Category Archives: Summer of Learning

Summer Learning Inspiration: So Much Learning!

Welcome guest blogger Betsy B. and her two boys, Sean and Matthew! I’m always on the lookout for activities to keep my kids happy during the summer. The library provides so many for me to choose from and makes life for me and my kids easy and so fun! This summer’s lineup did not disappoint. June and July were packed.

We learned about Crankies at the mall. They are moving picture screens used to tell stories, usually with a live musician. The talented Dejah Leger and her father in law put on a great show and explained how we could make our own crankies at home.

Harbor Wildwatch came to Silverdale and showed some animals they found in the Dyes Inlet that morning. They let kids touch some of the creatures (carefully) and explained how we can help keep the water healthy.

The Reptile Man visited again this summer. He puts on a good show and my boys loved being able to pet so many of the animals after his show. He let his big tortoise wander around after the show and we were all surprised at how fast it could get around.

Sean took a fun selfie.

There was one more Minecraft party and the kids were so excited to get to play at the library again. They play several times a week at home, but somehow playing at the library is a huge treat.

One afternoon, a teacher from the Point Defiance Zoo came up to teach us how to be heroes to animals. She talked about a few different animals that had incredible features. She brought some animals bones (some real and some casts) and pelts for us to see which was really cool.

The Museum of Flight put on a Flying Gizmos show. That was really neat. A few kids got to try out different remote controlled flying toys. We learned about early methods of flight (for example, the first hot air balloons carried a rooster, duck, and sheep into the air first to make sure it was safe for humans).

My kids love science museums. The Pacific Science Center brought a traveling exhibit to the mall and it was really fun for them to play with all the interactive items there.

We went on vacation, so we missed some of the other activities, but while we were driving around the States, Sean finished his 100 hours of reading. He was very excited to get a shirt when we got home.

Thanks for another summer of fun, KRL!

This post is part of our Summer Learning Inspiration series.  Folks in our community have agreed to share inspiration and talk about some of the amazing things that they’ve been #LibraryInspired to learn!

Three Little Pigs STEM Construction Challenge

The Three Little Pigs were actually engineers, and you can be one too! In the well-known folktale, three little pigs build houses out of straw, sticks, and brick while the Big Bad Wolf (who has his own version of this story) huffs, puffs and sometimes successfully blows down their homes.

Houses made of "sticks"
Houses made of “sticks”

At the Kingston Library we made this story into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) building challenge earlier this summer, and it was a blast!  Creating a STEM challenge may seem difficult or intimidating, but this one is simple and something anyone can easily recreate.

Houses made of "bricks"
Houses made of “bricks”

For this challenge you just need building materials for the houses and a source of wind to try to “blow the house down!”  You may already have everything you need on hand.  For “straw” houses you can use actual straw or hay, drinking straws, or even pipe cleaners.  For “stick” houses you can use real sticks, popsicles sticks, or toothpicks.  To build houses made of “brick” you can use dominoes, wooden blocks, or Lego bricks.  And to play the part of the Big Bad Wolf, a small fan or hair dryer works great!  (You can make it look more villainous by adding some ears and eyes).  But you can get creative and use any type of building material—marshmallows, crayons, newspaper….the possibilities are endless.

The "Big Bad Wolf"
The “Big Bad Wolf”

Now you are ready to put yourself in the shoes of the Little Pigs, wondering “How can I make a house that withstands the Big Bad Wolf?” To answer that question, you have to think like a scientist and an engineer.   Design and construct a house, observe and analyze how it holds up under the “huffing and puffing,” and then use that information to re-create the house if it doesn’t successfully hold up. This trial and error process naturally follows the entire the scientific method:  asking a question, making a hypothesis, testing it out, and continue experimenting, evaluating, and trying again to find the solution.

The "Big Bad Wolf" takes on a straw house!
The “Big Bad Wolf” takes on a straw house!

It’s hard to say which part is more fun, building the houses…or blowing them down!  Either way, lots of learning and laughter happens, which is exactly how summer should be.

Trying to blow the house down!
Trying to blow the house down!

Summer Lego Events

With Legos, kids can build spaceships that visit Pluto, houses for a zookeeper and their pet phoenix, or even a giant, square robot with three limbs. Kids’ creativity is only limited by their imagination.

Their innovation with Legos always amazes me. There is nothing quite like seeing future engineers and architects in action–especially when they don’t even realize they’re participating in a STEM learning activity! Playing with Legos can develop problem solving skills, build confidence, and encourage sharing and teamwork. For younger children, Legos can help develop spatial skills, which assists in understanding the intricacies of three-dimensional objects.


Our libraries try to capitalize on this fun and educational form of play with programs centering on or involving Legos.  Little Boston offers Legos at the Library on July 21st and August 20th at 2:00pm. Poulsbo includes Legos with our Gears, Gizmos, Marble Runs and More program on July 22nd at 3:30pm. Then, on July 29th, Poulsbo is screening The LEGO Movie at 7:00pm for free–including popcorn! The Lego creations made at the Gears, Gizmos, Marble Runs, and More program will be displayed during the movie.  The kids who participate can then show their creations off to their family and friends.

Lego movie

We’re looking forward to seeing you and your family at any of our great Lego events this summer!

Summer Learning Inspiration: Minecraft & Reading

Welcome guest blogger, Betsy B, and her two boys Sean and Matthew.

Last summer, Sean had a goal to read 100 hours for our library’s Summer Reading program. He took a little too long and missed out on getting a t-shirt, so this year he is challenging himself to get his hours in early.

Matthew’s goal of 10 hours is a little more modest, and he is equally excited to reach his goal and earn a free book.

School is officially out now and both the boys are making great progress on their reading goals. Matthew is able to read pretty well for a 6 year old, but still likes to be read to. When I’m not available, he is happy to look at books for a long time.

Sean read this book in a day. I am learning that I need to have plenty of options on hand for him.

Part of the Summer Reading program includes some pretty great activities. We live between two branches and I like to scope out what they each offer. There are so many to choose from! We have been to one already. It was a Minecraft party where 8 computers were hooked up for kids to play together. The boys have played Minecraft with their cousins before, but this was a different experience for them since it was on computers instead of devices (iPads, phones, etc.)

They had a great time and are looking forward to the next Minecraft afternoon in July. If you want to try something fun at your library this summer, check out the calendar of events at KRL!

This post is part of our Summer Learning Inspiration series.  Folks in our community have agreed to share inspiration and talk about some of the amazing things that they’ve been #LibraryInspired to learn!

Inspired by Fiction

Summer is for dreaming, learning, and doing, not just in real life but also in the world of fiction!

Here are a few books in which the characters set out to achieve a specific goal.  If you check them out, not only will you be able to fill in some time to count towards your ten (or one hundred!) hours of reading, you may even be inspired to set a goal of your own for the Dream. Learn. Do. Be side of the tracker.

Juvenile Fiction:

spud murphy

Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer

When their mother starts dropping them off at the library several afternoons a week, nine-year-old William and his brother dread boredom and the overbearing librarian, but they are surprised at how things turn out.

alvin ho

Alvin Ho:  Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look

Alvin, a second grader who’s afraid of everything, is back, and his worst fear has come true:he has to go camping. What will he do exposed in the wilderness with bears and darkness and . . . pit toilets?

Young Adult Fiction:

swim the fly

Swim the Fly by Don Calame

Fifteen-year-old Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Coop and Sean, always set themselves a summertime goal. This year’s? To see a real-live naked girl for the first time–quite a challenge, given that none of the guys has the nerve to even ask a girl out on a date. But catching a girl in the buff starts to look easy compared to Matt’s other summertime aspiration: to swim the 100-yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to God or man) as a way to impress Kelly West, the sizzling new star of the swim team.


Will and Whit by  Laura Lee Gulledge

Wilhelmina “Will” Huxstep crafts whimsical lamps, in part to deal with her fear of the dark. She longs for unplugged adventures with her fellow creative friends.  Little does she know that she will get her wish in the form of an arts carnival and a blackout, which forces Will to face her fear of darkness.


Orchards by Holly Thompson

Sent to Japan for the summer after an eighth-grade, half-Jewish Kana Goldberg tries to fit in with relatives she barely knows while “reflecting in the presence of her ancestors” on the guilt she feels over a tragedy back home.

Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction: 

rosie project

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

A socially awkward genetics professor who has never been on a second date sets out to find the perfect wife, but instead finds Rosie Jarman, a fiercely independent barmaid who is on a quest to find her biological father.

spare parts

Spare Parts:  Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis

With the help of two inspiring science teachers, four undocumented Mexican immigrants in Arizona put together an underwater robot from scavenged parts and went on to win the National Underwater Robotics Competition at UC Santa Barbara.

Humans of Kitsap

Who are the Humans of Kitsap? This summer the Library has been inspired by the popular Humans of New York blog by Brandon Stanton. He honors the people who live and work in New York City. The Library wants to honor the people who live and work in our community of Kitsap County. We are asking you to help us out by sharing stories of the humans in your life: your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors.

HumansofKitsapWant to participate? It’s easy! Everyone has a story. Everyone has something of value that they can share with our community. Start a conversation with someone you know. Ask them questions about what inspires them, their dreams, their regrets, their likes or their dislikes. Then simply post a picture of them along with a quote to your favorite social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and tag it with #humansofkitsap. The Library will be collecting the pictures and sharing them on our Humans of Kitsap Pinterest board.

Are you not confident in your photography or conversation skills? Then join us at one of our Humans of Kitsap programs. We are offering basic photography, photo editing and conversational interview workshops. We are also planning an end of the summer celebration to honor the people, photographers and subjects, who participated. All of the details are available in our summer issue of Inspire or on this webpage.

So keep an eye on Humans of Kitsap! You never know when you’ll see someone you know…or someone you would like to!

Teen Tech Week

On March 8-14, Kitsap Regional Library joins many other public libraries around the country in celebrating Teen Tech Week. Teen Tech Week gives libraries the chance to show teens all of the new technology features found in their libraries. This enables teens to become more technologically savvy and confident. This is something that is crucial for young people as they develop into 21st century career professionals in an increasingly tech-driven world. Here at the Kitsap Regional Library, we see this initiative as something we proudly offer every week of the year. Through our STEM and BiblioTEC programming, digital databases and e-resources, we share with teens the digital tools and equipment that will help them succeed in school and beyond.

We ask every teen in our community to visit their local library and learn about all of the useful digital resources we have to offer. Our librarians and staff are happy to share this knowledge.

With our downloadable resources, you can download books and audio books, free music and magazines.

With our databases, you can get homework help and learn a new language, just to name a few.

With our STEM and BiblioTEC programming, we offer teens a chance to learn about all sorts of technology topics including 3D printing and game design. Check out weekly events here.

Please stop by  your local library and ask our staff about all of the digital resources and programming we offer.