Creative ways to use Activity Time at your library
27 Apr 2021
Activity Time helps librarians, families and educators encourage children to go beyond the book. While many libraries use Story Box Library (SBL) to complement storytime reads as an extension of their shelved collection, or for use in special programs or community outreach, many are unaware of our Activity Time resources, and the ways in which they can use them to engage library patrons.
To help our library communities everywhere make the most of Activity Time, we’ve put together some creative and inspiring ideas from our subscribers.
What is Activity Time, anyway?
Activity Time resources accompany all stories in our digital library collection, and consist of a downloadable PDF for older stories and for more recent stories an instructional video plus a downloadable PDF. Often with a focus on arts and crafts or play, Activity Time promotes an active and balanced lifestyle for young children, and is an opportunity for community engagement or family connection.
Each Activity Time provides families and librarians ways to further engage children with the themes, concepts and characters in stories. Designed to be used by families at home or incorporated into library offerings already in place, such as storytimes, book clubs, holiday programs and special events like CBCA Book Week, our additional features, like Activity Time, let imaginations fly.
Integrated into library reading challenges
The Children’s & Youth Services team at Maribyrnong Libraries have been integrating Activity Time into their existing library programs, through reading challenges for kids. As the team responsible for collections, programs and services development and delivery for families and young people in the Maribyrnong Municipality, they use SBL to engage families in their community, extending library services and encouraging reading and learning.
“We regularly promote Activity Time and Story Box Library in our Story Time programs and provide marketing material throughout our branches,” a team member said.
“We are currently running a Preschool Reading Challenge on Beanstack. The activities include links to watching stories on [SBL] and completing Activity Time to gain badges in the challenge.
“Hands on activities that support the stories or themes of Story Time help to reinforce learning in an engaging and fun way.”
Each Activity Time experience is a little bit different from the next, sometimes focusing on movement or creativity and other times on playing or exploring. Combining stories and Activity Time with a fun challenge enables library staff to set goals for young patrons, making reading and storytelling a natural extension of learning and development.
Take-home craft packs
We spoke with Julie-Anne Trease, Library & Programs Customer Service Officer at Korumburra Library, which is part of Victoria’s West Gippsland Library Service. During the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, Korumburra Library increased promotion of SBL to families and library patrons, and found an influx of families requesting digital learning and literacy resources.
In addition to SBL promotion, the Korumburra Library team created and delivered craft packs via post to families, which were matched with Activity Time instructions, and corresponding stories in our digital collection.
“We've made our own crafts then included the activity sheets from [SBL], to extend their experience,” Julie-Anne said. The craft packs have been so successful that Julie-Anne’s team currently create and hand them out at Story Time sessions at the library, for families to take home and enjoy.
Promoting creativity, play and problem-solving
Designed to be used alongside story reads, Activity Time resources are ready for use by all subscribing public libraries, library staff and patrons. Finding opportunities for discovery, learning and family connection is always available through Activity Time, and can provide a broad scope of edutainment and play possibilities.
“[Activity Time] is often an opportunity for critical thinking and problem solving and provides space for children to express their creativity,” the Maribyrnong Libraries team said.
“It can also help children retain knowledge, and make connections with their world through books.”
Expanding on the benefits of using SBL at Maribyrnong Libraries, the team said, “Story Box Library provides the opportunity for families to watch and listen to a diverse range of presenters read and engage with books they may not ordinarily come across.
“Children can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of cultures and experiences other than their own, which contributes to greater empathy for others.”
For further information on the resources available with a Story Box Library public library subscription, contact us here.