Thursday, August 9, 2012

Program: Tween Olympics

For my final program of the summer, I had a really hard time deciding on what I wanted to do. Like I've mentioned before, I really wanted to try to have all my programming fit into the mystery-ish summer reading theme. Initially, I planned on playing a game of life-size Clue - something I've been wanting to do since I first saw the idea. However, the more I thought about it, the more it just seemed like I wouldn't be able to do it justice. So, my next thought was making a giant labyrinth with challenges at intersections for kids to try to navigate. This, of course, created its own dilemma - what on earth would I possible construct a giant labyrinth out of? So, idea #2 scrapped. At this point, time was becoming an issue. I needed to come up with something because the July calendar of events needed to go out. And then I realized - HELLO, the Olympics will be just about to start! Voila! Program is born. Here's what we did.

Javelin throw: incredibly simple and incredibly popular. I made javelins by taping four plastic straws together. I think I made six. Then I taped a line on the floor from which they had to throw. They were trying to throw the javelins into two small wastebaskets. Kids went two at a time. They loved trying to get as many javelins as they could into the baskets and it was much more difficult than it seemed at first.

Hula hoop: exactly what it sounds like. I bought two hula hoops, set them on the ground next to each other and the kids challenged each other to see who could hula hoop the longest. A teen volunteer got them to start at the same time and then it was easy to determine winners.

Standing long jump: I made a tape line on the floor and the kids jumped from a standing position to see who could make it the farthest. This was, by far, the least popular of all the activities.

Obstacle course relay race: When there were about 20 minutes left in the program, I gathered all the attendees together and split them into two teams. They had to crawl under a line of chairs, balance on one foot for 20 seconds, and then throw a rubber ducky into a bucket. The next teammate couldn't start until the rubber duckies were returned to the throwing line. The kids absolutely loved this and enthusiastically cheered on their teammates.

Archery: yes, we own several of those plastic bow and arrow sets. Since archery is an actual event in the Olympics, I figured I'd let the kids give it a shot (haha). The sets we have don't work very well and the tweens were a bit disappointed, but they tried very hard to succeed at this event. I got some excellent photos of tweens taking fierce archery poses.

Shotput: another actual Olympic event that I tried to incorporate, I simply covered beanbags in aluminum foil. I started out with the intention of the kids throwing straight from the chin (as in actual shotput) but this quickly just turned into a regular throwing competition.

And that was it! Little mess and the kids moved freely between stations (excepting the obstacle course), so they could practice whichever event they enjoyed the most. And the reward for all their efforts? A variety of candies, of course!

What events would you include at your library Olympics?

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