I can't believe its June already; the last few months have really flown by fast. I always love June because all of the libraries are gearing up for summer reading. This summer, our theme is "Read to the Rhythm," and we have all kinds of fun music-related programs happening across all of the Contra Costa County Libraries.
This summer I have a large group of tweens that are interested in planning weekly summer clubs at my library. They are so excited about coming to the library, and some of their ideas are really cool: a YouTube Club, Cup Stacking tournaments, making no-sew blankets for dogs and cats in the animal shelters, Origami club and Manga drawing. I think it’s really important for tweens and teens to keep reading over the summer, and of course, the library can help with that. The library is also the perfect place for them to engage in other activities, explore new learning opportunities and have meaningful social engagement experiences.
It’s no simple task to offer stimulating and valuable options that can compete with the allure of screen time and hanging out with friends, but there are lots and lots of great summer programs you can do for tweens and teens. Here are a few ideas in keeping with our "Read to the Rhythm" theme:
Guitar Pick Punch
This program packs a little punch into a whole lot of fun! Before your program you should gather up all kinds of plastic cards: old credit cards, gift cards, library cards or any thin plastic material. You will also need a guitar pick punch. We found ours at Pick Punch , and they come in all shapes and sizes. Then gather your tweens and teens around for pick punching fun. You can create "pick art" and make unique pick jewelry like necklaces, bracelets, keychains or earrings. The Pick Punch is truly easy to use. It makes a perfect guitar pick every time!
Musical Freeze Tag
This game is very similar to freeze tag, but with an added musical twist. I have had many tweens and teens ask if we can play freeze tag at the library. This is mostly when we are having outdoor events, so I usually say, why not? I think my invention of musical freeze tag reminds me of a melding of freeze tag and musical chairs. It might have to be indoors if you need to plug into an electrical outlet for music, but if you can find a way to do it outside, that is probably much better. A colleague of mine has an amazing Bluetooth speaker that is wireless and portable that would be great for this activity. I really need to get one of these.
Here are the basic tenets of Musical Freeze Tag:
1) Everyone dances as the music plays.
2) When the music stops, each player must freeze immediately and hold that position until the music begins again.
3) If a player does not freeze immediately, he/she must do 10 jumping jacks at the start of the next round and then rejoin the dance.For fun when the music stops, have a player demonstrate a unique dance move for everyone. The group will try the move at the start of the next round.
Another one of my mind-melding inventions! I remember when I made a Harry Potter Jeopardy game for my HP book club a few years back, the teens went crazy! It was funny how much they loved it, and they kept saying the questions were not hard enough.
Song Jeopardy has basically the same structure as a "Jeopardy" game. There are great  templates  you can get online that will make it really easy. Next you would want to make a list of songs that are current and maybe some '90s and '80s songs that teens might know.
There are two rounds with 30 possible questions each, and then a final round with one question and one answer. Each round is split into six categories with five questions in each one. Each subsequent question should get progressively harder than the one before. For each question, you should have a clue in the form of an answer. Make sure to put all of your questions and answers in a Word document, this will save you a lot of time later when you need them.
For the past few months, I have been working on a special project called Drum Quest, where we have an awesome drum instructor come out to the the Pittsburg Library branch and give tweens and teens free drum lessons. The young people are learning lots of cool drumming techniques and styles and are discovering more about famous drummers. You can imagine how loud it gets with all the drumming going on, but surprisingly, I've had no noise complaints.
OK, now it's time to go forth and have lots of fun! Tune in next month to get more programming tips and ideas from Mrs. Librarian Lady.