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Physical Literacy

Yoga for Heart Ache: Building Inclusive Programs

Yoga for Heart Ache logo

At public libraries we spend an awful lot of time celebrating the holidays and happy parts of life (as we should): Halloween parties, Valentine's crafts, Thanksgiving story time, book launches, STEM programs. These are all exciting and essential services. But what about the needs of our patrons that are sometimes a bit messier, a bit more hidden from public view, a bit less Hallmark-card sweet and a bit more nitty-gritty reality?

Middle Earth Walking Challenge

Three women walking in the woods

The Middle Earth Walking Challenge was a fitness program that we tied to literature. Since the summer reading theme was Build a Better World, I chose J.R.R. Tolkien’s series “The Lord of the Rings,” giving participants the fantasy challenge of saving Middle Earth by walking from the Shire to Mt. Doom, with the goal of destroying the One Ring.

Participants kept track of the miles they walked from June until August. The winner received a copy of “The Lord of the Rings,” and runners-up received a copy of “The Hobbit.”

Outdoor Water Party

Kids sitting in a circle. Photo credit: Craig Scott

At the height of Summer Reading Club (SRC) or during an autumn back-to-school heat wave, sometimes the best thing to do is take the kids outside and hose them down — that will get the fidgets out! (Kidding!)

But seriously, throwing water balloons at people or targets is extremely therapeutic. I asked my SRC leader, Ebony Scott, to come up with a program called Water Games. My only stipulations were (1) that it not wet any of the books and (2) that it have a reasonable budget. (If only we could afford giant Nerf Super Soakers for everyone.)

Tactile Tactics for Learning History

Boy carrying water with a yoke

When we hear the words "kinesthetic" or "physical" linked with literacy, we often think of sports, gym class, dance, yoga and other gross-motor-type programs. What we often overlook is how we are already incorporating much physical literacy in our library programs by adding tactile, hands-on activities to storytimes or events. And this is awesome — not only are we appealing to tactile learners (those than learn best by doing, not just seeing or hearing) but we are enhacing everyone's literacy skills, even the parents!

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