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7th-Jun-2009 09:48 pm - Craft Proposals
I need to test these crafts first; luckily, my stepbrother has agreed to let me use his kids as guinea pigs. :-)

The rough outline, though, for crafts at OVFF this year looks like:

Thursday: Tote bag decorating

11:00 Pasta Fossils: http://www.makingfriends.com/educational/dinofosl.htm
12:00 Dinosaur Terrarium
13:00 12 Dino-Mite! Dinosaur Mobiles
14:00 Dinosaur Dig Photo Frame Magnet Craft Kit
15:00 Hat Decorating Craft
16:00 Nothing; Dormouse Tea Party

11:00 Tropical Bird Craft Kit
12:00 Spyglass! Design Your Own! Kaleidoscopes + pirate confetti
13:00 Inflatable Color-Your-Own Pirate Beach Balls + indelible markers
14:00 Nothing; Pirate Pool Party
15:00 Cupcake Decorating
16:00 Styrofoam Scrimshaw (styrofoam plates, styli, squeegee, and black paint)
17:00 Pirate Medallion Necklace Craft Kit + doilies for Aztec Gold option + paint
18:00 Nothing; Pizza Party

11:00 Nothing. Pay attention to Judi. :-)
12:00 A Tubular Glockenspiel http://www.mudcat.org/kids/bongos.cfm / Boomwhacker Workshop
13:00 Tyvek Drums
14:00 Nothing; Low Gravity Simulator Party
15:00 Universe in a Jar Craft based on http://www.dltk-kids.com/Crafts/space/muniverse.html
16:00 Nothing; Clean Up / Mongolian Grill

Why nothing before eleven? Because last year, nobody came by before eleven. :-)
10th-Mar-2009 04:43 pm - OVFF 25: A First Look
Since the ConChair just reminded me of my promotional responsibilities, I'll give you a peek into what's coming at OVFF 25:

  • FOUR days of programming!  The convention starts on Thursday rather than Friday, this year, to celebrate our 25th anniversary.
  • The classic Dormouse Tea Party!  Once again, we will try to outdo the adults' Mad Hatter Tea Party with good food and good fun.  
    • Come early and decorate a hat.
    • Play croquet!  Yes, I think I actually will be able to get my flamingos in a row for it, this year.  Though if I can't find a reasonable source of lawn flamingos,or if my first tests reveal marked cervical weakness, we might be stuck with flat ones.  We'll see.
    • I don't know yet whether the tea party is Thursday or Friday
  • Dinosaurs!  I expect that most of Friday's attendees will be pre-schoolers, since parents may be loath to remove their kids from school for a con.  The dinosaur theme should appeal to them and offer some good tie-in activities.
    • No, not Jurassic Park.  Rated PG-13 for intense science fiction terror?  Not a great fit.
      • Ack, no, absolutely no Barney!
      • How about Prehistoric Park?  That should work.  It can be a little scary, but no more than most nature shows.
    • Build your own Dinosaur Park greenhouse to take home, using miniature toy dinosaurs, plants, and (possibly; still working the feasability study) a roast-chicken container.  Preferably one of the ones that comes with handles.
  •  More pirates!  You couldn't get enough pirates last year, so this year we'll theme Saturday as All Pirates All the Time
    • Yes, there will be a treasure hunt.  Yes, it will start easter-egg-style like last year's did, and yes it should end fiendishly difficult.
      • Popular request last year was for more of the little plastic jewels, so this year we will have less! 
        • No, really, that's a good thing.  I figure that if you like fake rocks, you'll love real ones!
      • Last year, you complained because the treasure chest was mostly candy.  Instead of filling it up with bulk candy, this year, we'll accept that the chest doesn't need to be filled to the brim.  We'll have fewer items with more value for each one.
        • No, I won't give you specific details, but you can expect stuff like gemstones, pearls, coins, jewelry, and a few surprises.
    • More carnival games!  With rules posted properly, and all.
    • More way to earn tickets!  We're still working on the details, but consider working at our bar, or running game booths, or, perhaps, even volunteering in other areas of the convention.
    • Crafts won't cost you tickets.  We're looking into some interesting options for our older constituents
      • possibly scrimshaw worked on vegetable ivory (with a strictly-enforced age limit:  Seven to eleven year olds must have one-on-one adult supervision, twelve to eighteen year olds may try it alone with parental permission, and children older than eighteen must be accompanied by somebody younger than fifteen.)
    • Cookie decorating has been marooned on a desert isle to make room for . . . buried treasure cupcake decorating!
    • What do pirates eat during the pegasus banquet?  Pizzas of eight!
  • The movie-night vote didn't really work, did it?  We'll be doing movie night again, but this time I'll just pick the movie.  You can all live with Muppet Treasure Island; it'll be fun.
    • Yes, I'm deliberately picking movies that may be older than the viewers; if it was a recent release when they were a target audience for it, they'd have already seen it.
    • We are not doing a teen-oriented movie after the G-rated one; last year, the teens stayed away in droves, preferring RPGs for Teens.
    • Yes, this year it will be real popcorn, not the fake-tasting corn puff things.  Bleah!
  • I'm looking into options to expand our offerings for parents of infants and toddlers, though Tow'd Hollow will be back for sure. 
    • Ideally, I'd like to borrow a rocking chair from somebody local, but I don't know if that will be possible.
    • There will be one of those very narrow tables set aside for supervising adults to work on their own crafts, contest entries, or whatever.
Do you have comments?  Suggestions?  Stuff you'd like to see, or stuff you'd like to teach?  Please leave a comment!

14th-Jul-2008 03:42 am - Health and Safety

Kidspace is all about helping you help your child enjoy the convention. Since accidents are not enjoyable, let's work together to keep your kids safe.

Kids In Tow

Kids in Tow will, of course, be with you or another designated adult at all times. For additional security, in case of accidental separation, you may want to consider equipping the child with a photo of his or her adults. This might be a laminated card diaper-pinned to clothing, a t-shirt with an iron-on transfer, a button, a temporary tattoo, or anything else you can imagine. The reason for suggesting photographic identification is the possibility that not everybody at the convention will know you by name.

Kids in tow are welcome to enjoy the Kidspace facilities with their own adult. Please remember, however, that most of Kidspace is designed for school-aged children and we cannot guarantee that it is free of choking hazards.

Registered Children

Registered children, like adults, will wear membership badges while attended convention activities. Just to be safe, consider filling out the back of the badge with names and contact numbers (mobile phone, ideally) of adults who are prepared to deal with anything from discipline problems to medical emergencies. Also consider adding the number of the child's hotel room.


As usual, there will be several events in Kidspace this year that involve food and drinks. Because of growing concerns about allergies, we will be asking parents to opt-in to these treats for their children. Once you have picked up your child's badge at registration, stop by Kidspace to apply opt-in stickers to each child's badge. For instance, if the child may attend the pizza party, add a pizza sticker to his or her badge.

Please Note: We cannot guarantee that your child will not have a chance to obtain a forbidden food. While we will not give ice cream ingredients to a child who does not have permission for Sundae School, neither do we intend to police the food.

There will continue to be no additional charge to attend the activities that provide food.


Any life-threatening food allergies must be conveyed to the children's programming co-ordinator as soon as possible. Please give at least a month's notice.

The co-ordinator of children's programming uses a service dog to mitigate the effects of a disability. As such, the dog will be present in the Kidspace area almost all of the time. If your child needs medication to control dog allergies, please plan ahead.


Drugs and other medical interventions are wonderful things. If you intend your child to have such things in the Kidspace area, they must be under your child's physical control at all times so that no other child can accidentally access them. If this is impractical, medication should be retained by your child's responsible adults or be left in the hotel room. Kidspace staff cannot be responsible for any child's medication or therapy.


Kidspace staff will be running two pool parties this year. For safety reasons, this will also be an opt-in activity. Although there will be adult supervision at the pool parties, there is no certified life guard.

If your child is a weak swimmer or a non-swimmer, consider packing your own assistive technology. This includes water wings, PFDs, or swimsuits with flotation materials included. If you intend your child to be permitted in the pool with these tools, but not without them, choose an orange dolphin wristband.

If your child is safe in a pool, you may choose a green dolphin wristband. We suggest that, at a minimum, a child with a green wristband be able to float on her or his back for some time without panic and should be able to swim a short distance to the edge of the pool.

Kidspace staff will not take a child with no dolphin wristband into the pool area. If you wish your child to have the option of attending a pool party, please choose an orange or green wristband. Children without a wristband will only be allowed at a pool party with one-on-one supervision by an adult who is neither convention staff nor a volunteer.

Suitable swimming attire is required for anybody who will be in the pool.

Pick up your child's wristband in Kidspace after registration; it will only take a moment.


Children whose behaviour threatens their own safety or the safety and reasonable enjoyment of other children will be required to have a responsible adult with them when in Kidspace. This adult will be expected to coach the child to control problematic behaviour patterns. Children who cannot safely participate in Kidspace even with this support may be excluded.

Children with Disabilities

If your child has a disability that might affect his or her enjoyment of Kidspace, please contact Bookwyrm to discuss what reasonable accommodations can be provided or integrated into the Kidspace setting. Remember that the earlier you contact us, the more adaptations are likely to be readily achievable.

12th-Jul-2008 02:47 pm - Tea Party!

The first thing on the schedule is . . . well, drop-in, actually. I hope to have kidspace open at noon for drop-in, if you arrive early, but I'm not promising anything yet.

The Dormouse Tea Party is the big thing, however, and it starts at seven. As per convention rules, hats are mandatory for this event; if you forgot to bring one, stop in an hour early and decorate one before the party.

At any rate, we're planning more of a traditional tea this year than the juice-boxes-and-cookies we've seen before. We will have representatives of the six types of hot tea: black, red, oolong, green, white, and chai. We will also have three pitchers of iced tea -- probably a black tea and Celestial Seasonings' Almond Sunset and Sleepytime. There will be sugar and honey to sweeten the tea, and milk. We'll have tea cookies and crumpets with clotted cream and jam.

What's more, we'll have sandwiches! Little tea sandwiches without crusts, filled with curried chicken salad pâté, or with chopped pecans and apple butter, or with fresh mint and cucumber, or with peanut butter and bananas. We'll have cupcakes, too, with whipped cream and sprinkles, and maybe some scones.

Also, in a nod to Alice in Wonderland, we'll have a variant on croquet or minigolf using hedgehogs for balls . . . I'm still trying to get the flamingos to agree.

Do try to join us!

12th-Jul-2008 02:08 pm - Exciting Things in 2008

Exciting things are in store for KidSpace at OVFF this year. This is my first year in charge of kidspace, and there will obviously be changes. Lady Lavender did a great job for several years, but I'm not her . . . and I won't even be pretending to be.

Here's a tentative schedule for this year.

In response to comments about last year's convention, the treasure hunt this year will be more challenging. Rather than being something to do on your own, it's designed to take advantage of the diverse skills you'll find working with a whole crew. "All Knowledge is Contained in Fandom," they say, and kids are the next generation of fandom. A variety of knowledge and skills will help you find the generously filled chest, and you are certainly capable of sharing the booty fairly.

Because some people pointed out that it was hard to enjoy a movie with other children playing boisterously, this year the free play section of KidSpace will be shut down at eight on Saturday for Movie Night in KidSpace! To decide what movie to watch, there will be ballots accepted until seven o'clock on Saturday. We'll be showing a double-feature; the first will be rated G, so that younger kids may enjoy it before their parents take them up to bed, while the second may be as restrictively rated as PG-13.

Laser Tag will not be possible this year, but in its place will be the much more inclusive Pirate Carnival. Pay for carnival games with tickets and you may win dubloons that can be redeemed for actual prizes! Games include a "Plundering the Good Ship Lollipop", "Cannonball Toss", "Boarding Party", "Deck Swabber", "Captain's Hook", and "Crow's Nest". Details of these games may be found in future posts. :-)

The pizza party this year will be more of a custom job -- you can build your own pizzas from ingredients we provide, so nobody else has to suffer because of your urge to put M&Ms on a sausage pizza.

Let's see . . . what else. Do try to make it in time for the Dormouse Tea Party, though there has been talk of making it earlier in the afternoon this year. We will enjoy six types of hot tea and two types of iced tea along with tea cookies, scones, and tea sandwiches. This might also get its own post in the future.

We hope to roll out the Filkers: TNG badge program at OVFF, as well.

We will still have two pool parties this year, as well as something new at ten on Sunday: Sundae School! This might seem to be a bit early in the morning, but we really do need to have it over an hour before Sunday's Low-Gravity Simulator Session in the pool, which in turn needs to be finished in time for everybody to be dry on the way to the Mongolian Grill for dinner.

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