Our public library is using S&S kits to create monthly Quaran-Steam Kits featuring a children’s STEAM activity. While the library is closed due to COVID-19, these kits are picked up through curbside service or drive thru and done at home. In addition to the necessary supplies for the activity, each bag also contains Instructions, an Explanation, Questions, Library Book Recommendations catering to the science behind that particular activity, and a QR code to browse kids’ science ebooks available through the library.
Balloon Powered Boat Craft Kit
The first activity we did was Wooden Balloon Powered Boat Craft Kit. We used the Balloon Powered Boat activity to talk about friction. Here’s the Explanation we included: Friction is the force that resists motion between two objects or surfaces. When you put your boat in the water, friction prevents it from moving very much. After blowing up the balloon, attaching it to the boat, and releasing it, the air in the balloon travels through the top of the boat and comes out the open end in the back. This pushes the board forward, overcoming the friction of the water that is pushing back against it. The boat moves forward because the force of the released air pushing the boat is greater than the force of the friction that is resisting its movement.
The S&S kits are great because they come with everything you need–it really makes things easier. We used the instructions that came with the kits for the boats so it’s easy to makes multiple copies. Paint and paintbrushes for each boat is also included in the kits. We simply divided the paint into small paint pod strips for each take-home bag.
High Bounce Balls Craft Kit
We have also done the High Bounce Balls Craft Kit. Coming in packs of twenty-four, these kits include a plastic mold and individually wrapped bags of crystals that we were able to easily include in every bag. We used these kits to talk about polymers and elastomers. We highlighted library books about science “toys” and fun experiments.
The crystals came in three different colors, which was a fun touch. I took one of each color to my niece and nephews to see how they went over. They were THRILLED as soon as the word “bouncy ball” was mentioned. The crystal packets contain a little more than necessary to fill the mold, so when the inevitable spill did happen, we were covered!
The project instructs to fill the mold with the crystals, and submerge in water for 5 minutes. I was a little nervous the kids might lose interest in the waiting period, given their ages (3, 5, and 6), but they stayed at the table watching them the entire time.
The next step is to fish them out and let them set on foil or plastic wrap for 7 minutes. We only had wax paper and it worked just as well. The kids waited the full 7 minutes on this step as well, though they struggled to keep their hands off the molds. During this time we read the explanation and questions included in the Quaran-STEAM kits and talked about the science behind bounce balls.
After the 7 minutes was up, the balls could be removed from the molds but still needed at least 30 minutes to dry. Success! I was a little surprised the 3-year-old’s turned out, but it did. We set a timer and left them to dry, but the kids stayed excited the whole time.
Success! The balls were shaped perfectly, dried well, and BOUNCED! They actually worked! The kids played with them the rest of the evening.
More S&S Kits Appropriate for Using as STEAM Activities:
- EduCraft® Kaleidoscopes Craft Kit
- Blast-off Rockets Craft Kit
- Cloud Climbers Wooden Toy Airplane Craft Kit
- Unfinished Wood Birdhouse, Unassembled
- Ping Pong Cannon Craft Kit
- Humming Toy Craft Kit
- Wooden Yo-Yo Craft Kit
- Robot Pull Toys Craft Kit
- Make-A-MandoHarp Craft Kit
- Rainbow Top Craft Kit
- Stellar Constellation Viewer Craft Kit
- EduCraft® Grass Hair Planters Craft Kit
- DIY Lotion Kit
- Bath Fizz Craft Kit
- Bug Houses Craft Kit
- Color-Me™ Friendship Kites
- Make A Drum Craft Kit
- Garden Rain Gauge Craft Kit
- Rubber Band Race Cars Craft Kit
- Magnif-Eyes Binoculars Craft Kit
- The Launcher Craft Kit
About the Author:
Maggie is a librarian in Appalachian Kentucky. Having worked in a variety of roles at different kinds of libraries, she likes to find ways to engage her community and get both children and adults interested in lifelong learning. Maggie writes about her library programs and events at her blog The Podunk Librarian. Her ideas help educators, parents, and other librarians lead meaningful (and fun!) activities.
Learn more on her website here.