Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recipe Swap: A Children's/Adult Programming Collaboration

My adult services colleagues and I have been brainstorming ways to work together in my branch lately. One of the ideas we came up with was offering joint children's/adult programs--that is, programs for families that involve some overlapping activities as well as distinct spaces and activities for kids and adults. We had a few goals for these sorts of programs:
  1. Allow the caregivers to enjoy content geared to them.
  2. Provide thematic crafts/activities for kids so that caregivers need not find childcare to attend the adult program.
  3. End programs with an invitation for the family to continue the program exploration at home, whether through conversation or related activities.
With those goals in mind, my colleague Michele and I offered our first joint programming endeavor earlier this week. It wasn't heavily attended--we still need to figure out how to best advertise this new style of program--but it was fun. Here's what we did:

Recipe Swap for Kids and Caregivers

The joint activity: What's the herb/spice?
     Michele created a poster board with images of 16 herbs and spices used in different types of cooking. She also created a sort of game page, with spaces to guess all 16 herbs and spices based on their pictures. For additional clues and interest, she also set out plates with all 16 of the herbs and spices. Smelling, carefully grating, and feeling the foodstuffs were all acceptable means of exploring what the herbs and spices were. The goal was for families to work together to explore these foods, talking about what they were, what they smelled like, what they use them for in their house, etc.
     This hands-on and self-paced activity provided great ways for families to use food vocabulary and to talk about their own food traditions.

The adult activity: Recipe Swap & Cookbook Exploration
     The advertisement for the program encouraged attendees to bring a printed copy of a recipe or two that they enjoy at their own homes. At the beginning of the program, a library staffer ran off copies of each of the recipes for everyone to swap. There were pasta dishes, a breakfast sausage recipe, some baked goods, and a sweet and sour pork recipe, all with recommendations for their ease, healthfulness, and kid-friendliness.
     Michele also called in and displayed a wide variety of cookbooks in the library's collections to share with attendees. They were then able to talk about their favorite recipe sources--cookbooks, blogs--and swap personal tips for the best stores for certain ingredients, keeping meals well-balanced, etc. So many caregivers try to be cognizant of the types of foods they share with their families, and so this topic produced tons of conversation.

The kids' activity: Decorating Recipe Cards
     I created a blank, half-page recipe card template in Publisher and printed a bunch on white card stock. I had the library's washable, large-size ink pads on the craft table, ready for kids to do fingerprint art to decorate the backs of the recipe cards. I also had plenty of wipes on hand for when the artists wanted to switch to a new color of ink.
     The end result was a great variety of personalized, colorful recipe cards, ready to be used to share favorite family recipes. This craft is a pretty straightforward one for the crafters, so we were able to talk about our favorite foods and how we help cook and bake at home while working on our recipe cards.

The wrap-up: Cookies!
     Michele shared a recipe for chocolate crinkle cookies in the recipe swap, and she prepared a batch to share at the program as well. Kids and adults reconvened to try the cookies, which provided a nice end to our joint programming adventure.


Do you partner with adult services to offer simultaneous or inter-generational programs? I'd love to hear about them!

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