With Thanksgiving over, winter break is fast approaching, and for most of us, that means an influx of teen patrons and their younger siblings. ‘ So, what’s a librarian to do with all these kids and teens? Frequently, winter wonderland story times and activities that are geared toward younger siblings are much too childish to interest our teen patrons, and holiday crafting programs that would interest teens are far too complicated for their younger brothers and sisters. Here are some fun activities that will have both your teen patrons and their younger siblings coming back for more.
- ‘ Co-op gaming: Video games are so popular with both teens and younger kids that often little kids want to come into teen gaming programs, and teens want to come into gaming programs designed for younger kids. So, why not let them both in? If kids compete against teens, it’s likely that the teen, with their extra years of gaming experience will have the advantage. ‘ So, pair them up. ‘ Choose games like Mario Kart, and other family friendly titles that have a co-op component that will allow groups of kids and teens to compete against each other.
- ‘ Food crafts: This may get a little messy, but everyone loves ‘ eat, and kids won’t care if their craft isn’t perfect as long as it’s still tastes good. ‘ Try fun crafts like decorating gingerbread cookies and creating marshmallow snow men.
- Themed parties that appeal to both audiences: For ‘ example, an Alice in Wonderland party would appeal to both younger kids who enjoy the cartoon version of the movie, and teens who enjoyed the books and/or the Tim Burton movie. ‘ There could be activities at these events that would engage both audiences, such as top hat decorating.
- Participatory family movie: Show a kid-friendly movie, but, for the teens, include audience participation lines and props. The kids will enjoy watching the movie, and the teens will enjoy poking just a little bit of fun at it
- Team Game Show Challenges like Double Dare or Brain Surge: ‘ I’ve done a version of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge that included games like Toss Your Cookies where teens and tweens had to toss plastic cookies into a jar from across the room, and the Whirling Dervish of Division Death where teens were spun around in the chair and then asked complicated division questions. Then, they had to run to where the answer had been taped to the floor.
For winter break, why not bring teens and younger kids together and encourage them to cooperate? It reinforces the idea of family and togetherness that are, after all, one of the many themes of the winter holidays.