Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pirate Party

Library program for children ages 4 to 12 and their families.

To start the whole pirate she-bang off, we started with a reading of the book Dirty Joe the Pirate: A True Story by Bill Harley. We read this book in one of the meeting rooms to allow all the late comers to arrive before starting the party off proper.

Next we handed out a "Pirate Path" for our pirate horde to follow, scavenger hunt style. We had 12 activities planned plus the ending treat. To start off with our large crowd, we handed each family a sheet and told them to start at different numbers. This spread everyone out at the beginning.

1. Head due NORTH to make your own Jolly Roger.
In the North Meeting Room we had cut up bed sheets (less expensive than buying fabric, especially when purchased at Goodwill) for flags with puffy paints and fabric markers. Note to self: the puffy paints took too long to dry for this activity.

2. Where would you find information book about the ocean? When you get there, you can make your own ocean waves. Make them calm, make them wild, make the sea creatures stay in the water!
For this station we had a parachute spread out next to the children's non-fiction section. There were small marine animal stuffed toys for the kids to bounce on the waves of the parachute.

3. The dangers of the deep are vast. What animal will you find at j597? _____
Now we are making them work! This was one of the parts we actually got compliments about. So many parents commented that they had no idea where are non-fiction books were located. We weren't too picky about what they wrote down. Some families found j597.98 and thought they were in the right place. I say close enough.

4. Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate hat's for you. Make yer necessary pirate garb in the TEEN ZONE of dread.
For this station we made everyone go upstairs to the second floor teen zone where we had tables set up to make folded newspaper hats plus markers to color them with, and a skull and cross bone to cut out and glue on if desired. Note to self: you need way more tables for this activity than you think you do. I put out 2 tables and this was not enough. Plus too many parents did not want to read the posted directions and kept asking the library staff to just make it for them.

5. HOLD onto yer hats! Polly wants a cracker and a safe perch to rest. Pin your favorite feathered friend to our lovely pirate lass. Cheaters will be taking a swim with Davy Jones.
This station was set up next to our hold shelves. The children got a paper parrot to color, if they wished to. Then there was some double sided tape and blind folds available to try to "pin" the parrot to the pirate party decoration on the wall.

6. Walk the plank if ye dare, make sure those wiley PICTURE books don't eat you up.
We set up two wood boards and a blind fold in the picture book area. The children were given four levels of difficulty for walking the plank. The easiest was to walk the wood board flat on the ground, with or without a blindfold. The harder level was to put the smaller board under the larger board to make a tiny teeter-totter, and try to walk from one end to the other, with or without blind fold.

7. Toss yer treasure into the chest, but be quick about it! Those librarians at the CHILDREN'S DESK might take that treasure away from ya.
This station was located in front of the children's reference desk. A staff member brought in an old steamer trunk and the children had to toss bean bags into the chest. Note to self: be sure to have a staff member or volunteer working this station. Almost all of our complaints came from this station and the rude parents who would not wait in line.

8. Get stranded in the SOUTHern isles and create your own treasure map.
The South Meeting Room is where everyone went to make maps on crinkled up brown paper bags. Note to self: some grocery stores wanted to charge for the privilege of using their grocery bags, so allow yourself plenty of time to drive and around to find the grocery store that will give them away for free.

9. A pearl of a treasure can be found in an oyster. Yet, an oyster is a type of _________, a group of soft-bodied animals that have no bones.
We didn't care how the families found this answer: online, in a non-fiction book, in an encyclopedia, or ask a librarian. It was all good and all used library resources. I made sure the answer was in the World Book Encyclopedia since we have this encyclopedia set in multiple locations in the library. We got a lot of compliments for this task, especially of parents with young children. These parents did not know we had a reference section or encyclopedias.

10. This book is a wonder to behold. The author of the book Flotsam is __________.
We got a lot of compliments from parents about this one as well, especially with parents of school-age children. This made them learn how to look something up in our online catalog. Of course, some parents took the easy way out and just asked a librarian.

11. Are you a member of the BOARD? No pirate is in his or her right mind without a proper tattoo. Don't forget your!
This station was located in our small meeting room which we call the "Board Room." Temporary tattoos, water spray bottles, and plenty of paper towels completed this station.

12. Beware when coming ashore at the beach. How many legs does a crab have?
This was another research question that we got complimented about.

When finished: You are a pirate sure and true. Yar, you passed the test and did the pirate deeds. Now sail SOUTH for a chance at some gold! But don't even think it, if you haven't walked the path!
We set up a table in the South Meeting Room where all participants could come get some gold fish crackers and gold chocolate coins as their reward for finishing all our pirate tasks.

This program was a HUGE success. We planned for about 100 children and their associated grown ups to attend this program. We actually ended up with over 267 people showing up for this event. The library was packed! Of course, we ran out of some supplies and had to make runs to the copy machine a few times to make more. We had directions at all the stations and the parents mostly did a great job moving their children from station to station. Since we were planning for far fewer attendees, our craft stations did not have enough tables. But most parents were resourceful and found spots on the floor nearby. If I was to do it again with the number of staff and volunteers I actually had, I would probably do one less craft. But wow! What a day!

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