Thursday Craft Program – Summer

It has been far too hot out here in my neck of the urban woods. Summer has hit southern California hard and fast, and most of us spend our days trying to avoid that feeling of melting. I’m not immune. Summer has also brought about library-sponsored visits to parks and a host of outreach opportunities, many of which are outside. Because, well, it’s summer. Hot, yes, but also beautiful. And being inside just doesn’t feel right. We should be enjoying all this sunshine…right? Well, yes. And I am. But I’m still hot. So I decided to celebrate summer by letting the kids make a trip of fans to keep themselves nice and cool. Perfect for an afternoon at the beach!

I had plenty of great books about summer to choose from. Turns out that heat is a popular topic. Or maybe our collection development team just feels the heat as much as the rest of us do and buys books to match. It makes me wonder: Do places with mild summers still buy lots of books about melting in the summer heat?

  • One of my favorites is It’s Summer! by Linda Glaser, a wonderful book to read to kiddos at storytime, but also enjoyable for a slightly older audience.
  • Another favorite among the kids was One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews. While I wasn’t as keen on this one, the illustrations really appealed to my audience, so I’ll give it credit for that.
  • Part of an always-pleasing series, Mouse’s First Summer by Lauren Thompson was a joy to read and greatly engaging for the kids.
  • I was especially intrigued by Summer Is Summer by Phillis Gershator, a book I had never read before but found both lyrical and charming. A real treasure!

And then it was time to craft! I had three stations, each stocked with everything the kids would need to make that fan.

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Station one was the watermelon fan. I can’t take credit for this idea. I found it here at Red Tag Art. I did have to interpret it a little for American ears and paper sizes, but the basic instructions were good. The video made it super easy to understand, which was a great help.

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I had to walk the kids at this station through the steps, but that’s fine. The other fans were easy to make and didn’t require much oversight on my part. Several of the parents chose to make one of these fans along with their kiddos, which I always find exciting. I love seeing intergenerational cooperation and that alone made up for the lack of individual creativity in this one.

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Next up was a super simple paper plate fan. I saw one of these somewhere and thought it was a great idea. It works well, too! Not bad for only requiring half a paper plate, a couple craft sticks, some markers, and a piece of ribbon!

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The kids had fun decorating theirs until they had the fans looking just right. This craft station was virtually self-explanatory, and didn’t require anything on my part once it was set up. And the kids liked the ribbons. 🎀

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The final station was for a watercolor painted fan. All this one took was a half sheet of cardstock, painted with watercolors and folded in half, with a colored craft stick glued in between.

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I think everyone, parent and child alike, made this one! Each was unique and beautiful in its own way, and made quite an impact considering the simplicity and inexpensive nature of this fan. Truthfully, it was my favorite, too, so I can’t blame others for loving it.

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Overall, this was a wildly successful program. The kids loved it. The parents loved it. I loved it. And I’m keeping my samples for myself. Because I love them. And I think they’ll be just the thing for keeping me nice and cool at a summer evening baseball game.

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