Walnut Shell Turtles

Family of Turtles

Walnut Shell Turtles

When I saw that the bulk nuts arrived at my local grocery store today my mind was racing with ideas. I have made hundreds crafts with walnut shells but few were young child friendly.  So I played with paper and decided on making a family of walnut shell turtles. We have been talking a lot about family and being thankful lately and my son loves turtles. This ended up being a huge hit, not just while making them but after they dried we played with them all evening.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 1 walnut for every 2 turtles. Because cracking the nuts doesn’t always work perfectly I would have extra on hand. Some card stock ( any color), some white construction paper, markers, glue, scissors and googly eyes.Walnut Shell Turtles
  2. Start by cracking open your walnuts and cleaning out the nuts. My son helped by eating the nuts but not the actual shelling.Walnut Shell Turtles
  3. Next place the shell on the card stock and draw a body , making 4 legs a head and tail.  Cut out and use this as a stencil.Walnut Shell Turtles
  4. Trace the stencil on the construction paper.Walnut Shell Turtle
  5. Have your child color the turtle bodies any colors they want.Walnut Shell Turtles My son decided he wanted them to be all one color, and got upset when some yellow got on two other outlines, so we simply traced 2 more. No biggie.Walnut Shell Turtles
  6. When they are all colored add glue to your shells.Walnut Shell Turtles
  7. Pop the shells on the bodies.Walnut Shell Turtles
  8. Add glue for the eyes.Walnut Shell Turtles
  9. Pop the eyes on. Let dry.Walnut Shell Turtle
  10. Cut out when dry.Walnut Shell Turtle

Books About Family



Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman is one of those books that you read and think oh I love it, but will kids? I am here to tell you yes! They love this old Yiddish folk tale about a little boy, his very special blanket and his grandfather who made it for him. Over the years Joseph’s blanket transforms into a jacket, a vest, a tie, and handkerchief and finally a button. The story is beautiful and kids love not only the repetitive text when the grandfather is sewing but also the continuing storyline of the mice that live under the floor boards who use the scraps of material for all sorts of things. There are no goofy gimmicks, no lights or sounds just a great story and beautiful illustrations in this gem! A fantastic book about family and growing up.

The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family , it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher I really appreciated the matter of fact way it embraced diversity. Kids see that families are not all like theirs and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while they may not all look alike, all families are made with love. Great book , cute illustrations and children love it.


Hair for Mama by Kelly A. Tinkham is beautiful. The story is about a little boy who is desperate to find some hair for his mama who has lost hers to chemotherapy. Marcus wants mama to be in the family photo but she doesn’t want to be the way she looks. His mission comes to a climax when he shaves off all his own hair hoping to give it to his mama. When the barber sweeps it up with the other hair on the floor Marcus is heart broken and goes home in tears. I was sobbing reading this, I knew it was a story about a mom having cancer but the way the author wrote it , it was magical. The complex emotions this little boy felt for his mom and she for him, jumped off the page and you can’t help but cry. I wasn’t sad ,I was touched by the love and desire to fix his mom and make everything better, and his parents tenderness to his feelings. I can’t recommend this book more highly. I should note that this is not a book for toddlers, I would probably wait until a child is 4-5 before reading them this gem.

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler had my son clapping and be bopping in his jammies before bed. This book is so fun to read, the musical words are impossible not to dance to. My son loves jazz, and his only disappointment was that there were no trumpets in the book. He didn’t understand that the family in the book , which included grandparents, aunts , uncles and cousins were listening to a record. I tried to tell him it was like a cd but the illustration was clearly a record player and he wasn’t buying it. Still we loved this book , the family was loving and I loved that the older brother was holding the baby, not common in kids books to see a boy holding a baby. Great book even without a trumpet.