"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

06 March 2015

Book Club: Extra Yarn

My BookMunchers book club met for its second time this month.  The book we read this time was Mac Barnett's Extra Yarn. We had a fairly short discussion about our favorite parts of the book and why the yarn box was empty when the Archduke stole it, along with what we'd do with a box of yarn, then it was time for activities.

I have chosen to set up my book club activities in stations. This way kids can choose to do one activity for the entire time or can dabble in each of the options.  Either way, they can interact with as many or as few of their peers as they'd like, and the older/younger siblings who join them can also try their hand at the activities.

1.  Spool knitting: The idea is simple.  Get a TP tube, tape six craft sticks to the outside, then use it to spool knit.  In reality, though, it is hard to get younger kids to focus on spool knitting, especially to do it long enough that the knitted part pops out of the bottom of the TP "spool." Kids struggled with this one, but the older siblings seemed to enjoy it.

2.  Yarn poofs: This went over really well.  Take two TP tubes and wrap yarn around the outside of them a million zillion times.  Then tie the yarn in the middle, slip out the tubes, tighten the knot, and cut the loops to make a poof ball.  The kids loved this one, because it was easy to wrap yarn and they got to dictate how much to wrap. I liked it because even when the kids tried to throw/hurl/kick the poofs, they didn't go very far or hurt anyone.

3.  Wikki sweaters: I put clip-art of animals on a paper, then gave the kids Wikki Stix to make sweaters for the animals. I didn't think this would be a popular station, but some of the kids LOVED using the Wikki Stix to make little sweaters for the critters on the paper.  I'm not sure why it worked, but I am very glad it did.

4.  Yarn Measuring: I cut four pieces of yarn to four different lengths (6 inches, 1 foot, 2 feet, and 1 yard) and gave the kids a sheet so they could measure various things in the library.  Some of the kids enjoyed this, but it definitely was not as popular as the Wikki sweaters. I wanted to have a math/science related activity, so this was good for that, but it probably would have worked better if we had done it as a group instead of offering it as an option.

I also had snacks (apples and pretzels), a sign-up sheet for next month's club, and a cart full of read-alikes to check out. Since we had to meet in the picture book room instead of our normal location in the auditorium, the book cart wasn't as popular as it could have been.  Overall, the kids seemed to enjoy themselves, they all signed up for next month's meeting, and we got a lot of interest/attention from other library patrons, so hopefully we'll get even more kids for our next meeting.

Our book club has become so popular that I now offer this same club at two times on the same day.  That means that one day a month is pretty much "book club-apalooza" for me, and I sleep really, really well each night of club, but it's been great to see the kids interacting with their parents and connecting with good books.

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