By Awnali Mills
Around here, we plan programming 6 months in advance, if not more. And sometimes, especially with my crafts program, I don’t always carefully consider the ramifications of such extended planning. For example, in March it seemed perfectly reasonable to plan for a popped bubble art program. It’ll be August, man! We can do it outside! It’ll be warm, it’ll be fun, and it’ll be bubbles! Huzzah!
Yeah. Not so much.
As the time to do the program approached, I played with it to determine just exactly how to instruct children to do this craft. When I carried my materials out, I learned to my dismay that the program just cannot be done when there’s a breeze—at least not with the materials we were using. And then, since we’re in an area that is actively being developed, new construction started across the street. Clouds of dust frequently waft across the road. I didn’t dare risk moving it indoors, as the bubbles carry food coloring, and our building manager would not appreciate food coloring on the walls. This craft was looking more problematic all the time.
The day before the craft, I looked at the weather forecast. Wind at 9 miles an hour, possible storms. RATS! So, I did what any good children’s librarian would do. I dropped back and punted.
I scanned my Pinterest boards and picked a game craft, which fits into our summer reading theme. It’s the old ball-and-cup game, only this one was a toilet paper roll that was made to look like a frog, and the “ball” was a fly. There was no pattern, but we had the materials. I tried to mock one up, and quickly realized that it was going to be too complicated for the 3-5 year old crowd. So, I simplified it.
Scrap the frog. They would just color the toilet paper tube. We would staple the bottom when they were done, and staple the yarn to the end. Tie the yarn in a knot around the staple. Tape the other end of the yarn to the center of a smallish piece of aluminum foil, then crumple the foil around the yarn. Be sure the aluminum ball is small enough to fit easily into the tube. Done!
We ended up with about 50 people, our biggest craft in our new library so far. We used stuff we already had on hand—even the yarn was pre-cut and left over from another craft, and there was almost no planning or preparation. It wasn’t what people were expecting, but when I explained why we’d had to switch, everyone was very understanding. There were some very intense faces as kids tried to get the ball in the cup, and I think it will be wonderful for hand-eye coordination. So, a win all around.