Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Take 5 TPiBs: Raid the Cabinet, Zero Cost Programs

Summer budget running low? Need some quick and easy drop-in programs? Here are five ideas that you can pull off in an afternoon for pennies or less because you most likely already have the supplies. And if YOU don’t, chances are the kids’ department does and will be happy to let you take them off their hands and help clear out their craft cabinet.  Ready, set, GO with these five fast free program ideas!

1. Yarn wrapped words & letters. 
Supplies: Pipe cleaners & yarn bits. Maybe some glue.
What to do & why:
Bend pipe cleaners into words and shapes.
Enlist teens to create these for display signs “Great Mysteries!” “Readalikes” “Teen Lounge”
Bend and wrap quotes or allusions to favorite books “Okay? Okay.” “Kiss me, Hardy!”

from Bloesem Kids

2. Exploding Chain Competition
Supplies: popsicle sticks and space
What to do & why:
Teach kids a simple weave using popsicle sticks. See who can build the longest chain, go around a corner, through the legs of a table, etc. Do it because it’s fun and your meeting room is bigger than their family room and no one will gripe about losing popsicle sticks behind the couch like at home.

from FrugalFun4Boys (but girls would like it too)

3. Create Book Jars

Supplies: clean jars, paper, whatever decorations you have lying around (stickers, magazines & Mod Podge for decoupage, sharpies)
What to do and why: 
Have teens cut slips of paper and write all of the books they want to read on them.  Add some of your own! Include summaries or have each start with “You’ve got to read this because…” and have teens swap and share.  Decorate the jars, fold up the papers and fill the jars, pull slips out of the jar when you don’t know what to read next. Why do it? Um… books?!

from AlexInLeeds

4. Giant Bananagrams

Supplies: cardstock or cardboard (can even be repurposed; just need one side), markers
What to do and why:
Make up square game pieces with the letters in the Bananagram game, or another word game like Scrabble. Head outside or into a big room, and play a giant sized version of the game in teams. Why? Because Summer’s too short to stay inside all the time. This’ll get them moving, working in teams, and exercising all that great vocabulary they’re getting from their summer reading books.

from Lunametrics

5. Teen Coloring Day

Supplies: any of the many printable coloring book designs with teen appeal, crayons, markers, etc
What to do and why:
Play it up as a throwback program, an exam time stress reliever, or spin it into another themed event. Do it because though they may look jaded and mature, teens still yearn for play and fun. Coloring is relaxing and meditative, and will remind them of simpler times. Print up your pages, put out the art supplies, turn on some good music and have some fun! Try these for coloring page inspiration:
What are your great, free program ideas?


  1. I love the coloring idea. In college, my roommate and I had the idea of “Little Kid Days”. Basically, in times of stress, we would go grab kids' meals from a fast food restaurant, rent or borrow animated movies, play retro videogames, read picture books, color, build a fort, or anything that would serve as a throwback or stress reliever. Everyone wants a little fun.

  2. I thing coloring is one of the best activities for children.
    And there are several websites where you can get it completely for free.
    My favourites:

  3. Coloring is one of the most interesting activities for children. It offers many good benefits for them. Today I want to share a website where supplies thousands of coloring pages for both children and grown-ups. Coloringpagesonly supplies easy and hard coloring page for both kids and grownups. The images has nice designs and theme. This website has listed all catergories such as: Moana, Minion, Doraemon, Elsa and many more. Just roll down and click on an image / a title you’d like. It is easy to find your favorite images. Each coloring sheet are described very detailed, the given information is related to images. Your kids will easy to understand the content of stories.

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