A few weeks ago, I held a Teen Night for the kids, 12-19. It was the last day of winter break for the library (we're closed Sundays) and it was also rainy. The kids came in earlier than the start time for the program. It was the first after-hours program on a Saturday, which was scheduled from 5-7. Kids showed up as early as 2! This combination was dangerous. The kids were kids! Who would have thought? Bumper chairs, tag in wheely chairs, and cartwheels. (One mom asked since when did we become a babysitting service. Sorry! but our policy states that they can be there without a parent.) (She wasn't upset, just more concerned because the kids were so rambunctious.)
The 'tweens like to play "Doctor". When I hear them say that in the library I kind of worry what parents will think. Their game is much more fun. They play with our "puppet stage area" as a reception desk and will hang a sign that reads, "Doctors Office". Then the kids will play with dolls. I could create a real title for it and make it a real program, but would anyone show up?
Instead, I formed a 'tween advisory group, "TAG". After the Saturday ordeal I came up with a dodge ball night to allow the kids to run around. (Thankfully my library has a meeting room with very high and narrow windows and wide open space.) At our TAG meeting recently, I asked them what we should do. I've got plans to buy NERF balls, put Velcro on them, and have the kids hurl them at me for a points system (that is, I'll have to wear a Velcro suit or something. I'm in the early stages of planning.) There is a grand prize, a huge candy bar, the one on the right! (I'm sure I'll buy enough to allow for each kid to have something.) We also discussed ideas for spring break, which is a mere eight weeks away!
I met with the teens, and they were a little more difficult to work with. Only five showed up because everyone has the flu (*knock on wood). One turned down all my ideas yet wouldn't come up with anything of his own. That's okay. The two new girls to the group (though they are regulars at the library) came up with fun ideas. Their list is a little short so I'll borrow from the 'tweens for teen programming. A list I've created consists of baking cupcakes, making origami/ductigami (crafts with duct tape), and a few games.
Moral of the Story: Give them what they want and no one gets hurt . . . unless your number one rule is, "No Blood!". Then Murphy comes to town and lays down his law. Dun dun dun.