I'd like to you meet my I Spy Board:
Back story: I got a call from the YMCA asking if I'd like to set up a table at their Lights On Afterschool event. It would be for 200+ school-age students, so I pondered what to do.
We could do a craft, but for 200 kids that would be A LOT of supplies to cart around. After throwing ideas back and forth, my staff and I came up with the idea to create an I Spy Board.
I used some discarded books that we'd withdrawn from the collection and a bunch of product catalogs that we had in the recycling bin. I cut out pictures and collaged them on a piece of poster board. When I went to the event, I stapled the poster to a sturdy cardboard stand-up.
I created rhymes that tell the kids what to search for, like in the I Spy books. I discovered that I shouldn't have gone to the trouble because the kids were just interested in a list of what to search for.
It was a hit! I had kids stopping by my table, intrigued by the large picture of The Stinky Cheese Man that I had in the middle of the collage. Then they'd stay and search for a few minutes, often helping each other and working as a team. I had bookmarks and plastic spider rings (left over from a past Summer Reading Club) to hand out.
I love to be part of outreach events, but besides bringing crafts (which can be expensive and/or labor intensive for a large group of kids), I didn't know what else to bring with me. Now that we have our I Spy board, I'm sure we'll be bringing it on many events in the future! I love it because it's very portable, fun for the kids, and easy for one person to run.