Holiday Decorating

As a former teacher I love making cute bulletin boards! Pinterest provided us with some great ideas this year!

A grinch made with green books

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Quite possibly the cutest bulletin ever

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This decoration is still being worked on, but we are making the Polar Express train and each car has a picture of one of our regular kiddos on it.

This idea I loved and was so easy to do! We gift wrapped the ends of the shelves to look like presents

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I had to share how cute our library is looking these days! Hope it gives you some ideas for yours!

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Art – Starry Night

I host an “art club” once a month for kids who are too old for the preschool type crafts and too young for the DIY type crafts for the teens.  This in between age of about 8-12 is hard to reach at the library but we are really trying to bridge the gap between the tiny tots and the teens.

Years ago I had hired an art teacher to come in and he did an art class on Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  In his class he used oils and pastels to create the picture. But he did tell the kids to focus on the lines of the picture.  That really helped me when I taught this class

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The picture has swirls, dashes, dots, squiggles, waves.  When you think of it in terms of lines, it’s not so hard to recreate a similar picture.  What I did for this craft was just cut down some boxes so I had squares of cardboard.  I then covered the squares with tin foil.

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I gave every students a small paint with colors from the painting: various shades of blue, white, greens, yellow, black.  I also gave them a stack of q-tips to use as their paint brush.  The q-tips on the silver foil really shows the lines! It’s amazing how fantastic these pictures turned out!

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This was a great art project that ANYONE can do and they got a little art history lesson at the same time.  I was nervous about this project – I assumed it would be too hard but it was fantastic!

Election Day!

We held a mock election for the little ones at the library.  Tuesday is our normal story time day so we had a great group of kids come in for that.  I set up 2 tri-fold posters and decorated them with streamers and flags.  Inside the “voting booth” I put a ballot box and rules of what to do

At one point we had a line at the polls.  It was so cute!

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After the voted all the kids got a sticker that said they voted! Today was a super cute event and so easy to put together!

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Pumpkin Palooza

Last week we held our 2nd annual pumpkin palooza! It was a great event…we had a great turnout both times we have had it.

We buy small pumpkins from a local farmer

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Then we put a bunch of non-paint craft supplies on the tables and everyone just goes at it. Last year i did have glow in the dark paint but paint is costly and super messy.  This year was much better! Craft supplies we provided were things like sequence, google eyes, feathers, dot stickers, Halloween stickers, etc.

We will continue on the tradition next year! Its a great program that really brings the community together for a fun project

 

Teen craft – spray painting

I came across this great craft for older kids called “painted graffiti”.  All you need is a canvas, string and spray paint.  This summer the canvases were on sale at Michaels for super cheap so I stocked up!!

First  you wrap string around a canvas in any way you’d like.  You can put as much or as little as you want!

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Then you go outside and spray paint it! I used spray paint meant for fabric.  They are smaller bottles and a bit cheaper

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Once it’s done you remove the string.  These turned out BEAUTIFUL!! I might do this again with the older elementary aged kids.

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Community Helpers

I always like to do something revolving around community helpers around 9/11.  One of our front desk girls is actually an E.M.T. so I had her dress up in uniform and bring the ambulance for a very special story time.

We had our usual story time with singing, then Daisi read the cutest book called Don’t Dance in my Ambulance.  Then Daisi was kind enough to show them around the truck and tell them about what she does.

It was such a cute story time!! I’m really hoping to get the Fire Department here in October but they are a little more tricky to get ahold of. Hopefully something will work out!

MBA – Masters in Book Appreciation

Every summer we make a nice booklet for the kids.  The booklets contain all the summer programs we offer, a reading log, some games, etc.  This summer I decided to add an extra challenge.  I created a MBA program – Master in Book Appreciation.  I didn’t CREATE the idea, many librarians use “MBA” as a reading incentive.  I did create the specific reading challenge used for our summer booklet.

My goal for the challenge was to get kids reading various kinds of text, so I created the chart with as many different types of print I could think of.  This was the final product:

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The incentive to complete such a hard reading challenge was a very special VIP party we are having.  As the kids finish the challenge, they get a golden ticket from the front desk which is their pass to get into the party.  I had these “golden tickets” printed up at Vista Print

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No one was claiming their golden tickets and I was getting really discouraged about the program.  The party is tomorrow and now kids are coming every day to sign up for the VIP party! It’s so exciting to see the kids working around the library trying to mark off the last few categories on their charts.

At the party we will have pizza and snacks, but I wanted to add a little something special.  I went to Michaels and all of their fun summer toys are 70% off so I stocked up! I wrapped each gift for the kids that are signed up for the party.  Kids love to unwrap a gift and they worked so hard for it so I thought it would be special for them!

I highly recommend running a similar challenge if you are a teacher or librarian.  It’s been so fun watching the kids so excited about reading.

Here is the document I created for my MBA program! Feel free to use it!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2Wuu5Ww_QARZGphLS1ZUG9mVDA/view?usp=sharing

Crafty Wednesday – Recycled crafts

We made a super fun craft the other day. We have crafts every Wednesday at the library.  Some are very basic but I’m always looking for fun things to do with the kids.  This recycled craft was a really fun project and the end result was great!

All you need for this project is:

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  • recycled plastic bottles
  • plastic bowl full of water (NOT styrofoam)
  • nail polish
  • scissors

First you cut the top off the water bottle, then cut straight strips down all the way around

Then you round the edges of the strip so it looks more like a flower

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To paint the flower, you drip various colors of nail polish on top of a bowl of water.  Dip your plastic flower into the paint.  All the paint sticks directly to the plastic

The end result was so much better than I expected!

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This was a simple, fun project for kids but it can be used with older kids as well.  The same painting technic can be used on wooden beads, ceramic mugs and much more!  Try it if you do craft classes at your library or classroom!

Games 2 U

 

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We recently had Games 2 u come out to the library.  Games 2 U is a company that offers a variety of activities.  The two we had were a video game truck and a laser tag tournament.  I booked these activities hoping to get a great turnout of “tweens” and boys.  We accomplished that! These were a huge hit with boys aged 8-12!

The game truck was like a large limo.  It was totally blacked out inside with the game systems going.  Inside the truck there were also fun lights.

For the laser tag we broke everyone up into teams and the kids played in an open field that is just behind our library.

What I liked about the company is they charge a flat hourly rate no matter what program you book with them.  While the game truck was fun, it is easy for us to run a program like that on our own.  The outdoor games are what I will stick with in the future.  The kids LOVED it!

More information about Games 2 u programs can be found at: http://www.g2u.com

Pink Flamingo Puppets

I LOOOOVE a good puppet show!  I am a bit old school in that I like the traditional set up.  I have found that finding a great puppet show is a lot harder than one would imagine.  The shows I have had in the past I haven’t been impressed by.  Another problem I’ve come across is that great puppet shows are so expensive so a lot are not even a possibility.

I asked around to local librarians to see if there were any good puppet shows they would recommend.  Because of their input I found Diane of Pink Flamingo Puppets.  She is a retired librarian who now puts on puppet shows.

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After the show she took the time to take the kids around to the back of her puppet theatre and explain how the puppets work and how she puts on her show.

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Her show was exactly what I was looking for.  Classic, adorable, funny, entertaining!  I can’t wait to have her back again.

If you are in New Jersey and looking for a great puppet show you can find out more about Diane at: http://www.unima-usa.org/pink-flamingo-puppets/