Sunday, November 30, 2014

Summer Program Recap Bonanza: Preschool Programs!

I promise you, I'm not the only person who did programming at my library this summer - but these posts are really making me realize just how many programs I did run! I can't believe how much we did this summer! Anyway, my latest round of recaps focuses on the programs I did aimed at preschoolers and early elementary kids.

Make Your Own Band: I started seeing a lot of pins on Pinterest for easy homemade musical instruments and thought, "hmm, that would be a fun program." I was right! Over 100 patrons came to make enough instruments to start their own bands. We made tambourines (small paper plates, pipe cleaners, bells), maracas (toilet paper tubes, beans), castanets (cardboard, buttons), pellet drums (plates, dowels, yarn, pony beads), and kazoos (craft sticks, straws, rubber bands). It was noisy fun!

Thomas the Tank Engine: holy cats, this program was insane! Over 200 people showed up! We hit our program room fire code capacity in the first 20 minutes, so I had to spend most of the program at the door, making sure people didn't try to crowd in until other families left. I expected a big program, but I also expected people to stagger their arrival a bit more - the program was an unstructured hour long. Everything could be done at their own pace and when they finished what they wanted, they were free to go. Unfortunately, no matter how much we advertise it, the majority of patrons still tend to arrive right at the program start time. Anyway, I made train tracks on the floor of the department leading to the program room door (which was time-consuming! but also gave people a place to line up). Parents loved the little extra touch of this. We had train scene pictures (using train die-cut shapes and crayons), coloring sheets, puzzles (simple pictures of Thomas characters cut into squares), Thomas face masks (silver dessert plates, craft sticks, circle punches, markers), pin the number on Thomas (yes, I made a giant drawing of Thomas and the kids had to stick his number in the right spot), coal toss (the coal was made out of tinfoil and black tissue paper and the kids tossed it into cardboard boxes decorated to look like train cars), and a scavenger hunt (with train whistles as prizes). This program was a huge hit and we will definitely repeat it in the future, hopefully with a slightly more manageable number of attendees.

Royal Prep with Sofia the First: we initially planned a princess party for this summer, but, with the growing popularity of Sofia the First, we decided to take advantage of that and focus it around her. I think this was the first program I cosplayed for this summer - I wore an old prom dress and tiara and was a princess. Once again, we had over 200 attendees for coloring sheets, scavenger hunt, crown decorating (we have a princess crown die-cut), amulet necklaces (like the one Sofia wears), pin the amulet on Sofia (we bought a ready-made version of this), story corner with a princess (that was me!), and practice your poise (walking across a beam while balancing a book on their head). Our poor planning meant that this program happened the same day as our Teen Anime Con, so we were crazy busy all day long! But we had many happy princesses by the end of the program!

Color and Create: after some of our crazier programs, this one was more relaxed but just as fun. We wanted something low-key that celebrated the simple pleasure of coloring - still one of my favorite stress relievers! But, we wanted to offer a bit more than just coloring, so we included tracing (by far, the biggest hit of the program - all we did was tape down some easy to trace pictures of popular characters and provided them with tracing paper), coloring sheets (once again, we utilized popular characters - superheroes, princesses, etc.), scratch art fish ornaments (so simple and so pretty), and mazes and puzzles (very simple ones).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: when possible, we like to coordinate our programming with upcoming movies or big book releases, so when I found out about the new TMNT movie being released this summer, I put a program on the calendar. It was a lot of fun to plan and the kids who came had a really great time showing off their ninja skills. We had a pizza toss (frisbees made to look like pizzas and we tossed them into Michelangelo's mouth!), decorated shells (Chinet plates and arm loops made of yarn - really easy, though a bit pricey because of the plates, but I wore mine the whole party and received many compliments), ran through Splinter's Training Course (they had to crawl through a tunnel, roll around in the radioactive ooze, grab a katana, and strike their fiercest ninja pose), decorated shurikens (yes - my lovely coworkers and I folded many, many paper shurikens prior to the program), colored (you may notice a pattern - it is always a popular station to take a break at), and hunted for turtles throughout the Children's Department.

Shark Week Celebration!: every summer when Shark Week rolls around, we think to ourselves "why didn't we plan a shark program??" Well, I wasn't letting that happen this year - I put it on my calendar during Shark Week 2013 so I wouldn't forget (though I realized why we haven't done one before - Shark Week inconveniently falls at the beginning of August, right as we are winding down our programming). This was one of the program that kids seemed most excited about during school visits and we had a great turnout. It included Shark Week bookmarks to color (a slightly different change from just coloring sheets), scavenger hunt, shark hats (made out of party hats and paper shark fins and teeth), shark jaws (once again using the Chinet plates to make an awesome set of jaws), shark feeding (I made a life-size shark with his mouth open for the kids to feed fish or to have their picture taken with), shark trivia board (a simple board with shark-themed questions on slips of paper that, when lifted, revealed the answers), and a live shark cam (I simply projected it on to the big screen during the program). We had a lot of happy children at this one.

Those were my preschool programs of the summer! Questions? Let me know!

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