STEAM Storytime–Fix it, Build it!

This summer I am doing two sessions of Preschool StoryLab each week, plus one session of Book Buddies.  For the summer, I have eliminated my customary opening song and rhyme in favor of the collaborative block building activity from Library Makers, for the most part, it’s going great!  (Note: I have tried both regular blocks and Duplo blocks, and it seems that Duplo works better for my groups.  I think Duplos work better because it is less tempting to knock them over and, if the structure does get knocked over, it is generally less catastrophic).  It has been an adjustment incorporating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) concepts into my storytimes, but I think it’s definitely worthwhile and not as scary as I first imagined, thanks to trailblazers like The Show Me Librarian and Read Sing Play sharing their expertise and experiences.  Thanks, y’all!

STEAM focus:  Technology/Engineering

fix itFix-it, by David McPhail (E READING MCPH).  I got this book title and the plate fixing activity from the wonderful and amazing Teach Preschool (here and here).  This book is not only perfect for the theme, but also sneaks in the “turn off the TV and read for heaven’s sake” message that we librarians are so fond of.






b is for bulldozer   B is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC by June Sobel and Melissa Iwai. (E ALPHABET SOBE).  This book has a lot of great opportunities for discussion.  We talked about why construction workers need to wear hard hats, and we guessed at what they might be building.  We also talked about places we have seen tools and equipment like what is seen in the book.










tip tip dig digTip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia. (E MACHINERY GARC).  Believe it or not, this was my first time using this fantastic book in storytime!  We did motions to go along with the text as I read.  When the beautiful playground was revealed at the end, I went back to the beginning picture and showed the kids a “before and after”.  We talked about the amazing things you can build and make with imagination, hard work, and the right tools!










tool puzzle bookLet’s Pretend Builder’s Tool Kit.  This awesome board book has thick cardboard puzzle pieces that pop out of the book’s pages.  The space for each tool tells what it is and what it is used for.  The opposite page has a seek and find and gives a scenario where the tools might be used.  For example, the saw and screwdriver can be seen on the “building a doghouse” page.  This little gem was a donation and I keep it in my office just for storytime use.





building and fixing toys After our stories, we played with pretend tools and built with blocks.  The tools were loaned by a library staff member–they are used to receiving emails from me asking for random items for programs!






I hplate fixingave admired the “fixing” activities on Teach Preschool since the moment I saw them.  I think that it is absolute genius, and I WANTWANTWANTWANT a station for colorful tape just like Deborah has!  As you can see, I just used regular old tape, and it was fine.  I cut square paper plates up into 2-5 pieces and put them in piles on the table.  The kids “fixed” their plates, decorated them using markers, and practiced using a ruler by measuring them.








toolbox craft Craft: I printed out a tools coloring page onto cardstock and cut a handle onto regular long envelopes to make a toolbox shape.  This activity is perfect to take home for pretend play and vocabulary development.











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