2.4 Kick Off or Warm Ups

Warm up activities can help participants get started with “thinking like a designer”. Here are a few warm-up techniques to consider:

  • Have your participants pair up and interview each other. Using information from interviews with each other, each participant will design something that represents the other person.
  • Provide your participants with a Question of the Day connected with the session. Have each participant respond to it.
  • Show participants a Picture of the Day that may be representative of the session’s content. Ask participants to respond to the image and what it means to them.

Here are a few more tips on leading a design experience from youth librarians around the U.S. :

  • Lead with empathy. “Janet”, a youth librarian at a rural Midwestern library offers the advice of respecting teens unique insight in the process of figuring things out. She feels that teens really appreciate a partnership approach in the design process. She says: “… if you respect that they have something to say and just listen to what they have to say. I think they enjoy that.”
  • Balance flexibility and guidance. “Paul”, who works at Southern, urban library, feels it’s a challenge to balance enough direction and openness in a design experience. He says that design sessions that offer too much flexibility “…may be something that’s not sustainable.” His advice is to begin designing with young people by walking them through the process first.
  • Remain open to failure (and messiness!). “Samantha”, a youth librarian at an urban, Eastern library aims to let teens to feel comfortable enough to explore and “get messy”. She provides opportunities for teens to “fail in their experiments and then build on that to succeed later.”