Does it wear you out to come up with an age appropriate craft activity to match the theme for your story times each week? (Are you spending too much time on Pinterest?) Are you tired of prepping all the pieces so little hands can easily assemble the craft? Do you feel like the craft is often more for the parents than the child? It is a constant battle to clean up tables and hands that are sticky with glue? Perhaps it’s time to try something for story time that will require less prep work on a weekly basis.
A children’s librarian in Iowa recently implemented activity centers instead of crafts for her toddler story times. She found the major benefit was the conversations she heard between parents and children. Her blog post about the experience includes photos and background on the nine centers she started with, along with her plans for future centers. With the exception of the sand table, they are all feasible for any size library.
The idea of activity centers is common in preschool classrooms, so you can easily find many ideas that would be adaptable to the library for toddlers and preschoolers. Below are a few resources to help you get you started.
- Centers in Preschool
- Centers in a Preschool Classroom
- Mini Discovery Boxes for Open-Ended Play
- Pre-K Centers
How do you feel about story time crafts? Have you tried using activity centers instead? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!