My kids checked out Make Way For Ducklings recently and have been enjoying creating games with the duck characters Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their 8 babies-Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Oauck, Pack, and Quack. I came up with a project related to the book that I hoped would be fun for them and would help me use up some recyclables we had stashed for craft purposes. This turned out to be more of a project for me, so it may be better suited to older kids. The ones who probably won't be reading this book. Oh well.
Here's what I did.
First, I drew and cut out a large duck from cereal boxes. I traced that one onto another box (flip it over first), cut, and glued them together so it was sturdier and could be double-sided.
That's Mr. or Mrs. Mallard.
Then, with a toilet paper roll, two milk caps, two play-doh caps, two brads, some glue and an X-acto knife, I made feet (sort of) for the duck.
I cut a tiny slit through the middle of all the caps and stuck a brad through to connect the play-doh lid with the milk lid. See below. This style of milk cap fits perfectly into a cardboard tube.
Then I smeared the edges of the milk cap with glue and stuck it into one end of the tube.
After completing one side of the tube, I stood the tube on the duck and traced the circle to cut a hole and slide the tube through (It helps to do this now so you can see where the cap will hit the ground versus where the duck body will. You want the duck body slightly raised.)
I finished the opposite end of the tube just like the first.
That had to dry a long time.
After the big duck, I cut out the 8 ducklings. You may be able to enlarge the patterns I made and print them out for your own project, but I'm not 100% sure about that. Be warned, though: these ducks do not include the strip needed for connecting them to each other. You'll have to add that on when you draw or trace your duck. See photos at bottom.
Okay, so I drew 8 ducklings with a strip about 3" x 5/8" long sticking out from their chests. I cut these out of cardboard food packaging, most of them with the colorful side facing out, but a couple with the plain cardboard side.
I drew and cut wings, eyes, and some feet to be glued on. I included a little drawing here of how I did my feet, but you could make a bunch of single feet probably as easily. I found a couple ducklings needed feet to help them stand more steadily, but you wouldn't have to have them. Or, on the other hand, you could make feet for all the ducks.
After cutting out pieces, I made tiny slits with my X-acto knife at the rear of each duck and about 1/2" from the edge of the connector strip.
Finally, my kids glued on the eyes, wings, a few embellishments, and wrote the ducks' names on their backs. It was very important that they line up in order. Then they pushed brads through the slits connecting the ducks to each other.
To get the ducks to stand effectively, you'll need to bend (maybe score first) the connecting strips where they meet the ducks' chests, taking turns which direction you bend so they fold up like a fan.
Now you could tie a string around the big duck's neck to pull them or play with them as is. You could skip the kooky wheel-feet thing on the big duck and make it like the others. You could do...whatever you want. That's the great thing about craft projects, you can so easily make them your own.
On a much easier note, if you have enjoyed this book and want to create a project around it, but don't want to do all this prep work, try making play-doh islands, nests, eggs, ducks, etc. My kids enjoyed that, as well. Or make and bake them with clay.
One thing we considered, but haven't gotten around to, is tracing our hands, cutting around them, and gluing them to wide popsicle sticks for the kids to hold up like Michael the policeman did to stop traffic. Just discussing his action in the story reinforced to my kids that when we're outside and I hold up my hand that way, I need them to stop and wait. You could even use these little stop sign hands for visual help in getting your kids to follow directions at home.
Okay, I'm going to stop talking now. Enjoy the book and your projects!