Idea Sparklers 6 - Fun Notes from the Field
My colleagues from the Northeast Kansas Library System headquartered in Lawrence had fountains of ideas for programming fun that works for them. This multi-type system has libraries serving major urban and suburban areas, medium size communities and small rural communities as well.
Poptropica Program - this popular online game has islands created by authors. The kids vote on their favorite author islands and then a program is created with the kids based on that author and their works. Very popular.
High School Girl Book Club - staff guides the book selection and discussion. There is always an activity associated with each month's program - Hunger Games, read and discuss book and go to movie together; Valentine book discussion and go out to dinner. Began with a non-fiction book on volunteerism and it grew from there.
Lego Club - received donations and went to garage sales. Held once-a-month afterschool for 90 minutes. Lego bricks are put out on sheets and kids free build. Kids help with clean-up and their creations are awesome.
"Semester" Programs- DIY programs are run for a semester once a week after school. I Spy books and scavenger sheet; Tangrams; -Ology books.
Bats in the Courthouse - Kids go on a library-sponsored fill-in the blank scavenger hunt in the Courthouse which gets them to different offices and spaces. Once the courthouse had bats in the belfry so that is the final destination where kids find a rubber bat.
Teen Trivia Night - kids create the questions based on contemporary and classic books; play pictionary; charades. Kids have questions and three lifelines. Teens loved it)
History Mystery - a local 5th grade history teacher and local history buff annually makes up a local history sheet and the kids have to research it (as does the library staff!). The kids flock to the library and discover amazing resources.
After-Hours Library Hide-and-Seek - Middle schoolers come into the library and can play hide and seek. A few spots are off-limits. Younger kids who play get flashlights. Librarian gives kids checks for bad behavior. 3 checks and parents get a call. Enough of a deterrent that it keeps the kids playing well!
Kindergarten Invites - Each year in May, every K class comes to the library, gets an introduction to the library and a library card. So popular, the preschool classes are now scheduled to come as well.
Work with the Scouts - there are library and reading badges and it is a great way to reach out to groups. Read a story, have kids howl like a wolf, make bookmarks, catalog the kids and barcode them and shelve them in an activity.
Reading Thermometer - as recently seen in a VOYA article (cheap things to do for fun). Set a goal of number of pages read, have a thermometer and fill it in as the kids go to the goal. Perfect for all ages.
Nursery Rhyme Olympics - do activities based on nursery rhymes: Jack B. Nimble Jump; Diddle Diddle Dumpling One Shoe Race, etc.
Holiday Gifts-in-a-Jar - Have a few stations with dry ingredients and instructions (brownies; gingerbread, etc) and measuring spoons/cups and let kids create a gift. Stickers are there for the jar as well. Another library does this program with bath salts.
More in the Idea Sparkler series here: 1 2 3 4 5 7 8 9 10 11
Image: 'I've found some...!' http://www.flickr.com/photos/12142259@N00/3880179635