One of my friend’s children participated in a great program at the Madeline Olewine Memorial Library in Harrisburg (part of the Dauphin County Library System) and I couldn’t help but think how well it could work at museums too!
The program was a “Stuffed Animal Sleepover.” The kids who signed up dropped off their favorite stuffed animal at the library the day of the sleepover, at which time they made their animal a library card. Then the children left, and the animals “slept over” at the library. The next day, the children and parents returned to pick up their animal friends and see what happened during the sleepover.
Here are some shots from the powerpoint presentation the library staff put together for the children:
Here the stuffed animals check the computer to find books. My friend said this photo prompted a 10-minute conversation on the way home with her 4-year-old brainstorming what the animals might have looked up.
Here the animals watched a film.
And now the animals go to sleep!
What a cute idea, and an easy one for museums to implement. The bonus of this idea is you get to interact with the children and parents in the program on two consecutive days, and on the second day, the children will likely want to do what their animal friends did – museum activities, movies, etc.
I hope this program idea inspires you to connect with your youngest audiences in a way they can relate to and understand! I wish you many happy stuffed animal sleepovers – much easier than children sleepovers, for sure!