The Spiffiest Giant in Town: A Clothes Relay You Can Play at Home or at the Library!

Age Range: 5-8 years old; All Ages
Time: 45 minutes
Program Type: Drop-In; Online

While I really want to share some of my larger programming ideas with you, at this point in time, I still think it wise to share ideas that are simple and that could be carried out online or at home. That’s why I chose to talk about one of my oldie-but-goodie Book Worms themes this month. This program would be fun issued as a challenge to families at home after a virtual storytime!

Several years ago, not long after I took over school age programming at my library, I stumbled upon one of those random, weird holidays that gave me program inspiration. I honestly don’t even remember what month it was or what the holiday was called now, but I remember that it had something to do with clothes.

I’m a fan of Julia Donaldson’s books, particularly The Spiffiest Giant in Town. It’s a lovely story of a gentle giant with a huge heart who literally gives up the clothes on his back to help those in need. I knew that I wanted to share this story for a clothes-themed Book Worms, but I needed an activity to go along with it.

As I was reading through the book, I came upon the page that shows all of the new clothes that the giant buys for himself (that he ultimately gives away). I was struck with inspiration! I absolutely love relay races, so I decided to have a clothing relay for the kids!

I grabbed two of each item in the giant’s outfit from my cosplay closet: two shirts, two pairs of pants, two belts, two ties, two pairs of socks, and two pairs of shoes. Each set of clothing was a little different and they were all way too big for the kids of course, but I tried to make them a comparable difficulty level to get on and off. (I also tried to make them a little weird and fun for the kids.)

I placed two laundry baskets at the end of the room, each with one whole outfit inside. I taped off the starting line for each team at the opposite end of the room. On my signal, the first child would run to the basket, put on all of the clothes (over their own; I did have them remove their shoes first), then run back to their team. Then, they would have to remove all of the clothes and give them to the next person, who would put them on, run down to the basket, take them all off, throw them in the basket, and run back to tag the next person. The relay would continue alternating like this until everyone on one team had successfully put on and taken off the clothes once.

It was hilarious to see the kids struggling to put on and run in clothes that were way too big. It was easily one of the simplest and most fun game ideas I’ve ever had. (In fact, I’m feeling like I should do it again some time soon!)

If you’re like us and still doing online programming only, I think this could be a nice fit. Since it requires no special supplies, it would be really fun to read The Spiffiest Giant in Town for storytime and then challenge families to do the relay at home and compete against each other. I’m sure you’d get some great photos and videos. Maybe you could even offer some sort of prize for the family who completes the relay in the fastest time!

The book has some very timely themes, such as selflessness and compassion, providing for the weak, vulnerable and needy, and with the main character being a giant and all supporting characters being animals, it ties very nicely into “Imagine Your Story.”

If you decide to do this program, let me know how it goes! There’s nothing I love more than putting kids in weird get-ups and laughing at how adorably awkward they are! =)

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