Sunday, November 23, 2014

Summer Program Recap Bonanza: Teen Edition

I decided to try my hand at a few more teen events over the summer, so here's what I did!

DFTBA: with the early summer release of The Fault in Our Stars movie, I knew we needed to have a John Green event. My colleague and I were on the same page and decided to collaborate for this one. All in all, it was a pretty simple program. I made a playlist of Vlogbrothers' videos to watch during the program. We printed out some Green-inspired bookmarks, as well as a Nerdfighter Mad Libs. Our crafts were bracelets (we used letter beads to spell out things like "DFTBA" and "Okay?"), nerdfighter notebooks, and tiny book charms. Overall, it was pretty low-key but fun, though I expected a slightly larger attendance.

Rube Goldberg Machines: so this program was a complete experiment on my part. We'd never really done anything like it and I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was a program that I got in my head and just couldn't get out. I'm sure most of you reading this are familiar with Rube Goldberg and his amazing machines but, in case you're not, check out this video.
I actually showed that video and a couple others at the beginning of the program for anyone who wasn't familiar with the concept (though I was pretty sure if they were showing up to the program, they kind of knew what they were in for). They sorted themselves into small groups and I explained the basic rules (no open flames, etc.). Their goal was to move a ping-pong ball into a cup in at least 4 separate reactions. I had piles of recyclable materials for them to work with and they had about 90 minutes to create. I had about 15 teens show up and they had a great time. They definitely learned a thing or two about trial and error!

Henna: we've done this program multiple times in the years I've worked at the library and it's always a big hit. We require a signed permission slip and we just called the next attendee to the front in the order they arrived. We had some mandala coloring sheets for them to work on while they waited and we listened to Bollywood music. We are very lucky to have a coworker who is always willing to make the henna and then work the program for us and she even brought her mother this time around. We will keep doing this program as long as it's popular! A funny little side story: I debated having the henna done myself this year because letting it dry is a bit of a pain during a regular work day. When the program was over, I was talked into it, but I put it on my left hand, figuring it would be less intrusive as it dried (I'm right-handed). Little did I know that my boyfriend would propose a few weeks later, just as the henna was fading and looking pretty ragged. Needless to say, I didn't have some great first engagement ring photos.

Mini-Weapons: this was one of our combined tween and teen programs of the summer and definitely a popular one. We had four different mini-weapons that the kids could make out of basic supplies and then at the end, we staged a tiny battle with marshmallows. All of the weapons came from the book Mini-Weapons of Mass Destruction. We made crossbows, Viking catapults, throwing stars, and slingshots. We had lots of attendees and they made their own arsenals quite happily.

Anime Con: another program that we've been talking about for a while and finally decided to take the plunge with, this summer we hosted our first Teen Anime Con. It was a big success and we will definitely be making it an annual event, with a few changes for next year. But, this year's event included registration and opening trivia (since we held the con during regular library operating hours, we had the teens register and get a name badge to mark them as attendees. This is also when they signed up for the cosplay contest and we had some trivia going as we allowed for latecomers, then we went over the logistics and rules of how the con would run), anime pictionary (prizes were pieces of Hi-Chew and I tried to assist teens if they drew a card they weren't familiar with), Naruto headbands (really easy craft and very popular), what would you do for Pocky? (Minute-to-Win-It style games with Pocky as the prize - I didn't see for myself but apparently they were quite rabid about the Pocky), make your own tail (a pretty easy but time-consuming craft to make simple cosplay tails out of cheap yarn), learn a J-Pop Dance (we did a very simple dance, but this was easily the least popular session), Cosplay 101 panel (one of my coworkers talked about the basics of cosplaying and answered questions the teens had about the best materials and tips and tricks), drawing workshop with local anime artist (we are very lucky to have a local artist that we've worked with in the past to come and give an hour-long lesson on best techniques for drawing anime), fanart gallery (attendees could display the art they created during their workshop or bring in already created art), anime bingo (more candy as prizes and surprisingly popular), and a cosplay contest (we awarded prizes in several different categories and attendees voted for their favorites in each). The con lasted three hours and was crazy from start to finish. We had about 75 attendees and they all had a fantastic time - most of them wanted it to last longer! I think staff had a great time as well - I know I had fun. I cosplayed as Mei from My Neighbor Totoro (disappointingly, most of the kids didn't recognize me) and am already starting to plan what I'll be next year!

Interactive Movie: I love going to interactive movie events and I wanted to see how something like that would fare at the library. So, we scheduled an interactive showing of Labyrinth - yes, the 80s movie starring David Bowie. We had about a dozen teens show up and I'm happy to say they loved it! They thought the movie was great and they loved the interactive bits. We decorated masks for the masquerade, danced David Bowie puppets for "Magic Dance," ate peaches along with Sarah, blew bubbles, used balloons as substitute Fiery heads, sat on Whoopee cushions in the Bog of Eternal Stench, and popped noisemakers for the party at the end. It was much fun and I loved that the teens actually enjoyed the cheese-fest that is this movie.

Mythbusters: this is a program that both my coworker and I had seen discussed all over the Internet and had talked about doing in years past but never actually got around to it. This year, we decided it was probably past time to put it on the calendar. I'll admit, it was actually more difficult to plan than we anticipated and probably one of the programs I felt the least enthusiastic about this summer. We showed several clips of the show in addition to a handful of activities. The myths we tested were: Pop Rocks and soda taken together will burst your stomach (busted - obviously), you can't separate two phone books that have been layered together (confirmed - several of them tried), and you can hold a balloon over open flame without popping it (confirmed - if you fill the balloon with water first). We also had the teens taste test several different foods with name brand and generic product to see if they could taste the difference. I think our attendees had a good time but my coworker and I just felt a bit frazzled, I think.

Cookie Decorating War: exactly what it sounds like, but we always have multiple categories they can try for and the kids vote on their favorites.

Shrinky Dinks: another perpetually popular program and one that is easy and inexpensive. We'll be keeping this on the calendar for years to come.

So, those were the programs I did for teens this summer! Any questions or comments about a specific program? Leave it in the comments!

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