Thursday, June 26, 2014

Garfield Fans Unite!

 On June 19, we celebrated the birthday of everyone's favorite lasagna-loving cat.
We had a bean bag toss...
coloring sheets, a trivia quiz, and fill-in-the blank comic strips...

 as well as party favors (Garfield bookmarks), snacks, Garfield & Friends on the big screen, Garfield books for browsing, and a speed gift-wrapping game. 
Our Garfield books are well loved by patrons of all ages, so this event was a natural fit for our library.  It was so popular that I'm considering purchasing a Garfield costume for next year! 
I had planned to serve lasagna and cake at this program, but we asked for sign-up so we could find out about food allergies.  Am I ever glad we did that!  Knowing in advance the types of allergies we'd be working with (including tomato, gluten, and dairy) helped me to purchase party-worthy snacks that everyone could enjoy. 
Participants were free to choose any combination of activities, in any order, and stay as long as they liked during the 45-minute program.  Having a self-serve structure helped eliminate waiting in line for one-person-at-a-time stations (like button making and the gift wrap game); there were plenty of things to do, and everyone had the chance to try every activity, if they chose to do so. 
The gift wrap game was surprisingly delightful.  I bought several rolls of birthday-themed gift wrap on clearance at Target, and I brought in two small boxes and a Garfield pin (which I had serendipitously found in a drawer a few days prior to the program).  We started with both boxes wrapped in gift wrap, one of the boxes containing the pin.  I had a volunteer staff the gift wrap game table; she timed kids as they unwrapped both boxes, moved the Garfield pin to the other box, and wrapped both boxes back up.  Simple?  Yep.  But they LOVED it.  I think the fact that we were encouraging them to use gift wrap and Scotch tape with abandon helped a lot. 
The button-maker was, as always, a hit.  I purchased a one-inch American Button Machine personally six years ago, and it has been a fabulous investment.  I highly recommend them!  We had a volunteer at our button station, and he helped each participant choose a Garfield or Odie graphic and transform it into a piece of wearable bling. 
Many happy returns of the day to Garfield!  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Beanie Baby Adoption Zone!

Last year, we stopped giving physical prizes (aside from books and gift certificates) during SRP.  Naturally, we were left with a closet full of loot.  One of the treasures in the closet was a tub brimming with Beanie Babies.  Of course, we had no choice but to offer a Beanie Baby Adoption Zone program. 

The set-up: I made simple adoption certificates with spaces for participants to fill in their names and their new pets' names.  I also made "My Pet" sheets, with space for a drawing of the new pet and spaces to write interesting tidbits about the pet, such as favorite foods.  We provided pencils and crayons, as well as pipe cleaners and pony beads for making collars.  I gathered up a bunch of pet-themed books and had those on display.  The Beanie Babies themselves were spread out on our long window ledge in the Storytime Room.  We hung a fabric curtain in the room for our portrait studio corner. 

The structure: We had participants sign up for one of three half-hour sessions on a Saturday afternoon.  Each session was limited to 15 children, and we didn't have to turn anyone away.  This program was open to ages 5 and up, and our oldest participant was 12.  We started with a read-aloud of "Let's Get a Pup!" said Kate by Bob Graham.  Then each child got to choose a Beanie Baby (I called letters of the alphabet, and kids with corresponding first letters of first names got to choose; we had about 5 kids choosing at any given time, so it went quickly).  Then kids had time to fill out their adoption certificates and "My Pet" sheets, make collars, and visit the portrait studio to pose for family photos. 

The verdict:  This was a really fun way to use up some supplies we had on hand!  Once everything was set up, the program itself was very smooth to run. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Read It and Eat Book Club: Spy School

Read It and Eat is our monthly book club for 'tweens.  Read more about Read It and Eat here

What We Read: Spy School by Stuart Gibbs

What We Did: While the kids ate, we discussed the book.  Then we created our own secret agent ID cards, took turns trying out a laser beam obstacle, and got silly with a disguise relay.  For the relay, we split into two teams, and each team had a pile of disguise elements, such as a hat, a pair of costume glasses, a wig, a bow tie, etc.  I set up cones at one end of the room, and kids took turns putting on all of their team's costume elements, running around the cone and back to the start line, and handing the costume off to the next person. 

Highlight: The relay was a huge winner!  We could have done this all night and the kids would have been thrilled.  I was a good reminder that kids sit most of the day in school, and they like to move around!