NRL Blog

With no school until May 15, finding things for teens to do can be a struggle. Trying to occupy them can feel impossible at times. Teens speak their own language and are always plugged into the internet and social media sources but may become restless in this time of social distancing and isolation.

If you have big readers, the Library does provide access to eBooks and eAudiobooks through NC Kids Digital, Overdrive, and the Libby app. All students in a Lenoir, Greene, or Jones County school have access with their student ID using the last four digits of the ID as their pin. Access to NC Kids also includes videos. To get started download the Libby App on your mobile device, or visit http://e-inc.overdrive.com or http://nckids.overdrive.com.

For the coding whiz in your life, there are free sites available that have skill sets for all age ranges. Hour of Code (http://hourofcode.com) has different options for popular programs that are familiar to teens such as MineCraft and Star Wars. The hour time limit makes it an easy limited internet time activity. Code Academy (http://codeacademy.com) is more intense and has different options for coding classes. You can learn how to build a website, create video games, or learn SQL. There is also Scratch (http://scratch.mit.edu/), a program that appeals to children of all ages to help them create their own interactive stories, games, and animations.

If internet use is not an option, consider giving teens a journal. Daily prompts will keep their creative mind working and can help with basic writing skills. Make sure to give a criteria such as writing at least one page and using five complete sentences per paragraph. To switch up the idea, use old magazines to create collage or goal boards. A goal board can be pictures or words compiled for steps to complete a goal. Teens may want to create goals for the summer or the next school year.

What about math? This is a perfect time to cover budgeting with teens and the process can easily be made fun. For example, each participant is given their monthly pay to record at the start of the month and then they have to budget in their bills for an entire year. They can be given various options for bills such as “basic cell phone service – no smartphone but cheap service – $25” or “entertainment – 3 visits to the movies a month – $55”, which can teach the valuable lesson on living on a budget. Categories can include groceries, electric, entertainment, health care, and with different options to choose from as well as the ability to change a service at certain times of the year, teens really have to consider what is best for their budget. We have done this activity here to great results, but it can be replicated by anyone who wants to give teens a valuable lesson in how money works.

Teens can still get outside as well as long as they keep a healthy distance from others. Activities like collecting and pressing leaves are ideal for this, and teens can learn how to create their own herbarium at https://www.diynatural.com/diy-herbarium/. Stargazing is another fun outside activity that can be done safely outside. Teens can plan a stargazing session by learning what constellations are currently visible at https://stardate.org/nightsky. Earth Day is also rapidly approaching on April 22; teens can celebrate by planting something in their yard, taking a hike on a nature trail, or just enjoying some quality time in the fresh air.

Now is a good time to think outside of the box when it comes to entertaining teens. Their devices can only pique their interest for so long. Beat the boredom blues with art, journaling, and educational internet options but don’t forget, spending time together can be more valuable than anything else.