Summertime at Widener

The school year has just ended and we’re getting into the groove of summer programming at Widener library. Generally summer attendance is lower at the libraries and while I tend to initially worry about this (like “where are all my friends!!”), in real life, smaller attendance means higher quality programming since I’m able to spend one on one time with each participant as they work on their individual projects. If you need help with the tasks of the program, essays writers are a great option for you, because they will select the information that you can easily involve in the project.

Yesterday we had 7 participants. One of our regulars had requested last week that we make slime, an activity we did in the fall. I happily obliged and brought all the slime materials from our office (namely glue and Borax). I pulled up the slime recipe on the Smartboard that we have in the meeting room and a group of 4 began happily experimenting with the materials. I encouraged them to read the recipe carefully and use the measuring cups to measure out appropriate ingredient amounts and then cringed watching as they way overdid it on the glue. The experimentation ended when we inevitably and quickly ran out of glue, but in the end I was glad that I didn’t say anything about them using more of it than the recipe required because the slime they made was the best slime I’d ever seen!

This is something that comes up for me a lot in doing this work – not wanting to have materials be wasted, but also not always being sure what “wasting” something really means or what is and isn’t waste. After they made the slime and before I noticed what they were up to, the kids starting combining the leftover slime juice with glitter paint and Mod Podge and anything else on hand and calling it GUTS. I encouraged them to clean up and move on to a new activity. Pouring the left over gluey/painty/sparkly potion down the drain, I did not feel like the pretty mixture was quite worth all the art supplies that went into it. But even so, generally I feel that this kind of waste is definitely worth the sense of ownership and excitement that participants feel over the program. One of my more prominent childhood play memories is of making likely much more toxic concoctions of lotions, perfumes, and other mysterious adult bathroom products…

While all this was going on, our youngest participant (7 years old), was deeply focused on making a Minion finger puppet. He had come to Maker Jawn once before – on a Saturday in the spring when everyone was working on sewing projects, and made a finger puppet back then too, so he immediately went to this activity upon his return to the space. A teen participant was using Gimp to make artwork for a song he just finished editing (which he recorded in our space with another participant) and then uploading it to his new Souncloud account. Another teen was learning to use Photoshop to customize a self-portrait for his social media accounts. After cleaning up all the slime stuff, some of the slime makers moved on to sawing wood in preparation for building a birdhouse next week.

As usual, we wrapped up by going out to the garden to do a little weeding and watering. The garden has been growing a lot each week, and this week we spotted a baby pumpkin, a baby tomato, and a baby sweet pea. Some of the plants we started from seed, others were started for us by teens at the Teen Center of the Central library branch.

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