Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Campfire Fun at the Library

As a former camper and camp counselor, one of my favorite things about summer is a campfire. Why, I asked myself last spring as I was planning summer programs, should kids whose summers take place at the library not get the great experience of a campfire the same way that camp kids do? I decided a campfire program was indeed in order, and after making some modifications for library limitations (primarily the flammability of absolutely everything), I offered the following campfire program for school-age kids last week. It was a hit!

Campfire Fun

Craft: Campfire Craft from Wonderopolis
     A real campfire in the library = bad news. Thus I opened this program with a campfire craft, at which we all created individual campfires with the intention of using them to "light" our campfire circle for the rest of the program. I printed out on flame-colored paper the Campfire Craft Kit from Wonderopolis's Camp What-a-Wonder (love those guys!), and I assembled the necessary crafting materials on our work tables. The plan was to color the fires; cut out the pieces; glue necessary pieces together; then assemble the campfires. A good plan! We were momentarily derailed by a kiddo's exclamation that it would be so cool if this could glow in the dark! "Indeed," I thought, "that would be awesome," and then I scampered off to get our glow in the dark paint. A great idea with one problem: glow in the dark paint, like all paint, needs time to dry. Whoops. Our campfires were a bit messier and took a bit longer than I had planned. As everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves, however, I broke out the wet wipes, amended the program plan, and went with it.

Snack: Walking S'mores
     One of the best things about campfires: s'mores! Sticky, sticky s'mores! In an effort to avoid too much mess (see above paint incident for evidence of hilarious failure), I opted to offer walking s'mores to the kiddos when we moved from the craft to our campfire circle. Walking s'mores are a trail mix-like mixture of Teddy Grahams (or other graham cracker cookie bit), chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows. I was anticipating at least a few grumbles about not getting "real" s'mores, but in reality all the kiddos were super excited about this twist on a favorite. It was easy to adapt for a participant who can't have chocolate, too, as I just poured her a cup of Teddy Grahams and marshmallows. Lots of happy munching going on as I moved to the next part of the program...

Campfire Story: "The Chicken in the Library"
     Because this program was advertised for all school-age kids, I decided to avoid any stories that were even remotely scary (save the eerie for the older kids in October!). Instead I chose a great, punny favorite that just happens to involve a librarian. Read it aloud to get the full effect of the joke!

Campfire Songs:
     No campfire is complete, in my mind, without great songs. I mentioned that I was a camp counselor, and as such I have a number of strange and goofy camp songs permanently etched in my brain. The thing about a library campfire is that, for the most part, kids have never heard the songs before--and as a result the song leader should choose simple repeat-after-me, repetitive, or cumulative songs to share with the group so everyone can get involved. I shared, to great enjoyment and loud giggles, the following three before it was time to go:

"Tarzan"
(this is a repeat-after-me song, so kids repeat the words and motions after each line)

Tarzan! (beat chest like Tarzan)
Swinging on a rubber band. (mime swinging on vines)
Tarzan! (beat chest)
Smashed into a frying pan. (clap hands loudly)
Ouch! That hurt! (rub neck)
Now Tarzan's got a tan. (rub arms)
And I hope it don't peel (shake hands for emphasis)
Like (clap hands above head)
A (bring hands down to shoulders)
Banana (shimmy and lower hands, like peeling a banana)

Jane. (twirl hair)
Flying in an airplane. (spread arms like wings)
Jane. (twirl hair)
Smashed into a traffic lane. (clap hands loudly)
Ouch! That hurt! (rub neck)
Now Jane's got a pain. (rub shoulder)
And Tarzan's got a tan. (rub arms)
And I hope it don't peel (shake hands for emphasis)
Like (clap hands above head)
A (bring hands down to shoulders)
Banana (shimmy and lower hands, like peeling a banana)

A cheetah! (mime claws)
A-boppin' to the beat-a. (snap fingers)
A cheetah! (mime claws)
Got eaten by an amoeba. (clap hands loudly)
Ouch! That hurt! (rub neck)
Now Cheetah's dead a-meat-a. (rub stomach)
And Jane's got a pain. (rub shoulder)
And Tarzan's got a tan. (rub arms)
And I hope it don't peel (shake hands for emphasis)
Like (clap hands above head)
A (bring hands down to shoulders)
Banana (shimmy and lower hands, like peeling a banana)

Shamu! (mime a dive)
Swimming in the ocean blue. (make swimming motion)
Shamu! (mime a dive)
Smashed into a red canoe. (clap hands loudly)
Ouch! That hurt! (rub neck)
Now he's black and blue. (rub head)
And Cheetah's dead a-meat-a. (rub stomach)
And Jane's got a pain. (rub shoulder)
And Tarzan's got a tan. (rub arms)
And I hope it don't peel (shake hands for emphasis)
Like (clap hands above head)
A (bring hands down to shoulders)
Banana (shimmy and lower hands, like peeling a banana)





"The Princess Pat"
(another repeat-after-me song)

The Princess Pat (mime walking like an Egyptian)
Lived in a tree (raise arms like branches)
She sailed across (mime wave motion with your arm)
The seven seas. (hold up 7 fingers, then make a C with your hand)
She sailed across (mime wave motion with your arm)
The channel, too (hold up 2 fingers)
And she brought with her (mime throwing a bag over your shoulder)
A rickabamboo. (shimmy)

A rickabamboo (shimmy)
Now what is that? (raise arms in question)
It's something made (hammer fists together)
By the Princess Pat (walk like an Egyptian)
It's red and gold (jazz hands to the right)
And purple, too (jazz hands to the left)
That's what it's called (hands to mouth as if to shout)
A rickabamboo. (shimmy)

Now Captain Jack (make a hook on one hand)
Had a mighty fine crew.
They sailed across (mime wave motion)
The channel, too. (hold up 2 fingers)
But their ship sank (point downwards)
And yours will, too (point at audience)
If you don't bring (mime throwing a bag over your shoulder)
A rickabamboo. (shimmy)

A rickabamboo (shimmy)
Now what is that? (raise arms in question)
It's something made (hammer fists together)
By the Princess Pat (walk like an Egyptian)
It's red and gold (jazz hands to the right)
And purple, too (jazz hands to the left)
That's what it's called (hands to mouth as if to shout)
A rickabamboo. (shimmy)

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