Fairy Dust

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Fairy dust was a craft that everyone enjoyed. The bottles had been donated, so they didn’t come with corks. I carved the fairy dust corks out of synthetic wine corks using a utility knife. In addition, I made some paper funnels out of scratch paper, and I also provided spoons to help everyone get the sand into their bottles.

At first I thought this craft might not be appealing to guys, but they loved it. I told the guys they could label their bottles “Ghoul Powder,” but they tended to leave the bottles unlabeled. I wondered about the teens trying to use fairy dust on one another, but I soon realized that was silly. Everyone was invested in the process of creating multicolored sand by mixing drops of food coloring with small portions of sand in Ziploc bags.

For extra texture variety, I had some chunky white glitter out and crushed shells. When the bottles were filled, there were colorful labels to attach with Tacky Glue.  Note: It would be a good idea to schedule extra time for cleanup, as this project is very messy. Here is the inspiration for our project (although we did not sure candles, wax, or ink):


Giant Scrabble

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At first, the teens were skeptical because Scrabble involves spelling and dictionaries, but soon they were caught up in the game and having fun. We had four teams with cardboard walls to protect from prying eyes. We only had one dictionary, but people used their phones as well. I would recommend providing a dictionary per team, if possible. I would also recommend making sure that you review Scrabble rules before you play, as they will¬† be tested. Calculating scores can be pretty challenging, so it would be helpful to find a math wiz armed with a calculator for this job. We played without using diagonals or acronyms, but backwards words were acceptable. It’s a great, secret learning game!

Booktalks with GIFs

Trying something different here, again. :)

We had an 8th grader tell us our booktalks were boring. He was honest and gave us tips of what he’d like to see.
Boring me Back to Death

Today, I went to one of our local high schools and shared some booktalks with GIFs. The powerpoint was fun to put together and the classes seemed to enjoy themselves. You can download the powerpoint there-> (Giftalks).

By the way, you need to actually run the powerpoint to see the GIFs in action.

What does your community require? Some little things we offer our teens.

Generally, this blog wants to offer programming ideas. However, we are librarians serving teens. We write this blog for anyone serving teens (in any capacity). How often do you consider the needs of your community and the teens you serve? We are often willing to share how an activity failed, for us. There are any number of reasons a program fails, but sometimes, it is just because our teens aren’t particularly interested in it. Repeat visitors may find great success with a program we might never do again, and may find great failure where we found great success.

This isn’t a post to give you tips for understanding your community. Although, I am sure many of us MLS learned about community assessment reports. Maybe your library has even done one recently. Look at it. Offer evaluations after a program.

The main point of this post (luckily this is a blog and I can bury the lede with abandon): Observe. What do you see from your teens everyday? Is there a void you can fill? This doesn’t have to include programming. For instance, our local high school gives a laptop to every student. We noticed pretty quickly that this led to cords … everywhere. I looked into ways to fix this, including tables with outlets on them. These tended to be a bit expensive. So we bought some power strips and some extension cords and hooked up some existing tables. We also have a place to plug in in our graphic novel room.

It is likely, if you serve teenagers in 2015, that most of them have phones (at the very least iPods or iPads (or a similar tablet)). You may have also seen the scenario of an embarrassed teen having to explain to an angry parent that their phone died. Recently, we built our own charging stations, which required finding some cables and a housing unit to protect them (and keep them from walking off). Below are pictures of attempts 1 and 2. They have been super popular. We have found the best start includes: This tiny 10-port charging station & braided cords. There is probably a better way to house the unit, but we just use wooden boxes. There are great options available that don’t require you to build something that looks varying amounts of DIY, but we liked ours.

attempt 1 attempt2

Racing Day

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Teens had a great time on Racing Day. Here are some of the games we played:

Elephant March: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/249035054364651410/

Tissue Box Shake: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/249035054364651406/

Post-it Note Race: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/249035054368001622/


Scott had this great idea to get a portable ping-pong net for indoor use. In the past we have played many different games, but inevitably the more active games prove problematic. The good thing about ping-pong is that the ball is lightweight and small. Ping-pong is fantastic fun, even if you aren’t that good at it. :)