Historical Time Travel Programs
As a history buff, I wanted to find a way to get kids excited about learning about the past. I came up with the idea of a Time Travel Program in which children could interact with a famous historical figure in person. Audiences would actually witness me, as a Time Traveling Mad Scientist/Librarian, travel to the past using a spray painted refrigerator box as a “time machine.” I would then bring the famous person back to the present day where audiences would be able to ask them questions about their lives and times before they were returned to their respective historical periods.
The “back in time” scenes would be done by projecting a video on a large screen at the program to be shown after I crawled into the “time machine.” This would give the illusion of time travel.
These Time Travel Programs have been very successful and I have managed to kidnap such figures as Henry David Thoreau, Lewis and Clark, the aviator Richard Byrd, and Patrick Henry. View the below video to see me bring the writer Edgar Allan Poe to my library!
Built It Program
One of the programs that I do for school aged children at the library is a “Build It” program. This is an event in which children construct a hands-on project that is fun and functional. Ideas include marshmallow shooters, two liter bottle rockets, and balloon cars.
I was inspired to do a “Build It” program out of sheer frustration with being inept at crafts. I have tried for years to do crafts programs at the library. While many have been successful, I can say that I honestly do not have the enthusiasm for crafts that some of my coworkers do. Early this year, I decided to throw in the towel and start focusing on constructing things with kids that had a purpose. PVC pipe, screws and 2X4’s, would trump glitter, pipe cleaners, and pom poms!
One of my “Build It” programs focused on building medieval siege weapons! Kids constructed a mini catapult using popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and bottle caps. We played some games with the mini catapults–knocking down cups, who can shoot the farthest, etc.
Then we went outside and I introduced them to the trebuchet that my coworker and I had been building for the past week. Below are some pictures of it under construction. Our trebuchet was about 5 feet tall by 3 feet wide. I used the plans that some high school girls had posted on line at this Instructables site.
During the Build It program, I did not allow kids near the trebuchet. This is important because of safety. The counterweight that we used was a 45 lb kettlebell that can hurl an object about 150 feet. We used our trebuchet to launch water balloons at the kids out in a field. This was perfectly safe and the kids had a blast trying to catch the balloons. It was a great time at the library! Please see the below video that I made for some early childhood educators to see how our trebuchet works.