Can You Guess?

My colleague Wil Fryer at the DeSoto (WI) Public Library shares this fun on-going and very mellow program idea. This is a wonderful way to encourage staffers who may be a little shy to interact more and get to know kids. Here's Wil:

I've got an ongoing game that I play with the kids that come into the library. It's a "dictionary word" game. Every time they come in children get a chance to play the game - but only one time, for that visit or that day. I open the dictionary and find an age appropriate word for the child. If he/she can tell me what this or that word 'means' they get something from the prize bowl I keep behind my desk. In it are prizes such as balloons, sticks of gum, pencils, erasers, stickers, hard candy, and various small inexpensive toys. If they don't know the answer, I read it or explain what the word means, and then give them 'another chance'. There are no losers, although some children have to listen to the definition of several words before they get one they know.

The first time that a child comes in I'll ask him/her if they would like a dictionary word and to win a prize. The next time they come in they already know the drill. They'll come right up to the desk and ask for a word, or a question. Teens like the game too, and mostly take a stick of gum, or a little temporary tattoo. Some kids enjoy the challenge of a difficult word, while others need encouragement just to answer something simple that I'm sure they must know. The game is a good ice breaker with kids, and gives me a chance to interact with those who are generally shy. Their little egos also like to hear things like, "Wow, that was a good answer. You nailed it". or "Well I'm not surprised that you didn't get that one, that was a tough word."


I Spy Fun!

Here's a great program suggestion from my colleague Karen Bernau at Knutson Memorial Library in Coon Valley (WI). Easy and fun for staff and kids...what more could you ask for? Here's Karen:

Among the easiest, cheapest and most fun programs I have done have been those “I Spy” programs based on the I Spy books. We collect all sorts of objects and hide them throughout the library in plain sight (so there is no need to pull books off the shelves, etc), make lists of items for participants to find and check off and then stand back and watch them search!

We have done different variations of this – sometimes everything hidden is part of a theme (bugs, for instance) or sometimes we have made a “book” out of the hunt with each “page” being a different area of the library, including immediately outside the building and sometimes we just hide an unrelated conglomeration of stuff! We vary the difficulty of the hiding places – invariably the items we think will be hard for them to find are spotted immediately and vice versa – so that just about any age level can play; for the very youngest I will make picture clues for them to “read”. Of course, we always have to end with a “reward”…usually, that is simply the snack. Kids love it…and so do I!


Books and Music- A Great Connection

Valerie over at The Almost Librarian has a wonderful and useful post with great suggestions on combining stories with related songs. Doing this encourages great connections for kids. Children's librarians who program know this is a great way to enhance books and Valerie has a stellar set of match-ups. Those who read Rob Reid's work know that he enjoys making those connections too! What are your favorite book and tune match-ups?