You grab a line I'll grab a pole...let's craft a fishing game.

This morning fifty children joined me to make a fishing game craft.  I had wonderful high school helpers and the materials on hand but hadn't planned a book selection. Nothing like having the library director pitch in to help me with a search minutes before the program began. We stumbled across a great book entitled 'Piggy and Dad go Fishing'. Father and son don't want to hook smiling worms so they bait their hooks with  pieces of their sandwiches. When they do catch a fish they fall for his smiling face and release him into the water. In the end they abandon the fishing rods and begin a new tradition of feeding the fish. After this crowd pleasing tale I shared the following instructions to make the fishing game.

The fishing rod is made with a 12" length of 3/8" dowel rod, which my husband had kindly cut down from one yard lengths last night. You simply tie one end of a 15" piece of string to one end of the dowel rod. Sandwich the other end of the string between to sections of adhesive magnet. Magnetic tape is sold by the roll and is easily cut with regular scissors.

The fish, octopus, crabs, mermaids, boots, pirate treasure... are all made out of construction paper and markers. I gave a quick demo showing how the shorthand drawing for a fish doesn't work. When you cut a fish symbol the connection to the tail is too narrow and it breaks off. My next drawing featured fish complete with lips and fins to encourage my young artists to flex their drawing skills.

Halfway through the activity I suggested the older to children award their pieces point values to turn the game into a fun math exercise. Each fish needs to have a paperclip slipped over it's paper mouth, so that it can be caught by the magnetic fishing line.

While everyone was busy drawing and cutting their fish I went around the room transforming the two liter pop bottles into ponds. I cut the tops off the bottles with a sharp pair of Fiskar soft touch scissors. I suggested they keep the tops as they make a great funnel for the beach or sandbox.

We used additional paper and clear packing tape to affix drawings and wavy water to the outside of the pond, the finished fish are simply placed  inside the pond.

In my experience kids love making something that they can play with when they're finished.  Many thanks to the wonderful parents and children who let me photograph and share their creativity. I'm also grateful for the continued support of Curtis Memorial library.

Creativity that sticks - Childrens Plant Pot Workshop

Proud artists with their plant pot creations!

Have I told you lately how much I love our library? When we moved to Brunswick, Maine from Des Moines six years ago Curtis Memorial Library was the very first place that made us feel part of the community. My older boys loved both the children's and teen programs. Four years ago when Celia joined our family I began taking her to 'baby lapsit', many of her preschool friendships started at the library. Last summer my husband Jon and I were delighted to donate our time to help them revamp the childrens play area, I promise to post shots of my murals soon. Recently I've been fortunate to be part of both the children and teen library art and craft events.

Parents and children making one of kind plant pots at library Earthday library event.

Today's craft was inspired for a design I developed for the summer issue of Crafts 'n Things.

I created a trio of mixed media plant pots that incorporated 'junk' everything from odd game pieces to hardware. I loved the 'in process' pots almost as much as the finished grouted pots. I realized that using adhesive alone would be the perfect way to introduce kids to the concept of mosaics and tiling. One of the biggest challenges in preparing for this event was collecting enough recycled materials.

This is me intently helping someone decide which pieces will 'stick' to their pot.

A girl after my own heart, she was intent in filling the entire surface of her pot.

To make this project at home, begin by sealing the inside of the pot with a weatherproof sealer. Purchase a small container of tile adhesive at your local hardware store. Use a plastic knife to spread a 1/4" layer of adhesive onto the outside of your pot. Press found objects into the adhesive, filling the small spaces with plastic beads and buttons. Let adhesive cure 24 hours before planting your funky pot. 

Another superb original creation!

Today's plant pot activity quickly reached eighty pre-registered children, unfortunately the librarians were forced to turn many people away. At a time when library budgets are being cut nationwide, the outstanding attendance for these kinds of events is a strong indicator how important libraries are to our community!

These young men found a way to personalize their pots with letter beads.

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be working with the librarians to plan more creative summer activities for both children and teens. I can't wait to get messy and share more smiles!