of small feathers
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

just the bear

The bear is very simple to construct. Wrap an oatmeal container with brown paper, then use the extra bits to make the feet, tail, and ears. Attach a pair of wiggle eyes and a self-adhesive foam nose (or just use markers to draw these on). Draw a smile on with a marker. Last come the construction paper arms, which are extra long and attach at the hands. This is so the bear can carry its hummingbird friend.

bear with hummingbirdThe hummingbirds were created by Katie. Aren’t they cute? She made a green version modeled after the ruby-throated hummingbird, and a purple version modeled after the violet sabrewing hummingbird.

a pair of hummingbirdsTo make a hummingbird, glue a thin black construction paper beak onto a large (1.5″ diameter) pom-pom. Glue a smaller (.75″) pom-pom underneath the beak. Add a pair of small wiggle eyes and 2 feathery wings and you’re set!

We loved how the book’s creator hid the hummingbird on various pages, so Katie made 2 hummingbirds for each story time kid and placed them in different locations in the gallery.

hide and seek hummingbirdsThen, slowly, and oh-so-quietly, kids and their bears went in search of their hummingbirds.

searching for hummingbirdsLooking for more feathered friends? Check out this reading canary, this chick magnet, this photo-ready penguin, and this avian obstacle course. Need something simpler? Give this craft stick bird a try, or this wrist parakeet. We have featured one celebrity bird on the blog…you’ll find him here, along with his famous literary connections.