I first learned about Block Parties at ALA Annual 2013. The idea was to have kids come the library for a block building party. I knew I had to try this at my library, so I started our Block Parties during this year’s Summer Reading Program. They have become a huge hit and I am continuing the program after we had such a great success.
The Block Parties are easy to set up and run. The library has a large set of Legos already, but to add to the block collection, we purchased a set of wooden blocks and several sets of Duplos. I also have a large collection of styrofoam packing blocks from our computer packing (make friends with your IT staff!) that I use for block building. I also included other wooden blocks we had in our storyhour collection, shape sorters, foam blocks and any other block toys I had in our toy collection.
I put out all the blocks around the room and opened the doors for the kids to come build. Before we started, I read a book about building and talked about the types of things the kids could make with blocks. And then they were set free to build and use their imaginations to create whatever their hearts desired. I also put out a display of books on building and construction to give them ideas and hopefully keep the conversation about building and creating continuing at home.
The block parties run for an hour, but the kids would stay and build all afternoon if I let them! I’ve had success hosting them on Saturday mornings at 11am as well as Friday afternoons at 2pm. I roam the room talking to the kids about what they are creating and they are excited to show off their creations.
Our block parties are a fun, simple program that encourages creativity, imagination, and are a great way to get started in STEM programming. And with the partnership with LEGO DUPLO and ALSC with Read! Play! Build! this is the perfect time to start a block party of your own!