The Superhero Training Academy was part of our 2015 Summer Library Program, Be a Hero Read. Every Wednesday afternoon we provide a school-age program, so this program (scheduled during that time) was designed for school aged children. We always encourage all ages to participate on Wednesdays as long as younger children are with an adult. Stations with different activities were set up around the program room and outside for the kids to participate in at their own pace. There was one staff person running this event and we had 33 participants that day.
The goal for the program was to have children visit the library. I try to include something for everyone: crafts, some writing on the name badges, and several physical activities. I came up with the general idea for the program two months in advance because it was for summer reading. I relied heavily on Pinterest for ideas. About a week ahead of time, I finalized the activities for the program and printed the name badges and characters for the Frisbee throw. The day of the program I took about an hour and a half to shop, prep and set everything up.
I promoted this event at spring school visits promoting our Summer Reading Program, and each child received a reading calendar that had a list of all of our events with short descriptions. We also have a monthly enewsletter and a calendar on our wall by the circulation desk. We included the program on our website calendar, children's web page, and I also posted a flier in the children's area.
I spent less than $10. The squirt guns were super cheap; I should have spent a little bit more because the paint leaked out of them. I also purchased paper plates and a Frisbee from a dollar store. I used a lot of things I already had available at the library, such as plastic spoons, Styrofoam cups, yarn, ping pong balls, etc., to save on costs. You could probably have the kids make their own Frisbees with cardboard to save on cost (and it would be another activity for them to do).
I was the only person running this program. I spent about an hour and a half creating the signage, setting up the activities and making the buildings for the building jump. The stations were:
- Badge Building: Kids had to figure out their superhero name and create a badge.
- Villain Busting: Kids threw a Frisbee at villains taped to Styrofoam cups.
- Krytonite Keeper: Kids had to balance a spoon of Krytonite (green ping pong ball) over broken buildings (tubs of LEGOs) to save Superman.
- Target Practice: Kids got to squirt paint (liquid water color) at a picture of the joker using a squirt gun.
- Web Spinning: Kids cut slots around the edge of a paper plate and wove yarn into it to make a spider web.
- Building Leaping: This was the favorite activity that the kids kept going back to. I wrapped different shaped/sized boxes in black paper and I had a bored teenage patron put the window stickers (small labels) on for me. I lined them up in a row and kids jumped over them.
I had planned for the building jumping and the squirt gun painting to be outside, but it rained right up until the program. I was able to at least hold the painting activity outside.
The program went great. I ended up having an older kid help at the painting station because the squirt guns leaked and had to be constantly refilled. Everyone completed all of the stations. The checklist seemed to help keep them on task and get them to all of the different activities. Parents and kids both loved the program. Some of the children did not enjoy the Krytonite Keeper, but it was highly entertaining for me as well as some of their parents. We had excellent attendance for our library, 33 participants.
Try to get an extra person to man the water gun station; it is messy, and the guns might need to be refilled. If you can, host the water gun station outside; it is messy! Spread out the activities if you can; we have a 20-by-20 room, and it was crowded.
I wrote about this program on my blog , which credits all of the ideas I used at the program and contains links to the superhero name game and badges.
About This Library
Bloomer, Wis., is a small rural city with a population of 3,560, and our library serves about 7,000 people. We are a small rural library with three full-time and two part-time staff. Our library participates in the Collaborative Summer Library Program.