Category Archives: Oakland

Stories in the Shadows Indoor Campout Storytelling Series


stories-in-the-shadows-posterWe just finished an indoor campout storytelling series that I’m really excited about sharing with y’all.  I had been wanting to do a family fort night event ever since I started seeing posts like the one from Jbrary detailing what a fun and simple program it is.  It just never seemed to come together, but there it sat on my Pinterest board, ready for the perfect moment.  That moment came when we started talking about writing for the Georgia Council for the Arts Vibrant Communities Grant.  After much discussion, we decided to do a storytelling series after-hours with an indoor campout theme.  We had a few setbacks and changes with our storytellers, but I was so, so pleased with the end result.






stories-in-shadows-tablecloth-tents stories-in-shadows-smores-mix stories-in-shadows-campfire-craftBoth programs were an indoor campout; the only difference was the location and the storyteller.  We had both programs after hours and put up plastic tablecloths over the bookshelves for “tents.”  We made s’mores mix with Golden Grahams cereal, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips, and each family received a craft kit to make their own campfire (I made a PDF of the instructions that I’d be happy to share if anyone is interested).






stories-in-shadows-fiddlin-dan stories-in-shadows-readingThe first storyteller was Fiddlin’ Dan the Mountain Man.  He used his musical instruments to tell stories, and the kids even got to try out some of the instruments at the end of the show.








stories-in-shadows-lsb stories-in-shadows-puppetThe second storyteller was shadow puppeteer Hobey Ford.  I am so fascinated by the art of shadow puppetry.  In fact, this is what inspired the whole program concept, and why we called it “Stories in the Shadows.”








I really loved this program series.  My favorite part was seeing the families interact with the library after hours.  Something about seeing everyone snuggled up under our makeshift tents, with play campfires and flashlights glowing, reading to each other and being entertained by talented artists–that’s why I do what I do.  I’m so appreciative of the librarians who shared the campout/family fort night idea, and of the support from the Georgia Council for the Arts Vibrant Communities grant for making it possible.


Homeschool Hub–History’s Who’s Who (Women’s History)


patrice devine campfire story indoor smoresFor the last Homeschool Hub in the month of March, we studied three interesting women in history for Women’s History Month.  I participated in Girl Scouts when I was young, so of course I thought of Georgia native Juliette Gordon Low.  I invited local Girl Scouts representative Patrice Devine to come share some information about Juliette Gordon Low and Girl Scouts with us.  Ms. Devine told us a story about how Juliette Gordon Low came up with the idea of starting Girl Scouts, and we sampled some indoor s’mores.





swap crafting swap closeupThen Ms. Devine taught us how to make a SWAPS (Special Whatchamacallit Affectionately Pinned Somewhere).








The other two ladies we studied were Amelia Earhart and Margaret Knight.  Amelia Earhart was the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane, so we made and flew paper airplanes.  Margaret Knight was an inventor who patented the square bottom paper bag, so we made kites from paper lunch bags.

Homeschool Hub–Money Matters


April is National Financial Literacy Month, so this week’s Homeschool Hub was devoted to money matters.  As usual, we had several different stations for families to move through at their own pace.

The most popular station was a pretend play grocery store.  I set up a table with play food in plastic bags, along with two shopping baskets and two “wallets”, each with $1 in change (pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarter).

cash registershopping basketsmoneygrocery store









shopping counting moneyimpulse purchases saleThe bags had labels on them with prices.  For even more opportunity for discussion, I added more expensive impulse items like blocks, crayons, and stickers, as well as sale items.  When I rang the kids up, I went item by item and had them pay me for each one.  A few kids had the experience of having to put items back because they ran out of money, but as one mom pointed out, it’s much better to have that happen in a play store than at the real one!  This activity was SO much fun!




coin rubbing sortingAnother table had coin rubbing and coin sorting on it.  For the coin rubbing, I just hot glued pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters onto half a piece of cardstock.  I did two on each card so that the front and back of the coin could be seen.  I then printed the name and value of the coin above it.  I clipped the cardstock onto a clipboard and put scrap paper and crayons out for the rubbings.  For the sorting, I put random groups of change into plastic bags.  Then, I prepared cups with 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, and 25 cents for them to sort the coins into.






making money name game finishedThe last table had a sheet of blank money for the kids to make, along with a simple wallet made from a half piece of construction paper folded in half lengthwise, then taped on the sides.  I found the idea for the worksheet on Pinterest–basically each letter of the alphabet is assigned a dollar value, and the kids add up the letters of their name to see how much their name is worth.







Homeschool Hub meets every Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the Oakland Library.  It is sponsored by Lee County Library and free and open to the public.  For more information call 759-2369.

Homeschool Hub–Eric Carle Collage Art


vhcToday is the 46th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, so Homeschool Hub celebrated by learning about Eric Carle’s art and creating our own collage art!  See the slideshow here






I had a TV set up and made a Youtube playlist of Eric Carle videos.

Eric Carle on the Illustration of Brown Bear Brown Bear

Eric Carle reads The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Eric Carle creates a 45th anniversary collage

Children’s Book Author Eric Carle: My Generation AARP

I got the idea to use construction paper instead of tissue paper and decreasing drying time by blotting with paper towels from this blog.

play areaHere’s the play area I mentioned last week.  It works really well to have a separate area close by for younger siblings.

Homeschool Hub: Where in the World?–Ireland


Please forgive the long lapse in posting–I have been planning away for summer reading AND we recently rolled out a couple of new programs, one of which is Homeschool Hub.  Today was the second meeting of the weekly program aimed at homeschooling families.  We recognize that many homeschooling families have multiple children of various ages from babies up to tweens, so we are trying to offer a variety of activities to appeal to everyone.  So far I have set the program up in a children’s museum-inspired scheme–different stations for kids to interact with at their own pace.  This week I added a “passport”, which I think really helped to give families structure to their experience.  This fit in nicely with this week’s subject–Ireland.

passportThis is what the passport looked like–it is shown on two pages here, but for the program I printed them double sided and folded them into a booklet.  I wanted to find a way for families to have the information to take home with them, so the passport seemed to be the best solution.  One of the stations was to learn the significance of the colors in the Irish flag and color it in on the back of the passport.






Probably the most dressespopular station was the Irish step dancing station.  I had a TV hooked up to a laptop and showed a brief clip from Sesame Street (Murray goes to Irish Step Dancing School.)  I printed a template of a dress and a vest onto cardstock for the kids to decorate with markers and glitter.  I really think we have some budding fashion designers in our midst…






shamrock stationTo incorporate a little bit of STEM, I pulled out some shamrock-like plants from the library yard and put them onto trays, along with some magnifying glasses.  The kids really enjoyed looking at them through the magnifying glasses and comparing them to the pictures of actual Irish shamrock varieties (pictured in the clear sign holder).  They were also encouraged to attempt drawing a shamrock and making one with their fingerprints and the green stamp pad.  The passport had a box for the journaling part of this station.





snakeFinally, we had a snake craft in honor of the legend of St. Patrick driving all of the snakes out of Ireland.  I found this one on Google, but you could also use a paper plate and cut it into a spiral.








I forgot to take a picture of it, but this week I set up a play area with seating and toys for younger siblings and adults to hang out.

I am SO happy we are offering this program.  We had a HUGE turnout last week, and this week was pretty good, too.  It is a bit of a learning curve for me, since I don’t homeschool and I do not have a teaching background (a million times a day I wish I DID!)  As with all my other programs, I am always open to feedback and suggestions so that I can constantly improve and make it the best possible experience for our patrons.  So if you attended one of the programs or if you are a librarian who hosts such a program at your own library, please let me know your thoughts!

Homeschool Hub meets every Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the Oakland Library.  Next week we will be looking at the art of Eric Carle and making our own collages, so dress for mess!  Free and open to the public, sponsored by Lee County Library.  For more information call 759-2369.












Fizz, Boom, READ! Invention Convention


FIZZ_BOOM_READ_logo Primary Stacked




cup phonePaper/Plastic cup telephones: This craft required quite a bit of adult assistance, but it was so neat to see the kids and adults playing with the finished product.  Each child received 2 plastic or paper cups (with a small hole punched in the bottom of each), two paper clips, and a length of fishing line.  Thread the fishing line through the hole in the bottom of the cup, then tie a paper clip to it to prevent it slipping back through the hole in the cup.  Repeat on the other side.  When using the phone, be sure that the fishing line is pulled as taut as possible.







making 3d glasses 3d glasses3D glasses: I used this template for our glasses.  Instead of enclosing a clear (or translucent colored) layer in between two layers of cardstock, I decided to make the lenses by laminating the “glasses” part and having the kids cut out the sides and tape them to the glasses as the craft.  To make them 3D, I also provided a blue and a red Sharpie marker to color over the laminated material.  It works like a charm!  The link above has 3D space images, but I ended up using a 3D shark book that was donated awhile back.






making paper airplanes airplane contest winnerFinally, we made paper airplanes and had a contest!  At each branch, I gave 2 prizes: one for the farthest distance and the other for the coolest design.  Winners received a ticket from All American Fun Park for a free game of mini golf and two free game tokens!

For the paper airplanes, I provided colored printing paper and markers.  Once it seemed as though they were finishing up, I had them start lining up.  As each participant came to the front of the line, I asked their name and wrote it on a small post-it note.  I counted off “1, 2, 3–throw!” and they threw.  Then I went and put the post-it where the plane landed and gave the plane back to them.  At the end, the plane that had traveled the farthest distance won.  It was SO fun!

Life Size Candyland


photo(4)We did a Life Size Candyland event in December at our Oakland and Leesburg branches, and it was SO FUN!  Before I go any further I have to mention that these events would not have been possible without the hard work of my teen volunteers!  They colored, cut, painted, and brainstormed ideas, in addition to preparing their own costumes!  This community is very lucky to have such caring and enthusiastic young people.

Another “thank you” goes to everyone who had a Candyland event at their library and/or a Candyland birthday party.  I really think I looked at every single Candyland thing on the internet in preparation for this event (I even made a Pinterest page).  Special thanks goes to Miss Mollie at What Happens in Storytime for her writeup, which I found extremely helpful.


candyland crafts

When each player entered, Miss Gingerbread helped them to decorate a paper lunch bag with a gingerbread house coloring page glued to the front.  We did three crafts as part of the game (a lollipop with Lolly, a pipe cleaner candy cane with Ms. Mint, and a pipe cleaner snowflake with Princess Frostine).  The bag gave the kids a place to store their goodies while they played the game.

candyland game piecesLike Mollie, I decided to use a spinner for the kids to advance through the game.  I used the one that Mollie linked to in her post (see above).  I also used most of the text from her “How to Play”.  The spinner was printed onto cardstock and colored with markers, then cut out and laminated.  The arrow is black chipboard and is attached with a brad.  I used clip art to make my own “pink space” cards.  All of this was placed into a quart sized ziploc bag.

girl playingThe spaces were pieces of construction paper taped onto the floor with scotch tape.  Before the event, I was very concerned (like, waking up at night) about having to replace paper during the game, but it turned out that it wasn’t that big of an issue.  I even reused most of the paper on the second day.  For the pink spaces, I just used the same clip art that I used for the cards and glued it onto a pink piece of construction paper.

For me, what made this event so much fun was the teen volunteers who dressed up in character and interacted with the kids as they made their way through the game.  Gramma Nutt (yes she was actually knitting!  Adorbs, right?) handed out toothbrushes generously donated by Dental Partners of Southwest Georgia.

photo(14) photo(3)photo(6)


princess frostineMost of the decorations were fabric we had on hand, crepe paper streamers, cardboard, paint, paper plates, cellophane, and balloons.

photo(16)At the end of the game, the kids reached Candy Castle!  The Lee County High School Drama Department graciously loaned us this amazing castle, which we decorated with “candy”.  The peppermints are paper plates colored with red Sharpie.  The hard candies are colored paper plates wrapped in cellophane.  The gingerbread men were cut from cardboard and painted with puffy paint.  The gumdrops are flowerpots that were painted and glittered.  The Hershey kisses are aluminum foil stuffed with plastic grocery bags.  My favorite is the gumball machine, which I made from cardboard, aluminum foil, and a clear garbage bag full of balloons.  Each player also received a candy cane, donated by our Friends of the Library.  A couple of the teen volunteers also did face painting, which the kids loved!  They had a “menu” of candy-themed designs for the kids to choose from, including gingerbread man, candy cane, and ice cream.

photo(5)All in all I’d say that our first Life Size Candyland was a huge success!  Thanks again to Lee County Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Lee County Library, Dental Partners of Southwest Georgia, Lee County High School Drama Department, Lexi Anthony, Patsy Shirley, and the Lee County Youth Council for helping to make this event possible.  And as always, THANK YOU to the families who make the library part of your holidays and “everydays”.

Summer Reading Recap Week 3–Pirates Ahoy!


pirateDuring the week of June 18-20, we hit the open sea for Pirates Ahoy!  All four libraries had fun pirate crafts to do–a treasure map, a parrot, and an eye patch.  As space permitted, we also tried to include some fun pirate-y accessories.  My fantastic teen volunteer Lexi dressed up as Captain Lex to round things off.  It was a blast!









pirate crafts REDThe first craft we did was a treasure map like this one.  For this, we cut off the bottom of a brown paper lunch bag, then cut it up the side.  Then, the kids were invited to either draw their own treasure map or use a worksheet that I provided (I used the illustrations from this coloring page).









001We also did a parrot craft that I found over at Sturdy For Common Things.  Like Rebecca, I copied the template onto different colors of cardstock.  Then, the kids embellished them with wiggle eyes, feathers, and crayons.  The template is great because it shows you how to fold it so that you can tape it onto the kid’s shoulder–so cute!

To finish off, we decorated eye patches.  I used this template on white cardstock.  I cut them out and punched holes in either side, the threaded a thin ribbon through so that they could wear it.








pirate ship oak








At Leesburg and Oakland, we had the space to set up a pirate ship (complete with bubble machine)!  Here, the kids could swab the deck, try their hand at tossing coins into a treasure chest, and play “Lex Says”.  The kids really enjoyed interacting with Captain Lex, even though he sometimes made them walk the plank!






pirate lexi reading RED





We had a great time at Smithville and Redbone, too!  At Smithville, the kids played with a parrot puppet while they did their crafts.  At Redbone, kids enjoyed stories from Captain Lex (see top photo).

Tweens and teens–orphaned rocks. You can help.


024Tweens and teens, this is a sad story.  But it is also a story of hope.  As I write this, dozens of rocks are orphaned.  Plain.  Undecorated.  Unloved.  But you can help!  Come to our Pet Rock creation station on Tuesday, June 11 at 4:00 p.m. at the Oakland Library.  You can take a poor, sad, lonely rock and make it yours.  Take pictures of it in goofy places and you’ll earn yourself an entry to win an itunes gift card or a free pass to All American Fun Park for each photo.  Plus, pictures of rocks decorated with wiggly eyes are funny.  Trust me.





Meet Katniss Everread.















Need I say more?  Please help.  Adopt a rock.  They’re pretty quiet.






Dig Into Reading–Week 2


DIG into Reading LogoWhat a great first week of summer reading!  I really appreciate everyone coming out and enjoying our programs at all four of our branches!  Here’s what’s coming up next week (June 10-14).

Monday, 6/10 at Leesburg Library Rubber Ducky Club [10:00 a.m.]

Tuesday, 6/11 at Leesburg Library Chehaw for Daycare groups [10:00 a.m.]

Tuesday, 6/11 at Leesburg Library Chehaw for General Audience [11:00 a.m.]

Tuesday, 6/11 at Leesburg Library Writer’s Workshop [immediately following Chehaw]

Tuesday, 6/11 at Oakland Library Teen poetry collage [4:00 p.m.]

Wednesday, 6/12 at Smithville Library Dino Camp [3:30 pm.]

Thursday, 6/13 at Oakland Library Dino Camp [10:00 a.m.]

Thursday, 6/13 at Redbone Library Chehaw Presents [3:00 p.m.]

Thursday, 6/13 at Redbone Library Writer’s Workshop [immediately following Chehaw]

Friday, 6/14 at Oakland Library Rubber Ducky Club [10:00 a.m.]

Also remember to pick up your reading logs.  Rubber Ducky Club and Dig Into Reading participants who turn in a reading log before July 13 will get to choose a prize from the treasure chest at our Pyramid Party and will receive a coupon for a free cup of TCBY yogurt.  Those who attend the Pyramid Party will be eligible to win our awesome door prizes, which include a free pass to Wilder’s World 4 Kids and a 4-activity pass to All American Fun Park ($20 value).

For our teens we have a 4-activities pass to All American Fun Park ($20 value) or a $10 itunes gift card.  Teens will receive an entry for the prize of their choice for each time they turn in a reading log turned in, attend a teen event, and/or submit a pet rock photo.

All summer reading activities are sponsored by the Lee County Library and are free and open to the public.  We thank our sponsors TCBY, All American Fun Park, and Wilder’s World 4 Kids for their support.