Kids at Home with MPPL Category: Technology

Winter Reading Badges

Look at all those badges! Monty the Mount Prospect Duck has been busy reading and doing activities for Winter Reading. You have until February 28 to try to earn as many (or more) badges than Monty!

Monty the MPPL duck with his winter reading badges

Which ones are your favorites?

attend a virtual event

Attend a virtual event

stack of books

Chill out & read

Listen to a story

Listen to a story

island with palm trees

Warm up with reading

people doing yoga

Let’s get moving


Get cozy

Reading takes you places

Reading takes you places




Find a good book

Animal Web Cams

Animals are amazing and you can learn so much by watching them at zoos, in their natural habitats, reading books, and looking up information about them with our web resources:

Live Web Cams and livestreams are a great way to see animals while staying home this winter. These cameras are mounted in animal enclosures and near animals’ habitats in the wild. By watching them you can get a glimpse of what these animals do daily. Here are some of our favorites: 

Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Otter Cam 

Giant Panda Cam at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Sloth Cam at the Hattiesburg Zoo

Coral Reefs, Jellyfish, and More Web Cams at the National Aquarium 

Finally, if you are more a fan of dogs and cats, check out these web cams: 

Kitten Rescue Sanctuary 

Puppy Playroom at Warrior Canine Connection 

Harper College Experience Day

little girl painting a small pumpkin

Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? Harper College is having a month-long event to give students of all ages interactive and fun learning opportunities. Maybe this will give you some ideas about what you’d like to study!

Each Wednesday in October, a new activity will be posted and is designed for 3rd-8th graders. Here are some of the things you could learn about: 

  • Build a BristleBot
  • Clouds in a Jar
  • Make a Spooky Votive
  • Predator vs. Prey

If you’re interested in participating, you can REGISTER HERE.

Kits will be available to pick up from the Mount Prospect Main Library and South Branch, among other locations. 

For now, you can do your own Nature Scavenger Hunt. When you go for a walk outside, can you find:

  • Leaves from different kinds of trees? What kind of leaf is it? 
  • Birds and other creatures? Can you make a sound like that animal? Can you move like that animal? 
  • A seed from a plant? That could look like a white dandelion, a pine cone, an acorn, or a berry. 
  • Insects? How does the insect get around (flying, crawling, jumping…)? 

STEAM Saturday: Coding Without Screens

When scientists do experiments, they are always asking questions and wondering, “If I do this, then what will happen?” If/Then is an important part of coding. If/Then is what’s called a conditional statement in programming. The program queries if one condition exists, and then it commands it to do something. It can be as basic as a True or False question and answer or it can prompt an action.

Explore the If/Then concept with these fun games!

boys playing outside

Backyard Coding Game


This game is sort of like Simon Says. For every round, there is one Programmer and everyone else is a Computer. The Programmer stands in front of the Computers and gives them a command. If I ____ (fill in the blank), then you _____ (fill in the blank). For example, the Programmer can give the command “If I turn stand on one foot, Then you stand on one foot.” Or, “If I stomp my foot, Then you do a jumping jack.” You can set up your rounds however works best for your group of kids. Kids love giving commands, so they will enjoy taking turns as a Programmer.

coding with cards, national geographic cards

Coding with a Deck of Cards


Coding involves giving instructions to a computer to make something happen. In this activity, you can practice giving instructions to a toy to navigate through a card maze. This activity can be adapted for different age levels.


First, create a grid with the deck of cards. Use some tape to hold them in place if you wish. Then, place a few toys as obstacles in the grid to create a sort of maze. Determine the Start and Finish line of the maze. Choose another toy, such as a robot or car, to move through the maze.

To Play (Beginner):

  • One player gives ‘coding instructions’ one at a time to direct the robot to the finish line. For example: “Move forward 3 cards” or “Turn.”
  • Another player follows the instructions and moves the robot until it reaches the finish line.
  • It’s fun to switch roles!

To Play (Advanced):

  • Kids need to think ahead and problem-solve by writing all the steps to get the robot from Start to Finish before moving the robot.
  • Then another player follows the code to move the robot. If there is a mistake, the first player will need to ‘debug’ the code.