Creative Kid: Princess & the Pea

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Who wouldn’t awake, hobbled with aches, after sleeping on this perfect pea? Even with the assorted mattresses, 22 in all?

I promised to post photos of the cardboard box storybook house the grade schoolers made in my library this year. And only months later, I’m keeping my word! Each room was paired with a fairy tale and kid-created with tape, glue stick, thread, and recyclables: scraps of fabric, felt, boxes, egg cartons. This room, of course, belongs to the Princess of The Princess and the Pea. 

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We read Lauren Child’s version of the tale for inspiration. (Lauren herself constructed exquisite miniature rooms and paper doll cut outs to illustrate the story.) Then we savored the spin-offs: The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane Auch and Mini Grey’s The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be. 

The students used thread or embroidery floss and sewed pieces of felt or fabric scraps together. This involved a bit of prep–pre-threading needles so the kids could get to work. The bed is a paper-covered box with clothespin bed posts.

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And this little table and chairs adds luster to the princess’s room, I think. Her crown is on a chest of drawers against the back wall.

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Creative Kid: 3 Bears Chairs

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This year in my library (FYI: my day job is elementary school librarian), the kids are making a storybook house from cardboard boxes and recyclables. Every week we add a room–Jack’s beanstalk-green bedroom, Little Red’s ruby-hued bachelorette pad, etc. Right now we’re working on the Three Bears’ kitchen, where a golden-curled interloper slurps up soup and breaks chairs.

The students do their creative best with glue sticks and dull scissors. But sometimes I help out on the sly. This is such a case.

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Armed with toilet paper cardboard rolls, scrapbook paper and my trusty glue gun, I happily spent an evening making three chairs–in varying sizes. I sliced and narrowed the toilet paper roll for Baby Bear’s squat seat, and sliced and joined two rolls for Papa Bear’s wide berth. (Mama Bear’s medium chair didn’t need adjusting. It was just right.)

I wish I had directions to share, but I don’t. In keeping with the spirit of our library project, I just winged it and left things in crude form. I will post photos of the storybook house soon though so you can see the kids’ imaginative handiwork. They amaze me.

Creative Kid: Shoebox House

I recently opened a “maker space” in the school library where I work. In some libraries, maker space refers to a spot for a 3-D printer; in mine, it means something more basic: recyclables, masking tape, glue sticks and scissors.

The kids (grades 3-5) decided to make a shoebox house for a library elf–a mythical creature they hope to lure to our library with some luxe real estate. The project is collaborative, with each group of kids adding to what the others started. I’ve been amazed, watching as the structure grew and grew–the pad even has a pool and barbecue. Although I’ve only had a light hand in the project, I do occasionally get out my glue gun to solidify the foundation.

Our maker space rules are simple: share the space; build, don’t break; and when class is over, clean up the blizzard of little bits of paper scattered all over the carpet.