Tag Archives: Viriginia Lee Burton

Nuts and Bolts

This week, our Five in a Row story for the K-5/First Graders at co-op was Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. It was a little harder coming up with a craft to go along with the story, but with the help of my oldest son, John, we came up with one that was a big hit.

The story is about Mike Mulligan and his out-dated steam shovel, Mary Ann. In the story, they take on one last job, digging the cellar of the new town hall in Popperville. As we read the book, we talked about the different machines depicted, and how Mike Mulligan used his machine Mary Ann to dig faster and better.

The project? The children had to think up and sketch their own time-saving machines.


  • 1/2 sheet of posterboard (one per student)
  • Pencils
  • Markers, crayons, and/or colored pencils
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue
  • Collection of misc. nails, screws, nuts, washers, bolts, etc.

Each student was given 1/2 sheet of posterboard and a pencil and instructed to spend a few minutes thinking about the kind of machine they would design. What would their machine do? How would it be helpful? What would it need to do the job?

Next, the children drew their machines on the posterboard. After they were satisfied with it, they colored them in with crayons, colored pencils, or markers.
While they were working, we plugged in a couple of low-temp mini-glue guns.  When the students had finished their drawings, they were given a handful of various nuts, nails, screws, bolts, etc. to choose from. They would then place them on their pictures where they thought they should go. We then used hot glue (a lot for the heavier items) to affix them to the “machine.”

The children really enjoyed it — and they enjoyed telling about their machines, too! Later that day, they stood up one by one with the drawings of their machines and explained just what their machines were supposed to do. They were all so proud of their ideas — and I was too!

Snowman Picture

snowmanThis week, our kindergarten/first grade class read the story Katie and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. Our craft was a simple but fun snowman picture. If you’ve been experiencing wintery weather lately, give this craft a try.


  • Colored cardstock (any color will do, but we used a dark turquoise color)
  • White cardstock
  • Glue Stick
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Googley eyes
  • Crayons, colored pencils, or markers.
  • Pen
  • White acrylic craft paint
  • Styrofoam plate
  • Water in a container
  • Two small-medium paint brushes
  • Paper towels
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • 3 objects with circular bases, 3 different sizes (i.e. a mug, the lid to a jar, etc.)

To prepare, draw 3 circles of different sizes (small, medium, and large) on a piece of white cardstock using the 3 objects with circular bases. Older students can do this step themselves.

Next, draw a hat (or several different hats if you want to give the student a choice) on the piece of white cardstock. Older students can draw the hat themselves.

Now draw a triangle for the snowman’s “carrot” nose on the white cardstock. Again, older students can draw the nose by themselves.

Have you gathered all of the supplies? Now you’re ready to create your snowman!

1. To begin, color the hat and triangular “carrot” nose with crayons, colored pencils, or makers.

2.  Next, cut out the hat, carrot nose, and 3 circles.

3. Using the glue stick, glue the circles onto the colored cardstock, placing the largest on the bottom, the medium-sized one in the middle, and the smallest on top, forming a snowman.

4. Next, glue the carrot nose onto the face of the snowman. Glue the hat onto the head of the snowman.

5. With a pen, give your snowman a smile. You might also want to draw on arms or buttons.

6. Now it’s time to add the snow! Cover your table top with newspaper. Next, pour a small amount of white paint onto the Styrofoam plate. Dip one brush into the water and then in the paint to dilute it a little bit. Now, hold that brush over your painting and begin tapping the handle of it with the handle of your other brush. The paint will spatter all over your painting, forming the snow flurries.

7. As a final step, glue on the googley eyes using Elmer’s or school glue (this step comes after painting the snow so the eyes won’t get paint on them).

When you’re finished, put it in a safe place to dry, and you can soon hang up your snowy day picture!