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.
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!