TPiB: The Great Ornament Hack
Every once in a while, I feel like I have a moment of genius (it’s not often). This Teen MakerSpace activity was one of those moments, I hope. I was standing in Michael’s when I saw this big tube of clear plastic ornaments. In the past, I have done the paint inside the ornament craft with my kids, both at the library and at home. But what, I wondered, if I asked them to take it further? Thus was born The Great Ornament Hack.
The challenge is simple: Use ANYTHING (Except Legos!) in the Teen MakerSpace to make your ornament how ever you would like. Everything includes both traditional craft and tech elements.
For example, one teen was working on hacking the cap of his ornament to add an LED light so that it would light up.
We are giving teens about 4 weeks to make their ornaments. Each ornament is being given a number and hung from our ceiling. Beginning December 5th, teens will be invited to vote for their favorite ornament. One lucky teen will receive 100 button making pieces – which is a very popular incentive (we also used this as one of our summer reading prizes).
This is a really open-ended challenge that allows teens to create whatever they want to represent themselves. It can be holiday or non-holiday themed. It can be personal or a gift. The possibilities are limitless and the creativity has been off the charts and exciting to see.
The response to this has been overwhelmingly positive. In the first two days alone we had about 15 ornaments created.
As I have mentioned, in addition to having our regularly opened space and standard stations, we like to have temporary stations to keep it fresh and interesting. This challenge has proven to do exactly that.
To find out more about the Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, start here:
Small Tech, Big Impact: Designing My Maker Space at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) (School Library Journal article, February 2016)
1 Year Later, What I’ve Learned (School Library Journal article, November 2016)
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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