Category Archives: STEAM

Lego Ninjago Training Camp


Thanks to Angie and Sara for the inspiration for this program!

photo(3)The first station of the training camp was an obstacle course.  Our ninjas were supposed to avoid the lava (red squares) and fire-breathing dragons, walk across the bridge (masking tape), then pass through the tunnel to complete the course.  As you can see, my goofy dragons kept falling over, but it was still fun.





photo(2)For the next station, Banish the Bad Guys, I did some quick research on Ninjago bad guys, printed them out and taped them to plastic cups.  Originally, I was going to make ninja stars to throw at the targets, but I must sheepishly admit that my origami skills are not that strong.  In the end, I decided that beanbags would work just fine.  I think the kids agreed, because this was a pretty popular station.





photo(5)The Dexterity Check station consisted of my beloved Lakeshore Learning trays, some linking cubes, and “chopsticks” (easy grip tweezers).  The object was to move the cubes from one tray to the other using the tweezers as quickly as possible.  I saw some pretty heated contests on this activity.






photoYour Ninja Identity–For this station, I printed out a ninja name worksheet and printed a Ninjago head on yellow cardstock.  The ninjas were to use the code on the sheet to translate their name into a cool new ninja name.  Then, they decorated a mask, cut it out, and affixed it to construction paper strips for the headband.








photo(1) photo(4)Finally, we had to have a Lego gadget building station.  No surprise, this was the most popular station.  There’s just something about building with Legos that never gets old.


Ready, Set, Read!–All About You



Opening Song: Hands are clapping

Opening Game: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes (3 times, faster each time)

photo(1) Book: My Nose, Your Nose, by Melanie Walsh (available through PINES)








photo(2)Book: I Love You, Nose! I Love You, Toes! by Linda Davick. (E HUMAN BODY DAVI)








Rhyme: Open them, shut them

Rhyme: Eye Winker, Tom Tinker

Song: Hokey Pokey

photo(5)Book: From Head to Toe, by Eric Carle (E CARLE).








photo(13)Closing Game: Animal Action cube








Closing rhyme: My Hands Say Thank You


photo(3) photo(4)Activity: body tracing–parents/caregivers traced their child on a large sheet of paper, then the kids colored them in.  This was a great activity!  It was fun to see the kids and their adults talking about what they needed to add to their drawings.

Kitchen Explorers–Baked Mozzarella Bites


photo(3)Once a month we have a program called Kitchen Explorers, where kids make simple recipes and–best of all–taste them!  This month we made baked mozzarella bites.





photo(1)We purchased mozzarella snack cheese (individually packaged “string” cheese) and cut each stick into thirds.  We also melted some butter and put it into a cup and placed Italian seasoned breadcrumbs onto a plate.  The kids used a fork to dip each piece of cheese into the butter, then dredge it in the breadcrumbs.







photo photo(2)Then we placed the cheese sticks on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.  (We used a Sharpie to line off sections with their name/initial to keep straight whose was whose.)  We placed them into a preheated 350 degree oven and baked them for five minutes.  When they were done baking, we removed them from the oven and placed them into a cup with the child’s name/initial.  The sticks were served with marinara sauce (from a jar) briefly heated in the microwave.








Homeschool Hub–Tech Petting Zoo


photo(6)Wow!  What a fun program!  Today we hosted a tech petting zoo for our Homeschool Hub families and it was a blast!  We recently purchased some new tech including Ozobots and Sphero.  We opened the program with my awesome coworker/tech specialist extraordinaire Andrew running a demonstration with Sphero using the Sprk app, then the kids took turns driving it with the Sphero app downloaded to my iPod Touch.





photo(7)We also played with Ozobots.  We printed these worksheets from the website, but you can also draw your own with black, blue, red, and green markers.  They come with a legend that tells you what sequence of dots to draw if you want it to perform a certain action, such as going into turbo mode.  The kids had a great time with this, especially with the “Ask Ozobot” worksheet, which is kind of like a modern version of a magic 8 ball (y’all remember those, right?)







Finally, we also experimented with 3D coloring through an app called Quiver.  You simply download the app and print out coloring pages from the website.  When you turn on the app, the camera will automatically recognize the coloring page and 3d features will be activated.  This adorable penguin winks and waves, plus you can access a game by pressing the blue snowflake icon at the bottom of the screen.  photo(1)


Homeschool Hub–Where in the World? Africa


photo(1)My library hosts a weekly program for homeschooling families that covers a variety of topics such as art, science, history, history, and geography.  Last week we took a glimpse into Africa.








African Thumb Piano (Kalimba)–This idea came from Zylie & Friends.  I cut squares from foam board and the kids taped five bobby pins on one end, then painted the foam board.  At this station I had a laptop playing a Youtube playlist of kalimba music.

photo(2)Ndebele house–I saw this idea here.  I cut white construction paper in half longwise and cut circles from brown construction paper.  I printed out examples of Ndebele houses for the kids to look at while they decorated their houses.








photo(3) photo(4) photo








My favorite part was our stuffed animal safari.  We got these VTech Kidizoom cameras awhile back and enjoyed using them for photo(5)a stop action animation Lego program.  When I started planning this program, I hadn’t planned on using the cameras, but it just kind of came to me in a flash–we should totally do a photo safari!  This cameras are super simple to use and were a great investment.  I’m looking forward to finding more ways to incorporate them into our programming.

Tween/teen STEAM program–Glow Painting Party!


lsb 4Thanks to a generous grant from LSTA, my library is able to do some really cool STEAM programming (if I do say so myself!) this fall that I’m SO excited about!  Last night we had a glow in the dark painting party for tweens/teens ages 10-14.  The event was free of charge but we did require registration (we kept the number down to 10 just to make sure everything worked out okay).  Slots filled up so quickly that we are already planning another one for tweens and maybe even one for adults!  All we needed to pull this off was four blacklights, some neon paint, paintbrushes, and canvases.  The program took place at 6:00 p.m., so we did have to close the blinds and put cloth over the windows and door to make it as dark as possible inside the room.  In the future I might advise attendees to wear white or neon and maybe give away glow in the dark bracelets or necklaces.  It would also be fun to use neon food coloring to color icing and make glow cookies.

Now I’m trying to think of other things we can do with our cool new blacklights!  I’m sort of wanting to make bouncy balls and get some florescent duct tape…

lsb 2 lsb 1 lsb 3

Homeschool Hub–History’s Who’s Who (Women’s History)


patrice devine campfire story indoor smoresFor the last Homeschool Hub in the month of March, we studied three interesting women in history for Women’s History Month.  I participated in Girl Scouts when I was young, so of course I thought of Georgia native Juliette Gordon Low.  I invited local Girl Scouts representative Patrice Devine to come share some information about Juliette Gordon Low and Girl Scouts with us.  Ms. Devine told us a story about how Juliette Gordon Low came up with the idea of starting Girl Scouts, and we sampled some indoor s’mores.





swap crafting swap closeupThen Ms. Devine taught us how to make a SWAPS (Special Whatchamacallit Affectionately Pinned Somewhere).








The other two ladies we studied were Amelia Earhart and Margaret Knight.  Amelia Earhart was the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane, so we made and flew paper airplanes.  Margaret Knight was an inventor who patented the square bottom paper bag, so we made kites from paper lunch bags.

Homeschool Hub–Money Matters


April is National Financial Literacy Month, so this week’s Homeschool Hub was devoted to money matters.  As usual, we had several different stations for families to move through at their own pace.

The most popular station was a pretend play grocery store.  I set up a table with play food in plastic bags, along with two shopping baskets and two “wallets”, each with $1 in change (pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarter).

cash registershopping basketsmoneygrocery store









shopping counting moneyimpulse purchases saleThe bags had labels on them with prices.  For even more opportunity for discussion, I added more expensive impulse items like blocks, crayons, and stickers, as well as sale items.  When I rang the kids up, I went item by item and had them pay me for each one.  A few kids had the experience of having to put items back because they ran out of money, but as one mom pointed out, it’s much better to have that happen in a play store than at the real one!  This activity was SO much fun!




coin rubbing sortingAnother table had coin rubbing and coin sorting on it.  For the coin rubbing, I just hot glued pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters onto half a piece of cardstock.  I did two on each card so that the front and back of the coin could be seen.  I then printed the name and value of the coin above it.  I clipped the cardstock onto a clipboard and put scrap paper and crayons out for the rubbings.  For the sorting, I put random groups of change into plastic bags.  Then, I prepared cups with 1 cent, 5 cents, 10 cents, and 25 cents for them to sort the coins into.






making money name game finishedThe last table had a sheet of blank money for the kids to make, along with a simple wallet made from a half piece of construction paper folded in half lengthwise, then taped on the sides.  I found the idea for the worksheet on Pinterest–basically each letter of the alphabet is assigned a dollar value, and the kids add up the letters of their name to see how much their name is worth.







Homeschool Hub meets every Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the Oakland Library.  It is sponsored by Lee County Library and free and open to the public.  For more information call 759-2369.

Tinker Thinkers–Catapults!


finishedThis week at Tinker Thinkers we made craft stick catapults.  I saw this idea on Ms. Kelly at the Library and HAD to try it!  We really had a lot of fun!  For projectiles, I gave the kids each a pom pom and a small sheet of aluminum foil to crumple up into a ball.  We hypothesized which would go further and why.






another catapult








trying them out








Tinker Thinkers meets on Tuesdays from 3:30-5:00 p.m. at the Leesburg Library and on Thursdays from 4:00-5:30 p.m. at the Oakland Library.  Sponsored by the Lee County Library; free and open to the public.  For more information call 759-2369.

Monday Funday–Homemade Fingerpaint!


fingerpaint FB imageI mentioned in Friday’s post that we have been busy developing a couple of new programs this spring–one is Homeschool Hub and the other is Monday Funday.  (Love that name?  Me too!  Thank Sara at Bryce Don’t Play for her awesomeness!)  The purpose of Monday Funday is to offer unique, hands-on learning opportunities for kids who are at home during the day such as preschoolers, homeschoolers, kids with special needs, etc.






paintsToday we made homemade finger paint by mixing 1 part flour to 1 part water in a bowl (I gave each child 1/3 cup each of flour and water and it was plenty).  Then we divided the paint into 3 smaller cups (we used plastic baby food containers) and stirred a few drops of washable liquid watercolors into each one.  We made the primary colors because mixing primary colors just never gets old.






fingerpaintAfter we mixed up the colors, I gave them each a big sheet of paper and they went to town painting.














Monday Funday meets every Monday at 11:00 a.m. at the Leesburg Library.  Next week we are making biscuits!  Squeeeeeee!