Yesterday I shared ideas to incorporate Star Wars into programming from January through May in ways that you may not have though of- definitely more than May 4th and 5th (May the 4th Be With You and Revenge of the 5th respectively). Today I want to focus on the summer months: June, July and August.
For those working in public libraries, the summer months are when they are inundated with tweens and teens. They’re looking for volunteer opportunities, things to do, and things to read. They’re also looking for a place to be and belong, and what better place to be than your library? This year, likely due to the Summer Olympics being held this summer in Rio, both the Collaborative Summer Reading Program and the iRead program (the two major reading programs within the US) are running sports themes for their summer reading programs. CSRP is using On Your Mark, Get Set, Read! while iRead is using Read for the Win!
Whether you’re using the CSRP theme, the iRead theme, or your own, there’s no reason why you can’t pull in Star Wars into a program or three throughout the summer.
If you want to tie in Star Wars into the prepackaged theming of the large summer reading programs, all it takes is a bit of pre-planning and a bit of imagination. Taking apart the pieces of the Force itself, as well as the physical and mental aspects of Jedi, Sith, and smugglers, will yield a ton of options for you. Check out some ideas below the jump.
Within the Star Wars universe there are basically three main circles: the Jedi/Alliance, the Sith/Empire, and the Smugglers. Using those three categories of characters, you can create a huge class of programs weaving the themes of Star Wars in and around your summer.
Jedi Training: Going with the athletic theme, hold a Jedi training academy afternoon. Set up stations with a pamphlet or paper that can be stamped or stickered when each station has been mastered. Use a large programming room, the teen room/area, or even the library, and supply it with equipment you may already have or things that can be sourced from patrons or staff, such as hula hoops, string, duct tape and masking tape. Stations can include things such as:
- Endurance training: get a stuffed animal or 10 (a la Luke running with Yoda on his back in The Empire Strikes Back) and have participants navigate a balance beam or a straight tape line with ever-increasing numbers of animals on them until they falter.
- Force Training: Hang obstacles at various heights from the ceiling (lanterns or other space decorations found at party supply stores or online) then blindfold participants and spin them around twice. Let them go and have them navigate their way using the force, like Luke in A New Hope.
- Balance Training: Set up a yoga station with pictures of different yoga poses. Participants would have to master at least three poses to show their Jedi Mastery.
- Speed Training: Set up a course using hula hoops or tapes shapes on the floor and have participants race back and forth through the course to master their speed.
- Declare a Side: Set up a station with buttons or temporary tattoos and have them declare either the Light or Dark side at the end of their training.
Food Ideas: The easiest things are always the unhealthy things (cheese poofs, candy, etc.), but there are always ways to make things healthier.
- BB8 oranges
- Death Star and Endor Grapes
- Darth Cheddar Crackers
- Stormtrooper Marshmallows
- Ewok Graham Crackers
- Han Jello
SELF DIRECTED PROGRAMS
Storm Trooper Testing
- Have You Seen These Droids?: The huge jokes are that troopers can’t find droids, or hit anything they aim for. Have your tweens and teens improve their memory by hiding laminated droids around the library one day, and keep the map at the desk at the library. They get a set amount of time to look at the map, then have to remember where all the locations of the Droids and find them all before a set amount of time.
- Accuracy Testing: Set up a craft station one day, and fill it with your odds and ends. Have teens create whatever they want but require them to include a specific something. Those that remember to include that something win a small prize like a piece of candy or an eraser.
- Promotion Test: Create a trivia quiz for tweens and teens with progressively increasing difficulty. Start with easy questions (such as “who played Princess Leia?”), and work up to the insanely difficult. Each level of questions they get right gets them a promotion from Field Trooper all the way to Empire Royal Guard.
- Shadow Guessing: Create silhouettes of the famous and not so famous characters within the Star Wars universe, and post them on a display or a bulletin board with numbers next to them. Give participants a numbered paper and have them guess which head belongs to which character. At the end of the month, figure out how many got them all right then pick a random one to win.
- Rogue Movie Marathon: Han, Lando, and Poe are classic rogue characters, and there is nothing better than a movie marathon. Think about having a Rogues Gallery Marathon, or even a repeating movie night. Movies such as The Princess Bride, Romancing the Stone, Tangled, The Saint, The Mummy, and others have rogues running rampant and can fill the gap between Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
- Card Nights: One of the best tests of a smuggler is how good their bluff is, and a good way to build that up is to play cards. Put together a playing card program, teaching tweens and teens the rules of card games such as pinochle, poker, hearts, and other such games that they may not know about.
- Low Tech Afternoons: Bring out the board games! Highlight the winning aspect of the summer reading themes without the athletic arena by bringing out board games. Monopoly, Battleship, Chess, Sequence, and others not only get tweens and teens to build their social and intercommunication aspects but their wiles and wits as well. Especially with Monopoly and Uno, you can create smuggler rules to create alliances and trade rules to make things more interesting.
- Flag Day: Have tweens and teens choose their side and create their own insignia for their legions or knights. Take a look at the 501st and other badges for inspiration.
- National Fruit and Vegetable Month: Celebrate by showing off the healthy side of snacks with a little help of the Force.
- International Joke Day: Dig out any and every bad Star Wars joke you have ever heard, from Wookies to Yoda and everything in between. Have a contest to come up with the worst one.
- World UFO Day: What better day to have the Empire invade?
- Video Games Day: Bring out all your Star Wars related video games and celebrate!
- Embrace Your Geekness Day: Have a costume contest with your staff and your tweens/teens. Invite geeks from all across the multiverse to appear, not just Star Wars!
- Family Fun Month: join with the youth services/ children’s services section and throw a huge party, especially to celebrate the end of summer reading and the beginning of school!
- Summer Olympics begin
- Bad Poetry Day: have a contest for the worst poem in ode to Star Wars
- Toasted Marshmallow Day: celebrate non-toast-ily by decorating marshmallows in a Star Wars theme