Where the Wild Things Are – Free Printable and Interactive Play Garland!

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When I read a well-known, “classic” children’s book to my daughter, sometimes I remember it and sometimes I don’t. 

Unequivocally, I remember Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. As I sat on my bed in the room I shared with my younger sister, I can remember thinking, “Why can’t my bedroom turn into a forest? Why can’t I rule over my own Wild Things?” 

Apparently, I had thoughts of world domination when I got in trouble and was sent to my room… 

But more importantly, I remember. I remember that I was wearing a maroon jumper and white socks with lace collars on them. I remember pretending that my Cabbage Patch Dolls were my very own Wild Things and that I was an awesome ruler because there were so many of them. 

Elise is only two and I’m pretty sure her thoughts of ruling the world haven’t yet manifested, but when I saw this at the library I just had to borrow it. Not for her, but for me. 

It pleases me to know that Elise, like the millions of us who’ve read it before her, has already fallen in love with this book. Click on “Read More” to see what fun we’ve had with it these past few days. 

Every day, there are many “set” times we read together: first thing after getting out of bed, mid-morning, after lunch, before nap, before bed and a couple other times during the day. 

Despite having 100’s of books in addition to the 10 or so we got from the library this trip, Elise (27 months) keeps bringing me Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. We have this book for another week and I’m sure we’ll read it at least 50 more times before returning it to the library. As if I needed assurances, this has convinced me that we are going to invest in a copy of our own. 

Today, Elise was marching around the living room after her “I’m not going to nap” time with her hand held high in the air, holding a drum stick, saying “I’ll eat you up, I love you so” over and over again.  

I’ve said that to Elise since she was born: even on the very first day of her life, I said that to her. When I witnessed this little event, my heart grew with joy and I almost burst into tears. 

For those people who know me – and who know that I am NOT a crier – I said I almost burst into tears. Let’s not make a big deal of it… ~wink~

But it was fantastic. And weird. And such a “mommy-moment.” Simply put, it was amazing! 

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Not having planned on any activities with this book, I got to thinking. And scheming. And Google-ing. 

Very quickly, I found some free printable coloring pages and knew I could have Elise coloring them in no time while I thought of something to do. I printed them on white card stock because I had run out of printer paper. We only found out because the husband went to print his boarding pass and oops – only card stock was in the pile. 

My bad, but we like to go as paperless as we can ’round here, so printing things just isn’t our style. But, the lack of flimsy paper worked to my advantage! 

Elise colored one set and I colored another while I schemed. Here’s what I came up with. 

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After she finished coloring the group pages (Max and the Wild Things in one picture), I gave Elise the larger Max to color. I cut some twine, snipped some pipe cleaners into sections, and grabbed a hole punch. 

After very roughly cutting out each figure, I punched a hole in them, gave each a piece of pipe cleaner for a hanger, and created an interactive garland for Elise to use for some imaginative play. 

You know… As I’m typing this up, I’m thinking of drawing out some other pieces of the story to hang on this sucker: a boat, some trees, and a moon come to mind first. Then we could make it even more of an interactive story garland. 

Elise was thrilled to have this paper plaything: she spoke each character’s words, pulled them off and put them back on the garland after they had a turn at a rowdy dance party, whirling around the ottoman in our living room. She played with it for nearly an hour, only stopping because she had to sit on the potty. After that task had been completed, she then asked for “bigger puppets.” 

Hmm. Okaaaay…

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I cut out the large Max Elise was preoccupied with while I was snipping and hole punching the little ones, stuck a craft stick to his backside with some glue and ta-da: a “bigger puppet” was born. I repeated the process with the Wild Thing but Elise wanted me to “make him colored,” so I complied with some crayons scribbles. 

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I always try to incorporate some learning into our play, so using the small cutouts as our objects I asked Elise to sort the monsters. Some had horns, others had “people feet” as she called them, some wore clothes – you get the idea. 

We had more fun coming up with the categories than with placing each cutout into a pile, but hey – it was a laughter-inciting good time for both of us so I didn’t fret. 

What do you think of our Wild Thing fun? Let us know in the comments section if you remember this classic story or if you have any ideas we could incorporate for more fun! We love hearing from you. If you don’t see a comments section, you can email us at ruffles and rain boots {at} outlook {dot} com. 

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  1. My boys are 4.5 years old and LOVE that book. Your ideas for making it an even more immersive experience are just great! I think my kiddos will love acting out the story this way!

    1. My daughter just loves this book, too. She knows it by heart and we still read it about twice a week. Our Max puppet is the only survivor, but I might just whip this out again this weekend!

      I hope your little ones will have a great time with it!