DO IT YOURSELF PROGRAMMING
Dragons can be a great programming theme for any time of year, and there are many dragon-themed books that can be displayed during a Dragon celebration. Whether it is a dragon video-gaming event, a book discussion of Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon, a showing of the “How to Train Your Dragon” films, or a multicultural celebration of dragons around the world, enliven the program with crafts and games.
Check out Dr. Ernest Drake’s Dragonology book, published by Candlewick in 2003, for inspiration for decorations and dragon folklore. Feature Chinese dragons as well as dragons from European medieval folklore.
Have teen volunteers assist at each game and craft station to help the younger children, clean up, restock craft supplies, and ensure everyone takes their turn and plays safe. You could also offer the craft projects for passive programming.
Kick off the celebration with Dragon and Lion Dancers, often found at local martial arts associations. One of the best is White Crane in Oakland, CA: www.sfwhitecrane.com/v3/ .
Paper Cup Dragons: These easy to make dragons use paper cups and streamers: www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/fantasy/dragon-cup-craft.asp .
Box Dragon: Make these dramatic dragons out of boxes, duct tape, and leftover wrapping paper: https://popgoesthepage.princeton.edu/dragons-the-ultimate-global-unifier/ .
Dragon Sock Puppets: Younger children may need help cutting out the felt pieces but they will love playing with these puppets: www.activityvillage.co.uk/sock-puppet-dragon-craft .
Dragon Marionettes: These paper dragons will need some parent assistance but are really amazing (see photo above): https://popgoesthepage.princeton.edu/flight-of-the-dragon/ .
Dragon Bookmarks: Make these simple Dragon bookmarks out of felt and leftover ribbon and zigzag trim: www.activityvillage.co.uk/dragon-bookmark-craft .
Dragon Egg Hunt: Hide plastic eggs (like those used at Easter) around the outdoor area of the library. Tell participants they can find up to three eggs; then, they should bring them to the Children’s Desk. At the desk, have participant open each egg which will contain a piece of paper with a number from one to ten. Award them a prize that corresponds to that number. This is an easy way to get rid of a variety of small leftover prizes.
Dragon Piñata: Purchase a Dragon Piñata and fill with candy, small erasers, and small plastic toys. Let kids break the piñata and go for the prizes. Limit this to a specific age group, such as six to eight year olds, so no one gets hurt.
Thor’s Hammer Toss: Purchase some toy versions of Thor’s Battlehammer (based on the Marvel comics film, available on Amazon or at Halloween party supply stories). Set up some empty plastic soda bottles decorated as dragons. Have each player toss three of Thor’s hammers at the soda bottles and receive a prize of one gets knocked over.
Dragon Videogames: Reserve some library computers for a Dragon-themed videogame arcade, featuring these “How to Train Your Dragon” games: www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/play/online-games/school-of-dragons .
Have refreshments at your event, even if it is just bottled water and Chinese almond cookies. Special thanks to Vanessa Centeno for several of these ideas.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool