Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Undercover Spy Club: Sneaky Social Studies

This summer, our library was planning to have a "Hometown Tourist" program that partnered with local businesses for a city-wide experience. As a department, we put our heads together and tried to figure out what would resonate with kids-- you show me a 4 year old who knows what it means to have a hometown and I'll show you my skeptical-maybe-judgey face. Okay, kids get it's "home", but: why is it cool? Why should they even care? What else is there? It's definition vs connotation, y'all, and the Hometown Tourist initiative is awesome for the latter. But how could we get kids to care?

The Hometown Tourist initiative was postponed a year due to a variety of circumstances, but we decided to run our kids' stealth program anyway because it was exciting and we got to wear neon fedoras. Oh, I also got to say this like a million times.

 And you can do it, too.
And you can call it:

[Your City] Undercover Spy Club
Here's how we did it:
Here's the jacket this sidekick is wearing
1. When kids "signed up", they got a blank Cricut "sidekick" (the gingerbread man shape) to "disguise" in
whatever way they wanted, and some directions for what to do.
--they didn't actually sign up (giving names wouldn't be spy-like!); our stats were taken by how many sidekicks we gave out, and subsequent visit giveaways.
2. Each time the kids came back to tell us where they went in the city, they got:
-- a sticker to put on our city map to show where they went
--a spy code to crack that instructed them to find specific books in the collection
--an opportunity to add to our Top Secret Spy Notebook at the Story Action Pod (we put a blank book out there, inspired by Anna's joke station).
-- during this month-long program, the first time kids returned they got a pair of spy shades

This was the only school-age program we ran throughout May, and it was really fun for the kids involved!
An entry in the Top Secret Spy Notebook
...wait, what's that in the corner?
Ninja Rose, look out!
I love how the cat is all like:

If you're looking for a program that will really run itself, try this one out!

Exclamation points!!


  1. Auugggh, I love this!!! Also, HMMM. It would have been really fun to do this as part of our town's bicentennial celebration this year, BUT it will also be something super fun to do another time. Thanks for the post!

  2. Ugh, sorry! I am so behind on writing up my programs. I plead the 5th (--week of Summer Reading. And all the others)... hopefully you can use it later though!