5 Popular Children’s Take-and-Make Kits for Libraries

Keep patrons engaged while your library is closed with take-and-make projects. With many public libraries having to close their doors to the public or put their programming on hold, it can be challenging to find ways to continue to serve patrons. Take-and-make kits are a great solution that enable you to provide children and families with fun, hands-on activities in a safe way.

Learn how the Fayetteville Free Library engaged families with take-and-make kits and get directions for recreating five of our most popular kits below.

Creating the Take-and-Make Monday Series

As part of our summer reading program this year, we offered a weekly “Take-and-Make Monday” series. Every Monday we released a new prepackaged activity supply kit and an accompanying instructional video. Our kits did not require registration and could be picked up from our front porch on a first-come, first-served basis, so parents could truly “grab and go.” Families could then watch our instructional video on our YouTube channel and complete the project whenever was most convenient for them throughout the week.

Packaging Take-and-Make Kits 

When packaging the kits we tried to provide as many supplies as possible, but we also listed common ingredients families would need to provide on their own, such as water or food coloring. For packaging supplies, we found that small sandwich bags worked well for dry ingredients, while plastic condiment cups were great for liquid ingredients. All the supplies were then packaged together, usually in a small paper bag, with an instructional insert and link to the YouTube video stapled to the front.

Promoting the Kits 

The kits were promoted on our social media accounts, where we also encouraged our patrons to share photos and videos of themselves completing the projects. It became a great way to interact with and keep in touch with patrons we hadn’t been able to see in a while.

Meeting Patrons’ Needs

These kits exceeded our expectations and were in high demand each week. Families sent photos and feedback each week telling us how much they appreciated having an easy, interactive activity to engage and entertain their kids.

Prepare Your School for Reopening

Explore products that will help you reopen your doors safely and help ensure staff and student well-being.

Directions for 5 of Our Most Popular Take-and-Make Kits 

1. DIY Bouncy Ball

Kit includes: borax, glue, and cornstarch

Other supplies needed: water, cups, spoons for mixing, and food coloring (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine 4 ounces of warm water and 1 teaspoon of borax in a cup.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of glue in a different cup. Add 3–4 drops of food coloring to the glue (optional).
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the borax mixture you just made to the cup of glue. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to the glue cup as well. Do not stir.
  4. After 10–15 seconds, stir the ingredients to fully mix.
  5. When it becomes difficult to stir, remove the mixture with your hands and start molding it into a ball. It will start out sticky but should solidify as you knead it. Roll the ball between your hands until it is smooth and round.

2. DIY Scratch Art

Kit includes: 34 oil pastels, plain cardstock, toothpicks, and black paint

Other supplies needed:
a paintbrush and a table covering

Directions

  1. Use the oil pastels to design a colorful image on your cardstock.
  2. Place your cardstock on a table covering (wax paper works well) to avoid getting paint on your table. Paint over the image you drew. Let dry.
  3. Repeat with more layers of paint until your image is completely covered.
  4. Use a toothpick to lightly scratch a design into the black paint. You should see your colorful design appear underneath.

3. DIY Chia Pet®

Kit includes: 1 cup soil, 1 teaspoon grass seed, a knee-high stocking, self-adhesive googly eyes, a small Dixie® cup

Other supplies needed:
water, craft supplies for decoration (optional)

Directions

  1. Stretch open the stocking and sprinkle grass seed into the bottom.
  2. Scoop the soil into the stocking, making sure it all comes to rest in the bottom, covering the grass seed.
  3. Shape the soil into a ball and knot the opening of the stocking closed, making sure the ball of soil is tightly stretching the stocking.
  4. Flip the stocking upside down so the grass seed is on top, and place the stocking on the cup. It should sit on top of the cup, and the excess stocking can either be trimmed or can rest in the cup and act as a wick for watering.
  5. Place googly eyes on your chia pet. Decorate with other craft supplies as desired. Water daily.

4. Alka-Seltzer® Rockets

Kit includes: plastic film canister, package of Alka-Seltzer tablets, construction paper, index card

Other supplies needed:
water

Directions

  1. Use construction paper to decorate your film canister to look like a rocket, and use the index card to make fins for your rocket. Make sure the film canister is positioned so the opening is at the bottom of your rocket.
  2. Fill your film canister 1/3 full with water.
  3. Break an Alka-Seltzer tablet in half, and drop it into the water in the film canister. Quickly snap the cap back on and place the canister on the ground, lid down.
  4. Back up and count down to blastoff!

5. Solar Oven

Kit includes: small pizza box (purchase online or ask for donations from a local business), 1 sheet of black construction paper, two 12” squares of aluminum foil, 4 pieces of foam pool noodles (to prepare, first cut the pool noodle in half lengthwise, then cut smaller pieces to fit the inside edges of the pizza box), and a wooden skewer

Other supplies needed:
plastic wrap, thermometer and s’mores supplies

Directions

  1. Tape or glue the construction paper to the inside of the pizza box, centered in the bottom.
  2. Divide one sheet of aluminum foil into 4 pieces and wrap around the pool noodles. Next, position the wrapped pieces around the inside edges of the pizza box.
  3. Cut a flap in the middle of the pizza box lid and line the underside of the flap with the other sheet of foil.
  4. Cover the hole you created by taping plastic wrap on the inside of the pizza box lid.
  5. Assemble your s’more and set it on the black paper inside the pizza box. Close the lid and use the skewer to prop up the flap. You should now be able to see your s’more through the window of plastic wrap.
  6. Place the solar oven in the sun, wait until the temperature inside rises to >150˚F. When the chocolate melts and the marshmallow is soft, enjoy your s’more!

Author

Kristen Peirson

Kristen Peirson

Kristen Peirson is the Director of Family Learning at the Fayetteville Free Library in upstate New York. Her programming experience ranges from singing and dancing with toddlers and preschoolers in storytime to hands-on STEAM activities and coding and robotics for older kids. She is passionate about providing programs to children and families that make STEM topics fun and approachable.