So, I give you Library Capers: Messy, Messy Room!
Open by talking about each child's messy room. Are they messy with clothes, books, or toys? Any leftover food or small animals living unnoticed in their room? Basically, just build it up for the stories and games.
Then, show the Secret Word! I would make the children raise their hands when I said the secret word.
Next, read What's With This Room by Tom Lichtenheld. This is a great book about an out of control messy room that is sure to elicit screams of disgust and delight.
Then on to games! I prepped several Minute-to-Win-It style games. The first was Hanger Hang-ups where the kids balanced one hanger on another off of a clothes rack. They could balance up to seven hangers until they reached the floor.
Next was Separation Anxiety. The kids had 60 seconds to separate a pile of beads into like colored bowls, with all the on-lookers screaming them on, of course.
Time to cool down with Diggy Dan by Daniel Kamish, a story of how a boy pretends to be many, many things simply by cleaning his room.
We get moving again with Hamper Hoops. Three strategically placed pop-open hampers, six sock balls and a tape line to make things interesting and the game is on!
A final activity for this messy program is a hidden picture hunt. Pick up an old I Spy book and try to find as many objects as you can in those messy pictures. Then, make your own seek and find from magazine clipping and design you own messy room.
For more Messy Room fun, invite children to check out Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight, the poems of Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein, and more I Spy fun. I always put out a selection of books for the children to look at before and after the program. Most of the time they followed the theme, but sometimes they were just fun books. Also, if a child wants to take home the book that you read in class, let them! That's the best form of thanks!
Now don't forget to hand out those prizes for the secret word. Like I said before, small prizes like pencils, notepads, or even leftover summer reading prizes work great. And in this case, it's just another thing to add to their messy room.
The best programs for elementary school children were interactive and spontaneous. Just go with the flow and let their imaginations lead you.