Last year I needed a last minute program to fill in our last week of Summer Reading. We have weekly performers at my branch every Thursday afternoon and we didn’t get one for the final week of July. So my staff and I threw together a Frozen-Sing-Along and had over 150 kids show up!
This program was so easy to put together and had such a huge draw that I wanted to repeat our success again this year. We cut back on the number of performers, so I had three open Thursday afternoons to fill with staff led programming. So our Fantastic Family Film Festival was born.
Our first one happened yesterday afternoon with a Big Hero 6 Robot Build-Along.
Movies tend to be hit or miss at our branch and we have more success with recent popular films with kids and families. The hero theme of Big Hero 6 went perfectly with the Summer Reading theme of Superheroes and the kids are still talking about the movie, so I knew it would draw a crowd. But I didn’t want to just have the kids sit and watch a movie-I wanted something else to happen to make it worth the trip. So we made robots!
I received a huge donation of shoe boxes from a local community theater who had used them in a recent performance. This was a fantastic gift because all of the shoe boxes were wrapped in nice white paper-a perfect surface for creating a robot. I set the room up with several tables and chairs for a work surface but left the front open for floor seating. I put out the boxes on one table and various art supplies on another (crayons, scissors, ribbons, glue, stickers) and told the kids they could gather supplies anytime throughout the movie. In order to help cut down on the mess I kept googly eyes, feathers, and pom-poms back at the table staffed by librarians and the kids had to come and get these from the librarians so we could ration these out and have a more controlled mess. This ended up working out great and we had very little clean up!
The kids loved making a robot while watching the movie and we had multiple parents comment on how they thought it was a wonderful idea. We even had an adult wander by the room and poke her head to tell us we needed to do programs like this for adults!
We ended up with just over 50 kids building robots on a rainy afternoon and the robots turned out great. Of course now I’m kicking myself for not taking photos of all their wonderful creations! My staff and I loved seeing the kids creativity shine through their projects and they had a blast creating while watching a movie.
Next week we’re repeating our Frozen Sing-A-Long and the week after that we’re hosting an Incredibles costume contest and mask making. This programming has been a big draw for families and is a nice break from very staff intensive programming as we finish up our Summer Reading Program.