The Missing Tiger: A Sherlock Holmes Virtual Escape Room

Image from Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton University Library: A restless tiger. Natural History Made Easy. Wood engravings by George Pickering. London: D. Carvahlo, between 1830 and 1832.

The (digital) game is afoot! Today, we present a virtual escape room for kids, designed by our resident Escape Room Queen, Katie. A tiger has escaped from the London Zoo, and Holmes needs your help to find it!

Ready to begin your investigation? Click here

We would like to thank Sydney Krawiec from the Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, Pennsylvania for her inspiration, advice and encouragement to take on this challenge. Sydney designed an AWESOME digital Harry Potter escape room. LOVE!

The Best Baguette Bakery

the best bagette bakery

Bake a bounty of beautiful baguettes at this fantastic little bakery. Poofy baker’s hat optional, but it does add that professional touch, yes?

We read Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems (Hyperion, 2016). Little Nanette has a big job. She must journey to the bakery – all by herself – buy a baguette, and bring in home. Everything goes well, despite a few distractions (friends Suzette, Bret, and Mr. Barnett with his pet, Antoinette). But the baguette looks so tasty. It’s warm. It smells so good…Nanette takes a bite, then another, then another. Oh no! It’s gone! A tearful Nanette reports to her mother, but this problem is easily solved. They can go and buy another one, together. And eat it!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large box
  • A box cutter
  • A selection of construction paper
  • 1 bakery sign template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 1 paper or plastic sample cup
  • Modeling clay
  • Scissors, glue and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

side view of bakery

We used a 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” craft box for our bakery (but a large tissue box works too!). Trim and fold the box’s lid to form a peaked roof. Then use a box cutter to create a rectangular window for the bakery. If you’d like an awning, cut just three sides of the rectangular window, then bend the resulting flap upwards to create the awning.

Decorate the bakery with construction paper and markers. We offered color masking tape as well. Color and cut a bakery sign from the template, then attach to your roof. Finally, cut a rectangle out of the back of the bakery…

back of bakeryAnd use the resulting cardboard to make a countertop for your bakery. Hot glue it to a cut-down paper cup or plastic sample cup, then place the counter outside your bakery window. Use modeling clay (we used air dry Model Magic) to fashion some little baguettes.

baguette counterThe final touch is a baker’s hat, and you will find the supply list and instructions for it here!

bakers hat

Seeds of Love

It’s a simple project bursting with love…a mama tree hugging her baby seed!

We read The Little Tree, written by Muon Van, and illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi.The smallest tree in the forest watches time pass, the land change, and wonders what will happen to her little seed. Finally, with the help of a world-traveling brown bird, she releases her little seed to the skies. Then she waits and worries about her little seed. Then one day, a gift arrives…a leaf that belongs to the tallest, strongest, and brightest tree the brown bird has ever seen. Yes, it’s the Little Tree’s precious seed, grown up strong and beautiful!

You’ll need:

  • 1 small box
  • 1 paper towel tube
  • Brown poster board
  • Green poster board
  • Tree decorating supplies (more on this below!)
  • Scissors and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

First, cut 2″ off a paper towel tube, then hot glue it to the top of a small box. Glue 2 circles of green poster board to 2 sets of brown poster board branches (our branch template is here), then hot glue everything to the top of the paper towel tube. Add a pair of brown construction paper arms to your tree, and tuck a green poster board “seed” into them. Finally, decorate your tree with markers, or use green construction paper, embossed foil paper, fabric flowers, gold mirror board, and shimmer ribbon like we did. Done!

The Little Tree is a very touching book. In fact, Katie and I had a bet that I wouldn’t be able  read it aloud without crying (it was a draw – I did choke up at one point!). Even more touching, however, is the author’s note at the end…

The book is a tribute to Muon Van’s mother, who fled the post Vietnamese-American war regime with her two children. In America, she gave birth to five more children. Even though she only had a third grade education, she put them all through college, and in some cases, grad school. Van lovingly praises her mother who, like the Little Tree, was brave enough to override her fears, doubts, and limitations and provide her children with a life she could not imagine for herself.