Monday, March 17, 2014

You Say Passive, I Say Fantastic

Lots more shares of passive or stealth programs in the class. Here are just a few!

Most of our passive programs are centered around our monthly theme and therefore change every month.  We seem to do a lot of "Find the..." hunts.  This month it is finding the bookworms (bookmarks sticking out of books) in the books that they have fallen in love with and write down their titles.  We let kids do it individually or in teams and then come up for a sticker.  There are a few other activities lying around that they can do (a puzzle, coloring sheets, brown paper laid over the tables for free-style drawing, some Duplo blocks with words on them that are supposed to be kind of like magnetic poetry).  We're also trying out a Winter Reading Program this year.  I like having passive programs in the library because it gives the kids something new to look forward to when then come and something to do while their parents look for books.  

Our first DIY/passive program was Wimpy Kid station I found thanks to one of the many, many, many blogs I follow: Future Librarian Superhero .  This was a huge success for us with about 65 kids participating. We did give away a copy of the book which I think increased the numbers.

I currently am doing a Love Your Library Month program that consists of a library bingo where the children pick up a sheet with 9 blocks on it asking them to check out an item from 9 different areas (ex: check out a DVD, check out a audiobook, a new book, etc) to get a black out and when they are done they can turn it in to be entered in a drawing for a prize. They can do this as many times as they like throughout the month of February. I also had a library trivia sheet they could do and turn in for another entry and a library scavenger hunt for different ages to get them to identify the different areas of the library. And I included a guess the # of heart marshmallows in the jar for another entry in the drawing and to win an extra prize. All of the papers are kept on a top of a low table with pencils and slips of paper and an entry box. I also include some books on love on the table to fit the theme.

We do an optional bingo board as part of our SLP. It has the traditional 25 squares with a free center square. Except for two of the remaining squares each square represents checking out a different genre or format or categories like "DVD based on a book". The remaining two squares are 1) donation for the food pantry or the humane society--we provide a wish list for the latter and 2) 10 pennies for our penny jar that sits at the circ desk.

I started a simple activity called the Guesstimation Station. Kids guess how many items are inside a Ball jar placed on a display. They write their estimates, names, phone numbers, and place them in the box. The child with the closest guess wins a book or prize from the hodgepodge of extra SRP stuff we have. I switch out the items monthly. Here's a quick blog post about it if you want a visual.   It's really easy, and I get over 100 kids each month putting in a guess! I didn't know how many would participate, so I was pleasantly surprised the first time I opened the box! The only drawback I have encountered is duplicate entries, which I only count as one participant for statistics purposes.

I started a Pete the Cat reading program which runs through the month. I used the small display case in the lobby to promote the program.  There is also a guessing game. How many buttons are in the jar?  When children sign-up, they receive a reading record and a bookmark.  Upon completion, each child receives a certificate and a pair of shoelaces. I had read somewhere that children today are having a hard time learning how to tie shoes.  So, if a child can show staff that he/she can tie his/her shoes, they also receive a piece of chocolate candy.  We have many children proudly showing us how he/she can now tie their shoes.

A passive program we have had is a “How Many/ Who Do You Recognize?” display (example). We numbered the shadowed characters, made a worksheet, and asked the interested children to complete it. They returned their worksheet to our desk. We picked the most accurate guesses and the winner receiver a bag filled with past reading program prizes (it was a great opportunity to clear out our older stock). Like mentioned above, a disadvantage was checking on the display to make sure pencils and worksheets were available in an orderly fashion.

Stop by my Pinterest Board for more stealthy ideas.

What cool passive or stealth programs are you doing?


  1. We don't do any...YET! These are great ideas and make a library visit much more fun for the kids who come in when there is no active program. Can't wait to try it.

  2. Thanks for the great post! One passive program that's been successful at my library: if you have a shredder, shred a popular withdrawn-for-condition book and ask folks to guess which book it is (here's a photo from someone else who's done it: They can turn the big plastic jar around in their hands and look for different phrases that tip them off. My favorite we've done was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets--most kids could accurately determine WHICH book it was in the series! For younger kids, we did a Berenstain Bears shred where they just had to guess the series, not the actual book.