Here is what we did:
We started out with a discussion of what "Old School" is all about. The major theme of the book is that Greg's mom wants the people in their community to "unplug" from electronic activities and interact. As you'd suspect he'd be, Greg is against this. Because he is Greg Heffley he winds up in trouble and ends up having to do it against his will on a class camping trip.
Next I did a brief reading from the book. This was a great opportunity to fit books into the program, and show all attendees that reading aloud can be enjoyable with older kids. I probably only read about the first 10 pages, but it definitely was enough to give a taste of what the book was about.
After that I showed the kids some "old school" technology. I printed pictures of an old devices and asked the kids to identify them. This wound up being a hilarious addition. The 8 track player and pager had them particularly stumped.
Games and activities:
Our first game tied into the camping aspect of the book, and was called "bug bite" tag. I had sheets of circular stickers that I called "bugs". Each "it" had to place a "bug" onto the other players to tag them out. This was a game I found awhile back, so I'm not sure of the source. A great version of tag, one I will definitely use again in the future.
Also to fit in with the outdoorsy theme I decided to have the kids build "shelters" out of boxes. In order to challenge them to work together on this activity I broke them into two teams. I have to say I was impressed with both teams. What they came up with turned out really well!
For our craft I decided to have them make their own "diaries" out of construction paper and computer paper. This is a common craft that I've read about many other libraries doing at their "Wimpy Kid" parties, but I had yet to do it here. I like that it encourages writing and creativity!
As we were creating our diaries we had snack. To fit with the camping theme, I provided s'mores granola bars and chips. For our drink we had lemonade, because Greg has a lemonade stand in the story. While eating, kids could also do a wordsearch I created. I also asked a few Wimpy Kid trivia questions as they ate and worked.
I think the kids enjoyed themselves at this program and learned a little too. Most importantly they got to engage with one of their favorite books. Hopefully this will help them see how fun books can be, and encourage them to keep reading in the future!
Next month's ATLAS will be a DIY gift making party so if you have any suggestions feel free to share them!