Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2016 Summer Reading Finale Party

It's that time of year again. Summer reading is finished at my library, and I am busy planning my fall programs. I also finally have time to look back a little on the summer, and share with you my finale party. Like last year and the year before, this party involved a variety of stations loosely related to the summer theme. It is invite only, and meant as a reward for kids that finished their reading logs. Without further ado, here's what we did this year.



Our stations this year:

Sports themed crafts:  Crafts at this station included painting cut outs of balls, decorating a baseball pennant, and making a medal using aluminum foil.



Fun with bubbles: Our bubble pool has become somewhat of a tradition at these parties. The bubble recipe I use is simple, easy and has definitely served me well. 3 gallons is usually enough to use in my small kiddie pool.

My recipe:
1 gallon of water
1 cup Dawn Dishsoap
4 tablespoons of glycerin (purchased at craft stores like Michael's or at the pharmacy)


Board games: With the theme of sports and games I thought it was only fitting that I bring out a few of the library's board games. One of my goals with this station was to provide a station that would engage the slightly older kids at the party.


Legos: As you've probably realized by now I will use any excuse necessary to bring out our collection of Legos. Hooray for what is quite possibly the most useful donation my library has ever received!



Cup tower knockdown: A tower of red plastic cups managed to keep several of the kids in attendance entertained for the majority of the program. The goal was to knock them down by throwing various implements, including balls, pieces of pool noodle and paper plate rings.
Photo from openclipart.org

Pin the football in the goalposts: Twists on "Pin The Tail On The Donkey" are a staple of my programs. What I like about this game is how versatile it is in terms of age level. Toddlers and preschoolers can enjoy it just as much as school age kids. For this version of the game I used clip art footballs and made goalposts on the wall out of masking tape.

Photo from pixabay.com


As always, if you have any questions about this party or any other program feel free to get in touch. You can reach me here, on Twitter (@MsKellyTweets), or by email (marrak at libcoop dot net). Can't wait for the fall to start so I have more fun ideas to share with you all!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!: Balloon Olympics

With the CSLP theme of sports, and the actual games themselves, it was pretty much a no brainer that I was going to tie the Olympics into my library programming. My tweens really love competition and "Minute to Win It" style games, and in the past we've done similar programs based on other themes. For instance, we did Chocolate Olympics awhile back. When I was searching Pinterest for summer ideas I noticed some fun games involving balloons and figured that would be another great theme to base a few competitive games on. Thus our first ever Balloon Olympics was born.


The Opening Ceremony (a.k.a. my basic overview of the program):
  • I limited this event to 12 kids and to Grades 3-6.
  • The only expense involved was for about 6 packs of balloons, all purchased at my local dollar store. These balloons could have probably accommodated an even bigger group than I had.
  • The program ran just short of 1 hour.

The Events:
  • Hula Hoop Toss: I got this idea from this site and thought it fit perfectly. The basic idea is that you label balloons with point values and tape them to the floor. The kids toss the hula hoops and earn points for each one that lands over a balloon. 
  • Balloon Volleyball: An old sheet, some chairs and a balloon are all the equipment you need for this one. Split the kids into teams and let them enjoy!
  • Balloon Baseball: We used a balloon as the ball and a piece of pool noodle as our bat as we played a simple and quick game of baseball.
  • Balloon Races: The kids had to race while they hit balloons to keep them in the air. 
  • Waddle Races: For this race, they had to race with balloons between their legs. Definitely one of the funnier moments of this program!
  • Sweep the Balloon: I found this race at Finding Sanity. We didn't get to this race, but the way it would have been done would have been having the kids use a broom to sweep a balloon across the room as fast as possible.
  • Balloon Popping Competition: To end the program we all raced to pop as many balloons as they could within a few minute time period. 

The Closing Ceremony (a.k.a. my tips and tricks):
  • Blow up the balloons beforehand to save as much time as possible.
  • Make sure to review the rules of games such as baseball and volleyball before playing the balloon versions. It will come in handy in resolving any situations that arise during play.
  • Prizes aren't necessary, but can be fun. All my kids got a simple certificate to take home in honor of their participation. 

If you have any questions about this program (or any others on this site) feel free to get in touch. Looking forward to the fall and updating you on all the fun stuff we'll have going on!

Monday, July 11, 2016

On Your Mark, Get Set, Craft!

One of the first programs I do every summer is crafts related to whatever the summer's theme is. It always seems to go well, and provides a fairly low key program for the week of the Fourth of July.  Doing this program relatively early in the summer also means there is time to share the crafts with you all as a source of last minute inspiration!

The "On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!" theme was relatively easy to plan for. The majority of ideas were found by searching Pinterest for "Sports Crafts". As for supplies, the only thing I had to purchase were the visors ($1 each at Michaels before coupon) and the medals (from the CSLP catalog).

As usual, I held two sessions of this program (one for kids in Grades K-2 and another for kids in Grades 3-6). Both were pretty well attended with 8-10 kids. Each had about 4 craft suggestions to choose from, but they could also use the materials to create any other crafts they desired.

K-2nd graders

 

Foam visors      


Supplies: 
Foam visors
Random foam craft pieces and stickers

Cost: Less than $10

My splurge for this session was foam visors for the kids to decorate with some of my extra foam stickers. I had thought of making visors with paper plates and yarn (like the older group did), but figured with the younger ones it would be easier to have premade ones.


Golf ball Painting

Supplies: 
Golf balls
Plastic bins
Paint

Cost: Nothing.

We put some of my old golf balls in a pin with paint and painted by rolling them around. Probably the messiest of all the crafts, but definitely the most fun! One warning, some of these did have to dry overnight before the kids could take them home.



3rd-6th graders


Mini Skateboards


Supplies:
Popsicle sticks
Toothpicks
Beads
Markers or crayons
Glue or tape 

Cost: Nothing

This is an idea I saw a few different places, including PBS Parents. You make a small "skateboard" by decorating a popsicle stick and adding toothpick and bead "wheels". It was easy but did take some tape to make the beads stay on the toothpicks.


Q-Tip Painting Basketballs

 


Supplies:
Q-Tips
Paint
Basketball printout

Cost: Nothing

I found this idea at the Dolen Diaries and I knew when I saw it that it would be perfect for a sports themed craft. I chose to do it with the older kids because I knew they would have the patience and precision to cover the basketballs with small dots of paint.


Both groups

 

Medals


Supplies: 
Medals (from CSLP catalog) or homemade
Markers or crayons

Cost: $7.00

I ordered these medals as a craft for both groups to do. They weren't all that expensive and came in a pack of 24, which was perfect for my purpose. If you wanted to make your own that could probably work too.

Desk wrap


Supplies: 
Butcher paper 
Markers
Crayons

Last year I had the kids decorate paper to wrap my desk in, and figured I would carry on the tradition. It is a fun way to make the kids feel included in our summer decorating.


I hope these ideas are helpful, and that everyone is having a great summer. Feel free to get in touch with any questions via Twitter (@MsKellyTweets), email (marrak@libcoop.net) or in the comments.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Toddler/Preschool Dance Party 2016

We are slowly but surely getting started with summer reading at my library and during our current storytime break I thought another dance party for toddlers and preschoolers would make a great evening program. It is fun, easy to plan and the active nature of it fits the "On your mark, Get set, Read!" theme.


For those who have not tried doing this kind of program yet, I highly recommend it. If you need a playlist to get you started, here are the songs I used this time. For more ideas you can also see my previous dance party post or Pinterest board.

  • Body Talk on Kids in Motion by Greg and Steve: One of the few songs I reused from my previous dance party. It is just such a good warm up song. As a bonus it introduces many great vocabulary words for body parts.
  • Body Rock on Kids in Motion by Greg and Steve: This is another favorite song with a variety of directed motions. It is also a little faster tempo so it seems to get the kids excited.
  • I Really Love to Dance on Buzz, Buzz by Laurie Berkner: My other repeat song from my previous dance party. It is a fun song that fits into a dance party perfectly.
  • Let's Go Swimming on Top of the Tots by the Wiggles: I liked the idea of including a few summer related songs to get into the spirit of the season. 
  • Wipe Out by the Surfaris: Another summer themed addition. I had the kids pretend to surf then yelled "Wipe Out" throughout the song so they could pretend to fall down.
  • Rockin Robin on Songs for Wiggleworms: We pretended to be birds and flew around the room to this classic. 
  • Twist and Shout on Songs for Wiggleworms: This song was chosen as one of my designated shaker songs. I also included it because I wanted another song the parents would recognize.
  • I know a chicken on Whaddya Think of That? by Laurie Berkner: Another terrific shaker song. My kids are familiar with it from storytime, so that was another definite plus.
  • Wimoweh (the Lion Sleeps Tonight) on Whaddya Think of That by Laurie Berkner: As an ending song this worked wonderfully. We sat on the floor and pretended to sleep when the lion did. When it got to the chorus of "Wimoweh" we waved scarves around.

Logistics:
  • Once again I made a playlist on my iPhone and connected it to my CD player with an auxiliary cable. I would definitely recommend this as a method if your group is small enough. Mine was about 30 people and it worked well.

What I learned:
  • Getting parents to participate can be hard. I made several requests for grownups to get up and dance at the beginning of the program but still didn't get the participation I hoped.
  • Participation may look different for toddlers vs. preschoolers. This is totally normal developmentally. Both are benefiting from participating and having fun.
  • Digital music collections such as Freegal are a good resource to recommend to parents at a dance party. They often contain some great kids music. 

I hope these ideas have help if you are planning a dance party, or just provide some good song suggestions for the kids in your life. If you have any questions you can always comment here or email me at marrak at libcoop.net. Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Flannel Friday: Going On A Picnic

My contribution to this week's Flannel Friday is a set of flannel food I created for a picnic themed storytime I did this past week. I am always up for talking about food at storytime so this seemed like a very seasonally appropriate way to do so!


A few pieces were reused from previous flannel sets. For instance the apple is from my Five Little Apples set, the cupcake is from the Five Little Cupcakes set I created, and the strawberry was made to go with my Baby Bear Sees Blue flannelboard. The other pieces were traced using templates I found online.

Here is the rhyme I used with these pieces:

Going on a picnic
Going on a picnic,
Gotta pack a lunch.
What should we bring to munch, munch, munch?

I found this rhyme at Sunflower Storytime. Not only does it fit the theme, I also liked that it encourages kids to participate and provide their own input as they suggest what we should bring on our picnic. One major benefit of this is that it gives kids practice taking turns, which I consider an important school readiness skill.

We followed our rhyme up with a game of "I Spy" using these same pieces. This is something I've been meaning to do in storytime since I heard it mentioned in a webinar I viewed awhile back. This game encourages color recognition and categorization. It also allows kids to see the patterns that exist among the pieces.

The Flannel Friday Roundup this week is hosted by Melissa from Mel's Desk! Check it out here to see what was shared. To participate in upcoming roundups, or get more great storytime ideas head over to the Flannel Friday Blog or Pinterest page. You can also follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Summer Reading Graphic: On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!

Summer is just about here, and like most other children's librarians I am getting prepared for our summer reading program. Our program starts a little later than most, but I figured it was still time I kicked off the summer fun here on my blog.

For all you other librarians that are also using the CSLP theme and already getting things underway I figured I'd share a graphic I made. It can be downloaded here.


I created this graphic with the design website Canva, using free images taken from Canva and from Pixabay. These are definitely great sources to use for free photos and graphic creation if you aren't familiar with them. This particular graphic is formatted to be a Facebook cover photo but could be used as a  picture on advertising as well. Feel free to use it and share it as you'd like. Hoping for a fun and successful summer for us all!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Money Smart Week: Money Madness for Grades K-6

Like a lot of other libraries, my library recently participated in the national Money Smart Week initiative. One new addition to this year's money themed programming is a program for Grades K-6 that I called "Money Madness". It gave us an opportunity to collaborate with our local bank, teach a little about money, and shower the kids with some money related swag (from the Money Smart Week people and our local bank).


The format of this program was simple: A brief discussion of money and saving (led by representatives of our local bank), followed by a series of money related stations. I tried to include a variety of activities to suit the children's interests and age range. We had 20 kids come, which is pretty good attendance for us.

Bank on It


One of the stations we did was a game I found at Oceans of First Grade Fun. The idea is to roll dice and fill in coins on the piggy bank corresponding to each dice roll. Very easy because the only prep I had to do was print off the provided printable and take some dice from our library's collection of board games.

Coin rubbings


I provided the kids with paper, pencils, crayons and coins and instructed them to make coin rubbings. I also gave them some aluminum foil to create 3D coin rubbings. This is a great way to get the kids familiar with the different coins in a fun way. It also has the side benefit of adding a little art to program as well.

Aluminum Foil Boats


This classic activity has always been well received any time I've done it with kids in the past. It is a great way to teach kids a little about bouyancy, weight and other scientific concepts. The twist this time was that instead of real coins we used fake plastic money I bought at my local dollar store. The real money probably would have been the better choice, because the fake money was pretty light and floated just a little too easily.

Heads or Tails

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

The idea for this activity came from a compilation of ideas given to me by the Money Smart Week coordinators. The way it worked is to put a group of different type coins into a cup and have the kids use the cups to do a coin toss. They must then determine how many heads came up, how many tails came up, and the value of each. To record I made up this sheet. As they played the game the kids has the opportunity to practice counting, coin value, and addition.

In addition to these stations I had printables available. A color by coin worksheet was definitely a hit with the older attendees, while a design your own money template was a little less popular.

All in all, this program seemed to go pretty well. Any opportunity to work with another local organization is a win in my book. I hope to find other ways to collaborate with this bank in the future. Any ideas you can suggest are always greatly appreciated!