Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pirates Past Noon - Magic Tree House Bookclub

Questions and Activities Packet
I used Rise to Reading for this month's questions. The activities I used was a crossword puzzle and an unscramble both found at

Crafts and games
A coworker of mine had made a Pin the Parrot on the Pirate game that I borrowed.  She had a picture of a pirate that she had blown up and laminated.  One of the crafts I had the kiddos do was to decorate a parrot for this game.  I used the parrot template found at Spoonful.  After they decorated the parrots we played the game.
The other craft we made was a pirate treasure chest found at Magic Tree House Classroom Adventures.

Pirate Booty
Swedish Fish
Apple Slices
Blue Hawaiian Punch

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Mummies in the Morning -Magic Tree House Bookclub

Mummies in the Morning

Questions & Activity Packet
This month's questions came from Rise to Reading and Magic Tree House Classroom Adventures.
The activities this month were found at and and included a crossword puzzle, a word search, and an unscramble the words.

Crafts and Activities
This month we did two crafts instead of a hands-on activity. 
We made mummies with the idea from Kindergarten Rocks.

The other craft we did was to make a picture of pyramids, using Chex Cereal or Shredded Wheat inspired by Busy Bee Kids Crafts.

We had hummus and pita bread, grapes, bananas, and Fig Newtons. 

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Knight at Dawn - Magic Tree House

The Knight at Dawn

Activity Packet and Chapter Questions 
Most of the chapter questions this month came from Rise to Reading.  I also included a word search activity and crossword puzzle both found on the Magic Tree House website.

Hands on Activity and Craft
My goal for each month's book club is to try and have not only a craft but some sort of hands on activity as well.  I have not been super successful with this each month but with The Knight at Dawn I was able to.   While I was searching for activities, I came across the idea for a marshmallow catapult.
 I also had my husband and son build a castle out of Legos for me. The goal for the kiddos was for them to storm the castle with the marshmallow catapult.  Also, I tasked one of the parents to be in charge of this activity so it went much more smoothly!  I had a hard time getting the kids away from it.  There were marshmallows flying everywhere.  It really was so much fun.

The craft was a bit harder to come up with.  I ended up having them decorate their own coat of arms.  I found a website that had shields and different designs that they could use to make their own coat of arms.

I decided I wanted to throw a feast for them, well as much of a feast I could throw for young kids on a $30 budget.
What we had:
Fancy plastic cups for fancy sparkling grape juice
Croissants with honey
Cheese squares on toothpick swords and fruit on toothpick swords
Bowl of grapes

I definitely wish I had taken pictures when we started these programs.  I was many months pregnant when we started, so I blame the lack of picture taking on that. I am trying to be better recently. :)

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Magic Tree House Book Club - Dinosaurs Before Dark

Magic Tree House Bookclub!
Last summer I started an elementary book club for Magic Tree House.  My branch is unique in that we share space with a middle school, so our hours that we are open are after school (during the school year).  I have storytimes on Saturdays but I really lack in programming for elementary aged students which was my main drive in creating this book club.  Since June, we have had a book club every month and let me just say, sometimes it is really hard to find ideas for Magic Tree House.  I decided that I would start sharing what we have done so others who want to start their own will have some ideas as well. :)

Questions & Activity packets
When they arrive, I have an activity packet waiting for them at their seats.  In the packet I like to include a word search or a crossword puzzle and questions about the book.  They can work on all of it or none of it, it is really up to them.

To focus on the book, we work through questions from each chapter.  So far, most of my questions have come from the website Rise to Reading.  You can find the questions specifically for this book here.  I have worked at another branch that had Magic Tree House Parties.  These parties were super over the top and honestly did not focus on the book or the comprehension of the books.  For me, I wanted our main focus to be discussing the book.

Craft & Activites
I try to always have some sort of activity and/or craft.  For this book, we made dinosaur skeletons from pasta which I found from Busy Bee Kids Crafts.

Along with the skeletons, we also had a hands on Dino Dig. I found small plastic dinosaurs and placed them in old plastic Easter eggs I had in the craft closet.  I made cloud dough and hid the eggs in the dough.  My *hope* was that the kiddos would use brushes to gently brush away the "sand" to discover the eggs.  HA!  So, that did not happen in any way.  I had several older boys who were over excited and were basically digging through looking for the eggs before any of the younger kids could participate.  I had no idea how the crowd would behave or how the parents would interact so it was a good learning activity for me.  Next time, I will use a parent volunteer to stand there at the station and help monitor what is going on.

I also found a worksheet from the Magic Tree House website about mystery dinosaurs. I asked the questions to the group for this one instead of printing out individual copies.

My goal with the snacks was to tailor the snacks to the theme if I could.  As I have gone through the series (Afternoon on the Amazon!!), I have learned that this may seem like a great idea in theory but come time to figure out something that is not ridiculously elaborate can be quite challenging.  But again, it was our first month, so I had high hopes.

For this month, I came across an idea for Dinosaur Crumbles Snack.  You crumble graham crackers to make the dirt, add cocoa puffs for rocks and hide gummy dinos inside with the dirt and rocks.  Well, my local grocery store did not have gummy dinos, so they had to settle for worms.

I had a great turnout for our first program. I was super pleased!  8 months later we are still going strong.  I am really proud of the program and what we have continued to build on.

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