Blogger Katie Salo

Crafts In Storytime

Do you do crafts in your storytimes?

Coming up with crafts that excite everyone and that everyone at storytime can do is a constant challenge at my library. Additionally, preparation for crafts can be frustrating when you anticipate twenty children and have only ten show up. Here’s my five favorite tips to make crafts at storytime successful without too much hassle on the part of the librarians.

1. Tween/Teen Volunteers
If you have tweens or teens that need service hours for school, they are a great resource for cutting out craft pieces — especially if you’re doing storytime for ages where you wouldn’t give out scissors.

2. Paper Plates
Not only are these an excellent craft supply (yes, you can make ANYTHING out of a paper plate), but paper plates are also quite useful to remind kids about exactly what craft pieces are theirs. To be sustainable, I reuse the same paper plates week to week until they fall apart. I haven’t changed out my plates yet this calendar year!

3. Scrapbooking Dots
These are dots of a sticky tape/glue hybrid that attaches foam and plastic pieces easily! There are several brands out on the market, but please check the packaging; some brands are not for use by fingers.

4. Die-Cuts/Scrapbooking Punches
Die-cuts are incredibly useful! Some of the die-cuts available have a ton of useful shapes and templates for masks, letters, bookmarks, and even some folding crafts. If you can’t afford a full die-cut machine and cartridges/dies (like me!), consider buying some punches at your local hobby store. I bought a circle punch and haven’t had to cut out any wheels for over a year.

5. Tablecloths
We all know that children make messes, so tablecloths will make your job a thousand times easier! Have a bunch of papers left over? Fold it up and shake it over the recycling bin. Have a paint mess and another program/event in five minutes? Quickly wipe the tablecloth or fold it up and deal with it later.

Crafts are so important to me and my family storytimes because it lets the children have a creative outlet, helps parent and child to bond over an activity, and re-enforces my storytime themes. Often, I will have kids tell me that their pigs are named “Cornelius P. Mud” just like the book we finished reading minutes ago. Hearing that positive connection and seeing the smile on their faces as they leave the room makes any craft road-bumps worth it to me.

Do you have any best practices for storytime crafts? Let me know if I’ve missed some!

4 comments

  1. Lisa Jenn Bigelow

    I do storytime with 2 and 3 year olds, and we do have a simple craft. I always try to have a coloring component and a sticking (stickers or glue) component. Many of my kids are too young to use scissors, so that’s out. Some kids don’t like to color, some kids don’t like to get messy, but hopefully there’s something for everyone. And everyone loves stickers!

    My other guiding principle is that there’s no right or wrong way to make the project. (There are occasional exceptions… e.g. paper bag puppets need to be oriented properly.) Many weeks we simply make collages or pictures using die-cut shapes (a total lifesaver!) and colored dot stickers (super-cheap and addictive). I do try to mix things up with other materials such as crepe paper and paper plates. I like my crafts to be fully recyclable/biodegradable since, let’s face it, most of them will end up in the trash.

    We keep our craft tables covered with heavy-duty vinyl “tablecloths” — a few yards from the fabric store cut down to size. We let them get messy for a year or two, then replace them.

  2. Abby

    About a year ago, we switched to doing take-home crafts with our preschool storytime crowd and we loooove it. Not only is it easier on us, but it gives the kids something to do at home with other family members who might not come with them to storytime. I also include a take-home handout with early literacy extension activities and a book list of related books so that families can continue the learning at home!

  3. Henry

    My library has been doing a storytime that incorporates artwork for several years now. We call it Explorastory. We based our programming on a teaching philosophy called Reggio Emilia, in which children learn by using art and experimentation to explore ideas. For instance, we read It Looked Like Spilled Milk, we talked about shapes, then the kids cut out shapes and we used an overhead projector to make shadow puppets.

    The number one best tip is parental involvement. If parents are involved and are helping, it always goes well. You can check out some of the stuff we’ve done at explorastory.blogspot.com. I hope it works for you!

  4. Vicki Kouchnerkavich

    I now have a rotation for my crafts for storytime and they all involve fine motors which help them get ready for school: Sticker day, Stamping day, Playdough day, String(ing) day, Perfect craft day, and collage day. There is an initial investment stickers, stamp pads & stampers, making playdough each time (I only have 10-20 kids per story time), stringing day has yarn with 1 end dipped in Elmer’s glue & dried-string cheerios, noodle, pony beads. On Perfect craft day, I have staff assist me by cutting out construction paper pieces a head of time. I use left over pieces from those to have a collage day. It makes it quite simple for me.

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