Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

9.6 Mamaging a Youth Activity Booth


9.6: Managing a Youth Activity Booth at a Local Gem Show

Every show should have a youth activity booth, and it‘s even better if youth are actually running it! One thing my own kids often eagerly volunteered for—even after they grew older and began to tire of the old man‘s fascination with rocks and fossils—was helping to run the youth activities booth at our annual show. They especially liked the part where you take money and spin the spinning wheel or sell a grab bag.

You should hold a meeting with kids to decide on what sorts of activities they‘ll want to sponsor and how much space they‘ll need. Here are examples of fun activities often seen at gem shows:

A Wheel of Fortune spinning wheel, where every spin wins a rockhound prize of a mineral specimen, crystal, polished slab, fossil, etc., donated by club members. If you don‘t have a spinning wheel, a variation is to have kids draw a numbered ticket from a hat or a bowl and match it to numbered specimens on a prize table.

Grab bags filled with tumbled stones.

Making fossils (see Activity 3.2).

Sand-sifting with a screen or colander for small fossils and gemstones in a box of sand.

A Pirate‘s Treasure Chest filled with tumbled stones from which kids get to pick an assortment.

Black Sand Fun, where a container is filled with magnetic sand and a series of magnets.

Making rock critters by gluing together flat or round stones and attaching eyes, pipe cleaner arms or antennae, feathers, etc., to make snowmen, caterpillars, bugs, etc.

Rock painting, creating lady bugs, fat cats, and other creatures by painting on large, smooth flat or round stones with tempura.

Coloring and drawing with coloring book pages of earth science scenes (available at children‘s bookstores, teaching stores, etc.) or on large sheets of paper rolled out on a table. (This activity should be free. In addition to having activities that kids pay for at a show, you should always have a few that any child can do free-of-charge, such as coloring and drawing or the Black Sand Fun.)

More activities may be found on the AFMS web site. Tab on Kids Show Activities within the Kids Corner section of the web site.

In addition to deciding on what activities to sponsor, kids should determine a budget, help get the supplies they‘ll need (relying as much as possible on donations from adult members and sympathetic local store owners within the community), and work on the layout and set-up of the Kids Activities Booth. They‘ll also need to draw up a work schedule so that all kids get a chance to rotate through overseeing various activities while still allowing time to enjoy the show themselves.