SummerQuest programs are interest-based, experiential, and fun! Look for ways to host programs that encourage kids and teens to build upon current interests and develop new ones. This isn’t school! Summer is a time when kids can explore their curiosities, just because they want to. The Best Practices section has lots of examples of programs that other Pennsylvania libraries are already doing. Modify those programs to suit your community or create your own. Then look at the infographic below and consider how you can help children and teens build “Competencies” and “Character Qualities” through your programming.


Infographic Source

General Programming

Pinterest Boards  -Try searching

Beyond the Chalkboard
Remember that afterschool/out-of-school websites will have many ideas that translate easily into libraries. This website is the brainchild of a group staff from the Boston Children’s Museum.

The Bubbler @ Madison Public Library
Whether offering the basics of animation, screen printing, music, clothing design, writing, dance, and painting (to name a few), the Bubbler’s hands-on pop-up workshops introduces participants to a variety of local experts who share their talents and physical resources.

Teen Programs from YALSA 
YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) provides numerous program ideas and tools in section IV of Professional Tools.  This link includes information on environments, activism, engagement, access, diversity, equity, as well as teen growth and development.

Teen Programs in a Box
Part of the Teen Library Toolkit (TLT), a networked blog with School Library Journal. Find programs in the following categories: Book Based Programs, Craft Programs, Food Based Programs, Interactive Programs, and Nontraditional Programs.

Literacy Programming

Baker, R. Lynn. Creating Literacy-Based Programs for Children: Lesson Plans and Printable Resources for K–5. ALA Editions, 2017.   Available through your District Library Center

This book provides a wealth of ideas for literacy-based programming for public libraries.

Jacobson, Linda. “Strategize: Great Ideas for Library Writing Programs.” School Library Journal, May 2016 
This article gives concrete suggestion for writing programs.  Note: the May 2016 issue of School Library Journal focused on writing.  You can access other articles via POWER Library.

Reading Rockets 
Try searching writing, reading or poetry to find some program ideas.

Guide to Supporting English Language Learners in OST and Extended Learning Time
Helpful ideas for library staff planning programs that include English Language Learners.

Passive Programming

Passive Program Power
Links to passive program ideas from a presentation in Minnesota. Ideas range from a craft cart to scavenger hunts to check-out clubs.

Passive Programs
Are you a fan of Pinterest? This board has ideas from across the country.

ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) Blog
This is the link to the general blog. However, there are many posts with drop-in programming ideas here (Or you can search for passive program in the blog search box.)

Simple Folder Games

 pdfIdea Book for Family Engagement1.07 MB

Folder games for Preschoolers

Folder games for Kindergarten & Grade 1

Folder games for Grade 2 & 3

STEM/STEAM Programming

STEM/STEAM programs can be daunting because librarians sometimes feel like they should have all the answers. That isn’t the case. Everyone gets a chance to learn through these programs.

  1. Animal Habitats
  2. A World of Color
  3. Bones
  4. Citizen Science
  5. Double Bubble Trouble
  6. Floating or Sinking
  7. Galimoto
  8. Galimoto Interactive Read Aloud
  9. House Building Challenge
  10. Laws of Motion
  11. Moon Voyage Book
  12. Paper Airplane Contest
  13. Paper Airplane Journal
  14. Plants
  15. Potential vs. Kinetic Energy
  16. Putting Your Body Together
  17. Rocks Rock
  18. Six Dots
  19. Spider Book
  20. Starry Starry Night
  21. Static Electricity
  22. Sun Affects Life on Earth
  23. The Day the Crayons Quit...
  24. The Journey of a Germ
  25. Under One Rock

All Things STEAM
Librarian Amy Koester shares simple STEAM programs on her blog.  There are ideas for preschool and elementary aged children.

The Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) provides interactive STEM exhibits, programming, and training to public libraries nationwide through its ScienceTechnology Activities and Resources Library Network (STAR Net). You may want to sign up for their blog and get the monthly newsletter.

STEM Sprouts: Science, Technology, Engineering & Math Teaching Guide
The STEM Sprouts Teaching Kit is the product of a collaboration between National Grid, Boston Children’s Museum, and WGBH. The goal of this curriculum is to assist preschool educators in focusing and refining the naturally inquisitive behaviors of three to five-year-olds on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Strengthening Communities Through Libraries
Librarian Toolkit for Developing STEAM Learning Opportunities during Out-Of-School Time

Tinker Kit: Educators’ Guide 
This guide has activities for Preschoolers, but the concepts, tool suggestions and other information would be useful for ideas to use with a wider audience.

Use the PARTY method
Provide an introduction, Assign manageable tasks, Reinforcement, Try again, You did it!


This camp can take place in a library or can be used as a take away program since much of it is virtual.  Please note it was created in 2015 so some links may be broken.

Camp Wonderopolis
This free online summer learning destination is full of fun, interactive STEM and literacy building topics boosted by maker experiments to keep kids and their adults learning throughout the summer.

Discovery Education 
Discovery Education through the Connect the Dots program provides three different Camp themes with activities and resources for school aged children and tweens.