Get Your Science On with These Titles

It’s been an exciting year for Space Exploration already, and this month features one the most regular and spectacular celestial events:  the Perseid Meteor Shower!  Summer Reading Program has also wrapped up this month with some fun science experiments for the kids.  Are you sensing a theme?  These are our recommendations for the Back-to-School season–or at least for the spirit of learning.  :)

For the Kids:

Janice VanCleave’s 201 Awesome, Magical, Bizarre & Incredible Experiments

This book has a ton of activities!  Even if you’re not one for science experiments, you’re sure to find something.

Gizmos & Gadgets : Creating Science Contraptions That Work (& Knowing Why)

by Jill Frankel Hauser

This book has great hands-on activities to make machines and contraptions to bring the world of physics to an understandable level.

The Kids’ Science Book : Creative Experiences for Hands-On Fun

by Robert Hirschfeld & Nancy White

Half the fun of science is the excuse to get your hands dirty!

Magic Science : 50 Jaw-Dropping, Mind-Boggling, Earth-Shattering, Head-Scratching Activities for Kids

by Jim Wiese

Great for the aspiring Magician.  This book showcases what makes exploring science really fun.

Show Off : How to Do Absolutely Everything One Step at a Time

by Sarah Hines Stephens and Bethany Mann

A lot of things can seem difficult to understand and this book breaks it into easier-to-handle chunks.  Step by step, you can make something that seems complicated (and wow your friends), but is actually quite easy and fun!

And for the Young-at-Heart:

Almost Everyone’s Guide to Science:  The Universe, Life, and Everything

by John Gribbin

Despite the author being a science writer, he is adept at writing in a way that’s not intimidating, but not simple either.  It’s engaging.

Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium

by Carl Sagan

You can’t be disappointed by notes and anecdotes from a legend like Carl Sagan!

A Short History of Nearly Everything

by Bill Bryson

We’ve recommended this one before.  It’s just so good!  Read about the world’s scientific discoveries from the mechanics of the Solar System to what atoms are really made of.  It’ll make you wonder.

To Explain the World:  The Discovery of Modern Science 

by Steve Weinberg

Take a journey through ancient science practices and discover how humanity has learned what we know now.

Different Engines:  How Science Drives Fiction and Fiction Drives Science

by Neil Hook

Science and literature has always had a strong connection.  Read about how they’ve influenced each other.


Happy Experimenting!

Make Your Own Fancy Gift Box

If you’ve got an abundance of empty plastic bottles around, don’t send them away!  Use these instructions to recycle them yourself and turn them into something much more useful!


Clean the bottle, inside and out. Remove labels and residue.

What you will need:
A plastic water bottle
> experiment with different colors and patterns

Optional items:
Paint or Permanent Markers
Hole Punch

Cut the top and the bottom off of the bottle.  You may have to puncture the bottle with a sharper blade to get started.  You’ll want to end up with just the straight tube of plastic.



Flatten the cylinder and crease. Reopen the cylinder and match up the creases in the middle.


Flatten again to crease the other two edges.  This should leave you with a square shaped tube.


Cut a slit up about an inch in each corner to make 4 flaps at each end of the tube. Round each flap with your scissors.










Choose which end will be the bottom of your box.  Fold each flap over the last and tuck the last end underneath to secure.


You can use a hole punch and some decorative ribbon to secure the top or add handles.












Flip your box over, fill from the top, and secure.

Experiment with paint or markers for a stained glass effect.

Use them for party favors, gift boxes, or as part of your own DIY Home Decor!

Instructions adapted from DIY Creative Ideas.

Zumba to the Rhythm

IMG_1675 The library was up and at ’em this week with Zumba.  And with this week, the library is now at the halfway point of the Summer Reading Program!  The YMCA led the group in some energetic dance to the beat.




The staff has been frantically gathering returned materials and reshelving them in order to keep up with the kids every week.  Thursday mornings, the shelves always seem just a bit lighter.


It was great to have such an engaging activity to get the whole group moving.




After all the exercise, we imagine the kids had to be ready for a nice quiet summer reading break.


Disney Music with the F-M Orchestra

IMG_1648This week for our Summer Reading Program event, we invited Christina Chen-Byers – Director of the Fargo-Moorhead University Orchestra – to help kids learn about music.  As an added bonus, she focused on some famous tunes from various Disney movies.  If nothing else, the staff was nostalgic.




The kids participated in some question-and-answer games and helped Christina fill in some well-loved Disney lyrics.

For some added fun, the kids were split into groups and faced off  to see who could sing louder.




The kids took full advantage of the singing techniques they learned from Christina and of the chance to be loud in the library.

Next week, we look forward to a little more rhythm with some Zumba.

Make Your Own Lip Balm

Try your hand at a little do-it-yourself cosmetic project.  With a quick trip to the hobby store, you can make a personalized lip balm with simple ingredients.  This project was originally presented as part of the Make It Yourself Program held at the Moorhead Public Library on October 10th, 2013.

Photo by Karunakar Rayker (CC BY 2.0)


  • 1 Tablespoon (0.5 oz) beeswax
  • 1 Tablespoon shea butter
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • Dropper or funnel
  • Small containers
  • Optional ingredients:
    • Few drops of essential oil (peppermint or vanilla are common)
      • Shavings from your favorite lipstick to add tinting

Photo by Nekenasoa (CC BY 2.0)


  • In a small pan, melt beeswax over low heat.
  • Add shea butter and coconut oil.
  • Add lipstick shavings until melted (optional).
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add a few drops of essential oil (optional).
  • Use a dropper or funnel to transfer the liquid into your containers.
  • Cool completely until contents are hardened and cover.
Photo by Steven Depolo (CC BY 2.0)

Photo by Steven Depolo (CC BY 2.0)


Recipe adapted from Homemade Natural Chapstick by Passionate Homemaking