Virtual Programming for Teens

Kids, now more than ever, are learning newer and better ways to interact in a digital age now that it is mixed with safer-at-home orders.  How will you keep up with them so you don’t lose that connection that many of you have worked hard to create over the years?  Keep up with them!  Learn how with these 16 top ways you can connect with your youth, even in such
self-isolating times!

1)   Digital Escape Rooms

See what the Boston Public Library and the Peters Township Public Library are doing to host virtual escape rooms for teens.

2)   Online Gaming Tournament

Long Island Legends Flag Football League | Long Island, New York

While we can’t meet in person at the moment, there are endless possibilities to get together virtually, from virtual Smash Bros. Tournament with Nintendo Switch to chess matches, poetry to duct tape crafts, knitting to digital meditation, even cupcake experiments to body percussion classes, you are bound to find something that suits your interests in our various virtual programs.

3)   Find a Project That You Can Do Together via Zoom

Instructables is a community for people who like to make things.  Come explore, share, and make your next project with us!  There are numerous projects that you can do virtually with your teen groups.

4)   Participate in First Chapter Fridays

First Chapter Friday: A Cowboy to Come Home To - Barbara Wallace ...

Here is what one library is doing during this time to get teens involved in reading via Zoom.

Checkout previous first chapters that have been used and sign up to have a first chapter sent to your inbox every month.

Here are resources (cost) that you can purchase or replicate to create doodle pages for kids to doodle while they listen to the chapter.

5)   Read-A-Loud Books for Older Kids

A great list of 30 read-a-loud books for tweens and teens.  You could read a chapter a week over the course of the summer to keep kids coming back for more!

I SPY games for kids 2 - YouTube

6)   Play I Spy! In Community Windows

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Here are 5 virtual programming ideas you can do right now during this pandemic, including playing everyone’s favorite game, I SPY! 

7)   Compete in a Virtual Poetry Slam

Looking for fun activities to explore the art of poetry and use it to support language learning?  Try these simple and fun activities.

Wanting to combine a virtual slam while helping out the community? See how this one community came together to raise money for healthcare workers.

Stop Motion Animation | scholar-athelite

8)   Create Stop Motion Animation Movies

Have you ever made a short film of your own?  Don’t think you have the skills to teach it to teens?  This article offers a great basic overview of what stop motion animation is, the benefits of it, and many options to help kids create their own movie in no time!

9)  Host a Virtual Book Tournament

Host your very own Virtual Book Tournament using tips listed here.  Erin walks you through how to decide on the book choices, how to set up the brackets, and how to make voting easy.  Try a twist by hosting your tournament using a specific theme.

10)   Offer “So You Want to Be An Adult” Courses

Here are 16 tips to help you be better at 'adulting'

Meaningful life skills programming for teens is not a new concept, by any means.  A few great libraries have also adopted the idea of teaching teens things that don’t quite make the school curriculum.  Changing a tire, applying for a job, even cooking a healthy meal, are all topics that can be daunting for a young person who has never had the opportunity to try them out. 

11)   Provide a Photography Course

Stuck at home?  Need something fun and creative to do with the kids?  Try one of these photo project ideas for kids and teens who love taking pictures!  Photography is a terrific outlet to lessen anxiety, process difficult emotions, and find a bit of joy each and every day.

12)   Host a Game Night….Casino Royale, Anyone?

How to Make A Book Trailer
Okay, so maybe you can’t host a “Casino” night, but what about a virtual game night?  Granted, not all on these lists are age-appropriate for teenagers so you would need to do your research but there are plenty of options to choose from. You could keep it as simple as teaching kids various card games or as technical as purchasing an online game.

13)   Make a Book Trailer

Do you want to tie reading with technology?  Need a fun way to engage teens this summer when you can’t meet together?  Have teens make their own book trailer based on their favorite book!  This will not only get your teens involved but will open the door for so many discussions like the author’s purpose, story elements, what makes a great cliff hanger, etc. 

Plainfield Public Library Virtual Teen Art Show

14)   Host a Virtual Teen Art Show

Kick your career into high gear with 'Career Class' - Emmaus ...
Many libraries are hosting a Virtual Teen Art Show via their Instagram account.  Most teens have been creating while they are home so why not give them a way to put their art on display and share it with others!  Don’t have Instagram? Try it on your Facebook or web page.

15)   Career Day @ Your Library – Virtually

Invite local guest speakers, either all on one day or weekly, to talk about what they do, how much education they had to get, what kind of wage range that job typically has, and why they love doing what they do.  A few speaking careers could be fireman, police officer, nurse, doctor, mayor, small business owner, hair dresser, etc.

16)   Interact With Teens Via Social Media

How do you get (or keep) teens involved in programming right now? This article offers several ideas to try during this challenging time. With social media and the internet more widespread than ever, now is the perfect time to try virtual programming such as joining in the Flip the Switch challenge.  What is that? Do your research into what teens are finding fun!

Great Teen Programming Ideas for When Libraries are Operational Again:

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