Ask an Agent: Cool, Cheap Teen Programs?

askanagent2You’ve got questions,  we’ve got answers! Our volunteer Agents are on the job! Here’s what they have to say this week….

Question: I’ve recently taken over youth services at my (very small) branch. Since we’re a small branch our programming budget is small. I think I’ll be okay with doing kids and tween programs on a small budget but I’m struggling a bit on Teen programs. I’ve found a few inexpensive programs for them but many things that I come across are quite juvenile. Do you have any ‘cool’ and cheap Teen program ideas? Where do you go for inspiration?

 Jennifer (South San Francisco Public Library) says:

Cubeecrafts are free to print, so it only costs paper to do them. You could do pixel art with sticky notes – also pretty cheap. Pinterest is a wealth of information, but I’d start with asking the teens what they’re interested in.

 Rebecca (Palos Heights Library) says:

You can do a program on cutting t-shirts. We’ve cut them up to make scarves, simple necklaces or a shoulder tote bag. They can bring a shirt from home or you can probably get a few donated from staff. I just cleaned out my own drawer and brought in 4. They can also make a pillow out of a t-shirt, but then you need the stuffing.

Bleach pen art it kinda cool for teens. Again, they bring in their own shoes or jeans to decorate with bleach pens. Just make sure the parents are aware of the plan.

Melted crayon art-need old crayons and a good hairdryer

Painted CDs-first paint the CDs black, then they use a nail to scratch a picture into it. Or simply, let them paint on old CDs.

Bookfaces-they find books on the shelves they can insert themselves into the cover art somehow and take a picture. It’s usually a  picture of a face, but could be hands, the back of a head…

Coloring pages with intricate lines are gaining popularity, just invest in a good set of fine time colored markers.

Think about using old maps, magazines, books to cover something else, or upcycle into something else.
I use pinterest for ideas and as I see something I want to try, I’ll save it for later.

Andrea (TSU) says:

Pinterest in your friend. This is one of my favorite boards and one I check often. You’d be amazed at the number of things that you can do with very little supplies. One of my teens favorites has been water bottle wallets. Also, we do after-hour events that cost almost nothing because most of the time we’re playing tag, capture the flag, or some other floor game.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your teens about different ideas. It may seem juvenile to you, but sometimes teens are just overgrown 5 year olds. Mine LOVE juice boxes and fruit snacks as treats for TAG.  Also, take note what you already have in your supply closet. Use what you already have and build upon it.

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