Program: Cool Caves

I was hired to replace a librarian who filled an opening in another branch of the same library system. She moved quickly, so I inherited many of her summer programs. One I inherited was Cool Caves. I was free to pretty much do what I wanted, so I designed something of a craft program.

What we did:

First, we had a chat about the stations I had set up and how they related to caves. The first station had a small gallery of cave art from around the world. We talked about how old cave art is, how it’s find in almost every continent, and how it’s related to writing and language. For the craft, I provided crumpled brown lunch bags and sidewalk chalk. The kids could draw inspiration from what they saw or from their own imagination. I put out our craft placemats to keep the mess down, but there was actually very little chalk dust.

800px-Bhimbetka_Cave_Paintings
India, 1500-2000 BCE

The second station had a cave I made from the same crumpled brown lunch bags and a largeish cardboard box. I covered it, inside and out, cut out an entrance, and created rock formations with paper and hot glue. Here we talked about stalctites and stalgmites, and troglobites, creatures that live primarily in caves. Inside our model cave, I hide five pictures of these cave-dwelling creatures. Kids were free to explore the cave and find and re-hide the animal cards.

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Cave, featuring a very well hidden trivia fact in orange.

The last station was “cave camouflage,” or bat hats. I provided print outs with pictures of bats, crayons, scissors, tape, and construction paper. They colored the bats, cut them out, and taped them to construction paper bands to wear as a hat.

There was a final component to tie it together and to help their new cave knowledge stick. I gave each participant a trivia sheet with five blanks and around the room I hide bright orange cards that provided an answer to each question. The fill-in-the-blank facts were things like: Most animals that live in caves are (blind). The longest cave system in the world is (Mammoth Cave).

And it went:

Great! It was a resounding success! The cave drawings were not nearly as popular as I had anticipated. What really stole the show were the… bat hats! The kids and parents LOVED them and, I have to admit, they looked pretty cute running around the programs with rings of multi-colored cartoon bats on their heads.

The cave was also very popular- they loved finding all of the weird cave creatures and then hiding them for their friends. Likewise, the trivia challenge went over really well. Many of our patrons are homeschoolers and it really appealed to that audience- but the kids got very into it as well.

This is actually from last summer’s SRP theme, but I thought it fit well with Fizz, Boom, Read too. Caves and natural science are a great way to explore the science theme!

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