I adapted this program from the wonderful blog Tiny Tips for Library Fun.
Instead of having tables, the patrons brought blankets with them. I set up everything beforehand. I had a table for DIY fleece pillows that we had from Oriental Trading.
On another table, I had an array of printables and books for the families to read together.
On the last table, I made bowls of fake s’mores – Golden Graham Cereal, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows.
I began the program by reading a cute camping story to the families:
We sang “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “Where is Thumbkin?” before I let the families read, craft, and color together. I ended the program with two more songs. They loved “camping” out at the library.
I had four stations set up for this and a group activity at the end.
Station 1: I did a variation of this Heart Pattern from Making Learning Fun. Instead of blocks, I cut out squares in different colored construction paper. The goal was to form a heart using the squares, but the children did their own design instead, which were very cute.
Station 2: I modified the Musical Hearts game from No Time for Flash Cards. We have a set of three inflatable dice. One has a number, the other a color, and the last a movement. I covered the colored dice with hearts and had the same colored hearts taped to the floor. The children would roll the dice and have to do whatever activity it said and how many times (there were only a few; touching toes, jumping, jumping jacks, and running in place).
Station 3: Cookie cutter painting. The children dipped heart shaped cookie cutters and stamped them onto paper. I found this on Hands on as We Grow. I also added shimmery heart stickers for them to add to their artwork.
Station 4: Negative space coloring. Using washi and duct tape, I used the word Love as my example. I then colored over it with crayons and when you peeled the tape off, the word popped out. The children chose to do variations of love or their name. I adapted this from Inner Child Fun.
The last thing was a group activity that I founds searching the internet and stumbling upon it on about.com. We all sat in a circle and passed a red bean bag as I played music. We would do different things when the music stopped: make funny faces, stomp our feet, and wiggle.
For the last week of the program, we did different experiments with water.
Station 1: I filled an aluminum serving pan with water and had items such as pepper, baking soda, coffee, tea, salt, and sugar in plastic cups. I explained what dissolving meant. With each item, I asked the children if they thought it would dissolve in water or not.
Station 2: I placed items such as a paper doily, wax paper, cling wrap, sponge, foam, cupcake liner, and a feather on different plates. We have little droppers. The children dropped water on each to see if the water was absorbed by the item or bounced off. Foam was the most fun. The water can be moved up and down on it.
Station 3: You can use any item for this. I had Styrofoam, sponge, party hat, clothespins, and feathers. The children then had to guess if the item would sink or float in water.
Station 4: This last one didn’t work quite the way I expected. We have colored play dough and the goal was to create a shape that would float like a boat. I didn’t have a deep basin for this and I am not sure our playdough was the floating kind, but the kids had a great time plopping into water. I learned the hard way that colored playdough will dye your hands. It does wash off, but the kids seemed to have a blast walking around with green hands and calling themselves either zombies or Shrek.