Category Archives: Programming

“A Bear’s Year” by Kathy Duval

This is a read aloud/craft program for ages 3 to 5 courtesy of Kirsten Cappy from Curious City DPW.  You can download the read aloud kit here: Bears_Years_Read_Aloud-Kit.pdf.

The kit comes with everything you need to run this program including printables and step-by-step instructions.  There are two options for the printable bear, already colored or black & white.  The set-up needed is that of a typical storytime with craft.  The program ran approximately 40 minutes but can be adjusted for less time if necessary.

What’s great about this program is you can add science and vocabulary elements by discussing the words in the book and the activities bear does in different seasons.

This program was presented by Rosemarie Birofka from Syosset Public Library as a part of the workshop Book Themed Programs: From Baby Time to Harry Potter..  For more information please contact Rosemarie through email:


Pokemon Go Links

Gathering links for all you need to know about Pokemon Go!169


Whodunnit at Glen Cove Library?

The Glen Cove Library held a STEAM-based program that had participants learning about solving crimes as well as analyzing fingerprints, codes, and measurements.

The participants were asked to discover who might have stolen a valuable statue from the library. Each participating child received a detective starter kit and viewed various suspect profiles at stations around the library. Teen Advisory Board volunteers (6th-12 graders), who earned service hours for the program, helped to plan it. They created video, evidence for various stations, and other items. The teens were also in charge of each station.

Three Stations:

  1. Fingerprint Station: Kids used stamp pads to take their own fingerprints, and learned to analyze and identify their fingerprints. They also had to identify the shape of the suspect’s fingerprint on statue.
  2. Message Decoding: Kids found a message found in art history book, implicating suspect, but had to first decode it. They learned about ciphers and used decoding markers.
  3. Footprint Conversion: Kids measured a footprint found at the scene of the crime and converted the measurement to show a possible height.

Once the kids were done at each of the stations, they were able to create a suspect profile and then discover who took the statue.

–Lauren Loechner, Glen Cove Public Library


Sailboat Maker Buddies Program


The Syosset Public Library ran a Maker Buddies program with helpful teen volunteers. The volunteers teamed up with kids in grades 3-5 to assemble sailboats. These sailboats were created using plastic 3D printed pieces printed out using a 3D printer. Once the sailboats were assembled, the kids tested the sailboats to see if they floated.

The children learned about the center-of-gravity, angle of incidence and resulting forces on the sail, how to steer a sailboat to go opposite the way the wind is blowing, and the iterative design process for improving performance.

The most exciting part of the program was near the end. The kids made adjustments and modifications to the original designs. They added sails, combining multiple kits, changing the lengths of the straws and adding platforms.


  • 3D printed parts: sail spars, forward frame, aft frame, centerboard, rudder and tiller.
  • 4 colorful soda straws.
  • colorful cellophane food packaging
  • plastic shoebox and water


  1. Print the set of sailboat parts (designed to fit on the small Printerbot Simple bed
  2. Cut 4 equal straw pieces (3 inches long) for pontoons
  3. Cut a 1 inch straw for centerboard support
  4. Cut a 3 inch straw for mast
  5. Cut triangle sail from cellophane and tape to printed spars
  6. Assemble sailboat

Once assembled

  1. Fill plastic box half full of water.
  2. Float in water and adjust tiller and sail for broad reach.
  3. Gently blow on sail through a straw.
  4. Each boat in the regatta has a shoebox and the sailors provide their own wind at the starting signal.
  5. Winner is the first boat to go the length of the box without touching the side.
  6. Winner of the tournament (regatta) gets to keep the winning boat (which is replaced in the fleet by the one printing during the competition.)


Lessons include

  • center-of-gravity
  • angle of incidence and resulting forces on the sail,
  • how to steer a sailboat to go other than the way the wind is blowing,
  • the iterative design process for improving performance instructions


–Pam Strudler, Syosset Public Library

STEAM Programming: AMESS

At the Peninsula Public Library, we encourage children to make a mess! Our young patrons in 1st-6th grades enjoyed an interactive — hands on/imagination on — three-session program involving art and mathematics, engineering, and science through non-fiction stories. The program is called AMESS: Art and the Marvelous Exploration of Science through Stories. Each one-hour session begins with the reading of a non-fiction book or online book on a topic. Here’s an example of a three-week program.

Week 1: Snowflake Exploration

SnowflakeExWe used a smartboard to show the online Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. After the reading, we talked about snow crystals and how they form. We mixed Epsom salts and water (1 part salts to 2 parts hot water in a cup) to make “ice-crystal paint.” The kids used this paint to make designs on black construction paper. As the paint dries, the crystals form. The kids viewed crystals in the book for ideas on how to create their own. We also looked up paper snowflakes and made them as well.

Week 2: Marshmallow Challenge

MarshmallowThis fun design/build exercise teaches some simple but profound lessons in collaboration, innovation, hidden assumptions, and creativity that are central to the engineering process.

Children listened to the book Building by Elisha Cooper; other construction/design books were on display. Children were given white paper and pencils to design their own tall buildings. After sharing their designs, the children were separated into groups of 4 to 6 to plan their building strategies. The instructions and rules for the Marshmallow Challenge were given out.

Week 3: Oobleck Experiment

We read Bartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss, then made oobleck! The recipe follows:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1.5-2 cups corn starch
  • a few drops of food coloring

Mix together in a bowl. Point out how it is first a liquid, then hardens when pressure is applied.

–Ilene Madden, Peninsula Public Library



STEM Program: Bedtime Math’s Crazy 8s Club

Crazy 8s is a recreational after-school math club that is available forCrazy8sSidebar library use. The creators call it “math gone wild, nothing like your usual math club!” Click here for more details on Crazy 8s.

Here’s the outline of Crazy 8s’ “Let’s Get Loud” program, which is aimed at children in 3rd-5th grades:

The Big Idea

You’ll use water and straws to generate different sounds, then make a pan flute out of milkshake straws. Finally, you get to yell into a decibel meter to find out how loud you can be — using math the whole time to create funky music.


Bedtime Math provides

  • Milkshake straws (9 per child)
  • Measuring tapes (1 per child)

You provide:

  • Scissors (1 per child)
  • Markers (1 per child)
  • Rolls of masking tape
  • Paper or plastic cups (1 per child; half-filled with water to start)
  • Free sound meter app for a smart phone or computer (e.g. Decibel 10th for iPhone)
  • Free keyboard/piano app (for bonus)

Key Prep

  • Fill 1 paper or plastic cup for each child halfway with water.
  • Maker your own pan flute ahead of time to use as an example during the activity.

What’s the Math

  • Measuring length
  • Comparing and sequencing lengths
  • Simple relationships between variables


Intro: Did you know that no one can hear you yell in outer space? That’s because there’s no air! When we make sound, we’re actually rippling the air into waves. Today we’re going to test two math ideas about sound — the pitch, or how high or low a sound is; and the volume, how loud it is.

A Watery Whistle (5 minutes)

Intro to the kids: The strings or pipes of a xylophone or a guitar play different musical notes because they’re different lengths. We can see how this works with a milkshake straw and a cup of water.

  1. Have each child take 1 full-length straw and practice blowing across the top of the straw, rather than through it.
  2. Have each child put a straw into his/her half-filled cup.
  3. Tell the kids to blow across the top of the straw as they move it up and down in the water.

Ask the kids: What happens to the sound? Why? How does the length of the straw relate to the pitch (high or low notes)?

Bonus questions (optional): Why does this happen? (Shorter pieces produce sounds with shorter wavelengths, which are higher in pitch)

Have everyone drink or pour out the water to prepare for the next activity.

Be the Pied Piper (25 minutes)

PanPipeIntro: Now we’re going to use this idea to make our own pan flutes!

  1. Hand each child 8 straws, a measuring tape, a marker, and scissors.
  2. Using a measuring tape, each child measures and marks his/her 8 straws with a line at the following lengths (1 measurement per straw)
    • 9 inches
    • 8 inches
    • 7 1/8 inches
    • 6 3/4 inches
    • 6 inches
    • 5 3/8 inches
    • 4 3/4 inches
    • 4 1/2 inches
  3. Kids draw an X on the part of each straw past the marking. This is the piece they will throw away.
  4. Kids should cut each straw at the line they drew and put their completed flute pieces into their cups to keep track of them.
  5. The kids test the sounds of their straws: They hold each straw with one end pointing up and blow gently across the top.

Ask the kids: Do the straws sound the same? Which straws made higher notes?

  1. Using masking tape, kids should tape over one of each straw so no air can escape.

Ask the kids: How does the sound change when you cover one end? (It drops by one octave.)

  1. After taping the ends, have the kids put the straws in order of length, from longest to shortest, with the shortest on the left.
  2. The top open ends should all be lined up.
  3. Help the kids tape across the straws to hold them together.
  4. Now the kids blow across the top to make music.

Ask the kids: How does the sound change according to straw length? (Shorter straws make higher notes.) In math, the way two or more things change with each other — like the pitch and the length of the straw — is called their correlation. When the temperature rises, what else goes up? (e.g. thirst, the desire to go swimming) What does down (we wear fewer clothes)

Bonus (optional): If you have tuned instrument handy (guitar, keyboard, smartphone app), you can experiment to find out what notes the kids’ pan flutes play. they can then label the notes on the tape.

Be Loud (15 minutes)

Intro: Did you know that you can use numbers to measure noise? Sound is measured in decibels. Let’s use a sound meter to find out how loud you are!

  1. DecibelRoll out 10 feet on a measuring tape, lock it, and place it on the floor. Kids gather at one end of the 10-foot tape, while you stand at the other.
  2. Open up one of the suggested free sound-meter apps.
  3. The musicians play their flutes one at a time, 10 feet away from your sound meter. Watch and compare the meter readings.
  4. Now try voices. Kids take turns standing 10 feet from the meter and talking, while a partner watches the meter to see the range of readings and the peak sound.
  5. Then, one volunteer holds a long, loud note on “ah.” Everyone notes the decibel level.
  6. Then the hollerer walks toward the meter while holding that loud note.
  7. See if the next yeller can get louder. Note: Encourage them not to screech — they actually be louder if they “belt” instead.

Ask the kids: What happened to the decibel readings as people go closer?  Unlike an inch, which is always the same amount, decibels change with distance for the same sound: They drop as you stand farther from the noise, and rise as you stand closer.

Cool fact: When you go up 10 decibels, you double the loudness!

A Touch of Class

Intro: Did you ever realize there is so much math in music — and that it’s just like the math you use in class? Your text books might ask

  1. Which is longer, 1/8 inch of 1/2 inch?
  2. If you have 3/4 inch and cut off 1/4 inch, what’s left?

Kids can take home their pan flutes to explore music and math even more.

— Emily Trezza, West Hempstead Public Library




Meow! Cats STEM Story Time

Here’s an outline for a STEM-oriented story time based on a favorite pet — CATS!

STEM: Discussion-Science-Animal Species

  • Does anyone have a cat as a pet?
  • What sound does a cat make?
  • Is a lion a cat? (Show cover of a book on lions or tigers.)
  • Can you name some big cats? (Mention lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards.)
  • Using an iPad play sounds of cats — big and small


  • Mr. King’s Castle by Genevieve CoteMrKingsCastle
  • Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
  • Matilda and Hans by Yokococo
  • Have You Seen My Cat by Eric Carle
  • Assorted non-fiction books on big cats
  • Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert
  • Little Beauty by Anthony Browne
  • What will Fat Cat Sit On? by Jan Thomas

Flannel Story: Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon!

STEAM: Arts-Music
Action Song: Paws, Whiskers, Ears and Tails (sung to Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes)

Paws (curl hands in front)
Whiskers (make whiskers on sides of face — this is also the American Sign Language sign for “cat”)
Ears (touch ears) and Tails (touch tail)
Ears and Tails

We’ll lick our fur (pretend to lick)
And nap right here (pretend to nap)
Paws, whiskers, ears and tails, ears and tails (repeat actions as before)

STEM: Engineering
Build a Block Castle!

As a group, build a giant castle, referencing the book Mr. King’s Castle using cardboard bricks or other empty boxes.

STEM: Math
Fingerplay: “Five Little Kittens”

Five little kittens, standing in a row (hold up 5 fingers)
They nod their heads to the children so (“nod” fingers)
They run to the left, they run to the right (move hand left and right)
They stand up and stretch in the bright sunlight (lift hand up)
Along comes a dog, who’s looking for some fun (move other fist toward cat fingers)
MEOW! see those five kittens run! (hide hand behind back)


Fingerplay: “Little Kittens”

Five little kittens (hand in fist), all back and white
Sleeping very soundly, all through the night.
Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow (raise each finger individually)
It’s time to get up now!

STEAM: Arts-CraftCisforCat
Create a letter C “cat”

–Michele Rudzewick, North Bellmore Public Library