I know other libraries have had after-hours sleepovers and such, but that is not an option for me so I planned a summer “campout” that would be a little like going to camp if it were held at a library and not at a camp! I added a secondary theme of stars because it would give me more options for activities and books to put on display.
Our first activity was a color resist constellation art piece. One of the shelvers and I prepped pieces of watercolor by drawing a constellation on with white crayon. I chose to use the constellations Orion and Ursa Major as they are popular and easily recognizable. I used a light table and a printout of the constellations to easily draw the constellations. At the program I passed out the constellations at random and set out paintbrushes and some watercolors I imagined were night sky appropriate- purples, blues, and a little black. When the kids painted over the constellation it “magically appeared”. I also explained the story of Orion the hunter.
Next I put together a powerpoint slideshow of different stars and galaxies, turned off the lights and projected them in the dark room. For extra effect I told the kids to pretend they were like nature’s fireworks and we could “oooh” and “ahh” over each one. While we were looking at galaxies my coworkers put together some s’mores in the kitchen. We had a little break so everyone could eat and wash their hands and then we moved on to the last activity.
Our system has a pretty realistic looking campfire that gets used fairly frequently. We borrowed it and had the kids gather around to listen to Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark.
Overall this was a pretty simple program that was well received and the s’mores actually did not make as much of a mess as I thought they would.
Activity 1: Watercolor resist constellations
Activity 2: Stars/Galaxies powerpoint presentation
Activity 3: Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark