TRC Read to Kids

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Go Wild with Books: Jungle books and crafts from TRC's Community Reading Festival

This year marks The Reading Connection’s 6th Community Reading Festival. The June 4th festival is targeted at families with children aged two to six years old and will be held at the Charles Houston Recreation Center in Alexandria from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Please join us!

Our theme this year is “Go Wild with Books!” and with the help of some balloons, decorations and awesome safari crafts, we'll have everything we need to transform the multipurpose room into the deepest parts of the jungle. 

Similar to a Read-Aloud, the Community Reading Festival will have guest readers, snacks and themed crafts. Although these crafts were created for the Community Reading Festival, they would go great at a jungle Read-Aloud of your own.


After listening to great books such as Wild About Books by Judy Sierra, In the Wild by David Elliott and Actual Size by Steve Jenkins, kids will be ready to create some jungle crafts of their own.

TRC has these books and materials for the crafts available at the office if you would like to do a jungle Read-Aloud at your site. Contact Stephanie for materials and then follow the instructions below.

First, when setting out on a safari through the jungle, it is important to have some binoculars to see all of the fascinating wildlife.

Safari binoculars


  • Toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls
  • Duct tape
  • Hole punch
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Markers/glitter pens
  • Label stickers


1. Take two toilet paper rolls and stand them next to each other.

2. Wrap duct tape around them to form the binoculars.

3. Use the hole punch to make a hole on each side of the binoculars (the outside of each roll).

4. Cut a piece of string 18 to 20 inches long and knot one strand of string through each hole.

5. Put a label sticker on the duct tape for the child’s name; some kids will probably need help.

6. Decorate using the markers and glitter pens.

Now that the kids can see the animals up close with their binoculars, it is time for the kids to create some animals for themselves. Here are tiger masks, monkeys and paper chain snakes.

Tiger Masks

  • Paper plates
  • Yellow and orange construction paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Duct tape
  • Popsicle sticks

Before this craft: cut the center out of paper plates, cut yellow and orange construction paper into varying 2- to 3-inch strips and cut out orange triangles about 3 inches across for ears.


1. Starting with a pre-cut paper plate, have children paste construction paper strips on to their paper plate. This will make the tiger “fur.”

2. Give kids two half triangles each to glue on the top as ears.

3. Take one Popsicle stick and tape it on the back of the mask, using a 1- to 2-inch piece of duct tape. This makes a handle for the mask.

Bendable Monkeys


  • Pre-made monkey template
  • Brown pipe cleaners
  • Glue
  • Markers, stickers

Before this craft: print templates of the monkeys (see below for template), and cut out monkeys for smaller children who cannot use scissors. (


1. Give each child a front and back of a monkey and two pipe cleaners.

2. Decorate the front and the back with the markers and stickers.

3. Take the two pipe cleaners and place them in an X formation on one of the monkey templates. Glue the other half of the template on top of the pipe cleaners.

4. Bend the arms and legs of the monkey in shapes.

Paper Chain Snake


  • Green and red construction paper
  • Googly eyes
  • Tape
  • Markers
  • Glue

Before this craft: Cut green, red and yellow construction paper, holding it landscape-oriented, into four strips per page; cut red construction paper into 2-inch by ½-inch strips; and cut a small triangle out of one side of the red strip.


1. Have children take 6 strips of colored paper and decorate them on one side.

2. Taking one strip of paper, make one complete circle and tape the ends together.

3. Thread another strip of paper through the first circle, and tape the ends shut. Repeat until there are six chains on the snake.

4. Glue two googly eyes on one end of the snake.

5. Glue one red tongue near the eyes of the snake.

With these crafts in hand, kids are ready to go on their own jungle safari! When we go wild with books, who knows what we will discover!

To receive credit for this online training, please fill out the form here.

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