Tag Archives: youth services

Drop In and Hang Out: Take What You Need; Leave What You Can

drop-in-and-hang-out-take-what-you-need-leave-what-you-can

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!

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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.

Drop In and Hang Out: IRL Tetris

easy-irltetrisThis 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.

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Fan Club, Jr: Star Wars

What We Did:

Hey, have you guys heard there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out this month? Seriously, though, we knew that Star Wars was even hotter than usual, with the crushing buzz of the new movie propelling kids and adults alike into a frenzy. Courtney wanted to make Chewbacca bookmarks and BB8s out of Model Magic, and I thought we’d through in perler beads, too (we have a ton of them, kids like them, and they’re super easy). Courtney also had the brilliant and adorable idea of making some Death Star Crunch treats, simply by taping a Death Star on a delicious Little Debbie snack cake.

What I Bought:

$8 for one pack of Model Magic
$4 for two packs of Star Crunch

That’s it! We have tons of perler beads on hand, and we also have a lot of duct tape, craft sticks, and brown felt that we made Chewie bookmarks out of.

How It Went:

We accidentally counter-scheduled one of the many downtown festivals in our area with this program, but we still had about 12 kids come out for this. We put on a DVD of Lego Star Wars, and the kids went crazy making all kinds of cool stuff. We simplified the bookmark by simply having them wrap the felt around the large Popsicle stick and making Chewbacca’s face and bandolier out of duct tape. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. The Model Magic is just perfect for making a BB8, but definitely put out markers for the kids to decorate their creations. Otherwise it just looks like they’re making some adorable snowmen.

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: 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!

Drop In and Hang Out: Handwritten Notes at Hushlander

Drop In and Hang Out: Handwritten Notes

Drop In and Hang Out: Handwritten Notes at Hushlander

 

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!

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?

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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.