Monday, July 3, 2017

Build a Better World: Toys for the Humane Society

It's that time of year! The joys and chaos of summer reading are here once more. In honor of the "Build a Better World" theme many libraries are using I thought it would be a good time to share one of my favorite ways to help kids improve the world: making toys for the local Humane Society. It is not only a good tie in for the summer theme, but something great to do year round. This was one of our first summer programs this year, and it is definitely a program that I will do again.

How it worked:
I registered for 20 kids from Grades K-6. The program filled up pretty quickly and we wound up with a total of 24. I normally divide this age group into two, but thought combining would work better for the summer months. I explained several ideas for DIY pet toy crafts that I found through Pinterest and created instructional handouts on each. The kids were able to choose from these suggestions or make something completely of their own design.

Supplies needed: 
Toilet paper rolls
Construction paper
Wooden dowels
Feathers or pom poms
Pipe cleaners
Fleece strips
Fleece pieces of various sizes

What we made: 
  • Cat wands: We used yarn to tie pom poms and feathers to wooden dowels. This was an idea I've used previously and one I thought would be easy enough for even the youngest kids.
  • Toilet paper tube toys: I found two different versions of cat toys made out of toilet paper tubes. One involves using pieces to create a small ball, while the other involves cutting the edges into the shape of a sunshine.
  • Yarn pom poms: A fork, yarn and scissors are all that is needed to create your own pom pom. This could stand on it's own or be added to a cat wand.
  • Fleece dog pull toys: Our fleece toys were a big hit. We made braided rope toys, as well as a variety of others. Fleece can be expensive, but luckily ours was donated by one of my crafty coworkers, who was glad to get it out of her own stockpile.
  • Fleece tie blankets: A few of the older kids already knew how to make tie blankets and were happy to make small ones for the animals.

Tips and tricks:  
  • The handouts definitely seemed to help provide the kids with some needed direction.
  • The fleece toys were probably the biggest hit with the kids, as well as the ones I think the Humane Society will appreciate the most.
  • Kids may want to take supplies home and work on further crafts to donate. If you can allow some time between the program and when you drop off the toys this can work out great.
  • Call your local Humane Society before hand. Not only will they be able to verify that they accept donations, they may even have more suggestions for possible toys to make.

Hopefully these ideas come in handy as you help kids do a little good at your library or anywhere else. If you have any questions you can get in touch with me here or via Twitter (@MsKellyTweets). 

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