We’ll Link to That: Spring 2015

Every quarter we write a column for YAACING, a youth services newsletter published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association.  This spring our column is all about STEAM resources, but make sure to check out the entire Spring 2015 issue! If you’d like to catch up on our past columns you can find them here:

Summer Reading Club is right around the corner and this year’s theme is Build it!  Many of the sub-themes have a connection to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), so we thought we’d round up our Top 10 STEAM online resources. There is so much information online that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.  Well, here are 10 websites that will get you inspired to plan STEAM programs for kids ages 0-12 years old.

1. The Show Me Librarian
There is a reason why we think you should start with Amy’s page. Dubbed the STEAM Queen, Amy has created lists of science and STEAM programs she’s done with preschool and school age kids, other folks who are running STEAM programs and resources to locate non-fiction books and brush up on your science. We also love her emphasis on tapping into STEAM resources in your community. Truly a one-stop shop!

2. Abby the Librarian
But please don’t stop there. Our friend Abby has a series called Preschool Lab in which she includes all the storytime gold we’re used to like songs, rhymes, flannels and books with explanations about what makes each of them great. But that’s not all, Abby also includes stations that allow her storytimers to get their hands around different scientific and mathematical concepts. She ends with her thoughts on how it all went as well as additional ideas for caregivers to build on the ideas explored at home.

3. SimplySTEM
This is a wiki started by students from Spring 2013 ALSC course “S.T.E.M. Programs Made Easy” as a way to collect STEM resources and ideas floating around the interwebs. Check out their preschool and school age resources for lots of great tried and true ideas.

4. Robot Test Kitchen
This group of children and teen librarians blog about their failures and successes when it comes to programming with robotics in a library setting. We love their true confessions for thoughtful writing and lots of links and their reviews for learning about products we’ve only read about. In their words, two robot thumbs up!

5. Library Makers
This blog, which is connected to the Madison Public Library includes all kinds of great STEAM program ideas in the WonderWorks series. But don’t stop there, we love their Supper Club where they invite families to come eat dinner and take part in an app-based storytime, Toddler Art Class plus Craft Lab and NeedleReads for Teens.

6. Science Sparks
Though not a librarian-run blog, this website is chalk full of fun and easy science experiments broken down into age groups. They’ve got ideas for preschool science all the way up to tweens. The writers make a point to showcase activities you can do using commonly found household items. We especially love their book club posts which feature science experiments tied to popular children’s literature like The Lorax.

7. TinkerLab
Run by a mom and arts educator named Rachelle Doorley, this blog features open-ended experiments and art projects. She has one of the most user-friendly navigation bars, allowing you to easily search by art activity, science experiment, or age group. And her Resources page lists everything from what supplies she buys to books to read to her favourite blogs.

8. Little eLit
One of our favourite technology programming websites that specifically focuses on the role of libraries. Want to know what apps to use in storytime? Want to get ideas for iPad based programs? Little eLit is leading the way on innovative ideas and research on using new media in libraries with young children.

9. StarNET
StarNET provides science-technology activities and resources for libraries. Created by a coalition of groups such as ALA, the Space Science Institute, and the Afterschool Alliance, when you join their community you get access to successful STEAM programs libraries across North America have run.

10.  ALSC Blog
We’ve been following the official blog of the Association for Library Service to Children for a long time, but we just recently discovered their STEM/STEAM Tag. This tag gives you access to their archive of all STEAM ideas bloggers have shared over the years. From booklists to conference sessions to grant writing to program ideas, just spending an afternoon reading through these posts is sure to inspire and educate.

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