For anyone who hasn’t heard of Bedtime Math or Crazy 8’s Club, they have quite a lot to offer to kids, parents, afterschool program providers, and public children’s librarians. I wrote about their newest Crazy 8’s Club kit earlier. Here I want to mention what is offered in the first volume kit, which is still available through their site.
Each volume consists of eight weeks worth of programs, divided into age groups. A coach can order a kit with supplies for either kk-2nd grade, or a kit for 3rd-5th grade, or both. The majority of supplies needed for the programs are included in the kits, which are provided free of charge to informal learning programs. Coaches supply things like pencils, paper, post-it notes, tape, chalkboards/whiteboards, chalk/markers, toilet paper, paper clips, etc. Essentially, coaches only need to provide things that can usually be found in library offices.
For volume one, the programs provided are:
Week 1: Glow in the Dark Geometry
For this week, participants use glowsticks to create various geometric shapes. Then, after practicing and experimenting with the shapes, they work together to create repeating patterns on the floor. Experimentation allows them to discover which basic shapes work best to create a quiltwork design covering the floor and leaving no gaps between shapes. After playing with various two dimensional designs, they put mini-glowsticks in styrofoam balls and try to create a pyramid.
Week 2: Let’s Get Loud
This program requires the most supply gathering on the part of the coach, as the coach needs to go in search of lots of items with which the participants can make lots of noise. An iPad or iPhone with a free decibel meter app would be convenient, too. With the provided giant straws, participants learn to measure with a tape measure as they create a pan pipe. When the pipes have been finished, Crazy 8’er’s see how the different length straws make different notes. They also learn about how sound is measured both by tone and be decibel. Using other items, they experiment to see what items can make the loudest noise.
Week 3: Time of Your Life
The focus this week is time and how it is measured. Starting out with large units of time – centuries and decades – and moving toward progressively smaller and smaller units, participants learn the names of the various measurements of time, down to seconds and 100ths of a second. They put themselves in order according to age, by birth month, and by birth day. Crazy 8’er’s use the provided stop watches to learn just how long, or short, seconds can be, depending on their own perceptions. Timed games and challenges add to the fun. They then pretend to be the hands on a clock and play with making and telling the time.
Week 4: Toilet Paper Olympics
This was a favorite among my kids, both because of the amount of activity involved, the mess they got to make, and the fact that we finished up by wrapping one another up like mummies (it was Halloween week).
First participants measure squares of toilet paper to determine its dimensions in inches. Then, using strips taped to the wall, we measured how tall each participant was in “squares.” The older kids used that to calculate how tall they are in inches. Afterward, the real fun began. They began with the long jump, measured in toilet paper squares, of course. Then they used toilet paper rolls in a shot put contest. The final challenge was a toilet roll relay, where teams worked to unroll a roll of toilet paper without it breaking. In the end, whatever paper was left was used to wrap the group together as a giant mummy.
Week 5: Spy Training
In this activity, participants learned about ciphers and codes. First they learned about the Pigpen code, and solved a puzzle using it. Then they were given puzzles using a number substitution code. Once they’d solved the puzzles, there was a scavenger hunt using a substitution code. When they got to the end of the hunt, there was a toy magnifying glass for each. Finally, there were cryptograms of varying difficulties to solve. That was the hardest part for my group, so we worked on them as a group, with me giving them hints when they got stuck.
Week 6: Flying Marshmallows
This week coaches get to bring marshmallows to the program, along with pencils, markers, masking tape, and enthusiasm. The activity for this program involves building catapults and slingshots, learning how to use them, and shooting marshmallows all over the activity area. Using a tape measure stretched along the floor, participants competed to see who could shoot their marshmallow the farthest using each of the devices. Knowing how tall the ceiling is, they also competed to see who could hit the ceiling. They experimented with different tensions and positions of the rubber bands and ways of holding the catapults and slingshots to see what worked the best for each participant. All in all, they had a great time, and all the non-flying marshmallows mysteriously disappeared by the end of the program.
Week 7: Zip Line Zoo
In this program, participants learn about gravity, slope, and speed, while creating zip lines for their stuffed animals. Using rubber bands as harnesses, the small stuffed animals were attached to plastic cord zip lines of various heights with paper clips. Then teams measured the height and length of their zip lines and how long it took for the animals to reach the floor. They experimented with various heights, distances, and slopes, to see which combination provided the fastest and the slowest ride.
Week 8: Bouncy Dice Explosion
Participants start out by examining the giant dice provided in the kit. They discover the relationship between the numbers on opposite sides. Then, dividing into teams, they play variations on the games War and Bingo using the dice instead of cards. In the process, they get to practice their addition and multiplication, as well as learn about probability. The team Bingo also allows them to work together to determine the best spot to claim to get their bingo the quickest.