Saturday, October 29, 2016

ATLAS: Halloween Crafts

In the spirit of the season, we made Halloween themed crafts at this month's ATLAS (At The Library After School). Craft programs are some of my favorites to do, and definitely make a great go to theme for my monthly programs ATLAS (3rd-6th grade) and Kidding Around (K-2nd grade). I do them often and highly recommend them.

For this program I came up with a few suggestions by searching Pinterest and let the kids take the reins from there. These ideas are probably too late for use in library programs this year, but hopefully will come in handy in the future.

Popsicle stick art:

This is a Frankenstein version, but it could also be done as a pumpkin, ghost, etc. I've done popsicle stick crafts like these before, but was also inspired by the pumpkins found here. I love the simplicity of taping several sticks together and applying paint, pipe cleaners, etc. It is fun, easy and allows for a great deal of flexibility.

Coffee filter spider webs:

I was originally thinking that the kids would cut these in a manner similar to paper snowflakes, but this was definitely a fun approach too. Hooray for creativity!

Pipe cleaner pumpkins:

I've learned over the years that pipe cleaners are one of the most versatile and useful craft supplies in a children's librarian's arsenal. Orange and green ones make a pretty cute little pumpkin that will stick around even after Halloween is over.

Marshmallow ghosts/pumpkins

After seeing the ghosts stamped with marshmallows at Coffee Cups and Crayons I thought marshmallows would be a good addition to our program. Kids can dip them in paint to stamp out the shapes of ghosts, pumpkins, etc. They can also just cover them in paint as this young artist has done to create a pumpkin patch.

As always I'm happy to answer any questions about these crafts you may have. You can reach me here, on Twitter (@MsKellyTweets) or by email (marrak at libcoop dot net). Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

American Girl Club: Meet Cecile and Marie Grace

It's been a while since I've blogged (due to the fall programing lull and general lack of time) so I figured a good place to get back in the groove is to give another American Girl Club update. The most recent girls we covered for this program were Cecile and Marie Grace, from 1854 New Orleans. Their series is the only American girl series where two characters' stories are combined into a single six book collection.

In case you've forgotten, here is a quick overview of my format for this monthly program:
  • One session of 12 kids is registered. 
  • Age group: 3rd-6th graders. 
  • Length: One hour
  • The only cost involved is usually for snacks (about $10).

Here's what we did this month:
  • We started out with our usual discussion of the books. I highlighted some interesting facts, in particular I talked a little bit about the uniqueness and diversity of New Orleans during this time period. For instance, we talked about the idea of Cecile being a "free person of color" during that time period.
  • The girls completed a quiz to determine whether they are more like Cecile or Marie Grace. This quiz has since been taken off the American Girl site, so get in touch if you need more information. 
  • We played a game that I called "BABY". It is based off a game found here and is a combination of HORSE and volleyball. The basic concept is that when a team scores a point the other team gets a letter. The first team that spells "BABY" loses. I chose this game based on the connection to not wanting to get the baby in the traditional Mardi Gras king cake. It was fun and easy to set up, only requiring a beach ball, fitted sheet and two chairs.
  • I cut paper plates in half to decorate as Mardi Gras masks. The decorating was more time consuming than expected but the attendees definitely seemed to enjoy it.
  • To close out the program we had a snack of french bread, powdered donuts (standing in for traditional New Orleans beignets), and juice.
  • Other ideas I've used with this theme in the past are Mardi Gras musical chairs (musical chairs with Mardi Gras music), and a version of Hot Potato called "Pass the Baby". 
For information on my other American Girl Club programs see the links below:

Hopefully these ideas come in handy for any Mardi Gras, New Orleans or American Girl programs you might be doing with kids. If you have any questions you can get in touch with me here or via Twitter (@MsKellyTweets).