Whale Tale

whale tale

Join a big blue whale on an ocean of adventures, and don’t forget to stop by your adorable lighthouse island to play in some waves, chill on the beach, and collect shells!

We read Beachy and Me by Bob Staake ( Random House, 2016). Pixie Picklespeare is the only child living on a very tiny lighthouse island. She is BORED. But after rescuing a beached blue whale, the new friends spend a whole summer playing games, riding waves, and exploring the ocean. But when Beachy the whale hears the call of migration, Pixie is alone and bored AGAIN. But what’s that she hears? Her whale friend, coming back to visit, just like he promised.

You’ll need:

  • 1 corrugated cardboard base
  • 1 small box
  • 1 small oatmeal container
  • 1 plastic cocktail cup
  • 1 wine cork
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

The lighthouse island is basically a small oatmeal container and small box, hot glued to the top of a corrugated cardboard base. The light is a plastic cocktail cup flipped upside down and placed on top of the oatmeal container (we left it unattached so the construction paper light bulb taped inside can rotate).

front of lighhouseOur “ocean” consists of a curved, light blue crepe paper streamer and a fringe of dark blue construction paper waves. We had mini shells handy for the beach, but you can use images of shells, or just have the kids draw the shells on the beach with markers.

lighthouse beachWe also decided to cut the backs out of the box and the oatmeal container to create a dollhouse. Use a circle of white card stock to create the second floor of the lighthouse, then decorate the walls and floors with paper. Need furniture and some framed artwork? You’ll find templates and instructions in this post.

You can see our cork person creation in the photo as well:

back of lighthouseWhen the lighthouse islands were done, we announced that a whale had been spotted in the library’s main lobby. This was a red wagon with a whale facades taped to both sides. Kids took turns getting rides and smiling at local whale watchers!

whale rides

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.

Stargazing

stargazingThought these might come in handy for your summer reading “Universe of Stories” theme…with a historical twist!

Below are 3 cards from Urania’s mirror, or a view of the heavens, a deck published in London in 1825. The full set consists of 80 constellation illustrations based on Alexander Jamieson’s Celestial Atlas. The cool thing about these cards is that when you poke pinholes into the stars, then hold the card up to the light, the constellations twinkle through. You’ll find these cards, and many more, in our library’s special collections.

Urania’s Mirror, or A View of the Heavens. Published in London,1825. Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton University LibraryDid you catch that the 3 cards I pulled from the deck are Harry Potter references? Sirius, Draco, and Scorpius, respectfully. So a little stargazing, a little history, a little literacy, and an awesome bookmark for your summer reading books to boot.

Here’s the printable template for the three cards. Enjoy!


Urania’s Mirror, or A View of the Heavens. Published in London,1825. Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton University Library