As you may have noticed, I love when I can tie a program into a holiday or special day. I had been wanting to do a terrarium program with the tweens at my library for a while and then realized that there'd be no better day than Earth Day. This was a really simple program and most of the kids finished well before the hour was over. I had a great turnout for an afterschool program geared solely for kids age 9-12. We started the program by talking about Earth Day - what it meant, where it came from, why it's important, how to celebrate. Then I explained that we'd be making terrariums using old soda bottles - finding a new use for something and adding more green to our lives. We made our terrariums all together, walking from each station as I explained the purpose of each layer - rocks, moss, soil, and finally our plants and seeds. I chose plants that I thought would be difficult to kill - I didn't want disappointed attendees coming back a couple days later complaining that their plants hadn't made it. I also wanted the kids to grow something edible, so I offered rosemary seeds to anyone who was interested. The kids loved seeing the different kinds of plants and were incredibly excited about growing the rosemary - many of them didn't seem to realize that they could grow their own foods. A few kids were also excited about the idea of introducing bugs to their terrariums - I encouraged them to research this more after the program to make sure the bugs and plants could live together harmoniously.
Since I knew the terrarium building probably wouldn't take the whole hour, I decided to recycle a craft from my All By Myself storytime and have the kids make bird feeders. It was much less messy this time around, and the tweens seemed just as excited and interested in the bird feeders as the preschoolers had. I let them make as many of them as the wanted and provided bags for transport this time. They asked questions about what was in the bird feed and what kind of birds they might see. I told them to watch underneath where they hung their feeder and see what sorts of plants grew. Overall, this was a really easy and fun program. The kids were very into learning about the terrariums and the environment. I would definitely do this again, and think it would be a perfect program to tie into this year's summer reading theme!