Teen Program in a Box: Send Them Back to School with Style
Most of your teen patrons are now counting down the days they have left of summer. And spending copious amounts of money on back to school clothes and school supplies. Make sure you make the library one of their stops as you help them “Rock Your Locker”.
Lockers don’t have to be boring and drab cubicles of steel. They can be an expression of self. There are whole industries selling accessories to help teens spice up their lockers. Locker Lookz is just one of them.
You can help teens create their own looks (after all, even with a wide variety of kits available, there are still only so many choices) and express themselves with a variety of fun activities. All you need is to get together some fun materials and a ton (and I do mean a ton) of magnetic backings (both circles and tapes).
Basically, look at all your leftover craft supplies. If it is flat and you can add a magnet, then it can be a locker craft.
Collect old Altoid tins (or any closeable tin). Teens can paint them and decorate them with stickers. Put strong magnetic backs on and voila – you have a customized locker storage bin for notes, candies, and more.
You can make marble magnets or bottle cap magnets. You can even take fake flowers and make them into magnets. Each one is an opportunity for a teen to express themselves and make a locker with unique style.
For marble magnets, purchase clear, flat crafting stones at a local craft store. Have a variety of scrapbook papers and old magazines available. And use a strong but clear drying craft glue. Teens will trace the stone on their image and cut it out. Using the clear drying glue, glue the image to the flat side of the stone so they can see the image through the stone. Then, glue a cardboard back onto the image. Then glue on a magnetic circle. Give it time to dry and then you have customized magnets for your locker.
For bottle cap magnets, collect a variety of bottle caps (or you can cheat and buy a kit). You can glue an image or place stickers in the bottle caps. Then fill with Amazing Goop clear drying acrylic and place a magnet on the back.
You can make your own magnetic poetry using word stickers and a roll of magnet tape. You can also cut words out of magazines.
Teens can also make their own mini message boards or note pads to place in their lockers. You can make message boards by decorating cork board tiles. Or, decorate dry erase boards. You can make a French style memo board using a strong piece of cardboard, a scrap piece of material, and ribbons.
Don’t forget to include some picture frame fun. You can take foam frames (or cardboard ones) and allow teens to decorate them. Put magnets on the underside and they can hang them up in their lockers to frame their favorite pics or posters.
Anyway you can make a picture frame that doesn’t involve glass – craft sticks, foam, cardboard, etc. – can be used to make a locker picture frame.
Locker Wall Paper
Ask a local design store or somewhere like Lowe’s or Home Depot if they will donate some wallpaper or wallpaper scraps. Teens can cut strips of the wall paper and use the magnets to hold it in place and decorate the inside of their lockers. If your budget allows you can purchase some.
My Initials Are . . .
Teens everywhere are decorating with their initials. You can buy pads of initial paper and allow teens to decorate them and laminate. Add some magnets and voila . . . An Ellison machine would help you accomplish this, too.
Pull out your leftover cord and beads and make a locker charm. Teens can hang them vertical or horizontally in their locker to create some locker bling. You can also string acrylic beads and make mini chandeliers.
Other things you can do . . .
Make word bubbles for teens to place on their locker describing their mood. This can be accomplished by designing a bunch of fun words on the computer and printing them. Cut out, laminate and add a magnet. Then, make a background that says today I am feeling . . . Each day the teen can pick the word that described their day. Or make a variety of smiley faces that express their mood.
Make photo collages
Make disco balls out of old cds and hang them from the top of your locker. Simply bust up the old cds and glue them to a small foam craft ball.
And here’s a tip for next year: Go to the stores in late September and pick up a bunch of the clearance materials out there and save them for your program next year.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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