We have been presenting Hands-On Science programs at the Wilmette Public Library since summer of 2012. Sometimes we go into the science concepts briefly, and other times in more depth, but we don’t really worry if the kids don’t come away with a lot of new science knowledge. We’re looking more for them to have fun and get a hands-on feel for how things work, so that when they learn the science concepts more formally, they’ll have some real-world experience to back that up. Sometimes we choose to focus on a science concept, and sometimes we start with a material and see where that takes us. We’re really just looking for things that we think will be fun and engaging.
You don’t have to be a scientist to create great science programming for kids. Start by choosing a topic or an experiment that looks fun to you. It’s OK to not know all the answers. Go where the topic takes you. Sometimes it might make sense to work in small groups, large groups, or as individuals. Mix demonstrations and experiments. Sometimes you can throw in some art, like with this static butterfly demonstration.
When searching out fun new ideas, Pinterest is your friend. Make use of all the great library books in your 507s. Borrow liberally from other libraries. Some other go-to resources:
Pierce County Library
Steve Spangler Science
The Show Me Librarian
See the slides below for more practical details about Hands-On Science programs.
Have fun science-ing!
–Keren Joshi, Head of Youth Services, Wilmette Public Library