Big Frog ♥ Little Frog

big frog hearts little frogThe world is full of delightful things for a little frog to jump over, but the absolute best place to eventually land? The loving arms of Mama (or Dada!) frog. Our story time kids jumped box frogs over several obstacles, but waiting at the finish line – with a BIG hug – was their respective grown-up, bedecked in a frog headband!

We read Leap Back Home to Me, written by Lauren Thompson, and illustrated by Matthew Cordell (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2011). In this incredibly sweet rhyming book, a little leaping frog has a great time jumping over bugs, plants, trees, creeks, and hilltops, but he always returns to loving embrace of Mama frog.

You’ll need:

  • 1 small box (ours was 4″ x 4″ x 4″ – a small tissue box works too)
  • Green construction paper
  • 1 piece of (ours was 22″ long)
  • 1 mini craft stick (ours was 3″ long)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

To make a frog, cover a small box with green construction paper. Add big accordion-fold legs, arms, and eye bumps (we added eye stickers as well). Use markers to draw the mouth and nostrils.

simple frog boxTo make the bouncy jump cord, tape a 22″ piece of clear elastic beading cord to the top of the box, then knot the other end around a craft stick handle. We wrapped tape around the knot on the craft stick as well, just to make it extra secure.

jump string for frog Below is the big frog headband for grown-ups. This is also made of green construction paper. We added jumbo eye stickers as well, but you can also draw on the eyes with markers.

grown up frog headbandYour 2 frogs are done, now for the obstacle course! It can really be as simple as “jumping” over chairs, tables, and books. But we had a couple big boxes come in through our recycling program, so we got a little creative. We recruited a young man to act as both the line leader and start flag for the course…

starting flagWhen he shouted go, a kid / frog duo headed onto the course. First they leaped over the meadow, then jumped past an owl nest (which had an owl in it – another audience recruit).

meadow and owl nestNext was a log tunnel, and just beyond it, a blue twin sheet “river” to jump over.

log tunnel and river

Then the duo bounded over a “mountain” (two wooden step stools pushed together).

mountainAnd stopped to say hello to a rainbow cloud (i.e. Michelle, a Princeton University student assistant). Did you notice her little puff hat? Soooo cute.

michelle the rainbow cloudNext it was on to Miss Melinda, who had a lily pad for each frog to rest on. We made these out of green poster board and a paper muffin cup.

lily pad finish line The final step was to jump into the arms of your mom/dad frog, who was waiting at the finish line in a fine frog head band! Ready to see the course in action?

It’s a Bouncing Baby…WOLF?!?

it's a bouncing baby wolfThere’s a new arrival in the family, but this baby has fur, fangs, a propensity to howl at the moon, and a very wolfish grin! You’ll be fully prepared for parenthood, however, with a bottle, diapers, blanket, bunny snuggle toy, and customized diaper bag.

We read Wolfie the Bunny, written by Ame Dyckman, and illustrated by Zachariah OHora (Little, Brown, 2015). When a wicker basket appears on the Bunny family’s doorstep, they are surprised to discover it contains a baby wolf! Big sister Dot repeatedly warns her parents “He’s Going to Eat Us All Up!” but Mama and Papa Bunny are too busy doting on the new baby to listen. The bigger Wolfie grows, the more worried Dot becomes. Even dressing Wolfie in a giant pink bunny costume does nothing to ease Dot’s dire predictions of consumption. One fateful day, while Dot and Wolfie are at the store buying carrots, a burly bear mistakes Wolfie for a bunny and tries to eat him. But brave Dot intervenes and scares the Bear off. Wolfie seizes the moment to pounces on Dot. Is this it? Does Wolfie want to eat Dot? No, he just wants to give her a great big thank you hug.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large oatmeal container
  • 1 baby wolf template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 2 very small plastic cups (between 1-1.25oz)
  • Gray felt or construction paper
  • 1 medium pom-pom (approximately 0.75″ in diameter)
  • 1 pair of wiggle eyes
  • 1-2 baby diapers (optional)
  • 1 manilla file folder, letter size
  • 1 ribbon (mine was 45″ long)
  • A selection of patterned tape
  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • 1 fleece blanket (mine was 12″ x 29.5″)
  • Scissors, tape, stapler, and hole punch for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

This oatmeal container wolf can be decorated with gray construction paper. But we wanted our wolves to be extra cuddly, and splurged on gray felt.  The issue with felt, of course, is that you have to use hot glue to really adhere it to the oatmeal container. Alas, hot gluing 22 wolves in 45 minutes while simultaneously completing the other parts of this project with the kids wasn’t possible. So we prepped all the felt wolves in advance.

The construction is very simple. Wrap the oatmeal container with felt (or paper). Hot glue the arms, legs, ears, wiggle eyes, and tail to the container. Wrap a small plastic cup with felt (I used Solo 1.25oz plastic portion cups from Party City), then hot glue a jumbo pom-pom on the end. Attach the cup to the face with hot glue. We a snippet of black felt to make a mouth with little card stock fangs underneath it (you could also draw the mouth and fangs with with markers).

finished baby wolfOne of the things that delighted the kids was that the baby wolves wore real diapers. I grabbed some Target brand newborn diapers (36 diapers cost $5.99).

finished baby wolf with diapersYour wolf is done, now for some accessories! Here’s the diaper bag we made. It was stuffed with an extra diaper, a baby bottle, a bunny snuggle toy, and a fleece baby blanket.

wolf diaper bagTo make the diaper bag, staple the sides of a manila folder together, then add some patterned tape to cover the staples. To make the strap, punch holes in the sides of the folder and knot a ribbon through each hole. Decorate the diaper bag with markers.

To make a baby bottle, wrap a toilet paper tube with white paper, then draw marks and numbers up the side to represent ounces. Finish by taping a small plastic cup to the top.

wolf baby bottleThe bunny snuggle toy is on the template. You can cut and use it directly from the template, or you can do what we did and trace the bunny onto white poster board. Decorate the bunny with patterned tape and/or markers, and hot glue a mini pom-pom tail to the back if you like.

bunny snuggle toyOnce the kids were finished with the diaper bag and all its contents, they selected a fleece blanket for their baby (we offered pink, blue, and purple). Then everyone lined up and a “doctor” (played by a game 7 year-old) went to the “nursery” and delivered a baby wolf to each kid (“Congratulations! It’s a wolf!”). It was hilarious to watch kids get diapering pointers from their parents. Some kids settled down to give their wolves a quiet bottle feeding, others whipped their wolf’s diapers off and ran around howling. Different parenting styles at work. It’s all good.

bottle feeding baby wolf