Frontier Living – Cabin Fever

We hadn’t had much programming from outside sources lately so I scheduled a program with the local historical society on frontier living. I thought the title Cabin Fever was pretty witty since by the end of February people will be suffering from cabin fever and it evokes the frontier living imagery.


The woman who came was super prepared and did a great job even with a small crowd. The kids that came were really interested and it was nice that they got to touch a lot of the items. They were especially interested in some of the toys kids has, including corn husk dolls and the Jacob’s ladders.

After the presentation we made our own thaumatropes, and “churned” some butter in a mason jar with marbles.

Registrations: 19
Attendance: 6
Activity: Frontier Living Presentation
Activity: Thaumatope Toys
Activity: Churn Butter
Snack: Biscuits and Butter


Minerals Rock!

Over the summer I visited a rock and mineral show where I cracked a coconut geode and got to see a lot of really cool rocks, beads, and sculptures. Since the dinosaur excavations I have previously done were so popular I thought kids might also like to do a mineral excavation where they got to keep the rocks as the beginning of a rock collection.


This is one of those programs that looks pretty fancy,  but is not technically hard to produce, it is just takes a little time.To make the excavation kits I got a bag of random pebbles and pieces for $5 and separated them by color. I then mixed a recipe of play sand, plaster of paris, and water to make the excavation material. My lesson learned here is to work in smaller batches and don’t be a procrastinator and do it the night before because I guarantee one of the excavation kits won’t set right.  I didn’t feel like redoing the few crumbly ones so just gave them to the littlest kids and they were none the wiser.

I got a pleasant surprise the day of the program when a coworker at another library in the system called to ask if I would like some of the flint he had to give to the kids. I jumped on that and he dropped off flint, some pre-bagged rock samples, and some obsidian “Apache tears” to give to the kids. The kids loved getting so many samples and luckily for me it made up for the technical difficulties I had.

I had spent some time pulling pictures of really cool examples of different rocks and minerals to do a presentation and then we had a technical glitch where the laptops couldn’t access the server to log in. It wasn’t that I couldn’t access the internet, I could not get past the login screen for the laptop. I don’t own the adapter cable to hook my iphone up to the projector and I don’t use it often enough that I really want to make that investment so I just skipped the presentation and skipped straight to showing the kids the rocks I had brought for them to see and touch. Then I handed out a list of some of the most popular/interesting rocks and the excavations kits with toothpicks and paintbrushes.
Registrations: 39
Attendance: 28
Activity 1: Rock Samples
Activity 2: Mineral Excavation

Valentine Workshop

I have been trying to keep better samples/photos of the activities we do, but I don’t have one for this one. This program was a little less demanding than other programs as there were only 2 activities instead of the normal 3+.


For the first activity we made special shaker cards. My version was not as complex as this. I used the cricut machine to cut hearts into some cardstock. The kids filled some treat bags with glitter, sequins, and puffy heart stickers and taped them to the inside of the card over the heart-shaped hole. Then we glued a plain white sheet of paper inside to cover the shaker bag. We colored and cut out a little bear to hold the heart on the front of the card. The kids could decorate the bear and inside of the card however they wished.

Next we revisited paper marbling like I originally did in the colors art program.  I cut up all of the scrap cardstock and set them out to make mini valentines. I gave each kid their own tray with shaving cream and they could come up to the paint table where I only set out a few “valentine”-appropriate colors like red, pink, and purple. To reduce paint waste one of the shelvers helped supervise paint to shaving cream application.

Registrations: 50
Attendance: ~40
Activity: Shaker Cards
Activity: Marbled Paper Mini-Valentines

Mini-Makers – Bird Feeders

I hope all of my programs do well, but there are some I am more confident about than others. This was one I was a little worried about, but I shouldn’t have been because the kids knocked this one out of the park. Beware this post will be very image heavy!

I got a big bag of bird seed on clearance, and we didn’t even use 10% of it, so you really don’t need that much seed. The base was cheap peanut butter mixed with some coconut oil and heated in the microwave. I brought in toilet paper rolls, little pine cones, cheerios, dried raisins, dried cranberries, pipe cleaners and yarn and let the kids go to town creating. Oh! And a cheap loaf of bread I cut some star shapes out of and let sit out overnight to dry.

Registrations: 37
Attendance: 22
Activity: Pine Cone Bird Feeder
Activity: TP Roll Feeder
Activity: Yarn & Cheerio Feeders
Activity: Toast Feeder