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Re:SRP:Program Ideas 2012:Animal Sleepover
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California Summer Reading Program

Dream Big! The Great Stuffed Animal Sleepover came to California libraries in 2012

Participating libraries -- plus photos!
Program description
Ideas for stuff animal action shots
Activity ideas for drop-off day
Materials for your program

Program description

Inspired by the Dream Big summer reading theme, kids brought their stuffed animals to the library for a sleepover. Once the kids left, the animals magically came alive in the library! Staff and/or teen volunteers took photos of the animals doing activities after-hours. The next day, kids picked up their animals along with a photo showing what their animal did all night and/or a certificate of participation for the animal. For added fun, libraries hosted family story times and other program for the kids when they dropped off their animals, and/or a breakfast and program when they picked them up.


Pre-school and school-age children (plus teens as volunteer program assistants)


  • Use removable labels to label each animal with the owner’s name.
  • Recruit teen volunteers to help pose the animals doing various sleepover activities throughout the library and photograph the scenes. This would make a great activity for the library’s Teen Council or Teen Advisory Group.
  • If you don’t have the capacity or time to print a photo for each child (although this is preferable, if possible), display group photos in the library for the kids to see the next day when they return to pick up their animals. You can also post the photos online or on your library’s Facebook page.

Ideas for stuffed animal action shots

  • Animals playing board games
  • Animals tucked in under a blanket heading to dreamland
  • Animals having tea
  • Animals lounging around reading books
  • Animals at story time
  • Animals playing hide and seek
  • Animal races
  • Animals using the library’s phones or computers

Activity ideas for drop-off day

Story-time with a bedtime theme:
(Encourage everyone to dress in pajamas for this!)

  • Alborough, Jez. Where's My Teddy? Walker, 1992.
  • Crimi, Carolyn. Principal Fred Won't Go to Bed. Marshall Cavendish Children, 2010.
  • Farrar, Alexis Deacon. While You Are Sleeping. Giroux, 2006.
  • Freedman, Claire. Night-Night, Emily! Tiger Tales, 2003.
  • Inches, Alison. The Stuffed Animals Get Ready for Bed. Harcourt, 2006.
  • Meyers, Susan. Bear in the Air. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010.
  • Waber, Bernard. Ira Sleeps Over. Houghton Mifflin, 1972.

Nighttime and sleepover themed craft making:
Make a mini blanket: Have small squares of inexpensive fabric sheeting or paper for kids to decorate and make a quilt or blanket for their animal. After making the quilt they can tuck their animal into bed and say goodbye for the evening.

Movie night with a sleepover or an animals-come-to-life theme:

  • Night at the Museum
  • Toy Story
  • A non-feature length video/PBS episode with a sleepover theme

Note writing & picture drawing:
Have the kids write a good night note or wish for their animal and post it on the library wall. Some may prefer to draw a picture. Create a large tree on the library wall to display the notes.

Additional activity ideas:
For great additional program ideas with a nighttime theme for your stuffed animal sleepover event please view the children’s program ideas section of CLA’s summer 2012 program ideas page.

Materials for your program

Questions about the program?

Contact Jennifer Lawson, San Diego County Library, or Trish Garone, Summer Reading Programs Assistant, California Library Association

Participating libraries

California's stuffed animals enjoyed sleepovers this summer at the following libraries:

  • Amador County Library: see photos!
  • Belvedere-Tiburon Library: see photos!
  • Butte County Library - Paradise Branch Library: see photos!
  • Contra Costa County Library - Antioch Library
  • Contra Costa County Library - Danville Library
  • Contra Costa County Library - El Sobrante Library
  • Contra Costa County Library - Oakley Library
  • Contra Costa County Library - Walnut Creek Library
  • County of Los Angeles Public Library - AC Bilbrew Library: see photos!
  • Covina Public Library
  • El Dorado County Library
  • Folsom Public Library: see photos!
  • Glendale Public Library - Casa Verdugo Branch Library: see photos! and see more photos!
  • Huntington Beach Public Library: see photos!
  • Imperial County Free Library- Calipatria Meyer Memorial Branch Library: see photos!
  • Kern County Library - Beale Memorial Library
  • Livermore Public Library - Civic Center Library
  • Long Beach Public Library - Dana Neighborhood Library
  • Long Beach Public Library - Los Altos Neighborhood Library: see photos!
  • Los Angeles Public Library - Lincoln Heights Branch Library: see photos!
  • Los Angeles Public Library - Palm-Rancho Branch Library: see photos!
  • Los Angeles Public Library - Silver Lake Branch Library: see photos!
  • Los Angeles Public Library - Venice-Abbot Kinney Memorial Branch Library: see photos!
  • Merced County Library: see photos!
  • Ontario Public Library - Ovitt Family Community Library
  • OC Public Libraries - Aliso Viejo Library: see photos!
  • OC Public Libraries - La Palma Library
  • Orland Free Library: see photos and write up!
  • Palo Verde Valley District Library: see photos!
  • Rancho Mirage Public Library: see photos!
  • Roseville Public Library - Downtown: see Roseville photos!
  • Roseville Public Library - Maidu
  • Roseville Public Library - Riley
  • Sacramento Public Library - North Natomas Library
  • Sacramento Public Library - South Natomas Library: see photos and write-up!
  • Sacramento Public Library - Southgate Community Library
  • San Diego Public Library - Balboa Branch Library
  • San Leandro Public Library
  • San Mateo County Library - Atherton Library: see photos! and video
  • San Mateo County Library - Brisbane Library: see photos!
  • San Rafael Public Library
  • Santa Clara County Library - Campbell Library: see photos!
  • Santa Clara County Library - Morgan Hill Library: see photos!
  • Santa Clara County Library - Saratoga Library
  • Santa Fe Springs Public Library
  • Signal Hill Public Library: see photos!
  • Solano County Library - Fairfield Cordelia Library
  • Solano County Library - John F. Kennedy (Vallejo) Library
  • Solano County Library - Rio Vista Library: see photos!
  • Solano County Library - Springstowne Library
  • Solano County Library - Vacaville Public Library – Cultural Center
  • Solano County Library - Vacaville Public Library - Town Square
  • South Pasadena Public Library: see photos!
  • Thousand Oaks Library - Grant R. Brimhall Library
  • Thousand Oaks Library - Newbury Park Branch Library
  • Whittier Public Library: see photos!
  • Yolo County Library System - Esparto Regional Library
  • Yolo County Library System - Knights Landing Branch Library
  • Yolo County Library System - Mary L. Stephens Davis Branch Library: see photos!
  • Yolo County Library System - Winters Community Library
  • Yolo County Library System - Yolo Branch Library