Monday, May 18, 2015

Frozen Party

This post is dreadfully overdue! In November, December, & January I held 5 Frozen parties at my 4 library branches. 137 children and 107 adults attended in total.

People are notoriously late to special events. Sometimes they are 15-20 minutes late and as such miss the story portion of the event. To counteract this, for the Frozen party, we did the craft first: painting snowflakes on black construction paper with a mixture of Epsom salts and water. I put the soundtrack on and as the kids finished painting they could sing along.

For the story portion of the party, I read An Amazing Snowman by Barbara Hicks. We also made a snowman on the flannel board.

Then we played a group game: Elsa vs. Anna (basically a Frozen version of red light, green light) and I released them to the other game stations.

Pin the Nose on Olaf


Feed Sven 

Snowball Toss

After everyone had played all the games, they ice skated indoors with wax paper while I prepared the snack. We had Olaf Arms (pretzel sticks), Warm Hugs (Hershey's Hugs), Snowballs (mini marshmallows), True Love's Kisses (Hershey's Kisses), Promises Kept (Dove Promises), and Frozen Punch (Blue Hawaiian Punch & Sprite).

We also had a photo booth so parents could take pictures. Everyone got snowflake stickers and I gave away Frozen puzzles (from Dollar Tree) as door prizes.


These are just the ideas that I found that I could use. I have a HUGE Frozen Pinterest board.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Kaya: An American Girl Party

I wanted to have a Kaya event in November in honor of Native American Heritage Month. I had 2 sources of inspiration for the event: Kelly's Kaya American Girl Club and the All About Kaya Event Kit.

We started off with the Icebreaker Activity from the event kit.

After that I shared some information from Welcome to Kaya's World 1764: Growing Up in a Native American Homeland (Glossary of Nez Perce Words, The Nez Perce Calendar, Ancient Homelands, Play with a Purpose, Dresses from Deer, Adornments), The Nez Perce by David C. King, and The Nez Perce by Nancy Bonvillain.

I had three game options: Fur or Feathers (from the event kit), Pine cones through the hoop, and animal races (both suggested by Kelly...linked above).


For the craft, we made rosettes (from the event kit).


Our refreshments were suggested by Kelly's event: goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, sunflower seeds, and water.

This spring, I had a Julie party (post coming soon!). This fall, I'll be having Kit, Samantha, and Caroline parties. Next spring, I'll be having a Josefina party around Cinco de Mayo. 

Other American Girl Events I've Hosted:
Kit
Molly
Kirsten

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sherlock Party for Teens

My teens love BBC's Sherlock and CBS's Elementary. So last fall, we had a Sherlock Party.

Like all my fandom events, this one included games, crafts, and food.

Refreshments included raspberry ginger ale, cranberry ginger ale, "MyKraft" cheese (although really it was Sargento's) with crackers, and cake donut holes. I found these suggestions on a Sherlock party site. Checkout my Sherlock Party Pinterest board to see more of my inspiration.







I had several options for games:
Sherlock (which is playing Clue & Jenga at the same time)
 

Sherlock Jeopardy (a lovely librarian named Beth Brogden shared it with me)
 
a scavenger hunt using quotes from BBC's Sherlock


For the scavenger hunt, I had the teens using our online catalog, but I think it might have been easier just to send them wandering around looking for the objects. Their prize was mystery flavor Dum Dum pops.

The craft was lotus flower origami.

I also had a book list and book display: "Do You Enjoy BBC's Sherlock & CBS's Elementary? Try These Books?"


Since I've had this event, I have discovered some color your own Sherlock & Watson bookmarks via Teen Think Tank on Facebook.

Sadly neither of the TV series are licensed by Movie Licensing USA. But the following films are: Sherlock Holmes (2009), Sherlock Holmes: A Game if Shadows, Young Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959 & 1981).

Monday, May 11, 2015

Preschool Dance Party

At one of my branches, the regular storytime day is Monday. We miss several storytimes because of bank holidays. Last fall I decided to make up for this by hosting a couple of special events on Friday mornings. A preschool dance party was something I wanted to try ever since I saw Lisa's posts about hers. I also took inspiration from Sarah, Lindsey, and Kendra.

I poured over their posts and set about creating my own preschool dance party. Mine was only 30 minutes long and I didn't use props (scarves, shakers, parachute) as I don't currently have any.



Here's my Playlist:
  1. "The Wheels on the Bus" - Pete the Cat version (from a Youtube video)
  2. "Finger on Your Head" - Michael & Jello (Monkey See Monkey Do)
  3. "Come Dancing with Me" - Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael" (Perfectly Purple)
  4.  "Wiggle Your Lah-De-Dah" - Ralph's World (All ARound Ralph's World)
  5. "Happy" - Pharrell Williams (G I R L)
  6. "The Goldfish" - Laurie Berkner Band (Victor Vito)
  7. "I Saw Her Standing There" - The Beatles (Meet the Beatles!)
  8. "Bumping Up & Down" - Raffi (Singable Songs for the Very Young)
  9. "We Are the Dinosaurs" - Laurie Berkner Band (Whaddaya Think of THat?)
  10. "The Monkey Dance" - The Wiggles (Yummy Yummy)
  11. "We Will Stomp" - Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael (Tummy Yellow)
  12. "Alligator Stroll" - Josh Turner (Sandra Boynton's Frog Trouble)
  13. "The Way We Do It" - Greg & Steve (Kids in Action)
  14. "Alligator Stomp" - Anna Moo (Anna Moo Crackers)
  15. "The Number Dance" - Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael (Rockin' Red)
I had 23 kids and 20 adults show up for my first ever preschool dance party. Everyone seemed to have a good time.

Lesson Learned: Even though I thought I had a good mix of fast and slow songs, I was so wrong. I needed a few more slow numbers to balance out all the fast ones. I look forward to doing this again. I'll probably change up my playlist.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Flannel Friday: 4th Anniversary Guest Post Palooza...Flannel Board Table by Grace





Happy 4th Anniversary to Flannel Friday! To celebrate, we're having a Guest Post Palooza and I have the honor of hosting Grace Smart and her very first Flannel Friday post. Without further ado, here's Grace.


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Flannel Board Table
I have been doing Story Time for 2 years as an assistant to the Youth Services Librarian, and have created dozens of flannel boards during that time to use in StoryTime. I have read on other blogs that some librarians allow their young patrons to get up and interact with their flannel boards DURING STORYTIME. This seems like a great way to engage the kids, but unfortunately we have too many children attending for this to be practical. Nonetheless, I think flannel boards are a great early literacy tool and I wanted to find a way to get our flannels into the hands of our young patrons.

I pondered this idea for a good while, until one day my coworker came across this post by Lisa M. Shaia on Thrive After Three.  

I immediately knew that this was something I wanted to do, so I started brainstorming with my coworkers! We were able to find a flannel table cover for about $10. It’s a green table cover for card games with elastic around the edges, and it was a perfect fit for the small round tables already in our children’s area. We ordered two so that we could switch them out and clean them when necessary. (Hopefully they will hold up in a washing machine.) Once we had the flannel cover, I started working on the first flannel board table for our children’s area. I created the cars and trucks by tracing the outlines of clipart. The roads are simply rectangles of different lengths and sizes (with painted stripes down the middle).  I made the road pieces all different sizes with corners and straight pieces so the kids can rearrange and interact with them.  I used fabric paint for all of the details on all the pieces from tires to road signs and more.

Since this activity seemed like the perfect opportunity to reinforce the early literacy concepts that we promote during each and every StoryTime, I created information cards with talking points for the parents. These I laminated so they would last as long as possible.

Here is my first Flannel Board Table, “Driving Around Town”.




This has been out in the children’s area for over a month. We have found this to be very successful.  All the pieces have been rearranged at the end of each day! And we have had many compliments from parents about this activity.  All of the pieces have held up well at this point even though the roads are starting to be a little wrinkled. I am working on a few new sets of flannels so that I can swap these out in the future to keep things interesting.  Overall, “Driving Around Town” has been a really successful interactive flannel experience for our library.

Thank you, Bridget, for hosting!

Grace Smart
Denton Public Library

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Thank you, Grace, for sharing this great idea with us! 

Mollie is hosting the roundup this week.

Important Links:
Follow Flannel Friday on Twitter with the hashtag #flannelstorytime.
Our March/April Flannel Friday Fairy Godmother is Mollie.   

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Life Size Candy Land

Life Size Candy Land is an event I've wanted to put on for some time. This past fall, I finally managed it. I drew inspiration from the usual places (PUBYAC, other awesome librarians, Pinterest) including the following:

In my research, I discovered you can make almost anything work for decorations. Mostly I used what I had whether in its original form or re-purposed as something else.

Tiles were construction paper. I went with a bright pastel color scheme. I didn't tape down the paper and it didn't move too much. When it did, we just readjusted.

Gingerbread Tree: The meeting room already has a tree mural so I just added a sign and a gingerbread family (I used free clipart from the blog The Art of Teaching in Today's World. I printed them in different sizes on brown cardstock and colored in the details with Sharpies.)

Gumdrop Mountains: green plastic table cloths and a sign. I made the gumdrops using plastic flowerpots I'd bought to use for my Peter Rabbit Party. I covered them with colored tissue paper, applied white glue, and dipped them in Epsom salts.

Peppermint Forest: White and red table cloths, plastic candy canes in various sizes. The ribbon tree is a dowel with different lengths of peppermint type ribbon and bows on top (I raided my personal holiday decorations for the ribbon.)

Licorice Woods: Use What You Have! The meeting room has a coffee table that I use for my CD player, books, and schedules during storytime. We upended it, draped it with a black plastic tablecloth, added red crepe paper streamers and a sign.

Peanut Acres: Yellow Gold plastic table cloth, packing peanuts, sign, and a dog I made with a thrift store basket, a couple of red bandannas, and some thin brown cardboard.

Lollipop Woods: colorful plastic tablecloths, a sign, and the lollipops I made out of dowels, paper plates, cellophane, and ribbon.

Chocolate Swamp: brown plastic tablecloths, a sign, and giant Hershey's Kisses my co-worker constructed with packing paper, tape, and aluminum foil.

Candy Castle: Yellow plastic tablecloth, a sign, candies made with cellophane, ribbon, and crinkle paper, and the castle my co-worker and I made with cardboard, paper, and craft foam details


Sign-in Table: The sign-in sheet was a bit different. I asked for a last name and the number in the group. If anybody played again, I counted them again. The stickers were to help players remember what order their turns were.

I considered several options for game play (giant dice and spinners) before I decided pieces of construction paper (matching the tiles) in paper bags would work wonderfully.

In case we had a rush and needed to have people wait, I printed out Candy Land character coloring sheets to keep the kids occupied.

When they finished playing, every child received a dumdum.

Older kids enjoyed playing a fast version of the game: when you draw a color move 2 spaces ahead instead of 1.

This was a very fun well-attended event (despite soccer games) and I'm doing it again this month.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pete the Cat Party

Almost every children's librarian knows the Pete the Cat books written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean are pure storytime gold. Kids love Pete the Cat.

At one of my branches, the regular storytime day is Monday. We miss several storytimes because of bank holidays. Last fall I decided to make up for this by hosting a couple of special events on Friday mornings. The first I attempted was a Pete the Cat Party. Pinterest, a host of wonderful librarians (Meg, Kelsey, Lisa, Jane, and Jbrary), and the Make Learning Fun Pete the Cat theme page were instrumental to the planning of this event.

 
As the kids arrived, I invited them to answer two questions: Are you wearing buttons today? What color are your shoes today?

The storytime portion of the event involved my two favorite Pete the Cat books (Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and Pete the Cat & His Four Groovy Buttons) and corresponding flannel board activities (Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and Find the Button).



After storytime, we played Pin the Shoe on Pete the Cat (from the publisher). The kids colored their shoes as they arrived.


Then it was craft time. We made Pete the Cat paper bag puppets. I enlarged Pete's head from a coloring sheet I found on Make Learning Fun.



As the kids left, I offered them a Pete the Cat coloring sheet and a Pete the Cat Sudoku sheet for the older siblings (Both from Make Learning Fun).