The Hunger Games Survival Challenge: Catching Fire

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This is everything you need to run a successful Hunger Games scavenger hunt-type program. My previous program in 2012 was fun; the event I ran for Catching Fire was much better. Fifteen was the perfect number for an hour’s worth of fun, with some easy & some hard challenges for everyone. They don’t even need to have read the books to do anything other than the trivia.

Most of the supplies are listed, but you do need:
– Nerf-style archery set; various styles available on Amazon.com. We shoot at our old Twilight trio stand-ups, but you can easily print out targets.
– Bags of some sort – backpacks are available through Oriental Trading

Basic instructions:
1. Print out the challenges, enough for the number of teams you’ll be having. We’ve divided the teens into 12 teams in the past.
2. Stuff the challenges into envelopes, or simply fold them. I highly suggest at least tucking the origami challenge & the associated paper into an envelope.
3. Number the challenges, staggering so not everyone is at the same challenge at one time. There will still be some overlap, of course, but this definitely helped. Instruct the kids that they MUST do everything as a team, and that they MUST do them in order.
4. Create an arena map of your library with the stations posted. Freehand or Publisher!
4. Place challenges, map, and pencils into the bag, and place them in the center of the starting room (the Cornucopia). Ready, set, go!

If you have any questions, please be sure to let me know! Sometimes what I think is self-explanatory only makes sense in my brain.

Nerdfighter Gathering 2014

TFIOS has come & gone, and it was just fantastic, was it not? My teens are still raving about it. To celebrate the movie’s premiere, we held a Nerdfighter Gathering, and it was so, so much nerdy fun.

What’d we do?
YouTube playlist of a variety of TFIOS stuff & classic Vlogbrother videos
Hanklerfish hot potato; the kids got SO into this it was hilarious. The prize was just a fun size bag of plain M&Ms! I think we did it six times, to A Song about an Anglerfish.
– Book charms!
– TFIOS/Okay bracelets & keychains
– TFIOS cloud t-shirts
– Nerdfighter pins
– Prizes of print outs of various Nerdfighter art
– Pizza! It’s always the answer.
– NO EDGE four-square, which was especially fun because most of them had never even heard of it!
– Pin the Glasses on John Green (you might have seen it on Tumblr. John Green basically made my life by reblogging it to his own Tumblr; aaaaaah.)

To be honest, a lot of this stuff must sound like nonsense if you’re not pretty familiar with Nerdfighteria, but it was basically the highlight of my teen librarian experience. To get to be so nerdy with something I love so dearly was just so great. Here are some more pictures of the event in action!

One choice can transform you…

Here’s a confession for you: I like Tris better than Katniss (That doesn’t mean that I think Divergent is better than Hunger Games, because well, it’s not). And I’m very, very happy that the actor playing Four is only two years younger than me. I really liked Four in Divergent, and I’m quite delighted that I can find him attractive without feeling like a dirty old woman. I guess that’s the price you pay for reading so much teen literature!

But anyways! Are you throwing a party for the premiere of the Divergent film? I am!

When I set about planning this party, I knew that despite the setting of the first novel (and presumably, first movie) I didn’t want this to just be a Dauntless shindig – that kind of goes against the whole point of the books. So I wanted to have something that celebrated each faction, and this is what we have planned:

DAUNTLESS: chocolate cake & tattoos
ERUDITE: book trivia
CANDOR: confession jar
ABNEGATION: canned food drive
AMITY: peace sign bookmarks (in book thong style)

We’ll also create t-shirts (I order them in bulk from Adair so we have them for various programs) using stencils of the factions & the Crayola Airbrush – have you used this yet? It is AMAZING! I don’t understand how it works, but wow. Pretty fantastic, and a definite worthwhile investment for programming. I’m always looking for items I know I’ll use for multiple programs, & this is definitely one of them. We have two now, and I know we’ll get our money’s worth in no time.

We’ll probably also make book charms, because they’re so cheap, easy, & fun for the fans. To make them: print out 1″ images, cut out, glue onto folded paper for the “cover”, then staple 4-5 pages inside. Punch a small hole & loop a jump ring through – voila! Super easy & cheap craft your teens will spend HOURS making. It’s a great “merit badge” for book clubs, too.

So, what do you have planned for your Divergent party?

City of Bones (FINALLY!)

Why finally? Because my teens have into this series for far longer than they’ve been into Hunger Games. They are so, so excited! I know a lot of you are probably working on movie premiere parties, as I am, so I thought I’d share what I’m planning now! 

In case you hadn’t heard yet, the movie was moved to a Wednesday release, so now it’s premiering on August 21st. I always have my programs before the movie to lessen the chance of spoilers, so if you have the same concerns, take action now! 

  • Inspired by these pewter steles, we’ll be making similar ones out of polymer clay. All you have to do is completely coat the plastic, remove the ink before you bake, & you’re good to go! 
  • Henna tattoos of the runes, with official designs available at Cassandra Clare’s site. I’m going to get some temporary tattoo pens as well, for those wary of the henna. 
  • Tarot card readings 
  • Book prizes
  • Soundtrack listening party, sprinkled in with the trailers, as we always do. 
  • Jeopardy-style trivia (traditional at all our programs)
  • Food… honestly, I don’t know. I usually try to tie the food into the story somehow (we had wedding cake for the first Breaking Dawn movie, trail mix & other wilderness-type food for Hunger Games, etc), but so far, I haven’t really found any particular food that’s in the series, other than Jace’s fondness for tea. Anyone have any ideas?

So that’s what we’re planning! What are you doing at your library?

The Hunger Games are coming!

2012-3 hunger games
The Hunger Games Survival Challenge

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I’ve had lots of people asking what I’m planning for my Hunger Games party, & as I think I’ve pretty much got it figured out, I feel that I can finally share! In the past, all my movie premiere parties have been more hangouts with games, crafts, & food, but this is something very different. I’m planning more of a competition-style program, in keeping with the theme of the Hunger Games, & I think that the kids are not only going to have a blast, but they’re going to learn quite a lot, too.

I’ll be splitting the teens into teams of no more than 3, but they’ll have to at least partner up. To start, there will be white drawstring backpacks in the center of the room, & a la the Cornucopia, they’ll have to grab a pack & begin the Hunger Games.

Tucked inside each pack they’ll find ten challenges, as well as their food for the night. As in the book, some packs will have things like apples or trail mix, while others will have crackers or something similar – I suppose what they consider “good” will probably vary from what I think is good, but that’s part of the fun! I’ll also include water bottles & juice boxes.

The challenges are going to vary among the packs, but everyone will have to complete ten of them. I’m hoping to have about 20 challenges to pick & choose from, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

  1. Get picture taken as team (we’ll print these out before the end of the night)
  2. Create team logo/symbol on backpack (which is why they’re white)
  3. Leaf rubbing/tree identification
  4. Plant identification*, ie: you come across these berries! Can you eat them?
  5. Animal track ID*
  6. Reference desk question
  7. Put books in order
  8. Toilet paper unwrap
  9. Dart gun target practice
  10. Archery practice
  11. Bean bag toss (a la corn hole)
  12. Lacing challenge
  13. Knot tying
  14. Ninja stars (Wii game)
  15. Decode message using Navajo
  16. Hunger Games trivia (ten questions)
  17. First Aid

There will be some sort of narrative to go along with the challenges, in the same vein as the plant identification challenge, but I’m still working on that. Some of these will be completed by everyone, but some will just be luck of the draw. Each challenge will be worth ten points, so there will be a total of 100 points possible with a time bonus for the first three to complete the entire game. For anything they choose incorrectly, they’ll lose points, just as they’d be in a rather bad place if they chose to eat poisonous berries.

While we tally up the points, I’ll have a Mockingjay pin craft for them to complete. Should be a fun night!

*There are some cool apps out there for those of you with iPads!

What do you have planned?

BREAKING DAWN…. part one

Now, I’m not a hater – in fact, I quite honestly enjoy the series, & it’s possible I’m among only a few that absolutely loved what Catherine Hardwicke did with the first one. But I can’t imagine I’m alone when I say I’m getting rather tired of this universe. For me, the biggest obstacle is the fact that there’s really very little to play with here – no costume contests, no silly food to recreate, very few universe-specific details. At the previous three parties, we’ve made glitter gel & created jewelry, a la what’s been available at Hot Topic, but I was getting a bit tired of doing that. So, for this movie, we created more of a wedding reception atmosphere, complete with “Save the Date!” wordage on our marketing.

What we did:
» As at all our Twilight parties, we had the soundtrack playing sprinkled with various trailers & tv spots.

» I made a wedding cake, & this was actually the first time I’ve ever decorated a cake like this, so I’m fairly pleased with it. We got the pans from a staff member, & I think the mixes, frosting, & other ingredients were less than $10.

» The guestbook was rather amusing – I think they had fun pretending to be at Bella & Edward’s wedding!

» Our major craft was a dreamcatcher. Oriental Trading has a very nice kit, less than $1 each, that makes quite a nice little dreamcatcher. The reviews over there are a bit unfairly negative, because the truth is, this isn’t something you can do with younger kids, but for teens & older, I think it’s perfect.

» I printed out a bunch of t-shirt ideas I’d seen online, & as we’ve done at all the parties, they were invited to bring along a t-shirt to design for the movie line.

» We always have a Jeopardy-style trivia game with questions taken from the book, & this party was no exception.

» We’ve had the life size standees since the New Moon Party, & I think we’ve had our money’s worth from them. Throughout the week prior to the party they help with advertising, & then everyone fauns over them at the actual party.

» Prizes included a few bookmarks, a donated copy of Breaking Dawn, & some other little vampire tidbits. Bookmarks with dreamcatcher lore, Twilight & New Moon reading maps, & Vampire Kisses READ bookmarks completed the freebie table.

For our next (& with any luck, FINAL!) Twilight party, we’ll be having cupcakes & thinking more along the lines of a baby shower. Of course, it’ll be a vampire baby shower, so darkness & candlelight will still rule the party planning.

That dystopian novel…

I like what I’ve seen so far. My biggest concern with this adaptation is this: How on earth are they going to keep this from being rated R? It’s about children killing children. Being forced to do so by the government. Movies with lesser violence are rated R – even the Twilight movies are rated PG-13, & they’ve got almost nothing. As someone over the age of 17, I don’t personally care if it gets the R rating – but they’ll lose a large chunk of their teen audience. Yeah, every teen librarian in America is going to flock to it, but we don’t exactly number into the millions.

I worry that the intensity of the novel will be watered down, & that would be very, very sad. Dear screenwriters: please don’t do that!!