Spring Break from school means the library is always busy at my location. We have a lot of teens that come to our branch and stay all day during Spring Break because their parents drop them off while they are working. Spring Break is a great time to get teens active in programming at the library because they need something to do, and are more willing to participate since they have not been in school all day.
Recently we have been doing more passive programs for teens; programs led by teens for teens, or self-directives. These programs are a great way for our teen volunteers to meet other teens in the community, and for teens to make new friends. For these types of programs, we have board games or art projects that we will put out. Below are some the teens favorite board games and art projects:
- Board Games:
- Apples to Apples
- Exploding Kittens
- King of Tokyo
- Art Projects:
- Watercolor painting on cardstock
- Silhouette art: we have used paint and mod podge with weeded books
- Adult/teen coloring pages
- Popsicle stick picture frames
- 3D Doodle Cubes
For both of these simple programs/self-directives, we keep supplies on a cart at all times in case we see a few teens in the teen area. This way, we can wheel out our cart of supplies, or give it to a teen volunteer, to easily take to the teen department and get fellow teens to start participating. By having the cart ready with games and at least one art project, we don’t have to scramble to get something put together when we see teens; it’s all ready to go for them.
Another great program for Spring Break is doing a STEM program. We have done this type of program staff led, and teen led. When staff have led the program, we use more technology, such as Google Cardboard glasses for virtual reality, tablets and laptops, and a large Aquos board for gaming. We have used a Sphero in teen led and staff led programs; the Sphero is great because teens can make it do anything they want. They can make it paint, dance, get through mazes, and more. If you haven’t seen a Sphero before, I recommend them if you have the budget money. They possibilities are endless when it comes to creating with them; it’s a great way to get teens using their creative skills. Strawbees are also fun to use and can be done in a teen or staff led program. Teens use the connectors and straws to build whatever they want. Like the Sphero, teens are able to be more creative and build with their STEM skills.
Lastly, an easy self directive to have on hand for Spring Break, and more, is to have activity kits that check out. The idea came from when we were cleaning out our supply cabinets and realized how much we have left over that has been unused. So, why not put them in a kit for teens to do on their own time? We have three little bins with different activities in them. Teens come to the Reference Desk, check them out with their name, and go into the teen area to create! The kits that we have include friendship bracelets, origami, and weaving. Each kit comes with supplies and directions. They are all fairly simple projects, that need little staff instruction. It’s a great way to get teens doing something when they are bored, and also a great way to use supplies.
For programming ideas, check out YALSA’s Teen Programming HQ, the Teen Programming Guidelines, and the STEAM Toolkit.