During spring break this year, I was tasked with coming up with two programs for tweens. They were supposed to be suitable for larger-than-average crowds and designed to appeal to the greatest number of kids. I confess, this first program was not exactly my idea. My boss was cruising around Oriental Trading one day, searching for supplies for other upcoming programs, when she stumbled upon plain, white rubber ducks. She immediately came to me and suggested we host a "design your own duck" program for the tweens. And voila! Instant programming.
This was an insanely simple program that I think the kids absolutely loved (actually, I think the staff may have enjoyed it even more than the kids). We simply ordered large quantities of the white rubber ducks, set out multi-colored sharpies, glue, fabric, feathers, stickers, and assorted other art supplies, and let the kids create their own designer ducks. Each kid made at least two; some made 3 or 4. In the weeks leading up to the program, we had distributed some ducks to staff members throughout the library and asked them to create some examples so kids could see that possibilities were basically endless. It was amazing to see just how different every one's ducks turned out to be. I crafted a Cheshire Duck and a Spiderduck (Cheshire Cat and Spiderman); we had a set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Ducks, a Duck Tape, a Mardi Gras duck, and even a Thing 1. We set our example ducks in a glass display case near the children's desk about a week before the program and I think this made a big impact on our final numbers.
The program ran incredibly well; each kid just did his or her own thing. They all behaved well and most stayed creating ducks until the very last minute. I didn't get to see all the ducks that were made but I did see a couple different versions of Thing 1, some more Teenage Mutant Ninja Ducks, a leprechaun duck (complete with pot of gold), Superduck, and even a zombie duck. This was an easy and very successful program that everyone had fun with. I would love to do it again!