Category Archives: middle grade programming

Fan Club, Jr: Star Wars

What We Did:

Hey, have you guys heard there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out this month? Seriously, though, we knew that Star Wars was even hotter than usual, with the crushing buzz of the new movie propelling kids and adults alike into a frenzy. Courtney wanted to make Chewbacca bookmarks and BB8s out of Model Magic, and I thought we’d through in perler beads, too (we have a ton of them, kids like them, and they’re super easy). Courtney also had the brilliant and adorable idea of making some Death Star Crunch treats, simply by taping a Death Star on a delicious Little Debbie snack cake.

What I Bought:

$8 for one pack of Model Magic
$4 for two packs of Star Crunch

That’s it! We have tons of perler beads on hand, and we also have a lot of duct tape, craft sticks, and brown felt that we made Chewie bookmarks out of.

How It Went:

We accidentally counter-scheduled one of the many downtown festivals in our area with this program, but we still had about 12 kids come out for this. We put on a DVD of Lego Star Wars, and the kids went crazy making all kinds of cool stuff. We simplified the bookmark by simply having them wrap the felt around the large Popsicle stick and making Chewbacca’s face and bandolier out of duct tape. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. The Model Magic is just perfect for making a BB8, but definitely put out markers for the kids to decorate their creations. Otherwise it just looks like they’re making some adorable snowmen.

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Art Afternoons: Beth Krommes Scratch Art

2015-10-06 [Art Afternoons - Beth Krommes Scratch Art]

What I Did:

Oops, I did this program several months ago and forgot to blog about it. Anyway, I love Beth Krommes gorgeous picture books, especially Swirl by Swirl  – I just adore the idea of highlighting something so common and yet overlooked in the natural world. When I first thought of using her as inspiration for an Art Afternoons program, I thought her work was done with prints – perhaps woodcut? Nope, she uses scratchboard, which is a super fun thing to experiment with! So that’s what we did, too!

What I Bought:

$4 for 100 scratch art sticks
$4 for 50 Artist Trading Card sized scratchboards
$18 for 40 8.5″x11″ scratchboards

$26 total for a program with a registration cap of 30

How It Went:

This was a fun Art Afternoons, but we definitely had some challenges. The scratchboard sticks didn’t really do a very good job of scratching off the scratchboard. I ended up pulling lots of random stuff from our craft closet – pipe cleaners, jewelry tools, sewing needles, and other scratchy stuff. I let the kids pick their tools.

It also doesn’t take very long to scratch art, so we put out watercolors for the kids to optionally paint their works afterward. This creates a really cool effect.

If you try scratch art at your library, make sure to talk warn your program attendees that they only get one large paper and one small paper (or however much you opt to give them) to use. Lots of kids are used to diving right in and then asking for another paper, which definitely works for some media, but not scratchboards.

This was also a relatively expensive program. Not breaking the bank, exactly, but definitely required more specialized stuff than I would prefer.

 

 

Art Afternoons: An Exploration of Eric Carle

One of the goals in our Youth Services Programming Plan this year was to add some more programming for the dreaded tween population (they’re not really dreaded, but what do you CALL the kids ages 10-12?). My library has tried programming for kids who aren’t quite teens before in all kinds of ways, but it never took off. Or, it would take off for a while, and then the numbers would quickly dwindle to 1 or 2 kids a week. All our previous efforts, though, were on Saturday afternoons, which are a pretty busy time for lots of families. Realizing we had a huge audience already using the libraries on weekday afternoons right after school, I wanted to try launching some programs during that time for kids ages 8-12. After seeing a post on Art Afternoons over at Library as Incubator Project, I knew I wanted to brazenly rip it off.

I even settled on one of the artists mentioned in the post for a nice, easy start: Eric Carle. To prepare, I threw together a quick slideshow that featured some examples of Eric Carle’s work, a video of Carle working, and a short definition and history of collage. I also posed the following questions on the last slide:

What do you want your collage to look like? Take a few minutes to sketch out your animal or bug before you start cutting. Remember that big, simple shapes will be the easiest to cut out.

What colors do you want to use? Do you want to make a realistic-looking brown dog? Or a fantastical purple elephant?

How do the different layers of paper change each other? Can you put two different colored papers on top of each other to make a new paper?

What textures do you want to use? What happens if you rip your paper instead of cutting it? What happens if you wrinkle your paper up a little while the glue is still wet?

Because I wanted this program to be a fun and focused experience for our young artists, we requested that people register and capped registration at 30. By program day, all 30 spots were filled and there was a waitlist of five people.

On the day of the program I set up three rows of three tables each, and set out thirty chairs. I also set out a row of chairs in the back for parents who wanted to stay. Each table was covered with our trusty tablecloths, and I set up two tables along the side of the room for supplies. One table held every kind of tissue paper I could find in our craft closet, and the other held scissors, plates with glue, brushes, and big sheets of construction paper.

As kids arrived, my co-worker and I checked them in. Although 30 people had registered, we had about 20 kids show up. Because our registration form requires kid’s ages, we actually had a full group of kids in the specified age range, which is pretty cool! Our librarian who focuses on younger kids will be doing a session of the program with the same artists for the under 7 set later this week, which helped prevent little bitties from joining us for our more intense session. Parents were invited to wait in the back of the room or browse for books in the rest of the library.

Once the time for the program to roll around started, I introduced myself and welcomed everyone. I read The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse to the crowd, making sure to take time on each page to point out different techniques Carle used and give people plenty of time to see the art. After I was done reading, I showed my slideshow. I was really impressed by how well the kids paid attention.

After the slideshow, I passed out scrap paper and pencils to everyone and invited them to sketch out what they wanted to make before they started. I let each table go to the supply table and pick out what they wanted one at a time, to prevent a mad dash and pandemonium. Once everyone had their supplies, kids could go back to get more paper as many times as they wanted.

This program was a great success! People were already asking about next month, and the art these kids made was incredible! The kids were a joy to work with, and it was practically free. We had tons of tissue paper, glue, and scissors on hand, so it was a good stash buster activity, too.

Next month, we’ll be doing scratchboard art. I’m still debating whether I’ll have teen volunteers make the scratchboards or if we’ll buy kids. Either way, be sure to check back soon for another episode of Hushlander brazenly copies a library program to great success!