Friday January 11 – Saturday January 12 my library held our second ever Stuffed Animal Sleepover, and it was so much fun!
We started off on Friday with the stuffed animals signing in with our teen volunteers (we required registration for this program to ensure we had enough materials to make a good take-away the next day. It was limited to 25 participants). We made sure we had all names spelled correctly (this would help later when putting together the memento from the day), name-tagged the stuffed animals, and had the children fill out a questionnaire so we could learn more about their stuffed friends.
Then it was time to begin storytime! We didn’t put an age range on this program when we publicized it, since we figured the children’s ages didn’t matter much since we were focusing on the stuffed animal. This meant we had children from 1 – 10 enrolled. I was a bit worried about making storytime work for such a wide age range, but then a colleague said “Well, the storytime is for the stuffed animals, really” which made it much easier to focus while preparing.
Stuffed Animal Sleepover Storytime
Song: Sing With Me (Nighttime Version)
(to tune of: “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush”)
Come along and sing with me
Sing with me, sing with me.
Come along and sing with me,
So early in the evening.
Come along and clap with me…
Come along and stretch with me…
Come along and yawn with me…
Come along and listen with me
listen with me, listen with me.
Come along and listen with me
As we hear our next story.
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Movement: “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around”
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn around
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear touch the ground
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear show your shoe
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear that will do
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear go upstairs
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear say your prayers
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear turn out the light
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear say goodnight
Five in the Bed
There were five in the bed and the little one said,
“It’s crowded! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over and one fell out,
There were four in the bed…
Continue counting down until…
There was one in the bed and the little one said,
So they all crawled back in
And went to sleep.
Bounce: Ride a Little Pony* (the children bounced their stuffed animals as if they they were toddlers)
Bounce: Dickery,Dickery Dare*
Tuck Me In! by Dean Hacohen
This book segued perfectly into the take-home craft I handed out, the Tuck-Me-In Teddy:
Then it was time to say goodbye to the stuffed animals, and for our work to begin!
My list of photos to take was really long — next year I have to remember to pare it down a bit!
Here is a sampling of photos to give you an idea of what we did:
After the photos were taken, I went home and worked on prepping the mementos the kids would get the next day. When we did this back in August of 2012, we actually made photo books for each of the participants with the photos of the stuffed animals. We went to a 24-hour pharmacy, printed out about 12 photos for each child (we had 23 participants total), then stuffed dollar photo albums with pictures and other assorted things.
This time around, I decided I wanted to attempt to streamline the process. I would make photo collages using PowerPoint, then print those out on 8 1/2×11 sheets of photo paper. I bought document frames at the dollar store to put the photo collages in to make things a bit more special. Then on the back, I taped an envelope to hold the extra accoutrements (like the questionnaire we had the kids fill out, the snowflake craft the animals made, and the award the animals won). They turned out pretty nicely, but I have to say, I’m not sure that this streamlined things at all!
The next morning, the kids came to pick up their stuffed animals. This is the BEST part of doing a stuffed animal sleepover — seeing the kids reunited with their friends, and the delighted squeals and laughter as they look at what their animals did the night before.
Since I couldn’t fit all the photos in the frame, we also had a slide show of all the photos that were taken.
So fun to hear all the squeals of laughter, and a nice way to have all the participants share in the experience together. We didn’t do this part the last time we did our sleepover, but I think I would include it from now on. Also we added a web address on the children’s frames so they could go online and find the photos from the sleepover on the library site as well. This was especially great for those who couldn’t stay the next day for the slide show.
All in all the sleepover was a great success – fun was had by both humans and stuffed animals alike!
I still would like to find a different way to create a memento for the kids to take home. Something a little less labor intensive.
Have you done a stuffed animal sleepover? How was yours?
Getting ready to do our first stuffed animal sleepover this weekend. You guys did a great job with this one, and I hope you don’t mind me stealing a few of your ideas. I hope ours turns out as well!
Thanks Amy! How did the sleepover go? I’m so glad that you found some resources on here that would help with yours! If you need/want any of the files I created, just comment or send me an email and I’d be happy to give them to you for future events!
We’re a small branch library, so we didn’t have the numbers you did (at least this year), but it was really well-received by those who attended! After doing an exhaustive search of free images online, I decided you’d found the best one for the tuck in craft. I did *try* to be original! I also took the top part of the page that was cut off to form the blanket and cut it into a pillow shape, which I thought made a cute addition. In addition to the craft, we had a popcorn snack and a storytime. Everyone that participated got four photos of their animal on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper, as well as one large group shot. One other thing that we did that was a good group activity (and I hope, a potential learning activity) was create a list of rules for our stuffed animals to follow during their sleepover. One of the animals even broke the rules, which was kind of fun! Attached is my facebook album of the event. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10201201095884867.1073741827.1094828424&type=1&l=a29aecd31e
Oh… and we did an adapted version of your “About My Stuffed Animal” form. We used the answers to the “What My Stuffed Animal Likes to Do” question to help us choose books for them to pose with.
Love your ingenuity!
And thank you for including Tuck Me In! 🙂
Follow us on FB: Tuckmeinbook
and Twitter: @tuckmeinbook
It’s such a wonderful and fun interactive book!
I’m doing a Family Story time next with this theme and would love to use your take home craft for my group. Do you have a template of the teddy bear in pajamas that you would share with me?
I actually just found that coloring page via a Google Images Search!
You can find the same one here:
Hope your storytime goes well!
Just wondering what kind of awards you gave the teddy bears?!
Hi Steph –
Here’s a list of all the different awards we created. Since we knew we would get some animals that weren’t teddy bears we tried to make the list as diverse as possible:
Stuffed Animal Sleepover Awards for 2013
1. Great All-Around
2. Great Personality
3. Big Hearted
4. Most Athletic
5. Great Nose
6. Most Comforting
7. Best Attitude
8. Best Singer
9. Most Adventurous
10. Biggest Imagination
11. Most Talkative
12. Best Listener
13. Most Helpful
14. Most Friendly
15. Great Reader
17. Best Fur
20. Best Ears
21. Most Kind
22. Most Unique
23. Best Smile
24. Best Whiskers
25. Most Quiet
26. Big Giggler
27. Best Hugger
28. Best Jokes
29. Most Brave
30. Most Colorful
31. Most Sleepy
32. Best Dressed
34. Most Fluffy
35. Most Cuddly
36. Most Squishy
We have an Ellison Die Machine so I had a bunch of the die cut award shapes (http://www.ellisoneducation.com/product/12102-LG/ellison-surecut-die-award-1b-large) made by volunteers, and then printed out the awards on a circle label sticker. Just put the sticker in the middle of the award shape and – voila! – quick and easy award.
Hope this helps!
We are preparing to do our first sleepover. Wondering how you made sure the right stuffy made it to the right owner afterwards?
Hi Cindy! Hope I’m not too late in replying to this to be useful. We tagged each stuffed animal with a name tag that had the animal’s name on it, as well as the owner’s name and phone number. That way, if someone forgot to pick up their stuffed animal we could call them if needed. For the photos I posted online of the stuffed animals we just made sure that wasn’t showing, or blurred it out before posting. We also took a photo of each child with their stuffed animal as they arrived, so we had an idea of who went with what. Hope that helps! If you have any other questions, or if you want any of my files or anything, just let me know!
Hi, I love your post! Would you consider sharing any of your files with me? Particularly your cute questionnaire for the stuffed animals to fill out upon arrival. I am planning a similar storytime next month. And thank you for your great ideas.
Pingback: Family Storytime: Stuffed Animals – Reedsburg Storytime