Our library created a live-action version of the popular Angry Birds game , with the goal of creating activity that was fun and interactive while also requiring an under-current of critical thinking.
Young patrons had to use slingshots and work together to destroy the towers in which the piggies were hiding. They then worked together to try and construct towers that could withstand shots from the opposing teams.
We planned this out two years in advance, only because were trying to come up with projects that would use the extra boxes left from a building move.
To get started, we assembled the following materials:
- Boxes: Gathering boxes was the most important part to pre-planning this event. To make this truly successful, you will want a wide variety of box sizes. We used 50 for our small library. We had moved our library due to a building project and stored the leftover boxes with this event in mind.
- Water balloon launchers: Purchase two or three depending on how many groups you would like competing. These can usually be purchased locally during summer months, or on Amazon .
- "Ammo": You’ll want something that will not cause damage inside or outside when launched, so choose a soft, yet firm, object (like a stress ball). We used flocked balls  as we had them already on hand, and they worked perfectly.
- Piggies: Find images of the Angry Birds piggies (a quick Google image search yielded lots of choices ), and print several — about one for every four boxes you are using — then laminate them and cut them out.
We started our promotion a month in advance along with our summer reading project. We were lucky to have the "Angry Birds" movie come out at the same time, which built up audience excitement. We advertised through Facebook, our website and through word of mouth. We had about 15 teenagers show up, which is an excellent number for our community.
Ammo: Free for us, as we already had them on hand; I would budget $20 if I had to purchase
Put together the boxes and for each tower, stack three to four boxes (depending on box size). Attach a laminated piggy on each box. The players will shoot for these piggies to earn points, so make sure they are visible.
We had two staff members running this to help with setting boxes back up quickly and getting the balls back into the teens’ hands. We set the boxes up outside, which took us only about a half hour. The teens then signed in and formed teams.
It turns out that being outside was not so good. If there is any wind, your towers will fall before teens are even able to take aim at them. This happened to us, but since we had the space we moved inside. Once we were inside, things moved smoothly. I stress having soft balls that will not make marks on your walls if you do this.
Teams were formed of three to four players, with each participating player taking a turn so that teams had a total of four shots. Two teammates would hold the slingshot/launcher while a third pulled back and aimed.
For each piggy knocked down, players earned one point.
After boxes were knocked down, they were reset by staff in the same way, and the launcher and balls were passed to the next team. This rotated around by teams until they hit 20 points. We also did a quick round of staff versus the winning team.
Multiple teams can play at the same time if you have the space. This would require additional staff and volunteers for setting up the boxes between rounds, but it would also save time.
After the winning team emerged and played the staff team, we then challenged players to build towers that an opposing team would try to knock down.
We gave each team one piggy box and eight additional similarly sized boxes. Using critical thinking, they had to build a tower with the piggy at least one box off the floor. Other teams then could move to any angle to try to shoot it. They worked as teams to make it as difficult as possible. One team was successful at knocking down another team’s piggy.
The teens loved this program. Several asked if we would be able to offer the program again, and since it was so fun and low-cost, we are definitely planning to. Several kids even asked if they could take home their own piggies.
If you find round-shaped stuffed chickens that you think would be perfect for this, don't buy them. They won't fly further than six feet.
If there is any sort of wind outside, move immediately inside (space permitting).
In case you have to move inside, make sure your ammo will fly but not leave marks on the wall or damage other objects in the library.
About This Library
We are a small township library nestled in the city of Ligonier (population: 4,500). Our community is mostly low-income, and we are very diverse in culture, with 52 percent of our population being of Latino/Hispanic origin.