Park City Library encourages kids to get creative during Crafternoons
There are many things that can help school-aged children think outside the box, and while books are a huge resource, so are arts and crafts.
With that in mind, and in addition to its hundreds of children’s books, the Park City Library also offers a weekly session called Crafternoons that gives kids a hands-on hour of creativity, said. Youth Services Librarian Katrina Kmak.
"We provide all the materials and we work with them to make all kinds of things," Kmak said during an interview with The Park Record. "We have a great space where we can get creative."
The crafts change from week to week.
"We’ve done puppets and we’ve taken butcher paper and drawn outlines of the kids and had them decorate the drawings with feathers and things like that," Kmak said. "We’ve painted snow outside, [and have] made paper snowflakes and made paper plate crafts."
In November, the children made Thanksgiving placemats that were laminated by Kmak for keepsakes.
"Last week we did pictures of Abraham Lincoln with painted handprints for President’s Day," she said. "The fingers were the beard and the palm of the hands was the face."
This week the school-aged kids did sand art.
"I purchased little containers and we have a bunch of colored sand that we’ll pour into those containers," Kmak said.
All the leftover sand was also put to use.
"We took some black paper and drew pictures with Elmer’s Glue and sprinkle sand on top," she said.
Kmak is in charge of coming up with the crafts.
"I do some on my own, but Pinterest has also been a great resource for me because I try to keep things new and fresh," she said.
Crafternoons started when the Park City Library reopened earlier this year after its $9.6 million renovation. The sessions run every Wednesday from 4 p.m. until 5 p.m.
"People can come and go as they please and the crafts may or may not take the whole hour to do, but they can stay the whole hour if they want," Kmak said. "Sometimes I’ll bring out toys for younger kids and the walls are whiteboard, so I will also bring out whiteboard crayons and markers and they can decorate on the walls.
"However, we make it clear that they can only draw on the walls at the library and only in this space with only those special crayons and markers," she said with a laugh.
Before Kmak became the youth services librarian, she did the library’s programming and saw how successful the activities for pre-school-aged kids had become.
"So, we wanted to do another program and involve school-aged kids in grades kindergarten to fifth, and give them something to do after school," Kmak explained. "We also wanted to offer activities for kids who didn’t snowboard or ski in the winter time or bike in the summer time, and the program is designed to bring more children into the library."
Kmak prefers parents to accompany younger kids, but said parents don’t have to accompany the school-aged children.
"Even then, we do get parents who will go check out books or grab some magazines and sit in while their kids participate in Crafternoons," she said. "However, we don’t turn anyone away and if younger kids want to come to Crafternoons, I do have stuff for the itty bitties to do that is safe. We don’t want any of them choking on things or eating sand."
Kmak believes there are two reasons as to why crafts are important for children.
"First off, it’s good for hand and eye coordination development," she said. "Secondly, for the older, school-aged kids, it isn’t so much about the craft as it is making connections with other kids that they may not otherwise interact with."
Kmak has another, more personal reason for creating Crafternoons.
"As a children’s librarian, I want to develop a strong relationship with these kids, especially those who are in those awkward ages," she said. "I’ve seen them come to the library and keep to themselves because they don’t know anyone and they usually just grab their books and leave. And I want them to know that Crafternoons can be a comfortable space, a living room, for them. This is an important thing for the library to offer our community.
"I love people and while we make fun crafts, I really like getting to know the kids and their parents," she said. "I’ve been doing programming here for a year-and-a-half and have seen the growth in many of these kids. So, to know that I have an impact on their lives is the main reason I do this."
The Park City Library, 1255 Park Ave., will host Crafternoons, afternoons devoted to the joys of crafting, every Wednesday from 4 p.m. until 5 p.m. The events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.parkcitylibrary.org.
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