Program: St. Patrick’s Day

Come share the luck o’ the Irish as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (or Lá Fhéile Pádraig). We will play games, make crafts, have snacks, and learn some Irish words.

March 11, 2009 from 4-5 p.m.

Grades: K-5

Snacks: Green kool-aid (leprechaun juice, of course)

Prizes: Shamrock pencils and notepads


Leprechaun Hats

Materials: Green bowls (plastic or paper), yarn (green, white, or yellow), glitter, stickers, glue, hole-punch, scissors, feathers or other decorations

Prep: Hole-punch (two holes, on opposite sides of bowl rim) bowls. Tie a piece of yarn to each side.

Kids: Decorate bowls with glitter, feather or pom-pom, and stickers. Tie yarn under chin. Hat!


Materials: Cardstock in a variety of colors, streamers, yarn, markers, glue, stapler, tape, hole-punch, stickers or other decorations

Prep: Cut streamers (6 per child) about the same length. Cut pieces of yarn (1 per child) long enough to tie to windsock and attach to something.

Kids: Pick paper, decorate (horizontally). Glue, tape, or staple streamers to bottom of paper. Glue, tape, or staple short sides of paper together. Punch two holes, one on each side of the windsock. Tie yarn through the holes. Windsock!


Coin Search

Hide a bunch of coins around the room. Line up the kids and then send them off to find the coins. Keep some coins to hand out to good sports (to discourage pushing, shoving, etc.). Winner gets a prize.

Language learning/Leprechaun juice

Teach the kids how to say “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” in Irish. Teach them how to say “Cheers”, then pass out leprechaun juice in pairs. Make each pair say “Slainte” to each other. Post-juice, anyone who remembers how to say “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” (or almost) wins a prize. Then everybody gets a lollipop.


Remind them about the St. Patrick’s Day display and our many books about St. Pat’s, Ireland, and leprechauns.

Storytime: Blast Off!

Everybody loves space aliens! …right?

This storytime was much more successful with the older kids (five- and six-year-olds) than the younger ones. A lot of the younger kids didn’t know what an alien was, and without that context, these stories do not make much sense. Also, the stretcher “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom” (from The Complete Book of Rhymes, Songs, Poems, Fingerplays, and Chants)  is terrible – it was too hard for the kids to learn, the rhythm is off, the hand motions are really forced…yikes.

Books for Older Children

I Want to Be an Astronaut—Byron Barton

Beegu—Alexis Deacon

Papa, Get the Moon for Me—Eric Carle

Alistair in Outer Space—Matthew Sadler

Hedgie Blasts Off!—Jan Brett

Books for Younger Children

Sheep Blast Off—Nancy Shaw and Margot Apple

Hush Little Alien—Daniel Kirk

Kitten’s First Full Moon—Kevin Henkes

Moon Plane—Peter McCarty


Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (with alien and robot puppets)

Star Light, Star Bright

Five Little Aliens (with flannel board)

Book Club: My Teacher Is an Alien

My Teacher Is an Alien, by Bruce Coville

Discussion Questions

1. The book begins with Duncan starting a fight with Peter. Susan watches instead of standing up for Peter – why? What do you think is the right thing to do when you see bullying or a fight?

2. Susan and Peter break into Mr. Smith’s/Broxholm’s house even though it is against the law, but they are still the good guys. Can you think of some other examples of when it might be okay to break a rule? Do you think it is okay to break rules when it can stop something even worse from happening (like an alien invasion!)?

3. Once Peter tells everybody what he and Susan have found, the kids in the school all start to believe that Mr. Smith is an alien. Would you believe a rumor like that? Have you ever heard any crazy rumors at your school?

4. Why don’t Susan and Peter talk to any adults about what they have learned? What do you think Susan’s parents, or Peter’s dad, would say?

5. What do you think Susan – who is maybe the class’s “best student” – learns from the events of the book? What does she learn from her friendship with Peter?

6. Why did Peter decide to go with Broxholm? Do you think this was the right choice for him? What do you think his life will be like after the end of the book?


Make an alien mask!

Write a book review!

Pretend that you are Broxholm and write a letter home to your family describing what life is like on Planet Earth.

Book Club: Marvin Redpost: Kidnapped at Birth?

Marvin Redpost: Kidnapped at Birth?, by Louis Sachar

Discussion Questions
1. Give a short summary of the book.
2. How do you think Marvin’s parents felt when he announced that he thought he was someone else’s kid? Why do you think they agreed to take Marvin for the “prince test”?
3. What do you think about the way Marvin’s friends reacted? Did they believe him?
4. Do you think that making a TV announcement was a good way for the king to find his son? Do you think that he will find Prince Robert?
5. Why did Marvin decide not to take the second test? What do you think he learned from this experience?
6. What would you do if you saw a news story saying that someone who looked like you is a prince or princess? Would you want to find out for sure, or would you want to keep your normal life?


In groups of three, make a list of five things you would do if you found out that you were a prince or princess. Then, make up a skit (a very short play without a script) about being royal! You can act out a scene from the book if you want, or make up your own story. Use the worksheet to help plan your skit!
(Or, if you don’t want do a skit, you can write a short story – or draw a cartoon – about finding out that you are a prince or princess of a country halfway around the world.)


If I were a prince (or princess), I would…

4.______________________________ (optional)
5.______________________________ (optional)

Beginning (set-up)
Middle (conflict)
End (resolution)

Book Club: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

One of my co-workers recently left for a full-time position, so I have taken over the Tween Book Club, a group of about 10 kids in grades 3-6. Everyone gets to keep a copy of the book club book, which is awesome.

Wimpy Kid Discussion Questions!

1. Is Greg a good friend to Rowley? Do you have any friends like Greg? Would you even WANT to be friends with Greg? Why do you think Rowley is more popular than Greg? What do you think about the joke Greg plays on Chirag?

2. Do you like the combination of pictures and diary entries? Does it help tell the story better or does it just make the book more fun to read?

3. What do you think Greg will be like when he’s a grown-up? Do you think he’ll become a little nicer? What kind of job will he have? Do you think he’ll get married and have kids?

4. How is Greg’s relationship with his brothers, especially Rodrick? Do you think they might be friends when they are older? Does Greg secretly look up to Rodrick?

5. What do you think about Greg’s secret? Greg thought it was a big deal and the most embarrassing thing ever—do you agree? What do you think about the way the kids at school reacted to the secret?

6. Do you think Mom Bucks are a good way to get Rodrick and Greg to behave? Do your parents do anything like that?

Write a diary/comic book about your Christmas vacation!

Some ideas for things to talk about:
• What is your family like? Did you visit any cousins or grandparents that you don’t usually see?
• What did you eat? Did you have a special dinner?
• Did you play outside? Make snowmen? Go sledding?
• Did you hang out with any of your friends?
You can write a regular journal entry, just draw pictures, or do both like Greg does!

Write a review of Diary of a Wimpy Kid!

Some ideas for things to talk about:
• What did you like about the book? Did you like the characters? Was it funny? Did it remind you of real
life? Do you know any people who are like the characters in the book?
• Was there anything you didn’t like? Did you like the ending? Did you like the way the characters acted?
• What would you change about the story if you were the author?

Program: SpongeBob Christmas party!

We had a great time tonight playing SpongeBob trivia, checking out our (seriously extensive) collection of SpongeBob books and DVDs, and making this awesome SpongeBob Christmas ornament! It’s an inexpensive project and they turned out really cute.

Santa SpongeBob Ornament

Supplies (for each kid): Yellow sponges, cut in half

Pipe cleaners (yellow and brown)

Googly eyes

Small white cotton balls

Felt (red, brown, and white, at a minimum)

Ornament hooks and metallic string

Supplies (for the table):

Black Sharpies

Tacky glue

Advance Preparation: Each kid will need one half-sponge, two  pieces of yellow pipe cleaner for arms, two short pieces of brown pipe cleaner for feet, two googly eyes, and felt clothes: a Santa hat, shirt, pants, and tie. (SpongeBob traditionally wears brown pants, but for Christmas, I gave the kids the options of green pants.) I cut and counted all that stuff out in advance, then put the components onto a paper plate (one for each kid).

Instructions: Attach pipe cleaner feet and arms by putting some glue on one end of the pipe cleaner, then sticking it into the sponge. The feet go on the bottom of the sponge, and the arms stick out of the side of the sponge about a third of the way from the top. Bend the feet so that they look like, well, feet. Glue the pants on the bottom part of the sponge (you want them to hang over the edge of the sponge), then glue the shirt on top of the pants, and the tie on top of the shirt. Decorate as desired (some kids drew the line down the middle of the pants, some drew on a shirt collar, etc.). Next, glue the pom-pom to the end of the Santa hat, and glue the Santa hat to the very top of the sponge. Glue the eyes on underneath the hat, then draw SpongeBob’s face!

Finally, make him an ornament. Straighten out the ornament hook, put some glue on both ends, then stick both ends into the top of the sponge (behind the Santa hat) so that the hook looks like an upside-down “U”.  Thread some metallic string or ribbon through the hook and tie it so that it’s long enough to hang from your tree. Done!