Exploratorium Junior is back!

Starting this month Exploratorium Junior will happen the last Monday of the month at 6 p.m. Each Exploratorium Junior will have hands on activity for the kids to enjoy and this month they will be able to take the activity home with them.

Parents are required to stay with their children during the program.

Siblings are welcome.

Miss Sarah

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EXPLORATORIUM FEATURING THE GROUT MUSEUM

 

Spread the word! Exploratorium is about to restart for the school year. What is Exploratorium? It’s a chance to try your hand at something new each week. It might be messy, it might be creative, it might be scientific, or it might be something totally bizarre. You can check at the Children’s Desk to find out each topic during the month. On Wednesday, September 13 we will kick-off the series with the Science of Spin. The Grout Museum will be at our library to put a new spin on art using whirly-gigs, gyroscopes and tops to create spin art and color wheels. It’s a fun-filled program that will have everyone spinning science and art so fast you might get dizzy!

You don’t need to register for this free program. Just stop on by the children’s program room between 2:00pm-3:30pm for the fun.

See you there!

 

About The Grout Museum District and the Carl A. and Peggy J. Bluedorn Science Imaginarium:

The Grout Museum of History and Science features permanent and continually changing exhibitions of area history, regional flora and fauna, and the only public planetarium in Northeast Iowa, which holds weekly shows.

Science comes alive at the Carl A. and Peggy J. Bluedorn Science Imaginarium, a three-floor, interactive science center. Here, hands-on exhibits show how science affects your everyday life. Science Demonstrations get you even more involved in the action, and show you how exciting science can be.

Miss Christina

New This Fall!

September is such a strange month in Libraryland.  It goes from the hustle and bustle of summer reading to an eerie sort of calm.  Programming still goes on, the preschoolers and baby/toddler set still keep us busy, but it is just a different energy.  It is a bittersweet time, to be honest.

 

The great thing about September? NEW PROGRAMS!!!  That’s right!  We have new stuff kicking into gear that should bring a smile to every kiddo’s (and parent’s) face.  Let me take a minute to share with you our amazing Fall lineup.  From new programs, revived programs, and extended programs, we have something for all ages!

Check out what we have in store!

Story Time for Littles

This program is not new, by any means!  In fact, it is one of our most popular programs.  That is way starting in September, Story Time for Littles will be offered each month!  We are so happy to announce this program will now run September through November, take a break off during the month of December, then will be back from January through May.  Join us each Monday morning at either our 9:30 or 10:45 session!  It is a great time to share stories, songs, rhymes, art, and play with your little one.  It is geared at ages birth to 36 months, but as always, siblings are welcome!  If Monday mornings aren’t your thing, don’t forget we offer an evening session twice a month!  Check out the details here.

 

Spotlight

Come explore what’s new, trending, or just plain exciting at Spotlight On…!  The theme is never the same.  This program offers hands-on opportunities to take a deeper, fun approach to popular trending topics like spies, Pokemon, cartooning and comics, robotics, and more.  Program topics will be announced each month and we LOVE suggestions, so if there is a topic, game, or trend sweeping your school that you want to learn more about, let us know!  This program will take place on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 and will be replacing Lego Lab.  September’s theme is Spy School where we will take a look at some really cool spy hacks and skills that every kid should know just in time for the latest installment of Stuart Gibb’s Spy School series

 

Exploratorium Junior 

It’s BA-AAACK!  By popular demand, we are bringing back Exploratorium Junior.  This program has all the hands-on fun of our regular school-aged Exploratorium but with little bodies and brains in mind!  Preschool and toddler kiddos will have the chance to explore STEAM-based experiments and activities with their grown-up while hearing some great stories to learn even more about the topic of the night!  This program will be offered the fourth Monday of the month at 6 p.m. starting in September and will be replacing Family Story Time.  Straw Rockets is the first topic and should be loads of fun!

Come join us for these and our regular programs such as Creativity Lab, Exploratorium, Preschool Story Time, and more!

Miss Marta

 

Captain Underpants Party @ MPL

 

The Captain Underpants books already were flying off our shelves thanks to summer reading, but with the movie out, we knew we had to celebrate so we hosted a Captain Underpants Party!  We hosted a fun mix of games and crafts to keep our active superhero patrons busy.  This event was an hour and a half and patrons could come and go as they pleased so having activities that were open-ended and adaptable to almost any age was the goal.  From the feedback we got from our 150 guests, the things we planned achieved these goals!  The best part?  These are things you could easily recreate if you are having a party, whether it is for 5 guests or 150!  Read on to see what we put together.

 

Professor Poopypants Name Changer

As people came into the event, we had them start by finding out there Captain Underpants name using Professor Poopypants’ Name Changer.  This was a downloadable from the Scholastic site.

Because we wanted a more colorful sign, we just typed recreated it in Canva which worked very well.  Kids quickly wrote their new name on a name tag and off they went to the next station.

 

Superhero Masks

Since capes prove tricky in regards to expense (and sometimes liability), we opted to have a mask station where are patrons could create a mask to go with their new Captain Underpants identity!

 

Hypno-Ring Station

Personally, I’ve always loved when George and Harold hypnotize Mr. Krupp for the first time.  The image of him on the desk pretending to be a chicken before he becomes Captain Underpants just cracks me up!  That said, we knew we had to have a station with the Hypno-Ring.  We created a giant hypnotic swirl on paper and attached to what is usually a ship’s wheel decor piece from our summer reading.  We then thought up some super silly actions for kids to act out.  We created slips for each task, cut them apart and threw them in our handy dandy cauldron.  To get “hypnotized”  kids had to stare into the swirl while pulling an action to act out from the cauldron.  Honestly, I was worried some of the older kids would play the too-cool card and walk past this station but it turned out I was worried for nothing.  We had some super silly actors of all ages at this station pretending to be a hot dog about to be eaten, an angry chicken, a cat taking a bath, and more!

Toilet Paper Stacking Challenge

This station was a lot of fun and definitely easy for any age!  Kids could test to see how high they could stack the toilet paper without it falling and how fast they could stack.  We actually posted a volunteer at this station to time kids.  She also helped with our Pin the Cape Station!

Pin the Cape on Captain Underpants

 

We blew up and painted a large image of Captain Underpants himself for this version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.  Kids would put the blindfold on, spin three times, and then try to pin (er, tape, to be accurate) the cape to Captain Underpants’ neck. I’m sad to say I don’t have an after pictures of this station because this guy was covered in red capes!

 

Undie Fling

I’ll be honest, this station went best with a parent or grown-up willing to be silly! The objective?  To stand behind the long red line and fling a pair of tighty whities as far as you could.  From that line to the first shorter line was about 4 feet.  Each red line after took you another 2 feet.  A lot of kids got to see a whole new side of their grown-ups that day as they were learning to use the elastic waistband to launch the underpants!  Even if they didn’t get the concept of how to fling them with the technique we were thinking of, a lot of kids were giggling as they threw giant underwear around the library.

Turbo Toilet 2000 Turd Toss

Yeah… you read that correctly!  The Captain Underpants books are well-known for their toilet humor and we couldn’t help help but go there!  Using a toilet seat, round trashcan, card stock, and some good ole’ duct tape, we created our own version of the Turbo Toilet 2000.  We then created “turds” from scrunched up newspaper covered in wrinkled brown construction paper that was wrapped up in packaging tape so it was durable but gave a squishy feel.  Kids had a chance to see if they could get 5 turds into the toilet before their turn was done.  Hands-down, we got the BEST feedback about this station from parents and kids alike!

Jerome Horwitz School Sign

We have a magnetic pillar in our department that we have done some fun stuff with in the past, but this may have been my favorite!  We created a school sign like in the books and put out magnetic letters for kids to leave their own silly messages!  We had tried to use smaller letters but the magnets didn’t quite cut the mustard so we ended up with large foam letters instead and the kids still had fun with them!

Coloring and Activity Pages

These printables were all free on the Scholastic website.

Doodle Stations

Have you ever tried Doodle Stations before?  We throw them up at events periodically because they are a HUGE hit with patrons, young and old.  Basically we cover table tops with white craft paper or butcher paper.  We set out colored pencils and leave a note letting patrons know we want them to draw on the paper.  We get some awesome art work doing this!  Check out these examples!

 

The activities you just scrolled through are located all throughout our department.  It prevents congestion and chaos in a main meeting room and still encourages people to check out the collection.  It also meets the needs of kiddos with special needs or families with very young children.  We keep more challenging crafts or activities where materials could be messy in our Children’s Program Room.  For this event, we had three activities in our program room.  We had the fidget spinners craft we gave you in our sneak peek, a Captain Underpants Bookmark, and a Playdoh Poo station set up for kids to explore at this event.  Even the big kids LOVED the Playdoh!  And who doesn’t love a fidget spinner these days?!

Throwing this together during Summer Reading was not an easy task, but it was worth it!  Our community absolutely LOVED our Captain Underpants Party!

Sneak Peek… Fidget Spinners!

 

So we have an amazing Captain Underpants Party planned and ready to go for tomorrow night.  Let me tell you, planning this during summer reading has been no easy feat, but I think it will be totally worth it!  There will be a post coming soon on what we are doing for this cool party, but today I thought I’d give you a sneak peek into one of our party projects… DIY Fidget Spinners!

 

As most of us librarians do, I took to Pinterest looking for great spinner ideas.  I found some that were absolutely amazing, but many of them catered to small groups of children and had either pricier components or too many steps to be assembled and walk out the door with in the time frame we have to work with.  We are expecting at least 150 kids to come through and it is only an hour and a half drop-in event so time and cost were very important factors.

 

Then I stumbled on this gem of a blog post from Maggy over at Red Ted Art.  She has some AMAZING ideas on her blog so I definitely recommend clicking over to see her stuff!  Her blog inspired me because it didn’t have the expensive components so many others did.  After seeing her cost effective spinners, it got my mind racing to create spinners that fit our needs.  What you see below are the instructions to what I came up with.

 

These may not be the sturdiest spinners you will ever find BUT they definitely will prove fun for a while and are easy to recreate when one fizzles.  Fingers crossed the kids at tomorrow’s party are as excited about them as I am!

 

Exploratorium Teaser: Rocket Bottles

Exploratorium is by far one of our favorite programs to do.  The element of surprise each week as kids walk in the room, the different hands-on experiences we are able to provide, and more importantly the connections we get to make with parents and their kiddos makes it as enriching for us as it is for them.  This S.T.E.A.M.-based program is one we offer each week when our school district has early release and it is one many families have come to look forward to because there is always something different and exciting.  We cover it all (even Math…gulp)!

 

For me though, I love the science and art side of it.  These areas collide more often than people realize… or at least they can if you allow for it.  The activity we are doing this week was a really fun example of that.  We are talking about friction and movement so I decided to make these Rocket Bottles propelled by friction with strings that run through the rocket. There is plenty of time for kids to turn their rockets into a piece of art before they take it for a test drive so we get to feed their creative side as well.  Take a peek to see how to make a Rocket bottle of your own!