Mini-Makers – Perler Bead Keychains

When I started at the library I found a huge, unopened bucket of perler beads in the craft closet and knew at some point I would get around to having a program with them. When I planned a series of Mini-Maker programs I thought the perler beads would be an awesome activity.

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I bought additional, small pegboards from the craft store and had a package of very cheap keyring tags from home depot. Additionally I got some of the colors sorted for convenience but I also put big bowls of mixed beads on every table. It was nice that it was actually very little prep and a very nice turnout.  I also had a few patterns printed for people to follow and people enjoyed those a lot. I will look up more for the next time.

The patrons were very content to sit and create and I had to actually kick people out. I saw them making a little bit of everything from a Puerto Rican flag to a pokeball to Jack Skellington’s face. As far as safety goes I set up the iron on a table so that the kids could not get too close to where I was ironing and made them stand farther back. My suggestion would be to have two irons and two people ironing because a would have a big line waiting for the iron when multiple people finished at the same time.

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Princess Tea Party

The princess tea party was awesome! We had fancy pink and purple tablecloths and decorations. We had pink flowers and butterflies everywhere and crowns to decorate when the attendees arrived. We had pink lemonade to drink and candied popcorn, chocolate dipped cookies with fancy sprinkles, chocolate gems, and other yummy treats.
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Oh I also made these amazing looking rose cupcakes. I used a sweet poundcake recipe so no frosting was needed. Oh, and I forgot to mention I contacted the local drama club and they sent over a whole group of princesses and princes to surprise the kids with a special sing-along. I think we were supposed to have 10 but one girl was sick and couldn’t come. My only cost was that we agreed to pay for dry cleaning for the outfits.

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I even made program booklets for all of the attendees with an outline of the festivities and all of the song lyrics so they could sing along. At the end of the program I released a bunch of balloons and the kids just had a blast bouncing around balloons with the princesses and princes.

Some programs become BIG programs in my mind, and the princess tea party was one of them. I thought it was an adorable idea and I am happy I had the chance to do it, but it was also a lot of work. My fitbit logged over 17,000 steps prepping and running this party.

Activity 1: Princess Crown Creations
Activity 2: Princess Singalong
Activity 3: Princess Tea Party
Attendance: 43

Bubbles

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Who doesn’t love bubbles? They are so colorful, nostalgic, and almost magical. I couldn’t resist having a bubble program and it was very well received, if anything I would have had more bubble solution and a bigger pool. Basically more of everything. I crammed a lot of things into a short time for this program and had to practically shove the families out at the end.

First we blew some gak bubbles. I used gak I had made myself and bigger straws. You wad the gak up, stick it on the end of the straw, pinch it tight, and blow. Some kids made some pretty big gak bubbles!

Then I passed out bubble wands made out of pipe cleaner and let the kids decorate the stem with beads. I think the pipe cleaner wands work really well because they hold a little bit more solution.

After everyone had their own bubble wands I passed out some solution that was colored with food coloring in different colors. We placed cardstock on the table and blew bubbles at the paper to create some cool art.

When everyone was done making their art we set it to the side to dry and went to a baby pool I had filled with bubble solution and made some straw & yarn wands to make HUGE bubbles. Everyone took turns making really big bubbles.

For the last 5 minutes of the program I turned on the bubble machine and let the kids dance around in the bubbles and blow bubbles with whatever wand they wanted to use.

Activity 1: GAK bubbles
Activity 2: Beaded bubble wands
Activity 3: Bubble art
Activity 4: BIG BUBBLES
Activity 5: Bubble Dance
Attendance: 28

Explorations in Art – Colors

This was my first program that was advertised as an art program, not just a generic family fun program. I had a decent crowd, but the one thing I realized I needed to work on was giving really clear, step-by-step instructions.


First we made coffee filter art projects. The kids loved doing these and probably would have done them for an hour. I actually ran out of room to put wet coffee filter papers. I tried to encourage light spraying, but the kids liked to really soak them. Next time I will get a smaller spray bottle and take away the brown and black markers as they get too muddy.

Next we did shaving cream paper marbling. I passed out a tray full of shaving cream to each table as well as 2-3 coordinating colors. The kids took turns dripping in paint and swirling it around (just a little!) , dipping in paper and  bookmarks, and then scraping the foam off to reveal the marbled paper underneath. This project is where some tables got the idea and did really fancy stuff that came out amazing looking and 1/3rd of my tables overmixed and just ended up with solid colored paper. While I had cardboard to use as scrapers I don’t think it worked as well as I would have liked and I would like to get some kind of cheap good squeegies for next time.

The last activity was for the older kids and most patrons actually didn’t have time to try it. We took a bowl of water and dropped in various nail polish colors to make an abstract pattern and then dipped paper, tags, booksmarks, or nails in to pick up the marbled paint.

Activity 1: Coffee Filter Art
Activity 2: Shaving Cream Paper Marbling
Activity 3: Nail Polish Marbling
Attendance: 22

Star Wars Day 2016

I wanted to celebrate Star Wars Day with a program, but it happened to fall on a day that we usually do adult programs. I thought it would be worth trying to squeeze it in on an off day and time to see what kind of response I would get.

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First we did this BB-8 paper craft. I printed an oversized one for display and did a regular size one. I thought it would be fine and it was ultimately too hard. I think only one patron completed theirs.

Then we spent the bulk of our time playing Star Wars-themed bingo. I created boards that had images and text so you could recognize characters by sight or by name if you weren’t familiar with all of the characters. For prizes I had big chocolate Boba-Fett characters that I got for 70% off after valentine’s day.

Activity 1: BB-8 Papercraft
Activity 2: Star Wars bingo
Attendance: 12