Guest Post: Computer Part Art

Computer Part Art 1

I work with an amazing group of children’s librarians! Seriously. I am amazed by their creativity on a near daily basis. So I decided to share the love and have a couple of guest posts about the awesome programs that my coworkers offer. First up is a Computer Part Art program that my coworker, Marra, did last month. Marra was very kind to share some pictures and write up a blurb about the program, so here you go:

We’ve done a Computer Part Art program before, and it was always been popular.  Both kids and grown-ups really enjoy seeing the guts of a computer and come up with some very fun creations.  And the grownups usually end up making something too.  The most time consuming part of the program is taking the computers apart.  Computers are like a complex 3-D puzzle held together by a million screws.  Time was running out of getting the pieces out of the machines, so in a last-minute move we decided to have some of the computers, keyboards and mice laid out on the tables with a variety of screwdrivers, pliers and other tools.


Computer Part Art 3

Children and grownups were excited about the idea of choosing to “create or destroy” the computers.  The destroyers really dug into their work, focusing for the entire program length at taking the computers apart, layer by layer.  The cheers of victory as each piece came off were pretty amazing.  One young man, about 5, spent the entire hour with a screwdriver and a keyboard, patiently removing each screw until the computer came apart.  His grown up was in awe and said over and over how she had never seen him sit in one place for so long.

Computer Part Art 2
If you would like to offer a computer part art program, you’ll need:

  • Old, Useless Computers (ask local IT departments)
  • Tools
  • Various craft supplies (tape, glue, macaroni, buttons, etc.)

Minecraft Crafts

Minecraft Crafts

Did you know that back in the summer of 2014, when my coworker and I first started offering a Minecraft program, we initially planned to offer Minecraft crafts along with the computer game? We had thought that kids would naturally migrate between playing on the computer and doing a fun craft. And we were so. dead. wrong.

(Granted, we had also thought that offering the program once a week every other week would be sufficient. We were dead wrong there too.)

For the past two years, I have more or less kept the Minecraft craft idea on the back burner. Kids just weren’t interested in crafts when there was Minecraft on the computer in front of them.

But then I thought…hey, what if I offered this program on a different day and time than our usual Minecraft program? And what if I advertised the program as being just crafts with no computers at all?

Well, it turns out that kids are interested in Minecraft crafts. (Just as long as there’s no computer to distract them.)

Here’s what I did:

Paper Folding Minecraft

Paper Folding Minecraft Creeper:



Children cut out the template, fold in the appropriate areas, then tape it all together. This was a slightly time consuming and a little bit difficult craft. Most kids did just fine, but there were a few kids who really needed help with this one.

P.S. You’ll notice that I have glue sticks in the picture. Glue sticks don’t work so well. Use tape.

Duct Tape Minecraft

Minecraft Creeper Wristband:


Bright green duct tape (pre-cut)
Permanent markers

I had all the duct tape pre-cut so that kids wouldn’t have to use adult scissors. To make the wristband, kids placed one piece of duct tape on top of another piece of duct tape. They then used permanent marker to draw their designs. Lastly, they added velcro to the ends of the wrist band (one piece of velcro on one side, and the other on the other side).

This one was slightly easier, though some kids did have trouble handling the duct tape.


Minecraft Coloring Pages:

I added this at the last minute when I realized that both of the other crafts are more for older kids, and I wanted to have something that young kids could do too. I did have a few 3 and 4-year-olds show up to the program, so it was nice to have this available for them.

Toddler Art — January 2016

Do you ever have a program where you hope you WON’T get a huge crowd? That was this month’s Toddler Art for me. I had two very fun crafts planned, but both crafts required prep work that took way too long. Seriously. I started prepping for these crafts in NOVEMBER all the way up to the day before the program. And even with all of that prep time, I only had 61 crafts prepped instead of my usual 75.

So I really wanted small crowds for this one, and the library gods heard me because I only had 23 toddlers with their adults. Hooray!

Yep, the bigger day cares and preschools were a no show again. But, considering that we just got back from the holidays, and considering it’s freezing outside, that’s to be expected. I also haven’t gotten around to sending out my letters about a special Toddler Art time for them, so that might be part of it too.

Anyway, here are the crafts:

Pipe Cleaner Fireworks



  • Pipe cleaners twisted together (I did 5 each)
  • Paper plates (for paint)
  • Paint (I did 3 colors per plate)
  • White cardstock


  • Children dip pipe cleaners in paint.
  • Children stamp pipe cleaners on paper to make firework design.

I loved watching kids get creative with this one. Many stamped their pipe cleaners the way I demonstrated, but some started using the tips and handle to paint. One little boy made sure that the ends of the pipe cleaner were one color and the center another to make a two-toned firework!

Mitten Suncatchers



  • Mitten Outline (used from last year’s mitten die cuts)
  • Contact Paper
  • Tissue Paper
  • Yarn


  • Children place tissue paper and yarn on sticky side of contact paper
  • Can be hung on windows if desired

This was the craft that took forever to prep! Contact paper crafts are a huge hit with moms because they’re completely mess free, but contact paper is cumbersome when you’re prepping these crafts. The craft was a huge hit, but I’m probably going to wait a long time before I do a contact paper craft again.


Toddler Art — December 2015

Yep, I’m still doing Toddler Art! In October, I had 3 or 4 daycare/preschools show up along with all the families, and it was super fun chaos. But I think all the people ended up scaring the daycares/preschools away because they haven’t been back since. I’m planning to send out letters to those daycares/preschools, inviting them to a special Toddler Time session just for them. Fingers crossed it works out well!

In the meantime, December’s crafts were a HUGE, HUGE hit! I had a snowflake theme, and the toddlers/preschoolers all wanted to make several of each snowflake. Moms were walking out of the program room with paper plates laden with snowflakes and big smiles on their faces. It was so much fun! So here’s what we did:

Q-tip Painted Snowflakes

Painted Snowflakes


  • Paper snowflakes (made by gluing together several strips of blue paper)
  • White paint
  • Q-tips


  • Children dip the Q-tips into white paint and decorate to their heart’s content.

*The kids had a lot of fun adapting this craft. There was one little boy who cut up (or I guess his mom did) the Q-tips and used them as a way to decorate the snowflake (the white paint acting as glue). And several kids painted their snowflakes white then rushed over to the other tables to use glitter to decorate.

Colorful Snowflakes

Colorful Snowflakes


  • Popsicle stick snowflakes (made beforehand with hot glue)
  • Pom poms
  • Colorful pasta
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Markers


  • Children decorate snowflakes using colorful stuff.

*I had at least one mom ask me why I didn’t make these into ornaments. I had figured that many Christmas-celebrating parents would want these as ornaments, but I was purposely trying to avoid the whole Christmas thing out of respect for those who don’t celebrate it (this was not advertised as a Christmas Toddler Art, after all). I also figured that it would be very easy for grown-ups to add string or yarn to these when they get home, so I figured that those who’d want to use them as ornaments would still be able to do so. …Just…you know, at home. : )

**I was mildly worried that some of the toddlers would try to eat the pasta, but none did.

Overall, it was a very, very fun Toddler Art! A bit messy though…I still have to sweep up some glitter that got away from the tables. Thankfully our program is intended for messy crafts.

A Few of My Favorite Themes: Pumpkins

Fall Banner
Okay, I know that it’s not fall right now, but I’ve had this favorite theme entry half planned since September.  Why didn’t I post it then?  Well, I didn’t have the books PDF ready.  When I type up the book summaries, I like to have the books on hand so that I can refresh my memory about why I like them.  Sadly, by September, most of our pumpkin books were checked out.  So expect some more fall themes to be posted in winter, and winter themes and spring, and so on and so forth.

Pumpkin Books PDF:

Pumpkin Books Image









Pumpkin Flannelboard Templates:

Here are two flannelboard templates that you can use with a pumpkin theme!  The first one is the infamous Five Little Pumpkins rhyme from DLTK.  The second one is a fall set from the talented Melissa Depper.  Mel gives great ideas for what to do with this set!  Click on the images below to be taken to the websites with the templates.

Five Little Pumpkins Falling Flannelboards

Fall Flannel Set

Pumpkin Activities, Crafts, and STEM:

  • What I love most about Boy Mama Teacher Mama’s Pumpkin, Pumpkin: Stick and Rhyme is that it can be a craft that you do with your group after storytime.  Or you can make the props ahead of time and hand them out to the group during storytime so that you can all do the rhyme together again and again!
  • For this Pumpkin Number Matching Activity, I would have ten plates up at the front, and I would hand out numbered clothespins to the children.  I would then call out, “Who has the number 1?  Find the number 1 pumpkin”.  And I would continue on until all the kids had a chance to come up and clip their clothespins on the pumpkins.  What’s great about this is that it’s simple to put together, and you can have multiple clothespins for each pumpkin.  Activity credit goes to Coffee Cups and Crayons.
  • I love cut and tell stories, and this Surprise Pumpkin story from Not Just Cute is a great addition to any pumpkin storytime!
  • I also love finger puppets!  And Playing with Words 365 has not one, but two sets of finger puppets that look super cute and super easy to make!  (You’ll have to scroll down a bit to find them.)
  • Can’t take your storytime to a pumpkin patch?  Teach Preschool has got you covered by this awesome Pumpkin Patch Scavenger Hunt activity that you can do in your own storytime room/library!
  • I love this Five Giant Pumpkins rhyme and flannelboard from Read Rabbit Read!
  • Miss Courtney Meets Bobo’s take on Go Away Big Green Monster is so clever!  I’ll definitely be doing Go Away Big Orange Monster next fall!
  • For more pumpkin flannelboards, be sure to visit the Flannel Friday Fall Board on Pinterest!
  • Speaking of Pinterest, if you need some more pumpkin craft ideas, here’s a whole board full of them!


Toddler Art — December 2014

Toddler Art is quickly becoming a program that I hate planning for, but love implementing.  It draws such a huge crowd, and my coworker and I always have fun watching the parents and toddlers stamp, smear, and crinkle their artwork. I usually bring the iPod in and have music playing (softly) in the background, which really helps create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.  By the time the program is over, I’m feeling pretty darn good about the whole thing.  Until I realize that I have to start planning the next Toddler Art.

This month was a little tricky because I wanted to avoid any holiday crafts, but also wanted to have a festive atmosphere.  I figured celebrating snow and winter would be a good way to go, so I had a snowman craft and a mitten craft.

Snowman Craft

Snowman Craft

  • Blue construction paper with snowman drawing
  • White (non-toxic) finger paint
  • Clothespins
  • Cotton balls
  • Paper plate (or something else to hold the paint)


  • Clip the clothespin onto cotton balls
  • Instruct children to dip cotton balls into white paint
  • Sponge onto snowman drawing

*The cotton balls got weighted down with paint very easily, so I was changing cotton balls out after children had finished. It was a bit of a hassle, but not so much of one that I wouldn’t do it again.

Mitten Craft

Mitten Craft

  • Mitten cut out
  • Stickers


  • Children stick stickers onto mitten cut out

*This was one of the easier crafts that I’ve done for this program.  Prep time was quick since I had a mitten die cut. The craft was self explanatory, and we only needed to keep an eye on replenishing stickers.

Toddler Art — November 2014

It’s official.  Toddler Art is popular.  I had 45 little ones come in with their grown ups to make this month’s toddler crafts, and it was an amazing and slightly chaotic hour (thankfully I had a coworker on hand to help out!).  I once again offered two crafts — one clean and one messy — although I’m pretty certain that almost all of the participants ended up doing both.  Still, I like the idea of offering two.  That way if I ever do get a parent who doesn’t want his/her child around (non-toxic, of course) paint, they can still participate.

So here’s what we did this month:

Pencil Stamping Corn on the Cob

Corn Stamping by Falling Flannelboards
I had an unofficial Thanksiving theme for this program and offered two different food-inspired crafts.  This corn on the cob craft uses pencils, paint, and straw-like raffia.


  • Cardstock corn cutouts
  • Non-toxic finger paint
  • Pencils with erasers
  • Hole punch
  • Straw-like raffia


  • Dip pencil erasers into paint
  • Stamp on corn cob cutout
  • Hole punch top
  • Tie raffia

Tissue Paper Pumpkins

Tissue Paper Pumpkin by Falling Flannelboards
I had originally wanted to do this one in October, but then I ran out of contact paper, so it got pushed back to November.  I had a summer staff person cut out the pumpkin shapes for me, then I slapped on some contact paper, placed some tissue paper squares on the table, and let the tots have it.


  • Pumpkin cutouts
  • Contact paper
  • Tissue paper squares


  • Cut out the pumpkins ahead of time
  • Cover one side of pumpkins with contact paper
  • Have children place tissue paper squares on contact paper

A Few of My Favorite Themes: Apples

Fall Banner

Fall themes are my absolute favorite themes, so I’m hoping I can post a couple of these within the coming months.  However, seeing as I have little to no time to work on blog stuff at work (and my life outside of work is pretty busy too), I honestly think that I’ll be lucky to post more than 1 favorite theme this season.  But we’ll see…  Maybe the stars will align or something.

I’m also changing up how I do favorite themes.  I’ll still post a PDF of my favorite books like usual, but I’ll also be posting PDFs of any flannelboard templates I make.  As for crafts, STEM, and other storytime activities (including rhymes), I’ll be providing links to those at the end of the post.  I want to be sure to credit others, and I think providing links is the best way to do that.

So, here we go:

Apple Books PDF:

Apple Books Image








Apple Flannelboard Templates:

Click the images to be taken to the PDFs of the flannelboard templates.  The first image is for the flannelboard rhyme, “Five Little Apples” (Credit).  The second image is for the “A-P-P-L-E” flannelboard song (Credit).  The second image will take you to a previous post of mine — scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the PDFs of the apple images.  To make the flannelboard, print out the apple images, tape or glue them to construction paper, and then tape or glue the letters to the other side.

Five Little Apples




Apple Crafts, STEM, and Other Activities

  •  Everyone knows that worms like to live in apples, so introducing an activity that focuses on worms can add a nice variety to your storytime.  This Wiggle Worms game by Little Family Fun is one of my favorite activities to do in storytime!  It works well with almost any age group, and it’s a good way to change up your regular storytime.
  • If you don’t mind a little mess in your storytimes, try this super cute Apple Prints craft from Make and Takes.  While they used Popsicle sticks as handles for the apples, you can also use those nifty corn on the cob holders too.  Or do without handles and let the kids pick the apples up and stamp away.
  • Want a cute apple craft, but not a big mess?  I don’t blame you!  This Tissue Paper Apple Craft from Storytime Katie is super cute and doesn’t require any paint!
  • Looking to add some STEM to your storytime?  Here’s a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Apple Science!  (I couldn’t just choose one activity, when there are so many great ones on there!)
  • You can’t have an apple storytime without talking about apple picking!  This Apple Picking/Finding Game from So Tomorrow is not only a great way for kids to stretch their legs and get their wiggles out, but it also gives the storyteller a breather.
  • This Picking Up the Fruits rhyme from What Happens In Storytime is a great sorting activity!  If you want to keep it limited to apples only, you can change it to picking up red apples, green apples, yellow apples, etc.
  • A storytime roundup would not be complete without a five little whats-its rhyme.  My favorite is Five Apples in a Basket by Future Librarian Superhero.
  • Like to use props in storytime?  1234 More Storytimes has a great prop to use for the 2 Red Apples rhyme.
  • And, just in case you missed them, here are the rhymes for the flannelboard templates from above:  Busy Crafting Mommy’s Five Little Apples rhyme (there are many great versions of this rhyme which are linked in her post).  And A-P-P-L-E by RovingFiddlehead Kidlit.

The Thing with the Pasta

I have been a children’s librarian for just about seven months now and, so far, my transition into the profession has been a pretty easy one.  There hasn’t been any tears, the library is still up and running strong and, as far as I know, I haven’t seriously angered any patrons.  However, I’m still a newbie, and there have been a few mistakes on my part — such as the thing with the pasta.

The thing with the pasta started in the Spring as we were gearing up for Summer Reading.  My supervisors announced to me at one of our planning meetings that I would be in charge of crafts over the summer program.  During the school year, we have a library assistant plan and present the crafts program every other week, but during the summer it would be all me, every week for 12 weeks, and I was to not only plan the crafts, but buy the supplies as well.  They told me to plan on 100 kids showing up for each craft program.  Needless to say, I was very intimidated and, as a result, I may have over prepared.

One of the crafts I planned involved gluing pasta onto construction paper to make pasta art.  I had a mental image of tables filled with kids gluing as much pasta as they could onto their papers, so when it came time to buy the pasta, I bought a lot.  And I mean a lot.

You can probably guess what happened.  While we did have close to 100 kids for the first couple of weeks of crafts, by the time we got to week 5, which was my pasta craft week, we suddenly dropped from about 90 kids to…20.  Yeah, that’s right, we had 20 kids, and waaaay too much pasta.  I told the kids that they could make as many pictures as they wanted and that they could use as much pasta as they wanted — and they took me up on my offer — but we still only went through one and a half boxes that day.

This week I tried to get rid of more pasta by having the kids make rain sticks (also, I joked with the parents that maybe the rain sticks would actually work and we’d get rain…no such luck yet).  But, again, we only had 15 kids show up.  These kids tried their best to use up the pasta; each one made more than one rain stick and would fill the paper towel tubes up with pasta.  But we still only used about two and a half boxes.

It was a good program:  The kids loved their rain sticks, and many of them did a rain dance around the room while shaking the rain sticks.  And I did learn from this experience, especially about how much pasta to buy for craft projects.  But I’m still left with a cabinet full of pasta and no idea what to do with it (aside from giving the unopened boxes to staff).  Any suggestions you guys may have will definitely be welcome.  🙂