Kids and libraries can be a match made in heaven if kids are given fun activities that also provide an appreciation for reading. Most libraries have programs designed to get kids excited about reading, including a few you might not have thought of before.
Provide a book bag-making craft. Canvas totes can be bought for under a dollar. Parents can provide a donation to cover the cost. Provide fabric paints so kids can personalize their bags. They will love putting books into their bags to carry home.
Bring out "The Hungry Caterpillar" in spring, and have a caterpillar craft ready for kids. Have a discussion about caterpillars and then present the method of making the paper craft. Provide several different brightly colored sheets of construction paper, and show kids how to cut out caterpillar sections or print them out pre-marked so they can follow the guide with their scissors. Each small section is glued to another to create a paper caterpillar. Follow this activity with a reading of the book. In winter, plan an activity around "The Snowman." In the fall, make a craft with colored leaves, followed by a reading on that theme.
Research the dates of some of the famous ethnic or national holidays. These should be non-religious days such as Bastille Day, May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Fourth of July, Boxing Day, Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year. Have one of these a month, if possible, and combine a book reading and craft related to the holiday.
A Captain Underpants Book
Don't forget Captain Underpants! This activity requires a computer, but most libraries have large banks of them. Have your grade-schoolers go to http://www.scholastic.com/captainunderpants/comic.htm. The site provides a colorful and humorous template for kids to write their own Captain Underpants story, which they can print out and bring home with them.
Ingrid Hansen has been published in "Twin Cities Business" magazine, the "Murphy Reporter," "Twin Cities Parent" magazine and the "Southwest Journal" newspaper. She has also written more than 30 non-fiction books for the K-12 library and education market, and has been a subject matter expert and a course designer for online college curriculum. She teaches English Composition at a local college, and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Hamline University.