As a general rule, librarians love to create programs that are tied to books. It’s in our nature. So when I learned that Jeff Kinney was publishing the seventh book in his Wimpy Kid series, The Third Wheel, I did what any of us would do…I planned a party around it! Parties based around books are wonderful not only because they help promote your collection, but literacy in general.
I decided to host it as an hour-long after-school program for children in grades 3 to 6. I knew ahead of time that I wanted to have a series of activities where the tweens could win “Mom Bucks”. I found a template online and was able to create a Publisher document to print out onto green paper. Whoever had the most Mom Bucks at the end of the program would win a brand new copy of The Third Wheel.
At the start of the program, I gathered all of the tweens together for introductions and to explain the rules of the Mom Bucks. Then I had them all sit in a circle on the floor and we played Cheese Touch Hot Potato. I used a yellow bean bag to act as the cheese. Then we started the music and the tweens had to pass the “cheese” around like in hot potato. When the music stopped, whoever was holding the bean bag was out. We played this until a winner was declared. Each participant received 1 Mom Buck when they were eliminated and the winner received 2 Mom Bucks.
Next, I had them sit down in chairs and we played Wimpy Kid Trivia. I asked them a series of questions that I found online. Abrams Books, publisher of the Wimpy Kid books, offers great Event Kits for most of the books. I found this to be a helpful resource for not only trivia questions, but for activity ideas in general. An example of an Event Kit can be found here. Each time someone answered a question correctly, I gave them 1 Mom Buck. I truly tried to stump them with some harder questions, but I had a room full of Wimpy experts!
After that we had a Toilet Paper Wrap race. You can alter how to play based on your attendance numbers. For example, if you have a large number of participants you could hold two heats so that you can keep an eye on everyone. The premise is simple: wrap your teammate the fastest using an entire roll of toilet paper. Because I had 15 tweens at my event, I split them into five groups of three and they had to completely use up two rolls of toilet paper. First place received 3 Mom Bucks, second place received two Mom Bucks, and third place received one Mom Buck for each team member. The only caveat I would offer for this activity is to make sure that you have the kids completely clean up the toilet paper immediately afterward, or your director may become suspicious about your children’s programming!
The last thing we did, as a sort of cool-down activity, were the crafts. I gave them a couple options: create a Zoo Wee Mama comic and/or a Stealthinator headband. I found some examples of the Zoo Wee Mama in the first Wimpy Kid book and photocopied them for the tweens to reference. For the Stealthinator headbands, which are referenced at the very end of Rodrick Rules, I cut plain white pillowcases into strips and set out some fabric markers for decorating them.
Of course, no tween program would be complete without a snack! I kept it simple with snack-sized bags of cheddar Goldfish crackers and pouches of Capri Sun. They ate these while they completed their crafts. I also used this time to tally up everyone’s Mom Bucks and announce the winner. One lucky girl won by a landslide.
Overall, it was a great program and I think that the tweens had a lot of fun. One recommendation I would make is that if you can, enlist a coworker or a teen volunteer to help you. I was fortunate enough to have help and it definitely came in handy during Cheese Touch Hot Potato and the trivia portion.
Here are some other activity ideas:
- Wimp Yourself: Depending on how many attendees you have as well as how many computers you may have access to, this website allows you to “wimp” yourself by creating a cartoon avatar within minutes. I tested this and I found mine to look eerily similar to myself in real life! You can choose to save and print your avatars when finished.
- Manny’s Cereal Toss Game: Toss mini cereal boxes into a toilet seat cover atop an empty wastebasket. Award 1 Mom Buck to anyone who can get it into the wastebasket.
- Wimpy Kid Bingo: This can be found in this Event Kit.
- The Shame Game: Everyone stands up. The moderator reads from a list of statements. After each statement is read, the people for whom the statement is not true sit down. The winner is the last person (or people) standing. This game is also found in the Third Wheel Event Kit.
Has your library put on a Wimpy Kid program or any other book-based party? Please feel free to leave ideas, suggestions, or questions in the comments!
For more programming ideas, please visit the full Kickstart List available online.
Kimberly Castle-Alberts is a Children’s/YA Librarian at the Hudson Library & Historical Society in Hudson, OH and is writing this post for the School-Age Programs and Services Committee. She can be reached at email@example.com.