Magic Tree House Book Club - Dinosaurs Before Dark
Magic Tree House Bookclub!Last summer I started an elementary book club for Magic Tree House. My branch is unique in that we share space with a middle school, so our hours that we are open are after school (during the school year). I have storytimes on Saturdays but I really lack in programming for elementary aged students which was my main drive in creating this book club. Since June, we have had a book club every month and let me just say, sometimes it is really hard to find ideas for Magic Tree House. I decided that I would start sharing what we have done so others who want to start their own will have some ideas as well. :)
Questions & Activity packets
When they arrive, I have an activity packet waiting for them at their seats. In the packet I like to include a word search or a crossword puzzle and questions about the book. They can work on all of it or none of it, it is really up to them.
To focus on the book, we work through questions from each chapter. So far, most of my questions have come from the website Rise to Reading. You can find the questions specifically for this book here. I have worked at another branch that had Magic Tree House Parties. These parties were super over the top and honestly did not focus on the book or the comprehension of the books. For me, I wanted our main focus to be discussing the book.
Craft & Activites
I try to always have some sort of activity and/or craft. For this book, we made dinosaur skeletons from pasta which I found from Busy Bee Kids Crafts.
Along with the skeletons, we also had a hands on Dino Dig. I found small plastic dinosaurs and placed them in old plastic Easter eggs I had in the craft closet. I made cloud dough and hid the eggs in the dough. My *hope* was that the kiddos would use brushes to gently brush away the "sand" to discover the eggs. HA! So, that did not happen in any way. I had several older boys who were over excited and were basically digging through looking for the eggs before any of the younger kids could participate. I had no idea how the crowd would behave or how the parents would interact so it was a good learning activity for me. Next time, I will use a parent volunteer to stand there at the station and help monitor what is going on.
I also found a worksheet from the Magic Tree House website about mystery dinosaurs. I asked the questions to the group for this one instead of printing out individual copies.
My goal with the snacks was to tailor the snacks to the theme if I could. As I have gone through the series (Afternoon on the Amazon!!), I have learned that this may seem like a great idea in theory but come time to figure out something that is not ridiculously elaborate can be quite challenging. But again, it was our first month, so I had high hopes.
For this month, I came across an idea for Dinosaur Crumbles Snack. You crumble graham crackers to make the dirt, add cocoa puffs for rocks and hide gummy dinos inside with the dirt and rocks. Well, my local grocery store did not have gummy dinos, so they had to settle for worms.
I had a great turnout for our first program. I was super pleased! 8 months later we are still going strong. I am really proud of the program and what we have continued to build on.