Are you a children’s librarian looking for affordable children’s library programming ideas? Check out these activities that are fun, engaging, budget-friendly, and ready to share with the young patrons in your community.
Do you use your local library? If not, we think you should give it a try. Raising Global Kidizens co-founders, Jess and Jen, are avid library patrons. They both visit their local libraries regularly to borrow books and take advantage of other programs the library offers. Jen has even been known to max out her 99-book limit on her library card.
Jen and Jess have also hosted children’s programs at their local libraries, and Jen sits on the Board of Trustees of her community library. While they aren’t librarians by education or trade, they both have a bunch of experience learning about how libraries work and deeply care about ensuring libraries continue to thrive and serve their communities well.
At RGK, we know many libraries operate on tight budgets, and librarians do an excellent job of stretching funds to offer a variety of fantastic programming. We also know librarians are often on the hunt for new and interesting programming to meet the needs of their communities.
We think RGK workbooks and activities can be great foundations for fun and engaging children’s library programs. Let us share a few of our workbooks that we think can make great free and affordable children’s library program offerings.
Free Compostable Packaging Peanuts Experiment and STEM Tower Design Challenge
You can’t beat free, right? Our compostable packaging peanuts STEM workbook for kids includes a simple experiment to compare the scientific properties and environmental benefits of compostable packaging peanuts over traditional polystyrene packaging peanuts. We’ve included two versions of the activity that work for preschool through older elementary-aged students.
The free STEM workbook also includes guidelines for a STEM tower design challenge using compostable packaging peanuts. Depending on the size of the group and the amount of time dedicated to the children’s library program, you can do one or both of these activities with young patrons.
Many people receive lots of compostable packaging peanuts in packages they order online, so you can probably source the compostable packaging peanuts for this project for free from patrons. Our free workbook plus free compostable packaging peanuts equals an especially budget-friendly children’s library programming idea.
Explore Wind Energy with Kids
We created a wind energy STEM workbook for kids that includes more than 60 pages of science experiments, reading and language arts activities, math, geography, and more. While the workbook includes more activities than would be suitable for one children’s library programming session, there are specific activities within the workbook that we think would be great for a children’s library STEM program.
Specifically, we love the wind turbine building exercise using the cardboard wind turbine kit from Cori Create. The mini wind turbine kit from Cori Create includes all the materials you need for children to build their own wind turbine from corrugated cardboard. They can use this hands-on STEM building project to complement our wind energy workbook which they can take home with them after the library program.
In the workbook, we’ve also included some additional children’s books that are great educational supplements to learn more about wind energy and its applications.
To purchase a copy of our wind energy workbook, head to our shop and order a pdf for your library program or educational activity. If you’d like to incorporate the Cori Create mini wind turbine kits, use this referral link to order the mini wind turbine kits directly from Cori Create.
Celebrate Solar Energy with Kids
Solar energy lends itself to so many fun STEM activities for kids. Our solar energy workbook includes several experiments and activities to help young learners better understand how solar energy works and why it’s important.
If you’re looking for a fun children’s library program focused on solar energy, our workbook includes instructions for a solar pizza oven build as well as a simple experiment to compare heat absorption of light and dark colors.
If it’s sunny and warm enough, s’mores in a DIY solar oven are always a big hit and a great way to showcase the power of the sun’s heat to prepare food and create energy. Regardless of the weather, each of your young learners can make their own experiment to measure how light and dark surfaces impact how much heat is absorbed from the sun.
You can also consider supplementing this children’s library program with a read-aloud of one of our favorite children’s picture books, Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea. This book is about a young Indian boy who uses solar energy to solve a common problem for his family and win a science fair at his school.
The materials to perform either of these solar energy experiments are inexpensive and sometimes even free, making these great affordable children’s library programming options.
Many Other Workbooks Available
These are just a few of the educational workbooks for kids we’ve developed, all of which are designed around one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We have several others and are always adding new workbooks and activities to our shop, so check it out to see what other activities might work well for your library community.
If you’re interested, be sure to sign up for our email list so we can share more ideas about how to incorporate sustainability into children’s library programming. Drop your information in the sign-up form below to get more of our sustainability-driven activities for kids.
Lastly, if you have other ideas or have seen great sustainability-focused children’s library programming, we’d love to hear about it and share it with others.
We want to help educators easily incorporate more sustainability projects and resources into a variety of educational settings. You are welcome to purchase and download any of our workbooks for personal use. You can also make copies for use within your organization. However, you are not permitted to resell these materials in any way or use them for commercial purposes for profit.