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Story Time: The Little Drummer Mouse

The Little Drummer Mouse activities include 2 science projects involving light, a printable, a Christmas Drum Craft tutorial, and a Star Shortbread Cookies

One of my favorite Christmas songs is The Little Drummer Boy. I’m not making this up, I still choke up every time I hear it so bad that I can’t sing along with the end.

I love the idea of anyone, anywhere, being able to make a difference.  It’s magic to me that we all have that inside us.

So when I came upon Mercer Mayer’s The Little Drummer Mouse, I was sold the instant I saw the cover.  Then I opened it.  And nearly wept at the gorgeous illustrations.  The story is just what you would want it to be:  The little drummer mouse is teased about his drum by all the other animals.  The animals hear of a royal family coming through the forest so that a baby king may be born.  They don’t recognize the family as royal and give up waiting for them, but the little drummer mouse sees a bright new star in the sky and follows it to the stable where the baby is resting.  The rest is just like the song, with the baby king loving the drum more than any of his other gifts.

Le sigh.  So freaking sweet.

The Little Drummer Mouse activities include 2 science projects involving light, a printable, a Christmas Drum Craft tutorial, and a Star Shortbread Cookies

The Little Drummer Mouse Activities

Language

Write a Sequel

This sweet story ends with the little drummer mouse finally getting praised for his drumming and getting to lead instead of follow.  But he doesn’t go back to the woods after his success.  Your littles might enjoy writing a sequel to the book telling what happens when the little drummer mouse goes back to the forest and faces the people who had teased him or been mean to him.  Here’s a free printable for them to write it on.

Free Write a Sequel printable is a great extension activitiy for the picture book The Little Drummer Mouse

Science

Twinkling Stars

Stars twinkle (what scientists call astronomical scintillation) not because of what’s happening out there in space, but because we are seeing them through the moving atmosphere of Earth.  As a star’s light moves through the atmosphere, the light is bent (refracted) many times by changes in the air such as heat or cold and density.  Our eyes see twinkling, but in reality the light is moving a bit in a random direction.  If we could view stars from space or from a planet with no atmosphere, they would not appear to twinkle at all.  These simple science experiments will help your kiddos understand what’s happening.

Bend a Light Beam

This Bending Light Science Experiment is a fun extension for the Christmas picture book The Little Drummer Mouse by Mercer Mayer

What you need:

  • Dark room
  • Water
  • Scissors
  • Shoe box
  • Mason jar
  • Flashlight

What you do:

  • Cut a narrow slit at one end of the shoe box using sharp scissors
  • Fill the jar with water
  • Place the flat-sided jar of water in the shoe box, positioning it at an angle near the slit.
  • Place the flashlight/torch up against the slit so that the beam of light goes straight through to the jar of water

See how the light enters the jar near the top and leaves it near the bottom?

The light moves slower through water than it moves through air.

When the light goes through the water, it slows down and bends.

As the light re-enters the air, the beam of light speeds back up and bends back to its original position.

Why Stars Twinkle

This fun and simple science experiment can help your kids understand why stars appear to twinkle and is a great extension for Mercer Mayer's Christmas book The Little Drummer Mouse

Now that your kids understand how light bends, use this experiment to show them how it works with stars

What you need:

  • A darkened room
  • Flashlight
  • Sheet of bubble wrap

What you do:

Stand about 5 feet away from the wall and shine your flashlight on it

Point out to your kids that the light is white and steady

Now hold the bubble wrap in front of the flashlight and slowly move it back and forth

Ask your kids if the light is still steady even though the flashlight remains still

The light moves as the different densities of the bubble wrap pass in front of it. 

Cool, huh?

Craft

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

Cardboard Christmas Drum

What you need:Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

  • 1 cardboard can (a Pringle’s or coffee can or something similar)
  • Green construction paper
  • Red Ribbon, thin and medium
  • Square of wax paper (cut to fit dimensions of the top of your can)
  • Rubberband
  • 2 skewer sticks
  • 2 1″ styrofoam balls
  • Red craft paint
  • Craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Tape

What you do:

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

Remove lid from can

Wrap green construction paper around can and glue or tape into place

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

Starting at bottom of can, glue end of red ribbon into place

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

Run ribbon to top of can and glue into place

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

Form a triangle by running ribbon back to bottom of can about 1.5 inches from starting point

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

Continue running ribbon from top to bottom and back, forming triangles as you go

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

When you have triangles marching around the can, snip the ribbon and glue into place

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

Run a thread of medium ribbon around the bottom of the can over top the thin ribbon and glue into place

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

Place wax paper over top of can and secure in place with rubber band

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

Carefully (this might be a parent’s job) push a skewer into each styrofoam ball to halfway point

Run a bead of glue around the skewer where it meets the ball to hold it in place

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

Paint balls read and allow to dry

Kids' Craft tutorial to make a Christmas Drum as an extension for Mercer Mayer's The Little Drummer Mouse picture book

Food

These star cookies will look just like the stars the animals hung from the trees.

Yummy Shortbread Star Cookies recipe to accompany the picture book The Little Drummer Mouse and other activities for kids

Shortbread Star Cookies

What you need:

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened plus 1-2 Tbsp extra just in case
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Star-shaped cookie cutter
  • Red and green cookie sprinkles

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Beat butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until creamy
  • Add flour and mix well
  • If dough is crumbly, add 1-2 Tbsp softened butter to pull it together
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out 1/2 inch thick
  • Cut out cookies with a star-shaped cutter
  • Place 1/2 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets
  • Sprinkle with red and green sprinkles
  •  Bake 14-16 minutes until bottoms are golden brown

How can all this yummy stuff not make you look forward to Christmas?  I’m just sayin’.

Love wins,

KT

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Looking for more Story Time fun? Check out:

Story Time: Snowmen at Christmas - Crafts and activities to go with the picture book

Story Time: Snowmen at Christmas

Story Time: Gingerbread Friends - Crafts and activities to go with Jan Brett's Picture Book

Story Time: Gingerbread Friends

Story Time: The Snowy Day - Crafts, activities, and printables to go with the picture book

Story Time: The Snowy Day

KT Brison
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KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys.Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
KT Brison
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Latest posts by KT Brison (see all)

About KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys. Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
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