Fabulous Family Portrait

fabulous carrot family portraitThis handsomely framed three-dimensional portrait is a must for any home. And if you want to portray your sweet little family as carrots, well why not?

We read All Kinds of Families! written by Mary Ann Hoberman, and illustrated by Marc Boutavant (Little, Brown, 2009). This beautifully illustrated picture book describes, through charming rhymes, the various kinds of families in the world. Not just mothers, fathers, brother and sisters either – forks, spoons, numbers, animals, plants, clouds…all kinds of families!

You’ll need:

  • 1 cardboard box
  • Paper towel tubes and/or toilet paper tubes
  • Brown poster board
  • A selection of construction paper
  • 1 pipe cleaner
  • Scissors, glue, and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue (optional)

There are 2 parts to this project – the family, and the frame. The family is basically toilet paper tubes and/or paper towel tubes decorated with construction paper and markers.  The important thing is to measure the tubes inside the frame box before you start decorating them. Otherwise, your family might not fit inside the final frame!

carrot familyThe frame is a box cut down to 2″ deep. We decorated the back of our frame with patterned paper (but you can also have kids draw the background on with markers). Next, we offered different brown poster board shapes to glue around the edges of the box:

finished portrait frameTo hang the frame, twist a pipe cleaner into a loop, then attach it to the top of the box with tape. Want to make it extra secure? Cut a slit in the top of the box, thread the pipe cleaner ends through the slit, then tape them to the interior top of the frame. Here’s a shot of our frame from the back, hanging loop in place:

back of finished portrait frameHang your frame in your favorite room of the house, place your little family inside it, and  feel the love!

Fast Funny Free Writes

fast funny free writes

It Conquered the World, 1956. From Mad Mad Mad Blog

We’re always on the lookout for fast, fun activities for Cotsen Critix, our literary society for kids ages 9-12. Recently, we took an unusual approach to the concept of the free write. Instead of writing prose from a prompt, we wrote speech bubbles. Using B-movie science fiction screen shots, of course. Here’s a small sampling of the hilarious results (and here’s the caption sheet if you’d like to try it yourself)…


PLANET OF THE FEMALE INVADERS, 1967
From flickr

fantastic duo 3_be quiet and stylefantastic duo 3_ghost of washington fantastic duo 3_all for publicityfantastic duo 3_fabulous banana


THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK, 1958
From Dwrayger Dungeon

problem in the lab 4_too good looking problem in the lab 4_sureee problem in the lab 4_it's in the brain problem in the lab 4_it wasn't decaf


CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON, 1953
From Say: Hello Spaceman

  3 dudes in suits 4_rice will not help you 3 dudes in suits 4_when will life end3 dudes in suits 4_he's knitting


THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, 1951
From IMDb

big robot 2_last tacobig robot 2_wear the cool suit big robot 2_time for your iron   big robot 2_toaster is a jerk


UNIDENTIFIED FLYING ODDBALL, 1979
From Cybernetic Zoo

rover chase 5_game of tag rover chase 5_it was fake rover chase 5_no space hererover chase 5_amateurs

Tachi-e Puppets

tach-i puppetsFlip the puppet back and forth to reveal a simple, dynamic story! This project was part of our library’s World Kamishibai Day performance. Called tachi-e (“standing pictures”), the puppets originate from 19th century Japan.

You’ll need:

  • 2 rectangles of white paper
  • 2 rectangles of black poster board
  • 1 pair of new, intact chopsticks
  • Scissors and glue for construction
  • Markers, pens, and color pencils for decorating
  • Hot glue

A tachi-e puppet is two sided. The first side is the puppet at rest, then quickly flip it to create a change. This Japanese lantern ghost was designed by artist Tara McGowan:

lantern ghost by tara mcgowanIt’s way cooler to see the puppet in action though…


First, draw a 2-step sequential scene on 2 separate rectangles of white paper. Cut each drawing out, then glue each on a rectangle of black poster board (our rectangles were 5.5″ x 8.5″). Hot glue a pair of new, intact chopsticks to the back of the first poster board rectangle, then hot glue the second poster board rectangle on top of it. Twirl the stick to operate the puppet!

The kids had some great idea for puppets. I managed to snap a couple. A hatching chick…

chicken duo

A budding tree (with squirrels running up the trunk!)…

tree duoA very sweet butterfly…

butterfly duoA single fish that goes “Pop!” and turns into a school of fish…

fish duoAn exploding firework…

bam duoAnd a girl that duplicates into 5 girls!

girl duoIf that last one seems a little confusing, it was inspired by a kamishibai performance of Manmaru manma tantakatan (written by Fumiko Araki, and illustrated by Takuya Kusumi). It’s about a ninja boy who duplicates himself to foil a wicked serpent.

 

From Amazon