Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Paint and STEAM
Although I'm not a big home decorator, I have fallen in love with chalkboard and magnetic paints in my home.  Plain mugs, message boards or picture frames are getting a personal touch this holiday season. How does this fit into libraries? With the growing popularity of collaborative spaces between museums and children's rooms in libraries, there is a call for more interactive spaces between parents and their children with or without a librarian present. Old cork boards can be turned into over-sized refrigerator door art displays from patrons with magnetic frames and construction paper. What about making a chalk board to ask a question like what everyone is thankful for this year? and just leave out some chalk (in a well supervised area of course!). We all probably have some magnetic alphabet letters lying around. Why not re-create Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin?
Just this past week I learned about taking it to a whole new level with conductive paint, which turns any surface into a circuit with just paint, a battery, and a led light. A quick tutorial to build a simple circuit is found on Instructables. Bare Paint seems to be the leader in this department, selling kits to make electronic cards, paper houses, and more. They are even adding projects using their Touchboard sensor which will be able to link sound effects with a simple touch. No soldering, just paint and imagination! DIY'ers will be able to make projects such as interactive paper books or walls that teach the alphabet when pressed.  Speaking of awesome interactive walls, check out MIT's living wall project using conductive paint and paper kits.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to brainstorm using these paints for a project like this and promote early literacy and science? There are many home ideas out there with just a quick search on Pinterest that could be implemented easily into libraries cheaply.  Worried about your walls? Use an old bulletin board, canvas, or cookie sheet as a base and start small. This is what I see in the children's room of the future.

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