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!


  1. Hi Kelly,

    Lois Burgess

    3 mins

    I am looking for some feedback, and suggestions for working with tweens at my library. Previously, I had been hosting a twice monthly afterschool program: "Library Lab". It was an hour and half program consisting of arts, crafts, no bake cooking, and a snack. Our numbers have been small this past fall, only 2-3 kids.

    So yesterday we rebranded our program to be on Friday afternoons(same time) lasting for 10 weeks, and called it "Friday Fun". I had 5 children come yesterday (children who had previously been coming) . We had a snack, and made puffy paint (fabric paint) snowflake window clings. The kids had trouble not oversqueezing the paints, so a lot of air got into the paints and I am not sure they were that into it.

    I spent a lot of my time, negotiating irritations among the kids and it was a long hour and a half!

    I am not sure I am the right person for working with my tweens...any ideas for how I might restructure my program and how I can set "rules" and better interact with them.

    Stories of your experiences would be great too. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Lois,
      Definitely appreciate you sharing your struggles. Tweens are a difficult age group no matter what. I'll do my best to share a few thoughts:

      First, I find I've had the most success when I stick with a specific theme each time. For instance all no bake cooking, or all Minute to Win It. This might draw a few more kids because that specific theme sounds fun.

      I also try to include physical activity whenever possible. Kids need to burn off a little energy after school!

      Finally, I keep my programs to 45 minutes-1 hour, for both scheduling issues and kids attention spans. If doing shorter programs is possible for you it might be worth trying.

      Finally, keep trying and don't get too discouraged, like I said, tweens can be a tough crowd :)