Team Cupcake

team cupcakeMmmm…is there anything more enticing than a cupcake? How about four cupcakes artistically decorated with delightful toppings? Oh cupcakes, you complete me.

finished cupcakesWe read Cupcake by Charise Maricale Harper (Disney-Hyperion, 2010). One day, a cupcake is born. Topped with a plain creamy frosting top, Vanilla Cupcake is eager to meet his brothers and sisters. There’s Happy-Face Cupcake, Chocolaty Chocolate Cupcake, Pink Princess Cupcake, Rainbow-Sprinkles Cupcake, Stripy Cupcake, Polka-Dot Cupcake, and Fancy Flower-Top Cupcake. At the end of the day, however, only Vanilla Cupcake is left on the platter, completely overlooked. A plain little candle hears Cupcake weeping and can definitely empathize – what with his large and colorful family (there’s Number Candle, Stripy Candle, Letter Candle, Super-Long Candle…). Candle decides that Cupcake just needs something special on top. It’s not pickles, pancakes, peas, or a squirrel. Hmmm…I wonder what it could be?

You’ll need:

  • 1 white paper plate
  • 1 6″ white paper doily (optional)
  • 1 white paper cup
  • A selection of patterned tape
  • A 21″ piece of shimmer ribbon
  • 2 toilet paper tubes
  • 4 rectangles of construction paper (approximately 1.5″ x 6″)
  • 4 coffee filters (the standard size, 7.5″)
  • A small handful of polyester fill
  • A selection of dot stickers
  • A selection of iridescent fabric shapes
  • A selection of mini pom-poms (mine were 0.5″)
  • A selection of self-adhesive foam shapes
  • A selection of fabric flowers
  • A selection of eye stickers
  • Scissors, tape, white glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

Begin with your cupcake stand! It’s very simple. Cut a scalloped edge into your paper plate like so:

plateThen, flip a white paper cup upside down and wrap pattered tape around it.

cupHot glue the paper plate to the top of the flipped cup, and tie a piece of shimmer ribbon around where the cup and plate meet. For extra fanciness, glue a white paper doily to the top of the paper plate.

standThe stand is done, now for the cupcakes!  Decorate 4 construction paper rectangles with markers and patterned tape. We gave kids 4 choices of “cupcake colors.” Namely, yellow, brown, white, and pink. Cut the toilet paper tubes into four, 1.5″ pieces. Wrap the decorated construction paper rectangles around the tubes.

To make frosting, use the markers to decorate 4 coffee filters. You only need to decorate the center of the filter, not the entire thing.

frosting 1Flip the filter over and drop a bit of polyester fill in the center.

frosting 2Bunch the filter together around the polyester fill like a little bag. Then trim about 1″ of filter off the top.

frosting 3Push the gathered end of the bag into a tube and secure it to the interior of the tube with tape.

frosting tapeYou now have a cupcake with frosting…

frosting 4Which you are free to decorate with markers, dot stickers, iridescent fabric shapes, mini pom-poms, self-adhesive foam shapes, and fabric flowers. The final step is to add some eye stickers.

frosting doneThe thing I loved best about this story time was  how much personality the cupcake creations had. Here are a few I managed to capture with my camera!

Perfect Parakeets

perfect parakeetsThese wrist parakeets are super simple to make, require very few art supplies, and…are amazingly adorable, yes? They’re also tough. Thanks to their sturdy pipe cleaner tethers, these parakeets really stay attached, even on the most active ornithologist!

You’ll need:

  • 1 toilet paper tube
  • Construction paper
  • dot sticker for eyes
  • 3 small feathers
  • 3 goose quills
  • 1 pipe cleaner
  • Scissors, tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hole punch

If you want to get a little fancier, you’ll need:

We’ll make the parakeet’s body first, and then proceed to perching it on your wrist. Here’s what a completed bird body looks like:

parakeet bodyWrap construction paper around the entire toilet paper tube. Then wrap a smaller strip of construction paper around the top – this will become your bird’s head. Yet another piece of construction paper becomes your bird’s colorful chest (it looks best if you round the top of the chest).

Draw eyes and eyebrows on the dot stickers, then stick them on the bird’s head. Tape (or glue) a small triangle of construction paper to the head for a beak. You can also use a triangle of self-adhesive foam for the beak (it gives the beak some really nice texture). Tape (or hot glue) 2 small feathers on the side for wing, and 1 small feather on top for the crest. The body is done!

To make the tail, gather 3 duck quills together, fan them out slightly, and wrap scotch tape around the points of the quills (if you don’t want to purchase duck quills for the tail, just use more small feathers). Tape the tail to the back of the bird.

easy tail stepsIf you want to get a little fancier, you can wrap scotch tape around the points of the quills, then cover the scotch tape with colored masking tape and hot glue it to the bird’s body.

fancier tail stepsThe final step is to tether the bird to your wrist! Punch holes in both sides of the toilet paper tube. Don’t punch the holes in the center of the tube. Punch them slightly more toward the front of the bird. The reason is this – with the tail in place, the bird actually sits slightly askew on your wrist. It needs to be tethered slightly towards the front in order to sit correctly on your wrist. When in doubt, just plunk the tube on your wrist and you’ll see where the holes need to go.

punched holeThread a pipe cleaner through the holes, sit the bird on your wrist, and twist the pipe cleaner under your wrist to secure the bird in place! Finito!

finished parakeetHeaded to Hogwarts? This project also works well as an owl!

owl

Copying…It’s Not Just for Cats

copy crocsCopy cats? How about copy crocodiles? What happens when everyone has to copy at least ONE element from a highly artistic crocodile? Ravishing repetitious reptiles of course!

We read The Copy Crocs, written by David Bedford and illustrated by Emily Bolam (Peachtree Pub Ltd, 2004). Crocodile is sick and tired of being bashed about in the croc pool by all of his friends. So he slips away to be alone. But everywhere he goes – slippery mud, a sun-filled river bank, a floating log in the river, even the top of a mountain – the copy crocs follow and do exactly what he’s doing. Finally, Crocodile manages to shake his friends and enjoy the splendor of his pool, all alone. But is he really enjoying it? It turns out that having some friends around is actually pretty wonderful. But so is being alone – every once in a while.

Each kid built a crocodile and decorated it, but while decorating, he/she also had to copy at least one thing from my model crocodile. We’ll begin, as we did at story time, with building the crocodile body first.

plain crocYou’ll need:

  • A rectangular box (mine was 4 ½” X 4 ½” x 9”)
  • 4 small rectangles of poster board for the legs (approximately 2″ x 3.5″)
  • 1 medium rectangle of poster board for the tail (approximately 3.5″ x 11.5″)
  • 1 large rectangle of poster board for the mouth (approximately 4″ x 15″)
  • 4 small strips of white construction paper for the teeth (approximately 1.5″ x 4″)
  • 2 small rectangles of poster board for the eyes (approximately 1.5″ x 2″)
  • Materials for decorating (more on that later!)
  • Scissors, tape for construction
  • Hot glue

First, cut crocodile toes in one end of 4 small rectangles of poster board. Bend the bottom of the poster board to make a foot, then bend the top to create a tab

legs 1Squeeze some hot glue on the top of the tabs, and attach each leg to the bottom of the box. For the tail, cut a medium rectangle of poster board into a pointed tail, tab the non-pointy end, and then hot glue (or tape) the tab to one end of the box. For the mouth, fold a large rectangle of poster board like so:

mouth step 1But before you attach it to the box, round the upper and lower edges to make it look more like a crocodile snout.

mouth step 2Hot glue the mouth to the box. If you’d like to add teeth, cut pointy tooth shapes into strips of white construction paper (definitely use construction paper, poster board is too heavy). Tab the tops of the tooth strips, the hot glue or tape inside the mouth. Last step – the eyes! We found that a tall and slightly rounded eye shape looked best.

croc eye shapeCut the eye shapes out of the small poster board rectangles, tab the bottoms, and hot glue (or tape) them to the top of the box. Done!

plain crocAt this point, everyone had the same croc. So we turned the kids loose with plenty of art supplies and let them decorate. Again, the only rule was to copy at least one thing from my example croc. And we made sure there was no lack of options…

decorated crocDecorating supplies included:

The resulting crocs were magnificent. I would guess that the pom-pom eyes, sparkle stem eyelashes, and the self-adhesive foam fruit shapes inside the crocodiles’ mouths were the most copied elements.

gang of crocsWhen everyone was finished, we celebrated by taking our crocs for a swim in our cozy crocodile pool (i.e. a blue sheet sheet stretched on the floor)!

swimming crocs