What Dreams Are Made of…?

By Deban Becker

(Adapted from “Find Your Future” and “In Your Dreams” in Teen Programs with Punch: A Month-by-Month Guide by Valerie A. Ott.)

Length of Program

One hour or more

Program Description

Whether awake or asleep, every teen has dreams! Design this program to be as figurative or as literal as desired. Help teens decipher dreams and allow the explanations of their subconscious thoughts to bleed over into truths about their real lives. Alternatively, discuss what teens dream about for their future in a practical sense as they contemplate life after high school or college and their career goals. Inspire teens to find and discuss what they love to do. As a result, the teens can realize that the dreams they have for themselves are within their grasp and the future can be what they make of it!

Developmental Needs and Assets

The topic, What Dreams are Made of…, can be a very empowering program for teens. Teens can experience planning and decision-making as they learn about what might interest them in their future goals and career. By analyzing their dreams, a teen can become secure and acquire a positive identity in which he or she feels they have personal power and control over the circumstances they encounter in their life. Overall, teens can gain an optimistic outlook on their personal future and a sense of purpose for themselves.

Books to Display

American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China by Matthew Polly.

Chill: Stress-Reducing Techniques for a More Balanced, Peaceful You by Deborah Reber.

Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges by Loren Pope.

The Dream Encyclopedia by James R. Lewis.

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2009: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard Nelson Bolles.

Books to Share or Booktalk

Dreamhunter: Book 1 of Dreamhunter Duet by Elizabeth Knox.

Dreamquake: Book 2 of Dreamhunter Duet by Elizabeth Knox.

Fade by Lisa McMann.

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye.

Wake by Lisa McMann.

Bulletin Board

Cover the bulletin board with a blue or black background. Add cut-out paper clouds or clouds created from cotton balls. In the clouds, write dream-related words to advertise the program. Use a thesaurus, but words could include “chimera,” “fancy,” “ambition”, and “trance.”


Provide snacks that are light, fluffy, and “dream-like”. Serve “cloud-like” cotton candy and make orange dream punch using the recipe from AllRecipes.com, http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Orange-Dream-Punch/Detail.aspxl. Make and serve Chocolate Coconut Dream Bars using the recipe from Recipe Zaar, www.recipezaar.com/Chocolate-Coconut-Dream-Bars-28807. Alternatively, invite the teens to make their own orange dreamsicle delight using the simple recipe from Spark People, http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=379727.


Set up one or more of these craft projects in stations as part of the program. Allow the teens to express their dreams and goals for the future through art.

Dream Pillows

Directions to make a simple, comfy dream pillow are available from Craftbits at http://www.craftbits.com/viewProject.do?projectID=177. Have fabric markers available for the teens to use if they want to write dream-related words on their pillows.

Dream Catchers

Dream catchers are a popular craft associated with Native American Indians. Legend states that the center of the dream catcher’s web will filter the dreams, only allowing good dreams to enter a person's mind. Bad dreams are caught in the web and dissipate in the morning. Teens with a recurring “bad” dream may be interested in making this craft. For instructions on making a dream catcher, go to KidzWorld, http://www.kidzworld.com/article/6855-make-your-own-dreamcatcher. Alternately, purchase pre-made materials to make a dream catcher from Oriental Trading Company http://www.orientaltrading.com.

Dream Journals

Dream journals can be used to write down and hold the dreams and goals a teen has for their future or the dreams they have while they sleep. There are a variety of ways to create a “dream journal”. Crafty teens can try creating a painted art dream journal to record their dreams, desires, and thoughts using the instructions from Creativity Portal, http://kids.creativity-portal.com/d/projects/dream.journal/, or make a tea stained dream journal using the directions from eHow, http://www.ehow.com/how_4514755_make-tea-stained-dream-journal.html. If a teen wants to analyze their own dreams they may want to start a dream journal to keep near their bedside so they do not forget them after they wake up. If teens need help getting started on their dream journals, they can go to eHow, http://www.ehow.com/how_4681412_start-dream-journal.html for suggestions. Step-by-by instructions on keeping a dream journal are also available from Instructables, http://www.instructables.com/id/Dream_Journal/.

Dream Skirt

Girls can make a simple, cute skirt by reconstructing a pillowcase into a dream skirt. Pillowcases come in all kinds of colors/patterns and since they are already hemmed and stitched up on both sides, teen girls will only need to construct a waistband. Gather pillowcases prior to the start of the program or ask teens to bring one from home. For simple step by step visual instructions, check out DIYFashion, http://diyfashion.about.com/od/diyskirts/ss/Pillowcase_Skir.htm or D.I.Y. Girl: The Real Girl's Guide to Making Everything From Lip Gloss To Lamps by Jennifer Bonnell.

Marble Magnets

(Adapted from D.I.Y. Girl: The Real Girl's Guide to Making Everything From Lip Gloss To Lamps by Jennifer Bonnell.)

The round glass marbles used in gardens or vases are great for magnifying mini-images and making them into classy looking magnets.

Photograph of clear, flat floral marbles

In advance, purchase clear, flat floral marbles. These are inexpensive and can be found in the gardening section of a dollar store. Gather old magazines, comic books, and catalogs to recycle into sources of images for the marbles.

Photograph - various magazines stacked on top of each other

Use a clear drying glue to affix the image to the bottom of the marble. Add a piece of magnetic strip to the bottom. To turn a set of these marble magnets into a gift, recycle and decoupage an Altoid’s Mints tin or other metal tin. Place six to eight marble magnets into the tin.

Altoid container, with flat marbles decorated with photos cut out from magazines and glued to the bottom of each one.

Photograph - Empty altoid container and three decorated flat marbles

For a printable one-page detailed instruction sheet for this craft, go to the web site for The Hipster Librarian's Guide to Teen Craft Projects by Tina Coleman and Peggie Llanes at http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/publishing/editions/webextras/coleman09713/


Games and Activities

Future Quest

To teens, the future after high school may seem full of endless, exciting opportunities or uncertainty. Whether it is attending college, working, traveling aboard, or a myriad of other ventures, teens are faced with many choices. This activity can allow teens to hone their futures into a more manageable realm of possibilities. In this program, teens can discern their personality traits to match their futures.

As an icebreaker, have the teens play “Who Am I”? with career titles. Write out career titles on stickers. As the teens arrive, place a sticker on the back of each teen’s shirt. Have them ask the other teens questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no” until they figure out what career they are wearing. Have PayDay and $100 Grand candy bars to give out to all the teens that correctly guess their career title.

For the main focus of this activity, use the reproducible “Career Inventory Worksheet” in the “Find your Future” chapter of Teen Programs with Punch: A Month-by-Month Guide by Valerie A. Ott. The “Career Inventory Worksheet” can be used to help the teens explore what they want in a future career. Use the career and personality quiz websites provided in the bibliography to add a fun element to the activity. If you don’t have a copy of this book, you can see a sample, including this worksheet, through Google Books at http://books.google.com/books?id=dZQ2yU5_v4UC&print sec=frontcover&dq=teen+programs+with+a+punch - v=onepage&q=career%20inventory %20worksheet&f=false.

Dream a Little Dream

Chances are, on more than one occasion, while sleeping every teen has experienced an unusual dream. Dreams are often hard to understand or make no sense at all, yet we are compelled to share them with others.


Make your programming space as comfy as possible. Place beanbag chairs, lounging rockers, blankets, quilts, and pillows around your space. Set the mood by dimming the lights and play new age or soothing music in the background. Decorate a refreshments table with white tulle or a white tablecloth.

After the teens have arrived, introduce the topic of dream analysis. Have a dream dictionary and/or encyclopedia on hand. Explain how many mental health professionals believe there is a link between our daily lives and our dreams. Dreams can mean nothing unless we attach meaning to them in the context of our lives. Make sure to emphasize to the teens that dream analysis is not an exact science but a fun activity of self-exploration.

Research dreams using sites like Dream Doctor, http://www.dreamdoctor.com/, or peruse The Book of Lists for Teens by Sandra and Harry Choron for a list of the most common recurring teen dreams and their meanings. As an icebreaker, share the list with the teens and have them check off any of the “recurring dreams” they have had before and share with the other teens.

For the main focus of the activity, use the reproducible “Dream Recall Worksheet” in the “In Your Dreams” chapter of Teen Programs with Punch: A Month-by-Month Guide by Valerie A. Ott. Use the “Dream Recall Worksheet” to encourage teens to write down the details of their dreams. If you don’t have a copy of this book, you can see a sample, including this worksheet, on Google Books at http://books.google.com/books?id=dZQ2yU5_v4UC&pg=PA28&lpg=PA28&dq=


. Use these suggestions and others to create your own worksheet. Use a dream dictionary or one of the dream websites provided in the bibliography to help ascertain the teen’s dreams. If teens are willing, allow them to share their findings with others. If time allows, invite the teens to try one of the “dream-related” crafts listed below.

Guest Speakers

Invite a psychologist to talk about dreams and their meanings. Invite a college advisor or career counselor to talk about career goals.


Show these videos and DVDs or segments of them if you have public performance rights. Otherwise, display them for home use.

Bend It Like Beckham. (112 minutes)

The Pursuit of Happyness. (117 minutes)

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. (88 minutes)

Web Sites

Careerlink Inventory


This site uses a person’s interests, aptitudes, and personality traits to help them in their career search.

Dream Dictionary


This site, hosted by Glamour, includes tools that can be used to analyze and interpret the meaning of dreams.

Free Enneagram Personality Test


This site features a free, on-line personality assessment.

Go To College – Career Quiz


This site features a simple, ten question quiz to help teens decide on a career choice.

Goals For the Future – Dream Journal


Sponsored by Seventeen, this site offers an on-line dream journal featuring a slideshow of reader’s dreams, thoughts, and feelings.

Mapping your Future


This site features information from a national collaborative and nonprofit organization that provides career, college, financial aid, and financial literacy services for students and their families.

My Jellybean


The quiz section of this teen site includes a number of personality traits to consider.

Quiz Rocket


This quiz site includes a number of personality quizzes, including one to help teens determine which “Twilight” character they are most like.

Teen Business Link


This site, sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, offers advice for teens who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

Texas Teens Read 2010! Programming Manual / Within Arms Reach: The Future is Yours!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 10, 2011