Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Teddy Bear Sleepover

We hosted our first ever stuffed animal sleepover last Wednesday night. I wrote up a fun post for our library's homepage, but here are some of the nitty gritty details that we used to make it run smoothly.

Children were welcome to bring in stuffed animals all day on Wednesday. When they came in to give me the animal, they also decorated a name tag, like the ones seen above so that we could identify each animal and make sure it got back to the correct owner the next day.

After pajama story time, I enlisted those kids to help me decorate a blanket for all the animals to sleep under. I used a large piece of felt and gave the kids stickers, so that I can remove them later and reuse the felt if need be. After the blanket was decorated, we covered the animals up in a back room, sang them a song and quietly tiptoed out. Using a back room and completely covering the animals helped reduce the number of kids who freaked out over going home without their stuffed animal. Out of sight, out of mind. Kind of. We ended up having to give one cute little dog named Bingo back, after his person suffered a brief melt down, but other than that we were good to go.

Three stuffed animals ended up spending the night with us, I added a few from the library's collection to make the numbers look more robust and I'm sure that if we do it again, we'll get a lot more families to participate.

When the computers shut off and the children's room cleared out, I grabbed our furry friends and took pictures of them in different poses all over the second floor.

They read a picture book together

And played flannel board games

There was a rousing game of hide and go seek

Plus some fun computer games
(Emily the Elephant found a friend on the computer screen!)

And they all drew the exact same monkey (go figure)

The next morning I came in a little bit early to make picture books for each stuffed animal/child pair.
The books were full of pictures and captions describing the animals' fun filled night in the library.

And they each ended with this statement:

I gave each child back their stuffed animal and their very own photo album the next morning after story time. Since we only had 3 stuffed animals spend the night, making the individual photo albums was pretty easy. I think if the number went to 10 or above, we'd have to reevaluate the staff time needed to make the albums.

Having the kids make individual blankets that they could then take home as the physical memento of the sleepover in conjunction with a slide show would work, as would recruiting volunteers to make the albums before the kids picked up their animals.

All in all I was very pleased with this program. The cuteness level was off the charts and some of the parents at story time the next day told me that they were jealous of the photo albums. We'll definitely be having a teddy bear sleepover again at the library.


  1. Unbelievable! Pretty soon the kids will want to sleep over at the library! This is fabulous!

  2. Everything about this is adorable! I didn't schedule a Teddy Bear sleepover here this summer, but if I manage to slip one in, I might borrow some of your ideas. (Though probably not the photo album with the crazy numbers we sometimes have!) Awesome job. :-)

  3. Lucy, you are amazing with your creativity! How lucky for this library to have such a talented children's librarian. Precious idea. Watch for next sleepover, you just might have more than you bargained for :)

  4. I love your blog! Thanks for posting the pictures, too. Did you make your photo albums or buy them? How many pictures did you include for the album?

    1. Thanks! I love that you love my blog! The photo albums are just half pieces of construction paper stapled together to form a booklet, and there are (I think) 8 pictures in each. If you have a large turnout having kids make or decorate something that can be used as a picture frame and then taking one large group picture of all the animals together would also be really cute. Hope this helps!

  5. We just did our first stuffed animal sleepover. Our adult svs librarian was helping me and we were all psyched to do cute stuff we'd seen on the internet...until the time arrived and we realized we had over 50 animals and we hadn't said anything about size, so we had a lot of very large teddy bears, two sizable Tiggers, and a giant (3 ft. long not counting tail) tiger. We ended up dividing the animals into groups of 5 for photos, but we didn't get done until about 2 hours after closing time. It was great publicity for the library though and our patrons are still talking about it!

    1. Wow! I can't imagine having that many kids (or animals), what an embarrassment of riches! It sounds like you did a great job though, if you do a blog post (for your blog or for your library's website) I'd love to see pictures. Congrats on all your hard work, I'm sure it paid off big time.

  6. Wow! This is great! I look forward to doing mine in September!

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