Play seems to be in the air this Winter: learn about inclusive play, read about toy collections in public libraries, or catch up on the Babies Need Words Every Day blog tour which includes multiple posts on play. We even chimed in with our webinar Press Play! Injecting Play into Library Programs for Kids. All this to say, PLAY IS AWESOME! And today I’m going to take it one step further and tell you about my favourite way to play at the library: Family. Fort. Night.
Nuts and bolts:
- We posted signs with four very simple instructions:
- Step 1) Find a book
- Step 2) Gather supplies
- Step 3) Build your fort
- Step 4) Read your story in your fort!
- Make sure to have LOTS of books on hand. You’re going to be doing some fast booktalking and will want to have displays with your favourite read-alouds ripe for the picking.
- Keep your supplies in a central location so the tape and ALL THE CLIPS don’t wander off.
- If at all possible run this program after-hours. Not only is it way more fun, but you’ll also find the adults browsing the MAD magazines. Seriously.
- Blankets, sheets, pillows, tablecloths – you can ask families to bring their own or have them on hand
- Plastic clips or wire clips or tape- do not put books or other heavy objects to hold things down
- Flashlights and/or glow sticks
- Read a story to begin the program and gather everyone together – bedtime stories are a great choice like the Pigeon Needs a Bath or I Dare You Not to Yawn or stories that inspire creativity like Chalk or It’s Not a Box.
- Have families name their fort and draw for a winner at the end of the night.
- Play music from your collection or nighttime sounds in the background to set the mood.
- Make dreams come true and play hide and seek like our friend Amy, The Show Me Librarian, did at her Family Forts After Hours program. To do this she gave each family a glow bracelet, had the person wearing the bracelet hide, and instructed the rest of the family to find their person.
- Depending on space and the age of your fort builders you could also play flashlight tag where the child who’s it can only tag other players by casting the beam of their flashlight over them
- Amy at The Show Me Librarian’s Family Forts After Hours Program
- Laura at Library Lalaland’s Family Fort Night
- Marge at Tiny Tips for Library Fun’s Library Camp Out
- Our friend and colleague Jane the Rain City Librarian’s Family Fort Night
And now it is your turn, or in the words of our F/Hairy Godmother, go forth and fort! Have you tried a family fort night program at your library? Please share all the details below in the comment box!
*Did this pass the Nine Year Old Giggle Test? Are you kidding me?! Of course not.