Jamie Mercer is the Head of Youth Services at W.J. Niederkorn (Port Washington) Library and shares some extra fun with easy and/or FREE programming ideas/tips.
As winter looms, I know many of us are beginning to think about our summer learning programs. This year our library will be working with the CSLP theme Adventure Begins at Your Library. I am thrilled with this year’s theme and the numerous possibilities we have for programming for all ages.
As I reflect on past programs and what I can possibly reuse, one program that really sticks out is a Dinosaur Storytime with a Dinosaur Egg Hunt. The egg hunt can really be done in the library or outside of the library. I personally love taking the families outside to search for the eggs.
The program is pretty simple in preparation and execution, in addition to being fairly budget friendly. And I can tell you, this program is a crowd pleaser.
To prepare, I would recommend purchasing plastic eggs from the dollar store in the spring and stockpiling them, depending on the number of families you think you will have attend your program. I tend to stockpile about 100-150 eggs.
You will then want to purchase small plastic dinosaurs (which you may also be able to find at the dollar store off and on throughout the year) or you can purchase them in bulk at one time on Amazon (typically you can find about 150 mini dinosaurs for around $15). Stuff each egg with 1 dinosaur.
The day of the program, while you are giving your dinosaur themed storytime, have volunteers or staff members go out and hide the eggs around the library or outside around the library.
When the storytime is over, invite families to go on a hunt to find their very own dinosaur eggs. I would typically give paper bags for the families to collect the eggs. In addition, I would either have a set number of eggs each child can collect in advance or do a quick head count that day and some quick math to let families know how many eggs each child can hunt down. I am a pretty big stickler about this because I don’t want any friends to go home empty handed.
After the hunt is over, to save on costs for next dinosaur hunt program, have your patrons return the eggs to you, but let them know that they can keep the dinosaurs =)
Finally, for this program in general, I am really partial to Bob Barner books as well as When Dinosaurs Came with Everything by Elise Broach and illustrated by David Small, but really it’s hard to go wrong with a dinosaur storytime.