Blogger Heather Acerro

Program in a Post: Stuffed Animal Sleepover

Stuffed Animals Playing on the Bridge in Youth Services at RPL

With this post, a storytime, a camera, and a color printer you can have a grand time caring for stuffed animals overnight!

Back in 2011 the brilliant guest contributor and librarian extraordinaire, Kris Lill, posted about Allen County Public Library’s Stuffed Animal Sleepover program and now, all of these years later I am here to remind you about this wonderful, easy, awesome program that brings in the numbers and fuzzy friends!

The first Stuffed Animal Sleepover at Rochester Public Library (MN) was presented in June 2015 to 23 people and 7 stuffed animals. We followed that with a program in October 2015 for 150 people and 73 stuffed animals and THEN (are you ready for this) in January 2016 for 295 people and 115 stuffed animals! And the thing is, it is one of the easiest things you can do if you don’t mind working after hours on a Friday night.

Supplies:

  • A fabulous bedtime storytime
  • A camera

    Sleepover Book Cover
    Sleepover Memory Book Cover
  • A color printer
  • A stapler
  • A template for your Stuffed Animal Sleepover Memory Book (Ours is available by request, just ask in the comments and I will email it to you. It is a Publisher file.)
  • A list of photo ops for the animals
  • Rubber bands, binder clips, and other tools to use while posing the animals.
  • Other optional activity items as desired
stuffed animal poster
Stuffed Animal Sleepover Poster

Prep work: Advertise your program at storytimes and other events for preschoolers and elementary school kids (I would be happy to share our Publisher poster template as well). We also created a Facebook ad for our January program, which we think was part of the reason for the through-the-roof attendance. Gather your storytime books, props, and music. Have your Sleepover Memory Book template ready to go and prepare a list of photo ops.

Crafts Sleepover Memory Book Page

Optional prep work includes: Make simple braided friendship bracelets from yarn, art projects, or sleepover buttons for all of the animals. These activities also make great photo ops as you can take pictures of the animals making bracelets, art, and/or buttons.

Puppet Show Sleepover Memory Book Page
Washing Machine Sleepover Memory Book Page

Room Setup: Set up for a storytime with one small addition: have a blanket or two spread out at the front for the kids to use to put their animals to bed. For our next event, we are going to use an adjacent meeting room as a bedroom for the animals.

Program format: We schedule our Stuffed Animal Sleepover for 4:30pm on a Friday (one hour before closing). The storytime lasts about 25 minutes and then we invite the children to tuck their stuffed animals into bed and remind them to pick their friends up the next day.

After all the animals are tucked in and tears are dried, we start setting up the animals for photos in several “behind-the-scenes” shots. For this last event we took photos of the animals “sleeping”, playing the piano in the auditorium, putting on a puppet show with our puppet theater, experimenting with art supplies in the back room, and jumping on the bed. Once the library was closed we took some of the animals out into the Youth Services Division to play in our Minnesota Children’s Museum Smart Play Spot for a few more photo ops.

Sleepover Jumping on Bed
Jumping on the Bed Sleepover Memory Book Page

After we had all of our photos, including a few extras to post on Facebook, we uploaded them to the computer and filled in the memory book with the best of the best. While 125 books were printing, we cataloged the animals and put them on carts for pick up. It required several carts for 115 animals! After stapling the books together, we left them on the Youth Services Information Desk for distribution with the animals. We usually finish with everything around 7pm. Pick up time made for a busy Saturday morning with happy smiles and hugs all around!

Playing on the Bus Sleepover Memory Book Page

 

27 comments

  1. Alice Joseph

    A Stuffed Animal Sleepover is one of my favorite programs. I make matching nametags for kids and their animals. I bring sleeping bags for the animals to be tucked into. The kids decorate a picture frame and I give them each a couple pictures of what their animals did overnight when they come the next day to pick up their animals. With a straight face, I tell the kids I was there all night and MOST of the animals were well behaved. I do this for 4-7 year olds. They are not sure if they should believe me or not.
    It’s always a lot of fun. Over the years I only had one child who came to the program but could not leave her stuffed animal. And one child brought her animal’s favorite blanket so he would be comfortable.

  2. Chantal Emerson

    I have done a couple of successful stuffed animal sleepovers, but would love copies of your advertising and memory book. I’ve never had a group as large as yours! Thanks in advance!

  3. Kris Lill

    Hey, thanks for the shout-out! And kudos on your amazing turnout! I still love presenting this program — in fact, I have one planned in a couple of weeks. Sooooo looking forward to it! 🙂

  4. Al

    I’ve done this program at a few libraries I’ve worked at, though instead of memory books, we make a google slideshow. When the kids pick up their animals, we show the slideshow and email the link to anyone who wants it.

  5. Dawn Weidner

    I love your memory book idea for the stuffed animal sleepover! Would you please share the template, as well as your poster? Thanks!

  6. Georgia

    I would love your templates and thanks for sharing!

  7. Shasta Bolduc

    This looks fun! I would love a copy of a memory book please 🙂

  8. Sherry Kay

    I would love a copy of your sleepover memory book. Thanks much!!

  9. Sally Walker

    Great Idea and something I would love to try! Please would you share the file?

  10. Penny Williams

    Please send me templates and planning, etc. etc. THANK YOU!

  11. Heather R.

    This is so helpful! I would love a copy of the template, please. Thank you!

  12. Julia C

    I would love a copy of the template, please! Thanks 🙂

  13. Kayla

    I would love a template of the memory book!

  14. Tammy

    I’m doing this program next month and would love to have your template, if you’re still willing to share! Thanks so much!

  15. Cathy

    I’m doing this program in February for the second time. I would love your template as well if still available!

  16. Betsy Kreider

    I would love your stuffed animal sleepover template and any other ideas you have to offer! Thanks!

  17. Amy Sinnema

    I would also love to have your stuffed animal sleepover template, too. Thanks! Planning my first sleepover and very excited. I 50 kids registered. Should be controlled chaotic fun! 😉

  18. Claudia Erickson

    So adorable. I would love a copy of your stuffed animal sleep over template poster and the memory book. We are planning this with our early literacy program through the AAP and the library. Thank you!

    Claudia

  19. Kelly

    Our first sleepover is coming in May – I would LOVE a copy of your templates please! Thank you – Kelly

    1. Kelly Curtright

      You so kindly sent me the templates and now I can’t find them in my email! Would you be able to send again? Thank you.

  20. Kaiti

    Would you please send me the poster & memory book templates? Thank you 🙂

  21. Donna Conway

    I would love a copy of the template! This is awesome!

  22. Barb Bussema

    I would love to have the Memory Book template from your Stuffed Animal Library Sleepover, if you still have it.
    Thanks!
    Barb Bussema
    Parchment Community Library
    Parchment, MI

  23. Laura Santo

    Hello!
    I am doing my first stuffed animal sleep over next month. I would love to have your poster template! Thank you!!

  24. Adam Beebe

    We are trying this for the first time next month as well. If you can send me your templates I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

  25. Laura Santo

    After planning my sleepover, I have decided I need the memory boo template as well,
    please!

  26. Marian Simmons

    I would love a copy of your template if it is still available.
    Thank you!

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