Midterms, Finals, State Tests, AP Tests, SAT, ACT. The number of major exams teens have to take today can go on and on. If your teen area/library is like mine you see teens with their textbooks, notes, flashcards and the like spread out over a table after school. Then there are the teens you hear talking about the work and studying they have to do.
In order to give these teens a well deserved break, I decided to give them a relaxed program where they can just hang out and de-stress. I decided to call it Kindergarten Night and let them revert back to their younger years for an hour or two.
The best way to run this program is to make it no registration and allow teens to come in whenever between the start and end time. This allows teens to decide if they want to take a short or long break themselves. It also means they don’t have to stress about getting to the program on time. You can also make this an after hours program if you have somebody to let the teens in and out when needed.
As much of what you need your library already has, this is also an awesome low cost program.
Here is what I did and other things I plan to do in future sessions.
Cartoons – Set up a TV or protector with cartoons they watched when they were little. Have it playing while the other activities are going on.
(Finger) Painting – Put out paper or card stock and a selection of paints. Allow your teens to free paint and even use their fingers if they want to.
Legos – If you don’t have legos for teens, borrow from your Children’s Department. Set them up on a table or floor and allow them to free play.
Other Play Toys – See what else your Children’s Department will allow you to borrow that your teens may be into playing with. These could be regular wooden blocks, Lincoln logs, or anything else used during a Children’s play hour.
Duck, Duck, Goose – Ask your teens if they want to play. They may look at you like you’re crazy or they may be into it. Also consider Red Light Green Light, Musical Chairs, Hot Potato, Freeze Dance and other similar childhood games
Board Games – If you can, make these different than the games your teen area may already have out. They don’t have to necessarily be little kid related but if you have Candyland and Don’t Break the Ice I say put them out for sure. Also I recommend staying away from UNO as if your teens are like mine, arguing often happens when they play and we don’t want that during this program.
Parachute – If you have one, use it. Your teens are likely to have fond memories of playing with this when they were little.
Milk & Cookies – Teens will come to just about anything if there is free food. I recommend milk and cookies as I tend to think of that as a comfort snack. Although anything you feel comfortable leaving out for a couple of hours will work.
Most importantly just let it be a fun, stress free environment where you allow the teens to do their own thing within reason.