This summer my library diving into self-directed teen programming in a bigger way than we have in the past. Each Monday a new project will be prepped and ready to go for tweens to work on during our six week Movies & Makers movie series, and any remaining kits will be placed in the teen lounge, up for grabs on a first come, first served basis until they run out.
These projects need to be engaging but simple. They need to be self contained, or use supplies readily found in any home or borrowed at the library. They need to be small enough to shove into a backpack for the bike ride home. They need to be pretty much self-explanatory too. Here are the projects we have chosen:
Week 1: Washer Necklaces
This is something that may work even better at home than at the library because teens could use nail polish to decorate the washers. In the library, they can use permanent markers and washi tape.
In the kit: two washers of different sizes, one piece of multicolored cord, instructions on tying knots.
Week 2: Depressor Catapults
These cost pennies to put together and have been so popular that we’ve already made up another dozen kits.
In the kit: tongue depressors, rubber bands, a dixie cup, sticky dots, pompon balls.
(We did make a few substitutions that will likely deteriorate the structural integrity of the catapults but should still make for a fun project. Instead of the flexible brad, we included some glue dots. Instead of bottle caps, we cut dixie cups down. Instead of pencil erasers, we gave them pompon balls of various sizes.)
Week 3: “Grown up” coloring sheets
Lots of sites offer mosaic or mandala style coloring sheets that are printable for free. If you want to purchase some books, there are plenty of appealing themed coloring books that require a steadier hand. Additionally, we kicked this one up a bit by giving them clear page protectors to color on, which means they’ll have a stained glass or sun-catcher-esque end result.
In the kit: a few different coloring sheets, a clear page protector, and an info sheet about the designs and/or why coloring is awesome for everyone.
Week 4: Brush Bots
This is the priciest of our projects, and one that we won’t be able to add more kits to once they run out. We will repackage the kits we receive for kids to grab and make at home, but I hope some of them come back with their bots to show us what they made!
In the kit: as indicated by Makershed.
Week 5: Origami
Week 6: Wipe off board
This kit will include a few nice results of the project (like this picture), an inexpensive frame and scrapbook paper – or probably a few different sheets of scrapbook paper so they can choose what they like, and a length of tape backed magnet so the board could be stuck inside a locker or on a fridge. Maybe a dry erase marker and some yarn to tie it to the board if our funds last.