Halloween Spooktacular 2016

Ugh, ugh ugh. This was super unspooktacular. If you want to see actual good Halloween stuff check out the 2015 Spooktacular or the Monsterology programs. I was under the impression we would be doing pretty much a repeat of the program from last year but I was told that was too much work and I should do something smaller.

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So instead I didn’t call the 100 people who registered and we had some Halloween scratch art, Halloween snacks, and played Halloween bingo. It was hot in the room.

Registrations: 100
Attendance: 18
Activity: Halloween Scratch Art
Activity: Halloween Bingo
Snack: Graveyard cups w/ chocolate bones

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Monsterology

I may have gone a little overboard with monsters, but with Halloween just around the corner it was too easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit. This program was a bit different than anything I had done before. I set up a bunch of tables around the perimeter of the room and did not put out any chairs at all. For a majority of the program kids moved clockwise through the stations playing different games or activities that reflected as many classic monsters as I could imagine.

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Edible Blood
I opened the program with a pretty cool demonstration showing the kids a recipe for edible blood. I let them try a lick and then dumped the batch of blood I created on a plate of gummy worms for a later activity. Then kids started rotating through the different monster stations. I should have had some help because it was very difficult to be contained to one station and not able to walk around and help people.

Witchy Matching Game
This was a game of memory I made  from some laminated illustrations of different witch hats.  It requires two players taking turns to flip card over two at a time in search of matches.

Skeleton Puzzle
The skeleton puzzle was a printed skeleton illustration that I cut into several pieces (skull, rib cage, arms, legs, feet, etc) and laminated. The kids were asked to take the pieces and rebuild the skeleton.

Spider Maze
For the spider maze I traced a very simple maze onto a large piece of black poster board. Then I glued white yarn over it to make a raised “web” maze. I set out a supply of plastic spiders and straws and kids were challenged to navigate a spider through the maze

Cauldron Scavenger Hunt
This was the surprise hit of the night! We happened to have a plastic cauldron in the craft room so I filled it with ball pit balls and cotton fluff to look like a bubbling potion. One the tables I put a few cards listing some potion ingredients (eye of newt marbles, plastic frogs, felt bat wings, etc) which could be found by digging around in the cauldron.

Monster Tic Tac Toe
I printed out a monster-themed version of tic tac toe. I believe it was werewolves and vampires. This was probably the least popular table.

Mummy Wrappers
For a prize I wrapped some Halloween erasers in cream colored crepe paper so that it looked like mummy bandages. A little bit of regular tape increased the unwrapping difficulty.

Ghost Bounce
Ghost bounce was  a white balloon with a ghost face where the goal was to stand inside of a hula hoop and bounce the ghost as many times as possible. This one got a bit out of control. especially with little kids, who wanted to run off without the balloon.

Monster Boxes
I “babysat” this activity, as I wanted to keep am eye on things and talk to the kids as they came through so this was one of the last tables at the back of the room. I prepared 4 recycled baby wipe boxes with different monster body parts to touch. Goblin Boogers were yogurt raisins in applesauce, Zombie Scalp was some silly putty and corn silk, Witch’s Tongue was a banana cut in half, and Tarantula Eggs were some tapioca pearls in baby oil. I also had a zombie brain made from jello and cream in a brain mold. I didn’t put this one in a box because I wanted everyone to be able to see it, but I still encouraged people to touch it.

The final activity was another group activity. Remember those gummy worms from earlier? Well I gave every kid a pair of plastic vampire fangs and had them race down to the table and try to pick up a gummy worm without using their hands.

Registrations: 51
Attendance: 20
Activity: Edible Blood Tutorial
Activity: Witchy Matching Game
Activity: Skeleton Puzzle
Activity: Spider Maze
Activity: Cauldron Scavenger Hunt
Activity: Monster Tic Tac Toe
Activity: Mummy Wrappers
Activity: Monster Boxes
Activity: Ghost Bounce
Activity: Zombie Eye Popper
Activity: Vampire Gummy Worm Dash

Junior Scientists – Sticky, Slimy Science Experiments

Hooray for another science night! One day I would like to get some lab goggles for science programs, because I think they would look pretty cool. I did get myself a fancy lab jacket to look more official. I need to come up with a fancy science pseudonym though…

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This program is very similar to the Goopy, Gross Experiments program with the exception that I removed the bouncy ball experiment and replaced it with a silly putty made from wood glue and borax. And of course, my test came out fine but the kids had a really hard time following the directions on this one, so it was a bit of a failure.

And since I know this post is a bit shorter than normal how about an article about slime causing a glue shortage and a boost in sales?

Registrations: 50
Attendance: ~35
Activity: Cornstarch Slime
Activity: Silly Putty
Activity: Glue + Borax Slime

Egyptology

Continuing with the -ology series of programs I chose to do Egyptology in October so I could incorporate some mummy stuff if I wanted to. I had a good amount of registrations again and chose to make bookmarks, play a game, and make DIY paper.

Our first activity was to make hieroglyphic bookmarks with some paper and the laminating machine. Everyone loves using the laminating machine. I printed out a hieroglyphic alphabet and cut out individual letters and put them out for the kids to use. They could spell anything they wanted, though many chose their names. One girl chose Anubis and another chose peace.

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After we worked on our bookmarks I passed out a Mehen board I got from this site.  I made one for each table out of construction paper with paper markers and some cool throwing sticks made out of popsicle sticks, printed hieroglyphics, mod podge, and brown paint.

The last activity was the one I was most excited about. I had seen papyrus weaving projects but I thought just making paper out of paper pulp would be sufficient. I prepped the paper pulp by shredding some plain white computer paper. Then I got it wet and threw it in the baby bullet to grind it into pulp. Then I made 4×6 inch screens to strain the paper pulp out of dollar store photo frames and some window screen I found in the parking lot. The basic technique is to dip the screen into the tray of paper pulp and water and lift out a screen with pulp covering the screen completely. Then try to remove as much water as possible, flip the pulp onto a paper towel and run it under an iron for a minute. Let it dry completely overnight and presto homemade paper!

Usually 3 activities works really well for me, but this time it happened to be trying to do too much in too little time. I like all the activities though so I guess I am not sure which I would eliminate.

Registrations: 25
Attendance: 30
Activity: Hieroglyphic Bookmarks
Activity: Mehen Game
Activity: Paper Making

Science Night: Owl Pellets

Hooray, we are “experimenting” with having a science program every month! I proposed an owl pellet dissection because I remember doing it in school and having a lot of fun with it. And despite what people claim, it is not very stinky.
To prepare for the program I ordered 20 small barn owl pellets. I saved a little money by ordering on Amazon and getting a “used” product with previously opened packaging. The owl pellets were all intact, but I shaved a third off my price by ordering that specific product. I also got tweezers from the dollar store because the electronics/automotive section has a set of 4 for $1. Of course they are not super awesome quality but they are good enough for the kids to use for the program. I also set out Dixie cups of water and 8.5×11 placemats for people to use as their working area.


I printed out a booklet for each participant asking them to do some basic things like measure the pellet, guess how many bones were inside, etc. I also printed out a bone identification chart and a skeleton chart of a rat, bird, and mole. If I did this program again I might just print rats and have the bird and mole as backups as everyone had rat skulls in this batch.

The night started with a little presentation I put together that talked about owl digestion, the gizzard, and how and why owls form pellets. I found a video on YouTube that showed a handler feeding an owl a mouse. I told people ahead of time that we would watch the owl eat the mouse in case they wanted to close their eyes but no one was squeamish enough to look away. In fact the kids were really into the video despite me having technical difficulties with the sound.

A few minutes into the program a woman from the local paper showed up to take pictures, which was quite exciting for me as it was my first experience with the paper. I tried to frame my questions so the kids were looking excited and the photographer could get some more dynamic shots. When we started taking the pellets apart the kids were really into it. There were lots of outbursts of things like “I found a toe!” And “look I found a skull and it has teeth!”

Interestingly enough every single person severely underestimated the number of bones they would find. I had stressed that a pellet would often contain at least one skull if not more so this surprised me. Most people took at least 35 minutes to hunt through the pellet for bones. I was able to wander from table to table to help with trying to identify bones and just checking in with the kids.
Attendance: 18?

Activity: Owl Digestion Slideshow & Video

Activity: Owl Pellet Dissection

Mother’s Day 2016

I probably should have planned a mothers day tea party, but I had done the princess tea party and wasn’t up for borrowing all of the tea things again. Also I had seen somewhere else that did a tea party but excluded little boys which just seemed mean-spirited and locking myself into mother/daughter or father/son programming isn’t what I wanted to do. So I thought back on mothers day activities I did growing up. Origami ring? Plastic ring lilacs? Coupon book? Nothing sounded good and everything on pinterest looked too expensive or too quick or too eductional.

Then I thought about making a necklace, and maybe the pendant could be made from shrinky dink material! Oh, and a card to go with it! So I got shrinky dink paper from amazon, and traced a coloring book butterfly onto each one. I also prepped the items to make a card that looked like birds hugging on the front and had a poem inside.


When the program started I had the kids each pick out 12 beads of any color they wanted. I only sat out a few colors so things wouldn’t get too crazy. Then we worked on cutting, gluing, and decorating our cards while I waited for everyone to show up.

I ended up setting out fine point sharpie markers for the shrinky dink butterflies as washable marker smudged and colored pencil was harder to work with. Everyone had to share markers but things went fine and when the kids were done coloring I put them in the oven for 3 minutes and the pendants shrank down to about a third the starting size. The kids thought it was sooo cool. I did have to make several trips to the oven, but that was fine, because not everyone finished coloring at the same time. Then we threaded the pendants onto our necklaces and put on the beads and finished just in time.


I think this worked out really well. I would like to do it again, especially as shrinky dink material was reasonably priced.

Attendance: 32?
Activity: Bird Hug Cards w/ Poem
Activity: Shrinky Dink Butterfly Necklaces

Ocean

Ah my very first program! Typing this out brings back a lot of memories. I was so nervous and excited. I made a big display with a construction paper coral reef and paper cutout fish. I put out every book in the library that I could find with oceans, sharks, fish etc. I ordered probably 50 different books to try and pick the best books to read and still wasn’t happy with my selection.


I began the program with having the kids paint paper plate seahorses with washable paint. We had some neon colors – blue, yellow, and pink to choose from. After that we had story time while we waited for the paint to dry. I read Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle and remember thinking that it just went on forever and ever and ever. I also read a book with ocean animals made from vegetables that had a sea horse. The Boss lady popped in and read Scat Fish and the kids (all 3) did not enjoy it as much as I thought they would but it was probably the favorite book of the day.

After story time we played a memory game with ocean animals but you lost a turn if you flipped over a shark. I had printed and laminated the different ocean cards for the game parts and added a big, bad shark that got closer and closer to a clown fish as more sharks were turned over. The kids actually had a lot of fun with this and I made several different sets of matching animals so I could make the game bigger or smaller depending on how many people showed up.


Then I passed around some photos of ocean life I had taken at the aquarium. We talked about seahorses, anemones, crabs, starfish, etc. Finally the paint was dry and we decorated our paper plate seahorses with sequins.


Attendance: 5?
Activity: stories
Activity: ocean game
Activity: ocean photos
Activity: paper plate seahorses