Staff Site

Activities

3-D Drawing Prompts

Crafts
Ages 6-12
15-20 minutes

3-D Drawing Prompts

Description

Three-dimensional objects are the centerpiece of these two-dimensional drawings.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Variety of small objects

Preparation

Collect “drawing prompt” objects such as toys, recycled items, utensils, buttons—anything that will fit within the area of the drawing paper.

Display the items so that the participants can easily pick and choose the ones they would like to use for their drawings.

Implementation

  1. Select a drawing prompt object and place it on the drawing paper.
  2. Consider how to use the object in the picture. The drawing may incorporate the object’s actual function or it might use the object’s shape in place of something else in the drawing (e.g. a miniature toy car can possibly be included in a drawing of a roadway, or maybe it can turned into a building as part of a cityscape drawing).
  3. Draw and colour around it. Work the object into the picture.
  4. Also consider the different perspectives of the object, looking at it from different angles. It’s possible to draw around the object to create an interesting 3-D effect.

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Book Suggestions

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring
Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies
Niko Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka

Crafts
Ages 6-12
15-20 minutes

Download PDF

A Better Hockey Sweater

Group Based, Crafts
Ages 6-12
15-20 minutes

A Better Hockey Sweater

Description

Who will design the new uniforms for the manager’s hockey team?

Materials

Preparation

Print and photocopy the hockey uniform templates.

Implementation

  1. Select a volunteer to be the manager of the new hockey team.
  2. Break up the rest of the group into teams of designers.
  3. The manager addresses the designers telling them what the hockey uniform will look like.
  4. Some details the manager may suggest (prompting may help):
  5. The designers may ask questions as they take notes.
  6. The designers are given time to design and create the uniforms (they will be designing “Home” and “Away” versions) using the template and the colouring markers, crayons, and pencils. Extra templates or scrap paper may be provided.
  7. When the designers are done, the uniform designs are displayed. The manager should not be watching as they are posted to prevent any bias.
  8. The manager is given time to review the designs, saying what he/she likes or don’t like. Finally, the manager makes a choice and the winning design earns the designing team the “contract.”
  9. Variations: Instead of hockey uniforms, design other sport uniforms or other clothing.

Book Suggestions

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe by Deborah Blumenthal

Maker Projects For Kids Who Love Fashion by Sarah Levete

Group Based, Crafts
Ages 6-12
15-20 minutes

Download PDF

A Book of Wonders

Crafts
Ages 5 and under
20-30 minutes

A Book of Wonders

Description

Create a book to store small collectibles.

Materials

  • Construction paper
  • 3-hole punch
  • Yarn or ribbon
  • Safety scissors
  • Glue and tape
  • Markers, pencil crayons, or crayons
  • Decorative craft supplies (glitter, stickers, etc.)
  • Other materials used to decorate

Preparation

Let participants know ahead of time to bring their small collectibles so that they can add them to their books.

Prepare the room for a craft program.

Implementation

  1. Fold the construction paper in half and use the 3-hole punch to create two holes on the same side of the paper.
  2. String the yarn or ribbon through the two holes and tie a knot to keep the paper together.
  3. Decorate and individualize the cover and the pages.
  4. Add collectibles to the pages of the book.

Book Suggestions

Hector the Collector by Emily Beeny
Sam Sorts by Marthe Jocelyn
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

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Crafts
Ages 5 and under
20-30 minutes

Download PDF

A Box of Curiosities

Crafts
Ages 5 and under
20-30 minutes

A Box of Curiosities

Description

Create and design a box to store wonders that you have collected.

Materials

  • Box (old shoebox, discarded box, or purchased box)
  • Glue
  • Safety scissors
  • Markers, pencil crayons, or crayons
  • Decorative craft supplies (glitter, stickers, etc.)
  • Other materials used to decorate

Preparation

Gather old shoeboxes or discarded boxes that are in good shape. Alternatively, purchase new boxes for the program.

Prepare the area for a craft program.

 Implementation

  1. Each participant decorates a box with glitter, feathers, etc.
  2. When participants have completed decorating their box, ask them what sorts of collectibles they plan on storing in their box.

Book Suggestions

Hector the Collector by Emily Beeny
Sam Sorts by Marthe Jocelyn
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

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Crafts
Ages 5 and under
20-30 minutes

Download PDF

A Few of My Favourite Things

Crafts
Ages 5 and under
20-30 minutes

A Few of My Favourite Things

Description

Make a scrap picture poster of some of your favourite things.

Materials

  • Discarded print materials with plenty of pictures (books, magazines, brochures, etc.)
  • 11 x 17 inch paper
  • Markers, coloured pencils, crayons
  • Decorative craft supplies (sparkles, stickers, etc.)
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Tape

Preparation

Prepare the area for an arts and crafts program.

Ensure the contents of the discarded materials are age appropriate.

Implementation

  1. Go through some of the discarded items and cut out pictures of things that you like or that interest you.
  2. Glue the images onto a sheet of paper. They can be arranged in any way.
  3. Decorate the page by drawing around the pictures or by gluing sparkles, stickers, etc.
  4. Print a description on the page (e.g. “My Favourite Things,” “Happy Things,” “Round Things,” “Fun Things”).

Book Suggestions

Sam Sorts by Marthe Jocelyn
Hector the Collector by Emily Beeny

Crafts
Ages 5 and under
20-30 minutes

Download PDF

Bean Bag Curling

Games, Group Based
Ages 6-12
15-20 minutes

Bean Bag Curling

Description

Compete against others in a makeshift sport that requires precision and strategy.

Materials

  • Bean Bags
  • Tape or chalk
  • Pylon or other object

Preparation

Clear space in an indoor or outdoor setting.
Set up a ring with tape (or use chalk if outdoors).
Alternatively, you can make the ring on a drop cloth or clear plastic tablecloth.
Use a pylon or other object for the button.
See sample set-up template.

Implementation

Modify the rules as needed based on the number of participants and whether you prefer a team activity or an individual activity.  

  1. Give each participant a bean bag.
  2. Participants should line up behind a throwing line, which can be any pre-determined distance from the ring that is suitable for the setting (10 feet minimum is recommended).
  3. One after another, participants slide or underhand toss their bean bag, aiming for the centre of the ring called the button. Teams should alternate throws.
  4. Participants can knock previously thrown bean bags out of their current locations using their own bean bag.
  5. The scoring is similar to curling. Once all individuals or teams have participated, score the round by awarding a point to the closest bean bag to the button. If a team has two bean bags closer to the button than its opponent, it gets two points, and so on.
  6. Complete as many rounds as desired, totaling scores for each round to determine a winner.

 

Book Suggestions

Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook by Iva-Marie Palmer
Goodnight, Hockey Fans by Andrew Larsen
Hockey Morning, Noon and Night by Doretta Groenendyk
Booked by Kwame Alexander
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Rooting for Rafael Rosales by Kurtis Scaletta

Games, Group Based
Ages 6-12
15-20 minutes

Download PDF

Beats Circle

Group Based, Games
Ages 8-12
10 minutes

Beats Circle

Description

Get expressive and loud with a freestyle drumming circle.

Materials

  • Drumming instruments (optional)

Preparation

Arrange all participants in a circle facing towards the center.

Hand out the drumming instruments if they are being used, or use the drums made during the Spare Parts Drum Kit activity.

If not using instruments, participants can clap their hands, slap their legs, snap their fingers, etc.

Implementation

There are at least two ways to play the game: Group Freestyle and Follow My Beats.

Group Freestyle

  1. Have everyone start by playing a basic back beat, either with instruments or by clapping.
  2. Once the beat is steady, call on a volunteer to enter the circle and perform a freestyle drumming moment.
  3. When finished, the child points to another person.
  4. The first person rejoins the circle and resumes the steady beat, and the second person enters the circle to do a freestyle performance.

Follow My Beats:

  1. Call on a volunteer to start.
  2. The volunteer plays a short beat and then points to another person in the circle.
  3. The next person repeats the beat then makes up and performs another beat.
  4. The cycle continues until all have had a chance to perform a beat of their own, as well repeating the previous person’s beat.
  5. Alternatively, the group may attempt to chain longer sequences of beats (e.g. the person drumming repeats the beats of all the previous people before performing their own).

Book Suggestions

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle
I Am Drums by Mike Grosso
Unlocking the Truth: Three Brooklyn Teens on Life, Friendship, and Making the Band by Unlocking the Truth

Group Based, Games
Ages 8-12
10 minutes

Download PDF

Bird Masks

Crafts
Ages 6-12
20-30 minutes

Bird Masks

Description

Create feathery, colourful bird masks starting with an egg carton!

Materials

  • Paper egg cartons
  • Construction paper
  • Feathers
  • Wooden popsicle or stir sticks
  • Paint
  • Brushes
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors

Preparation

Prepare your space for a craft activity.

Precut egg cartons to create pairs of eyes with a beak. A standard dozen carton can make six sets. See suggested cutting guide.

Collect books about birds that have plenty of pictures for participants to use for ideas.

Prepare a couple of samples to show the participants before they begin crafting their own.

 

Implementation

  1. Go through books and look at some samples to inspire design ideas for the masks.
  2. Paint the inside of the egg carton (i.e. the cups that hold the eggs). The beak may be painted as well or covered with construction paper.
  3. While the egg carton dries, cut the construction paper into features such as eyebrows or beaks, or plumage that will be attached around the egg carton to create the bird’s face.
  4. Once the paint is dry, carefully punch a hole through the bottom of each cup.
  5. Tape or glue the paper features and feathers around the edges and back of the egg carton eyes.
  6. Tape a popsicle or stir stick to the side of the mask to make a handle to hold it up to the face.

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Book Suggestions

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo
Look Up: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate

My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valerio

Crafts
Ages 6-12
20-30 minutes

Download PDF

Boom! Bang! Pow

Crafts, Writing
Ages 6-12
30-40 minutes

Boom! Bang! Pow

Description

Create your own comic or graphic novel.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Markers, pencil crayons, or crayons

Preparation

Print out the six comic book or graphic novel templates.

Implementation

  1. Print and photocopy the templates and distribute one page to each participant.
  2. Participants create their own comic book or graphic novel pages by adding images and words.
  3. If time allows, participants can have more than one page to draw on.

Book Suggestions

What’s My Superpower? by Aviaq Johnston
The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey

Crafts, Writing
Ages 6-12
30-40 minutes

Download PDF

Butterfly in a Cup

Crafts
Ages 6 and under
20-30 minutes

Butterfly in a Cup

Description

Make a fluttering colourful butterfly pop-up puppet in a cup.

Materials

  • Paper cups
  • Green paper
  • Print out of butterfly template
  • Straws
  • Coloured crayons and/or markers
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Tape

Preparation

Print the butterfly template (includes an optional bee template) and cut out at least one per participant.

Make a hole just big enough to fit the straw through the center of the bottom of the cups in advance of the activity.

Trim green paper to fit into cup with about 5 to 6 centimeters appearing above the rim.

Implementation

  1. Colour the butterfly template with crayons or markers.
  2. Trim the excess paper from around the butterfly.
  3. Tape or glue the butterfly onto the top of a straw.
  4. Colour a paper cup using markers and crayons.
  5. Spread some glue around the inside wall of the cup.
  6. Insert a sheet of green paper inside the cup and press it into the glue so that it lines the inside wall of the cup.
  7. Trim off the green paper to about 5-6 centimeters above the lip of the cup.
  8. Cut slits into the green paper towards the rim all around.
  9. The cuts do not have to be equal or perfectly spaced, just enough to create the grass effect.
  10. Insert the bottom of the straw through the hole so that the end comes out through the bottom of the cup.
  11. To make the butterfly puppet appear out of the grass and fly, hold the cup and move the straw from underneath.

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Book Suggestions

Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay
Small Wonders: Jean-Henri Fabre and His World of Insects by Matthew Clark Smith

Crafts
Ages 6 and under
20-30 minutes

Download PDF

Clean Up Time!

Games, Songs & Rhymes
Ages 5 and under
5-10 minutes

Clean Up Time!

Description

Sing and clap along as kids put away things in the room.

Materials

  • A variety of small objects or toys
  • A box or basket (optional)

Preparation

Gather a selection of items (e.g. toys, books) and either put them in a box or basket, or leave them in a pile on the floor.

Clear some space in the room/area such as on shelves or tables. Leave a box and/or a basket out as another place where items can be put away.

Implementation

  1. Allow participants to pick an item and have them sit on the floor.
  2. Ask a volunteer to start and put the item away somewhere in the room. Encourage participants by explaining that they can choose to put the item away anywhere they want.
  3. As each participant puts away an item, sing and clap the song while inserting the child’s name, the item name, and the place where the child is putting away the item.
  4. To the tune “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”
  5. This activity can be done at the end of a program as part of tidying up time.

Book Suggestions

Sam Sorts by Marthe Jocelyn
Hector the Collector
by Emily Beeny

Games,
Songs & Rhymes
Ages 5 and under
5-10 minutes

Download PDF

Colour Spirals

Crafts
Ages 5 and under
20 minutes

Colour Spirals

Description

Spin colourful spirals around buttons.

Materials

  • Assortment of buttons
  • Yarn or string (various colours)
  • Liquid craft glue
  • Paint brushes
  • Paper (various colours)

Preparation

Prepare the room for a program that uses glue.

Pre-cut yarn into various lengths.

Implementation

  1. Select three or four different buttons.
  2. Brush some glue on each button then stick them onto the paper. Allow some space between each of them. Try not to move the paper too much to allow the glue to dry and for the buttons to set in place.
  3. Lightly brush more glue around a button. Start with a small circle.
  4. Wind a piece of yarn or string around the button starting from the outside edge, lightly pressing it into the glue. Leave as little space as possible between each row of yarn.
  5. Continue winding the yarn around until the end of the piece (or cut it). Brush more glue if necessary then start with a different colour of yarn from where the other piece ended.
  6. After a few pieces of yarn, move onto the next button. The circle patterns can be different sizes and may touch, but try not to overlap them.
  7. Allow time for the glue to dry before moving the picture.

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Book Suggestions

One Piece of String by Marthe Jocelyn
One Red Button by Marthe Jocelyn

Crafts
Ages 5 and under
20 minutes

Download PDF

Connect Three

Group Based, Games

Ages 6-12

10-15 minutes

Connect Three

Description

It will take some keen eyes and creative thinking to find things that link three different pictures.

Materials

  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Display board or flipchart
  • Assortment of pictures or posters

Preparation

Have a selection of pictures ready such as photos, magazine covers, paintings, or drawings. Pictures depicting plenty of details, colours or objects might make the game easier.

Implementation

  1. Decide if this game will be played as one group or in teams. Or practice playing the game altogether before breaking up into teams.
  2. Pick three random pictures and post them on a board or wall side by side for everyone to see.
  3. Ask the participants to list the things that all three pictures have in common.
  4. Since the pictures are random and not obviously similar, some imagination and creativity will be required to make connections (e.g. identify similar colours, objects, or words; the number of people or items; the shapes; the activities occurring in the pictures).
  5. If the game is played in teams, have them work quietly in groups for a pre-determined amount of time, writing down their answers before revealing them to the group when time is up. Tally the number of connections each of the teams make to determine the winner.
  6. Answers may become very imaginative and inventive and may require a moderator to determine if a connection is valid.

Book Suggestions

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant
The Liszts by Kyo Maclear
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

Group Based, Games
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Download PDF

Dear Anonymous

Writing, Games

Ages 7-12

20-30 minutes

Dear Anonymous

Description

Write a letter to a mystery celebrity and have everyone else guess who it is.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Container (box, basket or bag)

Preparation

Prepare small slips of paper each with a category of people such as authors, athletes, singers, authors, actors, or even fictional characters. Place the slips in a box, basket or bag.

Implementation

  1. Each person takes a turn to close their eyes and pick a category from the box. Each time after the participants look at the category they picked, they return their slip to the box without revealing their pick to the group.
  2. Participants are to write a letter to someone from the category on the slip they drew.
  3. Letters should start with the phrase “Dear Anonymous,” so as to not refer to the person by name or by anything too specific. For example, they should not refer to the name of a specific song or the name of a specific team that an athlete plays for, etc.
  4. When everyone is done, ask volunteers to read their letters and have everyone else guess to whom it may have been addressed. They may reveal the category of the person they wrote to beforehand to make it easier.
  5. Letter ideas: A fan letter asking questions about the person/ A letter about a fictional meeting that took place or will take place between the writer of the letter and the person/ A proposal for an idea that may interest the person/ A friendly pen pal letter

Book Suggestions

Letters to a Prisoner by Jacques Goldstyn
Rooting for Rafael Rosales by Kurtis Scaletta

Journeys: Young Readers' Letters to Authors Who Changed Their Lives by Catherine Gourley
Dear Pope Francis edited by Antonio Spadaro

Writing, Games
Ages 7-12
20-30 minutes

Download PDF

Dig a Little Hole

Finger Plays
Ages 3-5
5 minutes

Dig a Little Hole

Description

A simple finger play that will get kids stretching.

Preparation

Print copies or display the rhyme on a flip chart or screen to help participants follow along.

Implementation

You may talk for a moment about the importance of planting new trees. Ask kids to stand and act out the rhyme with you, so you can grow some trees together!

 Dig a little hole,
(pretend to dig in the floor)

Plant a little seed.

(drop in seeds and pat down earth)

Pour a little water,

(mimic rain with your fingers, or pretend to use a watering can)

And pull out those weeds.

(pretend to yank those weeds out vigorously!)

Up, up, up, green stems climb,

(begin to raise arms straight up over your head)

Open wide, it’s blossom time!

(Spread arms wider above your head and wiggle your fingers)

 Repeat the rhyme one or two more times, inviting the kids to recite it with you.

Book Suggestions

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes
Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay

Finger Plays
Ages 3-5
5 minutes

Download PDF

Exploring Wonders of the Natural World

Crafts
Ages 5 and under
10-15 minutes

Exploring Wonders of the Natural World

Description

Take a mini trip to a park or go to a program room in your library to collect items that are found in the natural world.

Materials

  • Gloves
  • Ziploc bags or baskets
  • Rocks, leaves, or other collectibles (if inside the library)

Preparation

If conducting the program inside the library, gather materials from outdoors or from your local craft shop.

Check the weather to see if a trip outdoors would be feasible for the day of your program.

 Implementation

  1. If conducting the program inside the library, scatter the collectibles in the program room.
  2. Have the children search for the collectibles and place them into Ziploc bags or baskets so that they are easier to carry.
  3. Once all collectibles have been gathered, have the children sort through the collectibles and bag any item they would want to take home.
  4. Ask the group what sorts of wonders they have collected or found.

Book Suggestions

Hector the Collector by Emily Beeny
Sam Sorts by Marthe Jocelyn
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

Crafts
Ages 5 and under
10-15 minutes

Download PDF

Finger Print Bugs

Crafts

Ages 5 and under

10-15 minutes

Finger Print Bugs

Description

There’s no end to how many different little finger print bugs you can make!

Materials

  • Finger print ink pads (different colours, preferably washable)
  • Paper
  • Coloured pens or markers

Preparation

Print optional scene template for each participant.

Have some insect picture books on hand to show to the participants and provide them with some ideas.

Implementation

  1. Lightly roll a fingertip in ink. It’s easier to use one finger at a time.
  2. Press finger down on the paper. To prevent smudging, try not to move it too much until lifting it from the page.
  3. Allow the fingerprint impression to dry then use the markers or pens to draw insect features such as legs, wings, antennae, and faces.
  4. Alternate method: draw an outline of the insects first then colour them with fingerprints.

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Book Suggestions

Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay
Small Wonders: Jean-Henri Fabre and His World of Insects by Matthew Clark Smith

Bugs From Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick

Crafts
Ages 5 and under
10-15 minutes

Download PDF

Five Little Butterflies

Felt Board Story
Ages 3-5
5 minutes

Five Little Butterflies

Description

Practice subtraction with this lovely butterfly felt board rhyme. Materials

  • Felt board
  • Craft felt in a variety of colours
  • Safety scissors
  • Pen or marker for tracing
  • Glue

Preparation

If your library does not have a felt board, you can create a simple one by affixing a piece of felt to a large piece of cardboard.

Cut the necessary pieces (5 butterflies, door, sun, tree, blue sky – see photo) out of craft felt gluing them together as necessary. Embellish the pieces if you have time.

Implementation

Follow the instructions in italics for placing pieces on the felt board while reciting the text. You can invite kids up to help each time one butterfly flies away. Repeat the rhyme a second time, and ask the kids to recite it with you.

[Place all five felt butterflies and the door on the felt board]

Five little butterflies by the door,

One flew away and then there were four.

[Remove one butterfly and replace the door with the tree]

Four little butterflies by the tree,

One flew away and then there were three.

[Remove one butterfly]

Three little butterflies up in the blue,

One flew away and then there were two.

[Remove one butterfly and add the sun]

Two little butterflies out in the sun,

One flew away and then there was one.

[Remove one butterfly]

One little butterfly, now all alone,

She was so lonely, that she flew home.

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Book Suggestions

Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay

Felt Board Story
Ages 3-5
5 minutes

Download PDF

Flash Mob Dance

Group Based, Games
Ages 3-6
15 minutes

Flash Mob Dance

Description

Liven up the room with a surprise flash mob dance!

Materials

  • Device to play music

Preparation

Scout and select an area where the participants will gather and dance. It can be in the library or somewhere outside close by (e.g. library entrance or a nearby park).

Either select the song beforehand or let the participants choose a song from a selection.

Implementation

  1. Play the song and practice dance routines with the participants in a preparation area away from the gathering spot. It can be a group routine or let everyone freestyle.
  2. Decide how everyone will “appear” in the space where the flash dance will occur. They may appear one at a time or in a group. They may all enter from the same direction or from different directions.
  3. Ensure the kids remain silent as they enter. Encourage them to spread out around the entire area.
  4. Have them stand quietly for a few seconds before the music starts.
  5. Once the music plays, everyone immediately begins to dance.
  6. Play the music for about 2 or 3 minutes, then stop it. Everyone should immediately stop dancing.
  7. Remaining silent, everyone leaves the area and “disappears” back to the preparation area.

Book Suggestions

Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder

Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer by Michaela and Elaine DePrince

Group Based, Games
Ages 3-6
15 minutes

Download PDF

Follow My Drawing

Games
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Follow My Drawing

Description

Combine a game of Follow the Leader with drawing to create some wild designs!

Materials

  • Paper
  • Markers or pencils

Implementation

  1. Pair participants together before the start of the activity. Provide each pair with paper and markers or pencils.
  2. The pair decide who will be the leader. The activity can be done a second time so that both can be the leader at least once.
  3. Draw a line down the centre of the paper, or fold the paper in half and open it again. Each person uses one side when drawing.
  4. The leader places the tip of the marker somewhere along the centre of the page. The second person places the tip of the marker right next to the leader’s marker tip. This is the starting position.
  5. The leader starts drawing on the page. The other person draws a mirror image of the leader’s drawing, trying to keep up and not pausing.
  6. The leader’s drawing doesn’t have to be from a single line, and they can lift their marker from the paper while drawing.
  7. The second person continues to mirror the leader’s actions as closely as possible until the drawing is done.

Book Suggestions

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring
Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies
Niko Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka

Games
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Download PDF

Graffiti Prints

Crafts

Ages 7-12

20-30 minutes

Graffiti Prints

Description

Decorate your handprint with words about you or that inspire you.

Materials

  • White paper
  • Black or other dark-coloured paper
  • Coloured markers or pencils
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Preparation

Prepare a sample or two in advance to show participants before they begin the craft.

Implementation

  1. On a white sheet of paper, use a pencil to lightly trace the outline of your hand with your fingers spread apart.
  2. Within the outline of the hand, write down words that describe yourself.
  3. Words can be written in any direction and in any size.
  4. Use a variety of colours. Try not to have words of the same colour appear beside each other for better visual contrast.
  5. Start with bigger print and then fill in as much space within the outline in smaller print.
  6. Cut out the hand following the pencil outline.
  7. Use the glue to apply the hand onto a colour sheet of paper. A dark colour background provides better contrast and allows the hand and words to really stand out.
  8. As an alternative, instead of a handprint, trace the outline of another thing or shape then fill it with words that relate to the image.

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Book Suggestions

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant
The Liszts by Kyo Maclear
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

Crafts
Ages 7-12
20-30 minutes

Download PDF

Grid Runner

Games
Ages 8-12
15-20 minutes

Grid Runner

Description

Block out as much space as possible on the grid in this unplugged coding game.

Materials

Preparation

Print the game grid and the tracker sheets for each participant.

Implementation

  1. Players choose different coloured markers and each is given a tracker sheet. Two to four players can play on each game board.
  2. Players pick a spot on the board. The circle next to each starting spot is the first space they will fill with a marker to signify a move.
  3. After deciding who goes first, the first player rolls the die three times. After each roll, make a note of which move corresponds with the number on the die on the first row of their tracker sheet.
  4. Once they have rolled three times, they may now move. They may choose to use any one of their three moves, which had been determined by rolling the die.
  5. Players draw an arrow in the starting circle in the direction that corresponds with one of their moves. They then cross out that move on their tracking sheet.
  6. Now they may choose one of their two remaining moves and draw the directional arrow in the next space that the first arrow is pointing to. They repeat this with their one remaining move.
  7. The player on the left is next to have a turn, and does the same steps.
  8. The game continues in a circle, with each player trying to claim as much space on the grid game board as possible.
  9. Players who are completely blocked with no spaces to move will sit out the remainder of the game.
  10. The game ends when every player no longer has any possible moves left. The squares claimed by each player on the grid are counted and the one with the most squares wins.
  11. Star squares: Players who cross or land on an unoccupied star square may roll the die an additional two times once their initial three moves are used. They then may use the two “star” moves in the same turn. Star moves cannot be saved for their next turn.
  12. Rules and strategies:
  13. Players should be sitting around the grid board to avoid confusion with directions. Players are drawing their arrows based on their orientation to the board.
  14. Players may not draw an arrow in a space that is already occupied by another arrow (their own or their opponent’s).
  15. Players who are unable or unwilling to use the moves available to them—for strategic purposes such as blocking themselves in—forfeit those moves.

Book Suggestions

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding by Linda Liukas
Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer by Fiona Robinson

Cool Board Games: Crafting Creative Toys & Amazing Games by Rebecca Felix
Coding for Kids by Johan Aludden

Games
Ages 8-12
15-20 minutes

Download PDF

Handprint Flower Bookmarks

Crafts
Ages 3-5
15 minutes

Handprint Flower Bookmarks

Description

Enjoy the delights of the garden while you read your favourite book!

Materials

  • Craft foam or construction paper in various colours (be sure to include green)
  • Safety scissors
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glue
  • Green crayons or markers
  • Pencils

Preparation

  1. Assemble all craft materials. Prepare an example to show the kids.
  2. Show the kids the sample bookmark that you’ve prepared.
  3. Instruct each child to trace his or her hand on a piece of craft foam or construction paper with a pencil.
  4. Carefully cut out the handprint (you can ask parents or caregivers to help). Cut out a green leaf shape as well.
  5. Colour a popsicle stick with green marker or crayon.
  6. Glue the handprint to one end of the popsicle stick; glue the leaf about halfway down the stick.
  7. Enjoy your finished flower bookmarks!

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Book Suggestions

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

Crafts
Ages 3-5
15 minutes

Download PDF

Have a Ball

Group Based, Games, Writing
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Have a Ball

Description

Create lists of things that you can do with everyday objects.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Stopwatch, timer, or cell phone (for timing)
  • Preparation
  • Come up with a list of everyday objects (e.g. ball, pot, cup, string).
  • Prepare your space for a team writing activity.

Implementation

  1. Divide the participants into teams.
  2. Each team selects one participant as the writer.
  3. Announce an everyday object one at a time (e.g. ball).
  4. Teams must write down in one minute as many realistic things that can be done with the object (e.g. for ball: bowling, throwing, playing soccer, etc.).
  5. Collect the list from each team after one minute.
  6. Announce the next object and re-start the timer.
  7. The winning team is the team with the most items listed for all the objects combined.

Book Suggestions

The Liszts by Kyo Maclear
Ball by Mary Sullivan
The Word Collector by Peter Reynolds

Group Based, Games, Writing
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Download PDF

Here is a Beehive

Finger Plays
Ages 3-5
5 minutes

Here is a Beehive

Description

A simple finger play that will get kids giggling.

Preparation

Print copies or display the rhyme on a flip chart or screen to help participants follow along.

Implementation

You may talk for a moment about the important role bees play in helping plants to thrive.

Here is a beehive,
(hold up a fist)
But where are the bees?
(hold your other hand out, palm up, in a questioning gesture)
They’re hiding inside,
Where nobody sees.
Here they come creeping,
Out of the hive.
One, two, three, four, five!
(as you count, bring out your thumb and fingers and wiggle them)
Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz!
(pretend to tickle your neighbour as you buzz)

Repeat the rhyme one or two more times, inviting the kids to recite it with you.

Book Suggestions

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes
Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay

Finger Plays
Ages 3-5
5 minutes

Download PDF

Hidden Poems

Crafts, Writing
Ages 9-12
30 minutes

Hidden Poems

Description

Use imagination and creative designs to reveal hidden poetry or inspiration on a printed page.

Materials

  • Discarded print materials such as books, newspapers, magazines or photocopies
  • Pencils
  • Markers (various colours and types)
  • Scrap paper
  • Colour paper
  • Glue and tape
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Decorative craft items (sparkles, stickers, ribbon, etc.)

Preparation

Tear or cut out pages from discarded print materials, or photocopy pages from print materials.

Prepare samples of the finished “found” poems.

Show your samples and explain to participants how they will be trying to find a poetic or inspirational phrase amongst the words on a printed page.

Implementation

  1. Take a page and read it through, lightly circling words of interest with a pencil. Single words are best; try to avoid circling more than two consecutive words.
  2. It may help to write the words down on a separate piece of paper.
  3. Try to connect the words into a coherent phrase or poem.
  4. Generally, the phrase is read from left to right, from the top of the page to the bottom. However, there are also creative ways to show the order that the words are to be read in. For example, linking them with a line in the order they are meant to be read.
  5. Words may be written in as “bridge” words if it’s too difficult connect the poem together with the words only available on the page, but try not to use too many.
  6. Use dark markers to block out the areas surrounding each word. Not all of the unused words need to be blocked out, or completely blocked out. Simply blocking out the areas around the selected words will be a way of highlighting the words of the poem.
  7. Use markers and optional craft items to create designs around the words of the poem and all over the page to further block out the unused words.
  8. Trim the edge of the page and glue it to a sheet of coloured paper.
  9. (Optional) Write the words of the poem on a separate piece of paper and glue it to the same paper to which the poem is mounted. 

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Book Suggestions

Martin Rising: Requiem For A King by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Crafts, Writing
Ages 9-12
30 minutes

Download PDF

Hybrid Animals

Crafts, Writing
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Hybrid Animals

Description

Draw a picture of a silly hybrid animal.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Scissors
  • Markers, pencil crayons, or crayons
  • Cut outs from the List of Animals template
  • Container (box, bowl, or bag)
  • Photocopies of the Hybrid Animals template

Preparation

Print the List of Animals template and cut the individual animals into separate slips.
Put the slips into a container.
Print and photocopy the Hybrid Animals template.

Implementation

  1. Each participant picks two slips from the container and writes down the two animals that they will combine on the Hybrid Animals template.
  2. Participants put the slips back into the container, mix the container and then pass to the next participant.
  3. Participants fill in the information on the Hybrid Animals template.

Book Suggestions

Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant
Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring
Niko Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka

Crafts, Writing
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Download PDF

If You’re Happy and You Know It

Songs
Ages 3-5
5 minutes

If You’re Happy and You Know It

Description

A gardener’s twist on the traditional song “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

Preparation

Print copies or display the rhyme on a flip chart or screen to help participants follow along.

Implementation

Sing the following song with the group, mimicking the actions while speaking the words in brackets.

If you’re happy and you know it, dig a hole. (dig dig)
If you’re happy and you know it, dig a hole. (dig dig)
If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it,
If you’re happy and you know it, dig a hole.

If you’re happy and you know it, plant a seed. (plant plant)
Etc.

If you’re happy and you know it, be a bee. (buzz buzz)
Etc.

If you’re happy and you know it, smell a rose. (sniff sniff)
Etc.

If you’re happy and you know it do all four. (dig, plant, buzz, sniff)
Etc.

Book Suggestions

The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes

Songs
Ages 3-5
5 minutes

Download PDF

Inspiration Tree

Craft
Ages 7-12
20-30 minutes

Inspiration Tree

Description

Create a decorative tree to hang and display words that inspire you.

Materials

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Blocks of styrofoam or cardboard box tops
  • Coloured paper
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Paint and brushes

Preparation

Prepare your area for an activity that uses paint.

Ask participants to bring in discarded styrofoam blocks or cardboard box tops, if necessary, so there will be enough for each person.

Implementation

  1. If using box tops, make a small hole in the centre. Optional: make several holes a few centimeters apart in a circle if you want to have the appearance of roots going into the ground.
  2. Twist several pipe cleaners together to make a trunk. Tip: To create branches of varying lengths align a few pipe cleaners a couple of centimeters higher than some of the others before twisting them together.
  3. Push the base of the tree into the styrofoam or through the hole in the box top. Secure it with tape in the back if using box tops.
  4. Spread the pipe cleaners out and arrange them at the top to create branches.
  5. Cut a few shorter pieces of pipe cleaner and twist them onto the branches to make some smaller stems.
  6. Paint around the base of the tree.
  7. Cut the paper into the shape of small leaves. Print words that inspire you, one on each leaf.
  8. Use glue to attach the leaves to the branches and stems. Continue to add more leaves as you come across more words that interest or inspire you.

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Book Suggestions

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant
Bertolt by Jacques Goldstyn
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
The Liszts by Kyo Maclear

Craft
Ages 7-12
20-30 minutes

Download PDF

Invent a Sport

Crafts, Writing
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Invent a Sport

Description

Invent a new sport by combining two sports into one.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Scissors
  • Markers, pencil crayons, or crayons
  • Cut outs from the List of Sports template
  • Container (box, bowl, or bag)
  • Photocopies of the Invent a Sport template

Preparation

Print the List of Sports template and cut the individual sports into separate slips.
Put all of the sports slips into a container and mix.
Print and photocopy the Invent a Sport template.

Implementation

  1. Each participant picks two slips from the container and writes down the sports that they will combine on the Invent a Sport template.
  2. Participants put the slips back into the container, mix, and then pass the container to the next participant.
  3. Participants name their new sport, create rules for how to play, and draw a picture of their sport in action.

Book Suggestions

Goodnight, Hockey Fans by Andrew Larsen
Hockey Morning, Noon and Night by Doretta Groenendyk
Booked by Kwame Alexander
Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook by Iva-Marie Palmer

Crafts, Writing
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Download PDF

I’ve Got Some Buttons

Songs & Rhymes
Ages 5 and under
5 minutes

I’ve Got Some Buttons

Description

Show off some colourful buttons with this fun action rhyme.

Materials

  • Paper (each colour from the poem)
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Preparation

Print copies or display the rhyme on a flip chart or screen to help participants follow along.

Make some large paper “buttons” in advance, one for each colour in the poem.

Use tape to stick the buttons on your shirt or on the spots noted in the poem.

Implementation

I’ve got some buttons,
One white, one black, (Point to each)
Where’s the purple one?
Oh, it’s on my back! (Turn around and reveal the purple button on your back)

I’ve got some buttons,
One green, one pink, (Point to each)
Where’s the orange one?
Oh, let me think! (Raise hand to chin as if thinking to reveal the orange button on your elbow)

I’ve got some buttons,
One blue, one red, (Point to each)
Where’s the yellow one?
Oh, it’s on my head! (Bow head down to reveal the yellow button on the top of your head, or hide it under a hat then reveal it)

Book Suggestions

One Red Button by Marthe Jocelyn
Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin

Songs & Rhymes
Ages 5 and under
5 minutes

Download PDF

Me Times Three

Crafts
Ages 6-12
10 minutes

Me Times Three

Description

Different drawing techniques can result in very different self-portraits!

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils

Preparation

Provide each participant with three pieces of paper and a pencil.

Implementation

  1. Ask participants to take a few minutes to draw a simple self-portrait of themselves.
  2. When they are done, ask them to draw a second self-portrait on another sheet of paper, but this time with their other hand.
  3. Finally, ask them to draw a third self-portrait, but this time with their eyes closed.
  4. When they are done, display the three drawings together and compare them.
  5. Optional: Instead of a self-portrait, participants can draw another picture three times using the three different techniques.

Book Suggestions

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring
Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies

Crafts
Ages 6-12
10 minutes

Download PDF

Message in a Bottle

Writing, Crafts
Ages 6-12
20-30 minutes

Message in a Bottle

Description

Send out a call for help using some “aged” paper and a bottle.

Materials

  • White paper
  • Discarded bottles and jars
  • Pencil crayons
  • Ballpoint pens
  • String
  • Tea bags
  • Brown or yellow paint
  • Paint brushes or cotton balls
  • Hair dryer or fan

Preparation

Ensure discarded bottles and jars are clean.

Dampen the tea bags in containers with water. Tip: Test several types of tea for different colours and tones.

Dilute the paint until you have faintly coloured water.

Prepare some samples in advance to show the participants at the beginning of the activity.

Implementation

  1. Take a sheet a paper and tear a bit off all along the edges so that all the sides are rough. Don’t use scissors.
  2. Write a letter using the pencil crayons or ballpoint pens on the paper (the ink from markers will smudge too much). It can be a rescue letter, chronicling how you became stranded, or captured, or lost. Pictures or maps showing how to find you can be drawn on the page as well.
  3. To age the paper, start by brushing brown or yellow water paint along the edges with brushes or cotton balls. It’s alright if some of the writing or drawing is brushed over with paint.
  4. Crumple up the paper into a ball and then open it up.
  5. Take a damp tea bag and dab the paper all over.
  6. Open it up. Crumple or fold it up again. Blot it again with the tea bag (or the diluted paint).
  7. Repeat one or two more times, then open it up and press it down. It should be all wrinkled and discoloured.
  8. Try using your finger to rub damp spots on the paper to create small tear holes on the paper.
  9. Careful handling the sheet if it is very wet as it may tear apart.
  10. Use a hairdryer or a fan to dry the paper. Hanging on a line may help speed up the drying process.
  11. When reasonably dry, roll up the paper. String may be used to tie it.
  12. Insert the letter into a bottle or jar. Ensure a bit of the letter is sticking out from the top to make it easier to remove from the bottle.

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Book Suggestions

Letters to a Prisoner by Jacques Goldstyn
Rooting for Rafael Rosales by Kurtis Scaletta

Writing, Crafts
Ages 6-12
20-30 minutes

Download PDF

Micro Poetry Trading Cards

Crafts, Writing
Ages 9-12
30-60 minutes

Micro Poetry Trading Cards

Description

Share your poetry with these unique and personally designed trading cards.

Materials

  • 8 x 11 cover or card stock paper
  • Pencils
  • Colour pens, crayons, and markers
  • Watercolour paint
  • Discarded print material (books, magazines, newspapers)
  • Decorative bits and pieces (e.g. ribbon, stickers, foil, etc.)
  • Scissors
  • White liquid glue
  • Glue sticks and tape
  • Paint brushes
  • Water
  • Homemade glue sealant or Mod Podge

Preparation

Photocopy template of nine card frames onto the cardstock paper, one template for each participant.

If making homemade sealant rather than Mod Podge, mix together two parts water with one part white glue.

Prepare the area for a craft program that uses glue and paint.

Implementation

  1. Take some time to create up to nine haiku or short “micro” poems.
  2. Poetry ideas: random thoughts or a series of poems with a unifying theme.
  3. Write one poem within each of the nine card frames of the template.
  4. On the blank side of the template, create a design across the entire sheet. They may use the words or pictures from cut-up pieces of print materials; or draw or write with the pens, crayons, or markers; or glue ribbons, foil, or stickers, etc.
  5. Apply a very thin and light layer of watercolour paints to the sheet.
  6. It’s not necessary to stay within the card lines of the template. The lines are only a guide for cutting apart the cards. The idea is to have a similar style or colour across all the cards, but they don’t have to be identical designs.
  7. Select a word from each of the poems or create a short, one- or two-word title for each poem. Write them down on the stickers, one poem title per sticker.
  8. Apply the sticker on the front of each card corresponding to the poems on the back.
  9. The card may be decorated further using the available craft supplies.
  10. Cut apart the cards.
  11. Apply a very thin layer of prepared glue sealant or Mod Podge over the face of each card.
  12. Allow time for the glue to dry clear.
  13. Ask volunteers to read their poems or display them for everyone else to see. Encourage participants to trade cards with each other if they want.

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Book Suggestions

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Crafts, Writing
Ages 9-12
30-60 minutes

Download PDF

Name That Tweet

Games
Ages 7-12
15-20 minutes

Name That Tweet

Description

How good are your bird call recognition skills?

Materials

  • Pictures of various birds
  • Audio recording and playback device
  • Pens or pencils
  • Paper

Preparation

Record bird calls that correspond to the pictures of birds you have collected or printed out. Keep track of the call that belongs to each bird.

Display the names of the birds on each picture.

Create a word list of some types of bird sounds: chirp, tweet, shriek, warble, hoot, cuckoo, squawk, chatter, cluck, etc.

Implementation

  1. Show the participants pictures of various birds. This can be done either by showing two or three at a time, or by posting all of the pictures on a wall or board.
  2. Have them listen to one bird call. Repeat it as many times as necessary. Suggest that they close their eyes if it helps them concentrate.
  3. Ask them to guess which bird from the pictures on display may have made the sound.
  4. Reveal the bird that corresponds with the sound.
  5. Have the kids listen to the sound again.
  6. As you continue to play the game, talk about some of the words that describe types of bird sounds. What sort of bird tweets? What types of birds squawk?
  7. Discuss why they may think a certain bird makes a particular sound before revealing which bird actually made the sound. Is it the size? The shape?
  8. Options:
  9. Before deciding which birds to use for the activity, go outside and check the vicinity of the library to see if there are any birds in the area. Print images and find audio samples for these birds. After you play the game with the kids, take them outside and see if they can identify any birds in the area either aurally or visually (if the birds are quiet!).
  10. This game can be done as an individual quiz. Prepare a basic quiz sheet where kids can record their guesses as you play the sounds one at a time. Go through everyone’s answers at the end.

Book Suggestions

Look Up: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate

My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valerio

Games
Ages 7-12
15-20 minutes

Download PDF

Paper Pants and Tinfoil Hats

Group Based, Crafts

Ages 6-12

20-30 minutes

Paper Pants and Tinfoil Hats

Description

Use tinfoil and newspaper to make some of the most unique and amazing clothing!

Materials

  • Newspapers
  • Tinfoil
  • Tape (clear, duct, masking)
  • Scissors
  • String

Preparation

Search online and save or print examples of some clothing made from newspaper and tinfoil.

Search and print some actual unusual designs to provide further inspiration to the participants.

Make a few samples to provide the participants with some ideas to get started as well as to show them some cutting, folding and shaping techniques.

Implementation

  1. Show the participants the examples you found online and the samples you created before the program. Demonstrate some techniques for cutting, folding and shaping the newspaper and tinfoil.
  2. Have everyone split into groups of two or more to work together.
  3. Give each group newspapers, a roll of tinfoil, tape, scissors and string. These will be all the items they will have to work with to create wearable clothing.
  4. At least one person could be designated the model who will wear and display their creations to the entire group in a fashion show at the end of the activity. Other group members can explain their designs during the show.

Book Suggestions

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe by Deborah Blumenthal

Maker Projects For Kids Who Love Fashion by Sarah Levete

Group Based, Crafts

Ages 6-12

20-30 minutes

Download PDF

Pattern Moves

Group Based, Games
Ages 5 and under
5 minutes

Pattern Moves

Description

Groove to the shapes, colours, numbers or letters!

Materials

  • Paper
  • Markers
  • A device to play music

Preparation

Cut out an assortment of large shapes of different colours. On each shape, write a large number or letter with a marker.

Prepare a selection of music, ready to play during the program.

Implementation

  1. As a group, have the participants determine what sort of dance move to associate with each shape (or colour, number or letter). Alternatively, create some moves to teach the group beforehand.
  2. Have everyone stand around the room and when the music starts to play, hold up one of the shapes. Everyone should start doing the associated move.
  3. As the music continues to play, switch the shapes. Remind the participants what move they are supposed to perform as necessary.
  4. Try holding up two shapes at a time and tell the participants to do both moves at the same time. Example: Circle + Triangle = Wiggle + Clap.
  5. Dance along with the group and guide them to do their moves to the rhythm of the music.

Book Suggestions

Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder

Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer by Michaela and Elaine DePrince

Dance Is For Everyone by Andrea Zuill

Group Based, Games
Ages 5 and under
5 minutes

Download PDF

Quick! Draw!

Group Based, Games

Ages 7-12

10-15 minutes

Quick! Draw!

Description

How quickly can your team guess the words and the category you’re drawing?

Materials

  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Display board or flipchart
  • Timer
  • Container (box, bowl or bag)

Preparation

Prepare a list of different categories such as the following:

Things that you would find in a jungle, in a refrigerator, in a playground, etc.

Things to do with a certain sport (e.g. hockey, baseball, lacrosse) or a job (e.g. photographer, teacher, firefighter).

Things you would need to make a certain recipe, to paint a picture, to clean the house, etc.

Ensure you have enough categories so that every team can play a few rounds.

Print and cut them into individual slips then place them in a selection box, bowl, or bag.

Implementation

  1. Choose a method to separate the participants into teams.
  2. Ask the first team to select a volunteer to come to the front by the flipchart. This person will do the drawings for the team to guess.
  3. Have the volunteer pull a category slip and give them a few seconds to read and think about it.
  4. Start the timer for one minute. The person has one minute to draw as many pictures as possible that relate to the category. The person is not allowed to speak and may use only one sheet of flipchart paper.
  5. Each time a member of the team calls out correctly what the person is attempting to draw, the person puts a checkmark beside the picture then draws another and another until the minute is up.
  6. The other team members then take a moment to confer with each other to guess the category. If they guess correctly, the team receives a point.
  7. The game continues with another team. After several rounds, the team with the most points wins.

Book Suggestions

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant

The Liszts by Kyo Maclear

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring

The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

Group Based, Games

Ages 7-12

10-15 minutes

Download PDF

Spare Parts Drum Kit

Crafts

Ages 8-12

20-30 minutes

Spare Parts Drum Kit

Description

Make some noise with two types of drums!

Materials

  • Duct tape rolls and sheets (a variety of colours)
  • Balloons (assorted sizes)
  • Assorted cylinders such as tin cans or stiff paper containers
  • Wooden chopsticks or dowels
  • Rubber bands
  • String or yarn
  • Scissors

Preparation

Cut out the ends of the cylinders. Safety tip: for tin cans, use a can opener that cuts smoothly around the inside of the rim. Line the inside rim with duct tape.

Cut off and discard the open end part of the balloons.

Implementation

  1. Drum #1: Cover one open end of the first cylinder with either strips or a sheet of duct tape. Trim the pieces and secure along the sides. Wrap duct tape around the sides of the cylinder.
  2. Drum #2: Stretch the cut balloon over one open end of the second cylinder. Secure it with rubber bands around the rim, then cover the outside of the cylinder by wrapping it with strips of duct tape.
  3. Secure the two drums together by binding them with duct tape or string or yarn.
  4. Use string or yarn to make straps that either go around the back of the neck, or around each shoulder or attach to the drums.
  5. Decorate the drums with cut up pieces of duct tape.
  6. Make the drumsticks. Take one chop stick or dowel and wrap the tip with string, or yarn, or rubber bands. Wrap it tightly several times until it becomes a small ball and tie off the string. Repeat with the other chop stick.
  7. Test the drums. The balloon-covered drum will have a different sound than the duct-tape-covered drum. The size and material of the cylinders will also create different drum sounds.

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Book Suggestions

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle
I Am Drums by Mike Grosso

Crafts

Ages 8-12

20-30 minutes

Download PDF

Strut Like a Gorilla

Group Based, Games
Ages 5-9
10-15 minutes

Strut Like a Gorilla

Description

Animals can be the names of some of the most fun and popular dances.

Materials

  • Device to play music
  • A projector, television or other device to show or stream video

Preparation

Search and save videos of dances named after different animals. Examples: The Pony, The Bunny Hop, The Turkey Trot, The Ostrich, The Grizzly Bear, The Monkey.

Make an additional list of animals that currently do not have a dance named after them. Examples: The Gorilla Strut, The Kitty Cat Shuffle, The Peacock, The Lobster Roll, The Lizard.

Prepare a selection of music to play during the program.

Implementation

  1. Name a dance and ask the group if they think it’s real or not.
  2. If there is an actual dance named after the animal and there’s a video available of it, show it to the group. Before showing them the video, you may also ask them to guess and demonstrate what they think the movements might be (play some music).
  3. If there isn’t an actual dance, ask the group to come up with a dance that might mimic the animal’s movements.
  4. Variation: Instead of animals, select and make up dances that are named after activities. Real examples: The Carwash, The Sprinkler, The Laundry, The Lawnmower. Made up examples: The Cellphone, The Surfer Slide, The Dog Walker.

Book Suggestions

Priscilla Gorilla by Barbara Bottner

Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder

Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer by Michaela and Elaine DePrince

Group Based, Games
Ages 5-9
10-15 minutes

Download PDF

Superhero Card Swap

Crafts, Group Based
Ages 6-12
30-40 minutes

Superhero Card Swap

Description

Create your own superhero cards to trade or to keep for yourself.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Markers, pencil crayons, or crayons
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Preparation

Print and photocopy the Superhero cards template.

Implementation

  1. Hand out a template to each participant.
  2. Participants draw superhero characters on side 1 and fill in the information on side
  3. Participants cut around the dotted lines and glue side 1 and side 2 together.
  4. Once completed, gather the group to create an opportunity to trade their cards with each other if they wish to.

Book Suggestions

What’s My Superpower? by Aviaq Johnston
The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey

Crafts, Group Based
Ages 6-12
30-40 minutes

Download PDF

The Button Factory

Songs & Rhymes
Ages 3-5
5 minutes

The Button Factory

Description

You’ll all be laughing together as you try to keep up the pace of work in the button factory!

Implementation

Make sure kids have a bit of space to move around without bumping into one another. Invite them to join you in the actions. As you read the rhyme, do so with a consistent rhythm. It is easier to do this activity while seated in a chair, in front of your audience.

In the first stanza, you won’t have much to do, but the actions are cumulative. You’ll find yourself quite busy by the end of the rhyme!

The Button Factory

Hi, my name is Joe,
and I work in a button factory;
I’ve got a wife, and three kids.
One day my boss came up to me,
She said, “You busy, Joe?” I said, “No.”
She said “Push this button with your right hand.” (Pretend to push a button with your right hand and keep doing it as you go through the rest of the rhyme.)

Hi, my name is Joe,
and I work in a button factory;
I’ve got a wife, and three kids.
One day my boss came up to me,
She said, “You busy, Joe?” I said, “No.”
She said “Push this button with your left hand.” (Pretend to push a button with your left hand while continuing to do so with your right hand. Keep both actions going through the rhyme.)

Repeat the verses adding a new body part each time:

  • Right foot
  • Left foot
  • Head
  • Tongue

(When doing the last stanza, do your best to keep talking while poking your tongue in and out. You will be difficult to understand, but the kids will love it!)

Hi, my name is Joe,
and I work in a button factory;
I’ve got a wife, and three kids.
One day my boss came up to me,
She said, “You busy, Joe?” I said, “YES!” (Exclaim the last word loudly and throw your hands up in frustration while relaxing in the chair.)

Book Suggestions

One Red Button by Marthe Jocelyn

Songs & Rhymes
Ages 3-5
5 minutes

Download PDF

The Button Garden

Crafts
Ages 5 and under
15-20 minutes

The Button Garden

Description

Use buttons and strings to create a pretty picture of potted daisies.

Materials

  • Assortment of buttons
  • String or yarn (various colours)
  • Crayons
  • Liquid craft glue
  • Paper (various colours)
  • Scissors

Preparation

Prepare the room for a program that uses glue.

Pre-cut string into various lengths approximately 12-15 centimeters long.

Implementation

  1. Select three to five different buttons and the same number of lengths of string.
  2. Make the stems of the flowers by gluing the string onto the sheet of paper with the top ends slightly spread out and the bottom ends coming closer together (e.g. within 5-10 centimeters). The ends don’t have to line up perfectly but leave some room at the top of the paper to add the buttons and draw around them.
  3. Apply some glue to the back of the buttons and stick them onto the paper, one button on the top of each string stem.
  4. Cut out the shape of a pot or a vase from a different colour sheet of paper. Glue the pot onto the picture covering up the bottom ends of the string stems, as if they were growing out of the pot.
  5. Draw petals around the buttons and add leaves along the stems to create the daisies. Be careful drawing around the buttons and string as the glue dries.

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Book Suggestions

One Piece of String by Marthe Jocelyn
One Red Button by Marthe Jocelyn

Crafts
Ages 5 and under
15-20 minutes

Download PDF

The Guardian of the Forest

Stories
Ages 6-12
10 minutes

The Guardian of the Forest

Description

Can you guess the mysterious guardian of the forest in this cut-and-tell story?

Materials

  • Paper
  • Scissors

Preparation

Print out the cut-and-tell story template.

Practice the story a few times before performing it. Try to be able to tell the story using a blank piece of paper without printed guidelines to help maintain the mystery of the story for as long as possible.

Tell your audience that you are going to tell a story using a folded piece of paper and scissors. The cuts will imply some of the actions in the story. Ask the audience to wait until the end of the story before they guess what you are making.

Implementation

The Guardian of the Forest

Once upon a time there was a man (woman/boy/girl) who went camping in the forest. After setting up his tent, he started a small campfire. As the fire grew, he decided to fetch more wood from the forest.

(Cut A to B) So off he walked into the forest to gather wood.

Along the way he came across a huge tree. As he walked around the base of it (Cut B to C), he suddenly had a strange feeling that he was being watched from high above (point to the top of tree), but he couldn’t see anybody. Yet, as he continued to walk further and further (Cut C to D) he still felt that someone, or something, was staring at him.

His heart began to beat harder and he walked faster and faster, unable to shake the uneasy feeling he was being watched by some invisible spirit. He began to run through the woods, not paying attention to where he was going. (Cut D to E)

Just then he smelled something in the air. Something terrible and even scarier than the mysterious watcher. He smelled smoke! It was a forest fire! (Cut E to F) Oh no, he had forgotten about his campfire! Not far in the distance, through the thick woods he could see flames grow larger and larger, coming closer and closer.

He had to run again, away from the fire. He slid down a long hill (Cut F to G) and then jumped into a gorge. (Cut G to H) Then he saw more flames not far in front of him! (Cut H to I) He couldn’t go forward, he couldn’t go back. The fire had surrounded him! He was doomed! He closed his eyes and stood there (Cut J) with his hands up in the air apologizing to the forest for having left his campfire unattended and causing this terrible fire.

Suddenly, something grabbed his shoulders from behind. When he opened his eyes, he was surprised to see that he was no longer in the middle of the burning forest. He was above it, soaring in the sky! Something was carrying him, flying him away from the fire.

He flew over a lake and arrived at a small island at the center of it (Cut K to L) where he was dropped off, safely out of reach of the forest fire. Soon a forest ranger boat came to rescue him from the island. As he rode the boat back to shore, he thanked the forest guardian who had saved him. Can you guess what it was? (Open up paper and pinch beak to reveal an owl.)

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Book Suggestions

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo
Look Up: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate
My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valerio

Stories
Ages 6-12
10 minutes

Download PDF

The Human Robot

Group Based, Games

Ages 8-12

10-15 minutes

The Human Robot

Description

Can you program the “robot” so it can complete the task quickly and efficiently?

Materials

  • Plastic or paper cups (at least two different colours; six in total)
  • Paper

Preparation

Print ABC Stacking Grids.

Print Stacking Pattern Chart.

Print Commands Guide.

Group cups into sets of six, three of each colour.

Implementation

  1. Break up into groups of about three or four. Designate one person to be the “robot.” This person should be comfortable with people lightly touching them on the back. Everyone else acts as “programmers.”
  2. Groups are given an ABC Stacking Grid and the programmers receive the Stacking Pattern Chart and the Commands Guide.
  3. All participants review the Commands Guide with their robot. They may take a few minutes to practice the commands so that the robot can get used to them.
  4. The robot stands in front of a stacking grid on a table.
  5. The cups are separated into two stacks of three by colour. Place one stack on the left and right side of the robot within its reach.
  6. Programmers stand behind the robot.
  7. Beginning with the first pattern, programmers use a touch command to activate the robot.
  8. The robot moves one arm and hand following the directions the command given to them.
  9. Programmers continue “inputting” one command at a time.
  10. The goal is to build the stacking pattern with the cups as efficiently as possible without any verbal guidance. Cooperation amongst the programmers is essential.
  11. Once the pattern is completed successfully, the cups are reset and another pattern can be attempted.  A new robot may be selected.
  12. Rules and Strategies:
  13. The game is played in silence. Programmers may not speak to each other or the robots.
  14. Robots must wait for the next command before moving.
  15. Robots may only perform one motion per instruction.
  16. Robots must follow through on the command given to them, even if they realize an incorrect command may have been input.
  17. If programmers realize that a mistake has been made which can’t be corrected, they can tap the back of the robot three times and the cups are reset as they were at the outset.
  18. If the robot “malfunctions” (e.g. forgets what the commands mean) the game is reset and either the team reviews the commands again, or a new robot is selected.
  19. Robots can try mimicking the stiff, abrupt movements of actual robots.

Book Suggestions

Maker Projects for Kids Who Love Robotics by James Bow
Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World’s First Computer Programmer by Fiona Robinson

Group Based, Games
Ages 8-12
10-15 minutes

Download PDF

The Incredible, the Amazing Superhero!

Crafts
Ages 6-12
20-30 minutes

The Incredible, the Amazing Superhero!

Description

Create your own superhero or draw someone who you consider to be a superhero.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Markers, pencil crayons, or crayons

Preparation

Print and photocopy The Incredible, the Amazing Superhero! template.

Implementation

  1. Distribute The Incredible, the Amazing Superhero! templates.
  2. Participants draw their superhero on the template.
  3. If time allows, have the participants describe their superhero creations to the rest of the group.

Book Suggestions

What’s My Superpower? by Aviaq Johnston
The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey

Crafts
Ages 6-12
20-30 minutes

Download PDF

The Never-Ending Shopping List

Group Based, Games

Ages 6-12

10-15 minutes

The Never-Ending Shopping List

Description

Who will be able to remember every item on an ever-growing shopping list?

Materials

  • Paper
  • Display board or flipchart
  • Clipboard
  • Pens and markers
  • Container (e.g. box or bag)

Preparation

Prepare a list of about ten shopping aisle or department store categories (e.g. Fruits and Vegetables, Meat, Dairy, Bakery, Health Foods, Snacks, Electronics, Toys, Pet Supplies, Clothing, etc.).

Write the categories on slips of paper and save in a draw container such as a box or bag.

Implementation

  1. Assign everyone a number starting from 1 to determine the order of play.
  2. The first participant pulls a shopping category from the draw box and says “I’m going to the store today to buy _____.” The person then names something that comes from that shopping category. For example, if the person drew “dairy,” the sentence could be: “I’m going to the store today to buy yogurt.”
  3. A moderator writes the item on the “Shopping List” clipboard to track the items, but the participants cannot see this list. The moderator also writes the category on a display board so that everyone can use it to help recall the named items. The participant returns the category slip to the draw box.
  4. The next participant must repeat the item that the first participant named. If they remember it correctly, they pull a category from the draw box and name a related item. The moderator adds the item and the category to the respective lists.
  5. Note that a category may drawn several times throughout the game, but participants may not name an item that has already been listed.
  6. The game continues with the next participants who have to name all the items already said on the growing list.
  7. If a participant can’t recall all the items on the list so far, they do not pull another category and sit out the remainder of the game.
  8. The game continues as the shopping list grows.
  9. More participants continue to drop out until there is only one last participant who can recall all the items on the shopping list.

Book Suggestions

The Right Word by Jen Bryant
The Liszts by Kyo Maclear
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

Group Based, Games

Ages 6-12

10-15 minutes

Download PDF

The Rhyming Bugs

Songs & Rhymes
Ages 5 and under
5-10 minutes

The Rhyming Bugs

Description

Action rhymes and songs about some of our favourite insects.

Materials

  • Copies of rhymes
  • Paper or felt insect images

Preparation

Print copies or display the rhymes on a flip chart or screen to help participants follow along.

Make some paper or felt cut outs of the various bugs to display during each rhyme (optional).

Implementation

  1. The Pretty Little Butterfly sung to the tune “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”
  2. I’m A Happy Bumble Bee sung to the tune “I’m A Little Teapot”
  3. The Ants Go Marching (traditional)

Book Suggestions

Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay
Small Wonders: Jean-Henri Fabre and His World of Insects by Matthew Clark Smith

Songs & Rhymes
Ages 5 and under
5-10 minutes

Download PDF

Tie-Dye Fashion Figures

Crafts
Ages 6-12
20-30 minutes

Tie-Dye Fashion Figures

Description

Design some cool clothes with amazing splashes of colour.

Materials

  • Coffee filters
  • Coloured markers
  • Pencils
  • Card or cover stock paper
  • Water
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Glue or tape
  • Scissors

Preparation

Prepare the room for an activity that uses glue and water.

If you are using the figure template, make copies on card or cover stock paper.

Implementation

  1. Provide participants with card or cover stock paper to draw the figures they will use as models for their designs.  Alternatively, they may use a photocopy of the figure template for which to design clothing.
  2. Clothing design:
  3. Use the markers to colour the entire coffee filter. Encourage different, random patterns.
  4. Dab the coloured filter with damp cotton balls or swabs. Do not soak it too much. The marker ink will spread and blend the colours together for a tie-dye effect.
  5. Allow the filter to dry. During this time, details can be drawn onto the figures (e.g. face, hair).
  6. Cut out the clothes and use the glue or tape to stick them onto the figure.

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Book Suggestions

Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe by Deborah Blumenthal

The Amazing Crafty Cat by Charise Mericle Harper

Maker Projects For Kids Who Love Fashion by Sarah Levete

Crafts
Ages 6-12
20-30 minutes

Download PDF

Wanted! Poster Design

Crafts
Ages 6-12
15-20 minutes

Wanted! Poster Design

Description

Draw a picture of a creature based on the description provided.

 Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Pencil crayons, markers, or crayons
  • Preparation
  • Prepare the area for a craft program.
  • Print and photocopy the Wanted Poster template.

Implementation

  1. Hand out a copy of the Wanted Poster template to each participant.
  2. Participants should read the entire description of the creature before starting to sketch.
  3. Participants sketch and colour their creature using the description provided.

Book Suggestions

Niko Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka
Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant
Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies

Crafts
Ages 6-12
15-20 minutes

Download PDF

Where Do the Buttons Go?

Games
Ages 5 and under
10 minutes

Where Do the Buttons Go?

Description

Kids decide how they want to sort a variety of buttons.

Materials

  • Assorted loose buttons
  • Small clear plastic cups

Preparation

Pre-fill the plastic cups with an assortment of buttons.

Always ensure young children are supervised when handling smaller buttons.

Implementation

  1. Give each participant a cup of buttons.
  2. Ask them to look at all the different buttons and think about how they would like to sort them out.
  3. Offer examples of how they can sort them, but let them decide. For example, by colour, by size, by favourites, or by how many holes they have.
  4. Provide them with cups to sort their buttons if they want, or they can sort them into groups on a table or the floor.
  5. If they have some buttons that they cannot decide how to sort, ask them to just set them aside.
  6. When they are done, ask them to tell or show everyone how they decided to sort their buttons.

Book Suggestions

Sam Sorts by Marthe Jocelyn
Hector the Collector by Emily Beeny
One Red Button by Marthe Jocelyn

Games
Ages 5 and under
10 minutes

Download PDF

Word Shuffle

Group Based, Games, Writing
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Word Shuffle

Description

As a team, make smaller words using letters from longer words taken from the book Priscilla Gorilla.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Stopwatch, timer, or cell phone (for timing)

Preparation

Print out the Word Shuffle template.
Prepare your space for a team writing activity.

Implementation

  1. Divide the participants into teams. Teams of 3-5 participants is recommended.
  2. Each team selects one member as a writer.
  3. Hand out the first page from the Word Shuffle template and set the timer to one minute.
  4. Teams write down as many real words as they can by using the letters in the original word (e.g. for “Gorilla,” acceptable answers include “go,” “goal,” “roll,” etc.).
  5. Collect the list from each team after one minute and hand out the next page.
  6. Once you have handed out as many sheets as desired, tally the results for each team. The winning team is the one with the most correct words listed for all the sheets combined.

Book Suggestions

The Liszts by Kyo Maclear
The Word Collector by Peter Reynolds
Priscilla Gorilla by Barbara Bottner

Group Based, Games, Writing
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Download PDF

Word Soup

Group Based, Writing, Games

Ages 6-12

10-15 minutes

Word Soup

Description

Try to use randomly drawn words in a sentence.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pencils or pens
  • A container
  • Dictionaries
  • Preparation
  • Prepare some “seeder” word slips to put into the container.
  • Cut paper into small slips for the participants to write on.

Implementation

  1. Give each participant about 5-10 slips of blank paper.
  2. Ask them to write down one random word on each slip of paper. These could be favourite words that come to mind, words picked from available books or inspired from a picture or object, etc.
  3. Put all the completed slips in the container and mix them up.
  4. Pass the container around. Each participant draws a predetermined number of slips.
  5. Each participant tries to come up with one coherent sentence that uses all the words they have drawn from the container.
  6. They may use more words of their own to create the sentence, but they must include all the words they have drawn.
  7. Participants may need to use dictionaries if they don’t recognize certain words.
  8. Have them write down their sentences and share them with the group when they are ready.

Book Suggestions

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant
The Liszts by Kyo Maclear
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

Group Based, Writing, Games
Ages 6-12
10-15 minutes

Download PDF