Tag Archives: kids

STEAM Programming Resources for Libraries

chemical-laboratory-1063849_1280At the Spring Workshops the State Library hosted in April, Elizabeth Larson-Steckler from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) presented a session on STEAM/STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) education. She covered ways to integrate literacy into library STEAM programming by using books as a jumping off point for exploration.

DPI defines STEAM education as an integrated and blended curriculum that is driven by creative thinking, problem solving, discovery, and student-centered development of ideas and solutions. Often kids question why they have to learn certain skills because they see no relevance to their lives. STEAM programming helps students make those real life connections. Continue reading

Resources from the American Heart Association

heartThis year’s summer reading theme is health, wellness, fitness, and sports. The American Heart Association has a number of resources to help support active programs at your library. If your local school participates in Jump Rope for Heart, you may already be familiar with some of these resources.

You may have heard of the NFL Play 60 Challenge. If you are interested in hosting a challenge at the library, you can use the teacher guide to help you get started. Even if you don’t host a Challenge, there are plenty of ideas for activities you could use on their own.

Depending on the age group you are working with, there are lesson plans for both elementary and middle school age students. You can also find guides for jump rope skills, basketball skills, and ideas for Heart Smart stations.

For food oriented programs, you can register to receive School Garden Lesson Plans. The guide includes 35 lesson plans about healthy eating. The best part is you can do the activities in the guide even if you don’t have a garden!

What are you doing to encourage your kids to be heart healthy during the summer reading program this year? Share your ideas in the comments!

Science Resources for Library STEM Programming

summer scienceLast week I covered some resources you could use to find science ideas for your story times. If you are looking for support for STEM programming ideas for your school-age kids, check out these helpful resources. They were both specifically developed for educators who with kids outside of school, so they are perfect for a library environment.

howtosmile is “a collection of the best educational materials on the web, in addition to learning tools and services – all designed especially for those who teach school-aged kids in non-classroom settings.” This site allows you to “search over 3,500 of the very best science and math activities on the web. All activities are available to anyone, free of charge.” For added convenience, you can also “filter by age, material costs, and learning time to find exactly what you need.” There are also curated topic pages if you are looking for themed programs.

Click2Science is “an interactive, professional development site for trainers, coaches, site directors and frontline staff/volunteers working in out-of-school time STEM programs, serving children and youth.” In addition to professional development resources, there are learning modules addressing Planning STEM Learning Experiences, Interacting with Youth during STEM, and Building STEM Skills in Youth. You can register for a free account to connect and interact with others in the online community. Check out the article “20 Skills that Make STEM Click” for a great overview before getting started.

Do you have any excellent sources of STEM activities you rely on for programming? Share your suggestions in the comments!

Science in Story Time

STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) topics for library programming are very popular, but often they focus on school aged children. If you are looking for ways to incorporate science concepts in your programming for younger children, check out the Science in Storytime blog for ideas and themed concepts.

Promoted as “A place to share cool science ideas for storytime!,” Science in Storytime is an effort of the Lincoln City Libraries in Lincoln, Nebraska, to “help to set the “science interest” stage for formal education.” Blog posts feature book suggestions and related science activity ideas appropriate for preschoolers. If you don’t have a particular concept in mind, you can use the categories to browse. If you do have a particular topic in mind, you can use the tags or search box to find specific ideas for your program.

The Lincoln City Libraries developed a logo that they use to indicate when they will be discussing a science concept in story time. The blog also links to Great Science Websites for Kids, which is sponsored by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of ALA. It is a great starting point for even more resources and ideas.

How do you incorporate STEM concepts into story time? Share your ideas in the comments!

Movement in Story Time

EL Chld MomDhtr ReadWith this year’s summer reading theme being health, wellness, fitness, and sports, now is the ideal time to incorporate movement activities to your weekly story times as well. Kids are not designed to sit still for long periods of time anyway, so why not use that to your advantage during story time?

In their publication, Young Children, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has an article called “Moving Bodies, Building Minds: Foster Preschoolers’ Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Through Movement” by Michelle L. Marigliano and Michele J. Russo. The authors state that “linking movement experiences with language—both receptive language (understanding that of others) and expressive language (sharing one’s own thoughts and ideas)—builds children’s thinking skills.” The article features suggested prompts to encourage movement, along with ideas for using dance standards. Scroll to the end of the article to find a box highlighting children’s picture books that feature movement.

For more ideas on books you can use during story time, check out Book to Boogie, a monthly blog series from The Library as Incubator Project which “pairs picture books with dance and movement activities for preschool story time.”

Over at the Programming Librarian, Jenn Carson has a blog post on Storytime Stretching in which she recommends “adding some yoga poses or movement exercises to your storytime programs, if only to help get those wiggles out!” The article provides helps tips on movement activities for young children, and her website, Yoga in the Library, has a number of great resources for all ages, including sample program outlines.

How do you incorporate movement in your story times? Share your suggestions in the comments!

Every Kid in a Park

4th parkDid you know that through August 31, 2016, 4th graders and their families are eligible to get a pass allowing them free access to nationals parks through the Every Kid in a Park program?

As a librarian, you can access the downloadable activity guides to use for library programming. Check out Discover the Forest for links to other ideas and activities. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also has resources for kids. You can also access a downloadable tool kit and media kit to help promote the program. The tool kit has a poster just for libraries!

It may still be chilly in North Dakota, but now is the time to start thinking about planning summer vacations! You can use Find Your Park to locate national park sites in North Dakota.

park-passYou can promote the Every Kid in a Park program in conjunction with the State Park Passes available at public libraries in North Dakota. Through a partnership with the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, all North Dakota public libraries have received passes that patrons can check out to waive the entrance fees at North Dakota state parks. You don’t have to have a 4th grader to take advantage of the state park passes – they are available to all ages! You’ll find flyers and Facebook banners on the State Library Marketing page that you can use to promote this program.

How do you promote the State Park Pass program in your community? Share your suggestions in the comments!

Afterschool Programming Toolkit

libraryThe library is a logical place for students to turn to at the end of the school day. Depending on the proximity of the library to the school, some libraries may only rarely see school-age kids, while other libraries are overrun with kids on a daily basis as soon as school lets out. Whether you are trying to attract the school-age crowd to the library, or you want to offer more structured programs for the kids who are already coming to the library anyway, an after school program is an excellent option to offer to your community.

SEDL is “a nonprofit education research, development, and dissemination organization.” Their goal is to improve teaching and learning. They offer an  Afterschool Training Toolkit which may be useful for library programming.

It covers the following areas:

  • Literacy
  • Math
  • Science
  • Arts
  • Technology
  • Homework

Each topic has various practices and support materials, and each practice section includes the following sub-sections:

  • Practice in Action
  • Planning Your Lesson
  • Sample Lessons
  • Resources

You don’t need to have an after school program to use the Toolkit. You can just as easily use the lessons and ideas for individual programs.

What kind of after school programming does your library offer? Would an after school program benefit your community? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Resources for a Healthy Summer Reading Program

Chld Canoe copyAs you plan programs to get kids moving at the library for this summer’s reading theme of health,  fitness, wellness, and sports, here are some resources you can use to help kids make healthy life choices:

  • Eat Play Grow – Eat Play Grow is an “early childhood health curriculum” designed “to teach children ages 6 and younger and their adult caregivers how to make healthy nutrition and physical activity choices.”
  • USDA Summer Food Service Program – The SFSP “ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.” With programs for children already taking place, the library is an ideal feeding site.
  • Healthy Habits for Life – This toolkit from Sesame Street helps you “help channel [children’s] natural energy into activities that keep them fit and strong.” “We Have the Moves” is a particularly useful section for library programming.

How are you encouraging a healthy lifestyle at the library this summer? Share your suggestions in the comments!

Activity Ideas to Get Kids Moving at the Library

Child Boy Read copyReading is a beneficial, but sedentary, activity. As librarians, we are all about encouraging kids to read more. Developing your mind is crucial, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your body. It’s not enough just to read about physical activity. If you need activities to get your little bookworms moving, check out some of these ideas:

When it’s time to take a break from reading, what’s your favorite way to get moving?

Move to Learn

movetolearnMove to Learn is an organization based on the concept that “the more exercise a student gets, the better his or her grades are likely to be,” as well as the fact that “more fitness was associated with better behavior and less absenteeism.” Libraries may not be school classrooms, but libraries are all about learning, and library programs can help kids be more active. With the 2016 summer reading theme of health, fitness, wellness, and sports, now is the perfect time to start planning library programs that encourage an active lifestyle.

Move to Learn offers downloadable materials to help you plan programs:

The videos are organized by age groups from PreK to 6th grade. Lesson plans can be searched by subject area, grade level, duration of lesson, materials available, or keyword. Subject areas include Health and Physical Education; Science, Technology, and Math; History and Language; as well as Visual and Performing Arts. The songs, videos, and shorter activities would work well for story times too.

How do you get kids moving in your library programs? Share your ideas in the comments!