Field Day

It is probably no surprise that a lot of the programs I do are inspired by things I personally find interesting, or think I would have liked to do as a kid. I thought Field Day would be a fun summer program and would fit in with the exercise your mind theme, but as a kid I hated field day. It was a whole day of bad food, interacting with people I didn’t really like, outside in the heat when all I wanted to do was sit and read¬† a book.

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As these were pretty standard outside games I didn’t have time to get any pictures. We had enough kids that we split into two “teams” so that we could do more activities with less waiting.

Activity 1: Hula hoop circle pass
Activity 2: Duck in the pond relay race
Activity 3: Water balloon and shaving cream water balloon hot potato
Activity 4: Water balloon toss
Activity 5: 3-legged race w/ alphabet beanbag hunt
Activity 6: Donuts on a string – no hands allowed
Attendance: 65+

Mini-Makers – Pressed Flower Art

Nothing makes me smile like overhearing a young patron say to their parent that this was their “favorite library program ever“. That being said I think this program had some of the most beautiful work done by children.

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For our first activity I got some cheap ribbon necklaces on amazon, some clear pendants, and some pressed flowers. The kids could choose and modge podge their own flowers. The pendant acts as a magnifying glass and makes the flower look bigger.

Please note that modge podge cannot get wet. I found out a few weeks later that one girl loved her necklace so much she took it in the bath. The mom said she sealed it with nail polish, though if I do this again I will look for am actual brushable sealant.

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While we let the pendants dry we worked on bookmarks. I had a few different styles from solid white to more elaborate clear ones with contact paper bottoms and cardstock “frames”. The bulk of the program time was laminating their bookmarks. The laminator must be one of the best investments ever as everyone is so excited to use it.

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Activity 1: Flower Necklaces
Activity 2: Flower Bookmarks
Attendance: 18

Chalk Walk & Ice Cream Social

This might actually be my favorite program of all time and it was incredibly easy and very popular. I can’t wait to do it again this summer!

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We put out the bubble machine and three big boxes of chalk. Than people came in droves to chalk the walk. There were so many people and they did amazing art and it was wonderful to see the kids running and playing and everyone just relaxing.


After about half an hour we got out some little cups of ice cream and started serving those. I believe chocolate and birthday cake were the preferred flavors.

Attendance: 80+ It was too difficult to get an exact count.

Library Hike

I may have mentioned before that for summer reading we tried to do more outside activities. The idea for an animal safari/hike came to me in a dream and was actually really simple and the kids quite enjoyed it. And whooooo doesn’t like stuffed animals?

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We actually started of the day inside with leaf rubbings. And because my adults tend to like to participate in the arts and crafts we taped down about 50 different leaves and let the go to town with the different leaves and colors. While the kids were working on this we set up a bunch of stuffed animals/puppets in the landscaping and the reading garden and then snuck back inside.

After a few minutes I passed out some water bottles left over from several summers ago and talked about the importance of staying hydrated and staying on the trail. Then we lined up and went outside for our “hike”. At each animal I waited for the children to spot the stuffed animal and then I would tell them a fact about the animal. I tried to set them up in a kind of logical order by habitat so we found pond animals, forest animals, and desert animals. We also practiced our animal sounds at some of the more notable animals like the lion and wolf.

When we completed the hike we circled back to the reading garden where I told the kids we had hidden some special silver pine cones for them to find and when they were done they could choose a prize – the popular Japanese animal puzzle erasers.

Activity 1: Leaf Rubbings
Activity 2: Stuffed Animal “Hike”
Activity 3: Silver Pine cone Hunt
Attendance: 18

Coloring Day

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With the popularity if adult coloring books I thought having a coloring day at the library would be nice and relaxing. I had a coloring book or two and printouts of several free coloring pages I found online and set them out with all of the crayons, colored pencils, and markers I could find.

Attendance: 22

Carnival 2016

Hooray! Summer Reading is here and we planned on doing a lot of outside activities this year starting with a mini library carnival. I looked up some games and activities on pinterest, we ordered some prizes, and borrowed a roll of tickets and some other games from another library. Then we had all hands on deck to man all of the activity stations. I think the kids had a blast and we had people dropping in to see what was going on because they saw us all outside. The local paper came out for some pictures and we ended up on the front page too!

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The way the carnival worked was we let kids play a game once to earn tickets and more for fun if they got back in line. Tickets could be redeemed inside at the circulation desk for prizes (pencils, cups, wrist bands, etc)

Tattoo Booth – One shelver helped apply temporary tattoos an also ran the bubble machine.
Guessing Game- Patrons were invited to guess how many pieces of candy were in two different jars.
Selfie Station – An area with a carnival backdrop and some carnival themed props for taking pictures. I think people mostly ignored this so I wouldn’t bother with it again unless I had extra room I had to fill.
Lucky Ducks – Plastic ducks in a baby pool. If you found a match you got an extra ticket. Disc Drop/Plinko – tickets rewarded depending on where the disc drops.
Tossing games – ring toss, corn hole, and getting beanbags in a character cutout
Craft booth –¬† This is embarrassing, but I actually don’t remember what the craft was. I know I had something, but the craft booth was only visited occasionally
Wheel of fortune – spin the wheel, everyone a winner, grand prize won extra tickets

Attendance: 60+