Who here has had a program gone bad? Anyone? Seriously, there have to be more hands than that right? Is it just me???
I have had a rough start to my baby/toddler programs this school year. It's not attendance...I have been averaging 6-7 0-24 month olds who come with their parent each week and most are return customers which is great for my library. The problem isn't the books or the fingerplays or the songs...no, it seems to be with the felt board.
I love to do felt boards in my baby/toddler time! I often hide items behind other things, let the kids or puppets find them. It's great fun and an awesome way to get their attention back after a story. This usually means though that I have the board set up before the program begins. Well, this particular group of kiddos is obsessed with my felt board. The second they come in they immediately grab for it! I've tried turning it around, hiding it, waiting until it's time to bring it into the room, but it doesn't matter! That board comes into view and pandemonium sets in. Seriously, there are fist fights over who gets to hold the pumpkin or find the ladybug! I wouldn't believe it if I didn't witness it so many times!
So what's a librarian to do? No more felt boards? I tried this, but story time ended up shorter and you could tell there was something missing. More puppets? This wasn't right either- the puppets needed something to do besides sing. We all knew it. So, I needed a plan. Something that I could whip out of reach ASAP if needed. I came up with a flannel bucket. I got a plastic basket from the dollar store and used paper clips to attach felt to one side. I can put all the things I want inside the basket and pin them up as I go, or have them prepared and hide the basket behind me till I'm ready! I'm also able to add things to the "act" that would be hard on a flat flannel board- like pulling actual objects out of the basket to talk about. After several weeks it has worked splendidly! No more punches being thrown and everyone still gets to participate!
Who else out there has had a program go bad and have to come up with an innovative way to fix it? I would love to share your story on our blog because one of the best ways to learn is through our failures. So, let's start a discussion about all those not-so-great programs and find new ways to get to all our patrons- even the brawling babies! Share your stories with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and they might be featured on our blog!