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.
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.
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.
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.
My favorite part was our stuffed animal safari. We got these VTech Kidizoom cameras awhile back and enjoyed using them for 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.
Thanks 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…
For 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.
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.
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).
The 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!
Another 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.
The 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.
This 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.
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.
Today is the 46th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, so Homeschool Hub celebrated by learning about Eric Carle’s art and creating our own collage art! See the slideshow here https://animoto.com/play/Pnv7JwLXyQqU0bqNsySOUQ
I had a TV set up and made a Youtube playlist of Eric Carle videos.
I got the idea to use construction paper instead of tissue paper and decreasing drying time by blotting with paper towels from this blog.
Here’s the play area I mentioned last week. It works really well to have a separate area close by for younger siblings.
I 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.
Today 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.
Monday Funday meets every Monday at 11:00 a.m. at the Leesburg Library. Next week we are making biscuits! Squeeeeeee!
Please forgive the long lapse in posting–I have been planning away for summer reading AND we recently rolled out a couple of new programs, one of which is Homeschool Hub. Today was the second meeting of the weekly program aimed at homeschooling families. We recognize that many homeschooling families have multiple children of various ages from babies up to tweens, so we are trying to offer a variety of activities to appeal to everyone. So far I have set the program up in a children’s museum-inspired scheme–different stations for kids to interact with at their own pace. This week I added a “passport”, which I think really helped to give families structure to their experience. This fit in nicely with this week’s subject–Ireland.
This is what the passport looked like–it is shown on two pages here, but for the program I printed them double sided and folded them into a booklet. I wanted to find a way for families to have the information to take home with them, so the passport seemed to be the best solution. One of the stations was to learn the significance of the colors in the Irish flag and color it in on the back of the passport.
Probably the most popular station was the Irish step dancing station. I had a TV hooked up to a laptop and showed a brief clip from Sesame Street (Murray goes to Irish Step Dancing School.) I printed a template of a dress and a vest onto cardstock for the kids to decorate with markers and glitter. I really think we have some budding fashion designers in our midst…
To incorporate a little bit of STEM, I pulled out some shamrock-like plants from the library yard and put them onto trays, along with some magnifying glasses. The kids really enjoyed looking at them through the magnifying glasses and comparing them to the pictures of actual Irish shamrock varieties (pictured in the clear sign holder). They were also encouraged to attempt drawing a shamrock and making one with their fingerprints and the green stamp pad. The passport had a box for the journaling part of this station.
Finally, we had a snake craft in honor of the legend of St. Patrick driving all of the snakes out of Ireland. I found this one on Google, but you could also use a paper plate and cut it into a spiral.
I forgot to take a picture of it, but this week I set up a play area with seating and toys for younger siblings and adults to hang out.
I am SO happy we are offering this program. We had a HUGE turnout last week, and this week was pretty good, too. It is a bit of a learning curve for me, since I don’t homeschool and I do not have a teaching background (a million times a day I wish I DID!) As with all my other programs, I am always open to feedback and suggestions so that I can constantly improve and make it the best possible experience for our patrons. So if you attended one of the programs or if you are a librarian who hosts such a program at your own library, please let me know your thoughts!
Homeschool Hub meets every Friday at 11:00 a.m. at the Oakland Library. Next week we will be looking at the art of Eric Carle and making our own collages, so dress for mess! Free and open to the public, sponsored by Lee County Library. For more information call 759-2369.