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.
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.
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
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*
Then it was time to say goodbye to the stuffed animals, and for our work to begin!
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?