School age kids are often the ones who fall through the cracks when it comes to library services. Let’s face it, most programs either aim at preschoolers or teenagers. But the kids in the middle–the ones forming their own opinions about reading and what interests them in life–are usually the last ones to receive special programming. Having two children, myself, who fall into this category, I strive to provide school age programs when I can. Unfortunately, my county budget combined with my part time job status make this difficult. However, with a little creativity, you can find ways to provide programming to those wonderful, precocious, intelligent school age kids!
The first program I wanted to share with you is our most popular one, by far. Two words: LEGO Club. Once a month, we host a group of kids who have one purpose in mind–to build using only little plastic bricks and their imagination. Each month we have a challenge or theme. January’s theme, for example, is “Robots & Planets.” When the children first arrive they have 15 minutes to build their challenge theme. I always provide examples printed off the internet from a simple Google search. Once the time is up, they share their creations in a show and tell format.
Later, we share a snack and just talk and mingle. The goal is not so much connecting books to the LEGOs as just seeing that coming into the building and spending time there is fun! Hey kids! Did you hear that? Libraries are FUN! 🙂
As far as financials, our club is a bring your own bricks club, so there was no start up cost. LEGOS are pricey! (I do, however, accept community donations and use those for any kids who show up without their bricks.) My only cost is the print cost for advertising and providing the snack. I do keep the snack simple–just juice and a cookie or crackers. On holidays we splurge a little, but over all, I find this program provides a lot of bang for the buck!
Below are examples of themes and projects:
Themes: Build a City, Food, Creepy Monsters and Design a Game