Thursday, March 29, 2012

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor...

So, as you may know, The Hunger Games movie was released last week. Happily, this coincided with our Spring Break and we thought it was the perfect time for a teen Hunger Games program!

I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this program. Our teen Zombie Prom was a huge hit in the fall and we were having to turn teens away because registration filled up really quickly. We didn't require registration for the Hunger Games program and we ended up with a group of 20, which turned out to be a perfect turnout - full, but not so full that it was overwhelming.

I actually had the pleasure of doing this program twice since I partnered with one of our neighboring teen librarians. She came over to help me with the program at my library and then I went over there to help her run it for her teens!

Here's what we did:

3:00pm - Open doors and welcome the kids in. We gave them a little time to hang out and gush about the movie and books while we waited for everyone to get there. As the kids arrived, we had them put their name on a ticket for "The Reaping" (actually door prizes!).

3:10-3:30pm - Hunger Games trivia. Two of our staff members put together a kind of trivia board game. We taped sheets of paper to the floor for our game board and let the kids roll our large foam dice. In order to move along the board, their team had to answer the trivia question correctly. The kids were super awesome at the trivia.

At the second program, the kids got through the game board very quickly, so we did two rounds.

3:30-4:00pm - Cornucopia Challenge. This was a really fun activity and the kids really liked it. We printed out cards for the items instead of having the actual items, just to save a bit on cost and to keep from having to track down all those items. I'd recommend getting a large posterboard or whiteboard to keep track of the scores. The teens also had some great ideas about different things that could happen in the arena and I think it'd be really fun to have them collaborate on writing a script and then run the game with them!

We had prizes for the winning teams of both the trivia and the Cornucopia Challenge. I let them choose either a candy bar or a free book from my stash of ARCs. If you're low on cash, another prize could be an extra entry in the Reaping (door prize drawing).

4:00pm - 5:00pm Training stations. We had several stations set up around the room, so after we finished the group activities, we gave them some free time to do whatever stations they chose. At my library, we did cookie decorating at "Peeta's Bakery", a costume design station, and a weapons-making station. We also did knot tying at Kate's library.

Cookie decorating is pretty self-explanatory. For the costume design station, we printed out information about each of the districts and I printed out some sheets of Hunger Games costume sketches from Deviant Art for inspiration. We asked teens to design a costume for a tribute from a district of their choice and we put the gallery up in the Teen Scene.

For the weapons-making station, we put out all kinds of scraps and materials that we had on hand and let the kids go crazy. Suggestions for materials: duct tape, aluminum foil, red and black construction paper, pipe cleaners, craft sticks, pie tins*, paper towel rolls, toilet paper tubes, string or yarn, and whatever else you have on hand. They were extremely creative and some of the boys just sat down at this station for the rest of the time.

We assigned staff to stations, but really they were all self-directed. The stations actually kept them busy for the entire hour, and it gave us a chance to mingle and chat with the teens about the books and movie. It's always good to have a backup, though, and we figured we'd bust out some more trivia or some board games if we noticed that anyone was getting bored.

Periodically, we'd draw out a couple of names for the door prizes. At my library we gave out $10 iTunes gift cards (which I found in 3-packs at Kroger) and at Kate's library we gave out a Hunger Games poster. We gave out Hunger Games bookmarks, which I had picked up at the ALA Store in Dallas. Kate also created a perfect Hunger Games readalike bookmark that we gave to everyone.

All in all, it was a wonderful program and a ton of fun for both teens and librarians. I was very happy to have a nice mix of regulars and new faces in our crowd and I hope to see them all again soon!

* Okay, my teens loved used the pie tins, but I realized after they started cutting them up that they were quite sharp. You should probably think about whether you can trust your teens not to slice themselves (or each other) into pieces. ;)