Solar Oven S’mores

Solar Oven S'Mores.jpg

Wow, it’s been such a long time since I’ve done a children’s program! I’ve been working the past year in a management position – so I’ve PLANNED programs, but haven’t delivered any.  In my current position, I’m back to doing children and teen programming. (YAY!)  Here’s a program that I piggy-backed off of one of my staff who did this last year. Solar oven s’mores!

Age: 9 to 12 years of age first group; 5 to 12 years of age* for the second group

  • *I would definitely suggest doing this program with the older kids from 8 to 12 years of age. The second group of kids – I had a few 5 or 6 year olds and they needed a lot of hands on. If you’re doing it with some younger kids, make sure you have 1 or 2 helpers in the room with you.

Supplies:

  • Pizza boxes (If you’re in Canada, go to Wholesale Club 50 pizza boxes for $20!) otherwise, ask your local pizza place for some donated boxes
  • Tin Foil
  • Black construction paper
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Wooden dowel
  • Markers or paint
  • Glue
  • S’mores kit 

This program cost me around $30.00 – including the S’mores Kit. It equals out to about $1.50 to $1.60 per child.

Lesson:

Always begin the program off with a lesson. Ask the kids some questions like:

  • What are some types of energy? (Heat, light, electricity, mechanical (moving), gravity, solar, chemical)
  • What type of energy does the sun give us? (Light)
  • Why do we need light? (to see; to heat things)
  • What are some ways that we cook food? (stove, oven, microwave)

I gave them a piece of paper and asked them to draw a pizza box and asked them to label where the tin foil would go, where the black construction paper would go and where the plastic wrap would go.

We then discussed how the oven works. What does the tin foil do? (reflects the sun)  What does the black paper do? (absorbs the light)  What does the plastic wrap for? (insulation so the heat doesn’t come out).

Then we began making the solar oven. For the instructions, please visit Steve Spangler Science

I would suggest that you cut out the tops BEFORE you hand them out to the kids.

Solar Oven S'Mores.png3.png

Free Printable: Back to School Bookmarks

Anyone else tired on the first day of school? I am! Here’s something new I tried out this year to help with the lineups at the desk for back to school reading materials.

I inserted these bookmarks into my favourite books in YA and JUV fiction. Just ask the kids or parents to browse the recommended reads. Simple, but effective!

Click here for free PDF download for bookmarks

Evaluating Children and Young Adult Programming

It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple storytime or a complex spy camp program, evaluation is a necessary tool to improve library services to children and young adults. Every program I deliver, I do a self-evaluation and an evaluation from the program attendees. I firmly believe that feedback, good and bad, helps me grow as a librarian. It also helps me develop programs that kids and teens want to attend.

Self-Evaluation

We’re busy librarians and once one program is completed, we’re on to the next one! It is important  to do the self-evaluation preferably the same day as the program or the day after. That way it is fresh in your heads! I also encourage my co-workers to do the same.

I created a Program Evaluation form for Programmers. I print it out and staple it to all my program outlines and then file them in a binder. This is a great way to keep track of previous programs and what you can change up for next time.

It’s important to be thorough, but also be critical. There’s always room to grow.

Evaluations from Program Participants

Always seek approval from management before you hand out any kind of evaluation form to the public. It should be approved from above before you distribute it from below.

I have a habit of doing one-off programs such as Play Date with a Book. I ran the adult version of this program in February for Valentine’s Day and I regret not putting in survey to see if they actually enjoyed the books I selected!

To get feedback from children and teens, a little bribery does the trick. Here are some simple tips:

For children:

  • Offer them ballots for a prize or give them some stickers (we always have leftovers from Summer Reading Club!) in exchange for filling out surveys
  • KISS – KEEP IT SIMPLE SILLY!  Include no more than three questions and make them closed-ended (yes or no) rather than open-ended (sentence style)

Survey

For teens:

  • Offer community service hours for participating in surveys
  • Open forum works best. Get them to be critical.

Amazing Race: Library Edition

Amazing Race: Library Edition is a program that I’ve ran twice before. It always brings out a huge crowd – and for those of us who have a small budget – it’s a great program to run!

For those of you who are not familiar with the show, teams race around the world completing challenges. The team that completes the challenges in the least amount of time, wins the race.

If you’re running this program in the library, the best way to do it is have the teams travel to continents: Europe, Asia, Australia, Antarctica, Africa, South America, North America.

Teams are given either a Detour challenge or a Road Block. In a Detour Challenge, teams have a choice of completing one out of two challenges. In the Road Block, teams have to complete that challenge.

Teams

I had four teams: Red, Yellow, Orange, and Green. One member was the “team captain” – and they were in charge of running the challenges to the pit stop and back (so there wasn’t a huge crowd). If teams got a challenge wrong, they were sent back to try again.

I wouldn’t do this program with anyone younger than 8 years of age.

Envelopes

Amazing Race - Envelopes

Download the template for envelopes here

I printed these on colored paper (don’t have a coloured printer here) and then glued them onto envelopes.

Challenges

Amazing Race - Playing Cards

Download the game cards here

Europe
Road Block: In this roadblock one member of the team will draw their own version of a famous painting. I used Mona Lisa.

Asia
Detour: in this detour, teams will have a choice of making one origami butterfly or Chinese lantern for every person in their team.

Australia
Road Block: In this roadblock, one member of the team will participate in a boomerang toss. You will have to decorate a boomerang and toss it into the box.

Amazing Race - Boomerang Toss

Antarctica
Detour: In this detour, teams will have a choice between completing a cool quiz or an Antarctica Word Search

Africa
Road Block: In this roadblock, team will have to complete an African animal which is which quiz

South America
Road Block: In this roadblock, one member of the team will participate in a game called Canica. The goal is to shoot marbles into the doors of a shoebox. Each door has a number telling you how many points you earn if the marble goes into that door. Earn 10 points to get past the roadblock.

Amazing Race - Canica

North America
Detour: In this detour, teams will have one choice between creating ONE totem pole bookmark for everyone in the group OR completing a fill-in-the-blanks worksheet about North American landmarks.

Final Challenge
Label a map with all the continents that your team has visited.

Spy Camp

A mysterious detective dropped off some secret case files and it’s up to us to uncover the mystery! Learn how to be a secret agent by using some sneaky spy tactics.

Spy camp is now my favourite program to run. It was a sold out crowd on a Saturday for kids – I mean Agents- aged 8-12. I wouldn’t recommend this program to be done with anyone younger. They need to be able to problem solve at a high level.

Program Delivery

Spy Code of Conduct

Spy Code of Conduct

When the Agents arrived for training, I took their names as a form of security clearance. I assigned them an agent number  and they were given their badge. The badge had the Spy Code of Conduct on the back. I used the code of conduct from S.P.Y. Camp Sustainable Planning for Youth.

Once we recited the Spy Code of Conduct, we then moved on to cracking codes. I found a template for a cipher, or a decoder, and my lovely page assembled them for me.

And here comes the dramatic part…

Urgetn Pakckage

I had my circulation staff bring in a package with the case files inside. The agents had to solve the mystery!

I instructed my circulation staff to interrupt the Spy Camp with a mysterious package that had been delivered to the circulation desk. She said, “Sorry to interrupt, but this urgent package was delivered to the desk. I didn’t see who it was, they were in and out, but they need you to look at it immediately.”

Inside the package was a note from Detective Dalton. There was a bank robbery at Bruce Spruce Falls Bank and Detective Dalton needed the Agents to help him solve the mystery.

I separated the Agents into four groups. They were each given Dalton’s letter, a bag of mixed up clues, Case Report Analysis, and Suspect list.

Case Files

Case Files

Through a process of elimination, the Agents had to sift through the clues, write down the suspects, if they had an alibi, and if they were cleared.

Case Files

Case Files

I found the clues on Teachers Pay Teachers, but I did modify it quite a bit the case files to suit a Canadian audience. The file is $6.99, but includes 5 cases.

Lots of preparation went into this program, bit it was well worth it! The kids were so rowdy and into it. I will definitely repeat this program again!