Wednesday, July 25, 2012

SRP 2012: Wacky Wednesday (Part 1) | Nighty-Night!

The end of July seems to be creeping up on me in the worst way possible. What happened to June, anyway? Long story short, it's been go-go-go around here all summer long, and I am sadly behind on my blogging! I haven't made any new flannelboards, either, so participating in Flannel Friday anytime soon is a no-go, but I did want to make a post for some of the crafts we've been doing.

My coworker, Miss Jan, and I, have been in charge of a Wacky Wednesday program for ages 3 - 7 this summer. We were initially hoping to do some science experiments, but with an average crowd size of 80+, we couldn't quite figure out a way to manage it. We focused on arts and crafts instead, with an occasional activity thrown in to keep things exciting!

 We started Week One off with some fun, simple camping crafts, but I'm having a tough time tracking down pictures of those, so I think I'll leave that post for later. Instead, I'll skip on ahead to Week Two!

Our theme for this week was Bedtime, and we planned (most) of our crafts accordingly! We'd initially talked about having a teddy bear sleepover sometime this week, but somehow in the scramble to get everything else ready, the sleepover was forgotten. Oh well - maybe next time!

Our first craft this week is tied with superhero week for my absolute favorite of the summer! We made... drumroll please...

Handmade teddy bear pillows! Such a fun bear craft!

Teddy Bear Pillows!

I am still entirely delighted with how well these turned out! They. Were. Adorable. Miss Jan and I had been tossing the idea around, but were having difficulty figuring out how to put it into action. The examples we'd found online all involved sewing, which would have been way too difficult to manage with 50-some five-year-olds. (For example: these bears here!) Finally, we cut two simple (matching) bear shapes out of the world's softest and fuzziest fleece (using this template as a guide), then hot glued them together along the edges. We left just the top edge unglued, so the kids were able to stuff the bears with fiber fill, poking it into the arms and legs with pencils. During our craft day, we had a hot glue station, manned by our AMAZING volunteers. (They completely rocked - we couldn't have done our program without them!) Once the bear was filled and glued shut, the kids got to take them back to their tables and decorate them, with a little help from the lucky adult who had brought them! SO much fun, and a great way to use up scraps of leftover fabric!

That's a picture of some of our patrons' AWESOME creations. If you're wondering what that vaguely tie-dyed, soggy mess underneath them is... well. Let me tell you about our adventures in bubble painting.

For those of you not in the know, bubble painting is supposed to produce an end result like the following:

 Picture from Meet the Dubiens

What a cool idea, we thought! Bubble painting! Awesome! And it is awesome - if you do it right!

Suffice it to say, our bubble station could have run a wee bit more smoothly. We used foil pie tins to hold the solution, which made it almost impossible to get a print. Most of the kids ended up with a very faint circle, if anything, and the rest managed to dip their entire paper into the solution, thus ending up with a soggy mess. (See above.) We had slightly better luck with smaller containers, but even then, the prints weren't nearly vibrant enough. (We used food coloring instead of paint to color our solution, which I think might have been part of the problem.)

Along with the bubble painting, we also made our own bubble wands with pipe cleaners, wire, and beads, then filled a big tub with bubble solution so the kids could blow bubbles. Thankfully, that was much more successful!

Bedtime week also featured a "counting sheep" craft. We printed this template on cardstock, then used it as our base. The kids drew a hat for the sheep, cut the entire picture out, then glued cotton balls to the sheep's body. (To cut down on waste, we had them tear each cotton ball into smaller pieces. Worked like a charm!)

 This was our initial inspiration, from Adventures of a Blonde Librarian!

We could have left it here, but we felt like it was too simple for our craft program, so we decided to give the sheep a "fence" to jump over. We cut sheets of cardstock in half, then had the kids draw a fence on them. Miss Jan, armed with a hammer and nails, punched holes in a bunch of craft sticks pre-program. The holes provided just enough give for us to stick a small brad through them. We taped the sheep to one end of the craft stick, then laid the piece of paper on top of the stick and punched the brad through both layers. Once the brad was through, we spread the tines and taped those down to the craft stick. The brad provided a pivot point, giving us a sheep that "leaped" over a fence!

(I seem to have misplaced my sample - clearly I was very well-organized this summer! - so please observe the following picture, of the sheep having completed its leap!)

And there you have it! Week Bedtime was, I believe, a success! The kids had fun, we had fun, and barring the bubble painting, I think all of our projects turned out really well! (And the kids still enjoyed the bubble painting, so I'm going to go ahead and count that as a win, too. I would absolutely try it again, just with more careful planning this time around.)

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