Blogger School-Age Programs and Service Committee

Mini Makerspace

Image of display with a black background, "MIni Makerspace" in bright colors with a giant coloring page attached

Over the last two years, many of us have found success with packaged crafts and programs for children to take home and assemble. With more children returning to the branch, my creative co-worker, Renee Roberson-Tecco, has assembled interactive displays that double as passive programs.

House made of paper with a child's drawings.

Renee frequently goes the extra mile when helping many of the children who frequent our branch, and the effort is noticeable. Many of our regular children enjoy hands-on activities that incorporate their interest in science and math. Unfortunately, our branch cannot currently accommodate a makerspace area. This—and the need to occupy them when Roblox fails—inspired Renee to make a rotating display, nestled perfectly near a large table in our children’s area. The elementary and middle school age groups can independently complete majority of the crafts, but allow for staff to engage when they need help, or one-on-one time, helping to foster our relationship with them. The easily accessible supplies make it possible for the children to recreate their projects as many times as they desire.

Child using hot glue to make the base for a bridge

With the display being started at the height of our Discover Summer program, Renee used the suggested activities to come up with various crafts. One such craft was the cotton ball launcher made from a toilet paper tube, rubber bands, and cotton balls to demonstrate propulsion. The current architecture theme has been a hit allowing the kids to create structures from popsicle sticks and design houses using paper.

Renee is currently planning for October’s theme, which will be anatomy. Crafts will include making kaleidoscopes, illustrating how the eye perceives optical illusions, and a paper hand made from string and straws, allowing it to move. She hopes to add a whiteboard in the near future to cultivate more interactions with the display itself.

This blog post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group, III. Programming Skills

Sierra McKenzie is co-chair of the School-Age Programs and Services Committee and a Library Customer Specialist at Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library. 

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