Mardi Gras Celebration


Glitter makes everything better!

Teens. It’s so hard to keep them interested in something for more than three seconds that doesn’t involved Facebook or the computer. It is even harder to get them interested in something designed to educate them on a topic. And that is why I like to disguise “educational programs” in chocolate, games, and fun. 

To start, I gathered up the teens who usually just hang out with their friends in the department. As they walked in, they received a bead necklace for the “Forbidden Word” game. They could not say the words “Mardi Gras” or “friends.” If they were caught saying those words, they had to give up their necklace.

We made masks out of paper plates, scrapbooking scissors, beads, feathers, puffy paint, and markers. They came up with some pretty cool masks. While they were making their masks, I asked them trivia questions about Mardi Gras. I also provided books if they wanted to look up the answers. For every correct answer, they received a piece of candy. They were a little more competitive than I thought they would be!

After the mask-making and trivia, we played “Five Gold Coins in a Cup.” I found this game somewhere in the depths of the Internet and adapted it to my group. I cut out purple, green, and gold circles and taped one circle each to 10 Styrofoam cups. I arranged the cups in a triangle trying to mix up the colors as best I could. The purple cups were worth 5 points because there were four, the green cups were worth 10 points since there were three, and the gold cups were worth 15 points. (We made up the points as we went along.) I also needed to wait them down a bit because taping them down didn’t work. So the teens had five chances to toss ping pong balls into each cup. The one with the most points was the winner. Oddly, enough no one but myself was able to earn points; however, that didn’t stop them from trying at least five times each!

The next game was a scavenger hunt of six questions using the resources in the teen department. At each checkpoint, they earned a plastic “Mardi Gras” coin. The winner was the person who finished first, and he received ten pieces of candy. I was also surprised at how serious some of them took the game!

Finally, they had earned the piece de resistance! I couldn’t provide beignets, so instead I gave them vanilla flavored cupcakes to decorate and enjoy. I made the cupcakes a rainbow of purple, gold, and green to go with our theme. 

All in all, I had six teens attend, which is a average attendance for an after-school program. It was something I would do again. The most surprising thing was learning how many teens in our area do not know what Mardi Gras is. They saw the beads hanging from the desk, and banner hanging from the study room windows, but they didn’t know what it was all about. 


Opening Song

papapishu_Baby_boy_crawlingOne of my favorite programs to plan and do is Baby Storytime. I started doing it exactly one year ago this month, and I look forward to it each week. While I do enjoy YA books, there is something so exciting about picture books (especially getting to read the brand new ones!). Each week, my plan is to post a list of my outline. It works pretty well in small groups. This is also a great way for me to keep track of the songs and books that work or don’t work with the babies. Today I am going to write about opening and closing songs, and then next week, I will begin posting some of my favorite books and songs.

So last week, the first week in our new storytime cycle, the theme was winter. I choose a theme each week. I know there’s a great debate on holding a themed storytime, but A)it’s easier to find books and songs when I have a theme and B)it’s makes for easier transitions during the program.

I have used three different opening songs. They all worked in their own way.

The first one I used was “Gilly, Gilly Good Morning.” It was suggested to me by a friend. While I could never really find a good recorded version, I found a couple YouTube videos that helped with the tune. I only did the first verse, and I used shakers. You could go around and shake each babies hand lightly, I suppose. But they love shakers.
Gilly Gilly Good Morning
Gilly gilly gilly good morning, good morning, good morning
Gilly Gilly Gilly good morning, good morning to you.

In the summer, I changed the opening song to “Welcome, Welcome Everyone.” It is sung to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
Welcome, Welcome Everyone
Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now you’re here let’s have some fun.
First we’ll clap our hands just so,
Then we’ll bend and touch our toes.
Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now you’re here let’s have some fun.

In the fall, I changed the opener to “Where is Baby?” sung to the tune of “Frere Jacques.” This is my favorite one, and I am using it again this winter. I like it because you can substitute the baby’s name for the word “baby,” which helps with name recognition. *Literacy tip moment!* Typically, the parent/caregiver will hold the baby up while we sing to them. The babies love it!
Where is Baby?
Where is baby? Where is baby?
Here I am! Here I am!
How are you today?
Very well, I thank you.
Please sit down. Please sit down.

I usually follow these songs with another repeated song each week that involves colored scarves or shakers. But that’s another post entirely, so stay tuned!

I *mustache* you to read this…


Photo credit:

Last year, I put together Marvelous Mustache Day for teens. This year, I put together Marvelous Mustache Day for children. At both events, we had a great time. 

Teens: To advertise, I placed giant posterboard cutouts of mustaches throughout the department.
Children:  I hung a couple giant mustaches on our desk and front table, and I put out books like MoostacheThe Lorax, a book about walruses, Mustache!, and a few others. The display went up a little late, but my plan was to also grab random books throughout the children’s department and place small, paper mustaches on them.  

Teens: I decorated the room with mustache/facial hair trivia and pictures. I also put celebrity photographs on the wall (but I only included their mustaches/facial hair). I included a few books, too (after all, we are a library). 
Children: We played the “I Mustache You a Trivia Question” game…a multiple choice game with imaginary points where each question was worth one million points. Trivia included the length of the longest mustache, pop culture references, photos from the “Identify the Mustache Game” (see below), and other historical mustache related information. Next time, I would make the game a little more hands-on. 

Teens: I had the teens try to identify the celebrity mustaches. I gave them a word bank and they had to figure out who belonged to which picture. I used Snoop Dogg, Santa, Swedish Chef, Cap N Crunch, Charlie Chaplin, Burt Reynolds, Gandalf and about 17 others. I tried to use a combination of fictional, historical, and current photos. I didn’t want to make it too easy, nor did I want to make it to hard. 
Children: After the trivia game, I gave the girls (yes, originally we had all girls come to this event about mustaches–and then I learned that not only are mustaches popular, so are dill pickles) instructions…they could move around to three different stations. Decorating mustache-shaped cookies, playing a mustache matching game, and decorating their very own paper mustache on a stick.  

Teens: When I did this with the teens, we went through the program in a more linear fashion. First we decorated mustaches using a fuzzy/furry fabric. Then we decorated cookies. 

Children and Teens: At the end of both programs, we played “Pin the Mustache on the _______.” For children, we had decorated the refrigerator in the room to look like a snowman, so we played Pin the Mustache on the snowman. For teens, there was a movie poster for Hoot in the room, so we played Pin the Mustache on the Owl.

I love doing this program, and I want to do it again in November and tie it in with No-Shave November. Have you done a mustache program? What did you do?


Follow the link…

Today, I was a guest-poster (that sounds funny!) on Bryce Don’t Play‘s awesome blog. I discussed how we implemented our own version of a program she did at her library. Here is my take:

Find Love at the Library

Find Love at the Library

A little inspiration for February. Last year, I did this display. I used ribbon of varying widths to hang hearts. On each heart we listed a popular couple from YA Fiction. On the back of each heart, we listed the … Continue reading

Hello World!

If I had to choose one song that defines me, I’d say it’s “I Love to Laugh” from the Disney movie “Mary Poppins.” I think it might be sacrilegious to edit anything Julie Andrews, but if I could change the lyrics, I would make sure to include laughing, reading, and teaching–although I don’t really know if it would work lyrically or rhythmically.

But I’ve been wanting to do this “blog thing” for a while, and I think now is a perfect time to get started and share what I do. What do I do? Well, my title says I’m a library specialist…but what is a library specialist? I’m still working on that–it would seem that title suggests that I may be a library know-it-all, but I am far from that. I do, however, “specialize” in creating library programs in my library’s youth service department for babies, school-agers, teens, and beyond.

I’m not saying what I do is incredibly awesome and special, but I love sharing and collaborating with others in an effort to make what I have into something even bigger and better. Feel free to share your ideas and comment on the posts…my goal is for this to be a place of laughter and literacy.