As I mentioned in a previous post, our teens are feeling pretty stressed out lately. Between exams, family stuff, and the holidays, it can be one of the hardest times of the year. We’re also feeling the holiday pinch in terms of staffing, so I wanted something that addressed the teens’ feelings and was easy for me to do. I ended up finding a page of printable fortune cookie sayings for kids which were also applicable to teens. I printed up a few pages of the sayings, along with a few blank slips. I cut the slips apart, folded them, and put them in the teen area. In a separate bin, I put the empty strips. We already have markers, pens, and colored pencils in the teen area. I am hopeful the teens will create their own encouragements to leave, and will find something that will make them feel better in the meantime.
I hope all one of my readers out there are having Decembers that aren’t too stressful, too!
Here’s a real lazy days passive program for you: artist trading cards. We’ve done this program both as a scheduled program and as a passive program before, and it’s pretty durn easy.
The first thing you need to do is make or procure some blank cards. You have a lot of options for this! You can pick up a pack of blank business cards, purchase a pack of blank playing cards, or even just cut up some cardstock into playing card-sized rectangles. This particular program was inspired by my scrounging around in our passive program supplies and turning up a couple of packs of Scratch-art trading cards we bought for a scratch art program almost a year ago. I whipped up a quick sign, put out two little containers (one for new cards and one for arted-up cards, and BOOM.
If you haven’t heard of artist trading cards, I’ll be a bad librarian and point you over to Wikipedia for the history of the medium. Essentially, they’re a cool way to share art and challenge yourself to make your art on a tiny scale.
It’s beginning to look a lot like finals time. The teens in my library are, on the whole, pretty academically motivated. They’re much more likely to be hanging out in the teen area doing homework than just hanging out. So, finals and midterms tend to really stress them out – they want to do a good job! I thought it would be nice to put together some stress relief kits for them.
Here’s what each kit contained:
Mini Hershey chocolate bar
Small piece of bubble wrap
Bag of caffeine-free tea
Card of stress relief tips
I threw all this in a snack-sized baggie. I also printed some little labels using label paper we had on hand to seal up each bag.
I swiped the bubble wrap from the ILL desk, printed the bookmark and stress relief tips, and threw in some tea I had at my desk. All I had to buy was the Hershey bars, which were about $5 for a family-sized bag. Hopefully they won’t be torn apart for the candy bars too quickly and hopefully they will help some teens feel better.
This program was inspired by a pin from of a huge Tetris board on a person-sized flannel board. I knew there was no way to replicate that in our space (we have a huge chalkboard and a huge magnet board, but no felt board…) I wanted to make it work, though, so I set to Googling powers to work. I ended up a From ABCs to ACTs, which had some really nice printable Tetris pieces available. I printed them and laminated them, then stuck small pieces of velcro on the back. Finally, I whipped up a sign challenging teens to team up with a friend to play. The children’s department loaned me one of their portable flannelboards and I was done.
What up, guys! I haven’t been blogging, but I’ve been doing programming for the past year. I thought it’d be time to dive back in to filling the world in on what I’m doing.
I was browsing the internet the other day when I spotted a link to a post on Spontaneous Art Activities for Teens over at Expressive Art Workshops. I loved a lot of the ideas, and I definitely have a lot of artistic teens who hang out in our teen area.
So, I visited the free magazine exchange in the front of the library, and was delighted that there were some National Geographics up for grabs. I snagged a few and went ahead and cut out some pages to use. When we leave stacks of magazines back in the teen area for collage purposes, they often get “tidied” by the cleaning staff and thrown away. I discovered that our regular markers and colored pencils don’t really play well with glossy magazine paper, so I also put out some of our pastels. I whipped up a sign inviting teens to leave their art on our teen art board or to take it with them, and viola!
Given how stressed out a lot of teens are with recent news and current events, having out art supplies that they can use to express themselves is definitely a plus. This is an easy program to do, although it works best in a space where you can leave the art supplies without fear of them disappearing (although if a teen steals art supplies, maybe they need them more than we do…?)
I was inspired to do this week’s Drop In and Hang Out by a post over at the always awesome Library as Incubator Project. Have you seen this site yet? It’s great, and full of ideas about how to incorporate more art, science, and awesome into library services.
Anyhow, this is a super easy passive program! Just print some of the templates linked in the Library as Incubator Project, and put them out with scissors, hole punches, and yarn. This is a great way to use up some of the random yarn that tends to accumulate in library craft closets. I also made a quick sign that instructed teens how to put it together (Cut. Fold. Punch. Tie.) and put out some finished examples.
That’s it! If you’re feeling really frisky, you can also put out blank templates and encourage teens to draw their own thaumatropes. This is also a great place to sneak in some books on optical illusions.
Easy peasy mac and cheesy – and free! Another easy passive program from me to you!
The inspiration for this week’s teen passive program comes from me trying to simplify my life and get rid of stuff I’m not going to use. I was sorting through my stationary and realized I have a ton of really cute notecards – way more than I’ll ever use. So I hauled in a variety of cards, and put them out on the table with some different colored pens and an invitation for teens to write a letter to their parents, friends, or future selves. We’re perpetually short on attractive containers to display program supplies in, so I grabbed a couple of sheets of scrap booking paper and used this easy tutorial to fold up some holders for the pens and stationary.
How’d it go?
Well, I’m not sure yet! I’ve actually caught up on my drop in and hang out posts, so I just put this display out today. I’ll be sure to report back!
Did you know teens love to color? Yeah, they didn’t know it either. But they do! It’s super soothing and teens get stressed! So this week, I printed off a bunch of sheets from http://www.printmandala.com/, bought a pack of art markers using a sweet 60% off coupon from Joann, and put it all out. I can’t deny, it’s pretty delightful to wander back to the teen area to tidy up and find the bright pages scattered around.
Again, if you are holding back on doing passive programming for teens because you don’t have a budget, give coloring sheets a try! Or print out some Cubee Crafts and throw them out. Or put out some black out poetry supplies, or a sign for book spine poetry. There are so many awesome, cheap ideas on Pinterest, and I really do believe that having a stealth program going on in the teen area makes teens feel more welcome in the library. Give it a try!
I love blackout poetry as an art form – I’ve got this Austin Kleon print hanging on my wall at home, and it makes me smile every time I look at it. I’ve done black out poetry as a component of programs at previous libraries, and I realized it would make a great passive program! I grabbed a few books from the donation pile that were looking a little too shabby to sell or circulate, cut out a few pages, and threw them in the back with a sign and some markers.
I know at least a few teens were messing around with the materials, because my pages will disappearing. I also found a couple of poems left behind (including one that has elicited great debate between staff as to whether it’s about sexy times or not!) This is a totally easy and free program, and I think it’s kind of empowering to take someone else’s words and use them to say something that’s totally you! Plus any teen interest in poetry is good interest, methinks. Blackout poetry is a great activity to noodle with while you’re chatting with your friends, which is why it was successful in our very social teen area. Why not give it a try?
Y’all. Y’ALL! I’m about to tell you about the easiest passive program you’ll ever ever do. Well, unless you read the title, in which case you already know what I’m going to say. It’s that easy! Just put out a jigsaw puzzle and an invitation for teens to sit down and put a few pieces together.
Probably the most dirty secret teens have is that they secretly love to do jigsaw puzzles, even though they’re incredibly dorky seeming. Putting the puzzle in a common area and letting teens slip in a piece or two means that they get all the satisfaction of doing the puzzle with none of the stigma (okay, okay, stigma might be taking it a little far. But you know what I mean!)
Hopefully, the puzzle also moved us forward in overarching goal for the next year: taking the teen area from a place where we stick the young adult books and turning it into a place that’s comfortable for teens to hang out in, has something for them to do if they’re bored, and allows them to meet other teens who share their interests.
We didn’t get very far on the puzzle before the week was up, unfortunately, and now we’re on a programming pause to ramp up for summer reading (yaaaaaaaay.) On the plus side, the staff were really excited when I put the jigsaw puzzle in the staff break room. Passive programming for library staff: the final frontier.