I began planning one month in advance by practicing the craft with memory foam. I purchased a 2-inch-thick piece of memory foam from Amazon and precut 3-by-3-inch squares to give to teens to cut.
I did an in-house flier promotion two weeks prior, and I posted to the library's social media channels twice: one week before the program and again one day before. All of our programs are featured in our quarterly newsletter, too.
Overall, I spent about $60 on supplies. The memory foam was around $30, the paint around $22, and the tools added up to about $8.
I gave each of the teens a 3-by-3-inch piece of foam, which I had cut in advance. I then had them draw their designs using a Sharpie. They then cut out their shapes using scissors. I suggested they use small cuts to shape the foam.
Then I instructed them to use puffy paint (or fabric paint) on the foam to decorate their squishies. Then we covered them in acrylic paint to dry out the foam.
Teens can use gloves and paint with their fingers or they can use a craft stick. Puffy paint is expensive, so I asked the teens to paint a thin layer, then use the dotting tools or a paint brushes to paint details.
Thirteen teens participated in this program. Most of the attendees were excited because squishies are expensive in stores, so they were happy to make a free one.
We also used YouTube as an instructional tool. We played instructional videos in the background while the teens were working.
I suggest purchasing additional memory foam for the teens, since some of them will likely cut too much and will need a new piece.
If you have a TV in your room with access to YouTube or an HDMI hookup, show YouTube videos for inspiration.
Give teens a plate to transport their final product home because the paint will still be wet. Also, remind them to let it dry for 24 hours before they begin to play with it.
About This Library
The Zion-Benton Public Library is located in a low-income, diverse community in northeastern Illinois. We have a population of about 45,000 patrons and are centered between five schools.