Something happened this Spring that has never happened before. All my public schools had Spring Break at the same time! This literally has not happened since I started working at my library almost 7 years ago. The stars aligning meant we HAD to do at least one or two activities during that week. The one most teens were excited about? PJs and Cartoons!
What is PJs and Cartoons? Basically, I sold it to the teens as a chance for them to pretend to be 5 years old again and spend the day watching old cartoons. Thankfully, my library has 2 different movie licenses, which opened up a lot of opportunities for me. Cartoons that ended up on the list were Scooby Doo, Ben 10, Pixar Shorts, & Animaniacs. Sadly, none of the old Nickelodeon ones (Doug, Rugrats, etc) were covered. Hands down the favorite of the day ended up being Animaniacs. I was thrilled to introduce so many of them to one of my own favorite cartoons. It was just bonus that they all loved it so much as well.
I quickly learned though, that just watching cartoons wouldn’t hold their attention the whole time, especially not since the event was a 6 hour one. I had planned for it to be a drop in-stay a short time event, but most of the teens stayed the whole time. When I noticed the boredom starting to hit a bit, I ran and pulled out various party games that didn’t take a lot of attention, like Jenga and Apples to Apples. At one point, I even stole the LEGO kits from the kids department. Man, did they LOVE that! They spent hours alone playing with the LEGOs together.
Also, sitting on the floor was preferred, but got uncomfortable real fast. Luckily, I was able to steal the small bean bag chairs from children’s. They weren’t big enough for them to sit on, but it offered them something to lean against or use as a pillow. Next time, I’ll recommend bringing blankets or pillows on the fliers.
Admittedly, I spent way more on food than I should have. Since it was a drop-in, I didn’t require registration & had no idea how many would come & ended up buying way too much! Part of this was due to turn out. Many teens ended up being out of town last minute, so I only had 10 teens show up. However, the snacky foods like animal crackers and juice boxes were a hit. The cereal I bought reminded virtually untouched, though. Since it was a long event, I did buy lunch for them. I got a pretty good deal on a sub at Walmart and it was way more than we needed. The teens had several helpings and there was still a lot left over at the end. You could easily only spend $20 dollars if you’re on a tight budget and have happy teens.
While my turnout may not have been huge, I would totally do this one again. I heard over and over throughout the day how much fun most of them were having. Those comments trump numbers any day! However, if I did it again i would add in registration and shorten the program to about 4 hours or so. The handled the 6 hours fine, but I think they all were a little over-it by that point.
If you already have the license(s) in place, I highly recommend doing this one. It’s a simple, low effort event that the teens will love. After all, who doesn’t like to pretend they’re 5…even if it’s only for a couple of hours!