Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

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!


  1. Here is a quick way to make really good looking zombie makeup.


  2. Thanks for this link. Good resource.


  1. […] I was at a loss for how to incorporate this particular series, but after some research I found that School Library Journal has some AWESOME ideas, including a Toga Party, a Triathlon, Hero Quest Scavenger Hunt and a Trivia Contest, as well as many crafts and other creative ideas!  Check it Out Here!! […]

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