With the school year finally complete, thoughts of summer activities for the older kids, in particular the tween and teen set, are on the minds of parents and caregivers alike. There are plenty of programs available for younger children but those in the double digit years may feel left out of the mix. But not at the Neptune Public Library where this summer there are several scheduled activities for kids in sixth through twelfth grades. The list includes Tie Dyeing, Soap Making, a Super Hero Design course, and DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Bath Bombs, all of which are free programs.
Amanda LeMay, Reference Librarian intern at the Neptune Library, who is also the Tween and Teen Program Coordinator, said that when she started working at the library she “noticed that a lot of tweens and teens were coming to the library to use the computer and check out books.”
“So I thought it would be a good idea to get them even more involved in the library and do programs that cater just to them. At my old job, I used to help with tween/teen programs and they were a big success so I wanted to take those ideas and implement them in Neptune. So far the response has been very positive,” LeMay said.
The first tween and teen program, Tie Dyeing, took place on July 2 and the response was extremely positive with a wait list for the activity. Kids were able to bring two items to tie dye and they learned different dyeing techniques that made different designs on the items they brought with them.
The second program is the Soap Making event with professional soap maker La Shonda Tyree, “the Handmade Soap Coach.” Tyree, who is from Paterson, New Jersey, has been making handmade soap since 2001 and has her own beauty and skin care company. The hands-on class is a start to the world of soap making where kids can produce artistic and novelty soap with natural melt and pour soap base.
“Kids will learn how to make different soaps to take home or give away as gifts. They can unleash their creativity by customizing soaps with color, fragrance, and other additives. We are very excited to have La Shonda come to the library,” LeMay said.
This event, set for Tuesday, July 14, from 3 to 4:30 pm, will take place in meeting room No. 2 upstairs in the children’s department. Pre-registration is required.
There has also been an additional program added to the schedule, LeMay said. Mina Sanwald, a published anime artist, will be coming to the library on July 16 from 2pm to 3pm to teach a Super Hero Design course. Pre-registration is required for this program as well.
The fourth tween and teen event is the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Bath Bombs set for Thursday, August 13 from 6 to 7 p.m. The program will show kids how to make their own personal bath bombs. The event will take place in meeting room No. 2 in the children’s department.
“Bath bombs are becoming more and more popular so we thought it would be fun to make a program out of it. Our library assistant, Kelly Taylor,has been helping me with the programs as well. You put the bath bombs in your bath tub. They fizz and turn the water different colors and release soothing fragrances and moisturizers. During this event kids will be able to make two different bath bombs and take them home,” she said.
LeMay said she is hopeful all of the programs will get tweens and teens more involved in the library and give them exciting programs to do during the summer months.
“I tried to put myself in a teen and tween perspective and see what I would be interested in doing if I was their age. So far there seems to be a good response to the programs. The kids and their parents seem to be excited for what we are offering this summer,” she continued.
She added, “I think it is a little difficult to get tweens and teens to come to the library which is why I wanted to try and put on programs that are fun and appealing to this age group. I wanted to do programs that they would be really excited to try and would be hands on and where they could use their imagination.”
LeMay said what she finds most appealing about this age group is their different personalities and different opinions.
“Every kid is so different and having programs that let them express their unique ideas is really fun to watch and be a part of,” she added.
LeMay said she and library assistant, Kelly Taylor, are currently working on ideas for the fall season. They are hoping to do one tween and teen program a month. The library website, Facebook and Instagram can be checked for upcoming events.
LeMay stressed that all programs are free but that pre-registration is required due to limited space. Call the Neptune Library at 732-775-8241 for more details.