ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – With straws, tape and yarn, kids can learn how to create a simple pulley system from home.
It’s one of several STEAM kits offered by the Orange County Library System. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.
“Each comes in a take-home bag, so you don’t have to worry about gathering up materials. It’s just grab and go,” said Youth Services Librarian Silence Bourn.
Bourn helped come up with the concept. Each kit contains a STEAM project with a story behind it.
“Another one that we have is loosely based on Peter Rabbit, so you have to design a marble run and that will be the farmer’s garden and the marble is Peter trying to get to all of the veggies,” Bourn said.
In this project, kids can create their own obstacles on a paper plate.
“It uses gravity and your motor skills to navigate the marble around the maze and get to the finish line,” Bourn said.
A different kit will be available each month now through August with projects like creating a paper helicopter and building a latch system. Step-by-step instructions are included with additional art projects, related book lists and STEAM review questions.
“We really like developing, what we call, ‘connected learning experiences.’ They have an opportunity to engage with their caregivers and siblings,” Bourn said. “We encourage them to use their imagination to draw something or puzzle their way through something, or learn a scientific concept that they can experiment further at home. It’s something that propels them to keep learning and growing.”
OCLS has created more than 17,000 kits for families in Orange County, offering another way to keep kids busy during the summer months. The materials were purchased using CARES Act funds.
The STEAM kits are available for pick-up at all of the OCLS branches. They are free with a library card.