Fabulous Fridays: Mario Kart Program

The Program

The description for our program read: "Do you have what it takes to be the best "Mario Kart" racer? Put your skills to the test for a chance to win the ultimate title! Play games and chat with other Nintendo fans while you wait to compete."

Pamela: The goal of this program was to try and provide a fun program for tween boys. We decided on this program, because Ms. V tried it with the teens last year and found that mostly tweens showed up. This was an indication to me that we were missing something in our programming for this group, So we decided to try it with the tweens, and it turned out to be really successful.

Supplies & Stations

Pamela: From our previous programs, we know that stations are successful with this age group. So we wanted to provide other activities for the participants to do while a group played the Wii. 


Using Pinterest, I was able to find these Bingo cards. 

If anyone wanted to watch the contestants play, we invited these watchers a chance to play BINGO. While they watched, they would try and find the characters or items on their card in the game. If they saw something on their card, they could mark it off.  When the watcher got BINGO, they would receive a piece of candy. This made just watching other people play a little more fun.

Coloring Pages

Mario Coloring Pages

We printed off these pages and set up a station just to color. This was popular with both the boys & girls. Many wanted to color one to hang up in their room. It was sweet to watch the kids talk to one another as they colored. I felt like this was a nice station to break the ice & allow the kids to meet each other. 

Just like teens need food, tweens need candy. It is no surprise that our candy stash was cleaned out by the end of the program, but it was fun to have candy for our BINGO game and to have a way for us to introduce ourselves to the kids as we went around the room. 

Board Games

To provide extra activities, we set out board games that we had in the children's department. This was a nice way for us to have an extra activity with out a lot of prep. The kids seemed to really enjoy it as well. Many tween girls flocked to this station and entertained themselves while they waited to play. I thought it was interesting that they enjoyed this so much. Maybe we need to do a game day in the future? 

How it Went
Alyssa: We just thought our numbers were record breaking for our Nuclear glow party. The Mario Kart Competition shattered them entirely with twenty-seven kids attending! This is undoubtedly a program we will repeat one day.

Pamela: I feel like this would make an excellent after school passive program.  The kids were really more interested in free play. We had a few competitive ones, but the program was really about just playing together & enjoying this fun game. Instead of doing an organized program, I think this would be a better passive program to do whenever we see a lot of tweens in the department. It would make a great organized program if we had another Wii, but I didn't feel like the kids got to play as much as they wanted to. We just had more then what we were expecting show up. 

What We Learned 

Alyssa: More than one gaming system is best for a program like this. Also, with that many participants, you need more than just a few stations for the kids waiting their turn to play.

Pamela: The start of this program was pretty stressful. I was running to this program from another job, and had to quickly get things set up. After working  most of the day already and battling traffic, this was not fun. I was pretty grumpy. (Pam is crazy! If we were all that nice when we were grumpy, it would be a much happier world...)

From my teaching days, I was always taught to have a backup plan. I remember my mentor teacher telling me to ALWAYS  have a backup plan, especially when using technology. I always find her advice to be true. 

Of course I didn't have anything ready &.....the T.V. wouldn't work. In addition, several of the Wii remotes were dead & the games were all in the wrong cases.  

I felt like it was a case of Murphy's Law. Whatever could go wrong would go wrong,  but thankfully it didn't. After we got another T.V., things started to calm down.

It really taught me how unpredictable technology is. Since I own a Wii, I thought it would be an easy set up & took the prep for granted. 
I now know when doing a program such as this one, you really need to carefully check to make sure everything works & everything is in order. With summer reading, this can be hard. I think if we have things ready though, we will be more calm & it will be more of positive experience all around.

 That prep is just essential!

Overall, the kids really made this experience fun for me & made my day.  After everyone competed, I got to play the game with them, and  I really enjoyed it. I also learned how to play the game Sorry! and a card game called Liar. 

 It really continued to drive home the point to me that we need to be involved with the kids when we do the program. Not only do you have a blast, but it makes that experience more fun for the kids. I hope our programs continue to be as successful. 

Are you doing some game programs at your library? How did it go?


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