Here’s a fun project we did last month in our Creativity Lab!
- Using a pencil on watercolor paper, draw a large jar with a lid. Draw the outline of three fireflies inside the jar.
- Paint the lid of the jar with purple, red and black watercolors.
- Paint the inside of the jar, leaving a circle of white around each of the fireflies- this will be their glow in the next step! Paint the inside of the jar like a night sky, using blue, purple, red and black to create a galaxy look. Let this dry a little, so that it’s damp but not wet.
- Paint the fireflies and the circle of white with bright yellow, and let it gently bleed into the blue around them. Dab just a drop of orange into the body of the fireflies and let it bleed outward. Let it dry!
- Once everything is dry, use a Sharpie or black marker to outline the body of the fireflies and fill in their heads. Use a silver, white or gold Sharpie or marker to outline the wings and draw stars in the jar surrounding the fireflies.
For step by step picture instructions, click here to see Kathy at kathy-angelnik’s original post. Thanks Kathy! We loved this project!
We LOVE contests! Especially ones that have our patrons sharing their creative gifts with us! In the past have done various creation contests that fit whatever the summer reading theme is that year such as castles, critters, and beach bags. This year, with a water-theme for summer reading, we went with boats! Our only real rules were that the boats had to fit a base of no bigger than 12″ x 18″ and that no food items could be used to build. Otherwise, anything was fair game (and no, they didn’t have to survive a float test!). The boats that came rolling in blew us away!
We have four categories up on display currently. To make it fair, the categories are preschool and kindergarten, grades 1 through 3, grades 4 through 6, and a family category which is new but hugely popular! The cool thing is that patrons who come in can vote for their favorite in EACH category. The winners will be displayed for a week before going back to their creators with a prize. Voting is going on through the 20th, so if you haven’t voted yet, stop by and cast a ballot for your favorites!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
Exploratorium is by far one of our favorite programs to do. The element of surprise each week as kids walk in the room, the different hands-on experiences we are able to provide, and more importantly the connections we get to make with parents and their kiddos makes it as enriching for us as it is for them. This S.T.E.A.M.-based program is one we offer each week when our school district has early release and it is one many families have come to look forward to because there is always something different and exciting. We cover it all (even Math…gulp)!
For me though, I love the science and art side of it. These areas collide more often than people realize… or at least they can if you allow for it. The activity we are doing this week was a really fun example of that. We are talking about friction and movement so I decided to make these Rocket Bottles propelled by friction with strings that run through the rocket. There is plenty of time for kids to turn their rockets into a piece of art before they take it for a test drive so we get to feed their creative side as well. Take a peek to see how to make a Rocket bottle of your own!