During summer our library has very successful stand-alone, single day events. This summer we decided one of these days would be themed around Star Wars. We have Star Wars books across all levels of youth services (graphic novels, chapter books, easy readers) and they are always circulating well so it seemed like a natural fit. The Star Wars day was a huge hit: it was one of our best attended programs of the summer. We had 40 children attend and many more express regret they missed it.
All of our single day events follow the same general plan: attendees arrive (we encourage costumes or themed outfits!) and we read a story, do activity stations, and then have a themed snack. The book we chose to share was Matthew Reinhart’s Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy. This had even the older kids ooh’ing and aaah’ing in delight.
We called the activity stations “Jedi Training” and told the kids they needed to complete as many as possible to become Jedi. Managing 40 kids at activity stations presented a challenge, so we split them up into groups by color and then had middle school age volunteers lead the groups. This was a great idea, the younger kids really enjoyed taking directions from the older kids and the middle school kids felt truly engaged.
The activity stations included:
Train Your Brain! (A table set up with Star Wars jigsaw puzzles from the Dollar Tree and activity sheets and coloring pages printed from the Play section of www.starwars.com)
- Work on Your Disguise Skills! (Cut out character masks, again printed from www.starwars.com)
Test Your Agility and Your Aim!(This was three stations, all of which involved beanbags. At one station we hung up a large cut-out of the Death Star and children were tasked with hitting the red target area with a bean bag to make it explode. One station involved our trusty carnival ball throw revamped to feature Star Wars villains. Children tried to defeat the villains by getting the bean bag in the corresponding bag. One station gave children the chance to knock down Clonetroopers and Stormtroopers using bean bags. One of my talented student artists did a lot of drawing work for this project, including drawing the Death Star and the Clonetroopers and Stormtroopers, which were then affixed to empty boxes).
- Find An Asteroid! (We hid balled up pieces of tinfoil around the library and the children ran around collecting them. Stations like this are always a big hit!)
Visit the Jedi Library! (Lots of checkouts from our amazing collection of Star Wars books!)
The snacks were also all themed:
- Wookie Cookies (simple chocolate chip cookies)
- Princess Leia Buns (Little Debbie Honey Buns cut in two)
- Ewok Snacks (Trail mix in small Ziploc baggies)
- Lightsaber Skewers (red and green grapes on wooden skewers)
- Bantha Milk (milk with blue food coloring — it was gross!)
- Yoda Soda (The big hit of the day: Sierra Mist with lime sherbert)
After snacks, everyone returned to the main area where they were presented certificates proclaiming them Jedis and they received their special prizes: LIGHTSABERS! The lightsabers were pool noodles cut in half and decorated on one end with electrical tape. We made sure they were all green (like Yoda’s lightsaber) so there were no arguments. The children were also given balloons to use with their lightsabers in “practicing the Force” (AKA keeping the balloons aloft. It was a melee scene of pure delight!
Children were welcome to take home leftover coloring pages, mazes, and masks as well as their lightsabers and Star Wars pencil sharpeners we’d purchased at a party supply store on discount. Most of the activities and food came from simplifying ideas I found on Pintrest when searching “Star Wars parties” and from a great guide for having Star Wars events created by ABDO publishing.
Dozens and dozens of books were checked out and the feedback was overwhelming positive. It created lots of buzz and great word of mouth for for all our summer programs. Patrons can’t wait to know when we’re going to do it again.
And is there anything better than the sight of tiny Jedis in the stacks?
Our guest blogger today is Angie Manfredi. Angie is the Head of Youth Services for the Los Alamos County Library System in Los Alamos, NM. Visit Angie online at www.fatgirlreading.com or @misskubelik on Twitter. You can ask any questions about this event in the comments or email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at email@example.com.