Help Yourself ~ Summer Edition

Help Yourself is a passive program station with activities relating to a different theme each month. For more details, see this post.

The smaller gnomes you see are staff members. I used them for gnome bowling in another program.
June's Help Yourself was made up of activities related to our Summer Reading theme, Dig Into Reading. Most of the activities were from the Collaborative Summer Library Program Manual. I used the gnome from CSLP manual, colored and laminated him, posted a clue about where you might find him on the children's floor, and left tickets for participants to tell me where they saw him. He moved 3 times throughout the month and folks had a blast looking for him. I drew one name from correct answers to receive a small prize.
I also filled a gallon jar with odds, ends and soil, and asked kids to write down a list of everything they saw. We offered a small prize to one participant.
I displayed some of the trickster riddles from the manual and gave the kids the opportunity to share a joke they played on someone or had played on them. Lastly, I copied blank oblong bookmarks from the manual so kids could create a personalized bookmark cartouche.

In July, the activities related the National Ice Cream Month. We voted for our favorite flavor (mint chocolate chip), used our imagination to come up with unique and bizarre flavors, looked for the ice cream cone I set down somewhere on our floor (made of paper), and guessed the number of milk-shake slurping straws in the jar. I also put together an interactive display sharing some pretty wacky ice cream related world records from the Guinness World Records website.

Coming up in August, the theme is water. I plan to have the kids help me find my lost beach ball (again paper, so it doesn't become a toy). I also provided paper fish for kids to report their favorite body of water, whether it be the ocean or the bath tub, and I plan to compile the results in a chart. Participants can choose their pirate name, guess the number of pieces of saltwater taffy in a jar, and see if they can guess the water-related item in a blind box.

**UPDATE** 135 people guessed the amount of taffy in the jar and not one of them was right. BUT that's the most attention a single activity has attracted. Perhaps it was summer mayhem, perhaps it was the candy, but either way it was success!

Far and away, the top three most popular activities are:
  • any kind of voting
  • guessing the quantity of something in a jar
  • finding the missing item
I plan to use those elements over and over and over and over...

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