Summer Reading 2014: Second Dispatch.

Apologies for my absence! It was due to a combination of having a very welcome houseguest (who blazed through four Mary Stewart books during her stay); my inability to be online without focusing on what's currently happening in Ferguson; and the sudden exhaustion that arrived when I realized that, with the exception of this week's Craft Table Activity and the Ice Cream Social this Saturday, that the 2014 Summer Reading Program is over.

So, just for kicks, here's a list of everything we did (minus the stuff I chronicled in my previous post):

Craft Table Projects!

Name Rockets: I just put up an example, made sure that the table was well-stocked with construction paper (full sheets and scraps), markers, crayons, yarn/ribbon, glue sticks, and scissors. Oh, and some alphabet stickers that I found in a cupboard and some punch-out paper letters that someone recently donated. Some kids went simple (write name on rectangle, glue triangle to the top, glue yarn "flames" to the bottom), while others got more complex (more along the lines of my example, but some even went further: 3D!).

Expand an Image: This is an especially good one if you've got a backlog of magazines to weed. (WHICH I DID.)

Cubist Portrait: I put out some image-heavy books about Picasso and cubism, made an example portrait along these lines, and let them go to town. This is another, similar project that I might work in at some point in the future, and wow, if I get my hands on some pastels at some point, LOOK HOW PRETTY.

 This? Is what is left after a week on the craft table.

Macaroni Necklaces: The weekend before this project, I dyed 8 pounds of pasta. Which, it turns out, is a LOT OF FREAKING PASTA (that picture is just the remnants-->). As it was really humid that weekend, I found that it was all still a bit sticky, even after baking in the sun for two straight afternoons. So I baked 'em on super-low for a while, which seemed to do the trick. SO POPULAR, this craft. I'll definitely be working it into the regular rotation.

Space Ship Portholes: This is this week's project, and judging by the reaction of the two groups of kids who just descended on the craft table, I'd say it's going to be a hit. I especially love that they're mixed media, so the kids were drawing and cutting out aliens as well as using those sticky foam stars and pipe cleaners and whatnot.

One-time Programs:

Kite Suncatchers: Contact paper, construction paper, tissue paper, yarn, et voila! This project is SO adaptable, in that you can do leaves, flowers, butterflies, etc.

Homemade Watercolors: Even though I didn't go with the Fizz! Boom! Read! program, I did look for some science-y type ideas when I was putting the schedule together -- it turns out you can use common household ingredients (with BONUS baking soda/vinegar action!) to make your own watercolors from scratch. The participants all mixed up a few colors, divided the paint into condiment cups (another random supply I found tucked away in a cupboard here), and then traded so that everyone had a good mix to bring home.

Colorblend Coffeefilters: Coffee filters, markers, spray bottle, hair dryer (to speed up the drying process). This one was geared towards the littles, but the older kids (and adults) ended up getting into it too: using their decorated filters to make peacocks and popsicle stick puppets (mostly skirts and wings) and butterflies and flowers and so on.

Marshmallow Catapults: Surprise, surprise, BIG HIT. They built them inside, and then trooped outside to have distance contests. (Well, the kids who didn't just hang around, shooting marshmallows into each others' mouths trooped outside to have distance contests. It suddenly occurs to me that that could have resulted in a hideous choking incident, but happily, it did not.) 

Balloon Rockets: Another one for the littles. Colored rockets, taped straws to the back, threaded them onto twine pulled taut between shelves, attached an inflated balloon and LET FLY. There was a LOT of shrieking, and many AGAIN! AGAIN! demands.

Soap Bubble Prints: I still love this idea, though the program itself kind of devolved into finger painting. Which was still fun.

Rubber Band Splatter Painting: Oh, man. EVERYONE had paint on their faces by the end. Which was pretty hilarious. As I told some of the parents, I might have to invest in some goggles going forward. Also, YAY JOSHIE for whipping up some frames for this at the last minute.

Magnet Painting: We used Joshie's frames for this one, too, and it went really well -- we got strong magnets from the hardware store, and the ball bearings were definitely preferable to the washers.

Star Party @ Starfield Observatory: There's an observatory about five miles away from the library that offers free guided tours of the sky. We saw Saturn! And the International Space Station! IT WAS AWESOME.

Sharpie Tie Dye: Some kids loved their new shirts so much that they whipped off what they wore in and wore their new duds out. 

constellation viewer.jpg

Glow-in-the-Dark Comets: We used black plastic sheeting instead of shopping bags, but the principle was the same. It's a good thing the library was mostly quiet, because there were a LOT OF COMETS WHIZZING AROUND.

Build-Your-Own Constellation Viewer: THIS ONE. I was really worried that this would be a bust -- it only occurred to me two days before that I should have been saving paper towel rolls all summer, but we used cardstock instead, and everything totally worked out fine! Everyone made two or three, and kids got progressively more elaborate with each one.

SO, PHEW. Suddenly I don't feel so wimpy for being so exhausted. I think I'm going to slink home and watch a Bollywood movie.

Previously: Summer Reading 2014: First Dispatch.