Ready Campers?

Research shows that without access to quality educational experiences during out of school months, kids and teens score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they would have at the beginning. Most students lose at least two months of math skills, and low-income students lose two months of reading skills. This is what has become dishearteningly become known as the “Summer Slide.”

The good news is that learning can happen anywhere, at any time, and you are already positioned as your child’s favorite teacher! Through the Activity Tracker and weekly Design Challenges, your Youth Librarians have created great starting points to inspire your child’s unique learning adventure. Did you make an amazing knight’s costume from as little as a brown paper bag? Experiment with catapults or medieval dueling techniques! Did you discover your inner fashionista with duct tape creations or rubber band bracelet creations? Learn how to sew or alter clothing and have an end of the summer fashion show! The possibilities truly are endless and we’re here to help with great books, online resources, and heaps of enthusiasm along the way.

CC Image Courtesy of Vancouver FIlm School via Flickr
CC Image Courtesy of Vancouver FIlm School via Flickr

One of my favorite activity tracker options is Google Maker Camp, a virtual summer camp designed to inspire a broad range of makers to “get their hands dirty, fix some things, break some things, and have a lot of fun doing it.” Campers of all ages (those under 13 will need to register with a parent) are invited to tinker around on a new DIY project each day, meet experts (including Buzz Aldrin!), and go on field trips through the comfort of their own computer. Check out camp FAQs for specifics.

This week’s field trips include a trip to the birthplace of LEGOS (Billund, Denmark) for a tour through the LEGO Idea House, as well as a behind the scenes look at Disneyland’s pyrotechnic displays. Campers will also learn about the evolution of Minecraft with Jens Bergenstern from Mojang as well as get instructions on building labryinths, mini foosball games, toothbrush timers, and a LEGO maze!

Daily instructions and videos are available throughout the summer, so investigate a project that speaks to you and have fun!

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #7: Cardboard Box

Check in here every Friday for a new Design Challenge. We will provide you with ideas for a full summer of fun things to make and do. It is all part of summer fun for kids and teens at Kitsap Regional Library.


Berry flat boxes on Greta's table. Photo by Greta.
Berry flat boxes on Greta’s table. Photo by Greta.

These boxes held yummy summer blueberries last week and I’ve been pondering what else I could use them for this week. I remembered one of my favorite picture books, Antoinette Portis’ Not a Box!


The bunny in this book creates all kind of cool things with a box:  a rocket ship, a pirate ship crow’s nest, and more.  I bet you have a cardboard box lying around on the recycling pile or in a closet somewhere – it could be as simple as a shoebox lid or as big as a washing machine box! What will you make out of your box? The possibilities are endless!


A cardboard box of any size

(You can use any other materials available to you as well – glue or tape might come in handy! – but the base of your creation should be just the box. )


1) Take some time to look over the box you have and think about what you could create.

2) Create it!

3) Share it! Show off a little bit and tell your sister, brother, friend,  grandpa, or aunt about what you made.  You could also bring your not-a-box to the library and share it with us, we’d love to see what you made!

You can also share your creation with us by taking a picture! Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager Jean Charters at for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please).

Seniors: The Library’s Got Your Number

What do yoga, investing overseas, eBay tips and environmental protection have in common? They’re all here for you at the library. Today’s library is as diverse as today’s seniors. Sure, we have medical test descriptions, exercise dvd’s to help you feel younger, and books on coping with grief for people over 55. But you’ll also find tips on mountain climbing, swing dancing, chutney recipes and knitting patterns, because you never know who you’ll be and what you’ll need, at any age.

The library works hard to bring you convenience and offer many ways to find what you want to learn, making your life both richer and easier. Try out our 24/7 Digital Branch at, explore genealogy or get a book idea from NoveList. Attend a program on estate planning or your next travel destination. Pick up films or download audiobooks and music for your next trip to the gym.

We have things you never thought you’d need (like how to raise your grandchildren) and things you always knew you’d want someday (like skydiving vacations and traveling in India). Serious or silly, coping with tragedy or new love, we are here for you.

Summer of Learning – Alternatives to Traditional Reading

By now hopefully everyone is signed up for Summer of Learning and well on their way to completing their 10 hours of reading. For those who haven’t quite reached their 10 hours, or are looking for more options on their way to the 100 hour mark, KRL has plenty of alternatives to traditional reading:

Graphic Novels
You can call them comics, graphic novels, or illustrated books, just don’t call them less than normal books. A study recently showed that a graphical representation can help users retain knowledge at a higher rate(1). From Manga to Garfield, and Superheroes to Pokemon, we have all of the bases covered for graphic novels.

Audio Books
KRL has thousands of Audio books on CD, you can search for them specifically in the catalog by limiting your search to Audio-Book

Audio Books
eBooks and eAudio Books
In addition to physical audio books, KRL also offers digital eAudio books, which can be downloaded to a computer or digital device. Simply go to the downloadables section of the KRL website. And don’t forget about our eBooks as well, nothing beats the satisfaction of finishing a book, and downloading another without getting up from your seat.

(1) Graphic Presentation: An Empirical Examination of the Graphic Novel Approach to Communicate Business ConceptsBusiness Communication QuarterlySeptember 2013 76: 273-303

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #6: Free Video Game Design/Progamming Software: Microsoft Kodu

Check in here every Friday for a new Design Challenge. We will provide you with ideas for a full summer of fun things to make and do. It is all part of summer fun for kids and teens at Kitsap Regional Library.

We all like video games, right? Did you ever want to design your very own game?  Well, with Microsoft Kodu you can design and program amazing 3D video games easily. And the best part is, it’s FREE to download on any PC.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:



Kodu offers a wide range of design tools that let you build tons of different environments, add texture to your scenes, and create all kinds of creatures and characters to program.

Kind of looks like Minecraft.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit: Ali Maggs,
Photo Credit: by Ariane Coffin,
Photo Credit: by Ariane Coffin,



Kodu uses a simple visual programming language to make the characters come to life. Simply click on coding graphics to write your first computer program. By writing these logic statements, you can make all sorts of amazing games. 

Photo Credit: Ali Maggs,
Photo Credit: Ali Maggs,



Microsoft has put together a great Kodu website, providing lessons and forums on game building. You can even view other gamers’ Kodu worlds. The site lets you open their games, play them and even look at their code.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:


To download the software and learn more about designing and programing with Kodu, go to

Happy Gaming!

We’d love to see what you come up with. Upload your video to YouTube and email the link to Digital Branch Manager Sharon Grant at for possible inclusion in a future blog post or stop by your library to show off your creativity.

A Family’s Best Friend

Considering adding a furry-companion to your household? Have you weighed the pros and cons of what that addition might entail for your family and still on the fence? Well, the benefits of pet ownership and Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) for both adults and children might be far greater than you think!

pets                 Photo Credit: Serie-Raph-et-le-chat-I by Etolane on Flickr

Studies have long since indicated that the companionship and presence of an animal in a household can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure and potentially help with moderate depression. As studies continue to take place on the impact of HAI, a myriad of sociological, psychological and even developmental benefits have been observed.  A recent article from CNN Health cites five benefits of pet ownership including better self-esteem, social skills and protection against allergies, specifically for children exposed at a young age. Not to mention some of the amazing research that has surfaced recently on the advantages of pets for individuals with autism. Our beloved four-legged friends continue to prove themselves as constant givers.

In conjunction with the aforementioned benefits, animals also seem to have a natural tie-in with education and development.  Consider the lessons learned in responsibility and nurturing skills that come from caring for a class pet. Or programs like  the ones offered by schools such as Ohio State and Montana State Universities which give students the chance to study for final exams in the presence of therapy dogs. Similarly,  community organizations like schools and libraries, including branches in our own system, have visits from therapy dog volunteer teams for the sole purpose of allowing children and emergent readers the opportunity to strengthen reading skills and practice reading aloud in a relaxed, non-judgmental setting.

So whether you are in the beginning stages of considering if, and/or which, pet is right for your family or just want your child to have an opportunity to interact with an animal in a safe environment, the library is paws-itevely the place for you!

Check this out:

Jacket              Jacket (1)

For more information about the R.E.A.D to a Dog program offered at the Silverdale and Sylvan Way branches, visit our calendar of events or contact children’s librarian, Ericka Brunson at


New Harry Potter Short Story!

It’s true!! This morning, J.K. Rowling surprised her fans with an update on everyone’s favorite boy wizard. Written as Rita Skeeter’s gossip column, it shows us Harry, Ron, and Hermione as adults at the Quidditch World Cup.

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: Snaily

The story, “Dumbledore’s Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final,” can be found on the Pottermore website. A free account is needed to read it.

This clearly proves that magic is real, and that my many attempts to enchant J.K. Rowling into writing more Harry Potter stories have finally taken hold.

Specialis Revelio!


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