If you are looking for a Fall/Autumn program that is not holiday related, try a Popcorn program. Vartouhi Anderson from the Oakland Public Library always has a large storytime crowd, which she partly attributes to her popular popcorn-making activity. A popcorn program can include a variety of activities, including books (of course!), artwork, games, and songs.
Artwork For art, try making popcorn pictures, by gluing popped popcorn to paper in the shape of clouds or flowers. Unpopped corn can be glued, along with other seeds, to make an autumn collage picture. I have made monster hands, which are clear plastic gloves, with candy corn fingernails, then filled with popped popcorn and tied at the wrist. Add a plastic spider ring for a finishing touch! An easy wreath could be made from a paper plate with the middle cut out, and popcorn, small pinecones, and other thing from nature can be glued on the paper plate ring.
Games A very easy activity is having the kids lay down on bubble wrap, then act like a popcorn kernal and pop the bubble wrap to make popping sounds. This can be done to the song “The Popcorn Pop” by Gary Rosen from the “Tot Rock” album. Another fun activity is having kids wear a blindfold, and do a blind taste test of different flavors of popcorn – cheese flavor, pink popcorn, caramel, Hawaiian (this can be purchased in the potato chip section of the grocery store), and other flavors if available. A relay race can involve teams, who have to move popped corn, one piece at a time, using a spoon and walking across the room without the popcorn falling off. This is more difficult than it sounds! Or have the kids all hold onto a sheet, and toss popcorn on the sheet. The kids all toss the popcorn up in the air by moving the sheet.
Ideas For more ideas, check out the following sources: The website popcorn.org has lots of ideas, including recipes, crafts, coloring pages, trivia, and popcorn lore. Also, check out two books by Carolyn Feller Bauer: Read For the Fun of It, which has a popcorn magic trick on page 309, and This Way To Books, which describes Popcorn Day on page 95. Another helpful book is Science Fun With Peanuts and Popcorn by Rose Wyler, which has lots of ideas and activities, including riddles and tongue-twisters. Also look at Tomie DePaola’s The Popcorn Book for a brief, clear explanation of why popcorn pops.
The following picture books will be a great bridge between activities, and as a finale to the program.
Asch, Frank. POPCORN
Demarest, Chris. NOT NOW, SAID THE COW.
McCully, Emily. POPCORN AT THE PALACE.
Preston, Edna Mitchell. POPCORN and MA GOODNESS.
Sandburg, Carl. THE HUCKABUCK FAMILY.
Thayer, Jane. THE POPCORN DRAGON.
Wolff, Ashley. STELLA AND ROY.