You'll find out just how easy it is to make a simple
compass with my guest contributor today! Annie from
Bird and Little Bird shares a compass tutorial to go along
with one of her favorite children's books, The Eagle!
Every so often I come across a piece of children’s
literature that so endears itself to me, that I can’t
imagine letting my daughter grow up without
experiencing the magic of it herself. This is certainly the
case with The Lighthouse Family series by the singularly
talented Cynthia Rylant. My daughter and I have loved
Cynthia Rylant through a number of her other series,
including the Poppleton books, Henry and Mudge, and of
course, Mr. Putter and Tabby. But the Lighthouse Family
books have a quality about them that is incomparable;
they have become a family favorite that I know will
be read again and again.
The Lighthouse Family books feature an unlikely family,
brought together by circumstance, rather than biology. A
lonely cat, living alone as a lighthouse keeper, finds an
injured dog shipwrecked on her shore after a terrible
storm. The dog plans to stay on at the lighthouse,
healing his wounds and repairing his ship, but the
unexpected arrival of a trio of orphaned young mice
changes his plans, and suddenly a family is made.
Rylant’s beautiful treatment of the subject of family has
made the Lighthouse Family books particularly popular
with families formed through adoption; the books
represent a family that was destined to belong to one
another, even if the circumstances of their coming
together were unusual. I myself am adopted, and have
found the books to be a great way to help my daughter
think about how I came to be raised by her grandparents.
The Lighthouse Family series is made up of five books,
the first chronicling the coming together of the family,
and the other four sharing the family’s adventures as
they meet various other animals who pass by their
home. Rylant’s writing has a soft, flowing quality to it,
and the stories themselves are sweet without being
sappy. The narratives are full of a sense of wonder,
and children who are sensitive to the stress of dramatic
tension in stories will find that these stories contain
adventure, but with a feeling of comfortable certainty
that a happy ending is on the way.
Now, a little something for you to make in the spirit of
these wonderful reads! In The Eagle, the third book in the
series, two of the mice children set off on an exploration
of the woods near the lighthouse. They are given their
first compass as a means of finding their way home, and
this piece of the story got my daughter and I thinking
about compasses and how very cool it is that, well,
they actually work!
We set out to make a basic compass ourselves,
and this is how we did it:
two small pieces of sponge or cork
marker or small stickers
Take the needle and rub it along the magnet, moving
from the eye of the needle to the point. Do this thirty
times or so, always moving in the same direction.
Hold the needle up to the straight pin. If the needle has
been magnetized, it should pick up the straight pin. If it
doesn’t, return to step one and try again.
Put a small piece of cork or sponge at
each end of the needle.
Float the needle with corked ends in a small bowl of
water. Make sure that it stays towards the middle of the
bowl so that the needle can turn freely. After a short
time, the needle should turn so that one end points
north. If you move the needle, it should turn again so
that the same piece of cork points in the same direction.
We then marked this piece of cork with a couple of small
stickers to symbolize “North!” A waterproof marker or
pen would also work well for this.
And really, that’s it. A fun companion activity to
The Eagle, as well as a very easy and satisfying project
that can quickly become a jumping off point for
further scientific explorations. Enjoy!
teacher and librarian in training who blogs about
creativity, parenting, cupcakes and inclement weather
conditions at Bird and Little Bird.
She is also the creator of Alphabet Glue, a quarterly downloadable magazine for families who love books! Filled with activities, printables, projects and plenty of inspiration, Alphabet Glue was created in hopes of helping more families to incorporate creativity, imagination and all things literary into their everyday routines.
Five lucky Crafty Crow readers will win a free copy of the
latest version of Alphabet Glue! Click here for more
details and to enter.
Thank you, Annie! To see the rest of the books and
crafts in this series click the button below!