We usually have programs published quarterly so I planned a monthly teen game night for three months in a row. I made signs, making sure to include the word snacks, and a list of the more popular of the 40 some board games I own. And I’m talking the cool, $60+ a box games, not plain old monopoly games.
I put signs in the teen area and near the comic books. I made brownies and bought pop and for the first meeting I had two people come- one adult and one teen and we played Pandemic. The next two months no one showed up to either program. And that was the end of the monthly Teen Game Night.
Oh no, is there anything worse than a snowstorm on the first spring program? I had quite a few people registered so I prepped 40 sets of all the materials, only to have a snowstorm come through. I guess I should be happy for the few people that came, but it is always a bummer to have now attendance to a program you are excited about.
Once again I started with the stories. I think I read three books, and one of them may have been a Plant a Pocket of Prairie. I often read 10-20 books on a theme before I pick the ones I want to use in my programs and I just can’t remember all of the ones I actually used. Out of the three books I am sure we read Abracadabra, It’s Spring! which is just gorgeous and the kids were actually into this book. I have read after the fact that other people were just using abracadabra for all of the pages because they thought some of the other words could come off as racist.
After the stories we worked on tissue paper suncatchers. I made the base out of contact paper and black construction paper cut into the shape of a flower in a circle. Because the contact paper was sticky they just had to place little pieces of tissue paper on the art. A majority of the kids said this activity was too hard and only one girl got into doing it.
Finally we strung some cheerios on pipe cleaners tied to brown yarn to make bird feeders. This was more popular, especially as the kids liked sneaking bites of the cheerios.
Activity 1: Stories
Activity 2: Tissue Paper Suncatchers
Activity 3: Cheerio Birdfeeders
I love doing programs but I really love doing special holiday programs.
The program filled up rather quickly as soon as I made a big sign for it. I actually had enough interest I probably could have done a whole second program.
First we started with some stories. I actually had a co-worker gather the kids around in a story time circle and read while I passed out cups of coloring for egg-dyeing. When the stories were done the kids each got 3 eggs to color. There were surprisingly very few spills or whining about sharing colors.
When the eggs were done and drying we moved on to making a cute little bunny out of a brown paper bag. The kids colored their rabbits however they wanted and attached a handle. We used these as baskets for the egg hunt so that I didn’t have to worry about having real baskets for everyone.
Finally it was time for the egg hunt. One of the shelvers hid the eggs while the kids were puttting their bunnies together. I limited it to 10 eggs per child, so that I knew there would be enough for everyone. Additionally, I had them line up at the door youngest to oldest and released the kids one by one with a 10-second gap in-between so there would be no worry about anyone getting trampled.
Activity: Egg Dyeing
Activity: Bunny Brown Bag Craft
Activity: Egg Hunt
A rainbow at the end of the storm is one of those things that never cease to amaze me. Even now, going outside after a storm I look around in eager anticipation. I guess you could say this program was a little stormy as somehow the program room was double-booked and I had to squish all of my participants and activities into half the space. The room often gets warm as it is, but having so many bodies in a cramped space made it like a little oven. The program itself was a success though, so while I am still bitter about the double-booking I can take pride in a job well done.
I am sure you will not be surprised to know that I began the night with stories. I had three books prepared but after reading Hideaway Hedgehog and the Magical Rainbow I abandoned the stories in favor of activities. There was no room for the kids to sit up close and see the pictures and the room just wouldn’t settle. I think the stories are usually the weakest part of the programming so I didn’t mind moving on.
I wanted to get one of the messiest components done early, so I had all of the kids come up and fill a terracotta pot with soil. Then we planted some clover seeds and watered them just a little. This gave everyone a chance to wash their hands before moving to the next activity.
I had found a cute printable of a rainbow that the kids colored and then taped to a toothpick to act as a little planter for their clover, which when it sprouted would now look like it was growing at the end of the rainbow.
Our final activity was probably the most fun. I bought some cheap containers with lids and portioned an amount of milk into each container and dyed them different colors of the rainbow. We then added some instant vanilla pudding mix to the milk and shook it up so that it mixed really well and set. Then we scooped the colored pudding into some clear cups in rainbow order and topped them with a whipped cream cloud. Delicious!
Activity 1: Stories
Activity 2: Clover Planting
Activity 3: Rainbow Planter
Activity 4: Rainbow Pudding
I have some programs that I think are awesome and I am really proud of. This was not one of them. Attendance was low, the activities didn’t work right and it just all around sucked.
I forget how many people registered for this program, but I remember getting 36 cupcakes so it must have been a few, but only two families came for a total of 4 people. We started the night decorating party hats with sequins and feathers, but that took a lot longer than I expected.
We had a little break for some cupcakes and punch which should have been high energy and just wasn’t due to the lack of people.
We ended with some flamingo croquet. I had made the mallets out of dowel rods painted pink, and the arches out of duplo blocks with images of the Alice characters on them. The kids were younger and had a really hard time hitting the ball through the course, leading to frustration all around.
But seriously, this was the most awful merry unbirthday ever, which is a shame because this is such a cool theme. I hope to do it justice one day.
Activity 1: Hat Decorating
Snack: Cupcakes & Punch
Activity 2: Flamingo Croquet
If I am ever in the position to give programming advice to a new employee I think one thing I will stress is to write program notes immediately. I would follow that up with actually taking pictures of all the cool things you do because the things you think you will always remember start to fade pretty quickly. That being said, Dr. Seuss Day is from my pre-note taking period.
I am fairly certain we started the program and spent a bulk of the time creating little booklets I had put together based on the classic My Book About Me. I peppered it with different Dr Seuss characters and had fill in the blanks for things like height weight, the number of teeth a kid had, favorite color, etc. The parents had to help with this quite a bit actually, though I did have tape measures in the room to help with the height question.
I believe when our books were completed that we sang happy birthday and had some cake. I also feel fairly confident there was a story time, though I don’t remember reading the stories myself, so it is possible that my boss did that while I was passing out cake or something.
Attendance: I thought it was a bit lower in the 15-18 range
Activity 1: Little About Me Books
Activity 2: Cupcakes & Happy Birthday to Dr Seuss
Activity 3: Dr Seuss Storytime