The Tale of the Valentine’s Day Juice Box Robot

Valentine’s treats for your kid, but make it crafty… and kinda healthy. That was the challenge that I set myself in 2014 when my son was 4. I saw an idea online to make a robot out of various kid-snacks, so I got out my glue gun and made it happen.

At the time I was making videos at work to showcase the library’s die cut collection. The Juice Box Robot used the small heart die cut, so I decided to record a quick how-to video for the Valentine’s treat. And the Valentine’s Day Juice Box Robot video was born! 9 years and almost 62,000 views later, we still get several calls or emails every January from people looking for the free printables.

So, what is the die cut collection? The library has over 500 individual wooden die cuts that cut through paper or other thin material to make shapes. The shapes can be used for bulletin boards, teaching aids, party decorations, cards and scrapbooking, and much more. The collection and machine are free to use and available anytime the library is open, just bring your own paper to cut.

What else can you make with the die cut machine? The sky’s the limit!

Stop by the Youth Services desk on your next visit to the library and ask for a tour of the Resource Room. We would be happy to show you how the die cuts can make your next project easier!

Watch the Valentine’s Day Juice Box Robot video…

Download our free printable Juice Box Robot templates…

Fold a One Page Book

I love simple projects that lead to huge creative fun, and One Page Books fall firmly into that category. All you need for this project is a regular sheet of paper, a pair of scissors, and your imagination. The hardest part is deciding what to fill them with—you are bound to have tons of ideas. Luckily, they are so fast to make, there’s no need to choose: you can make a whole library of books in no time! Bonus: You can even make these books by repurposing paper from the recycling bin. Have fun!

 

Staff Picks for Family Video Game Night

Growing up, my brother and I spent a lot of time bonding over our shared love of video games. Our parents mostly appreciated our hobby from a distance, but the times that they did join in were always tons of fun, and memories I treasure to this day. Playing video games as a family can be a great way to build stronger connections and to understand the media your children consume. It also gives you opportunities to model empathy and problem-solving skills, and learning to cope with losing in games can help kids build emotional resilience.

With that in mind, why not host a family video game night? Here are some video game suggestions to get the ball rolling:

Nintendo – King of family games

  • Mario Party offers a board game-like experience, dice and all.
  • Mario Kart has been a multiplayer kart-racing staple for decades.

Chaotic fun

  • In Overcooked! 1 or 2, four people can run a restaurant together (and put out kitchen fires in the process).

Minecraft fans

  • In Minecraft Dungeons your party can explore dungeons, slay monsters, and find loot, all set in the Minecraft world.

LEGO Fans

  • LEGO has many 2 player games, including crossovers with Harry Potter, Batman, Jurassic World, and many more.

Outside the box

  • In Untitled Goose Game you play as mischievous geese who solve puzzles and play pranks on unsuspecting humans.

Get your bodies moving

  • Check out the Just Dance series and dance along to a selection of popular music.

And many more!

The library has video games available for a variety of different consoles, including several generations of PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo systems. Video games in our children’s collection have a green sticker on the spine to make finding them easy, but if you ever have questions about whether a video game is appropriate for your child just check the ESRB rating on the back. Visit the ESRB website for more information on what these ratings mean: https://www.esrb.org/ratings-guide/

Most importantly, remember to have fun! Playing video games together can offer a window into your child’s world, and you may even find yourself feeling like a kid again.

 

Craft Round-up!

Arts and craft projects are one of the most popular activities available for you and your family to do while visiting the library. The Youth Services staff is always looking for inspiration for new projects from our collection, trustworthy online resources and, of course, from one another. Here’s a round-up of projects from some of your favorite Youth Services staff to keep you busy while we are moving back downtown. Happy crafting!

Fold an origami friend with Ms. Shannon!

 

Learn to make DIY Butterflies with Ms. Jill!

 

Play the Monster Drawing dice game with Ms. Reid!

 

Make a mask with Miss Riss!

 

Build a town entirely out of paper!

 

Bonus Challenge! Draw a picture of your favorite animal on top of your head!

Try One Today: Eau Claire Storywalks®

Try a StoryWalk® today!

In-person services at the library are now paused as we move back to our downtown location… but you can still enjoy a story from the library! Head over to either Carson or Owen Park and read a great story as you walk along the path!

Find out more about StoryWalks®.

Want even more storytime fun? You can also watch Storytime Videos of our librarians singing songs, telling stories, etc.

Make Your Own Oobleck!

Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid, a rule-breaker in the world of physics. It changes state from liquid to solid based on pressure. When force is applied, the liquid oobleck acts like a solid!

Kids can enjoy learning the science of non-Newtonian fluids, and experimenting with oobleck to discover its properties. Tap it, push it, try to pick it up, squeeze it into a ball, then let it go. Glide your fingers through it, stir it slowly, swish it around, pour it into another container. When does it act like a liquid? When is it solid?

Making and playing with oobleck requires creativity and imagination. The recipe is super simple, with just one main ingredient that you probably already have at home—cornstarch.

Oobleck Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 ½ cups of cornstarch
  • Food coloring or tempera paint (optional)

Preparation

  1. Pour the cornstarch into a mixing bowl
  2. For colorful oobleck, add a few drops of food coloring or tempera paint to your water.
  3. Add the water to the cornstarch slowly, mixing with your hands as you go. Keep adding water until the mixture feels like honey or slime and hardens when you tap on it.

If Kids Built a Library…

By now you are probably well aware that we are moving our library back downtown in August. We are looking forward to so many fun features in our newly renovated building. (An expanded Dabble Box? A larger Storytime Room? Waaaay more space for books and activities and fun?? Yes. Please.) We know kids and families are going to love our new space…but we started wondering: What if KIDS designed a library? What sorts of features would they include?

So, we asked them!

This summer, we invited kids of all ages to describe and draw their dream libraries, and we’ve been collecting their ideas on our wall. Turns out kids have a LOT of ideas.
I took some time recently to look over the designs. And, while there were many familiar suggestions (books, toys and crafts, cozy places to read), I saw a lot of delightfully surprising ideas too! I’ve pulled together a few of our favorites to share with you here. If you are inspired, leave your own ideas in the comments—we’d love to see your suggestions too!
Books, play area, dance party room, place to learn and read – Max, 6
A petting zoo for animal lovers like me – Nadia, 12
A pool, a play, a zoo, a book, a fun – Ella, 8
It would have a lot of books. Ten thousand books. And it would have a play place that you could swing and slide with monkey bars! And it would have chairs for the grown ups to sit on. – George, 6
Water park library! – Amelia, 7

A big lounge area where people could sit and read, a shelf where kids could make books and set them for others to read, and a small play area (with supervisors) where parents could drop their kids off and go look for books!! – Georgia, 11
Lots of books and comfy chairs to sit on – Ella, 9
A squirrel petting zoo and only books about squirrels – Emmy, 10
There would be a display case where a couple kids of different ages and different interests could recommend books they like to other kids – Megan, 12
A playground! – Violette, 7

Bunnies – Kinley, 6
A sweet little bathroom with a bouquet of lilacs, a snack room, a play area, a playground, a pool area with a hot tub (ages 9 and over), a computer area (with kids games on it), an area with books to check out, and a checkout area! – Arieanna, 9(1/2)
Cotton candy, ice cream, kitties, drawing stuff, books, scooters, blue walls, water slides, hop scotch, fun – Elyse, 8
Fish, animals, jungle gym, snacks, food, really comfy areas – Evelyn, 12
A zoo, a playground, books, toys, a fake post office, and computers – Summer, 8

Lots of gymnastics books – Holly, 10
Comfy places to read – Allison, 12
A whole section of just scary books (just a thought) – Ashlyn, 10
Dinos, lollipops, cats, parrots – Charlie, 7
It would have a place where people could write stories, and every month a book someone wrote would be available to read – Noura, 10

Heart shelves – Lilly, 7
A treehouse shaped like an elephant! A petting zoo with fawns, baby horses, and more! – Everlee, 7
Fish tank – Juniper, 4
A special shelf for books with animals and it would also have a book drop that looks like you’re feeding a monster – Ellie, 10
A waterpark! – Claire, 7

New Storytime Videos

We had a great time singing, dancing, and reading with you this summer at storytime, and are looking forward to seeing you at storytime in our newly renovated library this fall. In the meantime, we hope that you will enjoy some of our favorite storytime activities from the comfort of your home on our Storytime Videos page. This page has recently been updated, and includes new recordings, along with your old favorites.

To get you started, grab a silly hat and sing along with Miss Alisha!

YouTube player

New Activity Backpacks

You may be familiar with the Nature Backpacks in Youth Services. Well, we have some exciting news.  There are 8 all-new backpack themes available to check out! Activity backpacks are a collection of approximately 3-5 books and various activities based on a theme. Learn a new magic trick using sleight of hand in the Magic Tricks and Illusions Activity Backpack. Interested in an outdoor scavenger hunt and fun game of Capture the Flag? You’ll find that in the Outdoor Adventures Backpack. Check out the Engineering theme for building challenges with Keva Contraptions.  Take a look at all the new themes here:

  • Animals
  • Boredom Busters
  • Engineering
  • Family Game Night
  • Magic Tricks and Illusions
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Puzzler
  • STEAM

Books and activities in the Activity Backpacks are curated for children in elementary school to early middle school. Newly updated Play Kits for children approximately ages 3-5 are coming soon! Contact Youth Services at 715-839-5007 or ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us for more info.

Boredom Busters

When is the best time to play on a pogo stick? Springtime!

While spring isn’t here quite yet, Spring Break is fast approaching, and with it a whole week of your kids looking for something fun to do. Here at the library we have lots of books with activity, experiment, craft, recipe, and game ideas for kids of all ages. Check out some ideas here.

We also have some great activity and craft videos from past years that demonstrate fun ideas to do with your family. Even though materials are no longer available from the library for most of these videos, you can still gather materials around your house and plan a fun crafting session with your family. Check out the playlist here.

Finally, the library is planning a week of activities for Spring Break including special scavenger hunts, take and make activity bags while supplies last, live online storytimes, and our always popular Family Bingo Online program. Learn more here!