For the Ypsilanti District Library, the gift of a MAF Build Imagination STEM toy kit is the perfect complement to the library’s collection of other STEM-related learning activities to stimulate creative and critical thinking for its young patrons.
MAF’s Build Imagination kits consist of a collection of architecture-related STEM toys, including Roylco Straws and Connectors, Blocks and Blueprints sets, wooden Keva Planks, and K’NEX 100 Model Imagine Building Sets. The kit components can be used to construct structures, mazes, bridges, towers, ramps – or as the foundation for countless other STEM and architecture-related activities based on children’s imaginations.
“COVID slowed our timeline for getting our library’s Build Imagination kit toys into distribution,” said Jodi Krahnke, Head of Youth Services, Ypsilanti District Library, “but we plan to have them available for checkout in the first week in February. We look forward to collecting feedback from children and families about which toys are favorites, and what they learned by playing with them.” The library has divided its kit into individual toy packets for checkout for use at home. Each packet comes with a laminated instruction sheet and a children’s STEM-related book.
One MAF Build Imagination Kit toy the library is using in-house is the Keva Planks. Keva Planks are stackable wood building blocks that encourage exploration and understanding of balance and proportion. “Exploratory and independent play are big parts of our STEM learning program,” said Jodi, “and the Keva Planks are an ideal fit for our young patrons.
The Build Imagination kits complement the library’s collection of educational learning kits, which include Play Kits (to encourage early literacy and get young children prepared for school), Sensory Kits, and STEM kits (which include some architecture-related activities). “We also have a Youth STEM fort building kit available for checkout, which is very popular,” said Jodi.
She continues, “Having learning kits for use at home has always been important to our programming, and even more so during COVID, when in-library programming was not possible or has been reduced. At home STEM activities also help children retain what they have learned, or delve deeper into something that has sparked their interest at one of our library programs.”
The Ypsilanti District Library also hosts a number of in-house activities and events, including Lego night; Make Do, where children build structures using cardboard panels and plastic connectors and screwdrivers; and the upcoming ‘Big Family Build,’ a program where families can use the library’s Legos, building blocks, and materials from the MAF Build Imagination kits to create their own structures. The Big Family Build is scheduled for Saturday, February 5 from 2-4 pm.
The library’s Build Imagination Kit Toys and other STEM toys are only available for checkout to families in the library’s district (in-library STEM activities are open to all families). For more information on the Ypsilanti District Library, its MAF Build Imagination STEM learning kits, and other educational programs, visit https://www.ypsilibrary.org.
Photos (above): a child plays with Keva planks from MAF’s Build Imagination STEM Toy Kit; a variety of toys from MAF’s kit