Archive for the ‘School Age – 1st to 5th’ Category

At my library we have Saturday Surprise once a week. It’s a program for children 6-12.   Months in advance, you sign up for which Saturday you’d like.  Anyway, my latest Saturday Surprise program was about Bicycle Safety and Repair.

I contacted the Baptist Medical Safe Kids program and they agreed to come out to talk about bike safety, show a safety video, and fit and give out twenty free bike helmets.

Then I contacted my friends who volunteer at a Bicycle Co-Op called Zombie Bikes.   I knew these people because my record store (now closed – http://deadtank.wordpress.com) shared a building with the bike shop, and helped to sponsor the retail space for Zombie in it’s infancy.  Anyway, the Zombie bike volunteers were very excited about coming out and teaching the kids some simple repair techniques for bikes, as well as just learning the parts of the bike.

The class was limited to twenty, and easily had enough people sign up. Below is a copy of the flyer advertising the class.


Here are some photos from the class. These were taken by Jenny from Jaxscene.






Here is the link to more photos at Jaxscene.

Click on the photo and it leads to more in the flickr account.

Also, the Bikejax people were also there and took some pictures.

We’re planning on having the Zombie Bikes people back soon – hopefully turning this into a regular program on bike safety and repair for kids.

Try something similar at your branch!  Many local bike shops would jump at the chance for the free publicity!


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Library Field Day

Last month I had the idea to do a Library “Field Day”, you know – relay races, cotton candy, etc. Well I’ll be the first person to admit that this program wasn’t given my all. Despite the obviously hurdle of our downtown branch having no field, I started off ready to do all the paperwork to get a rock climbing wall donated and have everything from snow cones to the tradition egg toss. I was so pumped.

I quickly realized I had little time to accomplish this and even less time to plan or my Fall toddler music and movement programs, and modify the guitar lesson outline for the new November students. Readily acknowledging my time constraints, I needed a quick out.

I found a Kid’s Gym in town called My Gym. I called them up, mentioned what I’d like to see happen for Field Day, and they said they’d show up to do health and workout related games with the kids. Since I hadn’t met these coaches or seen them do programs, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this place. But I was hopeful and had my fingers crossed.

I called up one of the local Smoothie King franchises. And they said they could donate 90 free smoothies. I was excited about that for a week straight, knowing it’d help get people in the door. My excitement subsided when I called to remind them of the event and they bailed. Four days before the program and all I had was a kids gym I knew little about.

I used leftover gift card money from a donation Publix made for my Pizza Taste Off and bought 100 Capri Suns. I also called every smoothie place in town. The day before the event, Planet Smoothie gave me 50 coupons for a free smoothie to pass out to the kids.

The planning was as good as I could get it. My Gym showed up 30 minutes early to set up the multipurpose room downstairs. And with cold Capri Suns waiting for the program’s end, I witnessed nearly 70 people come into the multipurpose room and have a great time. I couldn’t recommend the My Gym coaches enough as someone to bring in to help with a program. Check out the pictures below and see for yourself.


The fist two photos I took, and the last two were taken by Jenny Kalota from local blog Jax Scene.

Jax Scene also made a few videos of the event. The one linked below is my favorite. As the kids move the parachute, the coach is underneath it with a shark puppet. If he grabs the child’s leg they have to yell for a parent, who are lifeguards in the game, to come and rescue them.

Check it out here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaxscene/3018132606/in/set-72157608797531778/

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Pizza Taste Off!

Every Saturday afternoon our branch has a “Saturday Surprise” program. The responsibility for the idea and execution rotates between all the children’s staff. A few Saturday’s back I had one called a “Pizza Taste Off!” The program idea is very simple, and how the program goes depends on your resources, time and how you advertise it. Basically you have kids each a bunch of pizza and vote on which one is best. It is a blind taste test. The kids voted on categories such as Most Cheesiest (ha! right?), Best Sauce, Best Crust, and Best Overall Slice. You can tie this into themes such as recipes, food, Italy, voting, or in this case – descriptive writing.

First, I booked our multipurpose room. Then, I called every pizza place within a ten minutes driving distance of my branch. I explained the program and asked them for a donation of two large cheese pizzas each for the day of the program. I got in touch with local grocery stores and got about 150 cans of soda donated, as well as 40 Capri Sun drinks. Then I made flyers with all the pertinent information – time, place, etc. Somewhere on there was also “EAT FREE PIZZA – donated by over 5 local pizzerias” and “wash it all down with FREE SODA.” I’d like to think that had something to do with attendance.
Rather serendipitously, the teen department had on ongoing pop art program and they let me borrow this giant slice for the day.

The room was set up with tables and chairs, and on each table was a plate for every child and 6 other plates in the middle.  These plates were numbered 1-6 and would have on them the corresponding pizza type.  Each place setting had plenty of napkins, a golf pencil, and a form with blanks to fill in on pieces 1-6.

That day I drove to 6 pizzerias, filling my car with 12 large pizzas and leaving my “Ah – I wish I ate my breakfast” stomach in severe pain as I drove all over downtown smelling only pizzas.  I got back to the branch to see a HUGE LINE of parents and hungry kids.  Luckily, everything was ready except that these pizzas had to cut into much smaller pieces.  Even with my coworkers helping me, that took a while. As did pouring the drinks – we used cups with ice, as handing out full cans of soda could be a waste and anger some parents.

After all 120 people got a drink and sat down, we talked about descriptive words for pizza.

Then I had them all try a piece off the pizza number 1 plate.  Afterwords, we all wrote down a description for it. This continued until all the pizzas plates were empty.  I handed out the voting form.  We went over our notes and voted on which was the best in each category.  I took as show of hands for each category and number of pizza. We announced winners and everyone had a great time.  I had certifcates made for the winning pizzerias, and mounted themm on posterboards. As the kids left they signed and wrote on the boards. The next day I gave the awards to the winning pizzerias.

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This activity is sure to get any group from 1st to 5th grade moving and having fun.

Tell the kids to do as you do. They’ll pick up on the words quickly.

“Hi.  My name is Joe. 
I have a wife and three kids and I work at the button factory.
One day,
my boss came to me and said,
“Joe, are you busy?”
I said “No”
He said,
“Push the button with your right hand.””
(make the motion with your right hand)

You repeat this with…
…Push the button with your left hand.
…Push the button with your right foot.
…Push the button with your left foot.
…Push the button with your forehead.
…Push the button with your hips.
…Push the button with your bottom.

And then the next time he says…
 “Joe, are you busy?”
You shout – “YES!”

Read an interesting (for you, not the kids) history of the inventor of everyone’s favorite button here. The delete button.

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