Teen Iron Chef Program

I ran a fun Teen Iron Chef program. The “rules” were simple. Teen had to make three dessert dishes: one using chocolate chip cookies, one using Fruit Loops, and one using skittles. I went to the local dollar store for most of the items. Here is a list of what I bought: sprinkles, frosting (vanilla & chocolate), chocolate chip cookies, fruit loops, animal crackers, gummy worms, M & M’s, skittles, graham crackers, pretzels (sticks and mini), popcorn, fruit slices, white chocolate melters, paper plates, plastic spoons and forks.

I took many photos of their creations.


20160824_151553                     20160824_151604 This was called “Candy Explosion”  20160824_151609 I love this one

20160824_151621        A version of S’mores             20160824_151629

20160824_151648                      20160824_151653                         20160824_151725

20160824_152915 The bears were hanging out by a “fire”  20160824_152941                               20160824_153003 This is Froot Loops “three ways”. The teen lives on the Cooking Channel

20160824_153026 Mini mushrooms!  20160824_153034 (1) A snowman without the snow


20160824_153110                  20160824_153116                        20160824_153140  The teen was aiming for a heart shape

20160824_154350 (1)        Fruit pie deconstructed. The left is the dough for the pie and the right, the filling

20160824_154359 (1) “the sun”        20160824_154326 “Candyland”

20160824_154418 (1)     I love the flower detail with the chocolate              20160824_154431 (1)  These were “frosting balls”           20160824_151634

20160824_151648                      20160824_151653                      20160824_151701

20160824_151725                       20160824_154443 (1)

Can You Escape?

The narrative is that someone library has poisoned their librarian and they have to solve a series of riddles, puzzles and brainteasers that will “unlock” a numerical code so they can get out and administer the antidote. As they solve each one, they’ll receive a number in the sequence and their next puzzle.  The sequence for the antidote is “357442724”

If they happen to find a number randomly and try to hand it to you, it might not be in the correct sequence and they will fail. They can ask for hints but will be penalized by adding minutes to their solve time.



  1. What is it that’s always coming but never arrives? Tomorrow

Prop: Calendar. On tomorrow’s date is written the number “3”.


2. I’m on the tip of your tongue.

I can’t be tasted nor chewed.

I may be noisy, I may be rude

And yet I still may be shrewd.

What am I?   A word

Prop: Dictionary, with number “5” written on inside cover.


3. This is a portable arcade. It’s a hand-held amusement resource with no cartridges or batteries. Access games of speed, dexterity, memory, cunning. Produce magical effects or construct lofty towers. Some games can increase your income.

Answer:   A deck of cards

Prop: 7 of diamonds, spades etc. for number “7”.


4. Prop: Mirror with this backwards clue: when held to mirror, it can be read:

Snoitalutargnocruofsirebmuneht. eulcsdrawkcabehttuoderugifuoY.

(You figured out the backwards clue. The number is four. congratulations)


5. Use the hub puzzle to make words. One of the words will be a clue. Each word must use the hub letter “I”. Examples: Aide, Nice

One of the solutions is “dice”. A pair of dice will be taped down with 3 and 1 showing, so the answer is “4”.


6. If the red house is on the right side and the blue house is on the left side, where’s the white house?

Answer: Washington, DC

Prop: Atlas or book about American government with number “2” inside.


7. Mary’s father has 5 daughters – Nana, Nene, Nini, Nono. What is the fifth daughters name? Answer: Mary

Prop: Butler’s Lives of the Saints or a well known book whose main character is Mary. (I used the picture book Mary Had a Little Lamb)

Inside the book is number “7”.


8. One snowy night, Sherlock Holmes was in his house sitting by a fire. All of a sudden a snowball came crashing through his window, breaking it. Holmes got up and looked out the window just in time to see three neighborhood kids who were brothers run around a corner. Their names were John Crimson, Mark Crimson and Paul Crimson.

The next day Holmes got a note on his door that read “? Crimson. He broke your window.” Which of the three Crimson brothers should Sherlock Holmes question about the incident and why?

The correct answer was: Mark Crimson. “? Crimson” means “Question Mark Crimson”

Prop: Red bean bag with the number 2 attached underneath


9. A man is pushing his car along the road when he comes to a hotel. He shouts, “I’m bankrupt!” Why? He is playing Monopoly.

Prop: Monopoly game with number “4” hidden inside cover.

Materials Needed: calendar, dictionaries, deck of cards, mirror, atlases, mary had a little lamb book, bean bag, monopoly board, dice, stuffed animals, mini traffic cones, anything you can use to hide clues under


I would definitely add more materials to the room. The teens were done in 40 minutes.

Here are some pictures:

20160726_181046 20160726_181041 20160726_181029 20160726_181024 20160726_181018 20160726_181013

Live Action Pac-Man

I found the idea for this on Pinterest of course, but I made some changes. Instead of letting the kids just play, they needed to answer a basic trivia question. If they got it right, they moved two steps if they were a ghost and three steps if they were Pac-Man. I used Painter’s tape to make the course on the floor. When I ran out, I used black electrical tape. We mostly followed the lines on the tiles to judge where to begin or end a section. The kids all loved playing.

20160715_144814 20160715_144821


We had some extra time at the end of the program, so of course, I had to bring the 3 Doodler out. I love playing with new toys as much as possible.

20160715_155113 20160715_160000 20160715_160008



20160715_161129 20160715_161817


As you can see, some kids kept to the theme while others did their own thing.

3 Doodler

I convinced my Director to let us buy five 3 Doodlers to use for programming. If you haven’t heard of these, you can check out the 3Doodler website.

Tips I learned:

When creating, use masking tape or painter’s tape over your template. The plastic doesn’t stick to it

You can use the Doodler for about an hour before it starts overheating and not working perfectly.

Read the manual for troubleshooting. It really comes in handy

Practice with it before doing a program.

Below are three pictures of what was created

This was just playing around with the Doodler and having fun:


A coaster, the template for it can be found on the 3Doodler site


The beginnings of making her name



We didn’t do full out 3D things, but you can. It’s fun to play with!

Passive Program: Post-It Memo Board

I have a group of teens who regularly come to the library, but don’t attend many programs. I decided to bring programs to them. I found this great memo board on  Demco that I asked to be purchased for the library.

Each week, I will post a different question. I created a word document for future question ideas. I attached a pencil to the board and the teens write whatever they want (I check it daly to make sure nothing inappropriate is written on it). Here’s a picture of what it looks like before the teens wrote on it:


Some of the answers have been really fun like Hamilton, hanging out with friends, going to the library, and teen angst.

Passive Reader’s Advisory for Teens

I found this post from Mlissinginaction and had wanted to do something like this for awhile now. I attempted to make my own fortune teller/cootie catcher and failed miserably (I made them a million times as a kid, but I couldn’t get a good template going). So after much searching, I found a great template on Epic Reads. It was the cutest thing, so I knew I had to use it. Instead of titles,  I decided to use genres instead. The genres range from the average (fantasy, science fiction) to more broader topics (novels in poetry form, books that make you cry).

I put it in my teen room and the first day, a few teens already were using them. Here’s a picture.


Full STEAM Ahead: Math

This last part of my five part program was the hardest to plan. I think I changed it at least three times as I was creating.

I saw a great idea for learning about lace value on Differentiation Station Creations and adapted it for the older kids. I created signs with different place values and had a bowl placed next to them. The goal was to toss a bean bag into each of the bowls. We began to create challenges with this game: how far can they throw backwards, with their eyes closed, and from really far away. Of course, there was some general bean bag tossing at each other.




Next to that, on the floor, I had numbers placed on the floor. Using a catapult from the previous program, the children had to catapult a pom-pom to a specific number.



To teach the basics of shapes & geometry, I had them put together a Tangram. In restrospect, I would have chosen a more difficult one as the kids flew through it.




Lastly, we learned about grouping and remainders using Legos. Each child started with 30 Legos (I used Duplos for this one, much to their dismay. I would definitely use Legos next time). They made groups of four and then saw how many Legos were left over. I planned to do this with other groups, but they mainly wanted to play with the Legos. I adapted this from a post i saw on Frugal Fun 4 Boys

They all went home with two extreme dot to dot puzzles which can be found doing a Google search.