Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chocolate Handprint Reindeer

One of our biggest activities of the year is making chocolate handprint reindeer ornaments in December. 

Supplies Needed:
  • White cardstock circles for handprints.  We have a circle cutter that makes 6 inch circles that works great.
  • With a group this size, we use 3 large boxes of chocate pudding.  Make it according to the directions on the box (so you will need a gallon of milk too).
  • Disposable foil trays to hold the chocolate pudding
  • 3 rolls of ribbon for hanging
  • Sticker eyes
  • Red circle stickers (We use Avery #5466)
  • 2 rolls of paper towels
  • 1 package of baby wipes
  • A couple of brown crayons
  • Access to a laminator
With 2 librarians, we run through 80-90 kids comfortably in three hours. I would encourage registration. We stagger the registration times by age every thirty minutes. For example, 9 & 9:30 are 0-24 months, 10 & 10:30 are 2-3 year olds, and 11 & 11:30 are 3-6 year olds. By doing it this way, you can keep the group smaller with the babies, who will need more help (we run 10 in a time slot) and increase the attendance for the older kids (15 3 year olds). Since we do registration, we have an Avery address label already printed up with each child's name and the date that we put on the back of each circle.

Also, if you advertise the program, make sure you use "chocolate pudding" in the program description.  Some children with food allergies will not be able to do the project (or you can pull out brown crayons for them to make their "hand").

How the Program Works:
The kids come in and make their handprints using chocolate pudding.  We let each child make 1 print.  (Some of the moms will ask to redo them because they don't always look like hands, but once you add eyes and a nose, it will look great.)  We lay all of the circles out to dry.  Some will be done in an hour, but many will take 12-24 hours.

On the staff side, we add sticker eyes and a nose when the pudding is dry.  The circles are run through laminator, a hole is punched in the top, and a ribbon is strung through to create an ornament.  When we advertise the event, we also advertise a pick-up day that is 4 days later so we can get our part done.

Why we do this:
First, this is a lot of fun.  As kids make their handprints, you can also suggest to parents that chocolate pudding is a great way to fingerpaint at home (trust me, they love new ideas).  Secondly, as kids pull out their ornament year after year, they will remember that they made it at the library.  It is a great plug for us!

Miscellaneous Stuff:
  • You will want a couple of brown crayons for kids with food allergies or those who don't want to get dirty.  We were really surprised last year when kids did not want to put their hands in chocolate pudding (about 1/10 of the kids).
  • When trying to get the kids to put their hand in chocolate pudding, we told them to make a "high-five" in the pudding and then on the circle.  They understood this much better than their mom telling them to spread out their fingers.
  • The gloppier the chocolate pudding on the handprint, the longer it will take to dry.  If you are in a hurry, you can either blot the glops with paper towel or use a plastic spoon to scrape some off before it starts to dry.
  • If you use a hot laminator and there are glops, the pudding can melt and spread.

For some additional fun, here are some of the handprints that my nieces have made over the years!  After awhile, you do run out of room on your Christmas tree.

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