|Can you spot the Arch?|
Shoe Box Cities was a program I offered for the school-age crowd on an evening during our local spring break. The premise: come to the library to think about what goes into planning a city or town, then make one to take home.
|I also set out Smarties.|
I opened the program by asking the children what they like about the place they live--in our neck of the woods, that can include St. Louis. From there, we made a list of all the things we would include in a city if we were in charge of planning it. They covered transportation, sporting arenas, stores, restaurants, the library... I was very impressed at the depth of thought these kids gave to what they would want in a city.
Then, for the majority of the program, we built. We had a smaller group--14 people total--and we were all seated in a large square. I joined in the building, but every five minutes or so I would circulate to see the cities-in-progress, asking questions and requisitioning specific colors of paint samples as needed. I loved seeing how willing the kids were to help one another, too; when one figured out a way to make a miniature baseball field, he shared the knowledge with other eager sports fans. We also spent our work time talking about the books we'd been reading; I always love these informal book conversations as a means of quietly championing the joys of reading.
By the time the program ended, we had a myriad of interesting, intricate cities. Several children made their dream cities; one made a replica of the street with her school and the nearby grocery store; and one decided to think outside the box and make a shoe box house, complete with bathroom and attached garage.