I’ve been reading posts and discussions about passive programming- self-directed activities without a leader or instructor- for awhile now and found them very inspiring! Although I offer maker programs throughout the summer and as often as possible during the school year, I hadn’t given much thought to passive maker programming until about a year ago. Frankly, it seemed too easy. I know, I know. That’s crazy! I orchestrated a StoryWalk at our library during two summer programs, but I hadn’t considered in-library passive programming.
This past summer, though, I gave it a try and brought DIY Project Boxes to our library. I created three low tech boxes: DIY: Origami, DIY: Duct Tape and DIY: Rainbow Loom. They are still getting used six months later. No need to host a Rainbow Loom program! Kids (along with some dads!) use the DIY: Rainbow Loom Project Box almost everyday after school.
To use one of the DIY Project Boxes, kids bring a library card to the front desk and then we give them the box. We hold on to their card while they have the box, mostly for ceremonial purposes. We’ve never had issues with the boxes and fill up supplies as needed.
Our most recent passive programming idea came during storytime last week. And when I say during storytime, I mean literally in the middle of it as I was talking about the craft for the post-story activity time. I was demonstrating how to make snowflakes out of paper during a generally unremarkable storytime and then I casually mentioned that kids could take the snowflakes they made home or leave them with me… I would hang them up in the windows that separate the kids’ library from the rest of the library. I definitely paused for a split second as I decided this mid-sentence. I was trying to decide if the snowflakes would block the view from the circulation desk into the kids room, a major factor for staff at the desk who help keep the ruckus during the day to a dull roar. (Our kids’ library is not staffed during all hours of the day, but is well-used.)
No one made much noise about the snowflake craft and I didn’t think much of it until suddenly I started getting snowflakes given to me. And it wasn’t just the kids! Ever since storytime last week, kids and adults have been cutting out beautiful snowflakes and we’ve been decorating the glass with them. Everyday a few more snowflakes are delivered to the desk for me to hang up. At least seventy five have been hung and we’ll keep the “snowflake studio” up for another week or so to see what will happen.
Snowflake Studio Materials:
white printer/copier paper
tape (for hanging snowflakes)