Programming Puzzler: Successful School Age Programs

We asked our readers for their best school age programming ideas.  Here’s a roundup of their responses:

“In our little library in Scotland we don’t have enough staff to have a regular school age program, but we open up our regular pre-school storytimes (when school is not in session) to a wider age range, invite older siblings, insist that carers are present, then call them family storytime! The trick is to have a craft for older siblings to do while the ‘story’ part is happening. Then an easier craft for the younger ones and carers for after. Older siblings usually want to do the easy craft too, and help out the little ones at the same time. We have no storyroom, so staff can multitask and we don’t need so many staff to cover.” -The Library Quine (aka Janet), Loons and Quines @ Librarytime

“For the last 4 years I have presented a Gingerbread House making and stories for school aged children. Each child age 6 + (accompanied by an adult) makes a small graham cracker gingerbread house. We put together the walls, then we read a story (usually The Gingerbread Girl), then we put the roof on the house, then we read The Gingerbread Cowboy. This allows the walls and roof time to harden. After that the kids put all kinds of candy on their house to decorate. I provide coloring sheets and the icing recipe for families to take home. This is a fun program that families can come to together. Often we get both parents and several of their children who come and work on the houses together.” -Amie L.

Kathy and Christine say:

  • What’s playing at the movies? Is there a popular movie that was inspired by a book? Anytime there is a highly anticipated movie based on book, circulations for that book increase and people are often interested in any programming linked to it. The perfect time to offer a movie-based program is prior to the movie, when everyone is eagerly awaiting its release. Often you can find completed programming ideas on the internet.
  • How about a contest? School age kids love to show off what they know, so give them the opportunity, whether it’s a dance contest, “Library Idol”, a good old-fashioned spelling bee, or a trivia contest based on a favorite book or series. You just need to set up the rules and the room, and provide prizes and refreshments.
  • Let the kids be the program! Invite kids to sign up for a talent show at the library. Their friends and family will be sure to come – a built-in audience!
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