Tag Archives: crafts

Dr. Seuss Birthday Party!

Last Saturday we held a birthday party for Dr. Seuss, who would have been 108 this year. When I went shopping the Friday before, there were about 20 people signed up for the party. Luckily I always get more than I think I’ll need, because Saturday morning a TON more people signed up! In fact, we actually had 71 people, but only about 50 came, to my relief.

The party ended up being exactly an hour, which is what I had planned for, amazingly enough. Some kids came in costume, which was really cute. I wore my striped hat 🙂

I had a bunch of books to read and I wanted to gauge the crowd before choosing. I ended up reading The Cat in the Hat, which many of the kids knew already and so they enjoyed listening to it. Even the younger kids stayed pretty still through the whole book. I didn’t attempt another one and we went right into our craft, Thing 1 & Thing 2 paper bag puppets. Finding a good craft proved more difficult than I thought, even with lots of searching and scouring Pinterest. I finally found something relatively easy from a great blog called The obSEUSSed Home Librarian. The kids and parents liked making them. Most only made one, but some ambitious parents made both.

When they finished their craft, we sang happy birthday to Dr. Seuss and cut the cake. I had several other snacks that related to the books, also found on Pinterest! (See below for links I found to party & food ideas.) I had just enough for everyone. I also had some raffle prizes to give away, mostly books. Parents out their kids name into a bucket as they came into the party. Everyone who came to the party took home a Dr. Seuss themed bookmark, pencil and some stickers. They signed a big birthday card we made, which is currently hanging up in the Children’s Room. All in all, a pretty good event!






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Harry Potter Club: The Monster Book of Monsters

I didn’t think we could do it, but they came out awesome! Granted, I was the one doing most of the gluing, but the kids were so totally excited to have an actual “Monster Book of Monsters” that they didn’t seem to care. When I made my sample, I was so proud of myself and showed my staff and several mom’s in the Children’s Room. All of whom stared at me blankly, as they had never seen the movie that portrays the book. And none of them had even read the books! Horrified, I went upstairs to the adult floor, where I found the praise I felt I deserved 😉

A bit of history…. (via the Harry Potter Wiki)

             “The Monster Book of Monsters, by Edwardus Lima, is a particularly vicious textbook that is used in Care of Magical Creatures while Rubeus Hagrid(who thought the book’s aggressive nature was funny) was the teacher. The book will attack anyone who attempts to open it. The only way to subdue the book is to stroke its spine, upon which the book opens placidly. After incidents in which the books attacked each other, the manager of Flourish and Blotts vowed never to stock them again; he found the situation to be worse than when an entire stock of The Invisible Book of Invisibility disappeared. When students brought this book to Hogwarts for Rubeus Hagrid‘s Care of Magical Creatures class, they had to force the books shut with belts and Spello-tape because they didn’t know how to calm the books.”

Anyways, it wasn’t as difficult to make as I had originally anticipated. The craft came from my trusty Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book. As you can see, the Monster Book of Monsters is featured on the cover.

The book calls for a few things that I did not end up using. It said to use a wooden craft “book” box but I didn’t have enough money to buy these, especially as I don’t have a signup so I don’t know how many kids will be there. I decided to go into the book sale room and “borrow” a few very old books* that were about the right size and thickness. This worked out really well.

Items I bought:

– Brown craft fur

– that Crayola foamy modeling clay that air dries – can’t think of the right name for it – in white, red & black

Other items we had:

– old books

– cotton balls or cotton batting

– glue gun & plenty of glue sticks (we went through a fair few for this one)

– scissors (for cutting the craft fur to fit the book cover & and for “trimming” the monster’s hair later)

I plugged in the glue guns before the club started. I have one larger “hot” one and 2 smaller low-heat ones. Some of the older kids in the group have permission to use the low-heat ones, but most just let me do it. The kids picked out an old book from the bin and I gave them some of the white foam clay. They made the 2 long fangs first and attached them to the top cover. Then they took a small handful of cotton batting and placed it on the cover between the 2 fangs. Using the glue gun, we put glue all over the top book cover (including over the fangs and the cotton and then laid the craft fur down over it. The cotton batting adds a little bump for a “snout.” (I measured the books to the sheet of craft fur beforehand, so I knew they would all fit with a minor amount of trimming.)

Then we flipped it over and put glue on the spine and back cover, laying the rest of the fur down. Then the kids got some more white foam clay** for more smaller teeth and red for the top and bottom gums. They fashioned these and then I glued them to the top and bottom of the “mouth.” The last step was using the black foam clay to make little round balls for eyes and glue them above the snout, sort of nestled into the fur.

*A note about the old books: I didn’t realize this until right before the meeting started, but when I was choosing old books from the book sale room, I was looking for size and not content. They were older, adult novels and it didn’t occur to me that even when the craft was finished, the kids would be able to open the book (so the monster can “chomp”) and therefore be able to read the text. I tried to quickly scan the books and pulled out a few that looked sketchy. I did try to warn the parents when they picked up the kids about my oversight so they would at least be aware. They didn’t seem to mind too much. I think they were just happy that they had just had 45 minutes to themselves and their kids were happy! (A possible solution to this would be to glue the pages shut or to use an old belt to put around the book, just like Harry did in the movie.)

**FYI: The book actually calls for Sculpy and baking the teeth and gums before gluing. However, I do not have access to an oven at the library, so I like to use this foamy clay because it air-dries. You can glue a portion down even if it isn’t dry yet and then move it if you need to. My sample teeth dried and were fine the next day.

All in all, they turned out pretty cool and the kids had a blast. Things got slightly out of control when balls of foamy clay mysteriously flew at me, and when I left to get my camera, the kids had disappeared (hiding under the tables.) But we have yet another Harry Potter artifact to add to our collections.

some partiularly good teeth

so proud!

this guy has a mohawk!

this one should really floss more.....

my sample

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December Story Times (weeks 9 & 10)

(Better late than never, eh?)


Week 9 – Bedtime


For this story time, I read Llama, Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdey, Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton and Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by the great Mo Willems. The Llama books are always a hit and work with younger and older kids alike. The rhyming text is perfect for reading out loud to a restless group and the parents love these too because Baby Llama is “every toddler.” The kids totally get it too, and think it’s funny when Baby Llama whines and screams. I always ask them if they would ever act like that and they always say “no” with a big grin on their faces. In this story, Baby Llama has some trouble falling asleep and whines and frets until Mama rushes to him and tells him she is always there. Russell the Sheep has the classic Rob Scotton illustrations that I love and is a cute story about a sheep who tries everything he can think of to fall asleep to no avail. When he finally tries counting the sheep in his own flock, he falls asleep immediately. This is a cute story, but didn’t work too well with the group I had. They were on the younger side and the pictures are smaller and more detailed, so harder for them to see. I ended with Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! which is usually another one that works for all ages, but by this point, it was almost a lost cause! (The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are usually pretty tough for keeping kids focused, no matter what age.) Normally though, this is a great read-aloud because it involves the kids. They have to say “no!” to the pigeon, which they think is hilarious because they get to act like their parents.


Songs & Rhymes

We did the 5 Little Monkeys Song with hand motions. Bit hit! I had also planned to do Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, but they asked to do one of our Jim Gill dances – this particular group’s favorite is Jumping & Counting. So that got a little more energy out of them at least.


We made sheep out of cotton balls. Yup, that’s it! Some kids made several sheep, while some made one big one. I made a sample sheep, modeled after Russell.

This was my sample....

Week 10 – Unusual Pets


I chose 4 books as possible reads for this story time, and I actually managed to read all 4 at my Wednesday session, a miracle!

The books were: My Rhinoceros by Jon Agee, Prudence Wants a Pet by Cathleen Daly, Chewy Louie by Howie Schneider and Smelly Bill by Daniel Postgate. Jon Agee’s new book is super cute and has that lovely off-beat humor and story-style that all of his books tend to have. At first, the boy thinks that his choice of a Rhinoceros as a pet was bad, as the Rhino doesn’t play fetch or any of those normal pet things. After speaking with an expert, he finds out that Rhinos only do 2 things. Those 2 things end up saving the day, and revealing that there is one more thing that Rhino’s do, making them the perfect choice for a pet after all!

As for Prudence, she wants a pet so badly and goes through all sorts of “non-pet” pets, such as a branch, a stick, a tire, and an old shoe. Her parents finally agree that she should have a real pet and the story ends happily, with Prudence choosing the perfect name for her new pet. I love this book, but it’s probably not the best group read-aloud. I only read it to my slightly older Wednesday group, who all loved it. It has cute illustrations and some subtle, dry humor for the parents too. Chewy Louie is about a dog that chews. Everything. Cute story, but a little on the longish side. Smelly Bill is a rhyming book about a smelly dog who finally gets a bath from Great Aunt Bleach, only to leave her as smelly as Bill was. A very funny story.


Song & Rhyme

We sang BINGO, which was a lot of fun, since the parents and myself kept getting confused as to how many claps to do! And did some more Jim Gill dances.


For the craft we made Sock Pets, which actually turned out even better than I thought it would. They are easy to make, since they don’t require any sewing, though I did heat up the glue guns so that they didn’t have wait for things to dry. I have 2 low heat glue guns that I put out for crafts sometimes, though parents always have the option of Elmers or tacky glue. Sometimes it’s just easier. I had black and white child socks I bought at Walmart. They chose a color, stuffed it with cotton balls, and then used a rubber band to tie off the end. This also worked as a tail. They came out so cute! And also really strange-looking, which was the whole point, of course.

This kid made some sort of carrying case for his....

It has antlers.....

We decided this was a Reindeer Lady Bug Mouse 🙂

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Harry Potter Club

Here are some crafts we’ve done in Harry Potter Club in the past few months!

For one meeting we did a “Dragon Study.” I grabbed all the books we had with illustrations and “facts” about dragons and put them out. Then I read descriptions of the different dragon breeds from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The kids looked at the books and tried to find pictures that looked like the descriptions I read. They drew some of their favorites. We also talked about where these dragons appeared in the different HP books.

I believe this is a Welsh Green...or possibly a mixed breed 🙂

Quill Pens

These are super easy to make. All you need is a pen that you can take apart, a feather and some glue. Cut the end of the feather – this will leave the plastic part hollow. Remove the ink “part” (I don’t know what it’s called) and push it inside the hollow feather. You probably want to use a glue gun or super glue to make it stay. The book I borrowed the idea from did not mention putting the outer plastic pen-shell back on, but it seemed like it would make the pen easier to hold/use. Plus you could put the cap back on. You can also do this with a mechanical pencil.

Golden Snitch Ornaments: A variation on the Golden Snitch magnets we made a while ago, except we used foam balls and ornament wire-hanger things. Also gold glitter. This one took a little while to dry. Some kids just glued on some gold tissue paper that we had. Very easy to make – just stick white pipe cleaners into the foam ball and decorate. You can even decorate and then put in the pipe cleaners. It seemed to work OK both ways.


This is what Neville’s Gran sends him in the first book. It is a glass ball that turns red when its owner has forgotten something. Malfoy steals it during their first flying lesson, and Harry takes off after him to get it back, and does so well that he ends up as one of the youngest Seekers on a Hogwarts Quidditch team in years. Yes, this little Remembrall is very important!

I found the glitter balls in a Wal-Mart clearance bin for $1.50. We used Sculpy to make a ring around the ball – this one I actually glued down with a glue gun before it hardened so it would stay on once it dried. Then I glued some rhinestones on it for a bit of “flair.” The kids did some really cool things with them – making stands for them and different patterns, etc. Of course, I forgot my camera so I only have pictures of my samples. They were fun to create and they make interesting conversation pieces. (Sadly, this is not the weirdest thing on my desk in my office.)

I got most of these ideas from this book:

It has some really great ideas that are easy and don’t cost too much. The kids want to make the “Monster Book of Monsters” next month…..wish me luck!

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Fall Story Times – Week 6

Week 6 – Teddy Bear/Bear Story Time

I am going to attempt to post more about my story time programs than just the craft. So here it goes….

I try to begin by saying hello, asking if there are any newbies and, if so, introduce myself and talk a little about what we do in story time. I will also talk about any special programs coming up that pertain to the 3 – 5 age group. I might take attendance, but usually there are people who walk in late, so I tend to just count people while we do the craft at the end. I also might begin with asking the kids about the theme, so I might ask them about bears, what they sound like, where they live, if they are nice, who has teddy bears at home, etc. This takes up some time because we usually get totally side-tracked with comments like “I have a teddy bear!” “I want to be a dinosaur!”  “I have a cat!” “My cat got hit by a car!” and so on.

I usually start with a song or rhyme, lately we’ve been singing Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi. They are starting to remember the song, and they love to get up and move around and get their “sillies” out before reading.

For the Teddy Bear/Bear theme, I pulled out 4 books to read: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., Big Smelly Bear by Britta Teckentrup, Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson (LOVE Karma Wilson!), and The Bear Came Over to My House by Rick Walton. I ended up reading the first 3 books for both the Monday and Wednesday sessions, which is pretty good, since we don’t often get through 3 books! I also used my velcro story board characters for Brown Bear, which is fun because the kids get to be involved in the story by putting up a character on the board when it comes up in the story.

Story Characters from Lakeshore Learning


I had 2 songs/rhymes picked out to use: The Bear Went Over the Mountain and Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear. I didn’t end up using either since they were able to sit through the 3 books.

However, we did go on a BEAR HUNT! They loved doing this and doing all the hand motions and sound effects. Plus, it’s always to pretend you’re in a dark cave with a bear. I love Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, but doing the Bear Hunt (chant? it’s not really a song…) is totally fun. There are a lot of different variations of this and most are online somewhere. I think I’ve actually changed my version to make it work better for my group. (At some point, I  will post it, but it’s on my work computer at the moment.)

The craft was decorating construction paper teddy bears. I had my library page pre-cut the teddy bears and then I put out different craft items to glue on or color with. It’s simple and the kids love it. The parents love it too. They came out really cute 🙂

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Fall Story Times

I had intended to post about my 3-5 story time programs each week, but that didn’t happen. And now it is already November. Crazy.

I snooped around the blogosphere and found some very helpful Librarian blogs. One of my favorites is Abby the Librarian. She has some great ideas for story times – rhymes, movement activities, and books. Another thing I’ve started doing are felt boards, which the kids really like. The only problem is that I find myself making them the night before, or sometimes not at all because I just don’t have the time. Also, I’ve been planning story times with only a few days to spare, if that.

I have some pictures of the crafts we did (most are my samples) and at some point later I will add links to my plans. Not that it always goes as planned, mind you, but I do my best to stick with it. Our story times are all drop-in and I never know who we’ll have or how many younger siblings will be in tow. I usually have extra books just in case some don’t work out. Here are the themes I did in the last 2 months:

Week 1 was about Fall. We read some fall-themed books and the craft was tissue paper leaves. This is one of the easiest crafts you can make and works well for a drop-in crowd. My staff pre-cut different leaf shapes and cut strips of red, yellow and orange tissue paper. It’s a great craft that kids can mostly do themselves – all they have to do is crumple up the tissue paper and glue it on the leaf. They also glued the leaf to a piece of blue construction paper (leaves flying through the air!)

Week 2 was Numbers & Counting. We read Chicka, Chicka 1 2 3 by Bill Martin Jr. and a few other counting books. The kids really loved this book and stayed with it. I like to get them involved by having them say the repeated lines with me or asking them to spot things in the picture. For the craft, I had pre-cut tree trunks and then had the parents trace the kids’ hands on green paper and then fold and cut to make four all together for the leaves. It amazed me at how many parents didn’t know about the fold-and-cut trick! Then the kids put green, yellow and red circle stickers (the kind you’d use for yard sale price tags) and drew on numbers. I also had a few foam numbers with sticky backs that I passed out to put on. I found this craft idea on A Mommy’s Adventures – a really cute blog with some great craft ideas.

Week 3 was Colors. I read a few books about colors, such as Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox. The craft was a creative one, no sample to follow. I have 4 tables in the story time room and I set up each table with craft supplies of the same color. There was a green, red, blue and white table. This is a great way to use up random craft supplies hanging around. The colors I chose depended on what we had in stock. We had lots of white cotton balls, q-tips and coffee filters! The kids moved from table to table and created pictures using only the items on the table. Some did all four, while others only did one or two. These pictures were made by the kids.

Week 4 was about Cookies. This is one of my fall-back themes and I didn’t have time to really plan anything so we read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff, plus a couple other cookie books. The craft was to create their own construction paper cookies. They cut out cookie shapes, some big and some small. I had a bunch of scrap paper so they could cut sprinkles or chocolate chips. We talked about different kinds of cookies that they liked when we sat on the floor earlier and I walked around and talked to them about it again to give them ideas.

Week 5 was Halloween! We did some fun Halloween books, ending with my favorite, In a Dark, Dark Wood by David Carter, which ends with a ghost that pops out of the book – the kids LOVE it. I went with another easy craft, but dressed it up a little. The original is the paper plate ghost with streamers. So I planned a ghost, a pumpkin and a black cat. I cut out shapes for the faces and put them out for the kids to glue on. However, the staff member who plans the table crafts (we have a table with a drop-in craft for kids to do in the Children’s Room and it changes each week) also planned the paper plate ghost with streamers. So, I cut the ghost option and just had the pumpkin and black cat. Obviously we need to coordinate our crafts better!

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