Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Mayhem: Dinosaurs!

We had an after-school program for 'tweens as part of our new Monday Mayhem series.  The program was an hour long, and kids could drop in any time during that hour.  We did ask for sign-up so we could prep the right number of materials and ask about food allergies.  I set up the following stations:

  • Chocolate Chip Excavation: kids "excavated" chocolate chips out of cookies, using toothpicks. 
  • Play-Doh Fossils: participants pressed plastic dinosaurs into Play-Doh, resulting in really cool imprints. 
  • Feet and Teeth: I wrote the measurements for T. Rex feet and teeth on the whiteboard, and kids measured out the actual sizes on large paper, cut them out, and took them home.  Just putting the M in STEAM!

  • Make-and-take 3-D raptors 

  •  Dino Drawing

I would definitely do this program again.  It was well-received, and kids loved having the freedom to choose which activities to do.  The activities were pretty easy to put together, and they kept our group busy and happy! 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Who Was? Display: Give the People What They Want

For about a year, we've heard this request on an almost daily basis: "Where are your Who Was? books?"  The answer: they're sprinkled around, mainly in the biographies, but a few in sports, art, and monuments.  In other words, they're all over the place. 

Each time a patron inquired, we'd have to search the catalog to find out which titles were in and where they were, and then locate the individual titles on the shelf.  Not ideal.  We quickly realized that patrons wanted just about any book in this series, and our organizational system meant housing them by subject rather than all together. 

Our fix: a semi-permanent display.  It's front and center in the kids' section, and it has been hugely popular.  So popular, in fact, that despite owning multiple copies of most titles, we often need to supplement with non-Who Was? biographies (which also get checked out!).  This has been a nice time-saver for staff, and a nice feature for browsers who like to see which Who Was? books are available at any given time. 


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Marshmallow Builders

How have I never done this program before?!  It's inexpensive and quick to set up, and it's a crowd-pleasing STEAM activity!  There would be a million ways to structure this program; here's what I did:
Before the event (I actually had early arrivals help me with this) I distributed cups of regular size and mini marshmallows, along with spaghetti noodles, penne noodles, toothpicks, and paper plates, to each table. 
As participants arrived, they assembled themselves into teams; each team had its own table.  I asked teams to name themselves, which was a nice icebreaker.
I gave the first challenge: Build something you could use to survive in the jungle.  Teams worked together to build something to meet the challenge.  When all teams were finished, I had them take turns shouting out the names of the items they built. 
After the first challenge, I rewarded each team with a cup full of jumbo marshmallows.  This was a HUGE hit! 
I gave additional challenges:
Build something you could use to survive in outer space.
Build something that's alive.
Build something really tall.
Build something really long.
I had extra supplies on hand, and teams were welcome to help themselves without any limit. 
There was no competition aspect.  We just had fun building together. 
One piece of advice: use plastic tablecloths!  I tried getting teams to build only on paper plates, but that lasted about 3 seconds.  Save yourself some clean-up time and cover your tables!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I ♥ Babymouse Party

We had a party to celebrate our love for Babymouse!  The event was one hour long and open to grades 1-7, and we asked participants to register so that we could be sure to have plenty of supplies.  At the beginning of the program, we talked briefly about the book series and I introduced the activity stations.  For the remainder of the hour, we moved freely between stations.  Everyone had a chance to do every activity, if they wanted to; some decided to focus on one or two activities, repeating them several times.

 Two stations were inspired by Extreme Babymouse:

Pipe Cleaner/Craft Stick Snowboarder

Make a Flying Skier (STEAM!)-- 
this activity was very popular, and we found ourselves measuring and trying different configurations in no time. 

Cupcake Wrapper Challenge, inspired by Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon
(use cupcake wrappers and a variety of art supplies to make anything your heart desires... we had flowers, butterflies, necklaces, monsters, and lots more)

Make-Your-Own Mouse Ears (of course!)
I provided a template, felt, glue, and scissors, and participants were welcome to add their own creative touches or create something totally different.

After making their ears, Babymouse fans stood in front of the white board to pose with Babymouse herself.  Photo op!

We also set out coloring sheets and fill-in graphic novel pages from the Babymouse website.  These were popular during the program, and a lot of attendees took sheets home, too.

One last station was the book display; every last Babymouse book was checked out by the end of the program! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Arts and MineCRAFTS

I'm back!  That blogging break was about six months longer than I intended... Summer programming is in full swing, and I'm hoping to highlight a few of our summer events here. 

We hosted an Arts and MineCRAFTS program in June, and it went really well.  We did ask participants to register in advance, because we needed special supplies.  The program was an hour long, and it was open to 2nd-7th graders.  We worked on two projects: perler bead creations and light-up paper torches. 

The perler bead project idea came from this book, which is a real treasure trove.  Most kids made pigs or swords, and we had self-adhesive magnets for those who wanted to be able to stick their creations to the fridge.  A word of advice: have more than one iron!  The only glitchy part of the program was waiting for perler bead projects to be ironed.  Two or even three would have been fantastic. 

The light-up torches came from this blog. I copied the pattern (in color) onto 11" x 17" white cardstock, and the kids LOVED the fact that their torches really lit up. 

All in all, this was a great way to cater to Minecraft fans without worrying about having enough computers for in-person play.  Everyone left brandishing at least one torch and carrying at least one perler bead item.  Hearing the kids talk and help one another while doing the projects was adorable, too.