But I like to document what I've done, and since I don't believe in reinventing the wheel I think it's important that I contribute to the conversation in case someone else out there might be able to benefit from my experience. So I'm going to try and start this up again. Bear with me as I try to get back in the swing of things.
To kick things off, I want to talk a bit about Star Wars Reads Day. We participated in this awesome national event for the third year in a row, and this was by far our best year yet. We had huge attendance, which was a bit surprising because the weather was so beautiful and I know we actually lost several families to the pumpkin farm as a result. Many of the activities were the same ones I had used in years past (balloon lightsabers, fortune Wookies, stick puppets, word search, trivia, memory, and a checklist to keep it all straight), which made planning super easy. I did revamp an old favorite activity and added two new ones to keep things interesting:
Yoda Ears and Princess Leia Buns
I borrowed this idea from Amy at Catch the Possibilities. I made my own templates because I wanted to tweak Amy's design and printed the ears and buns off on construction paper. I also cut two-inch strips of paper that could be fashioned into headbands. The kids could cut out the ears/buns themselves, and then make headbands. The Yoda ears were the most popular of the two options, but I was glad to have two different choices for this activity.
The scavenger hunt has been an old standby for the past few years, and while the kids love it and I love how it gets them to visit all areas of the library, I wanted to change things up a bit. I borrowed the new format for the hunt from that same blog post that I linked to above and tweaked it just a bit. I found pictures of eleven different characters and used Publisher to put a letter of the alphabet with each one. These were cut out, laminated, and hung around the library. Each kid got a worksheet that listed all of the places where they needed to look to find characters. When they found the character, they needed to write down the corresponding letter of the alphabet in the appropriate box. When all were found, they had a message from Master Yoda. The kids could turn in their completed worksheets and get a bookmark as a prize.
This year, thanks to one of our awesome library regulars, we finally were able to get a few awesome members of the local 501st and Rebel Legion to join us for our celebration. These guys were a big hit! They spent two full hours in costume hanging out with the kids, taking pictures, watching the kids put on shows with their puppets, and generally just being awesome. As a bonus, these organizations always advertise through their own outlets where they will be making appearances, so we got a little extra advertising for our event by working with them. I know of at least two families who came to the library that day specifically because they had seen that the 501st would be there through their Facebook page.
Notes about costuming:
Yes, that's me in the Princess Leia costume. I like to let my geek flag fly a bit at events like this. :)
The clone trooper and Sabine (the two characters on the right in the above picture) were my contacts with the 501st and Rebel Legion. They are parents to one of our long-time library regulars, and dad (the clone trooper) joined up with both organizations last year. Mom, who is the parent we usually see, just completed her costume and I think might be joining the Rebel Legion in an official capacity soon. Having people that we know who were already invested in the library as a contact was a huge help! I was able to talk with our trooper friend before I submitted my request for characters to appear at the library to find out what times work best for people and when other groups were having their events that day to maximize the likelihood that we'd get a good response. You certainly don't need to have a personal contact like this if you want to try to get the 501st and/or Rebel Legion to make an appearance at your event, but having this personal contact had some nice perks, especially since there are so many local events on Star Wars Reads Day.