It’s the first day of school for most of the kids and teens here in Homer. In anticipation of the buzzing afterschool energy level we see each Fall, I’m back to featuring passive programs kids can try out. The STEAM activities are meant to get even older kids (7-12) playing, tinkering, fiddling on their own terms while at the same time addressing the mischief that sometimes arises when kids hangout at the library for long periods of time while they wait for their working parents and caregivers. Each program or activity is low cost and requires minimal effort and time. Most activities are set out for 1-2 weeks depending on the activity.
This week’s passive program features Homemade Tinker Toys! I got the idea here, although I am using some different materials.
Straws cut into varying lengths (20 whole straws- purchased, but you may have on hand)
Toilet roll tubes (about 35- I had on hand)
Plastic tub to hold tubes
I punched 4 holes in each side of each tube. The holes are evenly spaced and symmetrical around each end of the tube as far from opening as standard hole-punch will reach. I also used scissors to cut two slits in the openings of the tubes (see image below). Some tubes have 2 slits on each opening and on others I only cut slits on one side. The slits allow the tubes to be stacked. I then cut straws in 2 different lengths- some straws I cut in half and others I cut in thirds. I organized the straws by size in two different cups. That’s it for prep!
I placed a tub of the prepared tubes and cut straws on a table with building space so curious kids could build right where they see the activity and so others could get inspired by what others have built before them.
Update: Kids from ages 2-12 have built with these tubes and loved them. I’ll definitely be leaving this out for a 2nd week.