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

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

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!