Last spring, I knew that I wanted to have a preschool program all about colors and rainbows. Since I suspected that this program theme would be wildly popular and that registration would fill up, I wanted to be able to accommodate larger crowds than usual.
That was when I decided to try an activity station program.
Normally during my programs, I lead the group through the different activities that I have planned. This can easily lead to hiccups when I have two sets of kids: one set ready to move on to the next activity and the other set who wants to continue whatever they are currently doing.
For my “Over the Rainbow” program, I began by reading some great rainbow themed books: “Planting a Rainbow” by Lois Ehlert, “Wow! Said the Owl” by Tim Hopgood, and “Color Dance” by Ann Jonas. This got everyone settled down, and introduced the theme. Afterwards, I explained what activities were set up at which tables and let the kids pick where they started.
My stations for this program were:
- Beanbag toss with rainbow colored beanbags
- Book display, all about colors
- Bubbles/scarves dancing
- Dough/color mixing
- Rainbow streamer craft
When the kids finished with one station, they were able to move on to another. I had teen volunteers staffing the tables that required a bit more instruction (dough/color mixing station and the craft station) and that definitely helped me out!
This was a hugely successful program and I had a lot of compliments from parents about their kid being allowed to work at their own pace.
Since everything worked out so well, I’m trying a whole new storytime session this fall based on activity stations — I’m sure I will continue to learn about what works and what doesn’t. I’ll make sure to report back!
Have you done activity station programs at your library? How have your patrons responded to them? Let me know in the comments!
– Katie Salo
Youth Services Manager
Melrose Park Library