Tag Archives: teen programming

Drop In and Hang Out: Artist Trading Cards

 

A super easy passive/sneak program for teens

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.

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Fan Club: The Hunger Games

may the odds

What We Did:

I must admit that this is one of our last weekly programs that I actually had much to do with. As our Youth Services Tech Courtney settles into her new position, I’m transitioning a lot of our regular teen programs over to her. I’m focusing more on long-term planning, the volunteer program, programs for tweens, special programs, and collection development.

Anyway, I think Hunger Games was my idea, but she really ran with it and it was great! We made paper rose pins and pencil arrows. To make the paper flowers, Courtney made a template of three different sized flowers. The teens traced the template three times each, then cut out the flowers. You staple the flowers in the middle, and then just scrunch up the petals for a 3D effect. Finally, we dipped the edges of the petals in red paint, to give it an extra President Snow feel. Teens could then attach a sticky bar pin to the back, so they could wear it.

For the arrows, Courtney was originally inspired by a post she saw that involved gluing feathers to pencils. We tried it, and it’s super hard to glue feathers to pencils, guys! We ended up using duct tape, which was much easier and actually allowed for so many more colors. You just wrap the duct tape around the pencil’s end, making little flaps in several places by sticking together part of the duct tape. Then, you cut the flaps into a feather shape, and voila! If you have teens who are particularly crafty or bored, they can also make a little mini-quiver from duct tape.

 

What We Bought:

$5 for a pack of plain colored pencils for the arrows

That’s it! We had everything else on hand!

How It Went:

I made a playlist of Hunger Games parodies, interviews, and fan interviews, and we hung out for a while with some teens!  As usual, the teens actually care less about the crafts than they do about hanging out. It was a fun program, and I’m glad we kept it pretty low-key. I think either of these crafts would actually work really well as a passive program, too!

Fan Club: Steven Universe

2015-10-10 [Fan Club + Fan Club, Jr Steven Universe flyer]

What I Did:

When our Youth Services Tech resigned last month, I knew I had to take over Fan Club, if only for a month or two until we found her replacement.  I made the mistake of telling my Anime Club kids this, and they immediately started begging for a Steven Universe program. I asked them to describe what Steven Universe was, and got…confused. But, you know, I’m up for anything, so I did some quick research and agreed it sounded cool.

If you don’t know, Steven Universe is an animated show to appears on Cartoon Network. It’s about some gemstones, but they’re really people, and they save the world. Or something. I’m about a dozen episodes in and I still don’t really understand it, but it’s a funny show, and my teens made a great case for it, using terms like “good representation for QUILTBAG teens” and “body positivity” (these are actual words that came out of their mouths).

The tricky thing is, it’s not like the program lends itself to easy crafts (although what does). We could have made Steven’s iconic red shirt with a yellow star, but tshirt crafts kind of stress me out. I never know how many shirts to buy, and in what size. Plus, as a chubby kid, I would practically have an anxiety attack trying to figure out if an activity’s planner would have bought a tshirt big enough for me. Ugh, no thanks.

I instead settled on one of my all-time favorite fallback activities: shrinky dinks! I picked up a couple of packs of them, and was trolling around the internets trying to find another activity when I stumbled upon Galaxy Jars (there are a ton of tutorials out there…here’s one: http://www.m-magazine.com/posts/diy-super-colorful-galaxy-jars-for-your-friends-in-just-four-easy-steps-56612). Pretty much you put some water in a bottle, add in some paint, mix it up, and then add some cotton balls. Since I had a ton of leftover bottles from a previous program, I figured this would be the perfect craft!

What I Bought:

$12 for two packs of Shrinky Dinks
$6 for extra tiny bottles because I’m paranoid about running out of supplies (I used ones like this)
$3 for gemstones to glue on top, so it could be more Steven-universe-y

That’s it! I had cotton balls and paint on hand, along with glitter. If I were doing this program again, I would spring for some extra-fine glitter to make it an extra-special program.

How It Went:

Galaxy BottlesPretty well! Things I learned from this program: don’t let teens use permanent markers on your tables without putting down tablecloths; nail polish remover will remove permanent marker; teens are terrible at pouring liquids into tiny bottles; and Steven Universe is pretty awesome. I wish I had made pancakes so we could have had Together Breakfast, but I got pinched for time! The kids had lots of fun talking about Steven Universe and making stuff. Honestly, I think with Fan Club, the fun thing is getting together with other teens who like the same stuff you do, and the activity is just something to do while you’re hanging out. But I like to sneak in fun stuff that requires them to play around a little, too. It’s a little thing I like to call planning and decision making – TAKE THAT, DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS!

Anime Club: Terrariums

What I Did:

This Anime Club is an example of how if you don’t plan ahead and buy supplies before the day of your program, you might run into a snag! But it’s also an example of how everything will be fine anyway. So, my program started, as nearly all my programs do, with an idea I saw on Pinterest (are you noticing this theme? It’s because it’s so easy for my visual self to scroll through Pinterest and find things that sound fun!) I saw this great spice bottle terrarium craft at The Art of Making, and I thought, that sounds cool! I figured we could watch The Secret World of Arrietty, because it’s all about tiny things.

So, I set out for the store to get some spice bottles, but on the way, I passed a thrift store. I am constitutionally unable to actually pass a thrift store, and while I was in there, I noticed all manner of cute glass containers. I figured it’s cool to use recycled  materials when I can, and if I got little containers from the thrift, everyone could have something unique! so, I bought about a dozen vases, former candle containers, and glasses, and I was set (also I bought some adorable new dresses, but that’s beside the point).

I had some potting soil on hand at home that I was willing to donate, and we had plenty of sand, rocks, and glass stones left over from previous programs that I was happy to leave out. All I needed now were some adorable succulents, right? So out I head to Lowe’s. Except did you know that succulents are really expensive, and that if you shop for them in September the selection stinks! I DO NOW! So I just looked around and ended up picking some other plants.

What I Bought:

$12 for fifteen glass containers at Goodwill (color of the week for the win!)
$6 for twelve fuzzy looking plants
$12 for twelve spikey colorful looking plants (sorry that’s not more specific. I have a black thumb, and am not really up on my plant IDs)
Potting soil on hand
Glass beads on hand

So, total outlay for this program was about $30 for enough supplies for fifteen kids, which works out to about $2 per teen. If you planned ahead, I think you could put out the call for donations and scrounge up the glass containers for free. I think most people have some random vases or pickle jars around that they would be happy to unload on ya.

How It Went:

IMG_2829

This teen has decided that she’s going to pose like that every week for our Anime Club recaps. EPIC.

The root balls for the plants I chose ended up being a little too large for some of the containers, and nobody made Pinterest-worthy art. But I think the teens who don’t get to do outside stuff much appreciated learning what the roots of the plants are (geez, it makes me sad to type that) and everybody was excited to take something home. I’m 100% sure these plants will all be dead within six weeks, but hey, you win some, you lose some.

I had fifteen teens at this Anime Club, what what! We’ve got a couple of middle schoolers who have been coming and told their friends to come, and some older teens who have become regulars who also showed up. It’s so hard to know how much to buy for Anime Club, because sometimes I have two teens, and sometimes I have a dozen! We ran out of glass containers because at about halfway through the hour, I let some early comers make an extra terrarium. Of course, that meant five more teens came in right then and we ran out. Oh well! Everyone seemed to have fun, although I had to shut down a couple of inappropriate jokes from one of the younger teens. I know that’s one of the reasons that teen programming is so important, though – having a place to hang out outside of school that is semi-structured is a big deal and definitely meeting their developmental needs.

Anime Club: Pancake Sushi

What I Did:

Like many of my programs, this one was born on Pinterest. I saw this sweet pin of waffle sushi, and I definitely thought it was something that sounded fun (and delicious!) Even though I have a solid budget for teen programming, though, I just couldn’t justify buying a pizzelle maker that we would probably only use once. I can think of a hundred uses for an electric skillet, though, so I figured we could just use pancakes instead of waffles and it would still be delicious!

What I Bought:

$20 electric skillet
$4 for two containers of whipped cream cheese – one plain and one berry
$2 for complete pancake mix (generic, yo!)
$1 for a spatula (you might already have one of these on hand if you do cooking programs a lot!)
$2 for some syrup
$2 for a container of strawberries
$2 for a bunch of bananas

Total, about $33 for supplies, with about two thirds of that going toward equipment (the skillet and the spatula) that we can use again and again. If you do cooking programs with your teens already, you might have these things on hand, which would make this a pretty darn cheap program.

How It Went:

IMG_2793 IMG_2794 Teen poses with awesome pancake sushi roll IMG_2797

This was my first Anime Club since school is back in session; we are on programming pause for August to give us time to recover. I was a little scared that not many teens would show up – what if my healthy summer numbers were just a fluke? What if the teens hated me? WHAT IF I’M A SMELLY LOSER?

Welp, apparently none of that is true. We had a nice crowd of about 10 teens, with a few newcomers and a good bunch of regulars. I had a teen help me measure out the mix and water (life skills!); we made sure to add a little more water than suggested to make a loose batter for better rolling. I set a teen with some knife skills to cutting the strawberries and bannanas into slices. I manned the skillet, and my flipping skills were put to the test. Some of the pancakes were more…beautiful…than others, but all were tasty. The teens had a lot of fun spreading the cream cheese on their pancakes and adding fruit. They also had a lot of fun mocking my flipping failures, but that’s life. Some teens ended up making more pancake taco, but hey, it’s still delicious in my book!

Drop in and Hang Out: Thaumatropes

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!

A Movie and a Make: Jupiter Ascending

 

Once I heard the abysmal reviews of Jupiter Ascending, I knew I wanted to watch it with our hilarious teens and hear their commentary.  When looking for a project to go with it, I initially wanted to do galaxy tshirts, like the ones found here. It wasn’t until I was making the supply list and realized how tricky it always is to estimate tshirt needs that I reconsidered. I always suggest teens bring their own shirts, but we have to have some on hand in case they don’t read the program description or can’t afford a shirt to bring or just forget. Blank tshirts are kind of expensive, yo! Plus if you over-estimate you’re stuck with shirts, and there’s the whole guessing what size shirt people want/can wear. TOO HARD!

I was trolling Pinterest and Google Images for other space-themed crafts that weren’t too baby-ish or easy, and I stumbled across this amazing DIY Galaxy Necklace tutorial at Oh the Lovely Things.

Here’s what I ended up buying:

2 packs of makeup sponges from the Dollar Tree ($2)
Nail polish in clear coat, navy blue, grey, white, hot pink, white, and lilac from the Dollar Tree ($7)
Two three packs of brass charms on clearance at Hobby Lobby ($3)
One ten pack of shell charms from Hobby Lobby ($3)

I have a ton of findings and cords left over programs people did before I got here, so I also pulled those out. Total expenditures: $15. I would have purchased more blanks for decorating, but historically, this program has had pretty low attendance, so I figured with the sixteen blanks and some other tiny blanks I had on hand, we’d be fine.

How’d it go?

IMG_2708

As the time for my program came and went, I had a sinking feeling I was going to have a goose egg program. Fortunately, one of my teens who was a new face at anime club last week showed up (YAY!), and then a couple more kids came in.

Jupiter Ascending is, in fact, a terrible movie. The teens were mocking it relentlessly, and it’s chock full of groan inducing dialogue. The galaxy charms worked really well as a movie craft because you need to wait a while between each coat of nail polish for it to dry, and the actual crafting doesn’t require a lot of fine detail work that would be hard in the dark. The teens did a much better job at making their galaxy charms than I did (mine just looked like I had spilled a lot of nail polish, oops!)

Overall, I’d say it’s a success! Even though I only had three teens at this program, I’m hopeful it might continue to grow? Maybe? Next month we’re watching Jurassic Park, so at least the movie will be awesome.

Drop In and Hang Out: Mandala Coloring

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!

Anime Club: DIY Figurines

FullSizeRender

So, I am forever having the hardest time coming up with something for the teens to do during Anime Club. I know all the basics (candy sushi, bubble magnets with discarded manga, perler beads…) and my awesome co-worker who I took over the program from did so many cool things (painting lanterns, screen printing, suminagashi…) that I really feel like it’s all been done before. I’m stretching to think of new fun things the teens can noodle around with while we put on the first episode of an anime.

This week, we made anime figurines. Well, what really happened was that I ordered  bag of these wooden peg dolls from Amazon and put out tons of paint brushes, cheap acrylic paints, and sharpies. Then I let them go crazy.

How’d it go?

Well, we had a huge turnout for our little anime club that usually only has 3 or 4 kids — 13 total. They seemed to have fun messing around with the peg dolls, and the anime watching devolved into them playing weird YouTube interpretations of anime intros. I don’t even know. They all seemed to have fun, though, so I’m counting it as a win!

DIY@Your Library for Teens: Wreck Your Tshirt

What I did:

This was a pretty easy program to do! It’s the second in our DIY@Your Library for Teens series, which was supposed to focus on a different community expert teaching a skill each month. So far, though, it’s pretty much just been me (although hopefully that will change soon!) My event description invited teens to bring a t-shirt they didn’t mind destroying to work on.

We had five teens sign up for this program, which is a pretty big number considering it’s over at our less-used community center location. To prepare, I bought a few cheap pop-culture tshirts from Woot.com for teens who didn’t have a shirt to wreck, a couple of pairs of fabric scissors, hand-sewing needles, and several colors of thread. We also had some fabric paint kicking around from time immemorial, so I threw that on my cart, along with painter’s tape and some foam brushes. I also printed some example shirts from this awesome blog called WobiSobi, checked out all our books on sewing and customizing clothes to our unit card, and grabbed a laptop for teens to use to look up more tutorials.

How It Went:

Well, only one teen showed up. On the other hand, ONE TEEN SHOWED UP! She was a cool kid, and we chatted for an hour while we cut up and re-built our tshirts. Hopefully she’ll return to future programs and bring friends. I’m trying to give this program time to grow and breathe before I kill it. It was a pretty cheap program – I definitely could have done without the extra shirts, or hit up the thrift store for some dollar shirts, and if we’d had fabric scissors on hand for program use, it would be almost free!

How long do you let a program languish with low attendance before you scrap it?