Over the Rainbow

storm and rainbowThis dangling storm cloud has a surprise inside. Just tug the secret loop…and release a rainbow!

We read Thunder Bunny by Barbara Helen Berger (Philomel, 2007). Thunder Bunny is a surprise to her rabbit family. She’s the littlest and last, but she’s also…blue! Curious about the sky, Thunder Bunny sails up into the clouds. A scary storm brews, but Thunder Bunny soon realizes that even thunder and lightning are part of who she is. When she returns home, her family recognize what a truly special bunny she is.

You’ll need:

The funny thing about this project is that the box’s lid, which technically is always on top is going to be the trap door at the bottom. So begin by flipping the box over so the lid is on the bottom. Then, up at the “top,” cut two small slits on each side.

prepping boxUse your scissor blades to enlarge the slits into holes (large enough to thread the elastic beading cord through). Slide the ends of the cord through  the right and left holes. The ends should now be poking into the interior of the box.

ends of cordNext, use this wrapping technique to wrap and secure the cords around the craft sticks. Tape the craft sticks to the interior walls of the box.

craft sticksNext is the secret loop that will release the rainbow from the trapdoor.

secret loopFold 1/2 of a pipe cleaner into a loop and twist the ends together to secure.

twisted loopTape the loop to the inside edge of the lid.

loop on trapdoorTime to decorate the cloud! I showed the kids how to pull apart a cotton ball so it will cover more space on the box’s surface.

cotton ball pullThen I made a diagram to show kids approximately how many cotton balls they would need for each side. Otherwise, one zillion cotton balls will be glued on there. Trust me.

cloud diagramTo attach the cotton balls, squirt some white glue on the box, and then press the cotton ball on top. Repeat on all sides of the cloud EXCEPT the trap door on the bottom! That needs to remain cotton ball free so you can attach the “rain” and thunderbolts to it.

Next, use tape to attach the blue cellophane, blue shimmer ribbon, and blue curling ribbon rain to the bottom of the trapdoor. We prepped the thunderbolts in advance by using the template to trace the bolts onto mirror board (or you could skip the mirror board and just have white card stock bolts). Tape the 3″ – 5″ pieces of elastic beading cord to the back of the bolts, then tape the cords to the box.

storm cloudThe storm cloud is done, now for the rainbow! Red goes first. Attach a piece of tape to the end of the red streamer. Press the tape to the ceiling of the box, all the way to the left. Repeat with each color until you have a row of rainbow streamers from left to right.

rainbow streamersGently tuck the streamers into the box and shut the trapdoor. Suspend the cloud from its cord, then tug the pipe cleaner loop. Your rainbow will appear! Try to refrain from bursting into song.





Tree of Love

finished treeIt’s a tree…that when rotated, reveals a gallery of the things you dearly love!

tree picture galleryWe read We Planted a Tree by Diane Muldrow, illustrated by Bob Staake (Golden Books, 2010). In this poetic book, families in various parts of the world plant a tree and watch as the tree changes with the seasons, helps the earth, and grows with the families. I wanted to capture some of that love, growing, and giving with this project!

You’ll need:

  • 1 piece of tagboard for tree base
  • 1 small oatmeal container
  • 1 canned good
  • Hot glue
  • A large piece of craft paper (mine was 21.5″ x 64″) (paper grocery bags work too)
  • Green tissue paper
  • Strips of green construction paper
  • 1 oval of black self-adhesive foam (optional)
  • Red, yellow, or orange dot stickers (optional)
  • 1 tree frames template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • Tape, stapler, scissors for construction
  • Markers for decoration

Begin by cutting a tagboard base for your tree. I made mine semi-circular with irregular curves, but a plain old circle will do. The most important thing is making sure that kids don’t cut their bases SMALLER than the oatmeal container (it happens!). Hot glue the oatmeal container to the base.

oatmeal container baseSince the branches and foliage can make the tree unsteady, I dropped a canned good “anchor” inside the oatmeal container and then taped the lid shut. Now for the tree! For weeks, I had been hording brown packing paper I snagged from my department’s recycling bin:

paperThree cheers for reducing, reusing and recycling, eh? But if you don’t have packing paper handy, you can also use craft paper or paper grocery bags.

Tape one end of the piece of paper to the oatmeal container, and then wrap the paper multiple times around the container. The more paper you wrap around the container, the better (and more plentiful) the branches will be. When you’re finished wrapping, hot glue the end of the paper securely to the trunk. You’ll also want to push the paper “trunk tube” down onto the tagboard base and secure it with hot glue. Otherwise, your trunk tube might slide off later!

tree trunk step 1Cut fringes in the trunk tube, starting at the top of the paper and ending a little above the oatmeal container lid:

tree trunk step 2Then bunch and twist the paper fringes together to create branches.

tree trunk step 3I used this branch twisting technique on a larger scale for this project. With the branches complete, it’s time to add the foliage! I provided three different sizes of green tissue paper for the “foliage frenzy.”

tissue paper sizesCrumble up the tissue paper and then staple it to the various branches. One hint: for the foliage at the top of the tree, staple a single piece of tissue paper to several different branches. It keeps the top of the tree looking full and fluffy, and the floppy branches secure.

foliageYour tree is now complete! Time to decorate!

tree trunk step 4We adorned the base with fringes of green construction paper “grass,” and I used hot glue to attach small plastic snakes and lizards I found lurking in the art supply cabinet. We added flower stickers as well, but you can draw critters and flowers on with markers.

The hole in the tree was created with a black oval of self-adhesive foam, and I hot glued a small toy butterfly to the edge of it. Yellow, orange, or red dot stickers can be used to add lemons, oranges, or apples to the tree foliage.

finished tree The tree is happy and growing…now for the gallery of things you love! Use markers to color and fill in the frames of the template. Then cut them out and tape (or hot glue) each frame to the back of the tree.

tree picture galleryMy favorite thing about this project was using a canned good as the anchor. At story time, I suggested to parents that when their kids were done playing with their trees, the canned good could be removed and donated to a local food bank. They really liked that! A true giving tree!