Monday, August 04, 2014

PUFFIN Library Lab: Sasquatch Escape!

Basically one of my favorite movies of all time.
This summer, we decided to work WITH at least one of the many groups that visit our library each week to help make the experience more positive and delay/prevent teacher burn-out. One local group was known for coming into the library for one hour, then bringing in a second group for another hour, sometimes with the same teachers. Needless to say, eventually during the summer the kids would run out of favorite books to read, and teachers would get sick of helping their students make good choices.

To fill a pretty big need the size of everyone's sanity, P.U.F.F.IN Library Lab (Pop Up Free Fun IN the Library) was born. One program done twice every Tuesday (one for each group that visited), the topic of which announced to the public day-of over Facebook. And damn, did it work out well!

Marge held two PUFFIN labs in June, while I took July. My first program was inspired by Ariel's Monster Party. My rendition of a monster party was based on the book Imaginary Veterinary #1: The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors.

As you might remember, I'm kinda into cryptozoology, so I'll basically talk about it whenever I get a chance.

I know you were thinking it; I ain't even mad.

Anyway! Here's what happened:

Talk about Bigfoot/Sasquatch: I modified my Bigfoot description here to accommodate a younger audience, which was good because I had kids as young as three attend. It can be done, folks.

Read from The Sasquatch Escape: Chapter 11: The Hairy Escape and Chapter 12: Sasquatch Catching Kit set the scene for the stations. The day camp's teachers were surprised that the kids actually listened, but I definitely blamed it on the fact that I was a new voice in a new place.

Go over the stations and the rules: The stations this time combined to make a Sasquatch Catching Kit, just like the book. Before I set them loose, I made them follow me with their eyes as I explained the stations. Then, I gave them three short rules to follow, and asked them what station they'd go to first. Only then do I let the kids go.

The Kit was made out of stuff from the basement, natch. Here were the 3 stations:

1. Monster Repellent. This station was run by our teen volunteers, and involved the kids telling the volunteers what colors they wanted in their Monster Repellent. The Repellent was colored sugar sprinkles in plastic bags, but I wanted to make sure that the littlest kids weren't scared out of their wits. This was popular even with the older kids, though. I accidentally told my teen volunteers my secret that kids will believe anything if you sound like you mean it, so one of them decided to tell the older kids that if they touch the Repellent their fingers will fall off within 24 hours. For some reason this made it even more popular.

2. Decorate your Sasquatch Catching Kit Bag. Because of course it was just a paper lunch sack and it needs to be fancy/badass.

3. Fill your Sasquatch Catching Kit. The contents mirrored what is in the Catching Kit in the book: a Sasquatch call whistle (actually, a "Happy First Birthday" noisemaker with a bear face on it. I called it "terrifying". It's all in how you sell it); a tranquilizer dart (actually, a pencil. They had to "assemble" the dart by putting a pointy eraser on the top); and a notebook to document their hunt (a notebook that was themed from one of the past three CSLPs that we used to give away for little prizes, and yet inexplicably have hundreds extra).

In case the kids got done early, I made sure to have plenty cryptozoology/paranormal reads on deck until the rest of their class was ready to go.
Never let them get bored.
I've got 3 more of these to blog about. And LEGO club. And a scavenger hunt. Maybe by October I'll be done.

How did you handle day camps this summer? 


  1. This is awesome! I'm testing out this program as part of our first ever Winter Read. Thank you for the great idea!

    1. No problem! I'd love to know how it goes. Feel free to email at brycedontplay at gmail dot com!