Super Stoic Skunk Squad

skunk squad

Become a dynamic crime-busting duo that thwarts theft and keeps the peace! JUST DON”T STARTLE OFFICER SKUNK.

We read Please Don’t Upset P.U. Zorilla by Lynn Rowe Reed (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006). When Mayor Tootlebee receives a letter from a well-mannered skunk named P.U. Zorilla, he immediately offers him a job. Unfortunately, the town quickly learns that no matter what the job – school bus driver, pet store clerk, ball park popcorn seller – something always happens that upsets P.U. Zorilla. And…well you can guess what happens next! However, when crime strikes at a local jewelry store, P.U. Zorilla manages to save the day, earning him a new job as Chief of Police!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large tissue box
  • Black and white construction paper
  • 1 paper cup
  • Dark blue poster board
  • Crime fighting game (more on this below!)
  • Scissors, tape and/or glue for construction
  • Hot glue

The skunk is basically a large tissue box decorated with black and white paper. The nose is a paper cup, cut down to 2.5″ and attached with hot glue. We also added a jumbo pom-pom nose and wiggle eyes, but you can simply draw these on with markers.

front of skunkThe books hilariously builds up to P.U. Zorilla inevitably doing what skunks do. We wanted to capture some of that fun, so our skunk box actually “sprays” when startled, courtesy of a rectangle cut in its rear and a white plastic grocery bag…

back of skunkAlso part of the story time project? A police hat for you, and a police collar for your skunk. The hat is from our You’ve Got Mail post – we just swapped the red headband for a black one. Your skunk gets a blue construction paper collar as well. Notice the gold foil seals on the hat and collar? Kids earned those in the “Crime Fighting” portion of our story time:

hat and skunkKatie printed 6 images on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock. Half of the images were calm (flowers, puppies, ice cream truck) and the other half were alarming (robber, loud noise, ghost). Katie walked the kids through the training, asking them to react to the different scenes. If it was alarming, the kids pulled the plastic bag out of their skunks and sprayed!

Teeter Tower

teeter tower

Balance the animals in a teetering, tottering tower…but will your stack stick the landing?

We read Chicken Cheeks, written by Michael Ian Black, and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Simon & Schuster, 2009). When a bear spots a honey-laden hive at the top of a very tall tree, he enlists a number of friends to attempt the reach it. The funny thing about this book, however, is that the narrative is driven by the…ah, alliterative body part each animal must balance on to stack upwards. Hence, “Chicken cheeks.” We’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

You’ll need:

  • An assortment of oatmeal containers, small boxes, and tubes
  • A selection of construction paper
  • A selection of eye stickers (optional)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

This project consists of a set of critters constructed out of tubes, boxes, and construction paper. We used eye stickers, but you can draw eyes on with markers as well. Any combination of animals will do, but here’s our story time stack:


MOOSE

The moose was the biggest and heaviest, and thus at the bottom of the stacking tower. This was a large oatmeal container wrapped in construction paper.

stack moose


DOG

This was a small box wrapped with paper. We went with a grey dog since there was already a lot of red and brown in the stack.

stack dog


TOUCAN

Our toucan was a round packing tape core, though a small box can easily be substituted. We used a cone water cup for the beak, but a cylinder of construction paper works as well. Feather crest optional!

stack toucan


POLAR BEAR

We decided to go easy with this one…the polar bear is a white craft box with a face. Done!

stack polar bear


TURKEY

Everyone’s surprise favorite was the turkey! It has a tape core body, but the tail is kids’ hands repeatedly traced onto construction paper. In other words, the classic kiddie turkey drawing, rendered in 3-D!

stack turkey


GIRAFFE

This is the same paper towel tube giraffe we created at our Don’t Rock the Boat story time. And if you want to add a tiger, turtle, parrot, ladybug, monkey, skunk, or elephant to your stack, you’ll find that post as well!

stack giraffe


BEE

By the time we got to the bee we were almost out of time. So I handed these to the kids almost fully constructed. They just had to add the pre-cut construction paper stripes (or draw them on with marker), choose a twisteez wire antennae, and stick the eyes on.

stack bee


Yes, this project was a lot of critter-building, but it was well worth the work. Especially when the artistic towers started growing taller and taller. Just look at this awesomeness!

Ninjas Needed

Gather, all you ninjas in training, for the ultimate obstacle course. Challenge your balance, hiding, and throwing skills to earn a noble blade of aluminum foil!

We read Ninja Camp, written by Sue Fliess, and illustrated by Jen Taylor (Hachette Books, 2019). A team of young ninjas gather at Ninja Camp to train and defend the Shadow Blade from a rival camp. A total story time win…this fun rhyming book packs plenty of action and adventure!

You’ll need:

  • 1 black t-shirt
  • 4 paper towel tubes
  • 1 piece of ribbon (ours was 13″ long)
  • Aluminum foil
  • A selection of color masking tape
  • A ninja obstacle course (more on this below!)
  • Scissors and tape for construction

Our story time project consisted of a ninja jacket, nunchucks, throwing star, and a sword. To make the jacket, cut a slit up the front of a black t-shirt (we used a kid’s size L). Then, cut a 2.5″ strip off the bottom of the shirt to create a belt. We offered metallic markers to add some designs to the jacket as well.

ninja jacketOur nunchucks are surplus foam book spine protectors recycled from Princeton University’s Department of Special Collections! But you can also use paper towel tubes. Connect the tubes with a 13″ piece of ribbon secured with color masking tape.

nunchucksThe throwing stars are of the classic origami variety (instructions here). The sword is 2 paper towel tubes connected with masking tape, then covered with tin foil. The hilt is masking tape as well. But the REAL stroke of genius? We added a tassel to the sword hilt, compliments of the Office of Student Affairs at Princeton University. Our tassels were surplussed from commencement, but you can also purchase them rather inexpensively on Amazon.

ninja swordOnce our ninja kids were ready, we gathered at the start of the obstacle course. First, ninjas walked the red masking tape tightrope to build balance skills:

obstacle course 1Next, they entered the forest to demonstrate their hiding abilities. Can you spot the ninja in this photo?

obstacle course 2Then the ninja stealthily moved along a dark corridor and crawled through a tunnel…

obstacle course 3Finally emerging at our throwing star range, where they took aim at targets:

obstacle course 4When the obstacle course was complete, the ninja headed over to the Shadow Blade stone, where they drew their swords under the proud eye of Sensei Katie!

sensei katieFun fact: Katie has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Note to self: Don’t mess with Katie.