In honor of Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday this month, we decided to throw a party in his honor!
I played the soundtrack from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on my phone for some background music when people were arriving and getting settled so it wasn’t completely silent. I think silence kills a festive mood!
The first thing the kids did was sign the “Wonka” contract on the door:
Then they got to figure out their Roald Dahl Name thanks to a worksheet I got in a party pack from roaldahl.com. I should have brought in some name tags so we could stick our Roald Dahl names on our shirts but oh well. Live and learn!
The kids really liked doing this. Even more than I thought they would! For the record, my name was The Wondercrump Hornswaggler.
I decorated the room with Roald Dahl quotes and set out books on the windowsills that the kids could borrow.
To get things started I read the first chapter of Matilda. Sounds like a great idea, right? It’s all about books, a love of reading, and libraries. It probably would have been great on a weekend but after sitting in school all day, the kids were a little worn out and tired. There were a lot of heads on desks. I read it but skipped a few paragraphs here or there to hurry it along. The next activity went over better.
We conducted a candy experiment to determine whether each piece was going to sink or float. I handed out sheets so kids could write down their predictions and then record their actual findings.
I based my document on the one posted on this website. I didn’t download the document, I just recreated it in Word. After predictions were made I handed out little cups of water and individual bags of candy.
The kids were very excited to find out they could eat the candy when they were done (if they had the approval of their caregiver!). No one knew what a Whopper was so I bit into one before they made their predictions and brought it around to show them. The I told them to take it out of their bags and see how it felt to determine their sink/float prediction.
We really liked this! I’ve held one other STEM program (I’ll post what we did here eventually!) about ice and polar bears and I the library should hold more! I got asked if there were any more experiments after we were done and got some disappointed looks when I said that was all for today.
After candy experimentation we played a True/False game. I read out fifteen trivia questions and the kids would run back and forth between the true and false signs posted. I used a red marker for false and a green marker for true so even if kids couldn’t read they could still participate.
Some examples of questions I asked:
- Grandpa Joe owns the chocolate factory in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (False — it’s Willy Wonka)
- Andrew rides a giant peach. (False — it’s James)
- Matilda’s headmistress is Miss Trunchbull. (True)
Next we made origami foxes. I used this template. Super easy and fun. There were a lot of excited gasps when I told them the itinerary at the beginning of the party and they heard we were doing an origami project. Who knew? I put out some markers to let the kids add eyes and noses. Some got really creative and added earrings and eyelashes and such.
After origami the kids lined up to play Charlie Bucket’s Ball Toss:
Another librarian made this for our summer reading wrap up party so I lucked out and didn’t have to invent/create anything! The kids were handed four balls to roll and then their turn was over. They were allowed to line up again if they wanted.
Then I handed out James and the Giant Peach Ring cupcakes:
Yellow cake with dyed vanilla icing to look like the colors of a peach. The icing came out a little too pink but they tasted delicious. Some of the kids took them home for an after dinner treat (since there was already a lot of candy consumption) but a few dug in right there. (Mostly the ones whose parents weren’t present in the room!)
I also printed out Matilda word finds for everyone to take home. Unfortunately in the chaos of cupcakes and ball tosses, I forgot to hand them out!
In hindsight I would have mixed up the true false questions a little more so there was more running back and forth. For some reason it felt like all the trues and falses were together so they didn’t have to move too much. I would also skip the reading since the program was after a long school day. If the event was on a weekend or in the summer I think I could have gotten away with it. Maybe I could have played the audio book in the background just for some white noise? I’ll try that with the next author or character party we have. However, I had about 20 people in attendance and we had a great time!