Storytime Activities

Pair fun crafts with some of our delightful picture books for an engaging story time event!


Make an apple bottle to share with a friend!

Pair this apple bottle craft with Mine! The new rhythmic read-aloud about sharing by award-winning author Candace Fleming, illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Eric Rohmann, featuring a cast of hilariously selfish forest animals.



  • one large plastic bottle (makes 1 apple)
  • tissue paper in red or green
  • Green paper (1 sheet)
  • tape
  • scissors
  • one brown marker

{Important: Adults there is a fair amount of cutting involved with this activity; please monitor kids who may be doing this part of the activity.}

  • Wash and completely dry a 12 – 24 oz plastic bottle.
  • Cut the bottom part of the plastic bottle (approx 4-5 inches from the bottom).
  • Cut the top part of the plastic bottle (approx 4-5 inches from the top).
  • Cut ½ inch vertical slots into the bottom of the top section of the bottle. This will allow the top and bottom parts to join later.
  • Fill the plastic bottle apple with red or green tissue paper.
  • Insert the top part of the bottle into the bottom part.
  • Optional: Cut out a leaf out of the green paper; set aside for now.
  • Optional: You may choose to color the cap of the bottle brown or green.
  • Optional: Attach the leaf to the cap.
Oh, Panda

Create a panda plate mask and read along as Panda tries to get to the top of the mountain.

Wear your new panda plate mask as you read, laugh, and commiserate with Panda. Don’t forget to repeat the refrain–Oh, Panda! Pair this activity with Oh, Panda by Caldecott Honor-Winner Cindy Derby.

This is an endearing picture book about an adorable (and ingenious!) panda bear who must find the grit within to climb–and overcome–a snowy, slippery mountain.

Materials you will need: 

  • Paper plate
  • String
  • Glue
  • Black paper (one sheet)
  • Black marker


  • Cut two large ovals or circles out of the black construction paper; these will serve as the panda’s ears; set them aside.
  • Cut two medium ovals out of the black paper; gently fold these in half and carefully cut out two eye holes.
  • Glue the two medium ovals to the paper plate around where the eyes will be.
  • Take the two large ovals that you set aside for the ears and glue these to the back edge of the paper plate.
  • To finish, cut a nose from the black paper or draw one directly on the plate finish the face by drawing on the mouth.
  • Make a hole in each side of the plate for the string so the mask can be worn.
The Artist

Show your creativity by making a Milk Carton Boat! 

Get ready to set sail on your own artistic adventure. Pair this activity with The Artist by Ed Vere; this is the story of a brave little artist who goes on an epic adventure to share her creativity with the world!

What You’ll Need:

  • Juice or milk carton
  • Scissors
  • Paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Patterned, thick paper or card
  • Card drinking straw
  • Plasticine or playdough


  1. Cut a rectangular shape out of one side of the milk carton. This part is best done by an adult.
  2. Paint the whole milk carton in your base color using paints. You may need to apply two coats to completely cover your carton in a thick layer. Have fun with different colors, stripes, and shapes!
  3. Cut a triangle of thick patterned paper or card. Fold it around a drinking straw and tape it in place to make the sail. Place a ball of plasticine or play dough on the bottom of the milk carton boat (inside the opening). Plant your sail into the ball so that it stands upright inside the boat.

Breathing Wands

Take a deep breath in and let it all the way out. Pair this activity with Breathe Like a Bear: First Day of School Worries by Kira Willey; illustrated by Anni Betts.

What You’ll Need:

  • A toilet paper or paper towel roll
  • Markers, crayons, or paint
  • Streamers or thin ribbon that is light enough to be moved easily by breath


  1. Take a toilet paper or paper towel roll and cut off the top (about an inch thick) and set aside.
  2. Cut a straight line all the way up the remainder of the roll.
  3. Use this cut to tighten the roll to roll it thinner and tape on top and bottom to hold it in place.
  4. Allow children to decorate the roll with paint, markers, stickers, etc.
  5. Tape strands of thin light decorative ribbon or streamers along the inside of the small ring you cut off earlier.
  6. Tape the ring on top of the thinner roll to make the wand.
  7. BREATHE and notice what you see.
Breathe Like a Bear: First Day of School Worries

Breathe Like a Bear: First Day of School Worries By Kira Wiley; illustrated by Anni Betts

A companion picture book to Breathe Like a Bear that helps kids feel calm and ready to meet new classmates!

Make a Friend

Create your own imaginary friend. Pair this activity with Real to Me by  Minh Lê; illustrated by Raissa Figueroa.

What You’ll Need:

  • A variety of small reused food containers or boxes
  • 1 – 4 toilet paper tubes or paper towel rolls
  • Construction paper
  • A variety of art supplies including glitter, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, pom-poms, ribbon, feathers, etc.
  • Markers and/or paint for decorating
  • Scissors, tape, and glue sticks for construction
  • A hot glue gun


  1. Using the small containers, boxes, toilet paper, and paper towel rolls decide on your friends body shape and leg. Have an adult work the hot glue gun to help assemble the friends.
  2. Once the body and legs are constructed decorate your friend however you would like using the supplies provided. Be sure to add a face, hair, and any other defining features such as a tail or horns.
  3. Give your friend a name!
Real to Me

Real to Me By Minh Lê; illustrated by Raissa Figueroa

An acclaimed author and a Coretta Scott King Honoree pair up for this tender story about friendship and accepting change in this picture book told from the perspective of an imaginary friend who grapples with the complex feelings of growing apart from their human.

Poetry Petals

Celebrate life, nature, and our human role within it. Pair this activity with Remember by Joy Harjo; illustrated by Michaela Goade.

What You’ll Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick


  1. Carefully and with supervision cut out the shape of a flower using the construction paper.
  2. Have kids assemble their flower however they would like on a separate piece of paper.
  3. Help kids brainstorm works that describe their universe including words that represent the earth, sky, animals, plants, stars, and more.
  4. Add these words and phrases to each petal using the markers, crayons, and colored pencils.

Remember By Joy Harjo; illustrated by Michaela Goade

US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s iconic poem “Remember,” illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade, invites young readers to pause and reflect on the wonder of the world around them, and to remember the importance of their place in it.

Paper Plate Hair Cut Activity

Pair this activity with Blue Bison Needs a Haircut by Scott Rothman and illustrated by Pete Oswald

What You’ll Need:

  • Paper plate
  • Scissors
  • Markers, crayons or colored pencils


  1. Have kids draw a face on their paper plate.
  2. With color pencils or markers color the top of the plate with whatever color they would like the “hair” to be.
  3. Carefully and with supervision if needed, cut slits into the top of the paper plate to create “hair.”
  4. Using the scissors carefully, kids can give their paper plate person a hair cut.
Blue Bison Needs a Haircut

Blue Bison Needs a Haircut By Scott Rothman; illustrated by Pete Oswald

Blue Bison tries his best to be patient in this humorous picture book from the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Pete Oswald.

Handprint Kitten Activity

Pair this activity with This Story is Not About a Kitten, by Randall de Sève and illustrated by Carson Ellis

What you’ll need:

  • Black Construction paper
  • Pencil
  • White or silver gel pen
  • Eye stickers or googly eyes
  • Scissors
  • Glue


  1. Have kids trace their hands on the black construction paper with a pencil.
  2. Carefully and with supervision cut along the pencil line. Also cut a cat head shape (one circle with two triangles on top for ears).
  3. Decorate the cat by sticking on eyes and drawing details with the gel pen. Be sure to draw ears, mouth, snout and whiskers!
  4. On the hand print, draw claws on all fingers except the thumb, this will be the tail.
  5. Place the hand print, fingers pointing down, on a flat surface and glue on the cat head to the base of the pinky finger to create the cat!
This Story Is Not About a Kitten

This Story Is Not About a Kitten By Randall de Sève; illustrated by Carson Ellis

A heartwarming picture book about a neighborhood coming together to help a kitten find a home, from a New York Times bestselling author and a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator.

Rain Cloud in a Jar Activity

Pair this activity with Misty the Cloud: Friends Through Rain or Shine by Dylan Dryer and illustrated by Rosie Butcher.

What You’ll Need:

  • Mason jar or clear vase
  • Shaving cream
  • Water
  • Food coloring


  1. Fill your glass jar or vase ¾ full with water
  2. Create the cloud by spraying shaving cream on top of the water.
  3. Drop the food coloring one drop at a time into the shaving cream and watch the color rain down in the jar below.
Misty the Cloud: Friends Through Rain or Shine

Misty the Cloud: Friends Through Rain or Shine By Dylan Dreyer; illustrated by Rosie Butcher

New York Times bestselling author, TODAY Show co-host, and meteorologist Dylan Dreyer’s next Misty adventure is all about getting along and learning to compromise! Social-emotional learning meets weather concepts in this bestselling franchise.

Sponge Stamp Neighborhood Activity

Pair this activity with All Are Neighbors by Alexandra Penfold, and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman.

What You’ll need:

  • Paper
  • Clean dry sponges
  • Paint Scissors
  • Paper Plate


  1. Using the scissors carefully, cut the sponges into various shapes.
  2. Pour small amounts of paint onto the paper plate.
  3. Dip the sponges into the paint and stamp the paper.
  4. Have kids combine shapes to create houses, buildings, etc to create a skyline.


All Are Neighbors (An All Are Welcome Book)

All Are Neighbors (An All Are Welcome Book) By Alexandra Penfold; illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

When a new family moves in, the whole neighborhood comes together to celebrate their diverse community in this uplifting new book from the bestselling creators of All Are Welcome!

Random House Teachers and Librarians