Passive Activities for Teens

This entry is submitted by Jennifer Rapier from The Moreno Valley Public Library. Puzzles created by Christy Whorl.

Passive activities can be a great way to keep teens involved in the library or to spark their interest in programs or books.  Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right activity that succeeds with your teens, but anything that catches their interest and lets them have a voice typically works.

Some popular passive activities tried at the Moreno Valley Public Library have been:

  • Summer Reading activity book (filled with word searches, puzzles, trivia, etc) where teens get a prize for completing.
  • During the Summer Reading You Are Here theme, there was a map and a sign saying: You are here, where would you rather be?  Then teens marked on the map where they would like to be/go.
  • The Candy Guessing Game, where patrons match up parts of candy bars (wrapped in cellophane) with their name.
  • Puzzle This activity where teens solve jigsaw puzzles of book covers and then guess the name of the title.

Puzzle This!

The most popular game has been the Puzzle This game. This fun passive activity can be placed in your teen area. It is a great way to introduce new titles, have them guess favorites, or start a competition.

The game consists of putting up puzzles and letting the teens solve them. The puzzles are made from covers of YA novels with the title missing so the teens can guess the book after they solve the puzzle.

Below are the steps to making the puzzle:

  1. Find interesting covers of novels. I found most of my covers from Google Images. I also looked for images that were around 8 ½” by 6 ½”.
  2. Use a photoshop program to enlarge or shrink the image, if needed (i.e. Windows Paint).  Also, alter the image to cut out, blur, or erase the title and/or author.
  3. Print out photo and glue onto cardstock (or just print directly onto cardstock). Cut off any excess paper.
  4. Turn the cover into a puzzle by cutting it out into jigsaw pieces or other puzzle designs. It helps to draw the design on the back before cutting it.
  5. Glue magnets onto the back of the puzzle pieces. Alternately, print out the cover on magnetic paper or attach the pieces to Velcro or other materials.

Playing the game:

  1. Put your puzzle pieces in your teen area on a magnetic place such as a whiteboard or metal bookcase (or for Velcro, an area that supports Velcro).  Put several titles out at a time for a challenge.
  2. Rotate pieces as needed. The Moreno Valley Library typically rotates them bi-weekly.
  3. Teens can then put the puzzles together and guess the name of the book. The Moreno Valley Library puts the answers on the library’s Twitter and Facebook account.

Hope this blog post gave you some passive programming ideas. Have fun finding and using various passive activities and games at your library!

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