Walk the Dog

walk the dogReady for a walk? Don’t be surprised when a friendly pup follows you home, courtesy of a long piece of clear elastic beading cord that clips to the back of your pants (you can juuuust see it if you squint at the screen).

walk the dog with cordThe dog doesn’t just tag along behind you…it also carries a bone in its mouth (with the assistance of magnet tape and a paperclip).

dog with boneWe read The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle (Puffin, 2009). A boy wants a dog. Really, really, really wants a dog. But his mother gives him plenty of reasons why he can’t have one. But when he asks if he can have a dragon, well, mom says yes if he can find one (pretty clever mom!). It takes some searching but the boy finally finds a dragon and invites him home. Unfortunately, the dragon is loud, messy, and completely naughty. So what’s a boy to do? Get a dog to chase the dragon away of course!

You’ll need:

  • 1 box (mine was 4 ½” X 4 ½” x 9”)
  • A selection of construction paper for the dog’s body, ears, tail, and muzzle
  • A selection of patterned tape
  • 4 rectangles of white poster board for the legs (approximately 3″ x 5.5″)
  • Black dot stickers if you’re going dalmatian
  • 1 3oz. plastic cup
  • 1 jumbo pom-pom
  • 1 small rectangle of red construction paper for tongue (approximately 1.25″ x 3.25″)
  • A 1.5″ strip of self-adhesive magnetic tape
  • 2 large wiggle eyes
  • dog bone template printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 1 jumbo paper clip
  • A 4′ piece of elastic beading cord
  • binder clip (mine was 1.25″ wide)
  • Tape and scissors for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

Begin by wrapping three sides of the box with construction paper to create your dog’s body. We offered the following “dog” colors: brown, black, yellow, and…ahem…pink. Since our boxes were white, kids desiring a white (or dalmatian) dog left the box uncovered. If you are using construction paper, make sure to leave the bottom of the box construction paper free, so it slides along the floor easily.

Now for the collar! Use the patterned tape to add a collar on three sides of the box. You’ll want to indent the tape 2.5″ from the front of the box so you have room for your dog’s ears.

dog collarThe collar is done, now for the feet! Round one edge of each poster board rectangle to create a “paw” (you can also use markers to draw “paw lines” on the poster board too). Then fold the straight edge of the rectangle downward like so:

folded legAttach to the side of the box with tape. Make sure the leg doesn’t actually touch the ground, or your dog will have trouble sliding across the floor.

leg on boxUse construction paper to make ears and a tail. To create the muzzle, tape construction paper around the plastic cup and then hot glue the cup to the front of the box. Attach the wiggle eyes and pom-pom nose with hot glue as well. This is a good time to add any extra doggy details with markers or, if your pet is a dalmatian, use the dot stickers to create spots.

I had a little extra time when I was prepping this project, so I made the tongues in advance. I simply rounded one edge of the red construction paper rectangle, and then drew a red line down the center.

tongueTape the tongue securely to the underside of the muzzle cup. Then, peel and stick a 1.5″ piece of self-adhesive magnet tape on the underside of the muzzle, but…make sure it’s on top of the tongue. Some kids put the magnet tape under the tongue and the magnet’s connection to the paper clip wasn’t strong enough. It should look like this:

dog magnet attachmentNow for the dog bone! Cut the card stock bone from the template, then slide the jumbo paper clip on the middle. It’s best to position the paper clip diagonally, so there’s more contact on the magnet tape.

dog boneThe last step is the invisible cord. I gave each kid 4′ of cord, and then let them adjust it to the desired length. Attach one end of the cord to the binder clip by knotting the cord around the bottom of one of the silver handles. Reinforce the knot with tape.

knot on clipThe other end of the cord gets taped to the TOP of your dog box, directly above the forehead. We tested this and concurred – the top / forehead placement results in the best pull on your dog!

dog front viewTo walk the dog, attach the binder clip on the back of your waistband, and then flip the handles down for extra stability (if you’re wearing a dress, just bunch up some of the fabric and attach the clip to that).

clip and flipThe cord is attached…start walking and your dog will follow! And, just in case you’re wondering, Ian (our fabulous dog walking model) IS whistling “How Much is that Doggy in the Window?” in the photo. We’re into details like that.

walk the dogWould you prefer that a dragon follow you home? No problem! Click here.

Fish in a Suitcase

not normanWe read Not Norman: A Goldfish Story, written by Kelly Bennett, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones (Candlewick, 2008). A little boy is terribly disappointed when, instead of a dog or cat, he gets a goldfish for his birthday. However, Norman the fish’s goofiness, appreciation for the boy’s tuba playing, and his friendly presence when there is a scary noise at night wins the boy over. Now, he wouldn’t trade any pet in the world for Norman!

The boy pulls Norman around in a little red wagon, but I thought we’d go even more portable for our story time. Hence, a fish in a suitcase!

You’ll need:

  • 1 box with a window (I used a 7″ x 7″ x 3″ pastry box)
  • Blue construction paper
  • 2 green pipe cleaners
  • 4 pieces of green raffia
  • A selection of crepe paper streamers
  • Small shells (optional)
  • Orange poster board for fish
  • 1 piece of orange self-adhesive foam
  • 1 wiggle eye
  • Hot glue
  • 1 small piece of elastic beading cord
  • Markers, yellow cellophane, and golden paper for decorating
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • 1 tagboard strip for suitcase handle (mine was 12″ x 2″)
  • 1 luggage tag (optional)

The key to this project is finding a box with a window. I had a bunch of pastry boxes left over from another program, but you can find something similar in the bakery section of your local supermarket.

Cut the blue construction paper to fit the back of the box and secure with tape (or a glue stick). Draw in a few bubbles and waves with markers. The “water” is done…time to add some aquarium plants!

Plant #1: Cut two green pipe cleaners in half. Bunch the four pieces together and twist at the bottom. Give the pieces a little curl if you so desire. Then bend the twisted part into a “foot” and tape it to the bottom of the aquarium.

plant # 1Plant #2: Knot four raffia pieces together. Tape to the bottom of the aquarium.

plant # 2With the plants in place, it’s time for your “aquarium sand.” Crumple up some crepe paper streamers to give them a “sandy” texture, then hot glue them around the plants and the bottom of the aquarium. You can hot glue some little shells on the “sand” as well.

Now for the fish! Cut a fish shape out of orange poster board. To create fantastic fish lips, cut the piece of orange self-adhesive foam into an oval:

fish lips step 1Then peel and stick it on the fish’s mouth.

fish lips step 2Use scissors to cut a smile!

fish lips step 3Secure a wiggle eye on with a dash of hot glue, then tape the elastic beading cord to the back of the fish. Decorate with yellow cellophane, gold paper, and markers. When the fish is complete, dangle it from the elastic cord, adjust for height, and tape the cord to the top/lid of your aquarium. Get the height just right, and your fish will wiggle and sway in a realistic way.

To turn the box into a suitcase, simply add a tagboard handle to the top. Originally, I used hot glue to attach the handles to the box, but they popped off pretty fast. So I would recommend using brass tacks to really secure it.

With the handle in place, all your suitcase needs is a “luggage” tag. Write your new friend’s name on it and get ready for adventure!