Monday, January 30, 2012

Craft: My Heart is Like a Zoo

Next week for my 3 and under storytimes, I will be sharing Michael Hall's book, My Heart Is Like a ZOO. It is a playful book filled with twenty zoo animals ~ all made from hearts! And it has a delightful, surprise at the end.

This book, with it's simple but bold illustrations, is one that can be used for many topics when working with little ones. It is definitely a good choice for hearts or Valentine's Day. It can also be used for a Zoo unit ~ or a Jungle unit ~ or a unit on Feelings and Emotions ~ or Colors and Shapes ~ or Counting or each individual animal like the penguin or crab or yak... The list is pretty extensive for such a simple, fun book.

I am using it in the first full week of February as a lead-in to my Valentine's Day celebration the following week. I know the little ones will love all of the animals, especially the lion. They always love to R-O-A-RRRRR! (Keep an eye out at the end of this post because I will be including a rhyme or two which will involve lots of roaring.)

Speaking of "roaring", my take-home craft will be the lion's face that is featured on the front and back cover of the book. As you have seen above, the face is bright and colorful and very simple to make. In fact, Michael Hall has done all the work for us. On the back of the cover, he includes a step-by-step how-to illustration! 

I did change a few steps to make it easier for my storytime friends. And I decided to add a popsicle stick or a long straw so that the children would be able to play with their lion like a puppet.

Making templates:

I made copies of the illustrations and increased their size until they were what I wanted.
 Here is my template.

I then made templates for each piece by cutting the hearts out of cardstock. 
This made my prep-time for 100 plus crafts go very quickly as I cut 3 to 5 hearts out at a time by stacking the paper, tracing the heart-shape on the top one, and then cutting 
them out all together. It takes a little practice but is fairly simple to do.

Supplies needed:

White cardstock for template
Brown construction paper
Tan construction paper
Red construction paper
Black construction paper
Scotch tape
Tacky glue
Jumbo popsicle stick or long straw

In preparing for my storytimes, I made the templates and then used them to cut out all of the hearts ahead of time. I also holepunched the black paper to make the eyes. 

If you want your child(ren) to help with the preparation:
* I would first demonstrate how to trace the pattern onto the construction paper. It might be      easier for your little one(s) if you hold the template in place for them. 
** Then I would supply them with a good pair of scissors and allow them to cut the hearts out. Helping them to turn the paper into the scissors.
*** Finally, I would demonstrate how to use the holepunch and then let them punch away! Yes, I know lions only have two eyes but little ones love to use the holepunch!

All three of the above steps are very good for eye-hand co-ordination and fine motor skills.

Directions for the little ones:

Glue the tan heart onto the the lion's mane like this.

Glue the second tan heart on top of the first ~ covering all of the first heart except the bottom curve.

Glue on the red heart for the nose.

Glue on the black dots for the eyes.

Turn the lion over and tape a jumbo popsicle stick or long straw to the back.

Ta daaa! You have a lion puppet to play with!

I usually show the example craft and then put it away. I want my storytime friends to feel free to create their own crafts without having to make it look exactly like the sample ~ unless following directions is one of my goals for that particular storytime.

Here are a few of my storytime friends' lion puppets that they made last year:

Cute, aren't they? I can't wait to see this year's lion creations!

How about a few activities to help you enjoy your lion puppets?

I'm a Lion
(A guessing rhyme)

I love to sleep all day in the sun,
And chase other animals just for fun.
In all the jungle, I'm number one.
Who am I?
I'm a lion!

Itsy Bitsy Monkey
(Sung to: "Itsy Bitsy Spider")

The itsy bitsy monkey climbed up the coconut tree.
Down came a coconut and hit him on the knee.
Out came the lion shaking his mighty mane.
And the itsy bitsy monkey climbed up the tree again!

Where is Lion?
(Sung to: "Where Is Thumbkin?")

Where is lion?
Where is lion?
Here he is.
Here he is.
He's looking mighty hungry!
He's looking mighty hungry?!??!!
Better runaway!
Roarrr! Roarrr!Roarrr!

If you would like some more ideas to use with My Heart is Like a ZOO, please visit my blog post: Not a Flannel Friday: My Heart is Like a ZOO.

Also, be sure to check out the trailer for Michael Hall's unique, colorful book here.

And be sure to check out some fun activity pages from Harper Collins here. (A very special thank you to my friend, Library Quine, for sharing these pages with me so that I could share them with you.)

My Heart is Like a ZOO really touched my heart!
And I know it will touch yours, too! <3

Have fun with your lions!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Flannel Friday: There Was a Little Penguin

My love affair with penguins began  years ago when I was teaching my very first preschool classes. I used to visit my local library every week  to collect new books (on our weekly themes) for my class to enjoy. 

This particular day, I was looking for books on individuality

Boy, did I find the perfect one! 
It was:

I was IN LOVE from the very first page! Tacky was AWESOME! He was cute and cuddly but, best of all, he was DIFFERENT

I took Tacky to my classroom and he soon became everyone's favorite. We read about Tacky and then we read about real penguins. We pretended to be Tacky ~ waddling all around the playground and singing our own made-up songs. We counted our penguin friends; we played in the "snow" at the water table; and we even made our very own Tacky to take home ~ each one delightfully different from all the others!

It was a glorious week of learning about penguins but also about learning to be happy with being ourselves ~ just like Tacky!

Ever since I first read those final words on the last page of the book ~ "Tacky was an ... " ~  Oh, wait! If you haven't read the book, I don't want to spoil it for you. Just take my word for it! Tacky the Penguin is a true one-of-a-kind, there-is-noone-else-like-him kind of friend! 

I hope you will check him out at your library and share him with your own budding individualist(s).

In the meantime, I would like to share a fun flannel board activity with you: 

(A penguin version of "There was a Little Turtle")

(Click on the title above for the words without pictures.)

There was a little penguin
Who waddled when she walked.
She swam in the ocean,
And she climbed on some rocks.

(Before placing the penguin on the board, make her waddle, swim, and climb.) 

She snapped at seagull.

(After placing the seagull on the board, snap hands together one time.)

She snapped at a seal.

 (After placing the seal on the board, snap hands together one time.)

She snapped at a fish.

 (After placing the fish on the board, snap hands together one time.)

Mmmmm, what a meal! 

(After moving the fish over to the penguin, rub your tummy.) 

(I am thinking about making my fish smaller but for now he is one ENORMOUS, yummy meal. ;-)

Since my first meeting with my wonderful friend, Tacky, there are been several more books written about him. They are all fun, silly adventures that I wholeheartedly recommend sharing with friends...

But MY favorite will always be the original,

Tacky the Penguin!


**This post is brought to you in celebration of Flannel Friday

It is being hosted this week by Anne at So Tomorrow. Thank you, Anne! 

Be sure to visit the beautiful Flannel Friday Pinterest account. So Tomorrow has past roundups and future hosting schedule, as well.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Craft: Snowball Snowglobe

Last week at our Family Storytime, we enjoyed books, songs, and activities about snow, snowflakes, and snowmen. We also enjoyed making a craft

It was a "Snowball Snowglobe"!

Here are the Supplies needed for the craft:

Two 8 or 9 inch blue paper plates 
(I searched until I found plates with blue on top and white on bottom)
5 inch circle template
6 inch circle of clear plastic
(I will give you suggestions for this in the directions below)
Tacky glue
White glitter paint
Styrofoam bowl
Snowman shape
(Several suggestions shared below)
Snowflake stickers
Iridescent confetti
Black sharpie
(Not pictured)
White ribbon
(Not pictured)


1. Paint the bottoms of both plates with the glitter glue and let dry. (This step can be skipped if you don't have glitter paint and/or your library does not allow painting during your programs.)

2. Draw a 5 inch circle on the bottom of one of the plates. Be sure to center it. (It is hard to see in the picture but I used black cardstock to make my circle template.)

Heads Up: 
The next few steps should be done by an ADULT.

3. Carefully poke a hole in the center of the plate with a pair of sharp scissors.

4. Then cut from the center hole to the drawn outline several times ~ forming an X.

5. Now cut closely to the inside of the circle until it is all removed. (At this point I cut very closely to the line but not on the line yet. This allows me the ability to cut a smoother edge in the next step.)

7. Finally, cut along the drawn line with smooth cuts.

Child-friendly steps again:

8. This next step involves gluing something clear into the cut-out opening to make a "window"  so that your child can peer into the inside of your Snowglobe. The clear plastic is a 6 inch circle. I used our Ellison diecut to cut my circles out of leftover laminate from our laminating machine. I love to recycle ~ reuse ~ repurpose (whatever you want  to call it) and these laminate scraps were headed toward the trash can before I thought of this use for them. 

***If you don't have leftover laminate, 
*How about that leftover clear plastic from toy packages 
after your child opens Christmas presents 
or birthday presents or just gets a new 
toy because it looked so cool at the 
store yesterday?

*How about those folders with the clear plastic covers 
that you used for last year's budget report?

*How about a piece of Saran Wrap or part of a 
gallon-sized Ziploc bag?

There are lots of options if you just take a look around. ;-) It is easier for the parent or caregiver who is sharing this craft with one or two children. If you are a preschool teacher or a children's librarian, you will have to think ahead and start collecting what you need for all the friends that you will be sharing this craft with. But don't despair! I am sure if you share your idea with a few of your parents then they will help you out. :-)

When gluing the clear circle to the inside of the top plate, be sure to spread the glue all around the edge. The opening needs to be completely sealed so that no confetti can escape when the project is finished.

9. It is now time for the snow! Using the Tacky glue, make a "snowdrift" at the bottom of the 2nd blue plate. Then, shake some iridescent glitter on top of the glue and gently press it down to help it stick. Shake off any excess onto a piece of scrap paper and save for later.

10. While the glue and glitter are drying, build a snowman with the sticker set and add snowflake stickers, too.

***Snowflake sticker set was purchased from Oriental Trading as one of the prizes for our Snow program last year. I had enough leftover for this craft. I like this sticker set because it allows the child to build his/her snowman one snowball at a time. It gives the adult a chance to observe whether or not the child has mastered the idea of small, medium, and large, as well as, several other pre-reading and pre-math skills.

***Don't have any snowman stickers lying around:

*How about cutting out three snowballs from 
construction paper and adding details with 
crayons or markers?

*how about printing a snowman picture from the 
internet, cutting it out, and gluing it on the plate?

*How about finding a small toy figure around the 
house to glue to your snow scene?

Here again, there are lots of options if you just take a look around. ;-)

11. Once the snow scene is created and the glue has had time to dry, it is time for a SNOW STORM! Just add more confetti! As much or as little as desired.

12. Final step is to add glue all around the edge of the plate. Don't be stingy with the glue! We want to make a complete seal all around the plate so that when we shake our Snowball Snowglobe to make it "snow", we don't want any snow to escape.

Ooops! Did I say final step? Well, it is ~ unless you want to be able to hang up your Snowball Snowglobe when you aren't using it. If you want to hang it up, then cut a piece of ribbon to about  4 inches in length. Fold it in half and glue to the bottom plate at the top of your snowglobe. Once it is dry, it can be hung anywhere.

Final Craft:

It's a blizzard!

Here are a few pictures of my storytime friends and their Snowball Snowglobes:

This craft was made by a 4 year old. 
She decided she wanted to add some bigger snowflakes to the outside of her snowball. 
I love her creativity!
Another friend enjoying her snowball cookie while sharing her craft with me.

Hey, dude! Like my snowman?
(This friend is also 4 years old. If you look closely, he chose to make his snowman differently. 
His choices can actually tell his teacher or parent a lot about his abilities in certain pre-reading/pre-math areas.)

I hope you will consider creating a Snowball Snowglobe with a young child in your life. If you do, please stop back by and share your thoughts and maybe even some pictures with me. I would love to see your child's version of a Snowball Snowglobe!

I have some thoughts on a ocean-themed version. Check back with me ~ I am thinking maybe an underwater bubble full of sand and ocean creatures...