Okay, pretty much every single week I tell you my boredom buster/passive program is the easiest one, so you’re probably not going to believe me that this is really truly so simple you won’t believe it. Here’s what I did: I put out some paper bathroom cups (three packs – about 150 cups total) and an invitation for kids to stack them. I did also grab a bunch of books about construction and engineering, but this program is far more popular than the work I put in permits! All week kids have been creating stacks (like the one seen above – it wasn’t me who made that pyramid!) – experimenting with different shapes and structures. We’ll occasionally hear the soft “clickityclackcrash” of the cups falling, and then, without fail, a new tower will rise.
Cup stacking is like blocks for kids who think they’re too old and cool to play with blocks. Put them out, and see the collaboration and creation that results!
I knew I wanted to do some sort of scavenger hunt as part of my Boredom Buster station this summer, but it wasn’t until Tiny Tips for Library Fun highlighted Amy The Show Me Librarian’s way of using a scavenger hunt as a way of highlighting the collection that I started thinking about what I wanted my scavenger hunt to accomplish. I definitely wanted to get kids looking at areas of the collection they might not know about, and I also wanted it to be fun enough that kids would actually do it. So, I printed out a picture of Gerald and Piggie and one of Bad Kitty (who I’ve been getting mad requests for lately). I also made up a small scavenger hunt questionnaire. I hid Gerald and Piggie by our award books, and stashed Bad Kitty below our kid’s magazines. My questions asked kids to think about what was special about the collection Gerald and Piggie were near, and how many of the items Bad Kitty was hiding under they could take home.
So, I had set up an awesome scavenger hunt highlighting our collections, but I really did want to give kids who finished a prize. I pulled out some super cute reading themed temporary tattoos we had laying around from last summer. But I wanted something more – something kids could take home with them to continue the hunt at home. Inspiration came from the strangest of places – Buzzfeed. Scroll down to number 35 on this list for the picture that gave me the idea. I pretty much retyped the nature scavenger hunt they picture, printed out the lists two to a sheet on pretty paper, and stapled the list to lunch sized paper bags. As each kid finished our in-library scavenger hunt, a staff member would chat with them about what they found, give them a tattoo, and give them a scavenger hunt to take home.
I am really thankful to Amy and Marge for their thought-provoking posts on how to make scavenger hunts in the library, you know, about the library. This boredom buster was a total success. On the first day, I spotted two different families who finished the scavenger hunt with award books in hand. I’m glad that I could shine a little light on the award section, since I feel like it gets forgotten so often – lots of parents and kids don’t think to browse there, which is a shame. I also heard so many kids excitedly chattering to their parents about where they could do their nature hunt.
This passive program does take a little more direct interaction with staff – so if you want to try it at your library, make sure everyone on staff is on board with making sure kids have a good experience when they finish. Hopefully everyone who works in your library is excited about kids using the collection and exploring, but I know that that isn’t always true. If you DO have staff who are on board, this is such a great way to 1) highlight some of the less-used parts of your collection, and 3) encourage some kid/staff interaction.
This is a passive program I ripped right out of our school-aged summer series and plopped on the boredom buster table. It’s dead simple, but really fun! I took a piece of white poster board and divided it up into six wedges. I looked up my trusty color wheel colors and wrote in the appropriate colors in each wedge. Then I put out discarded magazines, scissors, and glue, and invited kids to cut things out of the magazines and paste them in the right wedges. I like making collaborative art – I think it’s fun for kids to be a part of something everyone is working on together.
My favorite part of this super simple boredom buster is the excellent collection possibilities. Art books, picture books about colors, books about color mixing, books about light…the list goes on. I grabbed a ton of colorful books and threw them up, and they checked out like crazy.
Okay, I know I’ve said all these boredom busters are easy, but this one really is easy, too! You gotta try some of this stuff if you can claim a table or corner of your library. It’s really good to have an activity out for our school aged kids so they feel like the library is a place that’s welcoming to them no matter when they get here!
Y’all. I mean, origami is like a classic thing kids so when they are bored, right? I was super excited to use it as one of my passive programs, but man origami paper is EXPENSIVE! I know the old trick of chopping the edge off a piece of copy paper to make it square, but I really wanted our boredom buster to seem more special than that (plus, I didn’t want to have to cut all the paper. I’m very lazy.) I found the perfect solution is a pad of scrapbooking paper! It’s pretty cheap if you buy it when it’s half off (I think it was less than ten bucks for 200 sheets), comes in tons of different colors and designs, and it’s big enough for kids to be able to fold things easily. It’s a little too thick for intricate designs, but that’s okay.
I found a super easy fox design from Pintrest, put a ton of origami books out, and made a little sign about what origami is. I must admit I have had lots of kids who have just used the paper and markers for coloring, but hey, fine motor skills!
This is another super easy boredom buster for busy people. Honestly, I think you could leave up an origami display for months, especially if you just switched out the example designs every few weeks.