Witchy Kitchy

witchy kitchy

From the well-stocked shelves, to the bubbling cauldron, to the secret storage space…this kitchen is ready to concoct some scintillating brews. It also folds down into a snappy little travel case, complete with your shopping list clipped to the outside!

witchy kitchy travel modeWe read One Witch, written by Laura Leuck, and illustrated by S.D. Schindler (Walker & Company, 2003). A witch visits her ten sets of (unusual) friends to gather ingredients for the ultimate brew. She cooks it up, sends out invitations via bat, and a massive party ensues – including a special bowl for you! This is a fantastic counting book, plus a real family favorite. My kids asked me to read this book to them year round!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large tissue box
  • 1 small tissue box
  • Poster board
  • A selection of construction paper
  • 1 wooden coffee stirrer
  • 1 mini cauldron (or paper cup)
  • 1 ingredient bottles template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 2 plastic sample cups
  • 2 snippets of drinking straw
  • 2 buttons
  • 1 small rubber band
  • 1 spooky shopping list template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

We used our standard craft boxes for this project, but I’m also going to show you how to build it with large and small tissue boxes. Here’s a bird’s eye view of the project:

witchy kitchy birds eye viewAs you can see, it’s a box within a box. The left side of the kitchen is the unfolding countertop/secret storage area, the the right side is the fireplace for the cauldron (which we stoked with brown poster board logs and red paper crinkle, but construction paper works too). The front of the fireplace is a V-shaped door that folds down. Use markers to create the stones for your hearth.

If you want to make the project with tissue boxes, the key is to flip the tissue boxes upside down and cut the bottoms into lids. Here’s the large box:

witch kitchy tissue box alt step 1The issue, of course, is you have a big hole in the floor of your kitchen. No problem! Just glue or tape a piece of poster board over the hole (shown here in yellow):

witch kitchy tissue box alt step 2To make the unfolding countertop/secret storage space, flip a small tissue box, cut the bottom to make a hinged lid, cut the box down to the proper height, then attach it inside the large box. Cut the V-shaped hearth door and you’re set!

witch kitchy tissue box alt step 3The shelves along the back of the kitchen are basic poster board pockets. Cut and color the various bottles in your template to stock your kitchen:

witchy kitchy shelvesIn the secret storage are little plastic sample cups for mixing, snippets of drinking straws, plus (optional) ingredient bottles repurposed from old-school film canisters. We filled ours with fabric flowers, foam beads, and green paper crinkle. I also added little cleavers I cut from silver mirror board.

witchy kitchyBut my FAVORITE item in the kitchen is the cauldron. We used plastic mini cauldrons, but you can also fashion a cauldron from a paper cup. To hang the cauldron, cut little notches in the sides of the boxes, then slide a wooden coffee stirrer into the notches.

The outside of the box gets a poster board carrying handle, as well as a shopping list you can either tape or clip to the front:

witchy kitchy travel modeThe box does get a little heavy. In fact, our lid kept popping open. So we added extra support in the form of two buttons, which we hot glued to the lid and body of the large box. Wrap a rubber band around the buttons, and you’re set!

A week after this project, we ran into one of our story time kids. She wants you to know that “THIS IS MY FAVORITE TOY AND I PLAY WITH IT ALL THE TIME I MAKE SOUPS THAT I FEED MY BROTHER!”

Delightful Diner

delightful diner

Bacon, eggs, and donuts anyone? Or how about a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice? This little diner set features a compact countertop, fully-stocked kitchen, and mini Post-It Note pad for taking orders!

We read Every Friday by Dan Yaccarino (Henry Holt, 2007). Every Friday morning, rain or shine, a boy and his Dad navigate the city and have breakfast at their favorite diner. Pancakes, coffee, smiles…see you next Friday guys!

You’ll need:

  • 1 rectangle of corrugated cardboard (we used a 9.5″ x 14″ cake pad)
  • 1 large box (we used a 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” box – a tissue box works too)
  • 1 box cutter
  • 1 strip of white poster board
  • 2 craft sticks (ours were 4.5″ long)
  • diner breakfast template printed on 8.5″ x 11″ white card stock
  • 3 plastic sample cups
  • 1 plastic cocktail cup
  • 1 medium pom-pom
  • 4 cotton balls
  • 1 drinking straw
  • 1 mini Post-It Note pad
  • 1 pencil
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

Begin by hot gluing the corrugated cardboard rectangle on top of the box. This is your “countertop,” which divides into 2 sections: dining area and kitchen. To divide your countertop, tape a craft stick to each end of a strip of white poster board (our strip was 2.5″ x 14″) . Use the box cutter to make a slit in each end of the countertop, then slide the craft sticks into the slits to anchor the divider in place:

diner dividerIf you like, you can use color masking tape and embossed foil paper to fancy up your divider and countertop. Here’s the dining area…

diner dining areaThe plates, utensils, food, and menus are on the template. We used patterned paper for the place mats, fancy plastic shot glasses (with bits of drinking straw and cotton ball “milk” and “juice”), and wooden beads for the salt & pepper shakers. We even included some snippets of paper towels for the napkins, AND made a napkin holders:

diner napkin holderBasically, these are triangles of silver mirror board with the center cut out to accommodate menus and napkins. On the other side of the diner is the kitchen:

diner kitchen area The donut dome is a plastic cocktail cup that has been cut down to 1.5″ and has a small pom-pom hot glued on top. There’s mirror board plate underneath it, and a mirror board griddle as well. There’s also a plastic sample cup mixing bowl with spatula (that’s a bit of silver mirror board taped to a mini craft stick). The pancakes are construction paper. Oh, and we included a fridge made out of a little box, but that’s totally optional.

The set isn’t complete without a mini Post-It Note pad to take orders, and a golf pencil. The Post-It notes stick right up on the kitchen wall! Here’s a bird’s eye view of the finished diner.

bird's eye view of dinerMiniature food sets are REALLY popular at story time. Sometimes, I hear about kids who are still playing with their sets months – sometimes years! – after story time (specifically our ice cream truck, sushi set, donut shop, and crêpe cart). The kids put a lot of love into creating and customizing their sets, but every once in a while, one set will blow us away. Like this one…

purple diner counterLook at the gorgeous purple decor! The carefully detailed salt and pepper shakers! The purple stripes on the bacon!

purple diner kitchenWhich are only surpassed by the purple donuts. And then the black polka dots! LOVE.

Cooking with Mousie

cooking with mousieLet this Sous Chef Souris help you make delicious pies! Your miniature kitchen has everything you need for creative baking – mixing bowls, wooden spoons, cutting board, rolling pin, pie pans, fresh felt ingredients, and, of course, matching chef hats!

We read Tiny Pie, written by Mark Bailey and Michael Oatman. Illustrated by Edward Hemingway (Running Press Kids, 2013). It’s past her bedtime, but little Ellie the elephant is hungry. She’s too short to reach the kitchen counters or open the fridge, but she can peep through that interesting mouse hole in the wall. There, she discovers a mouse cooking show in progress inside, complete with cameras and studio audience. It’s tiny pies, big flavor, for Ellie and her new mouse friends!

You’ll need:

  • 2 small boxes (more on box specifics below)
  • 1 cooking show sign template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ white card stock
  • 4-5 clear plastic sample cups
  • A piece of tagboard or brown poster board
  • Small pieces of brown and red felt
  • 4-5 blue mini pom-poms
  • 1 drinking straw
  • 1 snippet of bubble tea straw (approximately 2″)
  • 2 miniature aluminum pie tins
  • 2 paper muffin cups
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • Grey and white construction paper
  • 1 pink mini pom-pom
  • White poster board
  • 1 white facial tissue
  • 1 piece of white tissue paper
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

cooking counter

The cooking counter consists of 2 parts. Part 1 is a 6″ craft box work counter (that’s where the sign template goes – don’t forget to add your name to the sign!). Part 2 is the oven. We used a 4.5″ “White Cupcake Box” from Oriental Trading Company ($5 a dozen) as our oven. Why? That cute little window in the top! It makes a perfect oven door. Add a 2″ bit of drinking straw as an oven handle, and you’re ready to bake!

Inside the oven, we fashioned a little shelf out of tagboard (poster board works too), and and added some red mirror board heating elements:

inside ovenOn top of the cooking counter is some patterned paper, as well as 4 clear plastic sample cups. 3 of the cups were stocked with pie fillings: red felt apple slices, brown felt chocolate, and mini pom-poms blueberries. The 4th cup is the mixing bowl.

To give the mouse chef a little boost, we had to add a tagboard “stool” to the back of the cooking counter. You can see it in the photo below, along with some twisteez wire hooks we added to the sides to hang your utensils (you can also use paper clips).

back of cooking counter

Here are more kitchen goodies:

kitchen utensilsThe cutting board and wooden spoons are tagboard. The knife is a little piece of silver mirror board with a black masking tape handle. Those two white circles are polyester batting “pie dough” for the mixing bowl, and the rolling pin is a 2.25″ snippet of bubble tea straw with a 3″ piece of drinking straw threaded into it.

The pies are mini aluminum pie pans with a circle of fabric batting dough tucked in the bottom. Top if off with some felt or pom-pom ingredients. The crust is a trimmed-down muffin baking cup top.

the pieThe toilet paper tube mouse is sporting a chef hat made from construction paper and a bunched up facial tissue.

mouse chefYour chef hat is made out of cardboard and white tissue paper. Instructions for making it can be found in this post. It only occurs to me now, looking at the photo. This chef hat TOTALLY needs a pair of grey construction paper mouse ears.

chef hat for mouse chef story time When the kitchens were finished and the chefs were ready, we brought out our camera equipment (learn how to construct it here) and filmed a number of pie-themed cooking shows. Chocolate appeared to be the pie flavor of the day. And with good reason, amiright? Nom nom.

cooking show