Thursday, November 6, 2014

Geronimo Stilton

We began the program showing a short 10 minute clip from the DVD Geronimo Stilton: Operation Shufongfong and Other Adventures.

We then went on to play Newspaper Bingo, borrowed from Thrive After Three's program (  Amazingly the kids loved this part.  We had them work in groups of any size to search for the various parts of the paper.  Hindsight being 20/20, we should have gone over the parts of the paper with the first group.  Many didn't know what an editorial or letter to the editor was.  Once we had one group that had found all nine parts, we let them loose to explore their other options.  We did have them help pick up their left over newspapers, scissors and glue sticks.

Craft: Newspaper Art
We put out white construction paper, newspapers, and oil pastels and the kids could create whatever they wanted.

These were the samples we showed them:

The kids put their own spin on it and made simple, unique pictures.

The bottom, green structure became Pac-Man's house.

This became a kitty, the only one to copy one of our samples.

Craft: Rock Mouse on Cheese
We used left over rocks and scrap felt and yarn to create these adorable mice.  The sponges were purchased from Dollar Tree.  
Super Mouse with his cape.

We also had a variety of coloring and activity sheets available for them from the Geronimo Stilton website.

Overall this was a very easy, low key program.  The kids were excited as many of them love reading the books and those kids that had not yet graduated to the this series got a good feel for them from the video clip.  The newspaper art went fine, but I think the kids would have benefited from a little more direction (even though we had sample ideas posted) and room to spread out.  The tables were super crowded and glue got everywhere!  The mice were a huge hit and the kids got creative with them.  One kid even gave his mouse a cape.  

Attendance: 28, 18

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Glow in the Dark!

This was by far an easy and FUN program!  The kids were on Fall Break, so even our normally hyper after school group was nice and calm and our numbers were a little lower, but that didn't stop the kids from having a great time.

We started by discussing the book, The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton.  I read a few pages of the book describing to the kids how fluorescent paint was developed.  Then the kids moved on to the waiting stations.

We have a large room for our story time programs that can be divided in two.  Usually we keep the divider open so we can easily monitor both rooms at the same time.  However, for this program we wanted almost complete darkness for our games, so we kept the divider closed and turned off the lights.  I stayed on the craft side, while my partner stayed on the game side.  It took me a while to figure out how to take low light pictures with our work camera. Once I did, I was able to get much better pictures of everything!  I don't know if I'd be able to recreate it, but it worked for the evening I needed it.

Game 1: Glow in the Dark Bowling

Game 2: Glow in the Dark Tic Tac Toe

Game 3: Glow in the Dark Ring Toss

We also played some fun music for the kids and handed out glow sticks for them to wave around while dancing.  Here are some fun photos I was able to capture, once I figured out how to get the shutter speed on the camera to slow down.

On the lighted side, the kids could do three different crafts.

Craft 1: Fluorescent Collages
We put out a whole range of materials.  We had some sticky collage sheets left over from a previous program that the kids could use, or they could use regular paper.  There were fluorescent stickers, pipe cleaners, wiggle eyes, pom poms, feathers, ribbon, buttons and paper.  The creations were awesome!

Craft 2: Fluorescent Painting
Kids had yellow, orange, pink, blue, green fluorescent/neon acrylic paint at their disposal.  They also could use glow-in-the-dark paint.  They could choose between leftover circle paper (again, from a previous program) or use plain white.  Most chose to use the circle paper.

Note the completed k-cup night light.

Craft 3: K-Cup Night Lights
Over the summer we had collected and cleaned a huge number of k-cups for a program, but ended up using regular white 3 oz plastic cups instead.  We decided to go ahead and use the k-cups for this neat craft, especially since our program fell so close to Halloween.

However, we didn't want the kids to feel like it had to look Halloween-ish, so ours was much more generic, which meant the kids did the same.  They used sharpies to decorate the k-cup however they wished.  Since we had so many k-cups, the kids were able to create more than one, although they only got one battery operated tea light (which we purchased at Dollar Tree).

Super, super fun and easy low-key program to pull together, especially as it utilized some left over craft supplies.  The games were a huge hit and inexpensive since I purchased the bracelet glow sticks at Dollar Tree  (20 count tubes for $1--I purchased blue, orange and pink) and Big Lots (2 50 count pkgs for $5).  We were able to send each child home with an unlit glow stick bracelet.  The evening group could take already lit ones home for siblings.  Luckily we already owned a bowling set (from S&S Worldwide) and ring toss (also from S&S).  The crafts really helped extend the program.  I only wish we'd invested in a black light to view all the fluorescent stuff.

Attendance: 27, 18

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Science Camp: Science of Bubbles

For this program we started with a Steve Spangler video on the Science of Bubbles:

Then we created three different bubble wands and tested four different homemade bubble solutions, which I made up ahead of time.  In addition the kids could make Popped Bubble Art.
We added food coloring to a bubble solution.

Here are the solutions we tested.

Solution #1
6 cups water 
½ cup Dawn dish detergent 
½ cup cornstarch
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp glycerine
Dissolve the cornstarch in the water, stirring really well.  Then gently stir in the remaining ingredients.  Avoid creating a lot of froth.  Allow your mixture to sit for at least an hour, stirring occasionally if you see the cornstarch settling to the bottom. 

Solution #2
4 cups warm water
½ cup sugar
½ cup dishwashing liquid

Combine the sugar and warm water.  Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.  Add the dishwashing liquid and stir again.

Solution #3
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp liquid dish soap or laundry detergent
1 Tbsp glycerine
1 tsp sugar

Gently stir all ingredients together.

Solution #4
1 cup dishwashing liquid
15 cups water

This program was MESSY and the floor got very slippery!  Definitely a program that is better suited for outdoors. 

Making bead bubble wands.

More bead bubble wands.

Straw and yarn wands.

This was by far the funnest wand, straws inside the top of a water bottle.  Lots and lots of bubbles!

Some even got creative and tried to make 3D wands.

The straw and yarn wands allowed for HUGE bubbles!

Getting creative and using other things for wands.  We also got out clean socks to see if they could hold the bubbles.

 Solution 1 was by far the favorite of both sessions.  I had put together a testing sheet so they could record results (which solution made largest bubbles, most bubbles, longest lasting bubbles, etc.), but the kids never got around to using them.  They were having too much fun playing!

Ideas came a variety of blogs and websites, including:
Bead Bubble Wands:
Bubble Blower:
Straw and Yarn Wand:
Popped Bubble Art:

Science Camp: Float Your Boat

Our second Science Camp dealt with buoyancy with the kids creating boats using a variety of materials, such as aluminum foil, popsicle sticks, styrofoam, cups, corks, etc.  Their task was to build a boat that floated and could hold the weight of 20 marbles.  The metal pans we used for testing were left over from a catered luncheon and were the perfect size and depth in which to test the boats.  Again, the kids worked hard, testing over and over their creations.  Some created multiple boats using different materials.

Hard at work.

Back to the drawing board.  It didn't float.