Urban Legends Program – Mythbusters meets Tweens

My second tween program this summer was Urban Legends. I conceived it as a fun program that incorporates learning about Urban Legends and creating some of our own.  My original brainstorming was inspired by a post for YA Program Activities blog which I highly recommend checking out.  I had 16 tweens that I divided into four groups evenly. Which made me super excited because that almost never happens.

  • Icebreaker: I like doing icebreakers since it helps the kids loosen up but I’m still hunt for the “perfect one.” This one was kinda silly which is what I was going for. Called “Shoe Factory” you make everyone throw their shoes in a circle and instruct them to pick two shoes that are 1) not their own and 2) do not match. Once they have shoes they have to find their mates and line up. Mostly they just found who owned the shoes until they swapped enough to get their own back. Oh well.
  • Introductions: I do this so they know each others name and I know their names but I make them say one thing about themselves to help break the ice. I also used this time to find out how much they knew about Urban Legends and if they knew any good ones.
  • Cleaning Pennies with Coke: Each kid received a dirty penny and a small amount of coke in a cup. I warned them to not touch their cup until the end of the program. This would give the coke about an hour and a half to “clean” the penny. I also warned them that if they got soda on the floor they wouldn’t let me do programs anymore. This scared them significantly and they didn’t touch their cups until the end.
  • Fact/Fiction Quiz: Each team had two sheets of paper, “Fact” and “Fiction.” I read a question and as a team they had to pick, fact or fiction. I got the questions from the Mythbuster’s website. Here’s the ones I used  (Urban Legends Quiz) summer/ocean/bug related questions. Seemed fitting. The winning team got candy. (I had other candy for snacks so everyone got sugar eventually.)
  • Two Lies and a Truth: I used a version of this icebreaker as an activity. I gave each team a true myth, most were from, and as a group they had to make up two “fake” myths. Then they acted the three myths out and the other teams picked the true myth. I gave them about 20 minutes to create and plan the skits and then another 10 to present. This worked well and they had fun being goofy.
  • Pop Rocks and Soda: Passed out pop rocks and more soda and let them test this myth. What I found hilarious was the few who were very concerned that they would be hurt. I didn’t want to come out and say, of course you’ll be fine, because that would have taken some of the “danger”  out of it. But one kid was so concerned I finally said, “Do you really think I’d let you try something that could hurt you?”
  • Mythbusters: While they were finishing their pop rocks and soda I brought out the rest of the snacks (chips, cookies and aforementioned candy). I let them serve themselves and we watched part of the Mythbusters episode that tested the pop rocks and soda myth. They were appropriately impressed and disgusted.

That took us to about the end of the two hours. I had a stack of pre-pubs and let them pick out one to take home. I had loads of fun planning this one and the kids had fun too.  For next time I’d probably have more props for the playacting part since they grabbed anything that wasn’t tied down in the room to use. And once again I was too busy running things to take any pictures. Some day.


Art Attack! Literally!

In another effort to blog more frequently I have big plans to start posting programs that I’m doing at my library. For the last two years I’ve shifted my focus to more programming, especially technology and grades 3-5.  I’ll post inspiration, resources and supply list when appropriate. Most of my programs’ budgets have been under $100 and some if I hadn’t served food would have been very close to free.

Most recent (we’ll work backward) is Art Attck! an art-based program that incorporated two main activities, a print-making station and an “aluminum/yarn/relief design” thing.

Ages: Grades 3-5

Planned for 40, 36 attended.

Staff: Myself plus 2 teen volunteers.

Supplies and Cost: General crafting supplies (markers, color pencils, glue, scissors) dept. already owned. Most of my expense came from the print-making supplies I got from Blick, printing ink, ink roller, around $30. I skipped a brayer and used a coffee mug. I also used recycle styrofoam containers rather than scratch foam. Since I didn’t have enough containers by the time of the program I bought foam plates. The yarn activity was relatively cheap. We had yarn, I bought card stock, spray adhesive, aluminum foil sheets (Sam’s, $10) and a new set of Sharpies. I also bought a fancy rainbow stamp ink set with a coupon $10.

Inspiration: Get on Pinterest. For real. I know, I know I’ve been on the anti-Pinning train in the past but if you work with kids, crafts or education it really is a great resource. All my activities were inspired directly or indirectly by Pinterest. Check out my Tween Program board for the ideas I used or haven’t got to yet.

What Happened: Insanity happened. This was my best attended program for this age group and although everything went smoothly I could have used another set of hands. I also could have structured the activities better. Made the steps clearer and maybe printed out instructions. But part of me wanted to leave the activities open so the kids could play and create. Which they did but it made for a chaotic program. Next time I might do one activity and have different sessions. I also had “filler” projects, advanced coloring sheets and pencil eraser art for those waiting to do the two main activities since some supplies we had to take turns. which worked well. One thing I didn’t have time for was pictures hence the image-less post. Very Pinterest-unfriendly.

Take Away: Smaller groups, fewer activities, more focus.

Cool Thing to Remember: A girl asked if she could have my demo print I made of squiggles and stars. At the time I was like, weird, now I’m really flattered and wished I hadn’t acted all weirded out.