Since this summer’s reading club theme is Every Hero Has a Story, naturally we had to do a Lunch Lady party. After all, she’s the superhero in your very own school! While I did help plan and prepare for this party, I was bravely manning the desk during the whole thing, so my boss Chris took the pictures.
The morning of the party, Chris brought in yellow kitchen gloves and yellow plastic tablecloths that were to be turned into aprons for he and Megan. Those yellow aprons Lunch Lady and Betty wear are impossible to find, so if you want to know how to make them, see the end of the post.
The party kicked off with a discussion about favorite Lunch Lady books and favorite gadgets from the books. This led to the Make Your Own Gadget activity. We threw together a ton of leftovers, widgets, and general crafting supplies and let the kids have at it. For my previous Magnifying Science and Stories I had sent out a general call for clear 2 liter soda bottles. I was a bit overwhelmed by the response. We had soda bottles coming out of our ears! Instead of throwing them away (or recycling, really) I decided to put them into the crafting free-for-all. Would you believe that they were the most popular item? Go figure! So, no more soda bottles.
Also popular were toilet paper and paper towel rolls. They had straws, feathers, pipe cleaners, rubber bands, construction paper, and random bits and pieces to work with as well.
If anyone finished their gadget early or weren’t interested in working on one, we had a bean bag/tin can toss. Instead of stacking the cans (since they weren’t uniform sizes), we just lined them up and let kids throw. This made it easier to rapidly set it up again for the next kid. Also available were Lunch Lady activity sheets that kids could work on.
Once the gadgets were reasonably assembled, we got the kids into a circle and let them introduce and describe their gadget to the group.
Since they were conveniently in a circle, we played Dynamite Hot Potato with 7 sticks of dynamite (paper towel tubes stuffed with newspaper, covered in red construction paper with brown yarn fuses, all wrapped together with duct tape).
When the game ended we sent them out into the children’s area for a Find the Villains Scavenger Hunt. We scanned pictures of villains out of the Lunch Lady books and positioned them around the room. Then we reduced those pictures and put them on a search page to make it easy for any non-readers who happened to show up. (Since we had about 50 people at the party, there was an absolute avalanche of kids and adults pouring into the small children’s area. Mixed with the numerous patrons already in the room, it was crazy! Not that this is a bad thing, it just provoked some wide-eyed freaked out looks from some of the circulation staff, and a few of the patrons.)
As a prize for finding all the villains, the kids got a printed disguise kit, making a nice wrap-up for the party.
To make the aprons: I only used one of the tablecloths for two aprons. This is thrown together and only suitable for short-time, non-strenuous use, but they lasted through the party pretty well.
- Open the package and unfold the tablecloth only enough to get the length of the cloth. (Mine came folded into fourths and then folded up the length to fit into the package.) I used a doubled cloth for the apron so that it wasn’t so see-through.
- Measure the wearer from bottom of neck to mid-thigh. Cut through the width of the tablecloth at this measurement.
- Hold the center fold up to the center of the throat and make a mark at the inside corner of the shoulder and one about two inches down from the armpit. Cut a curve from the shoulder mark to the armpit mark. Open up. You should have two identical apron shapes. Don’t separate them. Put glue dots in strategic places along the top edge and arm to hold the two shapes together—remember, we’re doubling up!
- Along the cut edge of the leftover piece, cut four strips of tablecloth roughly 1 ½ to 2 inches wide. Unfold once so that you have a doubled strip (total of four doubled strips). These will be your neck and back ties.
- Use glue dots to stick the loose ends of the individual strips to each other so that you have four doubled strips. This makes the tie
- On one side of the loose ends of two strips, place four glue dots. Stick them the inside top of the apron corners. These are the neck ties.
- Repeat with the next two strips and stick them to the bottom corner of the armpit curve. These are the back ties.