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Library offers Crazy 8s math club, life-size Candy Land
GBHS students to lead kids’ math club
EdRising at 2019 FBLA panther paw
Members of the Great Bend High School club Educators Rising work with children during last year’s FBLA Panther Paw Craft Festival. Members of this club for future teachers will lead the Crazy 8s math club for children, set to start Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Great Bend Public Library.

Great Bend Public Library will start the new year with a fun math club for kids and a life-sized version of the board game Candy Land for families, Children’s Librarian Amy Mayhill said. This month will also see the return of Baby Bounce Storytime and Early Literacy Storytime classes.

All of the activities are free, but registration is required for the Crazy 8s math club, which will take place over the next eight Thursdays, from 6-7 p.m., starting Jan. 16 and ending just before spring break. There will be two age groups, one for grades K-2 and one for grades 3-5. Register at the library, 1409 Williams St., or online at

Crazy 8s math club is described by its creators ( as “an over-the-top recreational after-school club that gets kids excited about math. (They’ll) build glow-in-the-dark structures, crack secret spy codes and play get-up-and-move games like Toilet Paper Olympics.”

The activities will be led by Great Bend High School students in the club Educators Rising, also known as EdRising, for students who are interested in becoming teachers or exploring what it is like to work with children. The club is sponsored by GBHS Family & Consumer Sciences instructor Cara Negaard.

Club President Karlee Dougherty, a junior at GBHS, thanked the Great Bend Public Library for the opportunity to work with children in the new program. “We are all super excited for a new year of assisting and making a positive impact on our community,” she said.

Sophomores Bri Brand and Juan Sanchez also expressed their excitement about the program.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the kids learn and seeing how their brain processes things,” Brand said.

“I’m looking forward to being a good leader and teaching about math in a fun way,” said Sanchez.

Students in EdRising earn points throughout the year by attending meetings, working with small children through a variety of opportunities, showing appreciation for the staff and volunteering their time to the club, Negaard said.

“One highlight for the club has been providing the ‘Kid Zone’ area the past two school years at the FBLA Panther Paw Craft Festival, where parents can check their children in to do crafts and activities while they shop,” she said.

The points students earn gain them additional opportunities with the club such as participating in Teacher Shadow Day where students receive the opportunity to observe the life of a teacher for a day. Also, they can qualify to attend an educational field trip later in the spring.

Life-size Candy Land

The library’s January events will continue with the life-size Candy Land family activity at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18.

“It’s a regular board game come to real life,” Mayhill said.

This activity will have family members as game pieces on a life-size Candy Land board. The game will have everyone climbing through the Licorice Lagoon, hunting for Princess Lolly and making their way through the Molasses Swamp to get to King Candy in the candy castle.

There are physical activities with candy rewards.

Storytimes and more

“We’re really working this year to bring more STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics ) in,” Mayhill said. A coding club will be announced soon, as well as more family events on Saturday mornings.

Back after a winter break are Early Literacy Storytime classes, at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays. These programs for little learners feature early literacy skills, picture books, finger plays, songs, rhymes, music and other activities.

Also returning are Baby Bounce Storytime classes, for babies from birth to 18 months old. This program was on hiatus but is starting again because there are several new babies in the community, Mayhill said. Classes are at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and at 6 p.m. on Thursdays. “This is a time for parents to engage babies’ brains through lap reading, rhymes, music and motion,” Mayhill said.

Read to Luna

Pet partner Luna, a Bernese Mountain Dog, is also scheduled to return to the library on Thursday, Jan. 16. Children have the opportunity to pick out a book and read out loud to Luna from 3:30-4 p.m. on Thursdays. Luna and her owner are members of the Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program’s “Read to Me” initiative.

Crazy 8s courtesy
A photo from the Crazy 8s math club’s creator,, shows one of the activities designed to get kids excited about math.