Wednesday, October 7, 2015

SUPER VEGGIES = SUPER SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM!

Guest post by Kirsten Almo

Kids tasting vegetables
Image courtesy the author
Soil, seeds, water, plants, bugs, and people. These were the weekly themes for a new program, Super Veggies: Stories at Silverwood, that I tried this summer. The program took place at Silverwood County Park, a new Dane County Park, and Super Veggies tied in with our SLP hero theme as well as the parks mission of sustainable agriculture education. This program, which was targeted for families with children of preschool and elementary school age, was so much fun to plan and implement that I wanted to share it in case another librarian can use some of the ideas next summer. With the 2016 Ready, Set, Read focus on healthy activities, this program would fit perfectly.
Outdoor storytime
Image courtesy the author

I just finished my first year as a public librarian and therefore, my first summer library program! While in the planning stages, I approached the Friends of the Silverwood Park and our local school district about partnering for this program. The Friends group provided 2-3 volunteer helpers each week and the school district advertised the program through their summer school brochures and provided the funding for craft supplies. As the program was being held in a county park, I also completed an event request form.

The hour long program had the same format each week which made planning a breeze and was easy for the volunteers to jump in. The first twenty minutes was a structured program and the second part of the program offered 3 exploratory stations for families to visit.
Cheering for vegetables
Image courtesy the author

STRUCTURED PROGRAM FORMAT (20 minutes):
  1. Opening book each week Rah! Rah! Radishes! by April Pulley Sayre. As this is a chanting cheer for vegetables, wed wave something like Swiss chard or rhubarb as a pom pom!
  2. Opening song If You Think SOIL is Important Clap Your Hands (tune: If Youre Happy and You Know It). Words would change each week with to match the theme.
  3. Second book--story appropriate to the theme
  4. Tasting time--sample 3-4 veggies each week
  5. Third book--story appropriate to the theme
  6. Closing song
  7. Song related to the theme


EXPLORATORY STATIONS (40 minutes):
Trying the Magicscopes
Image courtesy the author
  1. Make It (craft station) some examples that we did include painting rocks, seed collages, and creating egg carton insects.
  2. Try It (activity station) some examples include a scavenger hunt, sitting on a tractor, testing pH in water samples, and planting seeds.
  3. Check it Out! (microscope station) the Friends group had 6 Brock Magiscopes which were available for looking at things like worms, seeds, and pond water.


Kids trying microscopes
Image courtesy the author
Some of the things that made this program so easy to plan included having the structured format. I printed a flyer each week that included book titles, song words, and a description of the activity stations. The outside of the flyer was the same each week and listed the dates and themes for all the programs. I had Rubbermaid tubs that traveled to the park each week 1 for each station and 1 with my books and other materials. I could get these boxes unpacked and repacked during the week as time allowed and then the volunteers could get their stations set up at the park each week. The collaboration with the Friends of Silverwood Park group and the Edgerton School District was wonderful. We heard a lot of positive comments from patrons and I will definitely run this program again.

Written by:
Kirsten Almo, Youth Librarian