So, I’ve claimed a small nook that used to house our early learning computer as a passive programming station (inspired by Bryce’s Story Action Pods, like this one here). My plan (the best laid plans of mice and men, though) is to change it out ever week this summer, so I’ll always have something for school age kids to do if they show up at the library when we don’t have a program going on.
First up were some I Spy bottles inspired by something I’d pinned from Reading with Red like a thousand years ago. I have a small stash of recycled Topo Chico bottles someone tossed my way. They’re really great for crafts and sensory bottles because they’re smooth-sided and relatively thick.
I whipped up some colored rice using a recipe from Powerful Mothering – one in blue and one in green. I made a run to Party City and bought some small food-shaped erasers and a pack of animal party favors. Party city was definitely the best place I found for small objects that will fit through the (I realize in retrospect rather narrow) mouth of the bottles. I filled the water bottles with rice, adding in the party favors. Then I used some of the brightly colored duct tape left over from teen time to seal ’em up.
I hopped on Word and made some checklists for each bottle. I made sure to print the list on paper that matched the color of the rice in the bottle. I laminated both lists, tapped them to the table, and set out a washable marker for kids to mark off what they found.
Overall, the entire station took maybe an hour to set up, start to finish. This is not a fancy station, but it’s been a really big hit so far! Kids of all ages have been scoping out the bottles, and I’ve heard several parents helping their kids read the lists. LITERACY IN ACTION, Y’ALL.