I get asked a lot where do my ideas come from. I also get asked a lot if I can share my ideas. Like most librarians, I do not consider myself all knowing. I read a lot of resources and I brainstorm with a lot of librarians. Sometimes it can be difficult not to get overwhelmed.
At my public library, our story time sessions are divided into 6 weeks for each season. Due to this, it is very easy to do at least one weather inspired theme (maybe more); however, since my story time session is actually with grade school children, I try not to overlap what they may have done in school already.
So far this year and last year, we have had pretty heavy winters in my state. I use this as an opportunity to really use winter to overshadow many of my themes. Like last year, Disney’s movie Frozen is still extremely popular. Having children create snow, snowflakes and even ice glaciers is a quick way you can add a little STEM into your programming.
Here are some simple ways and themes you can do yourself:
In the current January issue of Library Sparks, Amy Koester wrote a section called Science and Caldecott. One of the topics that she mentioned was snowflakes. By combining nonfiction books such as It’s Snowing! By Gail Gibbons and Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.
When I do my programming with school age children, I always include either a D.I.Y. session where I ask kids different facts about the subject we are discussing or a slideshow. With the theme of snowflakes, you can easily do both and then have children create their own snowflakes.
What other winter inspired activities can you do?
- Create snow
Creating snow is a quick and fun activity that can be done with just about any age group. The project takes a couple of minutes to do and it teaches about chemistry. This activity can be an individual standalone project or something wide range. You can accompanied the project with non-fiction books about snow and even basic chemistry books.
Here are two different snow creation recipes:
- Essential Kids has a really simple recipe to create snow with only using with shaving cream and bicarbonate soda.
- You can also make snow just with a little water and bicarbonate soda if you follow WikiHow’s directions.
- Create Glaciers
The other thing that you can do is do an ice glacier introductory. There are many different ways to introduce children to glaciers.
You can try out the following projects:
- Glacier GAK According to Steve Pangler: The unique slow moving properties of the GAK simulate the movement of a glacier. At a molecular level, ice is comprised of stacked layers of molecules with relatively weak bonds between the layers. This is similar to the makeup of our GAK molecules. Ice can stretch or break depending on the amount of pressure applied. If there is a lot of pressure or a high strain rate, ice will crack or break (causing crevasses in glaciers). When the pressure is lower or the strain rate is small and constant, ice can bend or stretch. The steady pressure from the bulk of the ice mass and the pull of gravity cause the glacier to flow slowly (so slowly you can’t see it) downhill, bending like a river of ice.
- National Park Science has an Educational and Outreach section on their website which also offers fun projects. One project in particular is the Edible Landscapes which teaches about glaciers using ice cream.
- Make Ice Cream
Making ice cream is a very fun and easy. This past summer, over 30 kids joined me in creating ice cream in a bag. Here are the directions we used when we created this fun project: