We recently hosted a storytime session with a difference at Central Library which incorporated a fun craft activity followed by electronics and coding! The session was aimed at children aged 6 years and over.
We started the session by reading the story Doll-E 1.0 by Shanda McCloskey – the tale of a girl who loves inventing things and hacking her toys to create something new.
After the story we encouraged the children to make their own robot from scrap materials – the important component for these creations was tin foil! We needed this to be able to attach a Makey Makey to the robot to create a circuit. Once the robots were ready, we asked the children to write down 3 things on their inventor’s notes that they would like their robot to say! Children then used a program called Scratch to record their 3 phrases. Then it was time to create 2 bits of code (also in Scratch) that would give the robot instructions to say their phrases in a random order.
The final part was to plug in the Makey Makey to the computer that was attached to their robot and then run the code! When the children held the ground wire on the Makey Makey with one hand and then tapped the tin foil part of the robot with the other hand, their robot would speak!
It was a really fun session for the children, parents and the library staff! Not only did it allow the children to be creative but they learnt a little bit about STEM topics such as coding and electronics.
We have several regular coding sessions at various libraries across the city.
Your local library will have lots of books on coding. Here's a few of our favourites:
20 Makey Makey projects for the evil genius by Aaron Graves (also available as an eBook)
Cool Scratch projects in easy steps by Sean McManus
Coding in the real world by Heather Lyons
How to design the worlds best robot by Paul Mason
Girls who code: learn to code and change the world by Reshma Saujani
Make it! Don’t throw it away – create something by Jane Bull
Microbits in Libraries
The micro:bit is a tiny programmeable computer. It has loads of features including 25 red LED lights that can flash messages and two programmable buttons that can be used to control games.
You can borrow a Microbit from your library.