Try-It Tray: Toilet Paper Roll Book Festival

Have you ever heard of an edible book festival? The library has hosted a few. You make a cake inspired by a favorite book. A few photos from past library festivals are shown here.

Well, I’m no baker, but I do like crafts. I decided to take a common household recyclable—the toilet paper roll—and see if I could turn that into a representation of a favorite book. First I made a hobbit house to celebrate the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which my daughter and I are reading aloud right now. See the round door?

Then I made another. And another. Then my daughter made a few. So, what we really have here is The Shire!

Now it’s your turn to use your imagination! Bake a cake. Turn a toilet paper roll into Pete the Cat. Or Jack and Annie’s treehouse. Are you having trouble imagining how to do that? No worries. Just give your child a toilet paper roll and whatever materials you can find, from extra buttons to sticks in the yard. Kids can do amazing things, and they really like trying!

Whatever you do, send your pictures to us—we’d love to see them. Send us your project photos via email or post them to our Facebook page. They may end up in our Community Photo gallery!


Try-It Tray: Take-Away Game

This Try-It Tray is an easy, adaptable, fun game that’s perfect for kids of any age. Use those random knickknacks, tiny toys, or art supplies to create a new game! Play it to pass the time or keep score to select a victor, it’s completely up to you.

Take-Away Game

1. Put 10 to 20 objects in the middle of a table.
Objects might include small toys or items from a kitchen, desk, or purse.

2. All players but one close their eyes.

3. The player with eyes open selects one object and hides it under the table.

4. The player that first guesses which object is missing gets to remove the next object.

We’d love to see your game! What objects did you use? Did you add other rules? Email your stories and photos to and we may feature them on our Community Photo gallery. 

Try-It Tray: Paper Towns

Are you running low on craft supplies? Worry not! This edition of our Try-It Tray uses only a few household art supplies and your imagination.

Paper Towns

This is an easy, open-ended activity that I think kids might really enjoy, because the idea came from my 11-year-old daughter Maddie!


  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Pencils or markers

I gave Maddie some colorful paper scraps to help us both get through an afternoon of virtual meetings, and two days later she had an entire paper town! I find it perfectly charming, as do the small animal figures that Maddie uses to play act within her creation. Do you see them in the library? It’s a bit like a homemade dollhouse, isn’t it? Fun!

I love the way she labeled places and objects, which is such a great literacy exercise. I also think it gives her comfort to bring the outside in. She is missing her favorite Eau Claire destinations, and it helps her to hold them near and imagine a positive future.


We’d love to see your paper towns! Email your photos to and we may feature them on our Community Photo gallery. 

Try-It Tray: Cardboard Cats

We have a new Try-It Tray this week! Create your own clowder of Cardboard Cats using just cardboard, yarn, and your creativity. Snap a pic and send it to us – we love to see your imagination at work! Your picture may be featured right here, on our Kids website.

Cardboard Cats

This Try-It Tray activity is sweet and simple. Make it with just some cardboard, yarn, and creativity. Or adapt it to materials you have in your home, like an old paper bag for the kitty and crayons for the clothes. I used fabric torn into strips for the example to the left. Have fun and use what you’ve got!

If you do use cardboard, keep the shape simple and large enough to cut easily with a scissors. I made all straight cuts in the example above. Keep the bottom of the cat flat so that you can make two small, upward cuts along the bottom to form the paws on either side and a tab in the middle that can be folded back into a stand for your cat. The face you draw and the clothes you create will make your cat one of a kind!

Alternative idea: Be a rebel and make a dog!

-Sam, Youth Services



Try-It Tray: Story Cards

Looking for a fun activity to do with your kids? The Try-it Tray is a great place at the library for kids to try out crafts and games, and we are bringing those ideas online for you to try at home.

We’d love to see your story cards and hear the stories you create, so please comment below, or email us comments and photos at Happy making!

Story Cards Instructions (pdf)