Operators Are Standing By

Hey, how are you doing? The answer to that question may vary hour to hour, but here’s a chance to voice those feelings on your very own “Feel-O-Fone” line! All you need are a few household items to chat with your head and your heart.

We recommend reading The Boy With Big, Big Feelings, written by Britney Winn Lee, and illustrated by Jacob Souva (Beaming Books, 2019). Read here by Hannah Michahelles. A boy’s emotions are so big, he worries he can’t hold them in, deal with them, or make friends. But he soon learns that big hearts are better then ok, they’re the BEST!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large tissue box
  • 1 toilet paper roll
  • Construction paper
  • 1 large paper clip
  • A bit of string, ribbon, shoelace, or wire
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

Wrap your tissue box and toilet paper tube with construction paper, then decorate your phone with markers. I used pushpins to create textured buttons on my phone, but you can also glue on clothing buttons, bottle caps, or draw the buttons with markers.

The toilet paper tube is the phone’s “receiver.” To hang the receiver, slightly unfold a large paper clip, then tape it to the side of the box. The receiver tube slides onto the bent paperclip:

Connect the receiver to the phone box with a piece of ribbon, string, or a shoelace (I used the cable from an ancient set of ear buds). Hang the phone on the wall, and you’re done! To operate the Feel-O-Phone, unhook the receiver and simply talk…tell it how you’re feeling! Happy? Sad? Scared? Worried? Silly? Share away, operators are standing by…

Hello, World!

Everyone’s world feels a little smaller these days, and today’s simple project is a reminder of the blessings we have in the four walls around us, the family and friends by our sides, and the life that exists, beautifully, outside our windows.

We recommend The Hello, Goodbye Window, written by Norton Juster, and illustrated by Chris Rashka (Hyperion Books, 2005). Read here by Sankofa Read Aloud. A child fondly narrates Nanna and Poppy’s “Hello, Goodbye Window.” It might appear to be a regular kitchen window, but it’s so much more…it’s for waving hello, it’s a mirror, it’s for viewing stars, it’s for family to share, it’s for new discoveries, and it’s for special visitors who could come by at any minute. Maybe even the Queen of England…but more likely the Pizza Guy!

You’ll Need:

  • A window
  • A set of window crayons, or washable markers

While the Hello, Goodbye Window in the story appears ordinary, this project jazzes things up a tad…I draw a special window frame to gaze out of! Specifically, I used these awesome Crayola window crayons, which can be purchased for around $5-$7 (I snagged my set at Michael’s Craft store with a 20% off coupon).

However, I also tested regular markers (Target’s washable brand for under $4) and they work on the glass too (and most importantly, cleaned right OFF with a standard glass cleaner, no problemo).

You can draw your window frame just about anywhere…in draw as many as you like! Draw one for each family member, draw one for the dog! Best, of all, if you line yourself up juuuuust right, you can step outside to create a lovely portrait for your delighted viewers.

Norton Juster is also the author of The Phantom Tollbooth. I had the honor of interviewing him in front of a live audience in 2016, and you can find the full interview here!

Ducky Discovery

What if you discover a duck in your fridge? What if you discover ducks all over your HOUSE? With this easy printable project and hilarious picture book, you can do just that!

We read Duck in the Fridge by Jeff Mack (Two Lions, 2014). When a little boy asks his Dad a bedtime question about a Mother Goose book, Dad recalls the time he was a kid and found a duck in the fridge. And how more ducks begin appearing in various rooms of the house. The crowd quickly expands to include sheep, dogs, cows…until NO ONE is getting any sleep! Finally, clever Dad contrives to read Mother Goose, which does the trick. Don’t miss the final page of the book. It will make you laugh out loud!

You’ll need:

  • A ducky discovery template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper
  • A couple toilet paper or paper towel tubes
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

Color and cut the ducks from the template, then tape them to snippets of toilet paper or paper towel tubes so they stand upright. Then hide the ducks in various parts of your house and wait for them to be discovered! Duck in the Closet…

Duck on the Pillow…

Duck in the Tub…

Annnnnnd Duck in the Studio (look carefully!)…