Blogger Gretchen Schulz

Engaging Resources for Online Programs Pt. 2

Post-It Notes Representing Idea Generation

Welcome to Part 2 of Engaging Resources for Online Programs. (You can find the first post on ALSC Blog from September 24, 2020 here.)

These have all been done under the program title, Boredom Busters, at Schaumburg Township District Library in Schaumburg, Illinois–a suburb of Chicago.

We are doing this program for tweens and pre-tweens (11-13 year olds specifically) during the COVID-19 pandemic while all library programming is virtual. Each month, we do a different online activity that is engaging and fun for our audience. The program can be 45 minutes to an hour depending on how much content you create.

My colleague, Allison Riggs, and I have done all of the following examples, and have had fun doing each one.

I surveyed some of our participants at a program earlier in September, and a few mentioned Boredom Busters as one of their favorite online program offerings for their age group from the library! 

Bring Your Own Book

Utilizing the Bring Your Own Book website will help you out here. They have an awesome free resource anyone can sign up for, which will e-mail you a “print-and-play demo” of their game. Basically, you say a prompt, and participants find a totally out of context phrase from a book they have at home to appease the prompt. For example, a prompt is “Something spoken by an animal in a fairy tale.” I have Anya and the Nightingale by Sofiya Pasternack sitting on my desk, and the phrase I choose to fit that prompt is, “I am a dragon!…If I didn’t look like this–he’d be trying to drag me to the tsar, and I’d die” (p. 175).

It was a great way to do a program that cost zero dollars, and we had fun!

Drawing Challenges

For this program, each participant was challenged to draw the prompt. We timed them, and gave one and a half minutes. We, as the leaders, also participated, and after each prompt was drawn, we all held up what we drew for comments and accolades. It was a good time! Here are example prompts you can use:

Draw a moose with your eyes closed

Draw a flower with your non-dominant hand 

Draw a shape. Now turn that into food.

Draw as many different pets as you can

Turn this book title into a drawing “The Stinky Cheese Man”

Trace your hand, now turn it into something that isn’t a turkey

Draw a self-portrait with your eyes closed

Draw a shark eating a cupcake

Draw a cat without lifting your pencil from the paper

Draw something that is bumpy

Draw your favorite type of weather

Draw something that is found at the beach

Draw something you find at the park

Scavenger Hunt

Basically, participants have one minute to find an item that fits the prompt. We did try to encourage the kids to find the item in the room they were in, however we noticed kids running out of their current rooms to make sure they found something awesome. It was really fun, and it got the kids moving! We were able to comment on what each person found, which made them very happy. We came up with 20 items and drew at random:

a flower

something grey

Something that starts with the letter B

something red

something you made

a bag

a game

something that starts with the letter S

a library card

a hat

something yellow

something round

a fan

a piece of paper

a book

a candle

a photo

a lego


markers or crayons

something made of wood

Credit is due to Carl Hooker at for his May 13, 2020 article “25 Strategies to Engage Students on Your Next Zoom Meeting.”

This post addresses ALSC Core Competencies III. Programming Skills | 3. Integrates appropriate technology in program design and delivery. & 7. Delivers programs outside or inside the library to meet users where they are, addressing community and educational needs, including those of unserved and underserved populations.

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