Every Wednesday, from 2-3 was Tween Time and from 3-4 was Tween Wii Wednesday. I planned the majority of the Tween Time activities and my co-worker LT (not LA, it’s all very confusing) handled the Wii situation. For the most part, we worked Tween Time together because by the end of the summer we were getting almost 20 kids (In the beginning it was more like 3-5 tweens) doing pretty complex activities and it was hard for one person to manage/answer everyone’s questions/act as an extra pair of hands. Our tween activities varied from games to crafts to food, but all were fun and well received. Our tween age range is 4th-8th grade. Personally, I think 4th is a little young for tween, but the kids who came seemed to develop a rapport with each other over the summer and the 4th graders didn’t seem quite so little to the 7th graders who were coming by the time we got to Iron Chef.
Cake In a Can
Inspired by this blog post, we tried our own cake in a can using chocolate cake mix and this frosting-from-scratch recipe. The kids made the cakes first and while those were baking mixed the frosting. The frosting didn’t turn out too great and the cakes had a hint of tomato flavoring from the tin can’s previous occupants, but the kids didn’t care and ate it like it was the most delicious thing in the world.
Minute to Win It
Minute to Win It was a TV show on a few years ago. Participants have 60 seconds (or 1 minute) to complete each challenge. We assigned the kids points based on whether they completed the challenge or not, or for the more difficult ones, we assigned points based on how many they could complete (like how many pencils they could flip and catch). The winners at the end got some ARCs fresh from ALA and library lanyards. Sadly, I can’t post any of the pictures from our M2WI challenges because the kid’s faces are in all of them, but they loved the games. We played:
- Back Flip: Place a pencil on the top of your hand, flip it in the air and catch it with the same hand. Repeat until you can do 5 at a time.
- Face the cookie: Move a cookie from your forehead into your mouth using nothing but your facial muscles (This was their favorite)
- Candlier: Stack 5 levels of cans, starting with 1 on the bottom and 5 on the top, with a paper place inbetween each level.
- Hut Hut Hike: Bend over and hike toilet paper rolls between your legs and through a hoop (we used a sign stand) about 15 feet away
- Paper Bag Run: Move paperbags of varying sizes from one end of the room to the other using nothing but your mouth.
Bottle Cap Art
Inspired by these two pins:
I had the kids make their own bottle cap art which was one of the easier programs of the summer. I printed out some bottle-cap sized graphics and pictures that the kids could cut out if they wished and provided them with misc. supplies like glitter, small beads, etc. and let them loose. They had the option of making a magnet or keychain and we filled the bottlecaps with ModPodge so that their art could be preserved. Overall, the boys had just as much fun as the girls.
Waffles on a Stick
I got a really cool waffle stick maker on clearance at Target and decided that the tweens might love to use it (aka I needed an excuse to buy the waffle stick maker). We started off by talking about how to read a recipe, how to measure using the tools provided, and how to keep a clean area. Then I threw the ingredients on the table and let them loose in groups of 3. For the most part, everyone followed the recipe closely. There was only 1 group that went rogue and added half a cup of vanilla because they didn’t realize it said MILK. Good thing I bought the cheap stuff and not the expensive vanilla…
Once their batter was all mixed, we poured it onto the waffle maker. We tried to put in sticks before we closed the lid, but the sticks were too big. I didn’t have the small, lollipop sticks, only craft sticks, so after a few unsuccessful tries we dropped the “on a stick” part and just started calling them waffle sticks. I manned the waffle iron because I didn’t want anyone to burn themselves, and let me tell you, that auditorium got HOT. It was the middle of summer, the AC was not up to par, and I was sweating like a dog half way through.
After the sticks came out, the tweens got to decorate/add whatever flavors they wanted. We had peanut butter, jelly, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and frosting. We had a lot of left-overs, so some of the staff even got to try a few sticks (although I assured them that I handled the batter primarily since you know, kids can be a little dirty, even if you encourage them to wash their hands before…)
This is what I imagined our sticks to look like…
And this is what came out…
Ice Cream in a Bag
A super simple activity that kids pre-school and up can do on at least some level. We used this recipe.
I cannot stress enough having LOTS of ice for this program. And towels so that the kids’ hands don’t freeze. We almost ran out of ice and we definitely did not have towels, so there were some difficulties and brushes with hypothermia, but everyone got at least a little bit of ice cream and only one tweens’ ice cream was a total failure that never solidified. They enjoyed the shaking of the bag at first, but got tired about 1/2 way through and wanted us to take over because their arms were tired. By 3/4 of the way they wanted to stop because their hands were frozen. We were nice and helped them out. We didn’t want any complaints of limbs freezing off…
This was the piece de resistance of our Tween SRP program. It took a lot of supplies and man-power, but was well worth it.
First, the kids all made a chef’s hat to buy us some time and make sure the late-comers were arrived so that we only had to explain rules once.
Next, we explained the rules of the game. They would have 30 minutes to create a food creation which would be judged by their peers. They could only use the materials provided for them on the table. Other than that, everything was fair game.
Their creations ranged in edibleness, creativity, and presentation. After the 30 minutes was up, they each got a score sheet and walked around the room judging each other’s creations. After judgment, I sat and added their scores while they ate and played Wii. I was really surprised at how friendly and generous they were during judging. I was also surprised that some of their stuff didn’t taste so bad.
Sadly, I have no idea where the photos I took of this challenge are — I think I *thought* I sent them to myself and then deleted them from my phone. BUT! One of my colleagues did a similar program/set-up at her branch, so you can look at her photos here