Week Thirty-Four: STEAM Storytime: Building and Fixing!


October 16, 2015 by libraryheather

Cover image
Program Title:
STEAM Storytime: Building and Fixing!

Target Age Range: Ages 3-6

Program Length: 60 minutes

Brief Description:
Half-storytime, half-lab in which we explore how things are made and fixed.

Giant Pipe Builders or similar PVC pipes for building (which would probably be much less expensive)

Stacking tumblers (as many as possible)

Cardboard boxes in a variety of sizes (as many as possible)

Packing tape

Paper plates, cut into pieces

Ziploc bags

Colored masking tape (scotch tape or regular masking tape also works)

3-4 Rulers


Legal envelopes (1 per participant)

Tools coloring sheet printed on card stock (1 per participant)

1 large plastic bowl with a small hole drilled in the bottom

1 plastic basin

Pitcher of water

A variety of items that will and will not plug the hole in the plastic bowl to prevent water from coming through

“Construction” – Sally Sutton

“There’s a Hole in My Bucket!” – Ingrid & Dieter Schubert

“A New Roof” – Cari Meister

Optional: Craft trays

Cost: $$ 50-100, assuming that you don’t buy the Giant Pipe Builders set, but DO buy a bunch of PVC pipes and a lot of tumblers. Otherwise, it’s very cheap! We already had the Giant Pipe Builders and tumblers, so this was an extremely low-cost program for us.

Advanced Preparation:
Cut each paper plate into 3-5 pieces of varying size/shape and put each one in a Ziploc baggie. Make 1 per participant.Tubes

-Cut a handle on the top of each legal envelope, like shown here in LibrErin’s post.

-Print 1 tools coloring sheet on cardstock per participant and cut out each of the tools. Put each completed set into a completed envelope.

-Gather a variety of sizes of empty cardboard boxes and tape them shut.

Program Outline:
1. Welcome and introductions.

2. Song: The More That We Learn Science (to the tune of “The More We Get Together”)

The more that we learn science,
Learn science, learn science,
The more that we learn science,
The happier we’ll be.
We’ll know things, and do things,
And explore many new things,
The more that we learn science,
The happier we’ll be.

3. Brainstorm: What kinds of things do people build? Have you ever had a toy break? Have you ever seen a bump in the road? Have you ever seen a flat tire on a car or bicycle? What happens when the things that people make are broken? We fix them!

4. Book: “Construction” – Sally Sutton

5. Song: Construction Worker Song (found on Pre-K Fun, Storytime Katie, and Everything Preschool)

This is the way we saw the wood,
Saw the wood, saw the wood.
This is the way we saw the wood, so early in the morning.

Repeat verse with:
…pound the nails
…drill a hole
…turn a screw
…stack the bricks
…paint the walls

6. Tube Story: 5 Little Nails (from Mel’s Desk)

Five little nails, standing straight and steady.
Here I come with my hammer ready!
Bam Bam Bam! That nail goes down.
Now there are just four nails to pound.

Repeat until there are no nails left.

7. Action Rhyme: Johnny Had One Hammer (from Sturgis Kids Wiki)

(Child #1’s Name) pounds with one hammer, one hammer, one hammer,
(Child #1’s Name) pounds with one hammer, but (Child #2’s Name ) pounds with two!

(Child #2’s Name) pounds with two hammers, two hammers, two hammers,
(Child #2’s Name) pounds with two hammer, but (Child #3’s Name) pounds with three!

(Child #3’s Name) pounds with three hammers, three hammers, three hammers,
(Child #3’s Name) pounds with three hammers, but (Child #4’s Name) pounds with four!

(Child #4’s Name) pounds with four hammers, four hammers, four hammers,
(Child #4’s Name) pounds with four hammers, but (Child #5’s Name) pounds with five!

(Child #5’s Name) pounds with five hammers, five hammers, five hammers,
(Child #5’s Name) pounds with five hammers, and Miss (Your Name) goes to sleep!

Start out by pounding 1 fist, then 2 fists, then 2 fists and a foot, then 2 fists and 2 feet, then 2 fists and 2 feet while nodding your head. At the end, make a sleeping motion.

8. Book: “There’s a Hole in My Bucket” – Ingrid & Dieter Schubert

9. Group Activity: Fix the Hole!  (see Special Instructions and Procedures below)

10. Song: We Need a Plumber!  (to the tune of “Yankee Doodle,” from Preschool Education)

Pipes can carry water to
The bathroom or the kitchen.
But when the pipes aren’t working, then
A plumber has to fix them.
When the sink is backing up,
When the faucet’s drippy,
When the toilet just won’t flush,
We need a plumber quickly!

11. Book: “A New Roof” – Cari Meister

12. Lab Time (see Special Instructions and Procedures)
Four stations:
-Pipe and Cup Builders
-Box Structures
-Fixing Broken Plates
-Toolbox Craft


Special Instructions and Procedures:
Fix the Hole Demonstration:
One of our fabulous maintenance guys drilled a hole in the bottom of a large plastic bowl.  We held the bowl over a basin and poured water through it–of course, it leaked. We asked the kids what we could use to repair the hole. Paper? Aluminum foil? An apple? Clay? It was fun to ham up the silly options before finding one that worked to hold the water in.

For the 30 minutes of lab time, we had four stations:

Pipe and Cup Builders:
We have two sets of Giant Pipe Builders from Lakeshore Learning and many sets of these colorful stackable tumblers from Ikea as part of our “Hands-On Science Museum.” Kids love to use these two building items together, so we put them all out at one station for free building time.

Box Structures:Tall Stack
We got a great many boxes donated to us from staff members and our maintenance crew. All we had to do was tape them closed and haul them into the meeting room. As usual, the kids loved playing with the boxes more than any other thing in the entire room. Boxes always trump everything! This is a highly recommended free play activity.

Fixing Broken Plates:
This completely amazing idea came from LibrErin’s blog. Each participant gets a baggie with cut-up plate pieces, and their task is to reassemble the pieces with colored masking tape. As Erin did, we also put out rulers so that they could measure plates or other things around the room.

Toolbox Craft:
Again, LibrErin rocked our world with this simple, wonderful craft idea. The beauty of taking the time to cut out all of the tools and separate them into the envelope “toolboxes” in advance is that if the kids took too much time with the free building  activities (which they did), then they could just take one of the toolboxes home to color later. No fuss, no muss. Amazing!

Resources Used:
LibrErin: STEAM Storytime – Fix It, Build It!

Storytime Katie: Construction!

Mel’s Desk: Not a Flannel Friday: 5 Little Nails

Preschool Education: Music & Songs: Community Helpers

Everything Preschool: Construction Songs and Music

Pre-K Fun: Construction Songs, Poems & Fingerplays

Sturgis Kids Wiki: Tools Storytime

Printables 4 Kids: Fathers Day Printable Toolbox

What we would do differently:

We would not change anything. This program worked very well as-is.

Adaption for older/younger audience:

No recommendations for adapting up or down.

One thought on “Week Thirty-Four: STEAM Storytime: Building and Fixing!

  1. […] borrowed our latest activity from STEM in Libraries.  Their “STEAM Storytime” had kids repairing broken paper plates by taping them back […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: