Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Space Crafts 2019

Every year I do a themed summer craft program for school aged kids. It is easy to plan and usually pretty well attended. This year we had 15 kids join us which was pretty good considering the program fell the day before the 4th of July holiday.

The majority of crafts I choose this year were either variations on crafts we've done before or things I found searching Pinterest. The space theme provides a wide variety of potential ideas. I hope these suggestions come in handy for all the librarians and parents trying to keep kids busy this summer!

Moon Painting

I printed out a template of the moon and had the kids use balls of aluminum foil to paint them with. For extra fun I made sure to have glittery and glow in the dark paints. You could also switch things up by using templates of the moon at various phases or even just paper plates. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the final product.



This was a great chance to use up some DVD's that my library was discarding. All the kids had to do was color with marker on the shiny side of two discs and add stickers as desired. I used a glue gun to glue the DVD's together and add a cup on top. It was my first time breaking out the glue gun and it actually worked very smoothly.

Pool Noodle Aliens

This was probably the most engaging and favorite craft of the kids. I provided the stickers, pool noodle pieces and pipe cleaners and the kids were able to create whatever aliens they wanted to. The comparisons that were made to Forky from Toy Story 4 made it feel especially timely too.

Space Magnets

These magnet sets were purchased through Oriental Trading. I wanted to end the program with a fairly simple craft that the kids could do on their own and this one worked very well.

In addition to these crafts I also provided some coloring pages for the kids to work on at the library or take home. Almost all the kids filled the hour with the initial crafts and just took the coloring sheets home.

Hope these ideas are helpful and that your summer is going well!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Five Little Rockets

In honor of the start of summer reading I thought I'd share this the themed flannel pieces I recently made to go on our mini bookshelf feltboard. 

These five little rockets were made by tracing a template and free hand cutting the colored windows. I used my new glue gun to stick the windows on. Overall it was very simple and I think they turned out pretty cute.

These rockets could go perfectly with any of the many "Five Little Rockets" rhymes out there. With smaller storytime groups they could also be given out to individual kids for a round of the Jbrary classic "Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!". I'll be leaving them out on my feltboard for the kids to explore as they wish. Within a half hour of putting them out I heard one parent and child using them to count and talk about colors!

Hopefully this will give you a bit of storytime inspiration. Wishing you all an "out of this world" summer!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Baby Prom 2019

It's prom season, so I thought I'd share the best (and only) prom themed program I've ever done at my library. It is the adorableness known as Baby Prom! I originally saw this idea posted on the ALSC Blog, and thought it sounded like so much fun that I had to try it. It was a pretty successful program with about 12 babies attending. Here's a peek at what we did!

  Kiddie pool


For this station I took out our library's kiddie pool and filled it with scarves and baby toys for a fun little sensory activity. It was a great way to incorporate items I had already available and seemed to be enjoyed by the babies.

Photo backdrop


This was the hardest part of planning the program. I originally wanted to do a balloon arch, but didn't think that would end up working due to time constraints. What I ended up doing was using the stand for our new green screen and hanging fabric on it. I used two types of silver fabric draped over each other and our maroon curtains we originally bought to use to block out light during movie programs. The silver fabric was the most expensive purchase for this program but can definitely be used again.

Sensory bags


I filled baggies with jello, chocolate pudding and hair gel with glitter. They were then taped to a flat table for the babies to explore. One of the moms commented on what an easy simple way this was the keep the little ones occupied.



For snacks I had juice, doughnuts, mini cupcakes and goldfish crackers. I tried to pick foods that would be as toddler friendly as possible but still could be enjoyed by the parents and caregivers.

Painting stars


Our loose theme for the prom was stars. We had stars on the silver portion of the photo backdrop, stars on the tables and star sprinkles on the cupcakes. To go with this theme I put out a simple craft for the older end of the baby/toddler spectrum. I made copies of this star template and put out glittery paint to paint them.

Bubble wrap dance floor


This was the hit of the party! I bought a roll of bubble wrap at Staples and taped it to the floor. The babies brought balloons from our photo backdrop out onto the "dance floor" and had a ball. About halfway through the program I also started blowing some bubbles. It was definitely the perfect way to reengage them.

All in all I would say the Prom was a blast! I may even make it an annual event. I would love to try to do it as a Saturday program and see how attendance changes. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Unicorn and Dragon Party 2019

I'm not sure where I saw the idea for a "Unicorn and Dragon" party this winter, but when I did I knew it would make a great Saturday program at my library. Unicorns are all the rage at the moment, and dragons make a great addition for those kids who aren't unicorn lovers. The theme appeals to a broad age range and there are so many related program ideas that can work well. 

The day of the party finally arrived last week and it ended up being one of my favorite library programs I've done so far. It was relatively easy to plan, and not too expensive. All in all I spent about $100, which worked out to be about $1.00 per attendee. The major expenses were themed cups, plates, tableclothes and snacks, many of which are optional. 

The program consisted of 5 stations the kids could go to as they wished. It ended up running for almost 2 hours.


Rainbow in a bowl

I wanted to include a simple science activity that wouldn't require too much adult assistance, so this is what I came up with. Baking soda and vinegar is always a fun combination, and I decided we would add some food coloring to make it fit our theme. I'm not sure if I saw this idea somewhere else or just adapted it from other science activities I've done. I put out baking soda, cups of vinegar mixed with food coloring, medicine droppers, straws, spoons and bowls. The kids were meant to use the straws, spoons and droppers to dribble vinegar onto their baking soda. Some made colorful bowls of bubbles while others made messes. A great time seemed to be had by all.

Craft station

Crafts are included in the majority of my programming, but I find them especially helpful when I do large programs like this. Coloring is great practice for writing, and printing out coloring sheets and other printables is typically pretty inexpensive. For my themed crafts I chose unicorn and dragon coloring pages, dragon puppets and a unicorn mask.

Dragon Ring Toss

I purchased this ring toss set from Oriental Trading. When I do a big program I always like to include something that gets the kids up and moving and this definitely fit that criteria. More than one child commented that it was their favorite station of the party. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of this station in action.

Build a castle 

Legos are ever popular and we have a great supply of them at my library. I bring them out whenever possible. To fit the theme the kids were told to build a castle, but most ended up just building whatever they wanted to. 


A Pinterest search alone shows so many snack options that fit this theme. It was almost difficult to narrow down the ideas to a few for each mythical creature.

For our dragon themed snack table I served potato chips (dragon scales), Bugles (dragon claws), and dragon poop (marshmallows covered in green candy melt).

At our unicorn themed snack table we had unicorn fruit snacks, unicorn snack cakes and unicorn poop (multi colored marshmallows).

In addition to our stations we also did a dragon hunt with pictures of dragons hidden throughout the library. Kids that found all the dragons got a "Dragon Hunter" badge I printed on address labels.

Overall it turned out to be a really fun program that drew in wide range of kids. As always feel free to use these ideas or ask me any questions you may have.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Kidding Around: Fairy Tale Science

In keeping with my New Year's resolution to get back to blogging, I figured I'd share one of my most recent school age programs with you all. It was a part of my year round series for Grades K-2, which I call "Kidding Around". We vary themes throughout the year but STEM always makes several appearances. Science programs are fun, relatively inexpensive programs that the kids always seem to enjoy. For our February meeting of "Kidding Around" our theme was one I've seen several places over the years: Fairy Tale Science. It was an hour log program that consisted of three stations for groups of kids to rotate through.


Build a house for the Three Little Pigs

Supplies needed: Straws, Popsicle Sticks, Tape, Legos (optional)

Description: At this station the kids were instructed to build the strongest house they could out of the provided materials. The majority of kids used different techniques to tape the Popsicle sticks together to form houses, which worked pretty well. Interestingly enough this group really didn't make much use of the Legos.

Build a boat for the 3 Billy Goats Gruff

Supplies needed: Aluminum Foil, Cups, Plates, 

Description: The idea behind this station was for the kids to explore concepts such as weight, density and buoyancy as they make a "boat" for the Billy Goats Gruff. At first they were mainly relying on the aluminum foil but with a little prompting they were able to use the cups and plates in some very interesting ways. I especially liked the boat made of three cups attached to the bottom of the plate to form a sort of floating platform.

Build a parachute for Jack

Supplies needed: Coffee filters, Tissue paper, Paper lunch bags, Lego Minifigures

Description: That Beanstalk is pretty high and Jack needs a safe way down. The kids were asked to provide it by building him a parachute. This allows them to learn about concepts such as lift, gravity and surface area. The coffee filters were the most popular material, but the paper bags worked pretty well too. Our Lego minifigures made a terrific stand in for Jack!

Overall the kids seemed to have a good time, and I think they learned a lot too. Feel free to use this idea with the kids at your school, home or library!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Flannel board: 5 little blueberries

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to get back to blogging, and I thought a good way to start would be by sharing this flannel board I made for an upcoming "Winter Blues" themed storytime. 


It was made to go with this rhyme from Canton Public Library: 

Blueberry Roll 
Five little blueberries sitting in a bowl.
One fell out and started to… ROLL!
It bounced off the table and rolled under my seat.
How many blueberries are left to eat? 

The blueberries were made by using a circle template printed from Microsoft Word. Leaves were cut out free hand. Initially they were glued on, but ended up needing reinforcement from small pieces of book tape. Yay for improvising! 

I hope this rhyme comes in handy for any upcoming color or fruit themed storytimes you may be planning. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

American Girl Club: Meet Nanea

After 7 years of running our library's American Girl Club, keeping the program new and interesting can be a bit of a challenge. This is one big reason I am always happy when American Girl introduces a new historical character. This fall they introduced Nanea Mitchell, an American Girl living in Hawaii during 1941. Recently our club focused on Nanea for the first time.

To come up with ideas for Nanea I used the event kit put out by American Girl. These kits are a great resource, but tend to be taken down after a period of time, so if you are interested in these printables I would download asap them. In general I found Nanea a pretty easy to plan for, because you can draw from both Hawaiian themed activities and patriotic ones that are related to WWII.

We started the program with discussion about the time period, Hawaii and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I focused on Nanea's desire to help with the war effort by having them take the "Dip your Paddle in Quiz" found in the activity booklet.

Next we played a game of Hukilau. It is pretty similar to London Bridges, but involves the well known Hawaiian tune, "Hukilau". Two kids link arms to form a "net" that the other kids walk through as "Hukilau" plays. When the line about the "ama-ama come swimming to me" comes, they drop their "net" and trap whoever is underneath. It definitely seemed to go over well.

After that we did a version of Simon Says called Kuma Hula Says. Kuma Hulas, like Nanea's grandmother, are experts in their art and the kids got to take turns playing the part. We used hula moves as our actions, but you could let the kids get creative by including others.

Our last activity was making leis. We used the printable flowers that the America Girl event kit provides and pieces of colored straw to make them. They kids strung both on yarn to make their leis. I got this idea from The Bird Feed NYC. As we made our leis we had a snack of pineapple salsa, Rice Krispie treats (invented in the 1940s) and cookies with M&Ms (also invented in the 1940s).

It was definitely nice to change things up, and I think the kids at the program had a great time. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about this program or any others I have posted.