Video Games Weekly: Pokemon Go and Teen Programming (TPiB)
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Pokemon Go, the newest app that inspires gamers to GO OUTSIDE! Many libraries have already utilized Pokemon Go as social media content, book display inspiration, and promotional material. Instead of focusing on what Pokemon Go is and how to play, this article is going to focus on doing Pokemon Go themed programs for teens.
Short Version of Pokemon Go: Players download the app to their phones, and run around outside trying to catch Pokemon. The app uses Google Maps to trace where players are in the real world, and players can “catch” Pokemon that appear on their screens through augmented reality. It looks like this on their screens:
Resources to learn more about Pokemon Go:
App Review: Pokemon Go, the very basics, safety issues, and Pokemon Go and libraries
Pokemon Go is Catching Us All – In Unexpected Ways
Everything You Wanted to Know About Pokemon Go But Were Too Afraid to Ask
Pokémon GO: What Do Librarians Need To Know?
What librarians have to say about Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go: What do Librarians Need to Know?
Everything Librarians Need to Know about Pokemon Go!
Is Your Library a Pokestop in Pokemon Go?
Teen Programming Ideas
Sort your program attendees into teams: Pokemon Go has three teams that players can join: Mystic, Valor, and Instinct. Each faction honors Pokemon strengths differently, kind of like Hogwarts Houses or factions in Divergent. You can sort your teens in a variety of ways! Have them take a Buzzfeed quiz, make team badges with a button maker, or 3D print badges and have them choose randomly. (P.S. I’m Team Valor. Represent.)
Pokemon Safari: See how many Pokemon the teams can catch around/outside of the library in twenty minutes. Require them to take a photo of the Pokemon that way you can count how many they have caught, and you can always ask to reuse the images for you library’s social media pages.
Pokemon Pictionary Battles: You’ll need two sketch pads or marker boards, markers, a timer, and clues for this activity. The clues are going to be Pokemon! You can use the Pokemon Database to find the weird sounding Pokemon to make the competition more fun/difficult.
Have two teams pick a person who is going to draw (the third team will play the winning team in the next round). Set the clock for two minutes. When you say ‘Go!’, the players begin drawing the Pokemon for their team to guess. The first team to guess first wins!
I have found that not all participants are Pokemon experts. If they don’t know what the Pokemon looks like, you can keep two copies of Pokemon Handbooks on the side and have them use a portion of their time to look it up (literacy skills FTW).
Pokeball Target Practice: You can paint a ping pong ball to look like a Pokeball, and have them practice throwing them at Pokemon/targets. You can also have them paint their own Pokeballs! See here for an example.
One Truth and One Lie: Have you heard all of the outrageous news stories about Pokemon Go? There are so many out there that are unbelievable! Print out headlines on a piece of paper, and pair them with your own fake headlines. Have teens guess which one is real, and which one is fake. You can also print out the real articles and have a teen read them out loud for the group. Some examples are on http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/11/tech/pokemon-go-crazy-events/index.html
Pokemon Theme Song Lip Sync Battle: Do your teens know all of the words to the Pokemon theme song? Have them lip sync a few lines in a lip sync battle! You could also have them do the Pokemon song that names all of the Pokemon in order.
Pokemon Cubees: There are plenty of Pokemon paper crafts online, including cubees. You can find plenty of printable examples here.
Best Named Pokemon Contest: Poke Trainers can rename Pokemon in Pokemon Go. Have teens show off their naming/comedy skills. It can be funny, overly descriptive, or ridiculous!
Make Your Own Pokemon Exquisite Corpse Style: Fold an 11×17 piece of paper into thirds. Put teens into groups of 3. One teen draws a head, one teen draws a body, and the last teen draws the feet. You can have teens create a name for their Pokemon character. Want to take it to the next level? Scan the completed Pokemon in and use your technology to make Pokemon style cards for their characters, including giving them points and special powers. There are some Pokemon card makers and tutorials available online here and here.
STEM Learning Electricity Demonstration: Okay so this one requires some explanation. There are different types of Pokemon such as water, fire, electricity, and plant. Pikachu is an electric Pokemon, so you can easily implement an electricity-themed STEM program. Here is one of my favorites.
STEM Learning Water Demonstration: You can freeze Pokemon figurines in ice cubes and have teens try to figure out which solution will melt the quickest. Here are the instructions.
STEM Plant Pokemon: Plant Pokemon, you can have teens makes seed bombs like this: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Seed-Bomb/
Programming Ideas from Other Librarians (Facebook Groups)
Teen Services Underground
Questions? Comments? Tweet them at me!
By: Alanna Graves
Filed under: Teen Porgramming, Teen Program in a Box, TPIB, Video Games, Video Games Weekly
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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