Tuesday, January 26, 2016

ATLAS: Chocolate Olympics

If I've learned one thing in my five years as a children's librarian, it's that if snacks work to get kids into the library chocolate works even better. When I held a Chocolate Olympics as a part of our monthly ATLAS (At The Library After School) program about 3 years ago, it was one of my favorite programs I had ever done with 3rd-6th graders. Now that enough time has passed I was able to repeat this program recently, which gave me a great reason to share it here.

A little visual for you chocoholics out there. 

Program Overview:

This program involved a few simple games related to chocolate. Some were physical, others were just for fun. The "winner" of each game received a Hershey's Kiss. 12 3rd-6th graders signed up and 11 attended. The program lasted about an hour from start to finish. The only supplies I had to purchase were a large pack of Hershey's Kisses, three boxes of Oreos and one box of chocolate chip cookies.

What we did: 


Chocolate Toss

Each child was given a plate and a Hershey's Kiss. The goal was to place the plate on the floor and throw the Kiss onto the plate. Once they got it on the plate, they were instructed to take one large step back and try to do it again. The child that ended up the farthest away after about 2-3 minutes was the winner. This ended up being one of the more difficult games as it was surprising how much the candy would bounce.

Hershey Kiss "Tennis"  

I made "tennis rackets" out of paper plates and craft sticks. We broke into pairs, and the goal was to hit a Hershey Kiss back and forth as many times as possible. The kids quickly realized that gently tossing worked a lot better than powerful hits. Definite points for building the kids' physics knowledge!

Hershey Kiss Relay Race

The kids were divided into two teams and had a relay race where each team member had to cross the room while balancing a Hershey Kiss on a spoon. This was probably the most active of the events and the kids seemed to have a great time with it.

Stack the Oreos

The object of this activity was for the kids to work in teams to see who could create the highest tower of Oreos. I like to incorporate group work whenever possible, so this was a great way to do it. Word of warning, you will have to buy a separate stash of Oreos purely for eating purposes.

Cookie Face

Any one who has done a Minute to Win It program for kids is probably familiar with this one. Each participant puts a cookie on their forehead and must move it from their forehead to their mouth without using their hands. A crowd favorite, and a great way to end the program.

Tips and Tricks: 

  • Plastic baggies to bring home leftovers are a great addition. The kids definitely appreciated going home with their own "goodie bags". One child had big plans to take her baggie to school as the next day's snack. 

  • Chocolate fondue is a great addition to the end of this program. I was definitely bummed that this year the chocolate chips I purchased didn't melt well enough and we had to skip that part.

  • Adapting Minute to Win It games is a great place to start to come up with games for a program like this. Many of these games can also be adapted to work with other foods. In the past I've done a Popcorn Olympics and a Marshmallow Madness program that were fairly similar to this one.

I hope these ideas will be useful to anyone working with kids, and that they haven't stimulated your sweet tooth too much! Excuse me while I go and find some chocolate to eat...

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