Kids at Home with MPPL

Kids at Home with MPPL Blog

Maker Monday: Solar Oven S’mores

smores in a pizza box solar oven

No campfire? No problem! Try making s’mores using solar energy with this fun project from


  • pizza box
  • black construction paper
  • aluminum foil
  • plastic wrap


Cut the “oven door” flap on the box. Decorate with markers if you wish!

Glue black construction paper to the bottom of the box. The black color absorbs the heat.

Glue aluminum foil to the inside of the door. The foil reflects the sun into the oven.

Tape the plastic over the opening of the door. The plastic wrap allows the air inside the box to heat up but keep the heat trapped inside the box.

Add a graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate inside the oven.

Place your oven outside in the sun. Use a wooden skewer to keep the lid propped open if needed.

Watch as the chocolate melts and the marshmallow puffs up from the heat! It may take 1-2 hours to fully bake the s’mores. Pro tip: these are delicious even with just the chocolate melted! 🙂

STEAM Saturday: Messy Outdoor Activities

The Artful Parent: Simple ways to fill your family's life with art and creativity book cover

The Artful Parent is a great resource for art activities appropriate for a wide range of ages, toddler through school age children. Check out the website or the book.

Warm days are the best time to try messy hands-on activities outdoors. Three favorite messy activities from the Artful Parent are making oobleck, melting ice, and playing with cloud dough.  


  • 1 ½ -2 cups corn starch 
  • 1 cup water 
  • Food coloring (optional) 

Directions: Mix the food coloring with the water and then stir in the cornstarch. As it dries out, more water can be added. Cups, bowls, spoons, and plastic washable toys are all fun to play with oobleck. For more ideas of what to do with oobleck, go to “Fun Things to do with Goop” from The Artful Parent. 

Melting Ice Experiment 

  • Ice 
  • Salt 
  • Food coloring or liquid watercolors 

Directions: Freeze water in different shaped containers, such as a muffin tin, cups, or bowls. Once frozen, run the containers under warm water to release the ice. Sprinkle a small amount of salt on the ice and observe what happens. As the ice melts, use liquid watercolors or food coloring and an eyedropper to color the ice.   

Cloud Dough

  • Flour  
  • Vegetable oil 

Directions: Pour the flour into a large container and slowly add the vegetable oil, mixing it until the flour is fluffy and holds together when pressed like wet sand. Add spoons, cups, and washable plastic animals. 

Trivia Tuesday: Video Game Characters

Exercise your brain and maybe learn something new. Each Tuesday, we will send you on a knowledge quest and you can email us your answers for a chance to win a prize. As always with Library trivia, the good news is that if you don’t know the answer, there are ways to find out! Try using MPPL’s Kids Web Resources, searching online, or calling Youth Services at 847/253-5675 for book suggestions. You may also discover other topics of interest to you with these resources. 

name these video game favorites

Send your answers to  with your name and age by Monday, August 3 for a chance to win a $5 gift card to a local business. Participants with correct answers will be eligible for each weekly drawing. 

Sign up for our Library Fun at Home Newsletter to keep up with the Library and more suggestions for summer fun.

Maker Monday: Flashlight Constellations

cassiopeia flashlight constellation



1. Using scissors, cut out the circles around the constellations.

2. Write the name of the constellation on the front or back of each circle.

3. Make a hole on each black dot of the constellation with a pen/pencil or hole punch.

4. Tape the constellation to the flashlight in front of the light.

5. Turn off the lights or wait until it’s dark out, and then turn the flashlight on to see your constellation.

Depending on the size of the flashlight, you may only be able to see some of the constellation. The closer you are to the wall or surface you are shining the light on, the more you will see of the constellation. Try going steps forward and back with your flashlight to see the changes.

Constellations and Stargazing

A constellation is a group of stars that form a recognizable pattern. Many are named for mythological figures and also have stories about how they were created. Constellations can be seen from Earth in areas where there is little light pollution.

Now that you have made your flashlight constellations, see if you can find these same constellations in the night sky with your family. The constellations you created are all visible during the summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

If you are interested in learning more about constellations, stargazing, and mythology, check out these activities for kids and families from NASA at Home. Or, visit the Library or email us at!

Get Outside with these Scavenger Hunts

magnifying glass magnifying a ladybug

Looking for a new outdoor activity to get your little one excited to get outside even on a hot day? Make some binoculars, print out a scavenger hunt, and follow your child on an adventure.   

Making this binocular craft helps kids practice fine motor skills. You can also talk about the five senses and how these will help focus on sight.  

Younger kids can walk around the neighborhood and look for items on this list from Nature Cat and PBS Kids.

bird eggs in a nest on a branch

For a more challenging hunt, try printing out this activity, creating a nature notebook, and taking a hike.

Kids will enjoy helping to read items on the scavenger hunt list and younger children will love marking out what is found. Follow your child’s pace and look carefully at what is around. Scavenger hunts work well both in parks and around the block.  

Once you have completed the activity, be sure to log it in your Beanstack account! These scavenger hunts could count for The Great Outdoor Hunt or the Get Outside activity badges. Have fun!