Snake Day II

We had our first World Snake Day  (July 16th) program last summer, and it was a success. It is important for people to learn about snakes and their place in the ecosystem. While there are some dangerous snakes out there, not all snakes are bad.

This summer, we collaborated with the Children’s Department in order to create an all-day Snake Day event with activities for all ages. In addition to the sewing activity, the kids made clay snakes, and Sternberg Museum of Natural History visited the library with some of their snakes.

Click here to learn how I made the snake pillows. It is a good idea to have two sewing machines running, and also schedule participants in groups of four every 20 minutes.

Someone also mentioned making snakes out of old neckties as a good activity, but I haven’t tried that yet. Whatever you do, have a good Snake Day!



Zombie Barbies

It was great fun! This is actually our second Zombie Barbie activity. All you need is some dolls, acrylic paint, and scissors. Wire cutters may come in handy as well. We had a few patrons bring their own dolls, which was great. Just remember to stop the dismembering at some point, or there won’t be anything left.


Yarn Art

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This was a new experiment for our Knit & Nosh program. In my experience, knitting and crocheting can be pretty challenging, even for adults. It seems difficult to find projects that take a short time to complete (let me know if you have any). One of the issues is different skill levels. Some people know how to knit and are quite good at it, while other people may be beginners.

The idea with this yarn art project was that it would be challenging enough to keep everyone interested, but not require an advanced skill set. However, this yarn art project turned out to be little more challenging than it appears. While it doesn’t require an advanced skill set, it does require a fair amount of patience.

There are three ways of filling in space used in the above image: layering and cutting (the hills), layering without cutting (the sky), and spiraling (the blue pond areas). Spiraling looks neat, but it is a little more complex than the two other methods because it is easy to unravel your work. It might be possible to use pre-cut yarn, which would make the project easier (the end result would be very different, of course).

It is important to tell the participants to only squeeze out a small amount of glue at a time. If they make a huge puddle, they might get glue on their fingers, which will stick to the yarn.

I found that it is best to use foamcore board, so that the glue doesn’t warp the surface. The picture above was created on cardstock, so it rippled. It is also a good idea to limit the surface area. I handed out 6″X 6″ boards, but they could have been smaller.

If you want to have an educational portion of the activity, you can talk about the origins of yarn art.


Watercolor Splatter Painting

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Splatter painting is something that the teens are always wanting to do with acrylics, and I usually say “No Splattering.” However, it is really enjoyable, and splattering creates fun, spontaneous images. Watercolor is the perfect medium for this activity because it splatters well, but is easy to clean up. We happened to have some leftover liquid watercolor and black ink, which worked out great.

If you want an inexpensive paper, you can cut down cheap poster board and use the mat side. Watercolor paper is a little pricey, but worth it. I was surprised by the speed at which people completed their paintings. It might be a good idea to have lots of extra paper, in case everyone wants to make more than one. In addition, you might want to think of another process to add to increase the complexity. We had straws out so that people could blow on their wet paint to create spidery designs, but collage or stenciling might be fun too.


Fairy Gardens


Last summer an extensive fairy town sprung up one day and dominated the activity room for almost a month. There was a Fairy-Mart and a Fairyot hotel. I wanted to revisit the fairy construction industry, so we had a fairy garden activity. Some materials we used included felt, beads, craft paper, ribbon, white glue, hot glue, and small pots. These were really small fairy cottages with gardens. There were ponds, bridges, and ladders. Note: In order to create a roof like the ones we had, you need to cut a half-circle of felt. Here are the steps using a paper template:

Marimo Moss Ball Habitats


While looking for habitat-related activities, I ran across Marimo Moss Balls. These spherical algae balls grow in slightly brackish (salty) lakes in Japan. They were first made popular in Japan as “pets.” They require very little care; you just need to change the water every other week. I ordered them online and re-hydrated them when they arrived. The activity involved decorating mason jars with colored shell pieces, glass pebbles, tumbled glass, ribbons, or lace. Most decorations were hot glued on the outside of the jars, but some people made interior decorations. Here is a link to a Marimo care guide. Marimo can live up to 200 years if cared for correctly! Our teens were very excited about their new pets.


Drawing Club

This spring we started alternating our Monday activities between Drawing Club, Fama Club (film and drama), and Comic-Mon (like Comic-Con, but smaller and held on Mondays). We had a lot of fun ideas for Drawing Club which included exploring calligraphy, charcoal, Spirographs, 3-D Doodlers, pastels, graphite, and tracing paper. We also thought we could offer fake fruit for people to draw or get mirrors so they could draw self-portraits.

So far, we have had a not-so-successful pastel day, a great calligraphy day, and the Spirographs are a hit. Charcoal and graphite were also very interesting mediums to explore. However, the fake fruit has not been entirely successful so far, mostly people ask if they can eat it instead of trying to draw it. In addition, we have not yet mastered the 3-D Doodler, I will let you know when we have. We decided not to buy the mirrors for self portraits, but if you do, let me know how it goes. Overall, it has been fun adventuring with the Drawing Club participants. It is a time  and place for the teens to kick back, relax, and draw whatever they want. Here is a link to the post that inspired us:

Open Drawing Session at MPPL