Category Archives: Summer of Learning

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #12: Recycle Newspaper Into a Papier Mache Mask

What do you do with the newspaper when you’re finished reading it?  Try recycling it into a papier mache mask.  All you  need is newspaper, flour, water, and a balloon.

Blow up a balloon, but don’t pop it.  The size of the balloon will be the size of your mask.

Source: KirstinM
Photo Credit: KirstinM

This project will be messy, so lay down a plastic garbage bag or something similar to protect your work space.  Then, tear the newspaper into strips (these can be long or short—it depends on the size of your balloon).  Make enough strips to put 3-4 layers on top your balloon.

Photo credit: KirstinM
Photo credit: KirstinM

Mix together 1 cup of flour and 2 cups of water very well and pour the mixture into a shallow container.  Lay each strip of paper in the mixture to soak up paste.  Lift it up and run it between your thumb and fingers to get rid of excess paste before laying it on the balloon.  Gently run your finger over the strip to press it securely on the balloon.

Alternate laying strips on the balloon vertically and horizontally—this allows you to see which layer you’re working on.

Photo Credit: KirstinM
Photo Credit: KirstinM

After two layers, allow the paste to dry completely, then, add the third and fourth layers.  Put your balloon on top of something that allows air to circulate around it.   Allow several hours for your project to dry fully.

Carefully pop the balloon with a pin or needle.

Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks4 010

Use scissors to cut the balloon in half.  You should have two separate mask blanks to work with.   Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks5 011

Cut a bit off of the top or bottom or sides, if you wish!

Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks6 012Design Challenge - Papier-Mache Masks7 013

Mark on the mask where you want eye or nose or mouth holes to go and carefully cut them out.  Remember:  if you are going to wear your mask, make sure that your eyes and the eye holes in the mask line up.  Paint your mask or decorate it in other ways—add feathers, ribbon, glitter, pompons, yarn—whatever you have on hand.

Design Challenge #12 - Papier-Mache Mask2

What else can you make out of newspaper?  Bowls, hats, pinatas, puppets, noisemakers, rainsticks—the list goes on!  Take a look inside these books to find other fun things to create using papier mache.

papier mache monsters  creating papier mache  papier mache


Summer of Learning Design Challenge #11: Minecraft Papercrafts

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 the Kitsap Regional Library.

I’m sure that many of you have heard by now that Minecraft is totally blowing up. Granted, the game is tons of fun but have you ever wanted to make your own unique characters outside the pixel-world?  Well, apparently the ancient art of paper folding (Origami) has finally crossed paths with the virtual gaming community and now here’s your chance to create your very own 3D Minecraft world.

DSCF3713 by Javi G Ch on Flickr
hide your kids, hide your wife by Klara on Flickr

First off, you will need a computer and a printer. If you don’t have access to both at home feel free to visit your Kitsap Regional Library. Next you will need to pick out your favorite characters. Or do you happen to already have your own skin? Don’t panic, you can use that too!

Next take a visit to where you can either enter in your Minecraft username or search the site by Character, Mobs, Blocks or Items until you find the template that you want to print out. You can also create a design with one of these handy apps on your smart phone or tablet:
Free app for Android: Papercraft for Minecraft
Free app for iPhone or iPad: Papercraft: Minecraft Addition 

Finally you will need a pair of scissors and some glue.  After you print your Minecraft template it’s easy to follow and all it requires is some cutting, folding and a little glue here and there.

Here is a tutorial that will help during the construction process of your Minecraft world:

(From Minecraft Paper Studio)

Trust me,  you are now only just beginning to find your very own 3D Minecraft vision but it’s time to think outside the box (or pixel). Maybe you’ll want to start out with something interactive and design your very own chess set?

Papercraft Minecraft by Interested Bystandr on Flickr

Or go big just in time for Halloween?

Mine(Paper)Craft Day – GameCity 8 by nottinghamgamecity on Flickr

Or maybe you just want to see how your new characters get along once they’re brought to life. Will they build new worlds together or will they merely try to survive until nightfall?

Minecraft paper models by Rob Allen on Flikr

Either way, your options are limitless and all you need is a little time and dedication. An obsession for Minecraft might help too.

Don’t forget to checkout these many helpful resources in our Catalog:

Books on Origami:

origami henry     fabulous origami boxes   usborne origami

Books on Minecraft (gaming):

minecraft redstone   minecraft construction   minecraft combat

minecraft essential  minecraft 70 large  minecraft dummies

minecraft markus  ultimate players minecraft

We’d love to see what you come up with. Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager, Jean Charters, at for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please) or stop by your library to show off your creativity.


The Times They are A-Changin’

Public libraries are no longer just about paper books. That fact may surprise you if you haven’t used a library lately. In point of fact, my library is a lively noisy place which hums with activity.

As you come through our front door you may observe the library being used by many groups at the same time. Off to your left is a story time with over 40 children in the audience. They hang on the youth services librarian’s every word as she tells the story of Crictor [the boa-constrictor] on a flannel board.


In the teen room the anime club and the teen services librarian are watching anime and cheering loudly as the film’s heroine finally rescues her parents at the end of the film.

At the reference desk staff is teaching patrons how to download free music and audiobooks from the library’s Overdrive site. At the other counter patrons are checking out dvd sets which contain some of the hottest shows on television (Downton Abbey, Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones-you get the idea). At least one of our libraries is even planning to provide a Makerspace for people who don’t have the creative space they need at home.

As one can tell after reading above, libraries are excellent at re-inventing themselves. One of our most recent (and best) re-inventions has been the transformation of the Summer Reading program into the Summer of Learning program for both teens and kids!

What is Summer of Learning? The original Summer of Learning program was created by Johns Hopkins 14 years ago. It was the spinoff of an ongoing program which was created in Baltimore, Maryland (Braun, 2013). In a nutshell, the Summer of Learning goal is to help students continue to learn during the summer (a period of time which is infamous for “summer slide” aka a decrease in learning).

Although KRL has conducted many Summer of Learning activities this summer the crème de la crème has to be the four teen field trips to Seattle. Up to forty teens at a time were taken to Seattle via the ferry system to go to the SAM, Frye, MOHAI and Wing Luke museums (all free of charge).

Wing Luke Museum
Wing Luke Asian Museum by Jason Brackins on Flickr

The trip participants got to learn about art, music, glass, chocolate, intolerance and history in addition to many other things. These were hugely successful and satisfying trips that the teens will remember for the rest of their lives.

The library has been helping people learn for a very long time and I am very proud that we are continuing our tradition by helping people find new and better ways to learn. Go KRL and Summer of Learning!

Braun, L. (2013, December 2).
What’s This Thing Called Summer of Learning? Retrieved 8/1/2014 from

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #10: CD Crafts

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 the Kitsap Regional   Library.

This blog post is written by Patty, the Port Orchard branch Intern!

CDs are great for crafting! You might not realize it, but these shiny disks do more than just play music! With a few old CDs or DVDs you can join in the fun of creating something new!

Disc Decorations: CD's on a Gate by cobalt123 on Flickr
Disc Decorations: CD’s on a Gate by cobalt123 on Flickr

A lot of people have old disks that they don’t want or use anymore, if you don’t have any, ask around! Or, if all else fails, you can buy blank CDs and DVDs at the store to use.

You can make cool hanging things like this one or use your imagination to create something unique to you! You can create wind chimes, mobiles, and even chandeliers!

DSC05573 by shazam791 on Flickr
DSC05573 by shazam791 on Flickr

Other ideas you can try are make a disco ball or Christmas ornament! Or, you can make coasters or candle holders! Anything you can imagine! This website and this one can give you some ideas.

The incredible christmas CD-lamp by JaulaDeArdilla on Flickr
The incredible christmas CD-lamp by JaulaDeArdilla on Flickr

You can decorate the CDs with yarn or make cool scratch art! Or, use whatever is around! Paint, newspaper, magazine pages, fake fur, fabric, jewels, and beads can all be used to make something unique! Decorate your walls with old CDs either whole or make a mosaic (be warned, the broken pieces can be sharp, so adult supervision is recommended)!

One idea I really liked was making your own book out of a CD!

With some old CDs and other things around the house you can do all kinds of things!  For more recycled crafts check out these books at the library: Recycled Crafts Box by Laura Martin


Every Day is Earth Day by Kathy Ross

every day is earth day


Fun with Recycling by Marion Elliot or Earth-Friendly Crafts for Kids by Heather Smith and Joe Rhatigan, and any of the other recycled crafts books that the library has to offer!

We’d love to see what you come up with. Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager, Jean Charters, at for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please) or stop by your library to show off your creativity.


Summer of Learning Design Challenge #9: Paper cups

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 the Kitsap Regional   Library.

This blog post is by the Bainbridge Island Library intern, Morgan.

For the 9th design challenge you will be crafting with paper cups! Who knew you could do so much more than just drink water or have a latte with these little guys!

paper cup
Photo by lmproulx on

There are several projects to choose from — or do them all!

Create mini piñatas for an impromptu party!

Make a mini version of this! "PIÑATA". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -
Make a mini version of this!   “PIÑATA”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Craft some daisies to hang on the wall or to give to a friend.

Make a fire breathing dragon!

Make your own penguin for some refreshingly cool vibes this summer.

Make a paper-apple to hold a gift or decorate your house!

Before starting, find a picture book that is complementary to your craft at the library!

“Pinata!” by Rebecca Emberley will get you started.

pinata resized

For the dragon lovers check out “Dragons love tacos” by Adam Rubin.


If you are making a penguin check out “Penguin” by Polly Dunbar.


If you are making apples check out “Ten Apples Up On Top” By Theo LeSieg (Dr. Seuss).


Check out our online catalog for any other subject of picture books you might enjoy! (To refine your search click on “Options set- Change” and select a target audience like “Primary”)

We’d love to see what you come up with. Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager, Jean Charters at for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please) or stop by your library to show off your creativity.

Summer of Learning: Get Ready to Read!

Did you know that you can help your child get ready to read? One of the most important things you can do to make sure your child is a successful reader is to read with them every day for at least twenty minutes. Reading to your child is so important that the American Academy of Pediatrics recently created a new policy for pediatricians to recommend reading aloud to infants from the time they are born. Reading to your child every day will help develop their early literacy skills.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

What are early literacy skills? These are the skills your child needs in order to read successfully. Experts have identified five activities that will support the development of your child’s early literacy skills. The five best ways to help your child get ready to read are:

READING: Shared reading is the single most important activity you can do to help your child get ready to read. Share a wide variety of books with your child such as nursery rhyme books, books with animal sounds, books you can sing, and books with rhyming and alliteration.

PLAYING: Children learn how to express themselves, the meaning of words, and other early literacy skills by playing.

SINGING: Singing slows down language so children can hear the smaller sounds in words. Sing the Alphabet song, songs with letters such as BINGO, and sing songs that highlight shapes and colors.

WRITING: Reading and writing go together. Writing activities help children learn letter names and sound out new names.

TALKING: Conversations help a child express thoughts, learn what words mean, and gain new information about the world.

Kitsap Regional library has an abundance of resources available to help you learn more and develop your child’s early literacy skills:

Visit  our Birth to 6 section of our website!

Check out books about developing early literacy skills!

 Attend one of the many storytimes we offer here at the library. Our Youth Services Librarians present fun storytimes that model many different activities that include Reading, Writing, Singing, Playing, and Talking!

Check Out an Early Literacy Kit!

Photo: Kitsap Regional Library

 Our early literacy kits consist of ten picture books, a parent resource book, and a toy. Each kit has a different theme such as shapes, colors, letters, and numbers. There are also kits that contain a selection of books from our book list, “100 Books Every Child Should Hear Before Kindergarten.”

Developing your child’s early literacy skills is a fun and amazing experience! If you have any questions about early literacy, stop by the library and talk to one of our knowledgeable Youth Services Librarians.

Summer of Learning Design Challenge #8: Yarn Art

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 the Kitsap Regional   Library.

This blog post is by the Bainbridge Island Library intern, Morgan!

The word yarn, to many, suggests warm, cozy sweaters or fuzzy mittens, and during a summer with highs of 80 degrees crafting with it might sound a little undesirable. Lucky for you the yarn-projects we are sharing have nothing to do with that overheated yarn- stereotype!
yarn                                  Yarn Bridport by Lex McKee on flickr

Yarn has been in existence for roughly 20,000 years, and that means there has been a lot of time for people to create traditional or out-of-the-box uses for it! Here, we have collected the best mix of yarn art projects for your summer.

Transform a glass bottle into a yarn vase! Fill your vase with flowers or possibly your own yarn sticks!

yarnbottle           a perfectly pretty gift to make by Jessica Wilson on flickr

Using wood, nails, and yarn you can create a piece of string art to display in your home (you can even make Washington State)!

yarn butterfly                                   Butterfly  – Detail by Manu on flickr 

Use any design you like and be careful with your hammer!

Here are some additional ideas that you might try:

Draw a simple picture and outline it with yarn!

Start with a simple drawing and “paint” over it with yarn!

Make a yarn-block print! Try as many different styles of wrapping your yarn-block as you can. After stamping, hang your art on the wall or use it as a print in your next art project.

You can also explore a more traditional usage of yarn: knitting! First, learn how to cast on. After you can start knitting! It is fun to start with simple projects like scarves or headbands.

yarnheadband                                  100_9162 by verylisa on flickr

Once you know how to knit you can get involved with our “Yarn Bomb the Library” event:

What is Yarn Bombing? Search ‘yarn bombing’ on Pinterest or Google images for ideas and inspiration. Kids, teens and grown-ups: artists and creative types of all ages are invited to come turn the library into a gallery of yarn art. Knit, crochet, wrapping, pom-poms, macramé, etc.- any style of yarn art is welcome. Knitters and crocheters will be on hand to help teach or refresh skills. Monday we look at the phenomenon of ‘yarn or knit bombing’ and develop our design concepts. The rest of the week is dedicated to working on our projects. Children under 8 must attend with a parent. Friday evening the library will be open for a show of the work from ‘Yarn Bomb the Library’ as part of Bainbridge’s First Friday Art Walk.

yarnbomb                  Yarn Bomb – bike IYBD by Twilight Taggers on flickr

Check out “Extra Yarn” by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen for more examples of yarn bombing.

extra yarn

For more yarn crafts check out the book “Kids Knit!” By Sarah Bradberry or “Kids Learn to Knit” by Lucinda Guy or  any of the other yarn books at the library!

kids knitkidslearntoknit

We’d love to see what you come up with. Email your photos to Digital Branch Manager, Jean Charters, at for possible inclusion in a future blog post (under 1 MB file size please) or stop by your library to show off your creativity.