Welcome to the eleventh installment of the Popping Book Nook! This wonderful FREE book club includes a lot of your favorite bloggers and takes a themed monthly topic and selects a book that is appropriate to the theme. Then, on the last Monday of the month, we all present our books and something that ties in with the books and present a fun hands on learning opportunity such as a craft, project, diagram, report, collage, etc. directly related to the book on our blogs through the Poppins Book Nook. These will not be planned out, or mapped, or set items that you need to create, it is simply up to the participant to reach into their bag of tricks and secrets and share something themed related to the book that they selected to inspire those around them to have some book fun of their own! The age range of each project will also be selected by the participant so it can range from Pre-K to 12th, the sky is the limit. Please make sure to follow along with the Poppins Book Nook on Facebook or on Pinterest!
I hope that you and your children have fun learning about what all the other participants are doing with the theme of Presidents. Last month was Greek Mythology, so this month’s regal new theme is anything related to the Presidents! Since every child needs to learn about President’s, I hope that there is something new that your child has been able to experience in regards to Presidents while you follow along. Elizabeth and I used the book If I were President by Catherine Stier and illustrated by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan.
Elizabeth was especially thrilled by this book about a little girl who explains what she would do if she were president and adventures ensue. This inspired Elizabeth to come up with the idea of making her own playhouse version of the President and the White House. In true Elizabeth fashion, here is her version of the White House as it would be if she were President:
Make Your Own Self-Contained White House Play Set
With this self-contained White House Play Set you can make it however your little future President wants. Then, they can imagine they are President whenever they want to. To make your own Self-Contained White House Play Set you will need the following supplies:
- Shoe box with lid (preferably the type will the lid attached on one side)
- Paint (we used pink)
- Hot Glue
- Paper Towel Tubes (I used 4)
- Velcro tabs (sticky square set)
- Clothes Pins
- Pipe Cleaners
- Misc. Crafting Supplies
- Hot Glue
To make your very own Self-Contained White House Play Set, start by painting your shoe box whatever color you desire. Since If I were President by Catherine Stier uses such vivid imagery, be sure to make your White House in your own image using your imagination. We painted ours pink at the direction of Madame President Elizabeth (she said that pink was a bright and cheery color that would make people smile and be kind to one another). The next feature that Elizabeth wanted was the columns, like on the real white house. To do this, I cut four paper towel tubes down in size to match the front of the white house. Then, I used hot glue to attach the column pillars to the side of the play set. To finish off the outside decorations before painting it, Elizabeth and I used some of the extra toilet paper tubing by flattening it out to make a triangular entry roof. Then, it was time to paint it all presidential pink like this:
We added a few jewels, drew some doors, drew some windows, and generally made the outside look just like what Madame President Elizabeth wanted it to look like once it was dry. To make this a self-contained play set it would need to be used in the open and closed positions, so I added a set of Velcro tabs (sticky square set) to facilitate a latch that could be opened or closed. It looked like this:
Next it was time to draw, craft, and create elements to play with in her Self-Contained White House Play Set. To make sure that it was self-contained, we added all the internal features to the walls and to the underside of the top, which is also the side that has the pillars on the outside. Elizabeth said that she wanted to do everything from the Oval Office in her White House, so we made our own replica of her vision of the Oval Office like this:
We used popsicle sticks to frame and make a desk and chair:
Then we added fun elements like bills, laws, and orders for Elizabeth to approve and put them on the desks. To approve them we needed pencils, so we made some pencils out of toothpicks and permanent markers like this:
And any desk, Presidential or not, would not be complete without a cup of your favorite beverage, right? Madame President Elizabeth’s favorite beverage is apple juice, as you can see here:
Since every President has to have their special friends and companions we added Elizabeth’s puppy Daisy to our White House, with her food, blanket, and water bowl even too!
Then, to make sure we kept the play set portable and self-contained we closed it up carefully to make sure it all still fit inside. Since we were careful while we were making it, everything fit nicely and closed perfectly too.
The final step was to make little figures to play in the play set. To do this, we used clothespins to make people. Elizabeth made her figures using markers, clothespins, misc. supplies, pipe cleaners for hair, and hot glue to keep it all together.
Her play set was now complete.
And all that was left to do was to have fun playing as the President. Watching her act out using her imagination facts that she has learned about becoming a President, elections, and more have been such a joy (and is certainly more memorable than a worksheet or test)!
This play set was fun to build and Elizabeth has carried it around a lot played with it a lot too. See has fun dictating to the other toys, even Beck’s, what new bills and laws she was implementing from the desk of her Oval Office. I thought the fun would stop there, but Elizabeth has also been very excited by one of her History Rocks, Part 2 historical figures: Ashley Rhodes-Courter.
History Rocks – Ashley Rhodes-Courter
I created my History Rocks series to help the children learn about past and current historical figures. You can find more out about these influential people and curriculum’s here: History Rocks Back 1: Boys and History Rocks Part 2: Girls. In these curriculum’s I discuss male and female historical figures. One of the female historical figures is Ashley Rhodes-Courter. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that this female historical figure touched Elizabeth so much and close to her heart that she made paper dolls of her, made different Lego figures to represent her and generally did not want to stop talking about her for months. The main reasons that Elizabeth is so inspired by Ashly Rhodes-Courter is that she cares so much about children and others that she puts their needs before hers continually. This is an important tie into the theme of Presidents because at the young age of 26 Ashley Rhodes-Courter actually ran for political office. You can find Ashley Rhodes-Courter at her website HERE. The political office that she ran for was her State Senate in 2012.
Elizabeth also wants Ashley Rhodes-Courter to stay just the way she is and run for the office of the President of the United States when she is older so that Elizabeth can vote for her because Elizabeth believes that she is the type of leader that would be good to have running our country. Because of this conviction, I encouraged Elizabeth to write a letter to Ashely Rhodes-Courter and she went above and beyond and wrote her a letter, made her a paper doll, and did some other fun things for her too and then mailed it off. Here is what she wrote before she mailed her letter:
I always like to encourage Beck and Elizabeth to follow their hearts and Elizabeth’s faith and inspiration of Ashley Rhodes-Courter is something I will cultivate as long as Elizabeth wishes too and I hope that Ashley Rhodes-Courter continues to be herself and remains an advocate for those that cannot represent themselves based on her life experiences.
So, if you are looking for more than just a Self-Contained White House Play Set and would like to put together a Presidential themed unit or need some presidential unit resources, then please check out these sites and resources I have compiled for the theme of presidents (and elections) and used with my daughter Elizabeth who is in 2nd grade:
- BrainPop Jr. (Rights and Responsibilities, President, Branches of Government, Local and State Government)
- Elections and Voting Unit (LOVE this unit! While it has a large price tag I am using it with Elizabeth all throughout the school year to cover core topics. It is very well laid out and perfect for a 2nd grader.)
- The Democracy Project (a PBS Kids site that we LOVE!!)
- Crafts, Activities, and Worksheets for Presidents Day
Thank you for taking the time to read about our very own Self-Contained White House Play Set. Here are some other presidential themed storybooks that your child may enjoy:
Please make sure to visit all of the bloggers participating in the February Poppins Book Nook:
Enchanted Homeschooling Mom – 3 Dinosaurs – Monsters Ed – Chestnut Grove Academy – Growing in God’s Grace – Life with Moore Babies – Teach Beside Me – The Usual Mayhem – Kathys Cluttered Mind – Adventures in Mommydom – Edventures with Kids – Learning & Growing the Piwi way – A Gluten Free Journey – Preschool Powol Packets – To The Moon and Back – Our Craft ~N~ Things – Fresh Farm Adventures – Are We There Yet? – Afterschool for Smarty Pants – Hopkins Homeschool
Clip art by: Melon Headz
Poppins Book Nook Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky winner will win a copy of So You Want To Be President? The winner must reside within the United States. Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win: