Kids at Home with MPPL

Kids at Home with MPPL Blog

Be Who You Are

Todd Parr is the author of over 50 children’s books that are full of fun, positive messages. Be Who You Are Day on September 30 includes activities that help kids celebrate what makes each of them special.

Here are some ways to celebrate!

Tune in at 8:00 a.m. on September 30 for a live event with the author– click here for instructions to join.

Download and print some coloring sheets.

Read some of Todd Parr’s fantastic books! There are many titles available through Overdrive (or the Libby app) as well as at the library. Click here for a list of some of our favorites. Youth Services staff will be happy to put some together for you to pick up! Call us at 847/590-3320 or email KidsRead@mppl.org.

Maker Monday: Enchanted Engineering

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Who knew that reading fairy tales could lead to engineering experiments?

Last month at our Zoom STEAM at Home event, we led kids through these fun building activities that were inspired by fairy tales. These projects are easy to do with stuff you probably already have around the house.

Robin Hood’s Bow and Arrow

Supplies: 2 popsicle sticks, (duct) tape, string, and an unsharpened pencil. 

You can experiment with different types of string and various lengths to see what works best. After you build it, place your pencil with the eraser on the string, pull back, and see how far your pencil goes! Just don’t aim at any screens or people please! 

The Three Little Pigs, Rapunzel, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears

For The Three Little Pigs, experiment with different materials to see what house is the strongest. You can use toothpicks, straws, LEGO bricks, or many other things you have at home. 

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For Rapunzel, try building a slide for Rapunzel to escape the tower. Our slide was made of toilet paper/paper towel rolls and tape. You can experiment with making the slide steeper so she slides faster, or more gradual so it’s slower. 

For Goldilocks and the Three Bears, try to build a bed that can hold the most weight (we used coins). Some ideas for materials are cardboard, bubble wrap, tin foil, and cupcake liners, but there are many things that would work for this activity. Once you’ve built your bed, stack coins and see how many it holds.

Have fun and keep building! For more activities to do at home, check out this page.

Family Friday: Podcast for Curious Minds

Radiolab, one of the most beloved podcasts in the world, has collected their most family-friendly content in the podcast Radiolab for Kids. From “What do dogs see when they look at the rainbow?” to “Do animals laugh?” the topics are all about curiosity. Radiolab for Kids is sure to delight and engage the most curious minds.

Start with one of these episodes!

Octomom A mile under the ocean, we get to watch an octopus perform an act of heart and determination.

Poop Train Ever wonder what happens to your poop after you flush? So did we, but we weren’t quite prepared for where it would take us. 

Animal Minds Communicating across species — from bringing pets to church, to a rescued whale that may have found a way to say thanks.

Goo and You When producer Molly Webster peers inside a pupa, she witnesses some of the most complex biology happening on earth…and catches sight of an ancient question of change.

Activity Center at North Suburban Special Recreation Association (NWSRA)

Families looking for virtual and screen free activities should check out NWSRA’s Activity Center! The September Virtual Programming schedule has been published, and includes programs for people of all ages with disabilities and different interests, like LEGO, music, and animals. The Activity Center also includes activities you can do on your own, many of which are screen free.

edible sensory dough

Here’s a recipe for edible sensory dough that only needs 3 ingredients and will smell and feel great! Kids and grown ups can make this together and experiment with coming up with just the right texture.

Three Ingredient Edible Sensory Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1 (6 oz.) box strawberry Jello
  • 4 Tablespoons water (or more if desired)

Instructions

In a large bowl mix together corn starch and Jello. 

Slowly add in water, one tablespoon at a time, until mixture comes together to form a dough. You can add more water or cornstarch if needed. 

If you make a thick dough, you may want to finish kneading it together by hand. 

Play and enjoy! 

Want to make sure you don’t miss any of the great things we’re sharing? Sign up for our Library Fun at Home Newsletter to stay in touch!

Maker Monday: Straw Bridges

Try making a bridge from common items and learn about what shapes work best with this project from the Museum of Science + Industry.

Materials

  • 35 non-bendy straws
  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • Meter stick or yardstick
  • 200 to 300 pennies
  • Small cup
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Two chairs or tables

Directions

Build your bridge using only straws and clear tape. Before you build, you may want to sketch your design and test out shapes to see which are the strongest. For example, when you tape straw pieces together to make a square, should you leave the center empty, or add more straw supports in the center?

When you are satisfied with your bridge, place it between two tables or chairs that are space at least 9 inches apart. Place the cup in the middle and add a few pennies at a time. Count the pennies and keep adding them until the bridge collapses. How many pennies did it hold? How did the bridge break? Can you change your design to make it stronger?

The Museum of Science + Industry explains what is happening:

Look at a steel or wooden bridge and often you will see triangle shapes making up most of the bridge’s support structure. These are called truss bridges. Triangles are structurally the strongest shape because they allow weight to be evenly spread throughout a structure, allowing it to support heavy loads. Truss patterns are used in other structures as well, such as roofs, radio towers, crane arms, and more.

To learn more about bridges and other exciting engineering, check out these books!

This Bridge will Not be Gray book cover

This Bridge Will Not be Gray by Dave Eggers: Available in print or through our e-library on Overdrive and Hoopla. Also available for MPPL cardholders as a STEAM Kit with Reptangles.

Construct It: Architecture you can Build, Break, and Build Again book cover

Construct It! by Jessie Alkire: Available in print or through our e-library on Hoopla.

Engineering-you-can-eat book cover

Engineering You Can Eat by Megan Borgert-Spaniol: Available in print or through our e-library on Hoopla.

Building-bridges book cover

Building Bridges by Tammy Enz: Available in print or as an audiobook on Hoopla.