With this age group, I very rarely use tables for this type of program. All of our tables are adult-sized, which makes it more difficult for the kids to work without sitting on their knees in the chairs. Our other problem is that the parents will take the chairs so they can sit next to their child and we just don't have enough table space for both parents and children. Instead, we roll a giant sheet of roll paper across the floor.
By doing this, the space is more fluid so parents can sit next to their kids. We also have parents who have multiple young children. By working on the floor, a car seat or stroller can be right next to them too.
Each space has everything that the child will need in order to complete the craft, minus the crayons. We put those down the center of the paper in containers, which also encourages the kids to put them back when done. If I have the ability, I put everything needed for each craft on a separate pile. Today we did two crafts and you can see two piles above.
While I like kids to use their imagination and encourage it, sometimes the parents really want examples. My way to do this is to make color copies of my example and spread them out on the brown roll paper. This way they can use the examples if they want or ignore them if they don't.
If you do crafts with kids, I really recommend being on Pinterest. I cannot sing its praises enough and feel that it was created especially for children's librarians! Today's crafts both came from Pinterest, although they didn't include directions or patterns. I am including patterns for both.
Our dinosaur paper bag puppet (aka Spot-o-saurus) came from Reading is Fundamental. I created a pattern here if you would like to make your own. We used construction paper for the pieces, sticker eyes for the eyes, and crayons to draw the two dots for the nose. I like to include some sort of puppet as they encourage imaginative play. Many of the kids were seen after the program talking with their puppets in the children's area.
This idea came from Oriental Trading. If you would like to use my pattern for the parts, it is included here. We used colored copy paper to cut the parts, sticker eyes for the eyes, and a crayon for the mouth. I like this craft because there are multiple body parts which gives you many chances to talk with toddlers about where things go. Some examples include:
- Where are your eyes? Where should we put the dinosaur's eyes?
- What shape is your mouth? What color is your mouth? What color/shape are you going to use for your dinosaur?
- Should his feet go by his head? How about on top of his belly? How about down at the bottom?