Saturday, December 10, 2016

Santa's Kitchen

Aide and volunteer set up the sink
  •  Program Goals
    • Offer a community holiday program
    • Offer a weekend program to finish off the programming season
    • Encourage new families to visit the library and connect
I was sure I'd written this program up earlier than 2013, but either I lost it when I transferred to this new blog or I just dreamed that I did. That happens to me a lot - I'm very productive in my dreams. This is our traditional end of year holiday program. I do it on the 2nd Saturday in December and it usually marks the end of our programming for the year. I've been doing it for quite a while - in 2010 we did gingerbread houses (hugely popular but a massive time sink) and then starting in 2011 we switched to cookie decorating. I added ornaments in 2012 and I used to do fancy wire stars but now that I have a big ornament program the Thursday before we just do pipecleaners.

Project: Ornaments
  • Pipecleaners, beads
  • wrapping station - wrapping paper, tape
Project: Cookie decorating

  • 250 plain sugar cookies in holiday shapes and 6 lbs red, green, and white frosting ($100)
  • Cookie decorations - m&ms, sprinkles, chocolate chips ($15)
  • Holiday plates, napkins, and tablecloths (3 yards per table if you're doing wrapping paper)
  • Paper plates, plastic bowls, plastic spoons
  • Two small tables by the door for cookie serving, sink and trash can behind, window seat at far end for Nutcracker display (chair and piano bench), dancers in lobby (leave far door locked, chair barrier). Tables lined up against wall with bulk for cookies, 3-4 for ornaments.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lego Club

  • Program Goals
    • Encourage creativity, problem-solving, and math skills
    • Encourage collaboration and a friendly space for kids and parents to interact
    • Offer a program that fits a variety of ages and needs
    • Attendance: 35
  • Build a creation with 25 pieces
  • Build a creation from one color
  • Build a vehicle
  • Build a robot
  • Build a city
  • Build a winter vehicle
Lego Club is my longest-running after school club. It's a drop-in program - people can come any time between 3:30 and 5:30 and stay as long as they want. I also put out displays of new materials for kids to check out and flyers for upcoming programs.

I tell kids that it's an "all you can create buffet". They use the plastic bowls to go down the "buffet" and make choices, and then build on the tables. Everyone knows that if it's on the buffet it's fair game, if it's on a table in the rest of the room you have to ask (some of us are still practicing this though)

Legos were provided through donations and supplemented with Pig Money.

During Lego Club I take pictures, admire creations, talk to parents about upcoming programs and whatever is on their minds, settle fights, keep an eye on kids who don't have adult supervision, and sort the Legos. When they are finished building, which can be anywhere from 10 minutes to the full 2 hours, they get their picture taken for the bulletin board and Facebook and put their creation on the "play" table. We don't break them down until they are gone. (I used to put them on display but we had to keep cleaning them up and we ran out of space).

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Scholastic Book Fair

This isn't a program, but I need to record my notes for posterity - and so that when I do it again, three years from now, I can remember everything I forgot about last time I did it...

The Set-Up

  • 5 cases (2 middle grade, 2 preschool, 1 beginning reader)
  • Boxes - extra board books, cookbooks, super value
  • The cases open to form a closed in circle with two of our light white tables against the wall in the middle. We borrow one small round table for the cookbooks and the cash register goes on the study table from the teen area.
  • It takes a day to set up, 1 person unpacking in the morning, one in the afternoon. More people go faster - sometimes. We generally don't decorate, unless you count decorations we cadged from the school's last fair.
The Running
  • Most of our traffic comes from families and grandparents - generally afternoons. Having the fair during a big community event (Santa reception) or program helps a lot.
  • Three days is enough for anyone. Many are willing but even with directions the cash register is confusing to some. Be prepared to clear your schedule and run the fair yourself (especially set-up and take-down). Don't forget change. It takes about an hour to run all the reports etc. afterwards and you still need to pack everything.
The Money
  • Checks are not worth the hassle. Cash is easier - if the amount is small enough you can use a credit card to pay the book fair. Credit cards are the preferred payment method of most.
What people buy
  • People do not like toys - esp. all the junky activity kits and all the little bits of register crap. We have no space for them in our tiny fair, they're easy theft items, and parents get annoyed that the kids fuss and cry when they want them to take books.
  • Paperbacks do the best. Very few people buy expensive hardcovers.
  • Grandparents and parents want more board books (actual board books, not media-tie-ins and novelty books).
  • Teen books don't get purchased. The teens who read have no money.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Messy Art Club: Holiday Ornaments

  • Program Goals
    • Offer an inexpensive holiday program for families
    • Encourage creativity and using different art styles/materials
    • Help build gross and fine motor skills
    • 30-60 attendance
Project: Ceramic ornaments
I got a deal on these, otherwise to get enough for potentially 50-60 people is too expensive. 

  • Ceramic ornaments (60?) (Discount School Supply)
  • Acrylic paint, brushes, aprons, paper plates, wax paper (to dry them on)
Project: Plastic ornaments
You need a lot of these and they are cheap plastic, so get extra! The big bubbles are the best, but people like the other shapes so I try to get some of them as well. Make sure you get the ones that pop open, otherwise kids will just fill them with sequins and nobody has that many sequins.

  • Colorations Clear Ornaments (Discount School Supply)
  • Sequins, ribbon, glitter glue
  • glitter, containers to shake it in
  • glue, scissors, tablecloths
Project: Paper chains
If you don't have fancy paper, regular paper and markers works just fine.

  • Paper, markers, scissors, tape
Project: Glitter Pinecones
The important thing with this is to have enough big tubs to shake the glitter over and to remind people to tie their strings on FIRST.

  • Pinecones, yarn or ribbon
  • Glitter, glue, large plastic tubs

Project: 3-D paper ornaments
You fold the die cuts in half, glue the halves together. You do need symmetrical shapes. You need at least four, but you can add more and make it fancier. It works best if you glue the yarn or ribbon down the middle while/before you add shapes.

  • die cut shapes (Christmas trees, stars, gingerbread men)
  • hole punches, markers, scissors