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!



Murder Mystery Luncheon: The Last Straw

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This summer, our murder mystery luncheon was called The Last Straw. Here is the setting: The play takes place at a therapy dude ranch near Area 51. People come from all over the world to cure their unusual addictions by being out in nature and bonding with horses. At the beginning of Scene I, everyone has just returned from a horseback ride on the mesa.

This was our most collaborative script to date. We had four teens who contributed either by providing ideas, writing, or editing the script. We only had about a month to get it all together, so I am very proud of how hard everyone worked.

I think we have finally created the easiest and most popular menu for the event: salad (soup was very unpopular last year), roast chicken and mashed potatoes, chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream.

I have also discovered these wonderful name tags that say “Hello, my name is…” which saves a lot of time typing, printing, and cutting name tags, which is what we used to do in the old days.

Here is our script. Feel free to use it for your own event 🙂

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.


Teen Cuisine

We started the Teen Cuisine program last summer, and “more food activities” were requested this summer, so we are cooking once more (and eating too!). It is important for teens to learn how to cook, so that they can create their own meals in the future. The program includes five different activity days: Chicken Day, Beef Day, Veggie Day, Apps Day, and Dessert Day. For each day, participants watch videos that show them how to prepare each dish.

Here are links to all the recipes we tried:

Chicken Day: BBQ Chicken Nacho, Fajita Chicken Salad, Teriyaki Chicken Rice

Beef Day: Steak and Potato Nachos, Swedish Meatball Pasta, Ramen Carbonara

Veggie Day: Spinach and Artichoke Mac n’ Cheese, Black Bean Burgers, Veggie Spring Rolls (Veggie Spring Rolls didn’t work for some reason. We got these strange alien babies instead of food.)

Apps Day: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, Bacon Guacamole Chicken Bombs, Waffle Grilled Cheese

Dessert Day: Cinnamon Sugar Twists, Homemade Ice Cream ,Apple Pie Bake

Happy cooking 🙂

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


Trash’n Show Fashion Show Prep

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Every other spring we alternate between having a fashion show or a talent show. This spring we decided to have a Trash’n Show. The teens have been busy creating fashions using reused and recycled items. Here is a list of some of the materials we have on hand: large aerial maps (donated when city offices moved), packaging peanuts, packing paper, bubble wrap, fabric scraps (donated by the local thrift store), t-shirts, tulle, peacock feathers, paintable masquerade masks, hot glue, fashion magazines, and acrylic paint.

We included some items like the masks and feathers to help give the teens a place to start their journey in fashion construction. In addition, I felt that a masquerade theme would give us all a little direction and focus. I have learned that masks are extremely popular, regardless of their quality. Some masks were thick plastic molded into pleasing and imaginative shapes. These were painted because they had a more porous surface while others were thinner plastic and definitely needed some aesthetic assistance. The thinner masks had a layer of paper hot glued onto them, so that they could be painted more easily.

As you may imagine, making great clothing out of this variety of items takes a little imagination. Here are some simple steps for making a dress:

trash n show prep 0011. Start by cutting the arms and neckline off a t-shirt.

2. Rip your paper (in this case aerial maps) into long strips.

3. Hot glue your strips onto your shirt front in a pleasing pattern. You can also add paper loops on the shoulders like I did.

4. Add a skirt of additional fabric using hot glue. You can experiment with pleats as you attach your skirt material.

5. Decorate your skirt with more paper strips.

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There are also some easy ways to create skirts. You can make a skirt using accordion folded images from a fashion magazine.The accordions in this skirt were hot glued at one end to create fans. Then the fans were hot glued to a skirt which had been donated by a thrift store. It looks great when you twirl!

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You can also create this skirt by stapling rolled paper tubes to a thick ribbon. Of course, you need shorts, tights, or leggings to go with this skirt.



As for costumes for the guys, I had thoughts about covering vests or jackets in paper or other materials, but they requested tunics or invented their own unique outfits.

There was a lot of enthusiasm about making outfits for the Trash’n Show. It is a great way to get everyone involved and thinking about ways to be creative with items we might otherwise discard.

Pay it Forward Pie Day

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Pay it Forward is an awesome idea to pair with any activity because it encourages generosity and kindness. During our Pay it Forward Pie Day activity, teens made one pie for themselves and one pie for someone else. If they wanted to, they could wrap the gift pie with cellophane and tie it with pretty ribbons.

This activity was mostly about eating pie, but there is a larger movement that encourages random acts of kindness. You can learn more about it from the Pay it Forward Foundation. Pay it Forward Day is April 28th, and Pi Day  is March 14, or 3/14. It would be a great idea to make pie on Pi Day, or to have a Pay it Forward Day activity on April 28, but then again maybe we don’t need a special day to eat pie or be kind.

Here are some of the pie supplies we had out: mini graham cracker pie crusts, chocolate pudding, cherry pie filling, apple pie filling, peach pie filling, mixed berry pie filling, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate chips (white, dark, peanut butter), coconut, mini m&ms, toffee crumbles, and crushed Oreos.

You can count on high attendance for this program 🙂

Note: Leave time for cleanup. Pie stuff is sticky.