By Elvira Sanchez Kisser, Woodburn Public Library
Hunger Games for the First Time
Everyone has a first time for everything and for the Woodburn Public Library the Hunger Games Party was their first book-themed party for teens. I had brought up the idea a few times with teens and interest was mild, but this time due to the Mockingjay movie coming up, we hoped it would help in selling the idea. My first response was to do a search to see what activities everyone else had done for their parties through the OYAN blog and Teen librarian Toolbox (http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/tpib-programs). At this time we do not have a Teen Council, so I roped all our teen volunteers together and presented the ideas I found for the party. Many of them said they wanted to structure it more like a game with challenges. We ended up designing a game where teens were sorted into teams and presented with five challenges. The team with the highest score was declared the winner and got to divvy up a bag of chocolates between them.
When the teens arrived, they were randomly assigned a district number using a bingo spinner. They then were given a Hunger Games name tag where they wrote their name and district number.
While all the teens were arriving we set up the room with different practice stations:
- Wild Food Survival Station: Detailed which foods are poisonous and safe
- Knot Tying Station- Instructed how to create 6 different knots
- Make Over Station- Temporary tattoos, face paint, and hair chalk
- Weapon Making Station – Create their own indoor sling shoot (http://pbskids.org/designsquad/build/indoor-slingshot/)
- Shooting Range Station – Practice shooting at Capital and Rebel hanging signs.
To top it off there was pizza and drinks and Catching Fire playing on a large TV.
After everyone had arrived and had a bit of food, we separated the group into even teams. Each team was handed a schedule card and they had to come up with a team name. (The schedule cards had a list of the challenges randomly mixed for each card in order to have multiple challenges going at once in the hopes of a big crowd and a place for their score). Then we began the challenges.
Challenge 1: Cornucopia Trivia: Groups battled for cheat devices to help with the upcoming challenges by answering trivia questions.
Cheats included: bags of marshmallows, flashlights, Avox card, “2 at a time”card; and a spile card.
Challenge 2: Rebel Attack: Each team had one minute to shoot as many Capital signs hidden in the library stacks without hitting any rebel signs. Teens could only shoot from the edges of the stacks and could not retrieve shot marshmallows.
Scoring: Capital sign +5 pts, Rebel sign -5 pts, and bonus President Snow sign (white Capital sign)+10 pts.
Cheats: Bags of marshmallows
The teens liked this challenge so much we gave each team two tries. I will say that the indoor sling shot is not easy to control, so an easier challenge would be to create a grid of the signs and place them on a wall and have teens try and hit as many signs from a certain distance.
Challenge 3: Knot Tying: Teams had to see how many knots they could tie in one minute. Only one team member could try at a time, but other team members could tag them out. The knot instructions were taped on a table with six lines of yarn for knot tying.
Cheats: “2 at a time” card: teams with this card could have two members try at a time.
Scoring: 5 pts per knot tied
This challenge was harder for the groups. Many got frustrated with following the cards, while other teams learned to switch out more often when they got frustrated.
Challenge 4: Food Scavenging: Located in the Children’s Area we scattered bottles of water and standing images of different wild foods. Teams were challenged to find and gather enough safe food for their group within one minute and return to the front of the room. Each member needed to gather at least +20 pts of food and water.
Cheats: Spile card: give all team members 1 water.
Scoring: Safe foods +5 pts; unsafe food -5pts; water +10pts/ -10pts no water.
This was more of a let’s run around the library time and teen had fun trying to find as many food images as possible not really caring about if they were poisonous or not.
Challenge 5: Tunnel Escape: Each team chose a Mentor to guide them through the tunnels using voice commands only in a dark room with a maze taped on the floor. The Mentor can only stand on the edges of the maze during the challenge. All other team members must wear blind folds. The goal is to lead your team through the maze in the shortest possible time.
Cheats: Flashlight card: the Mentor may use a flashlight to see.
Avox card: Teams chose a person to be an Avox, one who can guide without a blindfold but cannot talk.
Scoring: fastest time +10 pts
Next time, I would make a harder maze the, but overall the teens had fun doing this challenge. They also found out that if the Mentor gave bad commands and the Avox didn’t understand them the team could easily be led astray.
Overall the teens attending had a great time. After the winners were announced and the last piece of pizza consumed, the teens helped clean up the remaining rooms. After each challenge I did have the teams reset the challenges for the next team and clean up any mess. The teens that attended had fun and were impressed how everything turned out. The teens that volunteered were inspired and asked when the next meeting was and started making suggestions for another party. I have been watching these teens slowly build a repertoire at each meeting with each other and hope they can eventually be turned into our first teen council.