DIY

High-Jumping Summer Crafting For the Win!

Welcome to Ms. Meghan Makes! Meghan Premo-Hopkins is an English teacher, mom of three, and super fan of Chronicle children’s books. She shares her inspired ideas for book-related activities every other month (or so) on the Chronicle Blog.

Hello again, friends!  Is your summer going well?  At our house, we have hit that point where the newness of summer has worn off and some new books/activities/outings are in order. (My kids went through all the activities I had planned for the whole summer in one week!)  Cue: Jumping Jack!

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Have you read Germano Zullo and Albertine’s Jumping Jack?  It is such a delight!  My kids were immediately charmed by this book.  After a thorough inspection of each delightful illustration and a dramatic retelling of the twist at the end for Daddy to hear, we started brainstorming activities.  We tried to create with simple materials we had on hand, so hopefully you’ll be able to join us in the fun!

Pennants

First, we made pennants, like the ones Jumping Jack’s fans wave.  We used straws, felt, paper, and washi tape.  The kids were so enthusiastic, they each made three pennants, and then started making them for the neighbors!

Click here for step-by-step instructions or on the how-to image below.

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Summertime Stick Horses

Next, as an alternative to my daughter’s request for a real race horse, we made a summer version of stick horses.  We used foam pool noodles for the stick and felt and ribbon for the heads (no-sew, glue-gun style!).  After our horses were created and named, we set up a course in the living room with more foam noodles, pillows, and other household items.  I waved pennants and cheered for my little jockeys until nap time.

Click here for step-by-step instructions or on the how-to image below.

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Teacup Horse Jumpers

For another activity inspired by Jumping Jack’s race, we created a miniature horse race on the kitchen table. Using recyclables and paper straws, Popsicle sticks and a toy horse, we created a jumping course.  The kids tried to complete the course without knocking off any straws while I finished dinner (it was a win-win-win!).

Click here for step-by-step instructions or on the how-to image below.

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Jumping Jack inspired more activities than we could share in one post. Here are a few more ideas:

  • My 7-year-old son created silhouettes of animals, as seen in the vet’s office in Jumping Jack.  He traced the outline of pictures of different animals on our light table, but an iPad or tablet works well as a makeshift light table.  He was reminded of another fantastic book: Out of Sight.
  • We played “eye doctor” by putting together a little ophthalmologist kit (printed Snellen chart, toy otoscope, a key chain flashlight, and an old pair of sunglasses with the lenses popped out).
  • The decor in the psychologist’s office in Jumping Jack includes modern, primary-colored geometric paintings and a sculpture, which my daughter was eager to create herself using cardboard from the recycle bin and paint.
  • One more idea on our list: Visit a horse farm. My younger two are still a bit young for horseback riding, but they are so interested in seeing and petting a real, live horse.

Have you tried any fun Jumping Jack-inspired activities?  Do tell–I’d love to hear.  Now off to the races!

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