Yes, it's been over a month since Valentine's Day - I told you I'm doing too much programming to blog about it in a timely manner. Thankfully for you, this program would work just as well at any other time of the year (perhaps for Mother's Day, which isn't too far away?).
On a Saturday morning before Valentine's Day, we opened our program room doors to avid attendees for a Fancy Nancy Tea Party. The program lasted 90 minutes, meant to be more come-and-go but the majority of attendees stayed for the entire length of the program. Here's what we did!
Tea party: well, it wouldn't be a tea party program without a tea party, right? In the front of the room, we had cups for the girls to decorate. Then, they could fill a plate with hors d'oeuvres (fancy for mini marshmallows on toothpicks), fill their now fancy cup with pink lemonade and sit on our picnic blanket to listen to a story. One of our teen volunteers probably ended up reading the first Fancy Nancy 30 times over the course of the program - she was a real trooper! The kids loved having a break from the crafts to sit and hear a story and they absolutely devoured our snacks.
Valentine making: since Valentine's Day was right around the corner, we had three tables set up in the middle of the room with all sort of supplies for making valentines. This was pretty much self-directed; we had a volunteer monitoring the table and making sure everyone shared, but the kids mostly knew what to do. There were many pink and glittery valentines made. I had made a poster of "fancy words" if they needed some inspiration for their cards, but it wasn't placed close enough to the tables to be useful, something to think about for next time.
Butterfly hair clips: at this station, the kids decorated butterfly diecuts that were then made into hair clips. We have a butterfly finger puppet diecut, so the kids decorated their butterfly however they wanted (mostly with markers and crayons). To make it into a hairclip, we simply slid a bobby pin into the two finger slits and then they slid the whole thing into their hair. This was a very popular activity - even the boys who came to the program made these, though I don't think I saw any wearing them in their hair.
Faux cupcake decorating: my coworker (who I collaborated on the program with - she suggested the program and I eagerly jumped on board and helped brainstorm) created about 40 fake cupcakes from home repair supplies - unfortunately I can't remember what exactly she used, but I think she found the inspiration online. They come out looking just like real cupcakes, except they are all white. So the kids at the program used our extensive collection of washable paints to decorate them as fancy as they pleased. As we had a limited number of these, we originally advertised the program as limited to 40 children, however...
Sunglasses decorating: it became clear about two weeks before the program that we were going to have a lot more than 40 kids show up, so we scrambled to come up with alternate crafts to put out once the cupcakes ran out (they are adorable, but very time-consuming to make). Thankfully, I had a number of old pairs of sunglasses left over from a summer reading program. Since Fancy Nancy quite often wears a fancy pair of sunglasses, we put these out for the kids to decorate once all the cupcakes were gone. This meant we could accommodate more kids in the program and everyone still got to do a "big" craft. We did eventually run out of sunglasses as well, but we had no complaints!
Red carpet: our final station was right next to the entrance/exit: a red carpet and fancy background with dress-up props. This was, by far, the easiest and most popular part of the program. Nearly every kid that came to the program came in their fanciest outfit (which was obviously encouraged - my coworker and I came fancy, too!) and they loved the opportunity to show off and accessorize with our tiaras, boas, and beads. The parents seemed especially pleased with this part of the program.
This program was an insane success - advertised originally as limited to 40 children and their parents, we ended up seeing about 70 kids and parents, or about 140 people overall. It was a bit hectic at times, but there were no tears or complaints and many expressions of gratitude. When we do this program again, it might be more practical to offer it twice in the same day to try to limit the number of folks we see all at once. I think everyone present had fun, though, and we will definitely have more Fancy Nancy parties in the future!