“A Universe of Stories’ is the 2019 theme for the Collaborative Summer Library Program, which is used by many libraries: www.cslpreads.org/. Space, astronomy, and space travel are all fun topics for a do it yourself craft and game program. The theme also celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, when U.S. astronauts first landed on the moon. Here are some easy and fun ideas you can use at nearly any size library. Many of these also work for passive programming, where you put out the craft or game materials for families to use without staff assistance.
High school volunteers can be of great assistance, and many schools have service clubs such as Octagon, Interact, or Key Club. The volunteers can monitor and assist at the craft area and can run the games. Often adults would like to volunteer as well; they are a great help in serving the refreshments. They can count those in attendance and report the number of adults and children who were part of the program.
In many of our communities, there are science museums or planetariums. Check with them to see if they can partner with your library; they can bring an exhibit or hands-on activity. Or, they can offer free passes for the children who attend your program. These passes can encourage parents or grandparents to bring the kids to the museum.
Asteroid Painting: Have attendees paint small rocks (asteroids) using acrylic paint: www.wikihow.com/Paint-a-River-Rock
Space Shuttle: This is a cooperative craft, where anyone can work on this large cardboard box version of the Space Shuttle: www.instructables.com/id/Space-Shuttle/
Solar System: Make this simple Solar System craft: https://thecraftingchicks.com/solar-system-craft/
Alien Puppet: Make this simple paperbag alien puppet:www.dltk-holidays.com/halloween/malienpuppet.htm
Galaxy Jars: Make these simple decorative galaxy jars out of old plastic water bottles, paint, glitter, and cotton balls: www.craftymorning.com/how-to-make-galaxy-jars-bottles-kids-activity/
DIY Kaleidoscopes: www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/diy-kaleidoscopes/
Rings of Saturn: Place a beach ball on the ground, securing it with masking tape if possible. Then, allow player to “ring” the ball (Saturn) with a hula hoop. Give them three tries; if they can do it, they win!
Hot Mercury: Play this like Hot Potato, substituting a ball for the potato or beanbag: www.kidspot.com.au/things-to-do/activity-articles/hot-potato/news-story/90fadc4480de2eb477a01a89cf8d5059
Launch a Rocket: Participants make these simple rockets using paper and a drinking straw; then line up and see who can “launch” their rocket the farthest! www.instructables.com/id/Outer-Space-Straw-Launcher/
Flying Saucer Toss: See who can throw a Frisbee (your flying saucer) the farthest!
Outer Space Computer Games: Play some of these easy computer games for young children, where they learn about outer space: https://kidsastronomy.com/astronomy-games/
Photo booth: Make a poster of an astronaut’s suit with the face cut out; use this as a photo opportunity so kids can have a selfie as an astronaut!
Refreshments: Moon pies, Mars and Milky Way mini candy bars, water.
Penny Peck, San Jose State University iSchool