Why not set up temporary Summer Reading themed learning centers in your branches this summer? It is ok to take down some of your current centers and give them a rest for the summer and put out some new fresh centers. This will give you a chance to clean up and revamp some of your current centers and give your customers something new and exciting!
Here are some great ways to incorporate “Dig Into Reading” into your language rich library environments.
1. Ant/ Worm Farms
Simply place an ant and/or worm farm on a table with some magnifying glasses and let the amazement begin. You can also put out observation sheets for kids to record what they see, provide a space to drawn and write about the ants and worms. This simple center invites kids and caregivers to talk about what they see and to write about it. Of course you want to keep the area stocked with books about ants and worms and other underground critters.
2. Growing Plants
Like the ant and worm farms, another observation center you can create is a flower bed/ mini garden. Plant a few flowers or veggies in a small planter and provide observation sheets and magnifying glasses for kids and caregivers to watch the plants grow with each visit to the library. They can note the differences in the plant between each visit and learn about life cycle of a plant.
Glue magnets on toilet paper tubes and paper towel tubes (for clear tubes use plastic holders for Florescent lights) and then put them on a wall you have painted with magnetic paint or another magnetic surface (you can also use Velcro on a felt surface). Next, provide craft pom poms, bouncy balls and anything else you can think of to be sent through the tunnel. 88 Be careful to put this our of reach of babies and toddlers since items that will fit through a tube this size can be choking hazards. ( You can also use PVC pipe if you have a bit more money to spend to make the tunnels more durable). This preschool has a great example on their website. http://trinitypreschoolmp.blogspot.com/2012/02/tubes-of-fun-magnetis-fun.html
4. Construction or other Themed Puzzles
Purchase themed puzzles like these beautiful Melissa and Doug Construction Jigsaw puzzles to link a center you may already have to the summer reading theme.
For these last two you will need to have an outdoor space or a space indoors that is easy to clean up and an open mind!
5. Ice Archeology
Gather a bunch of animals or other plastic objects and place them in a large bowl or tub of water. Freeze the bowl or tub (you may want to make several of these for use throughout the day). Place the huge ice cubes with toy or wooden hammers, spoons and plastic knives (like the safety ones for pumpkin carving) out for kids to excavate the objects from the ice. This is a time sensitive activity center but lots of fun. If you make a few you could put them out ever 1-2 hours as they melt.
Pour sand (you can get plastic sand called play pellets if you are worried about mess- http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?Product=28441&rec=PDHbot) into a large tub, storage containers work great for this. Then bury objects and even toy bones in the sand. Allow kids to excavate the objects. You can also have measuring cups and spoons for a great math addition to this center.
What centers are you planning this summer?