Today we have a guest post from Martha Sullivan at Geneva Public Library. She’s going to be talking about her Take and Make Kits
My programs do not see a lot of response from the teens in my community. Conservatively, I would say that I cancel about 60% of my planned programs due to lack of registration, and my drop-in programs see maybe one or two teens during their duration. Still, my job is to figure out how to program for my teens, despite knowing that they are all busy people with lots of homework and numerous after-school activities. One of my go-tos?
Teen Take & Make kits.
These kits started life as repackaged craft supplies from programs I scheduled and planned for, and then was unable to host. Now, they have a life of their own! On the 15th of the month, every month, I put out a set number of craft kits in the YA fiction area that teens are welcome to take and make in the library, or take home for crafting when convenient. These are advertised in the library’s newsletter, which we publish quarterly, and both teens and parents have come to anticipate the kits’ release. I have never had a month go by without all the kits being taken before the next month’s go out.
Enough bragging! What do these look like?
Every kit contains all the materials a teen needs to make a project inside a bag that is 8.5 inches tall, 5.25 inches wide, and 3.5 inches deep, including instructions with process photos. I don’t include things like scissors, glue, or rulers, but do point teens in the direction of our Make-It Market, a space where we make basic crafting supplies available for anyone to use. The number of kits varies depending on the cost of the supplies, but I always plan for a minimum of 12 kits and am usually able to do up to 20. My average supply cost per month is around $50, although Cubee Monsters were one of my most popular and they were completely free!
I find a lot of ideas on Pinterest, or by looking at crafts that other librarians do that I can package individually. I have also done a lot of googling for “teen crafts,” and I take photos at craft stores of existing kits for ideas.
Here is a complete list of the Take & Make Kits I have put together so far, as well as the place on the internet that I found the project or was inspired for the project.
December 2016: Paracord bracelets (cord and fasteners ordered as kits from Amazon)
February 2017: Origami lucky stars (jar included with multicolored paper strips)
March 2017: No Sew Bowties
May 2017: Sock Monsters
June 2017: Photoboards (I did a simplified version of this without a fabric cover – I used 12×12 inch cork boards, ribbon, and brads)
July 2017: Bee gardens (a packet of seeds, a biodegradable pot, and a note about the importance of bees
August 2017: Feather quill pens
September 2017: Ribbon bookmarks
October 2017: Halloween cubees (these I supplied until the next kit was available because I used free-to-print patterns)
November 2017: Picture frame organizers
December 2017: Snowman ornaments and pop-up Christmas cards
January 2018: LED cuffs (I re-used a project our Middle Grade librarian did with her kids using conductive thread, LED lights and a bunch of felt. Everyone got a battery, battery pack, small spool of thread, and a handful of lights to use.)
February 2018: Paper boxes
March 2018: Emoji zipper pouches
April 2018: Desktop catapults (you can package these with plastic spoons instead of bottle caps, as well)
May 2018: Floral soaps
June 2018: RPG starter kits (dice, character sheets, and an intro sheet with basic Dungeons & Dragons quickstart rules in a folder rather than a bag)
July 2018: Paracord Bracelets (it’s been long enough I can repeat some of the most popular ones!)
August 2018: Pencil cases