A couple weeks ago Over a month ago… I hosted an instrument petting zoo at the library. A staff member had several maracas, rainsticks and rhythm sticks at the library, and at home I have a violin, a guitar and an oboe, so something with instruments seemed like an obvious program idea.
I grouped the “orchestra instruments” (that’s what I called the oboe, violin and guitar) on one side of the room, and the “traditional instruments” (that’s what I called the maracas, rainsticks and rhythm sticks) on the other. Since I don’t actually know how to play the oboe I created QR codes to YouTube videos highlighting what each orchestra instrument is supposed to sound like. In the end, this was unnecessary since nobody used the code. I also found these lovely dioramas of the instruments, pointing out the various parts.
It was a very loose program, with no clear structure, but the kids had a lot of fun. I purposely did it that way as it took place right after storytime and I didn’t want every attendee crowding around the violin or the grabbing for the rain stick. By making it an open house kids could come and go as they pleased and spend as much time on each instrument as they wanted.
The only downside– a few homeschool kids came in expecting that I would teach them how to play each instrument. If I do a program like this again, I’ll be very, very, clear about program outcomes and expectations.