Saturday, November 2, 2013

Summer Reading Wrap Up 2013

I think enough time has passed that I'm ready to think about this party!

Instead of giving away junk prizes for the teen SRP, I give away grab bags that MOSTLY contain just candy, though some contain little junk prizes and gift cards.  The real prize though, is the invitation to the wrap-up party that every teen who completes the SRP gets.  It's the most expensive part of summer reading for me, and really the most expensive thing I do all year.  This year was my third year in a row of doing the SRP this way.  The first year was just a big party with LASER TAG, the second year had a Hunger Games theme, and this year I went with a circus/carnival theme.  The teens were encouraged to come in costume if they wished, and many did!  My teens are the best teens ever.  I'm including pictures, but since I will only use one where any teens are unidentifiable they are not always the best ones.  You get the idea, though!

Because we have outgrown the laser tag arena (we had it for the HG party, and each kid got to play ONCE for all of about 3 minutes. They loved it, but it costs about $1000 to rent, so I knew I could better spend the money) so this year I decided to rent 3 smaller/cheaper inflatables.  I got:

The Bungee Run:
In this game two kids put on harnesses and race to the end of the lanes, trying to slap their flag down as far as possible before they get pulled back.  Hilarious!

The Wrecking Ball:

They stand on pedestals and try to knock each other off with an inflatable wrecking ball (SO HILARIOUSLY hard just to stand up on the pedestal!)

The Fly Wall:

Pretty sure you've all seen this one before.  Way harder to do than it seems!

In addition to the inflatable games, I had a midway with carnival games.

Are you for real not going to let me rotate that, Blogger?  Well FINE, but I want everyone to know it's your fault.

I bought a bottle toss game and a tic-tac-toe game from Oriental Trading.  They were both way harder than they looked!  I also created a game called "Twilight Toss" where the teens threw suction cup balls at cardboard standups of Jacob and Edward.  They LOVED it, because they HATE Twilight!

When I was looking into renting carnival games (Don't do it!  Around here they were asking about $60 bucks for one evening.  You can make it yourself with a roll of red and white striped tablecloth and cheap stuff, and then you have it forever), I saw a PLINKO board and was immediately smitten.  I looked around the internets to see if I could find instructions to make one. I found them, but it was a little beyond my abilities.  I emailed our amazing facilities guy, and not only was he happy to make me one, he suggested improvements to the plans I sent him.  Mega thanks to Phil!

We plan on using this for all sorts of things at the library.  Can't decide where to go for lunch? LET PLINKO DECIDE!

They won candy and tickets by playing these games.

The tickets were entries into prize drawings. I had some leftover gift cards, and I gave them away this way.  The more they participated in the activities, the more chances they had to win Minecraft accounts and Barnes and Noble/Game Stop cards! It was a great incentive for them to keep playing the games, though they loved them anyway.

I also had a couple of games going upstairs--because I really think it's best to have A LOT going on at an event like this where there will be more than 100 teens in the building.  I bought giant inflatable bowling from OT, and made giant Jenga from the cardboard boxes some of our kid's SRP prizes had come in.

There were also a scavenger hunt, tarot readings, and I had Sing Star and Just Dance set up in our conference rooms.  Because I have a lot of friends who are involved in the circus arts, I hired a few to wander around juggling, making balloon animals, and just generally goofing off to create some atmosphere.  Anthony always had a crowd of girls around him, I can't imagine why!

Around 8PM anyone who wanted played a game of Sardines.   Toward the end of the evening I did the prize drawings, and then sent everyone home!  It was a great success, and I think we had about 140 attend this year.  A smaller crowd than last year (216!), but I think the Hunger Games theme drew in a LOT of teens.  I always want my programs to grow every year, but I'll be honest---I was okay with a smaller crowd!

The party went from 6 (closing time) until 9, and the library was closed to the general public.  I do not allow parents to attend teen events, but I had LOTS of adult volunteers--Staff members and friends of mine.  It all went very smoothly, no problems at all.

I have no idea what I'm going to do next year to top it!