Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Teen activity: Library Bingo

Bingo is a crowd-pleasing classic! I did this with teens at our local Juvenile Detention Center, and a great time was had by all- and we talked about 20 different library resources to boot. I could see this being a fun activity with many age groups. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

These are the bingo cards I made on Myfreebingocards.com- although I ended up switching to the "Stars and Stripes" theme seen below. I printed them on white cardstock.

When the teens got their first bingo, I would let them drop a disc in the Prize Drop, a really fun product to have for outreach and programs, and then they would win one of these awesome scratch-n-sniff bookmarks available from Demco.  For the mini-bookmarks at the bottom of the Prize Drop, I cut the actual bookmarks in half. Then I would give them a full-size normal bookdrop for their prize- and 5 Jolly Ranchers!  (Blue Jolly Ranchers were the most popular today.)


While playing, I would explain each resource and why it is an awesome thing that they should take advantage of either now or in the future.

Next time I do this activity, when they get their second bingo I would let them CHOOSE their favorite bookmark. The gummy worms seem to be the most popular.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Easy teen activity: Paper cup making & testing!

Every month I visit our local Juvenile Detention Center and do a short activity with the teens, just to give them a "taste" of what we do in library programs and make sure they are aware of library resources in general. Today's activity was a suggestion from my director that worked very well, so I thought I'd share!

First, I asked the teens to imagine that they were in the desert/jungle, dying of thirst, [insert dramatic scenario here] and they needed some way to carry water.

Here to save the day is the humble Origami Cup!

I gave them each a few square sheets of paper (5" by 5" works well) and told them that they would be able to test their cup after they made it with some... dun-dun-da-dun: SPRITE!  (The more dramatic the reveal of the two liter, the better! I had it hidden in a large bag.)

I printed and handed out directions, but then I also walked them through it step by step. Kids did what worked best for them and I walked around giving pointers. Then, as they finished, I filled their little cups with sprite and they got to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

I then challenged them to see if they could make a new paper cup without looking at the directions.

This activity only takes about 15-20 minutes. If I wanted to stretch it out, I would also have them make an origami tray/bowl/plate that they could then "test" with a snack. It could be a fun part of a survivalist-type program for teens.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Teen Craft: My Origami Valentine

Today I made these origami Valentines with 2 groups of teens! Each piece of the Valentine took between 10-15 minutes to teach at a leisurely pace. The two pieces fit together quite nicely and the teens were proud of the finished product.

I emphasized the importance of clean, crisp folds and precision before starting this craft.

We used a 5" by 5" piece of yellow paper for the envelope and a 4" by 4" piece of paper for the heart shape.  I used regular colored copy paper.

I taught each of these pieces step by step and had them follow along with me. I also had printed instructions for them to take home.

To learn how to make the envelope, use these wonderful instructions for an "Origami Bookmark" provided by Red Ted Art.

To learn how to make the simple origami heart shape, I used this tutorial:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Toddler Storytime: Diggers 'n' Dozers


One Big Building by Michael Dahl

Construction Countdown by K. C. Olson

Giant Pop-out Vehicles Meagan Bennett

Little Dump Truck by Margery Cuyler

I didn't get to use Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney, but it is so cute! Nicely paced and rhythmic text.


I loved this action rhyme from Preschool Powol Packets:

Construction Trucks Action Rhyme 

The tall, tall CRANE reaches up so high
(stretch up tall toward the sky) It looks like it will touch the sky!
(keep stretching up, stand on tippy toes) 

EXCAVATOR digs a hole so low
(use one hand to scoop a "hole" that touches the ground) While LOADER scoops up dirt to go.
(use two hands to scoop an imaginary load) 

The BULLDOZER scrapes a nice flat ground
(place hands at waist height and "smooth" the "ground" in front of you)And CEMENT MIXER spins around and round.
(spin in circles) 

Now very last, and very strong,
(make "strong muscles") DUMP TRUCK lifts things all day long!
(use two hands to lift a "load" like a dump truck) 

This is a classic building rhyme:

Johnnie / Joanie Works With One Hammer 

Johnny works with one hammer,  (Hammer one fist lightly on leg) one hammer, one hammer,Johnny works with one hammer,Then he works with two. 

Johnny works with two hammers...(Hammer both fists on legs) 

Johnny works with three hammers...(Hammer both fists on legs and one foot on the floor)

Johnny works with four hammers...(Hammer both fists on legs and both feet on the floor) 

Johnny works with five hammers...(Hammer both fists on legs, both feet on floor, and nod head down and up) Then he goes to sleep.(Pretend to go to sleep) 

Special Activity:

We played "Hide and Go Seek" with cardstock construction vehicles "hidden" around the room. My class is very young, so I just set them on the floor in easily visible spots. I told them that the trucks had been out working hard fixing up the library all morning, and now we needed to bring them back to rest in the parking lot.

The kids went out searching and brought all the trucks back to this parking lot I made out of masking tape on the carpet. (It's amazing what you can do with tape on carpet!)

We had a special building and construction themed playtime afterwards with plenty of Duplos, cardboard blocks, and transportation themed toys.  

Toddler Homework:

  • Stop by a construction site and talk about what the machines are doing.
  • Read a book about construction and/or big machines.
  • Look at tools with grownups and talk about what they do.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Toddler Storytime: Fall Forest Fun

Letter of the day: F

We talked about all things Fall, Forest-y, and Fun!

Rhymes and Fingerplays:

Scarecrow, Scarecrow (a seasonal version of Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear) 
Scarecrow, scarecrow, turn around
Scarecrow, scarecrow, touch the ground.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, reach up high!
Scarecrow, scarecrow, touch the sky.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, bend down low.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, touch your toes.

All the Leaves are Falling Down (Tune: London Bridge is Falling Down) 
All the leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down, (Imitate falling leaves)  All the leaves are falling down, Fall is here! 
Take a rake and rake them up, rake them up, rake them up, (Imitate raking leaves)  Take a rake and rake them up, Fall is here!

Make a pile and jump right in, jump right in, jump right in, (Jump!)  Make a pile and jump right in, Fall is here! 
In the Apple Tree
Away up high in an apple tree. (Point up)
Two red apples smiled at me (Make circles with fingers)
I shook that tree as hard as I could. (Shake tree)
Down came the eapples and Mmmmm were they good! (Rub stomach)


The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tarfuri

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

Special Activity:

Acorn Hunt!

 (You may want to forewarn parents that this activity will involve tree nuts, although most people with nut allergies report no issues with handling acorns. Let the parents decide. Also, acorns could be a choking hazard. Advise parents to be hands-on with this activity.)

Before storytime, I shredded lots of paper and placed it in shallow totes. Then I mixed in plenty of acorns for our Acorn Hunt.

First I introduced our storytime friends to Simon the Squirrel. "Do you know what Simon eats for breakfast?" "Will you help him find the nuts he hid in these totes to fill his bowl?" Children brought me the acorns as they found them to feed Simon. I pretended that the squirrel "ate" the nuts- they thought this was hilarious!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What can you do with a scarf?

Storytime scarves are a lot of fun. My absolute favorite scarf song is Popcorn Kernels, demonstrated by the fabulous ladies from Jbrary here:

I like to ask some other questions too:
  • Can you wear it like a cape?
  • Can you wave it like a flag?
  • Can you wear it like a hat? 
  • Can you hide it behind your back? Can you wave it behind your back?
  • Can you wear it like a shoe? (This one is just for laughs. As it happens scarves makes terrible shoes.)
  • Can you spin it around your head like a helicopter? 
  • Can you wave it fast/slow or high/low?
What do you like to do with scarves?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Storytime: Feelings

Oh FEELINGS. What preschooler isn't familiar with feelings? Hungry, sad, happy, surprised, sleepy- their feelings run the gamut daily. Let's talk about it! I like this theme quite a bit because it encompasses almost any picture book if you talk about the feelings of the characters.

For an opening song, "Oh hey, oh hi, hello" by Jim Gill works well; the kids get to pretend to feel sad and mad among other affectations. You might also "Shake your Sillies out" with Raffi; kids love feeling silly!

Opening questions for discussion:
-What feelings do you have?
-What is your favorite feeling? (One boy yelled out "SLEEPY!" Okay, sure.)

Here are the feeling-laden books we read today: 

Grumpy Gloria by Anna Dewdney

Fun rhymes and grumpy times with a cantankerous pup. I like asking the kids whether they think Gloria is still grumpy or not throughout the book... spoiler alert: there's a happy ending for our grumpy friend.

 Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley

Opening question: ¨Does anyone feel scared sometimes?¨ This book is about feeling scared and about being brave.

If You're Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera

My favorite feeling of all! End on a happy note with this great rendition of the popular song. You'll need the kids to stand up and help you read/sing the book.

Hug Machine by Scott Campbell

We did not have time for this one today, but how cute is this book? This is a great way to talk about ways to make people feel better and would be a good book to end on.

I also love Betty Goes Bananas by Steve Antony.

Game: Name that feeling!

I made these simple feltboard faces to illustrate different feelings. I revealed them one at a time and asked, "Can anyone guess what feeling this is?" and "¨Can you make a happy/sad/silly/surprised face?" I did not have time to make hair for them, so they all look like bald men for now. Please pardon the dog legs in the photo, my pup did not feel like moving.

Make it - Take it craft: Happy totes
Our library had an excess of white cloth reusable library tote bags perfect for drawing on with markers. I gave each child a bag to take home and told them to draw something that made them feel happy on the bag. If they were too young for drawing, I encouraged them to use their favorite colors. 

Words about feelings from Fred Rogers: “As a caregiver, you’ll know that a child can be happy, sad, angry and excited all in the space of a day. As children grow, they learn that other people have these same feelings, too, and it helps when we can tell them about our feelings. Talking about feelings has a way of making those feelings more acceptable, and children need to know that having a wide range of feelings is part of being human. But adults also need to tell children what they do with those feelings- particularly with strong ones like sadness and anger. When we talk about letting those feelings out in acceptable ways, we can help children learn that all feelings are not only mentionable but manageable, too.” -- Mister Rogers' Plan and Play Book