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!



  1. I have had many request for the template for the lion puppet. I hope to have it linked today ~ so please check back soon.

    I also wanted to say that I have been overwhelmed by the many positive comments I am receiving from this page and from Facebook, Pinterest, and through email. I love hearing from each and every one of you!

    When I first started this blog and I saw only a few comments and a few followers, I didn't think I was going to have many views. I figured I would mainly do the blog for my own organization of storytime ideas.

    But now that I know how to check the Stats of the blog, I have been completely overwhelmed by how many have actually stopped by to view my page. Thank you so much!

    I hope as I continue to post ideas that you will want to follow and to share the blog with your friends, your children's teachers, and your local children's librarians. I LOVE connecting and making new friends to share books and Early Literacy ideas with!

    Thank you again for your support!

    Happy Reading!

  2. Thank you for the template!

    1. You are more than welcome! :o)

      I need to add some more templates to my collection. I just have to find the time...

      I hope you have fun making the lion puppet!
      Thanks for stopping by.
      ~ K~