Session 3: Framing our activity prompts

Take at look at the PLIX activities. Which ones would you like to try in your library?

Check out one activity and look at the suggested prompts.

  • Which ones excite you :star_struck: ?
  • How are they both open-ended yet well framed :framed_picture: ?
  • Could you come up with your own prompts for the activity :bulb: ?

Share your thoughts below.

I’ve been looking at the Urban Ecology activity to plan a program at my library. I like the “sound” prompts in the Sensory Nature Walk. I think this is a good one:

“Listen closely to the world around you; search for a “living” sound—a dog barking, a bird singing. Record what you hear. How far away are the sounds? What sounds are you making—as you stand, breathe, write, or draw?”

I would say it’s well framed because it directs your attention in a specific way with “living” sounds, even giving examples of sounds to search for. Within that moment of attention and searching for sounds, there are so many different things to notice and ways of responding/processing. Sound is a sense that we’re naturally so used to tuning out, so I think an even more open-ended prompt-something like “What do you hear?”- wouldn’t be as effective at capturing deep attention and inviting varied responses.

I also love that it relates to Pauline Oliveros and Deep Listening :slight_smile:


Since I’m already doing Paper Circuits I decided to look into Beautiful Symmetry.

I pitched Beautiful Symmetry to my manager to coincide with our adult Crafternoon program as I thought it fit well within the program’s aesthetic of recycling and repurposing objects. I like the ideas of designing textiles with stamps or creating a tapestry with symmetrical objects from the environment.

There are enough parameters to get our regular patrons started, but there’s also a lot of wiggle room for people to interpret things as they wish. I’d rather not focus on the technical side of this, as our regulars tend to be patrons 55 and up; plus, they love working with their hands on a tangible object.

We could definitely come up with our own prompts; I’ve run this program past my manager and my coworker who runs Crafternoon and they’re definitely interested. It’s certainly be something to explore and I feel our patrons would really get a kick out of it.


@joem I’m glad I stumbled on this post because I’m doing a photo nature walk later this fall with my patrons and you got me thinking how I could incorporate Urban Ecology into it. Thank you!


Nice! That sounds so cool! I’d love to see what you end up doing for your nature walk program.

I like Beautiful Symmetry, spatial Poetry and Inflatables. These can all be done with things we already have at the library which makes them easy already!
They give guidelines to follow, but not specific instructions which can sometimes box people in and feel like they are doing something the wrong way.
With Spatial Poetry we could use local maps that include the lake and I know people would love.


Schools are closed on election day in our city, so I’m planning a lot of activities for Nov 8, in anticipation of having a lot of kids in the building. I’m planning to include Beautiful Symmetry and am very excited!


@amitchell Since we’re local to each other, I’d love to come by for this! We have some new grid templates, I can bring some over, or any additional materials you may need. :partying_face:


@ada that would be great! I’m testing it right this very minute. Talk about open ended… one kid took a piece of the thin, tan, grid paper, and immediately said “this is paper for a map!” and made a map of the library, complete with skull/crossbones and swords and treasure. Not sure how that fits in…

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Two summers ago I used Urban Ecology as a jumping point for a Take Out Kit.
I would like to do something this summer with the Spatial Poetry prompts. I love when learning and creativity come together. This a a great way to learn about one’s community and express creativity at the same time.


Thank you for sharing, @michelleb !

Spatial Poetry is one of my favorite PLIX activities. The creative engagement and map exploration are just excellent​:ok_hand:t3::100: for learning about community spaces. Looking forward to seeing your explorations!

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I have done some simple circuitry programming, including using a simple paper circuit template to introduce the concept to kids. However, I’m realizing a project program with a Paper Circuits craft might be the way to go, instead. I love the ideas, remixes, and examples I’ve seen so far, especially with greeting cards. So many clever designs!

I was already planning to do a cardmaking program for Valentine’s Day 2023, so I think I will take the opportunity to incorporate paper circuits (since I have the materials!), which might also make the program more intriguing when we’re promoting it. Leaving the card design open-ended will be important in encouraging the kids’ creativity, so while I’ll probably have some pieces already cut out for time’s sake, but how they assemble them will be up to the individuals.

One thing I need to work on is creating my own examples that are more open-ended or incomplete, so that my ideas don’t get in the way of the participants’.

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One PLIX activity that really stands out to me is the (In)visible Self because I love the idea of allowing participants to find physical ways to express abstract thoughts and emotions. I think it would be an especially helpful way to introduce self-expression and emotional regulation to kids to allow them to understand that mental health is as important as physical health.

This activity is well framed because it has a central goal, finding a physical way to document something about yourself that might be difficult to observe. It is open-ended because, as shown in the activity, there are limitless possibilities of accomplishing this, from coding to using paper wristbands.

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A colleague and I put together a whole Spatial Poetry program to present virtually about a year ago. Sadly, we had people sign up but no one came. We are thinking about trying it in person this April.

The prompts are great, because there is nothing that will shut a brain down more than dumping a bunch of maps in front of someone and saying “Make poetry!”. The simple prompt of the Street Shape poem is great because it doesn’t say “make a poem out of street names” it says pick one street, trace it’s shape and make a poem with the streets that intersect with it. It gives you one choice to make (limiting) and then explore the options within that (inspiring).


Sad to hear nobody attended your program last year, @mdieckman. It would be great to see you try it again this year and if the results change! We would love to hear more about it if you decide to try again.

What I also enjoy about the Spatial Poetry activity is it connects participants to their communities, or even places they are interested in! :world_map: :writing_hand:


@mdieckman Another way to get more engagement is to set it up as a drop-in activity.

Keeping it low-key can attract attention, and setting it up at a time your target patron crowd comes in can lead to interest in a longer format!

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