It’s too late to copy our Valentine’s Day Dance, but take a look anyway. There’s always next year.

Ages ago, my coworker Leigh and I came up with an idea to have a Toddler Prom: dancing, paper corsage crafts, and a photo booth. We decided to do kind of a test run of this idea for Valentine’s Day. A couple of things were bugging me: I felt like we had to keep “canning” ideas: We just don’t have enough staff to pull off a lot of ideas. Also, due to the awful weather in NYC (THUNDERICESTORMAGGEDON!), so many events have been getting canceled or postponed. It did snow the day of the Toddler Valentine’s Day Dance/Formal. The commute was crap and we were afraid no one would show up, but they did. A lot of them. And we got down. It was pretty fun.

I even got all dressed up in hearts! I look miserable because of the non-stop snow and ice of the morning:

Don't worry. I start smiling later.
Don’t worry. I start smiling later.

My original plan included a craft where the kids decorated their own paper corsages, but we had to table that idea. Not enough time or staff to pull that one off this time. After this event was said and done, I realized the craft may have been just too much stuff for what was, at heart, a simple little program. This dance had three components: a dance floor with music that the grown-ups and kids would enjoy (lots of Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder and the Village People, but also stuff like the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance), a photobooth (created and executed by Leigh), and a bean bag toss where the kids won a prize just for trying. The main event, though, was the dancing. This was a dance party.

Caregivers were encouraged to hop into the photos with the kids, and you can see some of the photos here (the parents signed a release to get the photos up on the Facebook page. I don’t feel comfortable sharing them on my blog). I like that the kids showed up in everything from fancy little dresses and bowties to their jimmy-jams. Here’s Leigh and I in our Sunday best in front of the photo booth:

Isn't Leigh looking marvelously Annie Hall-esque?
Isn’t Leigh looking marvelously Annie Hall-esque?

I stole the idea for our pipe cleaner tiaras from here. I didn’t let the kids have them because I was afraid they’d poke themselves with the pointy ends.

Other than creating the extra-fancy tiaras, this was an event that took a lot of preparation work. I had to make the mixed CD (I’d use something like Spotify, but WiFi can be spotty in some areas of the library), the decorations, the tickets, and the bean bag toss. Leigh made the really nice photobooth area.

Leigh found some vintage Valentine’s Day cards in her apartment (I feel like this is the sort of thing a librarian would be hoarding, and I mean that with the utmost respect). We used them as our tickets for the event:

Here’s our giant heart-shaped bean bag toss:

I made it by stapling two pieces of foam core together, painting it red, and gluing it with every pink, red, white, and purple thingy we had in the craft closet. Oh,  also lots of googly eyes, too, because I think googly eyes are great and necessary. Two extra pieces of foam core hold up the heart. It took FOREVER to make this thing, so after the dance was over, my boss re-appropriated it for a book display:

Cute, no?
Cute, no?

I saw a tutorial on Rookie Mag for these super-cute tissue paper garlands. Great, I thought, I’ve got tissue paper AND twine! This will be EASY!

Nevermind! These tassels took up my whole freaking life. Endless twisting and gluing and cutting. Oy with the cutting already. Someone pointed out to me that someone sells garlands like these for $130 bucks (granted, these look a mess classier than mine). I don’t blame them. They’re a ton of work if you want to make a bunch.

These took over my whole life.
These took over my whole life.
I hope the toddlers appreciated these.

They also make a really nice hat.

What, this old thing?
What, this old thing?

Despite the absolutely awful weather, which I was sure was going to close the library for the day, we had a full house of happy moms, dads, nannies, and tiny little kiddos. Even though this program required a mess of prep work, the activities themselves were pretty simple. You don’t need to go overboard like I did. Just turn on some up-tempo disco or Motown and shake it with your library kids.

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid

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3 thoughts on “It’s too late to copy our Valentine’s Day Dance, but take a look anyway. There’s always next year.

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