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There’s something you need to know about me and The Hunger Games, I love them way too much. There was one time we were discussing the trilogy in my Youth Literature class during library school, that I just freaked out at everyone who didn’t think they were the best thing ever, and realized that I love those books like a rabid mother loves their child.  Which is to say that I wanted my Hunger Games program to be very special.

I searched Pinterest for some ideas for beginning  of program activities (I learned mid way through the summer that it’s a good idea to start the main part of the program later, for the stragglers), and I decided to do some trivia and create Hunger Games names (look at the 15th pic).

But I knew what my main attraction would be from the beginning: the Cornucopia challenge! One of my favorite librarians in the world told me about it while I was still in library school, and I knew from the second she explained this idea to me that I would have to do it ASAP. And that soon as possible moment FINALLY came this summer. This FANTASTIC challenge was created by Gail Huitt please check out the source material here. It’s a brilliant outline, but the posting has NO PICTURES, so I will outline it in it’s entirety here with some photos I took (um… how else could you pin it?).

So the first thing you have to do is create your cornucopia!

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You by no means have to set it up as a pyramid (Suzanne Collins didn’t write it that way…), we just have tubs for inter-branch delivery in my system and I wanted to create something aesthetically pleasing. Surely tables, or a giant cone reminiscent of thanksgiving will do just as well. The supplies that you do need: water, medicine, a hammer, a knife, bread, a bow and arrows, shoes, a blanket, a flashlight, anti-venom, a shield, a sword, rope, crackers, matches, beef jerky, a water container, wire, a slingshot, a sleeping bag, a book about edible plants, a blue trap, a fire starter, band-aides, and a sheet. Now I know what many of you started thinking the moment I listed “a knife,” you obviously should not put out real weaponry, the way I got around giving under agers dangerous tools was to make them out of cardboard (and then painting them).

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There were also odd items like a fire starter and medicine that I didn’t just have laying around in my library. I chose to make labels and put them on jars and boxes. Which gave everything a vintage look, considering that the supplies are supposed to look futuristic (they are capitol made) I don’t think it’s the perfect solution, tell me what you come up with!

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So as soon as you have your cornucopia supplies, and have them set up upon your cornucopia you are ready to play! The way this game works is that you split the youngsters into 2 teams, and then the 2 teams relay to grab one supply at a time until they are all gone. I had teen volunteers as “mentors” to the participants, and gave them a heads up that not everything could be won by cool weapons; so they advised their teens to grab a myriad of things to up their chances. This part of the game was really fun and active, they were so excited about running and grabbing!

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Once they have all their belongings you read the following, I had the mentors be in charge of keeping track of and tallying up their team’s scores so I could mostly pay attention to reading the scenarios dramatically. (Again the Cornucopia challenge IS NOT something I made up, please find my source here)

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Day 1 in the Arena:
You have been told to get water, but you didn’t fight your way into the cornucopia to get it.  Luckily, you found a stream. Five points (each) for having a bottle of water and/or container to carry water it in.
You  had no idea the nights here would be so cold.  Five points if you have a blanket, sleeping bag, sheet  or tarp.
 
Day 2 in the Arena.
You didn’t eat yesterday and now you are starving.  Five points for having a book about edible plants, and 5 points for wire, because you can set a trap.  Also five points for having a bow and arrow, hammer, slingshot, knife or sword.
You have caught a rabbit stuck in the bushes, but you will not eat it raw.  Five points for matches, or a fire starter, and five points for having a knife or sword to cut up the meat.
You kick dirt on top of the fire when you are done cooking, but the smoke alerts the Career Pack, and now they are chasing you through the forest. Five points for having water, because you can make mud to camouflage yourself as you hide in the bushes.
Unfortunately, the bushes have thorns, and you find yourself bleeding all over.  Five points for Band-aids and/or medicine for your wounds.
It seems as if your pursuers will never leave, and they are so close you can hear everything they say.  Suddenly, all of them leave except one.  If you just had a weapon, you could hit him easily.  Five points for a hammer, slingshot, bow and arrow or sword.  You hit him dead on.
 
You decide to run before the group comes back and finds a lifeless body.  You head out into a desert area, where rocks are as sharp as broken glass.  Ten points for having a pair of shoes because you can run faster.  Suddenly, a rattlesnake slithers out in front of you, and you can’t stop running in time.  You step squarely on it, and it turns and bites you… hard.  Fifteen points for anti-venom, which you apply immediately.  You know you have to get somewhere safe immediately, so you crawl into a shallow cave to wait while you hope the anti-venom works.  Ten points for a sleeping bag or blanket to roll yourself up in, to prevent shock.
 
Apparently you have been unconscious for quite a while, but when you wake up you feel better; just unbelievably hungry. You are not strong enough to walk on your own and certainly you can’t hunt.  But you need food fast.  Five points (each) for having bread, crackers, beef strips, or a book about edible plants, because you aren’t sure if the berries you collected earlier are safe to eat or not.
Day 3 in the Arena:
 
You fashion a crutch for yourself out of a tree limb with your tools.  You’re glad you still have your knife or sword (five points for either) to cut the extra branches off.  Your foot is too swollen for your shoe, but you tear up the sheet (five points) and tie the strips over your foot to protect it as you move to a better cave.
However, you are not the only one to choose this cave!  You are shocked to discover there is a family of wolves here also, and the mother wolf is going to fiercely protect her pups.  You grab your shield to fend off her attacks (five points) then grab your hammer, sword or knife (ten points for any of those).  You are fast with a weapon, and the wolf is now lying, bleeding, at your feet.  Quickly, you use your knife or sword (five points each) to cut the meat into strips.  You use your fire starter or matches (ten points each) to build a fire out of the nearby brush, and you roast the meat to save for later.  However, you know the smell of meat will attract more animals.  You wrap the meat in a sheet (five points) and suspend it from a tree with part of your rope (five points) to keep it protected from carnivores.
 
Your water bottle is dry so you must set off again in search of water.  Your foot is not so swollen now, so you put on your shoes (5 points) to head back outside in search of water.  As you go, the desert gives way to rolling hills and thorny brush.  You are so glad you have shoes (5 points again!).  Suddenly, you hear geese overhead, and you draw your bow and arrow (5 points) to try to shoot one down.  An excellent shot, you have just added some food and juicy meat to your supply.  You take the other part of your rope (5 points) and tie the goose to your waist so you can eat it later.
Higher up you go into the hills, and the weather gets colder.  You reach for your blanket ( 5 points) to put around your shoulders.  It starts to rain.  You use your shield to gather rainwater (5 points), then pour it into your empty container (5 points) while keeping your body dry by using the tarp (5 points) as a raincoat.
You hear the sound of the Career pack again, and you know you have to hide, quick!  But in climbing a tree, you scrape skin off your knees so you are bleeding heavily.  Five points for medicine that will prevent an infection, and/or for band-aids that will keep the wound clean.  Unfortunately, your blue tarp gives you away.  (Deduct 15 points!) The group of vicious players has spotted you in the tree, but you are quicker than they are.  You throw down your hammer (5 points) to knock one of them out. Your slingshot is no use, because you have no rocks, but your bow and arrow is a great weapon.  You have only three arrows, but they all hit their mark and now you are safe. ( 15 points.)
As night falls, you return to your cave.  Your flashlight (5 points) helps you see that there are no animals in there anymore.  You make a fire with your fire-starter or matches (five points for either) for warmth and cooking, and you roast the goose you shot earlier.  After your supper, you add the meat to your sheet-bag (5 points), and go to sleep thankful that your goose has been cooked.

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Upon ending day 3 you have the contestants tally up their scores, and see who wins! I had made a bunch of Hunger Games swag; I had printed and given tassels to these bookmarks and had made mockingjay buttons, but I wanted ALL the teens to get cool stuff if they wanted, not just the winners (I’m not the capitol after all!). So one of my co-workers (another HG lover) came up with a brilliant plan for our winner’s prize: food from a sponsor!

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So the winners of my cornucopia challenge got the nourishment they needed to live to see another day in the arena! And everyone got cool Hunger Games prizes!