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If you’ve visited the library this week, you’ve probably noticed something new – a children’s play area tucked away in a corner of the children’s department! Kids can climb, peer out windows, build a brick wall, and play with paint rollers, but this fun play area is just the beginning.

Just in time for our “Build a Better World” themed Summer Reading Program to begin, we have a children’s exhibit opening in The Attic. Starting today, the youngest visitors to the Provo City Library will become movers and shakers in the new Little Builders exhibit. Donning little hard hats and construction vests, children ages 2-7 will create, play, and learn as they explore the concepts of construction, motion, and simple machines. Visitors have the exciting opportunity to:

  • Hand-operate a pulley and conveyer belt to explore cause and effect

  • Operate a child-size crane to hook, lift and move objects and materials
     
  • Build structures with blocks, pipes, Duplo® blocks (toddlers’ large snap-on blocks) and gears

  • Insert balls into air chutes and see them shoot through clear pipes to experiment with aerodynamics

Little Builders challenges and entertains the mind of a child helping to develop intellectual, physical, emotional and social skills. It uses scientific processes, mathematical concepts, sensory development and communication to promote self-confidence, coordination, control, strength and self-expression.

The Exhibit includes five themed areas:

Construction Site - Visitors learn the physics of movement and cause-and-effect in the Construction Site, which is located in the Children’s Department. They can start their workday by turning gears, and then climb in, out, over and under the four levels of the Construction Site. On the pattern wall they can design and build a “brick” wall with large interlocking plastic blocks in a variety of sizes and colors.  Visitors can also pretend to paint a wall with real painting equipment to master the craft. They can use fuzzy paint rollers and dip them into trays that are pre coated with “paint.”  

Structures - Visitors discover the concepts involved in building: size, weight, shape, balance, gravity and stability as they design and build structures. Visitors can build a mini-community on a soft carpet covered with city streets or build three-dimensional structures using a variety of PVC pipe pieces and connectors at the four-sided PVC Pipe House. They can even crawl into miniature Latch Houses and practice fine-motor skills by hooking and unhooking latches while opening and closing doors and shutters, and build pathways, houses, or anything else imaginable with soft oversized blocks.  

Aerodynamics - Visitors experience and play with the characteristics of air and wind, and how they affect objects. Visitors can insert balls into vertical air chutes and watch them shoot through the clear pipes and pop into a basket. Visitors will watch in amazement as plastic balls mysteriously float, bobbing up and down, above a large orange cone. At the Bernoulli blower, they can feel the force and pressure of air by experimenting with balls and the stream of air that flows up through the hollow cone.  

Cranes - Young visitors will have opportunities to discover mechanical physics at work —at the mini crane visitors can turn a crank to operate a pulley system to raise and lower objects, use a friction brake to hold or release lifted objects, and use a set of pedals to rotate the crane on its base. Visitors can discover how the crane enables workers to move objects around the construction area and move block cargo to a waiting flatbed car using a gantry crane.  

Simple Machines - Visitors can pound over-sized nails, turn over-sized screws, and twist over-sized bolts with plastic hammers, screwdrivers and wrenches.  Dropping plastic balls through a series of clear pipes, visitors will watch as the balls travel down a twisty path.  Also, they can work with pipes, balls and levels to explore the fundamentals of plumbing and gravity.  Visitors can work together to move materials back and forth by manipulating a hand-operated conveyer belt.

Little Builders was created and is toured by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, Oregon. It will run in the attic through September 2 and will be open Monday through Friday 10-6 and Saturdays from 1-6. We’re excited for children to learn, grow, play, and Build a Better World with this fun new exhibit!

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