Showing posts with label puppets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label puppets. Show all posts

Merry Christmas, Eve! Review & Giveaway


Disclosure: I was sent a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am working with The Children's Book Review and Krueger Wallace Press and Riven Rock Project for this post and will receive a small stipend from them.

Christmas is such a magical time of the year. I know some people do not think kids should learn about Santa or his magic, but I think it is part of the fun of Christmas. Today's book shares a bit of the magic. We head to the North Pole where we meet one of Santa's elves, Eve. She begins to search for the spirit of Christmas in hopes of saving Christmas and all of Santa's elves. The story is Merry Christmas, Eve! by Adam Wallace and illustrated by Lena Bardy.

Easter Bunny Crafts & More from Oriental Trading Company -- Crafty Weekends Review & Link Party

Disclosure: I was sent these items to review free of charge from Oriental Trading. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to the products for your convenience but do not receive anything if you buy from them.

Easter is only three weeks away!! It is early this year. I have been seeing so many cute bunny things this year and I wanted to jump on the band wagon. I asked Oriental Trading Company to help me make some fun bunny crafts and a few other Easter things. I fell in love with the bunny tote bag at work, but didn't want to spend the money on it since it looked easy enough to do a DIY if I had the canvas bags. So I asked for the DIY White Bags and got to work.  On one of them I hand stitched the eyes, whiskers and mouth and sewed on a pink pom pom (from Hazel's collection) for the nose. On the other I used fabric paint and glued on the pink pom pom.

Emus and Hippos!! Book Reviews

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of these books free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Today we are sharing two fun and educational animal books from Candlewick Press. They are written in the same style as Grandma Elephant's In Charge and Big Red Kangaroo which Candlewick Press sent previously to me to review (and we bought one as a birthday gift for one of Hazel's friends because we love them so much!). These books tell a story about a particular animal and/or group of animals as well as have aside facts about the animal.

The first we travel to Australia to learn about emus, with Emu written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Graham Byrne.

Exploring Korea from Home Reviews of Two Books

Disclosure: Tuttle Publishing gave me a copy of these products free of charge. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease,but receive no compensation.

Today we are going to share with you two wonderful books from Tuttle Publishing. The first is All About Korea by Ann Martin Bowler. This book is a wonderful introduction to South Korea. It includes stories, songs, crafts, recipes and what life is like there. We really enjoy trying the different things and Hazel insists on trying all of them. This book also has additional resources on the Tuttle Publishing website. The book does a nice job of explaining about the split of North and South Korea and how the focus of the book will be on South Korea.

Easy Cup Owl Craft

Well yesterday we went to Lakeshore Learning for their free craft. They had the kids making owl pencil holders out of styrofoam cups. (If you click the link above and then click the picture of the owl pencil holder it gives you their instructions.) We made three. First Hazel made a brown one since the craft leader told her to color the cup first.

The Octonauts & the Sea of Shade Book Review & Giveaway Reminder

Disclosure: I was sent this book digitally to review free of charge from Immedium. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to each item for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase them.

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing one of the Octonauts books! Hazel and I were so excited to review this book. Hazel loves to watch the Octonauts on television and loves the Octonauts: To the Gup-X DVD we reviewed and are currently giving away until March 25th. I had requested to review one of the Octonauts books to go with this giveaway. It is perfect timing as well as we have been so focused on sea creatures!

Today we are sharing The Octonauts and the Sea of Shade by Meomi. This is one of the four Octonauts books written by Meomi and published by Immedium. All four are available for $15.95 at Immedium as well as other book retailers. Meomi is the original creator of the Octonauts and these are the original books.

Our Tweak Peg Doll

The Octonauts and the Sea of Shade starts out with Tweak Bunny realizing that shadows and shade are missing. The Octonauts adventure to the Sea of Shade to find the Shade King. The Shade King is in charge of all the shade in the world. The Octonauts want to find out what has happened to cause all the shade to be missing. As they adventure through the Sea of Shade they see sad looking shadows. Captain Barnacles begins to play his accordion and the shadows begin to cheer up and remember how nice it was outside of the Sea of Shade. They all go to the Shade King and discover the Shade King thinks no one appreciates or loves their shadow since they are stepped on and such all the time. The Octonauts show him how creatures are missing their shadows and he agrees to let the shadows return as long as the Octonauts make sure the shadows are treated well.

Coloring page available at Disney Jr.

This is a sweet story with the same characters as the television show although one has a different name as Hazel was quick to point out. The underwater spaces in the book are much more creative and fantasy than the cartoon. Some of what is underwater in the book looks like it is really above water, but the pictures are beautiful and the story is so creative. I loved reading the story and seeing more basics of the characters than you get in the television show. For example Kwanzii is a kitten and I always assumed him to be a rough and gruff tomcat. The other main difference is there is not the information about a specific sea creature like the television show. However the story line was so creative and made me stop and think about how important shadows and shade are to all of us. It is definitely something we take for granted. To go with the book, I made a Tweak peg doll (see above). Now Hazel has four of the characters as peg dolls.

Our Octonaut Hat Craft

This story leads to so many things you can do with shadows. The first is the obvious shadow puppets. On Friday we went to a great shadow puppet show at our local library. We are going to try to make a shadow puppet box and some shadow puppets. The man who did the shadow puppet show gave us a card with instructions. Stay tuned for more on shadow puppets from us. An easier task would be to make some hand shadow puppets. Here is YouTube video with some instructions on making a few.

For older children, you could easily do a math lesson on similar triangles and then do a height estimation project like this one. To do similar triangles, the student needs to be able to set up and solve ratios.

Now if you would like to win a copy of the Octonauts: To the Gup-X DVD, be sure to go here and enter before March 25th!!

For more book reviews visit:

Scrolling Puppet Theater

So Hazel has been asking to make a puppet theater for a long time. We just have not had the time. The other day she asked if I could help her with a project. She described the project and I knew she had gotten the idea from an episode of Curious George (or Georgie as Hazel likes to call him). To see the episode on YouTube click here. (As you can see in the picture above Hazel and her best friend went to see Curious George last spring at the Curious George Store in Harvard Square.)
In the episode Curious George went to see the opera, Hansel and Gretel. He went because his friend, Betsy, got the chicken pox and could not go. Hansel and Gretel is Betsy's favorite opera. George loved it and he got the idea to do a show for Betsy. He finally came up with a scrolling show. Hazel wanted to put on Cinderella in a somewhat similar way, except she wanted to use her figures but have the background scroll. 

I had a UPS box that I had saved for a craft. I cut a hole in it and opened the tabs on both ends. One end was already open and the other I cut a slit to slide the paper in. We also happened to have a broken wooden dowel, so I used that. I glued and taped it to each tab. Then we put paper towel tubes on the dowel pieces. I took Hazel's scroll paper from her paint easel. It was a little big so we had to cut the piece in height. She drew her scenery with a little help from me on the castle. Then we taped it to the paper towel tubes while feeding it through the box.  Now she enjoys acting out Cinderella with her figurines.

Have television shows inspired your child to make a craft? What shows? Curious George is great for getting kids to investigate and think about things. I recently heard on the news that kids who read and watch Curious George tend to do better in math and science. Don't know the facts from the study though to know if it is valid.

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--Cinderella Penguin or Antarctica

So a few days late, but this week our Cinderella story is not really a multicultural one, but it is called Penguin Cinderella or The Little Glass Flipper by Janet Perlman. It is really just the traditional Cinderella story written with penguins as its characters. I thought it would be a fun time to share some facts about Antarctica and the penguins we have seen at Sea World Orlando and New England Aquarium. I will also be using Penguins by Gail Gibbons (Virtual Book Club for Kids author of the month) as a source!

Antarctica is the southernmost continent and contains the South Pole. It is the coldest, driest and windiest continent in the world. It also has the highest elevation. It is considered a desert due to the minimal amount of precipitation. The temperature has reached −129 °F. There are no permanent human residents, but many people reside there throughout the year at research stations. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by a sheet of ice averaging 1 mile thick.
Antarctica is home to many species of penguins as well as blue whales, orcas, colossal squids and fur seals. We will focus on the penguins due to the book being based on penguins. The Emperor Penguin is the only penguin that mates in the winter in Antarctica. The Adelie Penguin breeds farther south than any other penguin. The Rockhopper Penguin has distinctive feathers around the eyes. (Source)
Rockhopper Penguin at Sea World
There are seventeen different kinds of penguins. The smallest is the Little Blue Penguin (also called the Fairy Penguin) and the largest is the Emperor Penguin. All penguins have black or bluish-gray backs and white bellies. They all have the same basic body shape and characteristics.
Little Blue Penguins at New England Aquarium
The Adelie and Emperor Penguins never leave Antarctica. Others live in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, South America, and the Galapagos and other islands. 
King Penguins at Sea World
All penguins are birds, but they cannot fly. Over time their wings changed into flippers to aid in swimming and hunting for their food. They are excellent swimmers and divers. Larger penguins can swim faster than 25 miles an hour. Groups of penguins may stay in the water for weeks at a time. Their natural enemies are fur and leopard seals, sea lions, sharks and orcas (killer whales). 
Swimming Penguin at Sea World
Once a year many penguins come together and form colonies called rookeries. This is the time they mate and raise their young. At this time the penguins make loud noises, but most of the time they are quiet. The mating process is different for the different species. I think the most the commonly known mating process is the Emperor Penguin's. The Emperor (and King) Penguins only lay one egg. The female quickly passes it over to the male and he carries it at the top of his feet . The egg is kept warm by a flap on his belly called the brood pouch. During the incubation time the female swims out to sea to feed. The male Emperor Penguins gather together to stay warm. They rotate constantly to the inside and outside of the group so all are able to stay warm. During this time the males do not eat and can lose up to 45 percent of their body weight. It takes 65 days for the egg to hatch. The female returns around this time and she tucks the chick under her brood pouch. The male then goes out to sea to feed. The chick is grey and covered with soft down. The mother feeds the chick by regurgitating food for it. When the father returns, both parents take turns feeding and keeping the chick warm. When the chicks are large enough, they gather in groups called creches. They huddle together to stay warm. When the chicks are three to ten months old they begin to lose their gray down and grow their adult feathers. At this stage they are called fledglings. (Source: Penguins by Gail Gibbons)
Penguins at both Sea World and New England Aquarium
Before going into the book, I want to share our experience on the Antarctica ride at Sea World. Now the first day we went to Sea World, this new exhibit had a two hour wait. With a four-year-old and twin five-year-olds with us, we did not wait two hours. Hazel and I went back for a second day in the rain and the wait was only fifteen minutes. We did wait this time and it was worth the fifteen minutes. I am not sure I feel it would be worth a two hour wait. When you get in the first room you see a short film about a penguin hatching from the egg. You then follow this penguin chick through his life as he grows up a bit. The next room is where you decide which ride you want. There is a mild ride and a wilder ride. We went on the mild one. From what I could tell, the wilder one turned more and bumped around a bit more. The ride is suppose to give you the sense of what life is like in Antarctica. There is even a cold spot supposedly, but the only place we felt cold was when we were in the penguin exhibits.
Pictures from the ride including wet Hazel on it
During the ride you see more short films about the life of the penguin including a blizzard hitting. Then when the ride is over you are literally only a couple of feet away from live penguins. There are places to see them underwater and places to seem them above. Sometimes there was a glass wall between you and other times it was a plastic fencing that did not go all the way to the top. It was so neat. This to me was the best part of the whole ride.
Pictures from Sea World

Now onto our story. So in this story Cinderella is a penguin. She is a good penguin. In the book she has gold hair. Her stepmother and stepsisters are also penguins. The stepsisters get to wear beautiful clothes and sleep in luxurious beds. Cinderella is given rags and sleeps in the cold cellar on a shelf next to some tin plates. Cinderella does all the housework including picking up after her stepsisters.
Our Penguin Puppet Show

One day an invitation arrives to the Penguin Prince's Costume Ball. The stepsisters have new costumes made and spend much time looking at themselves in the mirror. Cinderella would like to go, but her stepfamily just laughs at her saying the prince would never want to meet someone like her. The day of the ball Cinderella helps the stepsisters get ready and then without a thank you or goodbye their carriage leaves and Cinderella is left alone. She begins to cry and the little blue fairy penguin comes and asks Cinderella why she is crying. She tells her to go get a pumpkin so she can go to the ball. (Ok, first spot that we know this story does not take place in Antarctica since pumpkins cannot grow there.) The fairy turns it into a beautiful coach. Then she finds six mice carrying a hunk of cheese (we only had three). She turns the mice into horses and the cheese into the coachman. Then she turns Cinderella's clothes into a beautiful gown and glass flippers. (We used our Sea World Animal Rescue Barbie doll flippers.) Cinderella goes to the ball with the warning that she must leave by midnight. She dances all night with the Prince Penguin and all of a sudden it is almost midnight. She runs off and leaves behind one of the glass flippers. The prince will only marry the penguin whose flipper fits in the glass flipper. Everyone tries it on, but the glass flipper is too small. Then Cinderella gets her turn and of course it fits. She marries the prince and they live happily ever after.

We made the penguin puppets and acted out the story with some props. The puppets are just construction paper and googly eyes glued to popsicle sticks. We did not dress them or give them hair, but kept them more natural or how we saw them at Sea World.

Virtual Book Club for Kids--Waddles by David McPhail

If you are looking for my Fairy Tales in Different Cultures for this week it is here!

I join many other wonderful bloggers to bring you the Virtual Book Club for Kids. This month we have picked David McPhail as our author. So each of us has chosen a David McPhail book to feature and do an activity with and will share it in a blog hop. If you have an activity to go with a David McPhail book please join us in the hop this month!

The host blogs are:

Now I must admit I had not checked out David McPhail previously. After looking at some of his books we fell in love. I also am happy to find he was born and grew up on the North Shore of Boston in Newburyport and is still a New Englander. That makes it all the more special for us!
Our Waddles
This month we choose Waddles as our feature book. After all I have a daughter who loves ducks so it only seemed fitting. Waddles is an adorable book about the life of a raccoon who waddles due to his size and therefore is called Waddles. He lives in a park near a pond where his best friend, Emily lives. Emily is a duck. (Did I mention that Hazel's latest new doll is named Emily? She got her shortly after we read this book a few times.) Waddles and Emily spend each day together until one spring Waddles finds Emily sitting on a nest. She has laid her eggs. Since Emily cannot leave the nest, Waddles brings her food each day. Then when Emily is yearning to swim, Waddles sits on the nest for her. That is the point a red fox decides to come and get an egg. After Waddles scares the fox away the eggs hatch. Waddles now has six best friends--Emily and her five ducklings. Life is wonderful until autumn arrives. The ducks need to fly south for the winter. Waddles is heartbroken throughout winter. Of course spring does return and so do his best friends.

For an activity we decided to make some finger puppets. I had seen this duck finger puppet at I thought it would be perfect to make finger puppets and use up some old pill bottles. We found different size bottles for the different animals and used some felt. Now I am going to say that I let Hazel decorate them for the most part and let her choose colors. She cannot wait to play with them. For the heads of the bigger ones we cut felt and used a bit of stuffing. We tried to make the fox and raccoon noses as well, but they are not perfect. She loves them just the same.

Our Emily

Our Ducklings
Apparently all the ducks had to have red feathers. Now I will admit we are a bit low on feathers, but she for some reason really liked the red ones.
I had a bit of difficulty with the fox's head and didn't get it glued or stuck as well as I had hoped. I'll try some more later. Hazel is very excited to act out the story now.

Now it is your turn to share any David McPhail book activities you have done. Or if you haven't, visit the ones shared here so you can learn about some more of his books!

Popsicle Stick Puppets

Ok, I couldn't leave today without some toddler fun--so here it is!!

Hazel brought me one of these puppets we made back in November and asked if we could make some more. I of course said yes since they were mostly Christmas themed back then. So this morning before she went to Nonni's house for the day, we made some.
Hazel's Princess
To make them you glue a popsicle stick across a tongue depressor stick and then decorate with felt clothes and draw on a face. Then we decorate them with yarn for hair and glitter glue and ribbons, etc. Hazel wanted to make a princess. I cut the dress for her and she did the gluing and cut the yarn herself. Oh, and I cut a crown for her princess. Unfortunately, our fingers and other things kept hitting the glitter glue and thus smudging it. She also got the hair over the face I drew on it. Oh, well. It is her creation.

I made a leprechaun and an Easter Bunny. I even gave my Easter Bunny an Easter egg to be sure it was the Easter Bunny.
These are a simple craft to do with a toddler that can be played with some more.

Now that Hazel is gone I have been catching up on reading my magazines. I am loving the latest issue of Country Living. The craft section has some great Easter ideas. Unfortunately my favorite ones did not make their website so you will have to wait until we try them or put our spin on them.

Now I'm off to knit and rest before I have to go to work tonight. Hope you are having a great day!!