Maker Morning: a little bit of everything

Maker Morning: a little bit of everything


Last summer I blogged a little bit about one of our series programs for school-age kids, Maker Morning. Feel free to check out my other Maker Morning posts on Coding and Engineering. Apparently last summer I was way more on the ball and actually had themes for each Maker Morning.  This summer, not so much so I have just compiled a few of our favorite projects. There are some that are more high tech and require some programming $$ while others you may be able to just use what you have available.

Below are some of the various different projects we did through a few different mornings:

  • We bought two Sphero’s this year and they are always a huge hit when I break them out.  You could create an obstacle course or a ‘runway’ with duct tape on the floor.  If you have an older crowd you could also try the coding apps available for Sphero
    Materials Needed: Sphero ($129) and and iPad or a device with Google Play to download the free apps.  Duct tape or some way to create an obstacle course.
  • Makey Makey.  Admittedly, I am still learning how to use this so it was interesting to learn while I was teaching. The kids had a lot of fun playing the games suggested for a Makey Makey
    Materials Needed: Makey Makey (49.95), some sort of conductor (play doh, banana, lemon, etc..), and a laptop or computer that has a USB hookup
    Makey Makey
  • The last two summers we have been a part of the Google Makercamp.  As part of that we receive a bunch of really great materials to use in our makerspace and in turn, at maker mornings.  A big hit, and a low tech alternative, was the Strawbees. Strawbees were a kickstarter advertised as “a prototyping toy for makers of all ages”.
    Materials Needed: Strawbees (varied praices, we have the inventor kit which is listed as $40), strawsMaker Morning3Maker Morning2
  • Lego challenges.  I had two different lego challenges.  One is the balloon car which is pretty widely talked about on the internet. Basically, the premise is you stack some cups up and then try to create a balloon-powered lego car to knock them down. The second I found somewhere on the internet but forgot to write down where!  For this one I taped blue pieces of paper on the ground in two different sizes (medium and hard difficulties) and they had to build a bridge to go over the paper.
    Materials Needed: Legos, paper
    Maker Morning4
  • Communal Yarn Loom.  We tried this last year but it didn’t have a lot of interest.  This year I had to put it out twice the kids liked it so much! All you need to do with this one is tape the yarn going across the table and weave in other yarn.  This was great because for a lot of the kids they hadn’t even learned how to weave yet.
    Materials Needed: Yarn! Ours was all donated.

    Maker Morning1


This is a really FUN program both for me and for the kids.  They get to learn from and play with new things that they may not be exposed to at home or at school.

Science Lab: Gravity & the 5 Senses

Science Lab: Gravity & the 5 Senses

Science Lab is a program I introduced last summer as part of Fizz Boom Read and decided to bring it back this summer because of it’s initial success. As a part of the the 2015 CSLP summer reading program, Every Hero Has A Story, I decided to combine the two: Superheroes and science! Science lab is advertised as an all ages program but we tend to get more school age kids in attendance (K-4th grade).

Our first week we focused on Batman & Wonder Woman and explored Gravity & the 5 senses!  The program is very low key and is more about then discovering and learning rather than me leading them through everything.  I intended for it to be self directed, with the help of parents in attendance when needed.  By the end I think the parents were having just as much fun as the kids!

I started by reading the book Gravity by Jason Chin, which is an incredibly well done and interesting book! The kids loved it.  Especially when I demonstrated gravity by dropping the books from many different levels of the room.

We then worked on gravity painting which turned out great! I set out tables with plastic tablecloths underneath them and then large cardboard pieces on teh tables and clipped on paper!  For painting we used watered down tempra paint and eye droppers.

Gravity Painting 1

Gravity Painting 2

The other part of Science Lab was testing out our senses! Wonder Woman has heightened senses so we were comparing our own senses to that of Wonder Woman!

Wonder Woman Senses

I started out by having three volunteers try the apple, potato, onion trick.  Supposedly, if you hold your nose and don’t breath while eating these they all taste the same.  According to my volunteers, though, you could definitely tell when you had an onion in your mouth.  Regardless, it was a fun activity!

After the activity there were a few different stations- one to test three different senses: touch, hear, and smell.

5 Senses- Touch

At this station I had 6 balloons filled with different substances and the kids had to guess what each one was filled with.  The hardest were corn syrup and petroleum jelly– but we did get some creative responses! The balloon idea came from Momtastic.  Also, I would totally recommend actually using a funnel because I didn’t and it was a messy experience.


You can see in the back of this picture that I had some black bins… These were filled with different things they had to shake to figure out what was inside.  The insides were filled with beads, bells, and rice.

I also had two smaller bins that had cotton balls with extracts on them.  Nobody could figure out the one with vanilla, which I thought was interesting!

All in all, this program went about as smoothly as I could have hoped.  Not only did the kids have a lot of fun and learn some interesting things but parents seemed really into it as well!

Flannel Friday: 5 Superheroes

Flannel Friday: 5 Superheroes

This flannel was a part of my superhero storytime that I blogged about previously here.
5 Superheroes

I, like many before me, turned this song by Jbrary into a flannel activity!

It was a big hit and the kids really enjoyed guessing what superheroes I had.  In order to make it less boy-centric I said that it was batgirl not batman, and then also included wonder woman.

Flannel Friday this week is hosted by Lisa’s Libraryland. To learn more about Flannel Friday click here.

Guest Post: National Aboriginal Day

Guest Post: National Aboriginal Day

Jane is an auxiliary children’s librarian in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She loves being a children’s librarian because she gets to work with some of the smartest, funniest, coolest and most important people in the world – kids! When she’s not singing with a puppet or dancing around with shakers, Jane enjoys reading, Netflix binging and sushi eating. You can find out more about Jane on her blog:

If you are interested in being a guest blogger on Miss Meg’s Storytime please email


June 21 is National Aboriginal Day in Canada, “a special day to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada.”

The library was invited to participate in a local Aboriginal Day celebration, and when I was offered the opportunity to help staff the library’s event tent, I was beyond thrilled. The plan was to offer story times in an authentic teepee. How often do you get to deliver story times in a teepee?


My colleague and I are passionate story timers and believe strongly in community engagement. The challenge, we felt, was how to participate in this important event in an authentic and respectful way.  Neither of us have Aboriginal heritage, and were very aware that despite our best intentions we might not be able to do this culturally sensitive material justice. North America has a long, sad history of cultural appropriation, in which Aboriginal culture has been misinterpreted, disrespected and abused by the dominant culture, and we were very conscious of this unfortunate precedent.

Community engagement often means thinking on your feet and adapting to meet the needs of your community. The morning of the event we decided that instead of running “storytelling tent”, we would instead offer a “story tent”. This simple change in wording reflected a change in emphasis from story telling to collaborative story sharing. Inside our teepee we set out a beautiful selection of Canadian and American Aboriginal picture books, together with stories featuring Pacific Northwest animals. We also had Pacific Northwest animal puppets and stuffed toys spread out for the children to play with, and had an impromptu felt board (an extra t-shirt stretched over a flattened cardboard box!), which the children could use to create their own stories.



My colleague and I welcomed passersby and encouraged them to explore our story tent. The inside of the teepee was breezy and shaded, and families eagerly spread out on the cool grass to share stories together. The event took place on Father’s Day, and it was lovely to see so many fathers and grandfathers reading with their families. My colleague and I took turns reading with children in small groups or one-on-one, which gave us opportunities to model storytelling techniques to families, but in a very low-key, personal way. It was a refreshing change from our usually massive in-branch storytime crowds! We were also able to talk to families about their literacy needs, get to know our community, answer questions and provide information about the services offered at the library.

The felt board was a resounding success – we had intended to use it to tell stories ourselves, but we found it worked best when used by the children to create their own stories together. Using the felt board encouraged children to work together and to share, and provided opportunities to practice skills that would serve them well in elementary school.


We estimated that at least 600 people visited our story tent over the course of the afternoon, and the event was a resounding success. We had a great mix of people visit our tent, including families of all ages and descriptions, and people from all sorts of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. The story tent provided a relaxed, laid back environment where families could spend time together and interact with the librarian, which I firmly believe helps counteract lingering stereotypes of libraries as stuffy, rigid, unwelcoming places. These days librarians are as likely to be found sitting on the grass in their shorts as they are to be found sitting behind a desk! We were able to celebrate Aboriginal heritage and culture through our curated collection of picture books, and by allowing families to explore the stories themselves we recognized that were not necessarily qualified to be authentic tellers of these culturally sensitive stories.

Working with diverse communities can be extremely exciting and rewarding, and provides incredible opportunities for connection and communication. To make the most of these opportunities, librarians need to be open and responsive to the unique needs of different communities, and be willing to adapt and rethink traditional library programming, sometimes at the spur of the moment!

Superhero Storytime

Superhero Storytime

Like many other libraries across the nation, we are participating in the CSLP summer reading theme, Every Hero Has a Story!

As part of that, my library hosted a Comic Con kick off event!  One of the (many) workshops/events happening during Comic Con was a superhero storytime hosted by yours truly!

Superhero Storytime at Library Comic Con

Superhero Picture Books

Wonder Woman ABCsWonder Woman ABCs by Benjamin Bird & Ethan Beavers
A great girl power addition to a predominately boy centered subject matter!
Action Movie Kid

Action Movie Kid! by Daniel Hashimoto & Mandy Richardville, illus. by Valerio Fabretti

Shake to AssembleShake to Assemble by Marvel Comics
A great interactive book similar to the popular Press Here
Superman an Origin Story

Superman: An Origin Story  by Michael Manning, illus. by Luciano Vecchio

Superhero Songs & Rhymes


Superhero, Superhero, Turn Around
credit: the lovely JbrarySuperhero, superhero turn around
Superhero, superhero touch the ground
Superhero, superhero put on your suit
Superhero, Superhero put on your boots.find other verses on Jbrary

(tune: The Wheels on the Bus)
credit: The Mild Mannered LibrarianThe Superheroes arms flex and lift,
Flex and lift, flex and lift, the superheroes arms flex and lift, all around the town.
Eyes go zap, zap, zap
Legs run very fast
Legs jump super high
Flies zoom zoom zoom
The person in trouble yells help help help!
The superhero goes to save the day

Extension Activities

Look here for a link to a flannel Friday superhero song soon!A superhero storytime is a great opportunity to get the kids up and moving! Have them show off their muscles, practice jumping or running in place.  You could also test their senses for a STEM activity!


I did this storytime twice–once at comic con and another time at a regularly scheduled storytime.
Comic Con did not have a special craft, but we did have crafts going throughout the day which were very basic and easy– design your own masks! We have this die cut for a mask and embellishments, but you could easily find a template on pinterest.  The die cut was really great for having to cut a large quantity, though.For the second group, which was smaller and on a less crazy day, I gave them all capes. I bought red, blue, and yellow felt and used a similar template to this one by Jolly Mom.  I even had two kids show up to comic con wearing their storytime capes!


Overall, this one went really well!  I was nervous about the book choices but all of them went over well and were fun to read.There are SO MANY superhero options in library world right now but here are some blog posts I found especially helpful:Superheroes! – Sunflower Storytime
Superhero Storytime – Mild Mannered Librarian
Pre-School Storytime: Superheroes – Jbrary
Superheroes! – Storytime Katie

Guest Post: Everyone Can Code!

Guest Post: Everyone Can Code!

Casey is a library media specialist at Winnequah Elementary School in Monona, WI, teaching kids from 4k all the way through 5th grade.  She loves sharing her love for reading, coding, and technology every day with her students. Casey also enjoys long walk on the beach,eating cheese and finding the best bloody mary available.  Connect with Casey on Twitter @RedorRead

If you are interested in being a guest blogger on Miss Meg’s Storytime please email

As a school librarian, I don’t typically get a chance to provide the same types of programs you might see in a public library setting. This May, though, I had the chance when our school hosted Springfest. Basically, during Springfest, each teacher signed up to run an activity in their room for the last hour of the day, and students signed up for an activity that interested them.

This felt like the perfect opportunity to share one of new passions in life with the kids, coding! I would like to say that while I love coding, I am very much a beginning coder myself, and have limited experience. I am, however, a big believer in including coding in our schools and encouraging students (especially girls) of all ages to learn at least a little bit of code.  I had done a school-wide Hour of Code  in the library this past December, but hadn’t had a lot of opportunities to include coding beyond that. This time around, I decided to limit it to students in 3rd-5th grade. There were eight kids total who signed up, four boys and four girls (yay!), which made it a very low-key afternoon.

When the students arrived, I started by briefly introducing the three programs they had the option of using –, Scratch, and Bitsbox. All of the students had seen and used Scratch Jr. before, but Bitsbox was completely new to everyone. I really wanted the students to explore on their own, and I didn’t want them to see me as the expert in any way. Some of the kids had more experience than I did, which was great!

code Scratch Bitsbox

As the students were set free to choose where to begin, it was interesting to see who gravitated to which programs first. I should mention I don’t have a large number of computers in the library so students were using Chromebooks, PCs, and one student was using the brand new iMac. Because these were all web-based programs, it didn’t really matter that students were using different devices. In the end, three of the girls jumped on Bitsbox right away and the rest tested the waters with Scratch.

Screenshot 2015-06-15 at 6.04.12 PM

I was really excited to see what the students would create left to their own devices. It was a bit of a rough start for some as Scratch is not overly intuitive for beginners, in my opinion. We worked through it together, but it was important to me to remain very hands off. I would give verbal directions while the struggling students would “drive” their own computer. Once we got past the first couple of hiccups, it was pretty smooth sailing.

After about forty minutes, students started sharing what they had created on their own without any prompting from me. One boy who had never used Scratch before was very proud of his animated character, as he had spent the greater part of half an hour figuring out how to first make it walk and then make it look like it tripped. One of the girls had experimented with making her own app using Bitsbox, and she had coded a simple click/touch app. Most students had tried out at least two of the coding programs by the end.  It was amazing to see what each student got done in such a short amount of time, and made me wonder what they could be capable of if they had more time.

I even sat down and played around with some of the predesigned apps from Bitsbox, and created a fire-breathing dragon!


Screenshot 2015-06-15 at 7.59.47 PM

With about ten minutes left, I brought out the coding themed temporary tattoos I had gotten through Bitsbox and offered them up to anyone who wanted one. I did have to talk one student out of putting his tattoo on his face or neck, but otherwise they were a big hit!


All in all, I was very happy with how everything went!  I think having the different coding options worked really well, and while I had been a little nervous about how the loose the structure was, the students enjoyed the freedom. If you haven’t tried a coding program in your library yet, I highly encourage you to try something like this. It required very little prep work, and you truly only need to have a bare minimal understanding of coding beforehand. It was great to learn alongside my students for a change!



Mo Willems Party

Mo Willems Party

Yay– finally getting around to blogging about my Mo Willems Party I held at the beginning of May.  This came after Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus won our March Madness book tournament! Suffice to say, we are big Mo Willems fans at my library.

Mo Willems Party | Miss Meg's Storytime

Here is how I set up my area– The books I would be reading on my table and then a bunch of other Mo Willems books on the table behind me.  I really wanted to highlight some of his less popular books with the display.
The scraps of paper are from a drawing I did– ever kid got entered to win a plush pigeon toy.

The first book I read was obviously Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  And of course, we were not going to let him:
Mo Willems Party | Miss Meg's Storytime

The other books I read were We are In a Book, Knuffle Bunny, and my favorite Elephant and Piggie book, Let’s Go For a Drive! I broke up the books with Shake your Sillies Out and Icky Sticky Bubble Gum… It was necessary to stand up and dance silly along with reading our favorite silly books!

Next was the time for activities!

We did the elephant and piggie puppets found on Three Little Birds. A children’s room staff member created our elephant and piggie (and they turned out amazing!). I also bought blue and pink paper bags, similar to Marge at Tiny Tips for Library Fun.

Elephant & Piggie Puppets | Miss Meg's Storytime

Last year we had a big library carnival and along with that I had made a Pigeon mini golf course– which came in handy for this party! It was a big hit. We made it with plywood and pool noodles for the bumpers.


Thankfully there are some amazing teacher guides available on the Pigeon website- check them out! I downloaded all of them and used some activity pages for each and had these set out on a table along with scissors, glue, and markers.

And now for my favorite (and proudest) part of the party:

Mo Willems Partry | Miss Meg's Storytime

This idea came from Abby the Librarian on the ALSC blog.  To make them I used large pieces of cardboard (one was posterboard and two were from window boxes) and traced the characters using our projector.  I already had the correct paint colors from the mini golf so that part was really easy.  As for the stands– I wish I had a perfect way to tell you how to make them yourself, but alas, I don’t.  I went to Home Depot with the picture from Abby the Librarian and asked them for recommendations on how to make ours.  They don’t do miter cuts at home depot so luckily my boss was able to do that for me.  I then drilled all the pieces together.  And hot glued as reinforcement since I am a Children’s Librarian after all :)

Overall, this party was a HUGE success.  We had great attendance and everyone seemed to have a great time (parents and kids alike)

So as not to reinvent the wheel- instead of making a list of all the awesome bloggers who have already discussed their Mo Willems parties I will just redirect you to Jbrary– who has already made a list!

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