Last June I did a program called Little Helpers, where I basically made giant, foam board "Little Helpers" coloring sheets (our Early Literacy Read-to-Me club theme) and had the kids help me color and decorate them so we could have a nice, hand-made, summer display in the department.
It went really well so I decided to do it again this year! This summer's Early Literacy Read-to-Me club is called Junior League (as part of the CSLP Reads Theme, "On Your Mark, Get Set, Read"), so again, I made giant foam board coloring sheets with those words on them. This takes a little more prep than it may look like. First, I printed out the letters in the words using our Circut machine. (Last year we didn't have a Cricut and I, instead, just printed letters on the computer and cut them out. The Cricut made this easier this year, but it's still totally doable either way!) Then I traced the letters onto the foam board in pencil. I did this two times for each word so we could have four signs in total. Next, I went over my pencil lines with thick black paint (and a really cruddy paint brush!) and these were basically my coloring "pages." After that, I asked one of our maintenance guys to drill two holes in the top of each board (for hanging later) and I was set to go! Here are the results, all laid out and ready to be decorated:
Last year, I debated a lot about what craft supplies to put out for the kids to use. I wanted a variety of things, but I didn't want anything to overpower the words too much. Finally, I'd settled on crayons, stamp pads for hand prints, colored pencils, and do-a-dot markers. This year I made it easy on myself and used the exact same supplies, which again, were perfect. Why recreate the wheel, right?
Then the kids came in and, more or less, they went to town:
Last year I needed to go over the letter outlines again once the signs were decorated, but this year the colors were all a lot lighter in general so I skipped it. Here are the finished products:
And here they are, all hung up in their home for the summer:
What worked best: I think the relaxed, hang-out-and-color nature of this program made it fun for everyone who came. Moms chatted and colored; kids stamped their hands without a care; even the librarian (me) enjoyed just hanging out for a little while. It was just laid back and fun.
What worked least: Last year I got a bigger turnout with more coloring! This year, when the program was over, there was still white space left! So my coworker and I had to fill it in ourselves (shhh).
All-in-all, this was a super-fun craft that both the children and the adults really enjoyed!