Friday, June 30, 2017

A week in the life! Mazes, puppets, buttons, oh my!

Another week of pop-up making complete!

Again this week, we started at Pinney Library, and we had so much fun! The kit we worked with is called Maps and Mazes. 

Some kids designed intricate mazes on paper as well as on the ground with tape. Others drew maps. And someone wanted to make a racing track instead, and another decided to construct a house (complete with support beam). It is awesome to see where imaginations lead them when they have awesome supplies to choose from! 

But the most popular activity by far was the laser maze. 

Kids taped red crepe paper between the walls and tables to signify laser beams. Then they took turns crawling through it, trying not to touch the paper-- I mean lasers. 

As time went on, the laser maze became more and more intricate. Not many adults wanted to climb through, but Caide was brave enough to give it a try.

At Alicia Ashman, we made different kinds of paper puppets and paper masks. By the end of the day there were googly eyes and feathers everywhere! Here are some of the final products:

(L) Bro with a lightsaber. (R) Yoda with a lightsaber. 
Many of the kids stayed long enough to make two or three puppets. Some girls even made sandwiches for their puppets, as well as a box to put all the food in. One of Kai's favorite moments was when a girl accidentally decorated the wrong side of the paper puppet, and instead of getting sad or frustrated she invented a new way to move the puppet so that the face would be right side up.  

Two puppets and one mask.
Paper bag puppet.

When Caide went to Hawthorne, they made things with the Things That Fly kit, constructing many different styles of paper airplanes that whizzed around the children's section of the library.

After making several airplanes, some of the kids tried out their own flying and exploding contraptions out of popsicle sticks, or even helicopter like vehicles held together by rubber bands.

Caide was sorry to leave at the end of the hour since the kid's creations kept getting more and more creative as the time went on, but she was glad that some of the kids took materials home to keep working on their inventions.

At Lakeview, the kids played with the Mystery Boxes kit, and it was as much as success there as it was at Pinney.  

This week we added two libraries to our program: Goodman South and Meadowridge. At Goodman South we made paper circuits-- one of Kai's favorite kits. There weren't many kids that rainy day, and the ones that were there were quite young. But one mother-son duo worked together to make two paper circuits. Here is the robot that the boy decided to wear as a necklace: 

That same day, Kai went to Meadowridge for the first time this summer. There she and a bunch of kids constructed buildings and towers with Keva planks. One of the families that came was very experienced with Keva planks, because they have some at home. The oldest girl offered her friends in the library advice for making their structures stronger and less likely to topple over. It was a great example of team work. 

When Kai finally had to pack up, some of the kids helped by tossing the planks into their box as if they were basketballs through a hoop. Thanks for your help, friends! And nice three-pointers. 

Finally, on Friday at Central, we made buttons. We either cut out images from magazines and old book covers, or drew our own designs. Kids stayed and made up to five buttons each; they couldn't get enough of it! 

One of the girls found an image designed by the Bubbler that says, "Libraries are for everyone," and shows different people reading books. We have that same design in many languages including Arabic. The girl recognized that one immediately, and decided to turn it into a button. She couldn't read Arabic herself, but she wanted to show it to her dad who knows the language. 

It's such a pleasure to get to know the greater community of Madison through the Maker Corps programming. We wonder who we'll meet next! Check out our full schedule of locations and times at

Monday, June 19, 2017

Maker Corps is Back: Meet Kai and Caide

Maker Corps is Back!

Hello there! We are Kai (left) and Caide (right), your new Maker Interns this summer. Today we completed our first week of pop-up workshops and we are already having so much fun. Between playing with the maker kits on our own (for practice, of course), and leading our first library workshops, this summer is shaping up to be a great one!

We were a bit nervous at the start, but everyone at the libraries has been friendly and welcoming. We began our week at Pinney Library where we tinkered with the Mystery Boxes maker kit. A handful of kids and their guardians showed up. Someone made a “thingamajig.” One girl made a spinning top game:

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And someone else made a robot with a cup holder for a hand:

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It was great to watch the kids engage with the random objects (pipe cleaners, paper fasteners, packing peanuts, cardboard, etc.) in the boxes, and create interesting artifacts with them. Kai’s favorite part of the day was hearing kids wonder aloud about how to fix or change something on their creation before they tried it.  

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The next day, we split off to our different locations. Caide went to Hawthorne Library to make paper puppets. The crowd at Hawthorne was much younger, but most kids were still able to fold their paper into all kinds of creations. There were pirate puppets, puppets with rainbow feathers, twisted pipe cleaner tongues, and even a puppet with a fancy hat.

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It was incredible to watch the materials come alive and watch the puppets develop their own personalities and skills. Caide loved how excited the kids got about their own creations, wanting to show everyone their newest additions and making up the puppet’s natural habitats.
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Kai spent time at Alicia Ashman Library on Tuesday in the children’s section. We played with the Things that Fly maker kit, and made paper airplanes and catapults out of popsicle sticks. There were a lot of beautifully decorated airplanes that we took turns flying toward a paper target. The catapults were more difficult to make than the airplanes, but that challenge led to problem solving and collaboration. Some kids decided not to make paper airplanes or catapults at all. One girl made the letters A, L, and T, to represent the first initial of her and her siblings. Another girl made little popsicle stick people. Kai was amazed by the kids’ imaginations and ingenuity. She can’t wait to be there next week with the Paper Puppets kit!

On Thursday Caide went to Lakeview to make things with keva planks- thin, long, wooden blocks with endless possibilities. Although the crowd was small, most kids who filtered through the teen room built incredible towers, houses, roller coasters, and a structure that controls the sky.

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One of Caide’s favorite moments was when a long chain of blocks set up like dominoes fell before the kids were ready, but instead of getting frustrated, the fallen dominoes became a slanted wall that gradually flattened to the floor.

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And of course, there was the mighty Wonder Tower with an amazing outside and inside structure. We can't wait for the rest of the summer! Check out our full schedule of locations and times at

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