Amazing Activities at your School Library

Hippocampus has been in the children’s library space for over 13 years and one of things we learnt very soon is that a great space and an enviable collection of books are the heart of a good library – but the soul is the librarian. S/He has to be able to engage with the children and keep their excitement in reading always going. Carefully selected activities are a great way to keep the fun quotient in the library always high. Here are a few activities that you could organize at your school library and which are sure to be a hit.

Read-Aloud Mania

Gather a group of children and get them to be seated in a circle. Once they are all settled, hand out a book to any child and ask him to start reading aloud. As he starts reading it in his normal tone, add a twist by asking him to read the sentence like a pirate. At any point you can ask the child to stop and pass on the book to another child. This child must then continue reading the book in her regular tone, until you stop and ask her to read the sentence in a whisper. You can continue this fun activity by letting the children pass on the book and giving them various voices to read the sentences in. Here are a few examples: clown, baby, lion, ghost, monster, princess, king, volcano (start slow and later speed up the sentence to sound like an explosion) robot, rap artist, opera singer, newsreader etc.

This activity is suitable for children of 7 years and above.

Those Terrible Twisters

Tongue Twisters are a great way to liven up a silent library with laughter and joy (yes we believe a library is not a silent zone!). Write down a few tongue twisters on chits of paper, fold them up and put them in a bag. Get children to be seated in a circle and select a child to come up and pick up a twister. Get the child to read it aloud once so everyone can hear and memorize it. Later, ask that child to nominate another child to stand up say the twister really fast 5 times. The results are always hilarious, making library time fun and enjoyable. Here are a few popular tongue twisters:

Whose goose is loose? Is it Lou’s goose or Sue’s goose?

Slippery clamshells slowly slam shut.

Chubby chimps chase shrimps.

A tree toad with three toes is a three-toed tree toad.

A kitty in the city bit a kiddie – what a pity!

Witches wish weird wishes.

Argyle gargoyle

This activity is suitable for children of 7 years and above.

Tip: Use this if you find that the children are very distracted during a library hour. This will focus their boisterousness and provide an acceptable outlet for their energy.

Brain Melt

If you want the library to be calm while also keeping the children occupied with an interesting activity,   try brain-teasers. This challenge keeps children scratching their heads for a logical answer and is also immensely fun to do in groups. A few brain-teasers are included here :

  1. You may enter, but you may not come in,
    I have space, but no room,
    I have keys, but open no lock.
    What am I?
  2. A harp has four of something whilst a guitar has six. What is it?
  3. How can you share five apples between five people and still have one apple left in the basket?
  4. You are in a plane. There is a horse in front of you and an elephant behind you. Where are you?
  5. What is greater than God,
    more evil than the devil,
    the poor have it,
    the rich need it,
    and if you eat it, you’ll die?

Answers: 1. A Computer, 2. letters, 3.Give one apple along with the basket, 4. A carousel, 5. Nothing

Activity suitable for 10 years and above.           

Notice Operandi

This game is immensely entertaining. It will motivate children to be more observant and also pay attention to details. You can either hand out copies of the questions or divide children into four groups and quiz them orally.

  1. What is the tag line of Surf Exel?
  2. How many spokes does the Ashoka chakra on the Indian national flag contain?
  3. What is the key on the extreme top left on any computer keyboard?
  4. In which hand of the Statue of Liberty is the torch?
  5. Which direction do the blades of fans typically rotate? Clockwise or counter-clockwise?
  6. How many curves are there in a standard paper clip?
  7. How many sides does a STOP signboard have?
  8. On which side are the buttons on men’s shirts?
  9. On which side is the bite on the Apple logo?
  10. In how many regional languages is ten rupees written on 10 rupee note?

Answers: 1. Daag acche hai 2. Twenty-four spokes 3. Escape (Esc) 4. Right hand 5. Counter-clockwise 6. Three curves 7. Eight sides, 8. Right side 9. Right side 10. Fifteen languages

Activity suitable for children above 10 years

The Extremely, Horribly, Terribly Difficult Quiz

A literary challenge for readers! – gather avid readers from different grades and conduct a quiz contest. Ask children to form 4 groups with a maximum of 3 children in each group. Quiz the children in front of an audience for encouragement. You can also pass on some of the questions to audience for fun. Find a few sample questions below:

  1. A nanny who is blown by the east wind to Cherry lane with a magic umbrella
  2. The boy who never grew up
  3. Name of the black Panther in Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book
  4. Tin Tin’s dogs name
  5. A smart Aardvark who wears glasses
  6. A man who had 12 penguins
  7. The boy from Malgudi Days
  8. A girl from the Quimby family who finds herself in quirky situations at school
  9. The shy dwarf from Snow White and the seven dwarves
  10. Junie B Jones’ baby brothers name
  11. Garfield hates which day of the week?
  12. The name of the donkey from Winnie the Pooh
  13. The name of the Lion from Narnia – The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
  14. The name of the girl from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden
  15. The author of the Diary of the Wimpy Kid

Answers: 1. Mary Poppins, 2. Peter Pan, 3. Bagheera,  4. Snowy, 5. Arthur from Arthur Series, 6. Mr Popper from Mr Popper’s Penguin, 7. Swami, 8. Ramona from Ramona series, 9. Bashful, 10. Ollie, 11. Monday, 12.Eeyore, 13. Aslan, 14. Mary Lennox, 15. Jeff Kinney

Activity suitable for 8 to 12 year olds

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