Captain Underpants Party @ MPL

 

The Captain Underpants books already were flying off our shelves thanks to summer reading, but with the movie out, we knew we had to celebrate so we hosted a Captain Underpants Party!  We hosted a fun mix of games and crafts to keep our active superhero patrons busy.  This event was an hour and a half and patrons could come and go as they pleased so having activities that were open-ended and adaptable to almost any age was the goal.  From the feedback we got from our 150 guests, the things we planned achieved these goals!  The best part?  These are things you could easily recreate if you are having a party, whether it is for 5 guests or 150!  Read on to see what we put together.

 

Professor Poopypants Name Changer

As people came into the event, we had them start by finding out there Captain Underpants name using Professor Poopypants’ Name Changer.  This was a downloadable from the Scholastic site.

Because we wanted a more colorful sign, we just typed recreated it in Canva which worked very well.  Kids quickly wrote their new name on a name tag and off they went to the next station.

 

Superhero Masks

Since capes prove tricky in regards to expense (and sometimes liability), we opted to have a mask station where are patrons could create a mask to go with their new Captain Underpants identity!

 

Hypno-Ring Station

Personally, I’ve always loved when George and Harold hypnotize Mr. Krupp for the first time.  The image of him on the desk pretending to be a chicken before he becomes Captain Underpants just cracks me up!  That said, we knew we had to have a station with the Hypno-Ring.  We created a giant hypnotic swirl on paper and attached to what is usually a ship’s wheel decor piece from our summer reading.  We then thought up some super silly actions for kids to act out.  We created slips for each task, cut them apart and threw them in our handy dandy cauldron.  To get “hypnotized”  kids had to stare into the swirl while pulling an action to act out from the cauldron.  Honestly, I was worried some of the older kids would play the too-cool card and walk past this station but it turned out I was worried for nothing.  We had some super silly actors of all ages at this station pretending to be a hot dog about to be eaten, an angry chicken, a cat taking a bath, and more!

Toilet Paper Stacking Challenge

This station was a lot of fun and definitely easy for any age!  Kids could test to see how high they could stack the toilet paper without it falling and how fast they could stack.  We actually posted a volunteer at this station to time kids.  She also helped with our Pin the Cape Station!

Pin the Cape on Captain Underpants

 

We blew up and painted a large image of Captain Underpants himself for this version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  Kids would put the blindfold on, spin three times, and then try to pin (er, tape, to be accurate) the cape to Captain Underpants’ neck. I’m sad to say I don’t have an after pictures of this station because this guy was covered in red capes!

 

Undie Fling

I’ll be honest, this station went best with a parent or grown-up willing to be silly! The objective?  To stand behind the long red line and fling a pair of tighty whities as far as you could.  From that line to the first shorter line was about 4 feet.  Each red line after took you another 2 feet.  A lot of kids got to see a whole new side of their grown-ups that day as they were learning to use the elastic waistband to launch the underpants!  Even if they didn’t get the concept of how to fling them with the technique we were thinking of, a lot of kids were giggling as they threw giant underwear around the library.

Turbo Toilet 2000 Turd Toss

Yeah… you read that correctly!  The Captain Underpants books are well-known for their toilet humor and we couldn’t help help but go there!  Using a toilet seat, round trashcan, card stock, and some good ole’ duct tape, we created our own version of the Turbo Toilet 2000.  We then created “turds” from scrunched up newspaper covered in wrinkled brown construction paper that was wrapped up in packaging tape so it was durable but gave a squishy feel.  Kids had a chance to see if they could get 5 turds into the toilet before their turn was done.  Hands-down, we got the BEST feedback about this station from parents and kids alike!

Jerome Horwitz School Sign

We have a magnetic pillar in our department that we have done some fun stuff with in the past, but this may have been my favorite!  We created a school sign like in the books and put out magnetic letters for kids to leave their own silly messages!  We had tried to use smaller letters but the magnets didn’t quite cut the mustard so we ended up with large foam letters instead and the kids still had fun with them!

Coloring and Activity Pages

These printables were all free on the Scholastic website.

Doodle Stations

Have you ever tried Doodle Stations before?  We throw them up at events periodically because they are a HUGE hit with patrons, young and old.  Basically we cover table tops with white craft paper or butcher paper.  We set out colored pencils and leave a note letting patrons know we want them to draw on the paper.  We get some awesome art work doing this!  Check out these examples!

 

The activities you just scrolled through are located all throughout our department.  It prevents congestion and chaos in a main meeting room and still encourages people to check out the collection.  It also meets the needs of kiddos with special needs or families with very young children.  We keep more challenging crafts or activities where materials could be messy in our Children’s Program Room.  For this event, we had three activities in our program room.  We had the fidget spinners craft we gave you in our sneak peek, a Captain Underpants Bookmark, and a Playdoh Poo station set up for kids to explore at this event.  Even the big kids LOVED the Playdoh!  And who doesn’t love a fidget spinner these days?!

Throwing this together during Summer Reading was not an easy task, but it was worth it!  Our community absolutely LOVED our Captain Underpants Party!

Sneak Peek… Fidget Spinners!

 

So we have an amazing Captain Underpants Party planned and ready to go for tomorrow night.  Let me tell you, planning this during summer reading has been no easy feat, but I think it will be totally worth it!  There will be a post coming soon on what we are doing for this cool party, but today I thought I’d give you a sneak peek into one of our party projects… DIY Fidget Spinners!

 

As most of us librarians do, I took to Pinterest looking for great spinner ideas.  I found some that were absolutely amazing, but many of them catered to small groups of children and had either pricier components or too many steps to be assembled and walk out the door with in the time frame we have to work with.  We are expecting at least 150 kids to come through and it is only an hour and a half drop-in event so time and cost were very important factors.

 

Then I stumbled on this gem of a blog post from Maggy over at Red Ted Art.  She has some AMAZING ideas on her blog so I definitely recommend clicking over to see her stuff!  Her blog inspired me because it didn’t have the expensive components so many others did.  After seeing her cost effective spinners, it got my mind racing to create spinners that fit our needs.  What you see below are the instructions to what I came up with.

 

These may not be the sturdiest spinners you will ever find BUT they definitely will prove fun for a while and are easy to recreate when one fizzles.  Fingers crossed the kids at tomorrow’s party are as excited about them as I am!

 

Watercolor Effects

Here are some fun and easy ways to experiment with watercolor paints. The paints we used here at the library are liquid watercolors, but the same effects can be done with dry watercolors and water. Even though most watercolors wash out, it’s still a good idea to cover up or wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. That goes for whatever surface you’re painting on as well. These watercolor techniques are a lot of fun, but they are messy too! (But that’s part of the fun, right?)

Salt:

  • Paint a swatch of color, or paint the whole page, with a brush and a mixture of different colors. Make sure that the paint is wet (this means you need to work quickly!)
  • Sprinkle some salt over the wet paint – table salt works OK, but I found kosher salt makes a better effect due to the large size of the salt crystals
  • Allow the paint to completely dry before brushing off the salt, revealing a cool speckled pattern in the paint
  • The effect is caused by the salt absorbing the pigments in the paint.

Alcohol:

  • Paint a swatch of color, or paint the whole page, with a brush and a mixture of different colors. Make sure that the paint is wet (this means you need to work quickly!)
  • Fill an eyedropper with isopropyl alcohol (91% works best) and drip it onto the wet paint
  • If you don’t have an eyedropper, Q-tips are another option – just dip them into the alcohol and touch them to the paint.
  • Unlike the salt, the effects of the alcohol drops will take place immediately
  • Watercolor and alcohol do not mix, causing the colors to “run away” from the alcohol; this can also cause a fisheye effect.

Plastic Wrap:

  • Paint a swatch of color, or paint the whole page, with a brush and a mixture of different colors – just keep it wet!
  • While the paint is still wet, lay a piece of saran wrap over the paint.
  • Don’t smooth out the wrinkles – the more the better! You can move the wrinkles around overtop the wet paint
  • Let the paint dry completely before removing the saran wrap
  • The web-like effect is created by the pockets of paint caught in and outside of the wrinkles of the saran wrap.

Straws:

  • No brushes needed for this one! If you have liquid watercolors, you can pour some drops directly onto your paper. If you don’t have liquid watercolors, mix some water with the dry paint and drip it onto the paper
  • Take a drinking straw and blow hard over the paint – don’t touch the straw directly to the paper, but just about an inch or so above
  • Experiment by blowing the paint in different directions. See how a big puff through the straw effects the paint differently than a little puff of air
  • Be sure to rest in between breaths – it’s easy to get light-headed doing this!
  • The result reveals trails of colors spreading all over the page.

Proper brush cleaning:

  • Don’t let the brushes sit in water; this weakens the bristles and harms the overall integrity of the brush.
  • Use a mild soap on brushes – try putting some soap in your hand and gently move the brush in a circular motion on your palm.
  • Rinse the brush under warm running water until the water runs clear.
  • Pat dry on a towel – don’t squeeze too hard or pull on the bristles as this damages them
  • Set on a towel to dry

Helpful Links:

Summer Reading Club 2017

 

We are setting sail for reading fun this summer!  Haven’t registered yet?  No problem!  Click here to register children ages 0 to 6th grade.  Don’t forget to print out your log so you can keep track of the days you read.

 

Besides awesome books and prizes, we have some amazing programs to check out this summer too!  Visits from Captain Underpants, Frog and Toad, amazing athletes and creative artists are just around the corner.  Want in on the fun?  Check out our calendar.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

I’m not much on realistic fiction typically.  Living through upper elementary and middle school was hard enough the first time, right?!  For some odd, quirky reason though, the realistic graphic genre has totally grabbed me.  I get knots in my stomach every time a character hits an awkward spot and am cheering them on when they have a victory.  The graphic format is just more powerful for me.

Real Life by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham is one of the best in this genre, by far.  This should come as no surprise.  This is the duo who has already blown us away with The Princess in Black series.

This new title though is one that unlike their fantasy series for early readers, lands us in the very real, very challenging topics of friendship, growing up, and finding your “tribe”.  The friends who get you and have your back no matter what.  Anyone who spends time with children knows friendship brings some of the highest highs and lowest lows.  This book delves deeper into that from the child’s perspective.  The anxiety, the fear of rejection and confusion surrounding why, the joy and peace of acceptance.

The story is actually a memoir written about Hale’s own childhood, revisiting the ups and downs of friendship, family, and change.  As I read it, it brought back all the memories of the tumultuous nature of childhood friendships from my own childhood and the immense joy felt when you have acceptance and compassion.

The relationship between Wendy and Shannon is one I feel a lot of readers will connect too.  Between family dynamics and mental health issues, these two characters are pushed apart but in the end, come to see that they actually have an ally in each other and are family, regardless of past hurts.

This graphic novel is beautifully done and fans of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, and Smile by Raina Telgemeier are going to eat this one up!

Celebrating Mom

With our next holiday around the corner, we have had a lot of families coming in asking for Mother’s Day Books.  While there are some great ones out there about the holiday specifically, we wanted to share some of our favorites about how much moms rock all the time!

I Love Mom by Joanna Walsh

My Mom Has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister

My Mom is Trying to Ruin My Life by Kate Feiffer

M.O.M. (Mom Operating Manual) by Doreen Cronin and Laura Cornell

Pirate Mom by Deborah Underwood

Little Owl Lost By Chris Haughton

What Not to Give Your Mom on Mother’s Day by Martha Simpson

How to Raise a Mom by Claudia Harrington

A Baby’s Guide to Surviving Mom by Benjamin Bird

A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager

DIY EMOJI PILLOWS

Our tweens and teens group had the chance to make their own emoji pillows this week!  Let me tell you, the hype that surrounded this program was crazy good!  Anytime I was out on desk getting anything prepped for these pillows, I would have kids coming up and asking me tons of questions, which I loved!  Since it was so popular in my library, I figured a quick lil’ tutorial to share the love would be helpful so here you go!  The step-by-step with pictures is located below, but read on through for the details and what worked well for us.

Our awesome teen librarian and I started by looking at our audience.  We are working with kids in grades four to eight, many of whom had never sewn before.  We wanted to give them the chance to learn basic stitches and to use a sewing machine.   Working with upper elementary and middle school kiddos meant we needed materials that were forgiving.  We ended up choosing fleece for the heads because it has enough give that it could easily cover slight mishaps with cutting and stitching.  The felt, however, was by far the easiest to cut since it is so sturdy and therefore was the best material for the facial pieces.

Speaking of those faces, we took advantage of some of the great free coloring sheet sites in order to create our patterns.  We printed them out to fit an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, then had the kids cut the pieces, pin them down to the felt, and cut around.  This was pretty much the most pattern cutting the kids did since we decided to pre-cut the yellow circles that everyone would be using for their pillows.  Depending on how long your program is, you could let kids do this, but for our time frame, it made much more sense for us to get this out of the way ahead of time.  They still got plenty of practice with patterns and cutting when it came to constructing their emojis though!

To be honest, we did cheat a bit in another area too.  The kids stitched the fleece pieces together, but glued the felt pieces on.  For the skill level our kiddos were at (and our librarians, but shhh… don’t tell), it just made the most sense so no one got frustrated. It also gave the kids a lot more freedom to create some of the faces with smaller pieces that would have been a real pain to sew.  One important detail… do get fabric glue!  It worked beautifully even when a little too much glue was used!  Other glues also don’t hold as well over time and we didn’t want anyone’s face falling apart.  The other plus?  It dried quickly!  While we were showing some great youtube tutorials on back-stitching, ladder stitching, and going over the sewing machines and letting them give those a whirl with some practice paper, the glue dried and we were able to move on to the sewing!

As I am sure you noticed if you did the Pinterest spin through looking at different tutorials like we did, a lot of folks use no sew for these pillows!  We opted to sew for two reasons.  First of all because sewing is an awesome skill that everyone should have a basic concept of.  Second, because when we tried glue, we had a bit of a disaster.  It puckered and left some gaps.  You had to clothes pin it all over to get it to stay together.  Granted, that was using fabric glue since hot glue isn’t an option with so many kids and so few of us grownups in the room.  Still,  sewing everything but the gap for stuffing and using glue to close said gap didn’t even work.  On one of our test runs, we tried this theory and it literally looked like someone had taken a bite our of our emoji’s chin!  So with all that said, we stuck with sewing.

Hover over or click on the steps pictured below to get the details and tips that helped us have success with this.  The step-by-step below was done by hand using a double floss for thread.   If you are new to sewing, I promise, it isn’t as hard as it may look.  Tutorials make it very easy to watch as you sew to double check yourself.  If you are comfortable with a machine, these zip through very quickly.  Just be careful since fleece does have quite a bit of give.

 

The kids absolutely LOVED this project and we hope you do too!  We would love to hear about how your pillows turn out or any suggestions you have for us! Drop us a comment below!