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Game and Activity Day

February 8, 2019
Audience
Children / Family
Tweens and Teens
Popular Topics
Coloring, Crafts & Hands-on
Passive Programming
Budget
$101-250
Advance Planning

We decided to start this program after the success we had hosting some Lego Free Play Days. Kids really enjoyed building their Lego creations, and we wanted to have a similar monthly program that would allow kids to have fun, hands-on experiences. What we came up with was this Game and Activity Day, which would allow kids of all ages to participate in a variety of hands-on activities at one time.

We started with mainly sit-down activities, like Connect Four, Jenga and checkers. We also have a few active games, such as mini-putt and ping-pong. We wanted there to be lots of choices so kids would be able to find something that interested them.

We chose a weekday afternoon for this program so kids would be able to attend the program after school.

Marketing

We have this event listed on our printed monthly calendar, which we start distributing in the library from the end of the prior month. We also create separate fliers for distribution in the library, and announcements appear on our library’s online calendar.

Budget Details

When we initially purchased the games, the cost was about $100 for about 20 games. However, we are always looking for potential new activities to add. We were able to get some of the games from discount or secondhand stores, which helped keep the cost down.

We purchased a ping-pong set with a net, paddles and balls, and we created a simple ping-pong table by attaching the net to two tables in the library. A staff member made a golf ramp for mini-golf out of wood with felt for the top, which cost about $50 for materials. We were also fortunate to have some staff members who owned a gaming console with age-appropriate games, which we borrowed for program days and set up on our TV at no cost.

We wanted to include activities that didn’t require special equipment or supplies, so we found simple paper crafts, like origami, to incorporate as part of the activities. We also have a simple seek-and-find game where we print out five pictures, hide them in the children’s section, and have a checklist of the images for the children to check off as they find them.

  
Day-of-event Activity

We set up the children’s area for the activities the morning of the event and leave signs on the tables to indicate that they will be used for a program in the afternoon.

We print out the seek-and-find images and hide them in the children’s section, and we print copies of the seek-and-find checklist and instructions for any papercrafts projects that we may have.

We also create a list of all the activities that we will have set up during the program so everyone knows what is available.

Program Execution

We have two staff members present throughout the program to help with setting up games, explaining instructions for activities and making sure that all activities are being played safely and fairly. Many kids or their parents are familiar with most of the games, so there is usually very little that needs to be done once everything is set up other than moderating the use of activities so that everyone gets an opportunity to try everything.

We get an average of 30 to 35 participants for Game and Activity Days, with higher participation during the summer and school breaks.

 
Advice

We have an audience of mainly toddler to young school-aged children for this program, so we mostly have games that are easy to set up with simple goals. We steer away from games that take a long time to complete or have complex rules of play (like chess or Monopoly). We have also phased out the gaming console, since many of the parents preferred that their kids participate in activities that don’t involve a TV screen.

Over the course of a few months of hosting this program we were able to adapt our activity choices to better suit our patrons. This is one of the great things about doing a Game and Activity Day. It can be customized to fit any library and any age group and can evolve over time to become a great, longstanding library program.

Short Title
Game and Activity Day

Created in 2016, our library's Game and Activity Day is a monthly afterschool program where we set up a variety of games and activities in the library for kids and their families to use.

We incorporate a mix of single and multi-user games and activities, ranging from basic board games to more physical activities, like ping-pong and mini-golf.

Summary

Set out a bunch of board games and activities and let the kids do the rest.