Summer Special: Wormapalooza!
What it is: a multi-station celebration, a festival of fishbait, a wonder of wigglers!
The stations at my library were: bendy beaded worms, wiggle worm stick puppets, a die-cut worm pencil decoration aaaaand... live worm racing! (instructions for each of these after the jump or follow the links as given)
Let's start with the one everyone is wondering about: Live worm races!
--plastic tablecloth, marked with a small circle inside a larger circle for each "racetrack." I had two tracks per each 6' table.
--spray bottle filled with water (lightly spraying the tracks before the races helps the worms move more easily. The voice of experience recommends that you give the spray bottle to an older "race official" rather than to the kids.)
--live worms. Red wigglers from a bait shop work great. I haven't tried other worm varieties, so I can't vouch for their race-worthiness.
--small cups to hold the worms.
--optional: Certificate of Worm Ownership for those who choose to keep their worms and take them home.
How this works:
1. Kids choose a worm and put it into their small cup.
Next station: Bendy Beaded Worms!
--Chenille stems (cut in half)
--plastic pony beads (buttons would also work well)
How this works:
1. Bend a bit of the end of one of the chenille stems (pipe cleaners) into a circle to hide the poky wire end and to hold the pony beads on.
Next station: wiggle worm stick puppets (see instructions at the link--you can also just use strips of paper instead of the ribbon options. It adheres more quickly to the craft sticks and is cheaper and easier to decorate with markers or crayons.)
--markers or crayons
How it works:
1. decorate the paper.
2. thread a pencil through the holes, accordion style.
Other ideas that might work better with smaller crowds include:
--paper worm racing
--sharing the book (or movie) Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
--"Birds eating Worms" fine motor activity (scroll down through the link to find instructions. You could make this a race or a "see how many you can pick up in a minute" type of contest to add excitement for older participants.)
--painting with "worms"
--mini worm composters: give kids a spoonful or two of material appropriate for a compost bin (soil, sand, green material (veggie peels or fresh grass clippings), brown material (dried leaves or dry grass clippings) to add to their small cups with their racing worms. Explain that this is a starter kit only and that they shouldn't keep their worm in that cup too long, but that this will give them a reminder of what needs to be added to a larger container to create a working worm composting bin.