Passive programming is catching on at many libraries. Passive programming means activities which do not require staff direction: you just leave the instructions and supplies at a table in the children’s room, for parent and child to enjoy together. Some libraries have found that passive programming meets a need on quiet afternoons, when a child has finished his homework. Or in the summer, when a family is enjoying the library on a day when no other programming is scheduled. Passive programming is very low cost, as it involves just a few games or toys and some simple craft supplies.
A teen volunteer could monitor the passive program area, refilling craft supplies, assisting younger children with scissors, and cleaning up regularly to make sure game pieces don’t get lost. There are plenty of simple things you can do for a passive program. One librarian advertised this as “Crafternoons” every Wednesday! Along with simple arts and crafts, try some of these ideas:
• Set out various simple board games and puzzles
• Offer self-directed scavenger hunts
• Have a guessing game – number of items in a jar, photo of someone famous, etc.
• Have a coloring/art contest, posting entries for a simple bulletin board
• Take a poll: favorite children’s book character, favorite two best friends in children’s books, etc.
• Weekly trivia questions on a theme
• Crossword puzzles, mazes, and other simple pencil games
Some fun “all ages” crafts:
• Make Angry Bird Balloons: http://www.thepartyanimal-blog.org/angry-birds-balloons-free-templates/
• Paper airplanes: http://www.exploratorium.edu/exploring/paper/airplanes.html
• Kites: http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-Paper-Kite-for-Kids/
• Origami “Star War’s Characters: http://origamiyoda.wordpress.com/folding-your-own-origami-yoda-other-star-wars-papercraft/
By Penny Peck, San Jose State Univ.