Summer is already in swing at my library. We are having great return numbers on our reading logs, we had a HUGE crowd for our kick-off show (easily over 300 people), and even our regular programs have had an attendance surge. We launched our Lego Club to FANTASTIC numbers of almost all boys aged 7-14 every week and our early literacy storytime (ages 4-7) is BOOMING. (more about that soon) But summer didn’t REALLY feel like it had started until we had our first massive single day stand-alone program. You can read my post from last summer about why we have these programs and what they mean as part of our summer programming. Linked in that post are all the other posts I’ve written about these events.
This year’s kick-off was My Little Pony and it was a raging success! We had about 55 kids of both genders, ages 3-12, and around 40 adults – so it was a HUGE event. Everyone had a great time and here’s how it went.
15 Minutes of Intro & Story
We read Meet the Ponys of Ponyville, a My Little Pony reader. This was a great choice. As in many cases with these events, reading this wasn’t about the excellence of the story, it was about the characters and letting patrons know, yes, we have material for you to check out about this stuff. This one was great, though. It gave an intro to each character with a few facts about each pony and lead easily from one character to another with enough info/peaks to have the kids guess who’d be revealed next. They looooved shouting out who each of the ponies was. When we were done reading, I had them clap for who their favorite pony was. Surprise: they voted for them all.
30 Minutes of Activity
In a canny PR move, I invited our local newsource to the event to take pictures. They loved it and got some really great pics of our activities, which illustrates lots of these stations in action quite well. Check them out here.
As per usual, we set up a variety of stations so that kids can rotate through everything and there’s an activity for every kind of personality. We also named them after special Ponies!
Applejack’s Harvest Toss
Applejack is the pony with an apple farm. Naturally. So, as the name implies this was our bean bag toss station. We’ve found it’s always important to have a bean bag toss/knock-down station of some kind for our more active kids and it helps with fine motor skills and burning off energy and all that. And hey, it’s fun. So, we set up baskets and let ’em toss! (older kids are encouraged to aim for the baskets, younger kids to aim for the hula hoops around the baskets.)
Rainbow Dash’s Hoof Decorating and Cutie Marks
Fan favorite pony Rainbow Dash is brightly colored, so this station was all about colors. I bought a bunch of cheap child-safe-scented nail polish at Ross (total cost $4) and everyone was invited to get their “hooves” decorated. BIG, BIG hit for a little investment. Many said this was their favorite part. And, yes, some boys came over and got their nails painted too. We also had a bunch of My Little Pony temporary tattoos I purchased at Party City (total cost $5) and each person was assigned one randomly and a mom volunteer then applied it to cheeks or hands to be their “Cutie Marks” (yes, their little butt symbols now have a name.) We made sure to tell them to do this station when they were willing to sit for a bit to have their nails dry. Low cost, big love.
Rarity’s Necklace & Bracelet Creation Station
Rarity is the fancy pony who loves fashion. (She has curly hair and long eyelashes.) So, her station was the bracelet and necklace creation station. For this, we used one of our classics: the bottlecap necklace. We bulk purchased bottlecaps from Etsy years ago and are still working through them. We purchased some reproducible My Little Pony art from Etsy in bottlecap size, cut them out, pre-glued bails to the back of the bottlecaps, and then let the kids choose a pony and some beads. We used glue dots to get the art inside the bottlecaps and then topped them off with Epoxy dome stickers. THAT assembly part was relatively quick (once they settled on a pony) no glue involved and let the kids concentrate on their beading, which they loved. Lots of necklaces and bracelets came out of this and I’ve already seen kids wearing them outside the program, which is always good word of mouth for programs.
Fluttershy’s Design Your Own Pony
The shy and kind pony, Fluttershy, loves animals. I decided that meant her station would be creating their own ponies. While I had some coloring pages with the ponies already on them, I also found some blank bases on DeviantArt. This was easy enough, since designing your own digital ponies is a thing. I simply printed out the blank ponies (there were some without eyes, SHUDDER, but I thought that was a little too advanced for the kids) and let the kids go to town with markers, stickers, and sequins. ALL ages loved this and we heard the MOST elaborate stories about the ponies they had created. They really settled in and concentrated on this station.
15 Minutes of Snacks & Wrap-Up
We wrapped up with cookies and lemonade, as always, and we handed out their take-homes here. I had swooped up a ton of pencils and stickers from Michael’s Dollar Spot (a great place to keep an eye on for pop culture products, I also loaded up on Star Wars and superhero stuff.) and they each got a pencil and three stickers. We did have to individually bag these up, which I wasn’t crazy about the waste but it did make it easy to ensure we had enough (just barely and just because some brothers passed) and no one fought over anything. We talked about everything we did and showed off what we’d made, always fun.
A Few Notes About My Costume
As you might know if you know anything about me … well, I love dressing up. So for this event … well. I had to be a pony. I wore gobs of pink lip gloss, a rainbow sherbert crown (for I am always the Queen, you see) and some of my brightest and flippiest clothes but I needed a tail. Soooo… I started with some of the cheap “hair extension crowns” for children from the Dollar Tree. I could have even used more and if I were going to make another one, I probably would, just to make it even fuller and more colorful. I layered them on top of each other and then wrapped a ponytail holder around all the hair. I scootched it down a little and then cut right above the holder, creating in single swoop a single ponytail with all the strands together.
Once I had that tail, I used one of my cheap belts and with book tape and a safety pin, by costumer (er, co-worker!) Melissa managed to get it attached to the inside of the belt and fall the right way. It didn’t even ruin the belt forever (but use a cheap belt if you’re scared – the pin does need to go through.)
From there? Oh, it was magical!
In all, it was a great event. Thanks to all the lessons learned from our previous events, this one went pretty smoothly. We had lots of staff and volunteers on hand, we did a lot of prep work for the crafts ahead of time, and we kept it simple. If anything, we can look at making these events 10-15 minutes longer … but then you start spiraling into TOO LONG (what happened the summer we started having them … but maybe now we’re ready to try that now that we’re more organized).
And, as always, it’s fun to be doing something that’s very popular and the exact right time. This was a great launch of our BIG summer programming blitz and got us in the right mood for everything we have next!
Have you hosted a My Little Pony event at your library? I was inspired to do this, in part, by the teen event Renata had for her teens. But we chose to gear ours to a younger group, which changed everything but still pulled in the zeitgeist of the moment. HOWEVER it also means this is a program with HUGE age range appeal – if you had a crowd that was into this fandom you could easily do it at your library for teens. Gotta love a program with this wide appeal across age and gender!
Are there any questions or details about the My Little Pony event I didn’t answer or that you want more info about? Let’s talk about it all! (Comment here or talk with me on Twitter)