STEM Kit Spotlight
Each month will feature a different S.T.E.M. kit from the amazing selection at BPL.
KIT #28, ages 4+
Did you know you can check out the Create-a-Chain Reaction Stem Kit (master set) from Benzonia Public Library's extensive collection of learning toys in the children's room?
With this kit, kids set off a chain reaction of fun! This set lets children of all ages set up a course of ramps, pendulums, hammers, switches and more…then drop a ball onto the tracks and go for the goal box! After each test run, kids will fine-tune the placement, distance and angle of each piece—getting firsthand practice with STEM concepts such as gravity, force and momentum!
Packed with super-durable plastic pieces, the set is perfect for open-ended building—or kids can use the leveled challenge cards to create a variety of different courses from scratch!
Dr. Fizz and Boomer spent all day perfecting their chain reaction course and staying out of trouble.
GEOSAFARI JR. TALKING MICROSCOPE
KIT #26, ages 3+
Did you know you can find and borrow a talking microscope from BPL's STEM Kits located in the children's room? You can look, listen and learn with the GeoSafari Jr. Talking Kids Microscope, created by Educational Insights, which features up-close, quality images and the voice of Bindi Irwin, Wildlife Warrior, who will expand your knowledge of animals and plants.
Introduce children to a real scientific toy that is easy to use and fun to learn with over 100 facts and questions. The real slides include 60 beautiful full-color images and 2 modes of play: Fact Mode and Quiz Mode. The talking microscope is the perfect STEM TOY to encourage an interest in biology, botany, technology and overall curiosity.
The microscope was so easy to use and interesting, it kept Dr. Fizz and Boomer engaged all day. Dr. Fizz was fascinated by the microscopic world and he teased Boomer for being mesmerized by Bindi Irwin's voice relaying scientific facts.
OZBOT BIT STARTER PACK
KIT #20, ages 6+
Did you know that Benzonia Public Library has an Ozobot Bit Starter Pack you can check out? It is part of the STEM kit collection found in the children's room. Ozobot has quickly become one of the best tech toys of all time. Educators and techies rave about the tiny robots and how efficiently they teach many STEM principles. The Ozobot Bit Starter Pack is ready to start teaching coding and computing skills right out of the box. You can start your adventure into coding "screen-free" as you draw colorful commands and the ping-pong-ball-sized robot responds with lights and motion. Art meets tech with Bit, the bot you code with colors. Color Codes are short sequences, made with markers or stickers, that command Bit to speed up, spin, zig zag, and more! The Starter Pack comes with activity sheets, markers, and other accessories to get you started.
Once you learn what Ozobots can do, you can go to the Ozobot website and get more games, or even learn how to code in Blockly language to program your own Ozobot (Yes, you can actually program your Ozobot by writing the code, then holding the robot up to the computer screen!).
Dr. Fizz and Boomer report that these little robots are wonderful tools to teach coding to both kids and adults. They have never had so much fun with such a tiny robot, and they learned a lot, too!
MAGNA TILES METROPOLIS SET
KIT #29, ages 3+
BPL now has 30 S.T.E.M. kits available to borrow. One of the most popular kits is Magna-Tiles Metropolis Set. This playset is designed for ages 3-99 and is the next generation in the award-winning series. Magna-Tiles, the original magnetic construction sets, have been keeping children engaged and excited to learn since 1997! In addition to the typical neon colored square and triangular panels, the 110-piece set includes a spinner, vehicle platforms, windows, quarter circles, and more to take your building exploration further. From a busy high-rise metropolis to a thriving colony on space, there's no stopping your imagination with this new set! This kit will provide hours of creative play while sharpening color recognition, pattern visualization, spatial and fine motor skills, along with math and science principles.
Dr. Fizz and Boomer kept themselves busy all day while engineering an entire city, including a new mouse house.
KIT #21, ages 3+
Did you know that you can borrow the RAMPSET interactive kit from the Benzonia Public Library's STEM kit collection? RAMPSET, made by the Excellerations Company, is a preschool and elementary STEM toy that allows young scientists to create fun engineering experiments. Simply place supports in the bases, add ramps and complete challenges with balls and carts to discover force and motion, cause and effect and more science concepts. It is specially sized to be used on a table top or floor. Kids can work together (encouraging cooperation), or alone (independent and entertaining study) to build each model. It is great for STEM exploration and cognitive development.
Dr. Fizz and Boomer had a ball, and kept themselves busy all day, building ramps and guessing the speed of the different balls rolling down them.
KIT #25, ages 8+
Did you know Benzonia Public Library has ThinkFun's most popular game: Lazer Maze? ThinkFun is the world's leading manufacturer of brain games and mind challenging puzzles. Lazer Maze tops them all, and is a winner of the Good Housekeeping Best Toys Award. It's a beam bending logic game that comes with 60 challenges of increasing difficulty, from beginner to expert. Lazer Maze makes a great game for kids who like hands-on puzzles and challenging activities. Laser Maze is made with high quality components, and comes with a very clear and easy to understand instruction manual - you'll be able to play within minutes of opening the box. Like all of ThinkFun's games, Laser Maze is built to develop critical thinking skills and ties into STEM subjects like science and engineering. Building and playing through the increasingly difficult challenges will sharpen your mind by improving logical reasoning, spatial reasoning and planning skills, all through fun gameplay.
Boomer is fascinated by logic puzzles and Dr. Fizz thinks playing with lasers really ups his scientist street cred... They wanted to play all day!
LITTLEBITS BASE INVENTOR
KIT #23, ages 8+
Did you know BPL has the littleBits Base inventor Kit available to borrow? This introductory kit includes everything creative kids need to turn their ideas into inventions! With a range of Bits that move, light up, and make noise, kids gain STEAM skills by learning how technology is built and how it functions. Use the littleBits app to access step-by-step instructions that guide kids through building fun inventions, like a voice-activated robotic gripper arm or a room-protecting intruder alarm, with littleBits' electronic blocks. Over 12 in-app activities and stories of real-world inventors inspire kids to create their own inventions. Through hands-on and digital play, littleBits empowers kids to be creators and inventors with technology, not just consumers of it. The littleBits experience goes beyond product; it enables kids to understand the world around them. Our kids will live in a world of AI, self-driving cars, and space travel. littleBits instills transferable skills in our kids to help prepare them for the jobs of the future. All littleBits electronic blocks (even in other kits!) can be combined and reconfigured to create brand-new inventions. Dr. Fizz and Boomer are designing an automated alarm system to protect their lutefisk and cheese collection.
GEOSMART SPACE TRUCK
KIT #12, ages 5+
Did you know that you can borrow the GeoSmart Space Truck STEM kit from Benzonia Public Library? Explore space with this magnetic Space Truck Geowheels construction set! Build multiple space trucks with this 42-piece set, featuring a train connector to build space trucks with a trailer too. The kit features a variety of different colored Geoshapes and 6 colorful wheels to help children make cool and creative space trucks that will overcome just about any extra-terrestrial terrain! The GeoSmart Space Truck set is an excellent way for children to develop their understanding of STEM concepts with safety in mind while having fun and being creative! Perfect for children 5 years and up who are interested in science and space. GeoSmart features a patented double-locking system for ultimate safety with strong magnets and high-quality materials that enables fun learning at home and in the classroom. Young builders can expand their spatial insight and hand-eye coordination by creating exciting 2D and 3D structures. Dr. Fizz is amazed at how many different types of Space Trucks Boomer has built in one afternoon. They are considering starting their own space program to one day drive one of Boomer's creations on Mars.
HUMAN BODY MAGNETIC
KIT #14, ages 3-6
Did you know that the Benzonia Public Library has a Magnetic Human Body Play Set to borrow from the S.T.E.M. kit collection in the children's room? Made by the trusted company Melissa & Doug, the "gold standard in childhood play," and better than x-ray vision, this magnetic wooden figure is a fantastic learning aid! Help preschool and young children visualize the skeleton, internal organs, circulatory system, and more, by placing magnets on the body. Set includes anatomically correct magnets for boys and girls and a wooden stand. This playset has 24 pieces to help kids visualize the body's systems and promotes hand-eye coordination, creative expression, and imaginative play.
Dr. Fizz and Boomer learned a lot about the human body. Now, when the librarian says "You two are getting on my nerves," they know what she's talking about and can quickly identify that system.
LEAPFROG 100 ANIMALS BOOK
KIT #19, ages 18 months-4 years
Leap on over to the children's room and check out the LeapFrog 100 Animals Book! This learning tool from the groundbreaking LeapFrog company, is a #1 best-seller and patron favorite, and for good reason: It is amazing. Six double-sided, touch interactive pages feature animals from 12 different environments such as the forest, the ocean and the shore as an early introduction to science concepts. Kids can explore the book through three different play modes and hear the animal names read aloud, the sounds they make and learn fun facts. Flip the switch to learn new words for animals, habitats and facts in both English and Spanish. To really top it off, the 100 Animals Book plays three songs to emphasize all the fun and learning.
Dr. Fizz and Boomer spent hours playing and learning (and keeping out of trouble) with this great book. After playing together, they quizzed each other on animal facts and new Spanish terms they discovered.
KID K’NEX OODLES OF PALS BUILDING SET,
KIT #16, ages 3+
Did you know that you can borrow the Kid K'nex Oodles of Pals Building Set from BPL? It is another amazing STEM kit that is available in the children's room.
Oodles of Pals gives you endless possibilities to create the silliest bunch of friends! The set comes with 60 amazing building ideas and 116 colorful parts and pieces. These parts have the same quality and ingenuity that you expect with other K'nex but are a little bigger and more pliable for smaller hands. Plus, you'll find unique pieces that are only available in this set, including colorful eyes, spinning wheels, tractor scoops, big feet, and curly tails!
Watch your child's imagination grow as they bring oodles of pals to life, while sharpening knowledge of STEM concepts and developmental coordination. It is recommended for ages 3-5, but as Dr. Fizz and Boomer quickly realized, builders of all ages will love the Oodles of Pals from K'nex.
K’NEX STRUCTUTES: BRIDGES,
KIT #17, ages 8+
Did you know you can borrow a K'nex bridge building kit from BPL? The K'nex Education- STEM Building Solution Bridge Kit is a highly fun and educational building toy designed for builders 8 and up. This kit contains the interlocking pieces and instructions to construct 13 different Bridge models. Each bridge option has simple instructions and a small write-up explaining its design concepts and a photo of a real world example. Each K'nex piece has a distinctive shape and color, making it easy to build the models, especially once you've built a couple. Once you get the hang of it, your imagination can run wild and you can build unlimited things!
Young hands will have fun for hours, while being completely engaged with the principles of structural engineering and the foundational principles of physics. There is also a teacher's guide to download for educators or anyone who wants to dig deeper into the world of engineering.
Dr. Fizz and Boomer built bridges all day, and agreed the arch bridge was their favorite, mostly because it looked cool.
GRAVITY MAZE FALLING MARBLE LOGIC GAME,
KIT #13, ages 8+
Did you know you can check out the Gravity Maze Falling Marble Logic Game from BPL? The Gravity Maze Falling Marble Logic Game Twist is an engaging game for thinkers 8 and up. Made by the innovative company Thinkfun, this gravity powered logic maze is sure to put your visual perception and reasoning skills to the test. The set consists of building towers, a game grid, challenge cards and marbles. The translucent towers can be arranged in a wide variety of stimulating structures, but for each challenge, you'll have to think carefully to design and build a path to carry your marble to its target. Sixty challenges, ranging in difficulty, will give you plenty of building time.
Boomer and Dr. Fizz mastered all 60 challenges, and then tested each other with new challenges of their own. Boomer especially liked the Gravity Maze because it was designed so that he could play with his friend, but it was just as engaging to play by himself when he needed a little time on his own.
KIT #8, ages 3-6
The Code-a-pillar Twist is a fun and educational toy that features early coding and problem solving for preschoolers! Made by the good folks at Fisher-Price, this friendly caterpillar is full of lights, sounds, and surprises. Young minds will find enjoyment in guessing its animal noises, dancing along with its music and following its twisting movement. By selecting an action icon on each of its body segments, you are actually writing a code for the Code-a-pillar to follow. Will you send him through a room, pausing to chatter, eat and nap? Will you program a series of turns, songs, and animal sounds?
Dr. Fizz loves to discover new things to do with the Code-a-pillar Twist. His favorite activity is to draw a map of the room and try to program it to follow a path. He also likes to make it chase Mrs. McGoughy's cat.