Sometimes we all just need a break from our laptops and Chromebooks. Sometimes we need a way to relax, calm our minds, and re-center our thoughts. For many students crafting is the answer. This year I created a new section in my library called “Calming Crafts.” This section is designed to help students achieve calm and block out chaos in their mind for just a few moments during the school day or at home.
Goals for the Space
When I started planning the space for the calming crafts I knew I wanted:
- Shelving front and center that students could see while walking through.
- Easy access for them to take and go.
- Enough room for 15-30 bags to start
Not knowing how popular the idea will be, I want to be able to give it the best shot I could to get off the ground running. Central space that is visible to students is key. If they don’t know about it, they won’t take it. I also knew that I wanted it to be just a take-and-go bag, no sign up or permission required. For some of my students anxiety levels are so high that asking someone for something is too scary and confrontational.
Creating the Bags
Each month the contents of the bags will change. I haven’t planned out the entire year yet, but the first bag in September will be scratch art themed. Here is a list of what I included in this first bag:
- Scratch Art Bookmarks
- Scratch Art Notepad
- Carmel Apple Sucker
I purchased small party bags with handles and multi-colored tissue paper for the bags as well. My hope is that they will draw students’ eyes to the shelving and they will pick up a bag to try.
My library is a safe place for all students, a place to relax and be yourself. Part of creating that environment is giving the students an opportunity to come in and see what we have to offer. My hope with these take-and-go craft kits is that students will find a little joy, quiet, and relaxation each month.
Author: Elizabeth Libberton
Elizabeth Libberton is the library media specialist at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles Illinois. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal. She is a member of the ALA Awards Selection Committee. Also, she is a member of the steering committee for the AISLE Lincoln Book Award.
Categories: Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models
Those scratch art kits look fun! I’ve been doing something similar in my high school library for the last year and a half, since Covid made our craft table (with its group seating and shared materials) impractical. To help me plan for demand, I advertise each month’s craft kit via email, within which is a link to a Google form where kids can respond if they want to reserve a kit. I make enough kits for each respondent, plus a few extra for “impulse crafters.” It’s a nice way to keep kids connected to the library. Plus, it gives the kids something creative to work on at home, which can be a nice break from school and screens.