Somehow, Miss Jan and I completely failed to realize that since July 4th fell on a Wednesday this year, the library would be closed on the actual holiday. This led to some last-minute scrambling, as we decided to bump our "night sky" theme up a week, since we preferred to have it the week before the 4th, as opposed to the week after. We had a few activities and crafts in mind, but not all that much set in stone, since we thought we'd have an entire extra week of planning. And since nothing was too terribly set in stone, we (of course) managed to change our minds on almost every single craft approximately two days before we had to have them ready! Because we are awesome.
While clicking around, hoping for inspiration to strike, I stumbled across this amaaaazing depiction of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night:
Picture from Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom
Super beautiful and fantastic, right? Unfortunately, also waaay beyond the scope of our program. But while I was looking at this, I couldn't help but think about other ways we could do a 'Starry Night' of our own. And then I remembered salt painting!
Hah, not quite as impressive as the quilling, mayhaps, but well-suited to the age group we had, and lots of fun besides! We used black paper and watered down acrylic paint, which resulted in some really awesome, vibrant colors, and also meant we didn't have to worry about getting liquid watercolors! (We tried food coloring, but it was way too light.)
We decided against eye droppers, too, and just gave the kids those thin paintbrushes that come with every set of kids' paints ever. Those worked perfectly! They let the kids transfer enough of the thinned paint to color their pictures, but didn't completely soak the paper.
Our second activity was creating a "mural" of the night sky. We rolled out a huge sheet of black paper along three tables, then set out some chalk and let the kids have at! This wasn't a terribly time-consuming project, but I think it turned out really cool.
The chalk showed up well against the black paper, and you could also smear it for a neat effect. Once the entire paper was full, we hung it up in the hallway, behind our book tables!
My favorite part was probably the many suns that turned up in this version of the night sky!
And finally, we have our last craft, which is also the reason I have so few pictures of this week.
We made rocket ships! We got the instructions from Family Fun, and they turned out AMAZINGLY. Once you get the hang of launching them, they really fly! We even set up a launching site for the kids, to see who could send their ships flying the farthest.
Now, you might be wondering why this craft so severely impacted our picture taking. WELL. See that little circle where the kid has drawn in a face? We decided it would be cute and oh-so-personalized to take pictures of all of our kids, then cut them out so they could put themselves in the peep hole of their rocket ship. Unfortunately, we not only overestimated how long it would take to snap all the pictures, then upload them to our not-always-fast computers, but we didn't count on everyone being finished with their crafts so quickly! This was our shortest program of the summer; half an hour after we started, I had people wandering down to the children's room to ask if the pictures were ready to go yet, which they most decidedly were not. I eventually got MOST of the pictures handed out, after some serious scrambling, but it basically kept me tied to the desk until the very end, meaning I didn't get any pictures of the program. Still, the rocket ship cup was a big hit; I would absolutely do it again, probably just not with the individualized pictures this time.