Come On Get Snappy

get snappySnapdragon anyone? I’ve offered this simple project at a number of programs in the past, and it’s always well-received. “Snappy” has decorated the edges of a swamp at a Halloween party, hid in an Alice in Wonderland garden, and grown out of pots at a “Primordial Plant” event table!

event tableYou’ll need:

  • 1 paper cup
  • 1 small rectangle of green construction paper for head (approximately 1.5″ x 3″)
  • A sliver of red construction paper for tongue
  • 1 green pipe cleaner
  • Hole punch
  • Tape
  • Markers
  • Extra green construction paper for leaves

First, fold the green construction paper rectangle in half to form Snappy’s mouth. Tab the ends of the mouth, then cut out teeth.

mouth stepsMake sure to leave a gap in the lower teeth (this is where the tongue will rest later).

gapNext, punch a hole in the back of Snappy’s head…

punched holeThen thread a green pipe cleaner through the hole. Twist the pipe cleaner around and thread it through the hole once again. Pull gently to tighten, then curl the end.

stem steps

 Cut the sliver of red construction paper to look like a forked tongue and tape (or glue) it into the mouth.

tongueUse markers to draw eyes. I added my eyes at the very end, but younger kids might have an easier time drawing the eyes earlier, such as before they attach the head to the pipe cleaner stem.

close up of faceTape the pipe cleaner stem inside the paper cup. Use extra green construction paper to add foliage. Done! Perhaps you can test out your new Snappy skills with this garden story time?

Bedtime? What Bedtime?

jake stays awakeTime for bed? Not for this little fellow. His head barely touches the pillow before he launches himself out of bed! The secret: a craft stick catapult concealed beneath the covers!

jumping out of bedWe read Jake Stays Awake by Michael Wright (Feiwel & Friends, 2007). Jake refuses to sleep in his own bed, preferring instead to knock on his parents’ door at night and insist on joining them. But it’s definitely not working for his parents. So they make a deal. Jake can sleep with them, but perhaps he can think of a different place for them to bed down for the night? So they try many places (including the roof, the stairway, the kitchen counter, garbage cans, the family car) until exhausted Jake finally hits on the one place that might just work – his own bed.

You’ll need:

  • A box (mine was 4 ½” X 4 ½” x 9”)
  • A 5″ x 5″ square of tagboard for the headboard
  • A 3″ x 4.5″ rectangle of tagboard for the footboard
  • Extra pieces of tagboard for bed decor
  • 2 jumbo craft sticks (mine were 6″ long)
  • 6 medium craft sticks (mine were 4.5″ long)
  • A selection of colored masking tape
  • 2 medium rubber bands
  • A small rectangle of white poster board for pillow (mine was 2.25″ x 2.5″)
  • A rectangle of tissue paper for blanket (mine was 5.25″ x 7″)
  • 2 toilet paper tubes
  • A selection of multicultural construction paper
  • A selection of patterned paper
  • Construction paper for hair
  • A small rectangle of stiffened felt for teddy bear (mine was 1.5″ x 2″)
  • Scissors, tape, and glue stick for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

We’ll start with the bed! Cut the box down until it is approximately 2.5″ deep.

bed steps Now cut your headboard and footboard out of tag board. Make sure the footboard is low and rounded. Otherwise, your tube person might not clear it when catapulted.

headboard and footboardHot glue (or tape) the headboard and footboard to the ends of the box. To create some texture on the bed frame, we made some simple tag board shapes. The kids decorated them with markers and glued them to the bed.

finished bedOn to the catapult! Stack 2 jumbo craft sticks on top of one another, then wrap a rubber band tightly around one side.

rubber banded craft sticksNow stack 6 medium craft sticks on top of one another and wrap both ends tightly with colored masking tape.

taped craft sticksWedge the stack of 6 craft sticks in between the jumbo crafts sticks like so:

wedgedThen wrap a second rubber band around both sets of craft sticks to secure the catapult mechanism (a criss-cross wrap works best).

bandedHot glue the stacked craft sticks to the inside center of the box. Really glob the hot glue on. You don’t want the catapult to come loose!

catapult securedCut a toilet paper tube in half lengthwise, then cut a 1.25″ segment off the bottom of one of the halves. This is the “catapult cup” that will hold the lower section of your tube person steady whilst it awaits launching. Attach the catapult cup with hot glue, but avoid getting hot glue on the rubber bands.

catapult cupRound the edges of the white poster board rectangle to create a pillow, then hot glue it to the top of the catapult arm. The pillow should be flush with the end of the craft stick.

pillow placementFinish by draping the tissue paper “blanket” over the top of the catapult.

blanket placementThe catapult is ready. Now for your person! Wrap the top of a toilet paper tube with a strip of multicultural construction paper. Then wrap the remainder of the tube with patterned paper. Add construction paper hair and use markers to draw a face.

Lastly, cut arms and legs from the patterned paper and tape to the tube. Make sure, however, that you attach the arms and legs to the front of the tube. This produces the best launch from the catapult.

side view finished personPlace your person on top of the catapult. His/her head should rest on the lower part of the pillow, and his/her rear end should rest in the catapult cup. But before you launch, how about a fuzzy companion? I cut a teddy bear shape out of white stiffened felt and used Sharpies to add some details. Then I prepped a bevy of bears for story time!

lots of bearsPlace the teddy bear on top of the tube person. Then reach between the posts of the headboard and press firmly down on the top edge of the pillow.

press down Remove your finger quickly and watch as your person launches out of bed, teddy bear flying!

launch

Cinderella Story: Make a Princess Dress

two princessesThis winter, I posted a sneak peek of a Cinderella dress created by local high school junior, Vicky Gebert. The dress was constructed of bubble wrap, trashcan liners, drinking straws, t-shirt bags, forks, plastic blue lace print, Styrofoam, and chicken wire. It looked utterly amazing.

dress on stairsVicky’s dress was the centerpiece of a Cinderella Story: Make a Princess Dress program our library hosted last weekend. Kids were invited to channel their inner godmothers and create a dress out of art supplies (including supplies you might not immediately consider when planning a grand night out).

If you can’t wait to see some of the creative dresses, scroll past the instructions and let the fashion show begin. Otherwise, here are instructions for building your own princess dress!

For the dress base, you’ll need:

  • A 11″ x 28″ piece of poster board for the bodice
  • A 4″ x 28″ pieces of poster board for the skirt sash
  • 4′ piece of ribbon for the bodice
  • 2′ piece of ribbon for the skirt sash
  • 2, 20″ pieces of tulle ribbon for shoulder straps
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch

I used black poster board to make the example dress (it shows up better in photos), but for the actual program, the bodice and skirt sash were made of white poster board. Definitely use the thicker variety of poster board (i.e. 6-ply) because it’ll hold up to all the art supplies you’ll be adding later. I also used 3/8″ white ribbon. It was easier to lace that particular width of ribbon through the punched holes without tearing the poster board. The tulle ribbon I used was 3″ wide to allow easier threading as well.

The Nearly New Shop, a local thrift and consignment store, was kind enough to loan us a dress mannequin for the program. It really helped to have the dress base on display so grown-ups could see what the final product should look like.

OK, ready to get started? First, wrap the largest piece of poster board around your upper body until both ends almost touch behind your back. Trim with scissors if the bodice is too long, cuts into your armpits, or if you want to create an unusual neckline.

Use a hole punch to make 5 matching pairs of holes down the back of the bodice
(our holes are marked with white rings in the photo so you can see them better).

bodice lacingStarting at the top of the bodice, lace the 4’ piece of ribbon through the holes. Tie
a bow at the bottom.

bodiceNext, wrap the smaller piece of poster board around your waist until both ends almost touch. Use the hole punch to create 2 pairs of holes.

skirt sash holesLace the 2’ piece of ribbon through the holes. Tie a bow.

skirt sashLastly, your shoulder straps! Slip on the bodice and adjust it to the right height on your chest. Punch a hole in the front of your bodice, directly underneath your shoulder. Punch a matching hole in the back. Thread a 20″ piece of tulle ribbon through the hole in the front and knot securely. Pull the tulle ribbon over your shoulder and thread through the hole in the back. Knot tightly and cut off any excess. Repeat on the other side. The finished straps should look like this:

strapsYour dress base is complete!

finishedNow that you know your dress fits, I recommend unlacing the bodice and the skirt sash and laying them flat for decorating. This is especially useful for the skirt sash. It’s easier to make a huge fluffy skirt on a flat surface than a curved surface.

Here are the art supplies we used at the program:

What can I say? We had a tremendous time! The kids not only made dresses, but matching crowns, wands, accessories, hairpieces, and jewelry. It was wonderful.

ringAnd here’s the inspiration for the program, artist Vicky Gebert! Vicky answered questions about her dress, crafted with kids, and generally lent her awesome creative magic to the program.

vickyWe were also joined by two Princeton University student groups – the Sustainable Fashion Initiative and the Stella Art Club. They were incredibly creative and incredibly sweet with the kids.

design 1 And now…some of those fantastic, fabulous, and fanciful dresses! Fanfare please…

dress 1dress 9 dress 12 dress 3dress 10 dress 2 dress 20dress 16 dress 19 dress 18 dress 17dress 13 dress 14 dress 11 dress 8 dress 7 dress 6dress 4 dress 5