We usually try and do something special for the Art Walks, which take place four times a year. The Post-It Note Show was fun because the usual importance and snobbery connected with art is totally out of place when post-it notes are involved. Many teens who said they “Weren’t good at drawing” ended up drawing anyway because of the causal nature of the show. We used many mediums on the post-it notes including: pencil, marker, colored pencil, paint, oil pastel, and collage. We also noticed that the stickiness of the note was not enough to keep it on the wall, so each of our post-it notes has four small dots of sticky tack on the back. Everyone had a great time trying to make as many pieces of art as possible before the show, and we learned that it takes a lot of little notes to cover even a small piece of wall. Also, during the opening, we invited the guests to add their art to the show, so it became an interactive experience as well. This project is especially rewarding because of the creative freedom the teens had and the way they get to interact with each other.
At our Summer Reading Ending Party we had prizes, games, and food for all. Someone even won a popcorn maker! Everyone’s summer reading points were entered in drawings for the prizes that they wanted, and winners were randomly selected. We also had a “store” where the teens could buy items with their left over reading points. The turtle with the rocket strapped to his back was the result of a “Take n’ Make” project, which involved the teens taking materials home to make creations from their imagination.
Summer is a great time to have a “Water Day.” However, what do you do? Water Balloons are kind of a bust (pun intended). You can spend hours filling hundreds of water balloons and then they are gone in a few minutes. Sure throwing balloons and shooting each other with squirt guns can be fun and refreshing, but we wanted water day to be a little different. Luckily, the internet is filled with gems and Josh came upon Jimmy Fallon playing Water War (slightly NSFW).
This game was GREAT! Just take the old-fashioned card game of War and infuse it with throwing water at each other. There are even waterproof playing cards. We played a few rounds of this and it was a blast. Even then, one game can’t be your entire water day.
So we also created water bombs. These are easy and reusable (unlike water balloons). Just cut up some sponges and zip tie them together. Then you get a squishy watery grenade of H2O awesomeness! We did have the teens wear goggles to protect their eyes from the zip-ties, but I am sure there are better ways to make these. You can make the water bombs as a mini-craft and then put them in most games that require water balloons.
Sorry we don’t have pictures from the actual Water War (we didn’t want to get our Camera(Nexus 7) wet).
We’ve had a Lock-In for several years now. It’s also a good time (and intriguing for teens) to spend the night in the library, mostly trying to stay awake the longest. Our lock-ins have all run smoothly. It is all about planning well in advanced and having plenty of activities through the night. This year we had “Fear Factor” activities every hour on the hour, if a teen was awake then they had to participate. In between that we had videogames, movies, music, board games (get some cards for Sandwich and Three (Obviously you may refer to these games by different names in your area)), and group games (Ninja, Sound Ball, Super Ninja, and Mafia). This year’s event was planned by the awesome Nomi and Addie from the Hays Public Library. After the jump you can read our time schedule and download our waiver.
This week we had our last group visit to the pumpkin patch. There were cute little baby pumpkins, and the squash bugs had been eliminated. We got to use some custom tools in our weed battle (great for the zombie apocalypse as well). After slaughtering a few weeds, we received a tour of the weather yard where instruments in little white houses create accurate rain, temperature, and humidity measurements. Many thanks to the Kansas State University Agricultural Research Center, and also thanks to Addie Billinger for the fine footage below:
We had this table that was loosing its top. The colorful vinyl was peeling to reveal a sticky wood-grained vinyl. I chipped off the rest of the colorful vinyl and laid on a layer of Mod Podge. With some help from the teens, I collaged this old table into table terrifica! Then Scott and I added two layers of epoxy resin to create an impenetrable surface. Tips: If there is sticky smelly glue on your table, you should really try to remove it before you make the collage, as it can interact with the epoxy. Also, epoxy is really odd stuff. Be sure to read the directions. It smells like wet dog, and is probably pretty toxic. However, we found that it wasn’t necessary to mix the epoxy for three minutes. Just mix it thoroughly and watch for the little bubbles to come out as you are stirring it vigorously.
This project was created by two of our summer volunteers. They found the craft in a book called The Big-Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano. They drew posters and advertized, made a sample, got materials out, and assisted people who were new to sewing. Participants made bears and bunnies, as well as earless creatures that looked like gingerbread men. It was a fun time for everyone, and it gave the activity leaders a sense of pride and ownership that is only formed by creating your own activity. Notes for creating creatures: Help them draw a general template for the body to make cutting the bodies out a little easier. Also, sew the face on before you sew the body together, and make sure everyone’s needles will fit through their buttons.