DIY Race Tracks was an inexpensive STEM program. Children in grades 1 through 5 used recycled materials and supplies the library already owns to build their own race tracks. The only expense was buying race cars to test the tracks.
Farm Fun was for ages birth to 6 with family. There were stations set up throughout the room with sensory activities and crafts. 82 people attended this program.
Sensory Play-Silo and barn made from recycled containers, plastic animals, rice and beans
Sheep herding-Balloons decorated to look like sheep and plastic rulers to herd them into the pen
Crafts-Hand print chicken and hatching chick
Egg Gathering-Plastic shaker eggs in paper bag nests hidden throughout the room
Water Bin-Plastic fruits and vegetables and scrub brushes in a plastic tote filled with water
Open-Ended Play-Animal puppets and a puppet stage
Flannel Board-Felt barn, animals, and other farm pieces for imaginative play
Baby Corner-Simple puzzles, puppets, and scarves for babies to play
Pig Tail Sorting-Pig backsides cut from different colors of paper, muffin cups, pipe cleaners curled into tails, kid-friendly tweezers for sorting by color
Stick Puppets-Vegetables to plant and animals to move into the barn encouraged children to tell stories and practice narrative skills
Super Awesome Game Show was a combination of Family Feud, Scattergories, and trivia for kids and their adults. I booktalked some of my favorite children’s books, then formed teams. For each round, I named a category such as “books with a mouse as the main character” or “books with time travel.” The teams had one minute to come up with as many children’s book titles that fit the category as possible. A point was awarded for each correct answer and bonus points for unique answers and for naming the “secret book” in each category (books I booktalked at the beginning).
Parachute Party was a chance for kids ages 3 through 6 to play with everyone’s favorite: the parachute! I created a playlist and modeled movement activities to go with the songs. 38 children and parents listened to a story, moved with the music, then ended the hour with coloring or playing with scarves.
Sensory Bin Playground was a chance for kids ages 2 to 6 to experience play through touch. Stations included a water bin, digging for plastic animals in bins filled with oatmeal, rice, beans, and dirt, squeezing and writing letters in bags filled with tinted shaving cream and hair gel, and building with cloud dough made from flour and baby oil. 58 people attended this Saturday afternoon program.
Mystery Meetup was a program for kids in grades Kindergarten through 4. After a story, kids split into two teams to solve the mystery of the missing library mascot. After cracking a code, the team had access to the crime scene evidence. Using an elimination grid, teams eliminated suspects based on the evidence trail. Once they solved the case, they could crack one final code to set the trapped squirrel puppet free.
Draw a Story was a partnership between the library and the local community access television station. Kids in grades Kindergarten through 4 listened to a story, then drew their own illustrations to go with the story on large paper. The staff member from the television station recorded each child telling me about his story. After the program, all footage was compiled and edited. With parental permission for each participant, the show aired on the community access television station and the library’s YouTube channel.
Art Market was a STEAM program, inviting kids in grades 1 through 5 to practice both math and art skills. As a group, we discussed money and budgeting. Each child received an envelope with play coins and bills and a price sheet. Children and their adults talked about what supplies they could afford and how they could pool their money to buy supplies such as scissors that they could share. They then used their money to “buy” art supplies from the store to make the project.
The art project used white card stock, oil pastel crayons, vegetable oil, and black paper to make silhouettes on a sunset background.
Kids in grades 3 through 5 participated in games and activities about the popular book series.
Pin the Booger on Greg Heffley-Try to put a piece of gooey poster tack on Greg.
Bean Bag Toss-Try to toss the beanbags through Rowley’s open mouth
Drawing Guessing Game-Draw the word or phrase written on the top of the paper, then pass it to a partner to try to guess what you’ve drawn.
Cheese Touch Hot Potato-Pass around the folded sticky notes. When the music stops, unfold to see if you’re the unlucky recipient of the cheese.
Character Scavenger Hunt-Find all of the characters on the sheet hidden around the room.
Draw Your Own Comic-Make your own comic using the blank panels.
Screen-Free Family Hour was open to all ages and showed families easy, inexpensive, and technology-free ways to practice the Every Child Ready to Read principles of talk, read, write, and play. Tips for practicing the principles were posted at each station. 25 people attended this Saturday afternoon program.
Talk-Set of cards with kid-friendly “would you rather” questions meant to encourage conversation.
Read-Variety of children’s books with beanbags and chairs to sit together and read.
Write-Paper, pencils, crayons, envelopes, stamps, and a list of children’s authors’ addresses to practice writing and addressing an envelope.
Play-Board games, puppets and a puppet stage to encourage playing and talking. Hand clap rhymes and cat’s cradle instructions sparked a sentimental smile in millennial parents.