Tag Archives: engineering

AtoZ Blogging Challenge – Engineering /Building

5 Apr

building-blocks-1886064_960_720.jpgProgram Name: Block Party

What: This is a fairly simple program to put together as long as you have the supplies available – we’ve offered it as a passive program open for a few hours in the afternoon and I think that works really well with parents. We provide all sorts of building supplies – Legos, Duplos, those oversized cardboard boxes from Kindergarten, small, wooden blocks from our toy area, colorful foam blocks, Keva blocks, basically whatever we have that you can build with in one of our programming rooms and let the kids build. Sometimes we create challenges – who can build the tallest tower, who can use x number of pieces to create a specific shape, but usually we just let them use their creativity to build whatever they want. You can market this as a STEM program and you’ll have plenty of families stop by as they know that buzzword.

Where: We use our storytime room for this event, it’s easier to keep all the building materials contained and to keep kids from wandering off without their parent’s consent. What’s great about this program is that if it’s offered for a couple of hours families can come and go as they need to which allows for the flexibility that some families need to attend programming.

When: We’ve offered this program on days off from school, Saturday afternoons, evenings – whatever works best for your library and community.

Who: This is an easy program to put together as a family event to encourage parents and kids to play together or it can be kid focused for a specific age range. My only caveat to this is to be very careful with young children as small Legos can present choking hazards. What’s also nice about a program like this is that you most likely only need one person overseeing the room – making sure nothing gets too out of hand, but that could be anyone on staff, it doesn’t have to be a specific programming staff member.

How: Set-up and clean-up are the hardest parts of programs like these, but we usually have some families that are willing to help. We like to lay down a tablecloth or bed sheet before laying out the Legos, then you just gather up the corners and pour the Legos back into their storage boxes – it’s much easier than picking up all the tiny pieces. I think you’ll always have a few kids who don’t know what to build, so sometimes it’s nice to have some suggestions at the ready, but I really like giving kids the opportunity to be creative, to use their imaginations and to just play without any expectations.


  • Don’t have a huge budget to purchase Legos? A lot of libraries have had luck asking for donations from patrons.
  • What about using boxes that new materials come in? Tape them up and you have instant BIG blocks.
  • Work with a local architectural firm for a donation to get some new blocks for your library
  • Our county will often have kits we can check out with resources that we might not be able to purchase on our own, check out that option or from your state library as well.


During the month of April, I’ll be participating in the 2018 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. For this year’s theme, I’ll be offering you a library program plan with everything you to need to re-create it at your own library. Most of these programs we’ve offered in the past, others are programs I’d like to try in the future. I’m always looking for new inspiration and I thought you might be too!


#blogbookaday: Franky

21 Mar

28006771.jpgSummary:  “Sam loves robots. He is certain they live in outer space among the stars. His family laughs at him, and no one seems to understand. No one except for Franky, that is…” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Sam knows that robots live in outer space, but his family won’t believe him, so he builds his own robot in the hopes drawing the robots to his house. Franky and Sam play every day, until one day Franky doesn’t move from the window all day. And all of sudden… “They’re HERE!”
Personal Reaction: I love Leo Timmers distinct illustration style and his intricate robots and space ships are perfect to share this story. I also liked seeing Sam use all sorts of day-to-day items to create this really awesome robot and then how he uses boring cardboard boxes to hide Franky from his parents. Timmers’ work always requires the reader to take some time to make sure you catch everything in the illustration, which in my opinion, is always fun.
Title: Franky

Author: Leo Timmers
Illustrator: Leo Timmers
Publisher: Gecko Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2016

#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!

60 STEM Titles for 3-6 Year Olds

15 Mar

We often are asked by parents for “science books for preschoolers” and after a reference interview, we find that they are looking to teach their kids a variety of science concepts at a young age and finding books that are academic enough to satisfy the parents can be difficult. I created the list below filled with nonfiction titles, but also picture book titles that introduce some basic science concepts, but are still developmentally appropriate for a very young audience. I created a math list previously on this site (14 Picture Books to Introduce Math Concepts), so stop by that list for math titles (you won’t find them repeated here). These are just a few, there are more than I could ever put into a list, but find a few of these as a jumping off point! Enjoy!

stem preschool.png


  1. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
  2. Charlotte the Scientist is Squished by Camille Andros
  3. Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard by Loree Griffin Burns
  4. National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why by Amy Shields
  5. What Is a Scientist? by Barbara Lehn


  1. Best In Snow by April Pulley Sayre
  2. Calendar by Myra Cohn Livingston
  3. Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
  4. Leaves by David Ezra Stein
  5. Old Bear by Kevin Henkes
  6. Our Seasons by Grace Lin and Ranida T. McKneally
  7. Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
  8. Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre
  9. Water is Water by Miranda Paul
  10. The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins


  1. A Butterfly Is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston
  2. Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
  3. DK First Animal Encyclopedia
  4. First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  5. I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton 
  6. Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola M. Schaefer
  7. Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme by Marianne Collins Berkes
  8. A Nest Is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston
  9. Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore
  10. Who Am I? by Steve Jenkins

Human Body

  1. Bones by Steve Jenkins
  2. The Busy Body Book by Lizzy Rockwell
  3. DK First Human Body Encyclopedia
  4. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
  5. I Hear a Pickle (And Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!) by Rachel Isadora
  6. Inside Your Outside! By Tish Rabe
  7. The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body by Joanna Cole
  8. Me and My Amazing Body by Joan Sweeney
  9. My Five Senses by Aliki
  10. Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young

Outer Space

  1. If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty
  2. Little Kids First Big Book of Space by Catherine D. Hughes
  3. Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
  4. The Sun Is My Favorite Star by Frank Asch
  5. Zoom, Rocket, Zoom! By Margaret Mayo


  1. Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer
  2. Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
  3. Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
  4. In a Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming
  5. Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole
  6. Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner
  7. A Rock Is Lively by  Dianna Hutts Aston
  8. A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston
  9. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
  10. Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner


  1. 11 Experiments That Failed by Jenny Offill
  2. Awesome Dawson by Chris Gall
  3. Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman
  4. Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale
  5. Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
  6. If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
  7. Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty
  8. Monkey with A Tool Belt and The Noisy Problem by Chris Monroe
  9. Robots, Robots Everywhere! by Sue Fliess
  10. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
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