This week we changed things up a little at the library for one of my storytimes. We decided to have a big family circus program (although I realized later that a carnival would have been a more apt name.) Another librarian and I wanted to do this program together and based on our work schedules and decided that the best time would be during one of my evening storytimes. We opened up the program to the general public and blocked off spots for the usual storytime kids and then booked the big meeting room to accommodate the extra families (we had about 45 people in attendance). It was a huge hit, and sooooo much fun for everyone. We heard a lot of great compliments afterwards. I also have to say a HUGE thanks to my teen volunteers who ran each of the stations and helped us set up the room before hand. We seriously couldn’t have done it without them. 🙂
This is what we did…
When the children arrived they each got 6 tickets to use at the various stations we’d set up around the room. I made carnival inspired signs on Photoshop and hung them up at each of the activity stations. I let them know that after we read our book that they could go to any of the stations in any order they wanted to. They would give their ticket to the teen volunteer at each station and then do the activity. It worked out great and the kids were really good about taking turns.
We started with a felt board and short story. I made a cute felt board based on a product I saw for sale at Discount School Supply and decided to try making. I used a clear plastic sheet for the pockets. We use it at my library on our themed backpacks to keep the labels from getting destroyed. It’s pretty thick plastic that we purchased in a large sheet.
The Circus is in Town
The circus is in town,
The circus is in town,
Hi ho to the show,
The circus is in town.
We see the silly clown…
We see the stomping elephant…
We see the prancing horse…
We see the roaring lion…
We see the trained tiger…
I read one quick circus book and then we began all the fun activities.
Children could use their tickets at the following stations:
We purchased a hand pump and some twisting balloons (from Oriental Trading) so we wouldn’t have to hire someone to make animals. I printed out a simple set of instructions on how to make a twisted balloon dog. The teen volunteer and I practiced making dogs. We also blew up all the balloons ahead of time to save time during the program. It was kind of exciting to learn a fun new skill!
We had a simple bean bag toss. I found a cute elephant clip art image on Word and printed it out to be poster sized. This was glued to a scrap of cardboard we had laying around. Then I cut out the ball the elephant was balancing on its trunk. Children were given bean bags to try to toss through the hole. Once the bean bag made it through the hole they got a piece of candy (Yay for tons of leftover Halloween candy).
Ring of Fire
I took a hula hoop and added flame shaped pieces of yellow and orange tissue paper around it. Each child took a turn tossing a stuffed lion through the ring. Once the lion went through the ring, children got a fun rainbow colored lollipop.
Duck Pond Game
From Oriental Trading, we purchased an inflatable pond (which leaked the first time we used it) and some ducks (make sure they float-most of them from Oriental Trading do not!) for this fun duck pond game. We drew black circles on the bottoms of half of the ducks. When children came up to the pool they searched for a duck with a dot on the bottom. Once they found a duck with a spot, they got a tattoo.
Circus Cape Craft
At the craft station we set up pre-cut felt capes on tables with a little pile of stick on stars with each cape. Children simply stuck stars on their capes and then tied them around their necks. They turned out so cute and it was great to see everyone running around to all of the activities with their capes on.
We just had a simple snack- animal crackers and lemonade. We had considered doing popcorn, but it tends to be super messy. Everyone turned in a ticket for a bowl of animal crackers and a cup of lemonade.
I also brought back out a couple of the foam cardboard animals I made for decorations for the summer reading program this past summer (One World Many Stories). I told everyone they could take their pictures in front of the animals-this was a ‘freebie’ no ticket needed 🙂
Everyone had such a great time and so many parents asked if we would do this program again. We’re definitely hoping to have this program be a regular yearly event and are hoping to add more games for future programs.