Saw It On Pinterest: Ideas that worked

While my library takes a storytime break this month to do school summer reading visits, I thought I’d share a couple of recipes I found on Pinterest that I recently tried. Let me say that I love a messy storytime. I love creating activities where kids can get their hands dirty. I have never shied away from any potentially messy project. Not the cloud dough that ended up crumbled all over the new dark blue carpet in our meeting room. Not the water beads that rolled everywhere and got smushed into said new carpet. Not even the finger painting where I laid butcher paper on the floor and had kids sit on the floor to paint. (Don’t worry; there was a tarp underneath the paper!) I did cringe a little, though, while I watched (we all watched) as if in slow motion a little boy who, after mom cleaned his hands, promptly walked right back over to the butcher paper covered in paint and sat right down in the middle of it. I was sure that mom was never coming back but-whew- she did! Occasionally, parents will look at me like this…….

 tv reactions shocked threes company jaw drop GIF

via Giphy

when I say, “Don’t worry. That’s what vacuums are for!” I ain’t scared of no mess!

Anywho, I needed a new batch of my two favorite sensory concoctions: play dough and slime. We had a dozen canisters of cornstarch and no salt. All I had was rock salt so I used that. I went with my favorite go-to recipe, substituting rock salt for table salt.


The dough looks like it’s full of gemstones when you start mixing it.


As you knead it, the rock salt falls out. Don’t do this on a surface you don’t want scuffed.




It pulls together really well and there still are some rock salt crystals in it which the kids really enjoyed finding.  Next up was this water bead slime recipe.


This is the consistency and stretchiness you want.

Having made dozens of batches of slime, I can tell you that slime made with Borax holds up longer but slime made with liquid starch is faster and easier to make. I went with fast and easy. Make the slime then dump in some water beads.




How cool does that look? Don’t you just want to stick your hands in it? Me too.


The caveat here is that you will want to use this soon after making it. After a week or so it’s done. The extra moisture from the water beads causes the slime to break down and become very, very sticky. Once the water beads are fully plumped they will fall out of the slime and roll everywhere. The shelf life on this is probably a week, unless you go back and add more liquid starch to firm it up.



If you try these, I’d love to hear how it went!

What are your favorite concoctions?





Books and Beans and Slime, Oh My!

Christmas calls for festivity and has me feeling crafty and bake-y. I want to craft all the things! A few crafty things I’ve done lately…….


I wanted to do an Advent calendar this year and decided to do one with books. Really outside the box for a librarian, I know. 😉 I chose and wrapped 25 Christmas picture books that represent a diverse variety of stories. Printed some bright numbers and slapped them on. Done. Each day a new one gets opened and read. Yay Christmas!


I made a new batch of beautiful, taste-safe, gluten-free play dough for the library using this recipe after my normal go-to gluten-free dough stopped working. This recipe calls for rice flour which isn’t cheap but dough lasts for awhile and you’re not going to make it all the time. No photo can accurately show what soft, pliable, white dough this turned out to be. Note: the recipe says to ‘cook’ it but I didn’t. Pouring hot water in the mix worked just fine. 

bean bin

I love a sensory bin. Like, LOVE them. I’m a tactile person so that’s probably why I enjoy sensory bins almost as much as the kids do. This bin is sensory awesomeness in a box. I knew I wanted to create a festive red and green bin. TA DA! Here’s how I did it.  I bought six bags of white navy beans. I left one of the bags white to break up the color just a little bit. Then I separated the rest of the beans into several gallon sized Ziploc bags. I used two little bottles of food coloring for the green beans. The beans took the green coloring really well. Making white beans red took a bit more work. Actually, it took two and a half  1oz. bottles of red food coloring for the beans to look red instead of pink. Let the beans sit in the bags for an hour (red beans sat for much longer) then dump the the bags on paper towels, cookie sheets or some such surface and spread them out to dry. Dump them in a bin. I added a pack of medium-sized jingle bells bought at the craft store. The red and the green and the little jingles, what kid wouldn’t want to dive right in?

holiday slime

This, friends, is Holiday Slime! I’ve made so many batches of slime for the library but this might be my favorite batch of all. If you’ve never made slime, do it! Do it now! It’s simple: 1 part Elmer’s glue to one part water. Mix. If you’re going to color it (food coloring works best but you can also use liquid watercolors) add color while stirring until you get the shade what you want. Then in a separate container mix a teaspoon of borax with 1/4-1/2 cup of warm water. Stir until the borax is dissolved. Next, while stirring slowly pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture. It shouldn’t take long before you’ve a got a ball of slime in your bowl. Give a little kneading to help it come together and make it smooth. I added silver glitter to mine. If you want yours sparkly, it’s easiest to add the glitter to the colored glue mixture before you add the borax mixture. Otherwise, hand your kids some glitter and let them mix it in as they play. Beautiful, bright, sparkly slime never gets old.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got snowflakes to cut. Happy Friday!

Lessons learned in storytime

Mondays are storytime days at my library and there are always take aways for me.

  1. If one of the activities involves slime, plan to use twice the number of tables and chairs than you think because, inevitably, most of the storytimers will play at that station the entire time. Note to self: Who needs all those other activities? We’ll all play with slime together! You get slime! She gets slime! Baby gets slime! Slime for everyone!

best. slime. ever. EVER!

2.  If one of your three-year-old storytimers thinks she’s your bff just go with it.

3.  At storytime a kid said to me, “Miss Charity, that little girl is not playing this game right!” Ha! I think storytime reveals a child’s true personality. At storytime you’ll see introverts, extroverts, rebels, leaders, followers, the messies, the OCDers, type As and Bs. Not sure what your child is? Take them to storytime then sit back and watch what happens.

4. Often the book(s) I’m not crazy about reading will be the crowd favorite and vice versa. Cases in point…..

I read this book to all kinds of groups when it came out in the hopes that they would like it and without fail


….they did not.

Monday’s favorite?


Meh. But hey, what do preschoolers know? They can’t even read. 😉

What are your favorites or least favorites for read alouds? Drop it in the comments!