Robot Puppet Craft

For our Summer Reading Club wrap-up party this week I wanted the kids to make something they could take home with them as a souvenir of the summer. Because our theme was “Build It” and featured several robotic mascots, I came up with these easy CD robot puppets!

Robot2You’ll need:

  • Discarded CDs
  • Robot coloring page (I used this one)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Pencil crayons / crayons
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Googly eyes (optional but highly recommended) and glue (if the eyes aren’t self-sticking)

The assembly couldn’t be simpler:

  1. Color the robot
  2. Cut the robot apart
  3. Tape the robot body pieces to the CD, using the shiny blank side of the CD as the body
  4. Tape a stick to the back of the CD to make a puppet
  5. Add googly eyes and other decorations as desired.
  6. Enjoy your shiny CD robot!


Builder Fest – August 5, 2015

Book dominoes and marshmallow construction, oh my!

This hour-long drop-in Summer Reading Club program for ages 6-12 was all about the building (and destroying).

The scene was barely controlled chaos, with 30+ kids (and various parents) squashed into a small children’s area in a small library.

The first activity was book dominoes – we gathered picture books and made a series of book dominoes (with varying degrees of success). Given the cramped space, this activity was less successful than it might’ve been, as we didn’t have a lot of room to build long book cascades.

The second activity was much more popular – marshmallow construction! We used miniature marshmallows and toothpicks to build marshmallow structures.


When attempting this craft, make sure you have more toothpicks on hand than you ever thought you could need. We barely had enough toothpicks to keep up with everyone’s impressive feats of confectionery construction. Also – consider handing out the supplies, rather than allowing the children to help themselves. This will help ensure that you don’t end up with any marshmallow or toothpick hoarders (which of course happened to me).


The marshmallow construction ran on a bit longer than anticipated, as the kids were deeply engrossed in the activity and I hated to interrupt their creativity.

Although the kids had a blast building their towers, the clean up process was a bit of a headache. We didn’t have tables to build on, so the kids built on the floor, which meant a lot of marshmallows ended up ground into the carpet…delicious souvenirs of our madcap afternoon…. 🙂

Summer Reading Club School Visits – “Build It”

One of my talented colleagues came up with the idea of “building a story” with the children in the school she visits, to tie in with our “Build It” theme. She would pull words out of a bag to fill-in-the-blanks in her story, using silly words to make the children laugh, then getting them to help correct the story.

I loved this idea, and decided to do my own little spin on it by building a little robot who would help me tell the story, but who would need a bit of help from the audience.

Here he is!


Dollar store wooden box, dollar store silver paint, googly eyes and some bits of wire from a recycled waffle maker. Isn’t he cute?

I visited a school today (and spoke to eight classes!), and told the children that my new robot was very eager to tell them a story about summer reading club, but that he sometimes had a little trouble getting the right answer.

I started with:

“One day the children of XYZ Academy visited the local library. The wanted to join the Summer….Reading….”  I dramatically opened the “robot” and pulled out a piece of paper with a single word printed on it, for the children to read, which said something outlandish, like “elephant”. I smiled at the children triumphantly, then acted surprised, did a double take, made a face, asked the children if was the correct answer, shook my head dramatically, asked them to help the robot, etcetera etcetera. I then repeated, repeated, and repeated, using different outlandish words to reinforce important aspects of Summer Reading Club (ex: “Summer Reading Club starts….. June 42! No, silly robot, it starts June 19!”)

I layered the papers with the printed answers inside the box in the order I wanted to use them in my story, so it was a simple case of pulling out a single paper at a time.


While the kids thought the whole thing was hilarious (the robot said it would cost 1 million jellybeans to join SRC, and told them they would be awarded with a shiny new carrot at the end of the summer), it was also a good opportunity to talk about making mistakes, taking chances, asking for help, and not giving up. I made sure to encourage my “robot”, and we talked about how it’s OK to make mistakes or to not be perfect, as long as we always give it our all, and we never give up. We also talked about how we shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask for help, just as the robot does.

Anyway, my little robot has been a simple, hilarious, portable little companion who has had the kids in stitches, but also helps reinforce some very positive messages.

Summer Reading Club Kindergarten Visit – June 11, 2015

We’re still in the thick of Summer Reading Club promotion, but instead of going out to visit a class, a kindergarten class came to me! A local kindergarten class of about 16 children came to spend an hour at the library and learn a bit about summer reading club.

I used my old favourite, “If you’re happy and you know it”, as my instructional song, providing a bit of structure and routine throughout the visit. We started with:

If you’re happy and you know it sit on your bums

If you’re happy and you know it sign hello (we practiced the ASL sign for hello)

If you’re happy and you know it say hello

If you’re happy and you know it hands in your laps

It was awesome! Who knew that an old standby could come in so useful?

Because the theme of this year’s SRC is “Build It”, I started off our visit with a robot story:

Boy + Bot / Ame Dyckman


The kids got a kick out of my robot voice, and we had a nice little discussion about what we might do to help our robot friend. It’s not the most fun choice for story times, but it did tie in nicely, and the illustrations are pretty cute.

In keeping with the “Build it” theme we then sang a song about high rise buildings – the elevator song!

Finally it was time to talk about Summer Reading Club!

I love getting the kids to guess the correct answer when talking about SRC:

How much do you think it costs to join Summer Reading Club? 1 million jellybeans? Two thousand nickels?”

“What do you think you get at the end of Summer Reading Club, after you’ve read for 50 days? A goldfish? A sock?”

“How many minutes a day should you read during Summer Reading Club? At least a million? Zero?”

I opened the floodgates a little when I asked for some suggestions of good books to read during Summer Reading Club. It turns out everyone had multiple favourite books they were desperate to tell me about! But, that’s ok, if the conversation is going to get sidetracked, I’m happy if it’s because of an extended book discussion. 🙂

After a bit more information about SRC it was time to pick out some library books.I once again turned to that trusty tune.

If you’re ready for some books, stand up! / If you’re ready for some books, stand up! If you’re ready for some books, if you’re ready for some books, if you’re ready for some books, stand up!

If you’re ready for some books, line up! / If you’re ready for some books, line up! If you’re ready for some books, if you’re ready for some books, if you’re ready for some books, line up!

This was the most disciplined, orderly kindergarten class I had ever encountered – it was almost eery how quiet and well behaved the were! They descended upon the readers section like a very quiet horde and picked it clean.

I’m always interested in what the kids zero in on in the stacks, and today there seemed to be a run on Biscuit books.


After a few minutes of book selecting and silent reading, it was time to line up and walk to the check out counter.

It was a great little visit, and hopefully the children will be back to sign up for SRC.

Fandoms Unite! – Teen Summer Reading Club

Teen Reading Club launches June 1, and this year’s theme is right up my alley – Fandoms!


Teen RC is all about celebrating teens’ passions for reading, whether they’re obsessed with manga, dystopian fiction, historical novels, or a little bit of everything. Teen RC is a predominantly online program where teens can post and comment on book reviews, participate in discussion forums and opinion polls, chat with authors, share their creative projects, find out what’s happening at different InterLINK libraries, and enter to win prizes. It’s run by Public Library InterLINK, though teens don’t need to be library members to participate in many of the online activities. Teens can also follow along on Instagram (@teenrc), Facebook and Twitter. I spent my morning making some of these awesome buttons, perfect for handing out to the branch Teen Advisory Group.

Microsoft Word - Button template 1.75 inch.docx

I belong to a few fandoms myself, so it was hard to pick just one button to add to my lanyard, but I settled on the “Manga Fan!” button, in honour of my teenage otaku self. Teen RC is such a great program because t it allows teens to participate on their own schedule, at their own pace, and in whatever way they feel comfortable. Let’s face it, despite our best efforts, the library isn’t always the coolest (or most welcoming) place for teens to hang out. Now teens have the option of participating in great library programming without ever having to set foot in the library.