Do you love robotics, electronics, engineering and coding? If so, check out the newest library STEAM Kit: Cubelets!
What are Cubelets?
Cubelets are robotic blocks that you can snap together to form different types of robots. They are simple enough that a four-year-old can play with them but complex enough that teens enjoy tinkering with them too. Making robots with the Cubelets blocks is easy, intuitive and a lot of fun! Every Cubelets robot needs a sense block (black), an action block (clear) and a battery block (dark blue). The battery block has an on-off switch; make sure it’s on before you start to play. Just snap these blocks together and you’ve built a robot!
Older kids can download the apps for even more fun!
Cubelets App (Beginner)
The Cubelets App is your portal to new ways of playing with Cubelets using a remote control or “personality swap.” Available for Android 4.4 (KitKat) or newer, including Fire OS versions and iOS 9 or newer.
Cubelets Blockly (Advanced)
Use Cubelets Blockly to learn how to program your own robots. Create countless new robots and behaviors with the parallel programming. Available for Bluetooth-enabled Mac, PC (Windows 10) or iPad (iOS 9 or newer).
Inspired to give Cubelets a try? Check one out from your library or bookmobile!
Do you have a kiddo who craves nonfiction? What about a child who is just starting to learn to read? Try setting your child up with World Book Early Learning. This recently revamped resource has a plethora of videos, photographs, stories and games, all on a variety of topics. If you’re familiar with the old version, this one boasts a new design in addition to more content. Kids can choose a topic that interests them, like dinosaurs or sea creatures, and easily access all of the content in that category. Some stories are labelled by Lexile level to help grownups direct kids to content appropriate to their reading level. All of the stories and information pages have the option to listen to a voice-over while following the highlighted words.
Each topic has videos and pictures to explore, as well as games and activities. One of my favorites is the paint by number activity, which even incorporates some math problems. After reading about sea turtles and watching a video of a stingray, I played a sea creatures matching game and did a dolphin paint by number. There’s oodles of fun content, and even a page for grown ups. This invaluable part of the site features lesson plans and Lexile levels to accompany the various stories, and even links to a foldable version of the book that you can print and use at home or in the classroom. They also provide curriculum correlations for early childhood through second grade.
I had way too much fun exploring this great resource, and I bet your kids will too! Just log in with your library card number and password and you are ready to go.
One of the perks of your library card is access to all the digital resources that we have to offer, and DBRL has over 70 online resources for all ages. We’ve recently acquired a cool new online tool called Read It! Geared toward middle and high school students, this resource provides basic knowledge on a wide variety of topics.
While Read It! is great for anyone looking to learn more about topics like U.S. history, world civilizations and science, it is particularly helpful for English language learners. The articles are short and concise, and you can use the “listen” feature to hear the article read out loud. There’s also an option to translate the article into 34 different languages!
Ready to explore this database and learn something new? Then click here to give Read It! a try. Happy Reading!
“Peter Pan,” “Toy Story,” “Lion King,” “Lady and the Tramp”; just reading the titles of these iconic Disney and Pixar films brings back fond memories of childhood Friday nights, watching a film from Blockbuster. Blockbuster is no longer with us, RIP, but the library has stepped in to keep you and your family entertained when you can watch “Frozen” no more! In addition to all of your favorite classic American films, DBRL has a selection of international animated children’s films for families with kids of all ages! International films are a great way to start conversations about different cultures, help your children develop a broader worldview and enjoy a movie that’s new, even for you!
The films below are listed by country and are either available as a DVD at the library or on our streaming service, Kanopy. I’ve watched all of these films, so I’ve included a personal age recommendation for each movie.
Did you know the library offers tablets for children, called Launchpads? These educational, pre-loaded tablets playfully cover topics such as reading, science, math and much more. Each tablet has 10 learning apps chosen around a theme and checks out for one week.
Already a fan of the Launchpads? Then you will be excited to learn we have rolled out several new tablet themes for each age range! Check out the full lineup below.
Librarians love acronyms. ALA, YALSA, YSCI–if we can make it an acronym, we probably will! Though I’ve gotta say, one of my favorite acronyms is STEAM. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. We have all kinds of physical copies of STEAM books here at the library, but we also offer a plethora through Hoopla! And really, what could be better than reading a book about technology on a technological device?
In case you’ve never tried it, Hoopla is an online service that provides audiobooks, eBooks, movies and music. Since Hoopla offers so many things, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. If you’re trying to find something great and STEAM-related for your kid, there are a couple good ways to refine the search. If you’re on a mobile device, you can start by going to “Settings” on the app and selecting “Kids Mode.” This will show only materials appropriate for children, so it’s a great way to let your kid browse with you. Next, simply search for “STEAM.” Voilà, you and your kiddo now have plenty of STEAM options to choose from! Here’s a few that I found, and I can’t wait to read them. Continue reading “STEAM eBooks on Hoopla”
Computer programming helps kids cultivate creativity and problem-solving skills while strengthening their ability to apply scientific thinking. To help youth enhance their coding skills in a fun and collaborative environment, the Columbia Public Library is hosting five sessions of “Coding Lab” later this month.
Youth will code their own robot or video game using visual programming. Instead of manually typing complex commands, kids can drag and drop graphical buttons to create a sequence of commands. This approach is far more intuitive for new coders.
“Coding Lab” attendees choose among several learning stations that feature our newest tech toys such as littleBits, Osmo, LEGO MINDSTORMS, Cubelets and more! This program is for those ages 10 and up. To register, call (573) 443-3161.
The library carries many titles to teach yourself computer programming, including these great books for kids:
Kanopy has been a great resource for library patrons when it comes to educational media, including documentaries, international movies and critically acclaimed independent films. Recently, however, Kanopy has expanded towards our younger audiences, creating Kanopy Kids!
“You’ll find hundreds of educational and enriching videos that help children develop empathy, mindfulness, and self-esteem, with more titles added every month.”-Kanopy Website
Kanopy has partnered with Common Sense Media to ensure that all programming is accurately rated and categorized. This helps kids and their parents find shows and movies that are appropriate for their development level. Library patrons get six free downloads a month, so get watching!
We do lots of cool things at our library branches for kids, parents and caregivers. DBRL hosts hundreds of programs for kids every year — from story times to magic shows. We also continuously get new books and other new library materials for our youngest patrons.
To get the word out about the fun things we do and have here at the library, we have created a bimonthly Kids & Parents email newsletter. If you sign up, you’ll be the first to know about our library programs, resources and maybe even a few library secrets!
As a parent to three little ones, I’m always searching for new resources to pull out at a moment’s notice. There are times that play dough and building blocks don’t excite enough, and I resort to media. When I do, I want to make sure that what I’m putting in front of my kids is safe and quality entertainment.