Monday, April 11, 2016

Kidding Around: Going Batty

In honor of Bat Appreciation Week (from April 3rd until April 9th this year), this month's meeting of Kidding Around celebrated the bat. The winged creature, not the piece of sports equipment.

This was originally an idea I used during the summer when the CSLP theme was "Dream Big, Read." My primary objective when I do celebration programs like this one is to get the kids into the library to have fun. The secondary goal for this program was to give them a little basic knowledge about bats.

We started out by reading a simple nonfiction book about bats. I chose "Bats" by J. Angelique Johnson, because the simple text and clear facts seemed perfect for this age group (Grades K-2).

After reading, we talked a little about the facts in the book. I made sure we discussed echolocation in particular, because it was the topic of the two games I had planned.

The first game involved using my rhythm sticks to practice locating via sound. I gave each kid two rhythm sticks and had them stand in a circle. One child stood in the middle and was our "bat". The bat closed their eyes while I chose a child to bang their rhythm sticks together. When the bat opened their eyes they needed to guess who had made the sound. After a few rounds I made it more difficult, by instructing all rest of the children to bang at a slow pace while the chosen child hit their sticks faster than the others. Adding this "background noise" was meant to make the kids see how difficult it can be to isolate a single sound.

Next, we moved on to our second game, a modified version of Marco Polo that I found here. One child is the bat, who closes their eyes and calls "Beep!". The rest of the kids are insects, who reply "Buzz, Buzz!". The bat's goal is to find the insects and tag them. This provided an additional lesson on how movement might play into echolocation. It also gave the kids an opportunity to burn off a little extra energy.

Our final activity was using a bat template to explore positive/negative space. I gave each child a bat template cut out of cardstock. They needed to place it on a white sheet of paper, and paint over or around it to create a bat out of white space.

One child diligently working on her bat :)

We ended the program with juice, fruit snacks (because bats eat fruit), and cupcakes topped with bat cutouts. Overall I'd say this program went pretty well. I think the kids enjoyed themselves and learned a little at the same time. Many of the bat books I put out were checked out after the program, which is always a good sign!

Next month's Kidding Around is a Star Wars Party. Any related tips and ideas are more than welcome. You can contact me here, on Twitter (@MsKellyTweets) or by email at marrak at libcoop dot net.

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