Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

How to Select Crafts and STEAM Activities

Kids doing a STEM activity with markers and a large piece of paper.

2010 PopTech Science and Public Leadership Fellows” by poptech is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

One of the best parts of being a librarian and librarian/information assistant is the programming opportunities that we bring to the public. We are flexible educators and literacy partners. We allow the time and space for children and their caregivers to learn, be creative, have fun or just be in a comfortable a library environment. By bringing creative and fun programming to the communities that we work in, we allow for more than one modality for children to get to the books. An example: Program: Building Bridges from building materials include Books that refer to engineering, building, science and technology. How do we bring fun and relevant crafts and STEAM activities to our communities? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Ask the children and caregivers that come to your branches. They have really good ideas. Children are always happy to give input.  Plus, this may spark other ideas from you.
  2. Ask your colleagues. I am fortunate enough to work in a large library system, so I asked my colleagues for some suggestions for this very post. Librarians help other librarians.
  3. Talk to educators about what they are doing in their classrooms. Discuss how the library can support their curriculum and what is happening in their classrooms.
  4. Pick activities that you love. If you love what you are doing, it conveys to the kids.
  5. What is old becomes new again. Sewing or penmanship are older ideas, they may be a new activity for some children. 
  6. Use themes. From Black History to Holidays, themes help in the search.
  7. Do a basic craft/activity/STEAM search. Places to search: Pinterest, Teacher Pay Teachers, Parents Magazine, YouTube, WikiHow, Blogs, Scholastic Teachables.
  8. Consider your mess tolerance.

Recommended Books and Resources:


Debbie Chapman. Low-Mess Crafts for Kids: 72 Projects to Create Your Own Magical Worlds (Salem: Page Street Publishing Co., 2018).

Helen Drew. 3D Paper Crafts for Kids: 26 Creative Projects to Make from A-Z. (East Petersburg: Fox Chapel Publishing, 2021).


Christina Herkert Schul. Awesome Engineering Activities for Kids: 50+ Exciting Steam Projects to Design and Build. (Emeryville: Rockridge Press, 2019).

Jennifer Szymanski. Coding. (Chicago: Children’s Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc, 2022).

Crafting Websites/Blogs:

Andreja. “Crafts for kids – tons of art and craft ideas for kids to make“, Easy Peasy and Fun, Last modified May 22, 201.

Holly Homer. “Fun five-minute crafts for kids’ archives”, Kids Activities Blog. Retrieved September 22, 2022.

STEAM Websites/Blogs:

“PBS Kids: Design, Squad, Global”, DESIGN SQUAD GLOBAL | PBS KIDS. Accessed September 22, 2022.

“Activities for Kids.” Science Buddies. Accessed September 22, 2022.

May, Sandra. “NASA for Educator.” NASA for Educators. NASA, January 23, 2020.

Do you have some favorite craft and STEAM activities or resources to share? Please comment below!

Author Bio

Mariel Matthews is a Children’s Librarian with The New York Public Library, Hamilton Grange. Mariel is a member of ALSC’s Library Services to Underserved Children and their caregivers (2020-2024).  She is also a member of Library Services to children of African Decent (BCALA) and Professional Development Committees (BCALA). She has 3 puppies.

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