Summer Camp Outreach

17 Jul

Fairuse_GruffaloEvery year the library partners with the local Park & Recreation Department to bring a library program out to the summer day camp.  This year we’re focusing our services on children ages 5 – 8, which is a little easier than offering a 30 – 45 minute program for the older kids (many who are uninterested in anything I can bring for that short time).  During each visit, I introduce myself, talk briefly about the library and the summer reading program, stressing that the library is open late so they can stop by the library even after camp is over for the day.  After the introduction is finished, I read aloud from a picture book or short chapter book and then we do some form of craft or activity.

For a number of years I tried to read books that coincided with the summer reading theme, but after awhile, I realized it was more important to read great read alouds, funny, exciting books that kids are interested in, rather than trying to work around a theme.  Today, I went to camp and read The Gruffalo written by Julia Donaldson and illustrations by Axel Scheffler.  It’s a great read aloud with a rhyming pattern that the kids were happy to help me with and they all loved how the little mouse tricked all the animals including the gruffalo.  After we read our story, the campers all got a chance to go through an obstacle course I set up for them.  I have found that obstacle courses are one of the easiest and most inexpensive programs to provide for a large group of kids, especially if you’re not sure of the exact number you’ll have.

For our obstacle course the kids had to:

  • Attempt to jump rope 5 times
  • Throw a ball into a short basketball hoop
  • Balance a ping pong ball on a spoon and weave around cones
  • Crawl through a pop-up tunnel
  • Balance a bean bag on their head and walk heel-to-toe across a curvy balance beam
  • Attempt to hula hoop 5 times
  • Toss three bean bags into a bucket

I tired to set up two of each challenge when I was able to, so that we could get twice the number of kids through the course at a time.  The kids had a great time with the course and then we made the counselors run through the course as well, which was almost as fun for the kids!  Does an obstacle course have anything to do with the library?  Not really, but my hope is that the campers had a lot of fun and connect that reading and the library can be fun too!

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