In my last blog post (written 5-minutes ago) I mentioned how I have fallen way too far behind on my blog posts lately. The holidays, lots of days off, and Winter Reading Club planning got me bad this year-- typical December! My goal is to write TWO posts in ONE day and this is the second of these posts. With that said, just like with my last blog post, this one might seem terse (or have lots of weird-yet-entertaining type-os), but here it is! Post #2 of the day: my Polar Express Pajama Storytime, held at our branch library.
This program, for all ages, was super fun and a repeat (although modified a little) of my 2015 Polar Express PJ Storytime (held at our Main library).
Before the kids entered the room, they each got two things: a round trip tickets to ride on the Polar Express (These found on Keepin' It Kool in Kinderland, except I resized them to be a little bit larger) and a candy cane glow stick (just for fun!). Then, when they got in, I had everyone sit in the back of the room, so I could read them the story. Two things to note about this:
1. I tried SO HARD to use my e-book copy of The Polar Express. I wanted to have the lights out and the kids relaxed, gazing up at the pictures projected on the wall as I read the words. This is what I did back in 2015 and it really worked great! At our branch library, where this year's version was held, we got a Smart TV and I thought it would be perfect for creating the magical, Polar Express-y atmosphere I wanted... except I totally failed at using it. I had it all perfectly set up and blu-toothed (?) but after I got back from my dinner break, I just couldn't, for the life of me, get all the required devices to be friends with each other again. They must have gotten in a fight while I was eating my apple! Anyway, with 10-minutes to spare before the start of the program, I gave up and decided to read the good ol' fashioned book. While it may have been a little less cool and a little less magical, it worked anyway. I guess when you're dealing with Chris Van Allsburg, the book is enough by itself!
2. I always have anxiety about reading longer titles to kids. I imagine them getting antsy and bored and not paying attention. The Polar Express is one of the few "long books" that I ever read out loud, but this amazing group totally made it fun! They were SO into it-- even filled in catchy phrases like "Why, to the North Pole of course!" and "The first gift of Christmas!" It wound up being so cute and interactive! Definitely nobody got bored!
I had two crafts for them:
The first was a sort of make-your-own-Polar-Express that included lots and lots of assorted Ellison Die Cut train pieces with white paper, crayons, and glue sticks. The second craft was quick but pretty: Big silver bells to string on red ribbon along with a "Believe" charm from Oriental Trading so families could make and take home their own bell like the one from Santa's sleigh.
I also made a little hot chocolate bar! It had hot chocolate (obviously), marshmallows, candy canes, whipped cream, and fun Santa cups!
What worked least: Me taking pictures! The program was great but I totally dropped the ball on picture-taking, which is very unusual for me! The hot chocolate bar, the bell craft, and (apart from what you can sort of see in the first picture) the tickets and glow sticks are totally not pictured at all! This is so unlike me and I'm kind of mad about it! The program though-- it was great.
What worked best: The book! Go figure! It was "long" and I didn't use the Smart TV and yet, still, it wound up being the best part of the program. I guess you just never know!