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Harry Potter Party! Library Program

I was a bit skeptical about this as Harry Potter was big in my day, so would it still create excitement now with youth? Apparently so…

IMG_0335 For this event we got sorted into our Houses, created our very own golden Snitch, Transformed into owls, went to Potion’s class, made a witchy treat, and had couple of props for photo ops. And we all had a blast.  And most surprising to me was that the boys outnumbered the girls…which NEVER happens!

For the sorting I found a great printout for (what I considered badges) at My Cotton Creations and after cutting them out just stuck them in a witch’s hat and had the kids pull out their House for the night.  They were excited they got to wear the badges and it made everyone feel involved because EVERYONE wanted to know who was in their House.

After we were sorted and settled we began our Snitch making (See example in above picture). For this project all that was needed were:

  • Small Styrofoam Balls
  • Gold Glitter
  • Gold Glitter Glue
  • Long White Feathers
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint Brushes

(Covering all tables to be used for the event with old newspaper is major clean-up time-saver too! And if you can get some volunteers to do it…Even better)

So first we poked holes in two opposite ends of our Styrofoam balls where our feathers would eventually go and then coated the whole thing in some Mod Podge.  Then things got a little (well more than a little..) messy and we covered our Snitches in gold glitter.  After that we put a squirt of gold glitter glue in our previously made holes, and stuck in our feathers.  And there you have it…magnificent Snitches!

We left our Snitches to dry for a bit and moved on to Transformation class!  For our transformations into owls we decorated some eye masks.  For this project the following materials are what I used, however, the possibilities are endless:

  • A few packages of Eye Masks (they are 5 for a $1 at the Dollar Store)
  • Colorful Feathers (again tons of options at the Dollar Store)
  • Sequins
  • Puff Balls
  • Glue/Glue Dots

This one’s pretty self explanatory…just let the kid’s creativity go crazy and they will come up with a great “owl” mask.

After our Transformation we headed over to Potions. The following items are needed for this interactive experiment (Also, it’s nontoxic if anyone happens to get the urge to try the potions…which WILL happen):KOOL-AID POWDERED - SOFT DRINK MIX - LEMONADE UNSWEETENED

  • Tonic Water
  • Different Colors/Flavors of Kool-Aid
  • Sugar
  • Lots of Clear Plastic Cups
  • Spoons
  • Solid Colored Plastic Cups

For this project, myself and a volunteer had prepared our magical potions beforehand.  All the “magical potion” requires is mixing a bit of the Kool Aid flavoring in with enough sugar so that the color of the Kool Aid can’t be seen in the solid colored plastic cups. (It will take quite a lot of sugar in comparison to the Kool Aid.)  Then we also filled up our clear plastic cups with the bubbly tonic water.

When the “students” arrived all they saw were cups that were apparently all white powder and then clear bubbly cups.  They each took a cup of magic potion and a cup of bubbly water and then spooned in a bit of their potion.  I didn’t know if this would go over because it was so simple, but they all seemed to enjoy it…a lot. Then they all began exchanging potions to see what would happen and of course they ended up turning different colors which was pretty cool too and not something I would have thought of.  Of course everyone started to sneak in quick tastes of their potions so luckily nothing bad was in it.

https://i2.wp.com/media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/65/12/bf/6512bf0e748799bb436b2ce94e607de9.jpgAfter everyone was done with mixing their potions (and washing their hands) we moved on to creating our own snacks. Witch hats made out of Fudge Stripe cookies. I found this idea on Go Grow Go! They were simple for the kiddos to make and were verrry tasty!

  • Fudge Stripe Cookies
  • Orange Frosting
  • Hershey Kisses

So each kid got a napkin with a cookie on it and a Kiss to unwrap, while an adult went around with the frosting.  The frosting just got squirted on top of the bottom of the cookie and then the Kiss gets planted on top. Then they were ready to be eaten!

There were also a couple of photo props like the one below which I just handmade myself.  The kids had fun taking pictures of themselves with their phones and I had some fun some with it too!IMG_0330

Worms! A Summer Reading Program Adventure

I may finally be prepared to write a post about a Summer Reading Program event….maybe. Okay (deep breath) I am past the half way mark for SRP programming this summer..YAY! So for one of my “successful” programs Diary of a Wormthis summer I held a Worms! Program. It was not my personal favorite program as I don’t like worms and it was uber messy….but the kids really enjoyed themselves. 

Recap:

For the program we started out with some interesting Did you knows?  about worms (which the kids did know a few of!) and then read the fabulous Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin.  After all the latecomers stopped trickling in, we moved the group outside where we made our very own Worm Hotels. Then we headed back inside, got washed up, and made dirt cups. I stuck to those three core events and then encouraged everyone to check some books out about worms or other underground creatures.

Worm Hotel:

I got the idea for my worm hotels from  education.com.  I did modify it a bit to suit my needs though and of course learned a ton from what I did do. 

Materials:

  •          Glass or Plastic Jars (I used the small sized canning jars, but in the future I would use larger ones)
  •          Sand
  •          Soil (preferably from your yard, not potting soil)
  •          Something to scoop all of the dirt and sand out with (I used plastic cups)
  •          Small Paper Bags (to put over finished hotels)
  •          Worms! (I just bought containers of them at Wal-Mart)

 To start with I set up jars on tables and on the ground outside around pails of dirt and sand.  The kids got into groups of 3-4 around the jars with their parents helping and layered sand and soil until it was near the top. Then I brought out the worms…and the kids got ecstatic! I could not believe how much they loved playing with them.  Parents were snapping pictures as the worms dangled from kids hands (unfortunately I didn’t get any because I was so BUSY). After everyone had their fun with the worms, two were put in each jar.  Then I told everyone that they could come visit their worms at the library later in the week to see the different paths they had made.  When everyone went in to wash up, I had a volunteer put a little water n each jar and then covered them with brown paper bags.

The end result: The kids loved making the hotels, but I didn’t have anyone come back to visit the poor little worms…which was okay because I was able to show the jars at programs I had within the week.  However, the paths weren’t great because my jars were too small, so I would definitely use larger jars in the future. I would have also have planned for the groups to decorate their own paper bags for the hotels to make it more personalized.

Dirt Cups:

  •          Pudding Cups
  •          Oreos
  •          Gummy Worms
  •          Plastic Bags
  •          Spoons

I like doing dirt cups at programs. They aren’t too difficult and everyone loves them. Everyone gets a pudding cup, a plastic bag with a cookie, two worms, and a spoon.  Kids get to crush up their cookies  in the bag, dump in the cup, add the worm, and ta-da….Dirt Cup. Easy Peasy!

My only problem was that I had no idea so many people were going to show up, so I ended up running out of pudding, but we made up for that with extra cookies and worms!

Overall the program as a whole was a hit and I learned a lot!

Pumpkin Decorating Palooza! A Family Library Program

So I’m stealing this post from my old blog and posting it here now, in May, because if anyone else is like me, planning fall events has already started even before Summer Reading Program Kick-Off happens.  And this was such a fun program that was a huge hit, I just thought I would share : )

 This past October I really wanted to have a pumpkin decorating contest throughout the month to add some fun decorations around the library and get more people into the library who might not have stopped in before.  I was kinda stuck on how to get people to actually birng in their own pumpkins though.  Soo…I decided to have a Pumpkin Decorating Palooza!

I was worried it would be too spendy for my limited budget, but it really wasn’t considering most of the supplies were just random stuff I found in my craft cabinet. And I found these great little fake pumpkins at the dollar store!  The program ended up being a huge hit and it will most likely become an annual event.

 

Supplies Needed:

– Fake Pumpkins (Dollar Store)

– Paint and Paintbrushes

– Glue

– Mod Podge

– Misc. Decorating Supplies:

  • Tissue Paper
  • Google Eyes
  • Mesh fabric
  • Paper crowns
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Old book pages
  • and whatever random crafty things you have…

– Old newspapers (to cover tables)

Here’s What Went Down:

First I gathered all of my supplies and began to cover all of the tables in newspaper.  (I did enlist some help from teens to get all of the tables covered 😉

Then I stocked up a table and designated it the “Supply Table”.

Then I got all of the pumpkins out and waited for people to come!

Thankfully I had a couple volunteers to help with handing out the pumpkins and helping kids pick out supplies!  When people started coming in we gave them each a pumpkin and told them to be as creative as they could be. We also said that if they wanted paint to tell us which color and we would pour some on the paper next to them which turned out to be a great idea! They didn’t get the paint everywhere and everyone was able to see all of the colors.

This was a super easy program as almost every child had a parent come with them and the kids didn’t need much direction when it came to decorating.  And I had so much fun seeing what these kids came up with!

Once the deocrating had commenced (and all of my pumpkins were taken!)  I told everyone that they could take their pumpkin home or they could leave it at the library for people to vote on throughout the month and they could win a prize from the local bakery (that got their attention!).

The cleanup was a breeze too.  I got rid of a ton of old craft supplies and the tables cleaned up just by taking off the newspapers.

Plus I got a ton of pumpkins to put in the library (and I heard someone say “Who’d have thought we could do this at a library?”  Made my day :)!  Now people keep asking if they can bring in their own pumpkins, which is just what I wanted!

Overall, a big success and hopefully I can repeat it next year! I think I will try asking locals for donations of real pumpkins too for painting and decorating purposes to cut down on costs.

Fishing for Good Read Aloud Storytime Books!

I recently held a special storytime that was so much fun I just had to share! Our theme for the night was “Catch a Good Book,” so that’s what we did; caught our books!  Before the event, I had set up a sheet hung between two tall tables and hid a volunteer behind it to help me out.  I also prepared a couple of fishing poles to catch the books with. I tyed yarn to the end of the poles and attached a clothespin to the other end of the yarn. 

Ribbit RabbitWhen the kiddos arrived we started to fish our first book of the night. I threw my line over the sheet and my volunteer attached the book and pulled on the line to let me know I had caught something. I pulled the first book in, but it wasn’t a fish book; it was a frog one! We began with one of my new favorite read alouds Ribbit Rabbit written by Candace Ryan and illustrated by Mike Lowery.  I really enjoy this one because it has repetitive words throughout the story that little ones like to repeat with you. PLUS it teaches a lesson about friends getting upset with each other and then making up at a level which is easy for everyone  to comprehend.

Pirate Treasure Hunt!After Ribbit Rabbit we went fishing again, but this time we ran into pirates! We went on to read the book Pirate Treasure Hunt! written by Jan Peck and illustrated by Adrian Tans.  This book is a great one to encourage involvement as it’s just like Going on a Bear Hunt so there are a bunch of repetitive sayings and fun action rhymes. (Can’t go over it, Can’t go under it….etc.) The kids enjoyed feeling like they were a part of the story (and not having to sit still). Plus I absolutely LOVE the ending to this one 🙂

874865For our third and final catch of the night we got really lucky and pulled up One Dog Canoe by Mary Casanova.  This book was a huge hit and another one of my new found favorites.  I’m a huge fan of this story and the author Mary Casanova, having met her at a library event earlier this year.  She is an amazing person and a huge inspiration to me. (One of the main reasons I’ve started writing for the pleasure of writing again!) This particular story tells the tale of a girl going down the river on a canoe with her dog, but suddenly all the animals along the shore want to join them!  All of the kids (and parents) I’ve read this to haven’t been able to keep a straight face during this story; it is just so funny and the pictures by Ard Hoyt are awesome too!

I set off one morning in my little red canoe. My dog wagged his tail. “Can I come, too?? “You bet,” I said. “A trip for two – just me and you”

~One Dog Canoe by Mary Casanova

After we were finished reading our stories, the kiddos got to catch their own books as their prize for the night.  They had so much fun casting their lines and catching books! Once they were all situated with their newly caught books we enjoyed a snack of Goldfish and Kool-Aid to keep with the fishing theme. 

I had such a great time putting on this program and wish I could make every storytime this extravagant. 

Does anyone have any favorite fishing books or know of any other great read alouds involving water creatures?

Fairies and Ireland Oh My!: Leprechaun in Late Winter by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House Book Club)

So I started a Magic Tree House book club for kids early last fall and with each passing month I look forward to it even more.  Each month we read a different Magic Tree House book by Mary Pope Osborne, discuss the book, eat a themed snack, and then do an activity or two.  But we always end with a hunt for a sticker to put in our passports. I put quite a bit of time into making these passports and the kids LOVE them so it was all worth it.  They get to put down the date of their “adventure”, answer a question in relation to the book and then add their sticker.

Leprechaun in Late WinterMary Pope OsborneJunior FictionRating: 5

Leprechaun in Late Winter
Mary Pope Osborne
Junior Fiction
Rating: 5

This month we got to read Leprechaun in Late Winter which was a great book we all enjoyed.  It was a story about an interesting, but not very well known (to me  anyway) lady from Irish history, Augusta, later known as Lady Gregory. I won’t give away what she becomes in case anyone doesn’t know, because this story kept me guessing until the end and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

Jack and Annie are taken back in time and transported to Ireland to help Augusta for reasons unknown to them, but through a series of trial and error, and of course high adventure they find out their purpose and get the job done, putting Augusta on the right path. A lesson about how helping others doesn’t always translate into being a good person if you aren’t very nice is also thrown into the story, which I thought was a nice added element.  A lot of attention is given to the si (pronounced shee) or fairies of Irish folktales which was a lot of fun for the kids and I to read about.  This was a great adventure story, especially for this time of year, enjoyed by all who attended (including myself).

Leprechauns and Irish FolkloreMary Pope Osborne and Junior NonfictionRating: 5

Leprechauns and Irish Folklore
Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce
Junior Nonfiction
Rating: 5

I also highly recommend getting the companion book, Leprechauns and Irish Folklore by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce with Leprechaun in Late Winter though.  I brought this book to show the kids a few other interesting facts and some neat pictures, but we ended up going over our typical time length because everyone was sooo interested in it!  I ended up reading different sections about people who recorded Irish folktales because they wanted to know more about them.  But, their favorite part (and mine too) was where descriptions and illustrations were given about different kinds of fairies. Everyone who attended ended up requesting their own copy so they could learn more, which was so AWESOME!

After all of our discussing, we did a rainbow experiment which was listed in the back of the paperback edition of Leprechauns in Late Winter. (If you don’t have this edition of the book similar instructions are given at this website.) All that is needed for the experiment is a bowl, 2% milk (whole milk may work better though), food coloring, and liquid dish soap, so it was pretty easy to come by all the supplies.  We poured a thin layer of milk in the bowl and then added two drops of different colored food coloring around the edge of the bowl.  Finally, we added a couple drops of the dish soap and watched the magic happen.  It did take a few minutes for all of the colors to mix together like the experiment explains, but the longer it sits, the cooler it looks.

Our Rainbow Experiment !

Our Rainbow Experiment !

Then we made shee homes! For this project we took toilet paper tubes covered them in construction paper, used a muffin wrapper for the roof, and then let our creativity go crazy for the decorations! I laid out pipe cleaners, sequins, construction paper, and tissue paper and the kids came up with some pretty unique shee houses!

Our shee houses!

A couple of our shee houses!

And of course we ended with our hunt for passport stickers! This month they were four leaf clovers 🙂

Does anyone else no of great Junior Fiction novels to base a book club off of? I’m thinking of trying out a different series in the fall.

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