One of my favorite programs that I plan here is the Stuffed Animal Sleepover. We host one every year, usually in the summer. It is a bit more labor intensive than most of our other programs and I can feel kind of rushed (STRESSED!!!) because of the short time frame. This year I was extremely organized for once and everything went really smoothly. The kids and parents really enjoy it and that makes all the hard work worthwhile.
We usually sign up around twenty children and recommend ages 4 & older. We tell them to wear their pjs and bring a stuffed animal to leave in the library for a slumber party. I always have a few extra in case someone forgets.
We start out reading some fun bedtime books, then we do a craft and say our goodbyes. After the kids are gone, I take pictures of the animals doing silly things like having pizza, playing games, making craft projects, etc., as well as a photo of the entire group together. I only have about 20 minutes so I have to be lightning fast. After work, I upload the pics to our local CVS & pick them up first thing in the morning so that I can make little keepsakes for each child to take home.
Books We Read:
Bed Bugs- Carter
Papa Please Get the Moon for Me- Eric Carle
The Stuffed Animals Get Ready for Bed- Alison Inches (To make this one more interactive for my young listeners, I printed clipart pics of all the animals in the book. I told the kids to listen for their animals and bring them up to me so we could tuck them in to sleep (under brightly colored felt sheets. It worked great! I found this idea on one of the best blogs ever: Thrive After Three)
Songs We Sang:
The Bear Song (tune: Row Row Row Your Boat)
Hug, hug, hug your bear
Squeeze him very tight
Hold him high
Help him fly
Then hug with all your might!
I added this second verse myself:
Kiss kiss kiss your bear
Kiss your bear good night
Kiss him once
Kiss him twice
Then we say good night!
We made stars and moon doorknob hangers decorated with sparkly star stickers, kind of like the one here.
As children finished up their craft and filled out their nametags, we read Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown to the stuffed animals. Then, we kissed them good night!
The next morning all the animals were sitting at the craft tables patiently waiting to be picked up by their families, along with a few goodies like notepads, playing cards, free cookie coupons from Panera and photos of the slumber party. It was a great program and I'm already looking forward to next summer!