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!

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