Sunday, January 20, 2013

Program: Wimpy Kid Party

You'd be hard-pressed to find a kid that wasn't anticipating the release of the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. In my quest to capitalize on these highly anticipated series releases with programming, we held a Wimpy Kid party the Saturday after the release date. We ran for the program for two hours and broke it up into two main parts: the first hour featured a variety of activities the kids could move between at their own pace, while the second hour started with trivia and included another activity (for the kids to work on after they were eliminated from the trivia competition). When kids arrived, they all received name tags printed on lined notebook paper with a Wimpy Kid drawing (my colleague and I had made our name tags from the "Wimp Yourself" website).

For the first hour, the stations we had set up were:

- Scavenger hunt: we do these all the time at the library because they are easy and the kids love them. For the Wimpy Kid version, we printed out pictures of different Wimpy Kid characters and placed them around the library for kids to find. When they found them all, they received a homemade cheese touch necklace. These necklaces were a prized possession for the kids who attended the program.

- Create your own journal: there would be no Diary of a Wimpy Kid is Greg Heffley's mother had not given him a journal as a present, so we encouraged the kids to follow in Greg's footsteps and create their own journals. We had half sheets of construction paper in all the colors of the Wimpy Kid books and lined notebook paper for the kids to hole punch and tie together with yarn. We also set out a number of art supplies so the kids could decorate their journals. They spent a lot of time at this station. On a separate table, we provided some writing prompts for the kids to get started writing in their journals, though I think most kids that grabbed these prompts took them home for later use.

- Puzzle table: you know, maybe it's lame of me, but I like word games and puzzles, like word searches and crossword puzzles. I like them for programs because they cost essentially nothing and the kids often seem to enjoy them as much as crafts or projects that cost significantly more. This was no exception. I printed out a bunch of Wimpy Kid word searches and crossword puzzles, as well as some black and white posters (which I figured the kids could color in and take home for their rooms). The kids worked diligently on the puzzles and many of them turned them over, attempting to draw their best versions of Greg Heffley himself.

- The Cheese Touch game: we played this like "Hot Potato," with a moldy cheese shaped beanbag that the kids passed around the circle to the music until it stopped playing. We played rounds until we had a winner, who received a package of cheese and cracker sandwiches. We played this game like a billion times in the first hour and the kids probably could have played all day.

For the second hour, we started with trivia. Since we couldn't find any cheap prizes to get in bulk, we decided we didn't want to have trivia teams, which is how we usually run trivia for programs. With that out, we figured our best option was a spelling bee style trivia contest. We made the whole thing optional, of course; nobody had to participate in trivia if they didn't want to. For the kids that did, we had them line up single-file. I asked the child at the front of the line the first question. If they got it right, they moved to the back of the line; if they got it wrong, I asked the next person in line the question. If they got it right, the first kid was eliminated and the second kid moved to the back of the line. We continued asking questions until we had a winner, who won a set of practical jokes. We did have some kids upset when they got eliminated from the whole contest after getting just one question wrong, so perhaps a trivia sheet with the most right answers winning would have been a better option. However, we did provide another activity for kids who didn't want to participate in the trivia or for after they were eliminated: draw your own comic. We drew some examples for the kids to get a sense of comic strip layout, but other than that, we let them create whatever kind of comic they wanted. I was running the trivia, so I didn't get a chance to see many of the comic creations, but I'm sure they were far better than mine!

And that was our Wimpy Kid Party! Have you had a Wimpy Kid program? What activities did you include?

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