As children made their way into the program room, they saw tables set out with supplies to create their superhero costumes: blank face masks from our die cut machine; toilet paper tubes to be decorated and cut into wrist bands; and name tags ready to proclaim each child's superhero name. We spent a good twenty minutes in costume preparation--and let me tell you, the creative juices were flowing big time! I made sure to walk the room and engage each child in a conversation about his/her superpowers, costume choice, etc. Also, since the program began with our craft--a quieter activity--I was able to leave the program room doors open for the first twenty minutes. I had a handful of children come into the room for the program just because they peeked in and saw something they found interesting. I love getting walk-ins at school-age programs.
After the book talks and a quick superhero photo break, we moved into our superhero skills training. Two games were available for our young heroes, both involving tossing balls. First was a knock-over-the-supervillains game, similar to what you might see at a school fun fair. I affixed some common comic book villains to the cans, and we used textured rubber balls as ammunition. The second game involved knocking some invisible villains out of a building--a.k.a. a large box I carved window-like sections out of and then painted. The ammunition for this game was soft spongy balls that are designed as pool toys. After hearing about the invisible villains, a few children modified their costumes with special invisibility-viewing capabilities. I love the young child's mind!
After a few rounds of skill practice, it was time for our final superhero endeavor: ridding the library of a deadly kryptonite contamination. *GASP!* For this game, we split into two teams. The kryptonite--balled up pieces of aluminum foil--was scattered around the far end of the program room, and the kryptonite could only be picked up with the assistance of two pencils--no touching the kryptonite! The goal was for each team to send one member at a time from their home base, where they had a decontamination bucket, into the contamination field to pick up and carry back a piece of kryptonite using their tools. Once the piece of kryptonite was deposited in the decontamination bucket, another team member could go to continue the collection. At the end of the game, the team with the most kryptonite collected would win. Since our attendees were toward the younger side of the school-age range, their pace for collecting kryptonite was not particularly quick; to help move things along, I let teams have multiple members out in the contamination field at a time.
The children walked out into the library in their superhero costumes after the program, and I made sure they left with my favorite superhero message as well as a book: use your powers for good. Based on the number of smiles on those masked faces, I'd say the whole event was a success.