Programming for the school age set is always a bit tricky at my library branch. We have a very active toddler and preschool program, but once our kids reach school, especially those tween years, they start to become more involved in sports and extracurricular activities. We might see that age group at the library, but it’s often because they need homework help or there for tutoring, so our program attendance for this age group can be hit or miss. We decided to try doing programs around what this age group was asking for and we knew crafts were pretty popular, so I planned a Do It Yourself Spa Day for tweens.
I targeted the program to grades 4-8 because I knew I would have interest from both upper elementary and middle school students. I searched through library books on crafts and do it yourself ideas and came up with three simple make and take activities: oatmeal scrub, glitter body lotion and lip gloss (recipes below). Now I am not very crafty, so I adapted some of the ideas I found in books and online to be very simple and easy for my crowd.
The supplies were pretty basic and cheap to purchase-I only had to purchase packs of Kool-Aid, lotion, glitter, oatmeal , nail polish and washcloths. Everything else we had on hand at the library (additional supplies were paper bags, spoons, ribbons, rubber bands, containers, and table cloths-make sure you cover those tables!) I also made sure to stock up on baby food jars from staff and they made the perfect mixing containers for our make and takes. I had each activity set up at a different table along with the recipe for each station. I also made sure each attendee had a paper bag to carry all of their items in.
The day of the program I ended up with 12 girls eager for homemade spa ideas. Each girl rotated from station to station making something new. They started out pretty shy, but once they got going, they started talking to each other and sharing ideas of how to make their spa crafts. They were very encouraging about everyone’s glitter lotion and lip gloss and had a blast sharing ideas.
After all the girls finished the activities, I set up the nail polish and we worked on manicures. I was lucky enough to have a friend of mine who works as a hair stylist come to the program and give the girls tips on hairstyles and how to use a flat iron, hair dryer, and curling iron. The girls absolutely loved getting the chance to talk to her while we worked on our nails and asked her questions about how they could fix their hair and ideas for new hairstyles. This was the highlight of the program for them!
At the end of event, each girl gathered up all their make and takes and recipes for how to make everything at home. I had a display of DIY spa, hairstyle and craft books set up and several of the girls left with books in tow. For an afternoon school age program, we had a great success and the girls left happily chatting with each other about their spa activities. Overall the program was easy to set up and tons of fun. The girls had a blast and I love seeing how excited they got over making something new and realizing it was something they could make at home. It also helped boost my confidence in tween programming and made me realize that programming for this age group doesn’t have to be that hard!
Kool-Aid Lip Gloss
- Scoop 3-4 teaspoons of Vaseline into a microwaveable container
- Microwave for 5-10 seconds
- Add 1 teaspoon of Kool-Aid mix to the Vaseline and stir
- Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes
- Remember to pick a color that you want-if you put blue Kool-Aid in, you’ll have blue lips!
- Pick a Kool-Aid flavor that you like-you don’t want a flavor you wouldn’t drink!
- Only apply a small amount-no one wants sticky lips!
- Mix 3-4 teaspoons of Aloe Vera lotion with 1 teaspoon of glitter
- Apply for a shimmery new look!
- If you have sensitive skin, use a very fine glitter-available at craft stores
- Remember to use just a small amount of glitter-you don’t want to be too shiny!
Oatmeal Body Scrub
- Lay out dry wash cloth flat on table
- Add about 1 cup of oatmeal to the center of the washcloth
- Gather up edges and fasten together with a rubber band
- Make it pretty with a ribbon!
- Wet the washcloth and use as a body scrub or facial
- Remember to undo the washcloth and dump out the oatmeal after use!
Sarah Bean Thompson is a Youth Services Manager at Springfield-Greene County Library in Springfield MO. She oversees the children’s and young adult departments including toddler and preschool storytimes, school age outreach and programs for all ages. She loves wearing coordinating outfits to match storytime themes and believes that book talks are her chance to pretend she finally got to appear on Reading Rainbow. She also blogs at www.greenbeanteenqueen.com.
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