Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mother's Day Bouquets

You've already seen the Mother's Day craft we did with the story time babies, now take a look at the drop-in Mother's Day program for the elementary school kids.

I taught seven kids and two volunteers, including one special needs child and one physically handicapped volunteer, how to fold origami flowers. We folded two flowers, a simple tulip and a much more complicated lily. The tulip and simple stem instructions are here and I learned how to do the lily from this youtube video

Alex added a paper vase
to showcase his bouquet
Asia decided a baby blue
stem would go well with
her pink flower
My teaching technique differed with almost every child. I'd shown one volunteer how to fold the tulip before anyone else showed up and he was able to float around, correcting little things here and there. The youngest one there was maybe 4, she'd come with her older sister and cousin. With her, I sat next to her and essentially folded the flower, slowly showing her every step I was taking and asking her to press down and crease the folds. The oldest were two girls in middle school who caught on pretty quickly and were able to help the smaller kids. 

I ended up making a lot of extra flowers myself as I folded a sample one every time a new kid showed and wanted to learn and so the kids used those to supplement their bouquets and ended up with a lot of healthy and colorful blossoms to give their moms, aunts and grandmas on Sunday.

When the little kids had finished their tulips, lost interest and wandered over to the computers, the older kids and I got down to business with the lilys. We ended up working on them right up until closing. I was actually kicking them out as they were still rolling down the petals. For a room that's essentially dead in the last 15 minutes of the day after the computers have turned off, this was a great problem to have.

At least one girl showed a real aptitude and interest in origami; I told her, and everyone else who would listen, to come back and we'd go through some of our great origami books together and look for more projects that they might be into.

Our volunteer, a 21 year old trying to get enough service hours to graduate from an alternative high school program, also took to the folding. He made a huge bouquet for his mom and got overly excited when he found black origami paper and was able to make a black lily. It was pretty metal. And when a much younger boy made fun of him for making flowers, he just shrugged it off and showed the little boy how to make his own.

This was by far the most successful elementary age program I've run since starting at this branch, and I didn't even have to give the kids sugar to get them to participate. Looks like New Year's Resolution #2 is off to a good start!

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