Last week at The Front Porch Library: 1 kid. This week: 15. And so it was bug day! Seizing the moment I explained mosquito biology with all the fervor of a storyteller. Then came 20 minutes of noisy reading (kids reading to kids, kids reading to adults, kids reading to themselves). This was followed by building with blocks, a water balloon war, and a cake with grass green icing and a large plastic roach on top. Way cool.
The neighborhood is aboil with mosquitoes. Teachable moment! I thought. I had a great skeet book ready, a buggy project–and then only one child came (after 13 last week). Luckily, it was A’Miracle who loves to do math, spelling, reading aloud and making icing for the weekly cake. This week she wanted multiplication–and we crammed her full (she also had a lot of cake). As long as we have more than zero kids it is a good day at the Front Porch Library.
It was “Battle of the Library Redux,” today. This time the weapon of choice was not cardboard swords, but water balloons. Given the heat I felt fortunate to be a frequent target of choice. Meanwhile, inside Kary had the kids making and binding blank journals in which to record their summer experiences–and we finally finished the last of the frozen FPL third birthday cake. Thirteen kids, all wired and soaked to the skin and quite a few of them with places to write it all down. I’d call that a success!
To whoever sent the anonymous gift Visa card to me and signed it “some of your friends and admirers” I want to say a big thank you (I sure hope you are friends of mine on FB). Your gift will keep the Front Porch Library going with snacks, craft supplies, and other project materials for a good three months. If the benefactors are not on FB I hope that others will appreciate the fact that somewhere J. Beresford Tipton’s progeny are alive and well and smiling on one small neighborhood library.
Library time started with a plan: assemble the 5’ long coral reef puzzle and identify the animals using field guides, but then someone found the rain stick on the shelf and remembered we had a basket full of paper towel tubes..somehow that morphed into sword and armor production (we also had a mess of throw away aluminum pans that became helmets, breast plates, and sword arm guards). Between squalls the Battle of the Library was staged on the front lawn. The winner, in her aluminum foil crested helmet looked a lot like Athena—and she was just as ruthless! Maybe next week we’ll turn the battle into a legend—or identify those darned fish.
With Craig’s return from China the library kids had some interesting math to do. How many renminbi does it take to make a dollar? (6) and how many of these strange coins and brightly colored notes equal 6 renminbi? The incentive was great. Figure it out and you go home feeling rich with a pocketful of Chinese money. Each rich kid had about eleven cents worth of foreign gelt in their pocket when they left–and all left satisfied.
Celebration of the library’s 3rd birthday began at ten when the girls came over to bake (we have only worked slightly less hard on this than those preparing for the Queen’s 60th anniversary). We made ice cream sandwiches, even baking the cookies, garlic bread and birthday cake. When the time to party finally came we fed 40+ people. If you are ever called upon to perform the miracle of loaves and fishes but are less than divine go for spaghetti–cheap and bounteous.
Next Sunday we celebrate the third birthday of the Front Porch Library, so what did we do today? We made the spaghetti sauce for the birthday celebration dinner. Imagine kids with knives, kids sauteeing, kids weeping over onions and every available vegetable from our collective gardens going into one giant pot–now take a deep whiff of that great aroma because the kids of the FPL can really cook!
It was the last Sunday of Rube Goldberg month at the Front Porch Library. We all had a good understanding of simple machines–all six–and we’d built a catapult that threw rocks, although as Ryleigh pointed out, not very far, but we had yet to build a crazy machine. Desperate, Ray nailed plywood to the front of the library and we built a water wall (think recycled bottles, duct tape and water flowing through the whole caboodle. Voila!
In a sign that summer is coming we had a watermelon seed spitting contest at the Front Porch Library today. Contestants stood in a chalk circle on Marcia labelled “SPIT SPOT” and let fly. Winning distance? Twenty-four and a half feet. We kept the measuring length of yarn as the benchmark for the next time we decide to spit competitively in the street—or challenge some other guerilla library to a spit off.
Today at the Front Porch Library we were trapped inside by a storm–the sentiment was strongly in favor of a power failure since we had candles. We put together a Mousetrap Game hoping to gain insight into our Rube Goldberg project, identified the simple machines in the game. I told a ghost story (although the lights stayed stubbornly on) and of course we ate cake. Another good day at the library.
We are inspired by this seven year old’s Rube Goldberg machine.
We’re hoping to do something similar … starting with construction of a catapult!
Today three of my library kids came over and volunteered to paint one of the metal tables in the library driveway. “Yellow or blue?” they asked. We went with yellow. Perfect? No. But the rust is covered and between coats the catapult got a workout.
A group of intrepid volunteers arrived ready to tame the wildness of our front yard. Adrian sat by and helped sort out weeds from flowering shrub, begrudging every moment she couldn’t jump up and prune. A great big “Thank You” to Leon Key Club. You all are the greatest.
For more pics, click here.
It was simple machine day at the Front Porch Library–which segued into the building of a Rube Goldberg machine. A recently donated seesaw (aka lever) was quickly converted into a catapult–next week we’ll figure out what task to do with the ball it flings with fair accuracy.