Thursday, June 28, 2012

Program: Riddle Me This

As I mentioned in my first post about summer programming, I'm putting on weekly programs for my tweens (yes, I think of them as my tweens, even though I only know a handful by name - THAT WILL CHANGE) and I'm also trying to be better about posting things in a timely fashion. So, my second summer tween program was entitled Riddle Me This. We focused on riddles, puzzles, mazes, and all kinds of tricky things.

This program was nowhere near as involved or elaborate as my first program and, almost immediately after finishing Spy Academy, I began to worry that the kids would be disappointed with this one. Turns out my fears were completely unfounded. Here's what I had for them.

Riddle table: at this table, I had a variety of paper activities for them to try. I photocopied some elaborate mazes, a hidden picture puzzle, a spot the differences activity, some optical illusions and three different sheets of riddles. The riddles were divided into classic riddles, book-themed riddles, and stories to solve. I didn't think the kids would be very excited about this table - I mean, they could have done it themselves at home. But, nearly every kid who came to the program went to this table first and they all worked dilligently to solve as many riddles as they could without hints (I had two teen volunteers sit at the table with hints for all the riddles, as well as the answers). I even saw one child from the first session (I'm running my program in two back to back sessions) dutifully working on his riddle sheet long after the program ended.

Puzzle table: once again, I solicited staff to donate old jigsaw puzzles. I painted over the puzzle scene in a variety of colors, using acrylic paint. Then I set out the new colorful puzzle pieces and a bevy of craft supplies - Sharpies (many different colors), gemstones, glitter pens, googly eyes, and feathers. I put out an example of what they could do with them and just let them have at it. The idea was just for the kids to decorate the puzzle pieces or repurpose them into works of art. They seemed to have a lot of fun with this as well, many creating multiple pieces of art and excitedly showing them to me. My volunteers seemed to enjoy making their own masterpieces, too.

I Spy table: prior to the program, I ransacked our magazine donations and cut out pictures of things (animals, food, furniture, people, pretty much anything age-appropriate and interesting) - lots of picture. Then I put out colorful half-sheets of paper and glue sticks and invited them to create their own version of the I Spy books. I expected this to be the most popular part of the program but it definitely wasn't. There were a few tweens who headed straight for this table and stayed there the whole time, including one particularly meticulous boy. I'm not sure why this station was not as popular - maybe I'll ask some of the kids I do know by name for their input.

Book table: just in case the kids finished quickly or got bored, I pulled a bunch of puzzle and riddle books from the shelves and set them on display in the program room with us. A few kids perused them here and there but, as usual, they were mostly ignored. I did have one tween finish the riddles in ten minutes and then spend the remaining 35 reading through the books - that's what they were there for.

Ultimately, the kids had a lot of fun with this program. It was relatively quiet and low-stress and still seemed just as popular as the more high-octane program of the first week. So, I shall never doubt the diverse pleasures of my tweens again!

What would you have done? Anyone else ever hosted a riddle program?

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