Meservey Public Library staff created take-home activity bags based on famous literary lands.
My library, like so many others, is not doing in-person programming this summer. We still wanted to do some kind of big summer activity, a la summer reading, but since many of our young patrons don’t have internet access at home, we didn’t want to make it a solely virtual program. So we decided on themed grab-and-go bags.
We typically follow the Collaborative Summer Library Program themes; this year’s is “Imagine Your Story.” I decided to create a weekly series of take-home bags that would take the neighborhood kids through the end of July. Each bag is themed around a different fictional, magical location and has various crafts, snacks and printable activities inside. Due to our tiny library’s budget constraints, I could only afford to make 15 bags per week; parents can contact me via Facebook or phone to claim a bag for their child.
In addition to the bags, I created several Bingo sheets for anyone to complete for a prize. Rather than just tracking minutes read, the Bingo sheets ask kids to do activities like drawing a picture, taking a walk, and learning something new.
During our first week, all bags were claimed within 30 minutes of announcing the theme, and the kids loved them. Below are the items I included in each grab-and-go bag, along with packets of printable activities, word searches, mazes and coloring sheets.
Bag 1: Hogwarts, "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling
- Plastic Harry Potter glasses
- Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans
- “Potions class,” a printed sheet containing various slime recipes
- Paper plate Hedwig the owl craft
- Fire-breathing TP roll dragon craft
- “Unicorn Chow,” a.k.a. Lucky Charms
- “Felix Felicis,” a.k.a. small bottles of water
- “Slytherin Snakes,” a.k.a. gummy worms
Bag 2: Bikini Bottom, "Spongebob Squarepants"
- Goldfish crackers
- Shark-shaped fruit snacks
- “Kelp Shakes,” a.k.a green juice pouch
- CD fish craft
- Build a Spongebob craft
- Jellyfish paper plate craft
- Temporary tattoos
Bag 3: Never Never Land, "Peter Pan" by James Matthew Barrie
- “Pirate’s Booty,” a.k.a popcorn
- “Pixie Dust,” a.k.a pixie sticks
- Tinkerbell house craft
- Captain Hook craft
- Clothespin alligator craft
- Peter Pan feather hats
Bag 4: Wonderland, "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll
- “Drink Me,” a.k.a any juice
- “Eat Me,” a.k.a snack cakes
- Flowers with faces craft
- Playing card soldiers craft
- Mad hatter headband craft
Bag 5: Whoville, Dr. Seuss
- “Hop on Pop”-corn, a.k.a popcorn
- “Red Fish, Blue Fish,” a.k.a rainbow goldfish crackers
- “Ten Apples Up on Top,” a.k.a apple slices
- Cat in the Hat photo prop craft
- Thing 1 and Thing 2 craft
- Truffula tree craft
Bag 6: Arendelle, Disney's "Frozen"
- Cheese sticks (with Olaf faces drawn on the packaging)
- Build a Snowman treat
- Frozen fruit snacks
- Rock troll craft
- Elsa’s wand craft
- Olaf TP roll craft
- Snowflake rings
Bag 7: Yoshi’s Island, "Super Mario World" Video Game
- “Fire power,” a.k.a cheese balls
- “Goombas,” a.k.a chocolate pudding cups with faces
- “Yoshi eggs,” made from M&Ms
- Piranha Plant craft
- Princess Peach crown craft
- Mario mustaches
One of the best things about these bags is that each theme can easily be altered to be an in-person program for future use.
Some other fictional locations to kick around: Oz/Emerald City, The Shire/Middle-Earth, Hundred Acre Wood, A Galaxy Far Far Away … the possibilities are endless!