Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

TPiB: Programming with Straws

When I was Tweeting about Strawbees on Twitter, Laura Renshaw sent me the above tweet about her library’s Everything is Strawsome program, an obvious play on the popular Lego’s song Everything is Awesome. This is hands down the most genius program name ever! I was so excited about the program name that I tweeted to Laura that I wanted to do a program with straws as well, featuring Strawbees. She then replied that this Straw Ninjas craft was the craft activity that she had found that inspired the program.

Straw Ninjas

I did some looking around and found some other straw themed ideas that I am considering doing as part of a straw themed program. Strawbees plus some other straw related activities would indeed make for a Strawsome program! Man, I love that name Laura.

Some of our Strawbees creations on display at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County in Ohio

Drinking Straw Cuff Bracelet

Mark Montano has a YouTube tutorial on making a beaded cuff bracelet using drinking straws.

Balloon Rockets

Straw Chinese Yo-Yos

I have mixed feeling about this one. I have done them before using small wooden dowel rods and I worry that the straws won’t be strong enough for repeated use. I guess it would depend a lot on the quality of the straws that you use. The Harvard Chinese Yo-Yo Club has some information about the history of the Chinese Yo-Yo.

Straw Wars

This is really just a fancy version of spit balls. To make it really Star Wars related, you could print off some pictures of Storm Troopers as targets.

Pixie Sticks

Using paper straws, you can make your own Pixie Sticks.

Hey, here’s an earworm for you . . . And you’re welcome!

This is currently what I’m thinking about doing for my straw themed program. If you have some other fun ideas, please share in the comments. I’m thinking this would make a great Earth Day program. Couple it with my Zip Tie Crafts and I could go with a whole upcyclying/environmental series.

TPiB: Doctor Who – How to host a BRILLIANT 50 year anniversary party (at home or at your library)


This month, my tween edges a little closer to teendom.  And later this year, Doctor Who is turning 50!  On November 23rd they will air the Doctor Who 50 year anniversary special at the same time, everywhere.  So we are doing double duty here, hosting a Doctor Who themed birthday party for my Tween and putting together a Doctor Who program for our library in November in anticipation of 50 years of our favorite Doctor.  Below are some great ideas that would work well in a library, given the time and space constraints we often have.  Pick and choose what works for you, step into your Tardis, and see where you end up.  Don’t forget to put our YA Books for the Doctor Who fan recommendations on display.

Duct Tape Doctor Who
Image found on Tumblr

I don’t know about your tweens, but mine are obsessed with Duct Tape.  And this is good because it makes for some easy (albeit kind of expensive) programming.

Duct Tape Bowtie Necklaces (Because Bowties are Cool!)
Simple really, follow these instructions and make Duct Tape bow ties.

Duct Tape Rose Pens
Fans of the companion Rose can rejoice and make this rose pen. Out of Duct tape, of course.  Instructions for a Duct tape rose can be found here.

Duct Tape Tardis Purse
This is the best craft idea ever because the Tardis is the coolest spaceship ever.  There are a couple of different ways you can make a Tardis bag out of Duct tape.
Version 1: http://ducttapecase.wordpress.com/tardis-duct-tape-bag/
Version 2: http://redditgifts.com/marketplace/product/doctor-who-tardis-duct-tape-purse-tardis/

Doctor Who Crafts


Make Your Own River Song Journal
Technically, you can make a River Song Journal in a variety of ways.  Just Google make your own journal, pick one that you like and make yours blue.  However, there is a great tutorial here for making an actual River Song journal for purists.

Make Your Own Weeping Angels
You know those holiday angels you have sitting around in your basement or garage?  The ones you put at the tops of trees?  Spray paint them silver.  Not an awesome craft per se, but it would make for some great party decorations. 

Cybermen Headbands
What you need: headbands, silver spray paint and pipe cleaners.  Spray pain your headband silver and let it dry.  Use your pipe cleaners to create the thingy majig that would go across the top.  You’ll have to do this by eye using a picture because I couldn’t find a pattern, but it isn’t hard.  Connect two pipe cleaners, wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle for the middle part, and attach it to the bottom of your headband.  When you wear your headband, you now are rocking some serious Cybermen headgear.  If you don’t use silver pipe cleaners, use your silver spray paint to finish off your look.

Build a Dalek 
There are plans everywhere online.   In the end all you really need are some boxe, foam balls cut in half, and paint.  Here is a simple example using everyday household items.

Robot Building
I recently had a two part tech fun program.  On day 1, we took a bunch of donated tech and took it apart.  It was fun and it allowed my tweens and teens to see what the inside of the technology they use everyday looks like.  On day 2, we took those bits and pieces and used them to make robots.  Not functioning robots, because I don’t know how to do electrical work, but things that looked like cool robots.  I feel like this would be a fun Doctor Who program because it fits right in with the verse.  Maybe one of your tweens or teens will even create the next major villain for Doctor Who.

Dalek and Tardis Fuse Bead Crafts
Use your fuse beads to make Doctor Who themed keychains (or zipper pulls) and more.  Here is a pattern for a Dalek. Here is a pattern for the Tardis.

Doctor Who Shrinky Dink Jewelry
You can make Shrinky Dinks at the library using a toaster oven.  Purchase blank sheets of Shrinky Dink pages and go to town creating Doctor Who themed pieces.  Then, watch the shrinking magic happen.  You can use your pieces on keychains, jewelry or even as ornaments.  In fact, string them and make Doctor Who themed garland.

Dalek Bags
You can buy draw string bags from places online like Oriental Trading.  Buy solid colors.  Bust out some black fabric markers and color in circles.  Tada, you now have a Dalek bag. There is an example in this awesome birthday party outline.

Paper Snowflakes (The Snowmen)
In one of the most awesome Christmas specials, snowmen attack.  They show snowflakes with menacing faces and it was both sinister and cool.  We’ve all cut snowflakes out of paper, but can you make some scary ones?  Give it a try.

Make Your Own Villain/Alien
Use the classic Exquisite Corpse activity to create unique and totally original creatures that the Doctor might encounter in his travels through space and time.

Weeping Angel Barbie
You can buy a bunch of Barbies at a thrift store and use these instructions to make a Weeping Angel.

Fimo Clay Tardis Necklacs 
Use Fimo clay to make a Tardis necklace.  Follow the Fimo instructions on the package and use any of the numerous pictures available online for a model.

Tardis Tin
Use old Altoid tins.  Paint Tardis blue.  Decorate.  As a bonus, you can make Doctor Who art/quotes Marble Magnets to place inside.

Doctor Who t-shirts with stencils (or bleach pens)
Use stencils or bleach pens to make Doctor Who themed t-shirts. Instructions for bleach pen shirts can be found here.

Create your own Doctor Who light faceplate
Take a light switch cover and paint it Tardis blue.  Add some white.  Tada, a Tardis light faceplate. Or, you can print off your favorite pictures (to size) and Mod Podge them.  Actually, you can do this really for just about anything.  Mod Podge is cool.

An example of circular Gallifreyan from Sherman’s Planet Instructable

Write your name in circular Gallifreyan 
Gallifreyan  at Sherman’s Planet
Instructable

Doctor Who Trailer Maker and Comic Maker available at the BBC website.

Keep in mind, you can do some traditional crafts, like Bottle Cap Jewelry or Marble Magnets, and just give them a Doctor Who twist.  Here is a Pinterest page with some excellent examples of Doctor Who bottle cap jewelry.

Paper Crafts 

Doctor Who Paper Craft (tons online) like :http://manmadediy.com/users/chris/posts/702-free-download-dr-who-papercraft-templates

Various Masks from the BBC, including Weeping Angels, Gangers, and Smilers 

Printable Tardis Notecards

Printable Tardis Notecards

You can also use your Phone Apps and favorite quotes (or Publisher if you like) to create your own Doctor Who art.

Games
 
Weeping Angels Tag

This game is outlined really well in this Facebook post.

Cube Stacking Contest
Take a bunch of old wooden blocks and spray pain them black to make them look like the cubes in The Power of Three.  Have contests to see who can stack the most amount of cubes in a short amount of time: say 1 minute.  This is a variation on the Oreo Cookie stacking contest.

Doctor Who Guess Who
Steal your kids Guess Who game and print off 2 pictures each of various Doctor Who characters, including all 11 (now 12) versions of the doctor.  Replace all the pictures in the game with your pictures and keep one set for the drawing pile.  You now play by the same rules as Guess Who, but have Doctor Who characters instead.  Follow these instructions from Instructables to learn more about customizing your Guess Who game.

Musical Fez
Play a version of musical chairs, but instead of moving chairs you pass the fez.

Doctor Who Bingo
Someone was kind enough to make these Doctor Who Bingo cards.  Thank you kind Doctor Who Bingo card maker.

Humans VS. Weeping Angels
Christie is adapting this Humans VS. Zombies games for an upcoming lock-in.

Decorations

Dalek Cups
Get lidded cups, like Starbucks cups.  Spray paint various colors.  Add dots (markers or stickers will work)

Tardis Doorway
Supplies needed: a refrigerator box, box cutter, and lots of blue paint. You could also try and use butcher paper.  In fact, you could make one of those big banners and have your teens run through it like they do at football games.

Tardis Art
Decorate your own masterpiece and insert the Tardis somewhere.  Tweens and teens could literally use paper and paint to create any type of artwork and just paint the Tardis in.  I am, of course, referring to the episode Vincent and the Doctor.

Food
 

Sonic Screwdriver Snack
Take pretzel rods and dip the tip of them in white frosting.  Then, coat the frosting in green sprinkles.  This will create an edible snack that resembles the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver.

Dalek Cupcakes
Here are incredibly simple instructions to make Dalek cupcakes.

Tardis Cookies
Use graham crackers, frosting and licorice to make Tardi themed snacks.

Ood Cupcakes
Use this as an example to make Ood looking cupcakes.  Cupcakes, frosting and soar strips. Yum.

Marshmallow Adipose
Use large and small marshmallows to create Adipose.

Snowflake cookies
Pretty self explanatory, use your snowflake cookie cutter and make snowflake cookies.  Let your tweens and teens frost and decorate their own.

Fish and custard
If you are daring, you can just make fish sticks and dip them in your custard.  I am not the daring, so you can use French Toast sticks or Swedish fish to represent the fish sticks and dip them in your pudding.

Bananas
“Always take a banana to a party Rose. Bananas are good.”

Oh look – it’s number 12! Peter Capaldi (BBC)

Other Fun Tie Ins

Impressionist Paintings (for Vincent and the Doctor)
Shakespeare Readings (for The Shakespeare Code)
Do an interactive mystery in honor of Agatha Christie (or play Clue) (for The Unicorn and the Wasp)
Make a Volcano (for Fires of Pompeii) – Scholastic has an easy mini-volcano recipe on their site.

Don’t Forget!!

Trivia, trivia, trivia.  Match quotes to numbers to see if tweens and teens know which Doctor said them (you might want to concentrate on Doctors 9-11).

And, you can make all kinds of bookmarks, fan art and more using Doctor Who pictures, quotes, etc.  In fact, check out the official Doctor Who Tumblr to see amazing fan art that is quote heavy.

Turn your favorite Doctor Who quotes into wall art with this Peel Away Quote art activity

Additional Activities and Resources

http://pinterest.com/patriciamckelvy/doctor-who-doctor-who-diy-crafts-accessories/
http://pinterest.com/thestonerose/doctor-who-crafts/
http://pinterest.com/samiam4688/doctor-who-geek-craft-misc/
http://pinterest.com/mrsjrdavis/doctor-who-merchandise-crafts/
Another fun Doctor Who themed party 
Maria Selke’s Pinterest Board: http://pinterest.com/lleullin/doctor-who/
http://doodlecraft.blogspot.com/2013/09/doctor-who-party-week-food-snacks.html
Doctor Who Party Pack from BBC: http://doctorwho.tumblr.com/post/67307924465/we-made-you-a-doctor-who-global-celebration

Karen & Christie

TPIB: Once Upon a Time

upon a time, there were tales . . . and today, those tales are being re-told.  With a twist.

One of my very favorite fairy tales retold is Enchanted by Orson Scott Card.  It is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty; but what I really love about it is the way he portrays the magic of womanhood.  What we call women’s intuition he calls magic and as he weaves his world you know that you are a part of something special.

Some of my other favorites include Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (great book, horrible horrible movie) and Beastly by Alex Flinn (ditto).  It is fun to read these twisted takes on old stories and see how they can be re-imagined.

And how can you overlook the always fantastic The Princess Bride by William Goldman.  And the movie, a perennial classic that still should work with the teen audience . . .

The Grandson: A book?
Grandpa: That’s right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I’m gonna read it to you.
The Grandson: Has it got any sports in it?
Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…
The Grandson: Doesn’t sound too bad. I’ll try to stay awake.
Grandpa: Oh, well, thank you very much, very nice of you. Your vote of confidence is overwhelming.

Just, brilliant. (More The Princess Bride quotes at IMDB)

Soon there will be 2 shows debuting on TV that focus on retelling classic fairy tales:  Once Upon a Time and Grimm.

The zeitgeist is right to start pushing those teen fiction tales, old and new, by making displays and doing programming tie ins.  Why here’s a poster to help you with your display needs.  You’re welcome.

You can download the poster at http://www.box.net/shared/p8o2qc10ebs93tt1d6jt

There is a pretty good list of fairy tales old and new at GoodReads.  There are also some here, here and herePublisher’s Weekly also had an article in the February 17, 2011 edition that talks about a new Harlequin series.

Teen Program in a Box:

Fairy tales of all types are great for programming tie-ins.  You can be creative, and inspire creativity.  You can go big, or simply spend an afternoon reading tales and eating cookies (but don’t eat too many, you never know when a witch is trying to fatten you up to put you in the stew.)

For younger teens, bead and princess themed crafts would work.  You can also do some Nerf jousting.  Build castles out of Legos.  Play capture the flag.  Life size chess (think Harry Potter) or Battleship would also work.  Do not underestimate the fun in some water fights during the summer months (outside of course).

If you are so inclined, these stories are a great opportunity to engage in some fun reader’s theater activities.  Or you could have the teens make and put on fairy tale inspired puppet shows for younger kids.  John Sciezka tales would work great for that.  You could have a series of events where teens selected the pieces, wrote the scripts, discusses approach and practiced, and then presented.  This is a great idea for increasing teen involvement in your programming.

Fairy tales are ripe for creative writing and drawing exercises.  The exquisite corpse works for both storytelling as well as creature drawing.  Also, any activities that focuses on monsters, costuming (think Project Runway type challenges), and survival (let’s face it – we all want to survive the evil beings that haunt fairy tale land).

You can set up a fairy tale themed scavenger hunt through your library where they have to help Little Red Riding Hood get the basket of goodies to grandma.  They collect the basket of goodies as part of the scavenger hunt.  Be sure and get a teen to play the part of the big bad wolf and create fun obstacles along the way.

Don’t think for a moment that teens don’t let to be pampered like a princess, so princess make-overs would definitely work.  You could decorate flip flops to be pseudo glass slippers and make bead tiaras.  And there are some great spa activities in Beauty: Things to Make and Do by Jennifer Traig.

Fairy tales are full of imagination, which makes them fun to adapt for programming.  You can find tie-ins for a variety of crafts and activities.  And the more creative opportunities you allow teens to engage in, the better.  If you don’t want to do come to the library programming, you can do drawing and story telling programming in the form of contests where teens create and share online.

Whatever you do, be sure to tap into this pop culture moment and strike while the iron is hot.  And please feel free to share your programming ideas and pictures in the comments or on the TLT FB wall.

TPIB: Olympians Week

October 4th – 10th has been declared Olympian Week in celebration of the release of Son of Neptune, the next title by Rick Riordan.  You know what that means?  Toga party!
So get planning!  Walk over to the 200s and brush up on your Greek and Roman mythology.  And brush up on your toga wrapping.  Don’t know how to wrap a toga, here is a video that shows you 4 different ways to do it.  I did not know there was so much variety in toga wrapping.

In fact, that is a great first activity – a toga wrapping relay race.  Participants will have fun trying to get ready for the toga party as an opening activity.

Let the Games Begin!
If you have space (or nice weather), you can have a triathlon.  You could include activities like archery (Nerf has some equipment), a lightning bolt toss similar to a javelin throw (you can make a lightning bolt out of cardboard or foam and decorate), and a globe toss similar to a shot put throw (you can use little foam balls painted like a globe or beach balls).  Of course you could make up and substitute any other type of activity: bean bag tosses, obstacle courses, etc.  It would be pretty easy to come up with a mythological twist.  Again, depending on weather conditions, you can throw in some water wars to represent Poseidon.  And just for fun, throw in a rubber snake toss.

Hero Quest
Send your tweens and teens on a hero quest through the library, aka a scavenger hunt.  But this scavenger hunt will have some unique twists. 

Twist #1: The Achilles Heel
Before you begin each participant must pull an Achilles heel (a weakness) out of a hat.  You can add things like, they have to do the quest with one arm tied behind their back or one person has to be blindfolded and guided through the quest by another participant.

Twist #2: The Medusa Maze
Pick one participant to be Medusa and set them in an area where you know others will have to go to complete the quest.  As the participants make their way through this area, they have to make sure not to be touched by Medusa or they will be turned to stone (frozen).  Depending on how you want to play the game, they can either be eliminated or you can build a way in for them to be unfrozen.

Twist #3: The River Styx
As part of the Hero Quest, participants must find one of many coins you plant throughout the library and use it to pay you to cross the River Styx and complete the quest.

Image from http://faculty.musowls.org/sellers/2011/05/medusa_mythology_exam_results.html

Create Your Own Mythology
Greek and Roman mythology is full of a wide variety of characters that have been imagined and re-imagined.  Give your teens an opportunity to be creative and create their own mythological creatures, whether they be gods and goddesses or fierce creatures.  You can go simple, have them draw pictures and make up stories.  Or you can go big and have teens come in costume.
In an earlier post we talked about the Exquisite Corpse.  This is a fun way to have teens come up with a collaborative new mythological creature.  You divide your participants into groups of 3. Give each group a large piece of paper (really large) folded into 3 parts.  One person draws the head and then passes the paper to the next participant who draws the torso and then the final person draws the legs.  Since each participant doesn’t see what the previous has drawn, you come up with some pretty unique designs.

Get Crafty
Make laurel leaf crowns

Make a shield or a sword, and decorate

Turned to Stone: Medusa turns everything she sees to stone.  Give teens some rocks and have them imagine what they would look like if turned to stone.  Basically, they are making pet rocks of themselves.

Athena is the goddess of crafts.  She is often associated with pottery and weaving.  You can do weaving activities or pottery (using clay).  You could also throw things in here like jewelry making.

Mercury has wings on his feet.  Have a flip flop decorating crafts and give teens the opportunity to make their own unique foot wear.

Poseidon is the god of the sea.  You can make your own lava lamp or water globe.  I have made the water globes as crystal balls for a HP party and they work well and are fun.

Because of the mythology involved, you can give teens a wide variety of craft supplies (clay, paper bag or felt puppets, etc.) and let them make their own creatures.  This is a great way to clean out the craft scraps.  Or you can make them out of recycled materials.

Here are more craft ideas:
Mythological Sea Creature Crafts
Paper Modelz

Live Chess or Challenge
In a lot of mythology you often here of how the gods and goddesses sat in the heavens and moved the people around to put them into situations.  And on Survivor you see the teams competing in challenges where one part of the team tells another part of the team what to do.  For example, they will have to put together a huge puzzle but they can only put the pieces where their team mates tell them to.  This would make for a great Olympian challenge.  You could set it up us a large chessboard, or you can use the types of challenges you have seen on Survivor.  The main component has to be that one part of the team will function as the gods/goddesses and they will tell the other part of the team where to move or what to do to complete the challenge.

Name that God (or Goddess)
Greek and Roman mythology is ripe for a trivia contest!  So take your Jeopardy template or Family Feud template and adapt it to focus on mythological trivia.

Columns and Statues, oh my!
Bust out your Lego’s and have an ancient Greece column and statue building contest.  Or have an Oreo cookie stacking contest.  These are a ton of fun and would make a great variation on the columns theme.

Have you seen the game Hole in the Wall?  It always makes me think of Greek statues.  Put together some wacky poses and as a game, divide the teens into groups and time them to see who can get in the pose the quickest.

And don’t forget to put up your displays of read-alikes . . .
Wake County Public Libraries list
Tales Treehouse

Whatever activities you choose to do, have fun getting your Toga on!