Light painting is one of my favorite programs to do with kids. It's simple, requires very few materials, and no matter the skill level, the pictures always turn out great.

You only need a few materials to do light painting:

1. A flash light. Glow sticks, finger lights, and Christmas lights can also be fun.


2. A camera set to a long shutter or slow shutter.

If you use the camera on a smart phone or iPad, you can use apps such as Slow Shutter or Long Expo. The longer it takes for the shutter to close, the more time you will have to do your design. You can experiment with how long you want the shutter to be open. If you are using a digital camera, your camera's manual will help you find how to change your camera's settings. The long shutter setting may show a night icon.


3. A dark room. Try to make the room as dark as possible.


Check out the video below for more details on how to do light painting at home.



Light painting can be fun for kids of all ages. Younger kids can stand in front of the camera, and wave the flashlight. Older kids can be the photographer or try drawing specific shapes and drawings. Adults may discover a passion for light painting too!


Once you get the hang of light painting, you can try more complicated designs. At the Barrington Area Library, we love seeing your creations. If you would like to share your light painting designs, email them to


Looking for more fun activities? See a list of the library’s upcoming events for kids.


  Youth Services Librarian Ann 





Our 2020 Summer Reading program still has a month left and we have gotten so many great responses already. Remember to keep logging, to get tickets for a chance to win our grand prize and gift card prize drawings! Here is a look at what some of your fellow readers have been doing this summer. 


Picture Reviews: 


Big Nate Blasts Off by Lincoln Pierce 

Picture Review by: Hiba, 11.5



The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene

Picture Review by: Niharika, 10


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Video Review by: Aaina, 8




Pictures from Activity Tracks:


Code Breaker: Create a treasure hunt of your own and tell us what you did? Take a picture and send it to

"I created a treasure hunt for my dad on Father’s Day. The prize was a basket of secretly baked cookies!" -Colin, 12


Garden Guru: Plant some seeds and email us a photo of your plants as they grow ( What did you plant?

Natalie planted some pumpkin seeds! -Natalie, 7.5 


  My Home: Make a map of your home or neighborhood. What are some of your favorite spots?          

 "Thank you for having this challenge each year! My neighbors and I have a tradition of doing it every year together and this year we didn’t know if it was gonna happen this year because of the virus but when we heard it was we were so happy! Thank you!" -Camryn





Activity Track Responses: 



Keep up the great reading, everyone! Remember, it's not too late to sign up for Summer Reading!



Take a Mindful Moment: Have your next snack in slow motion. Try to eat it as sloooowly as you can.



  Youth Services Assistant Librarian MaryJo 


Watch “Elmo Finds a Baby Bird” on Kanopy Kids using your Barrington Area Library card number to log in, and come back to this blog post to enjoy some family activities that will enhance your child’s learning around the episode.


Here are some questions that will help you unpack some of the topics in the episode with your child.

  • When Elmo and Rosita find the baby bird, they can’t figure out what the baby bird is trying to tell them. Have you ever tried to communicate something to someone, but they couldn’t understand you? How did that feel?
  • “Chasing the cheese” was a silly and fun way for the inhabitants of Sesame Street to get some exercise. How have you been moving your body and exercising lately? Can you think of a fun and silly way to get some exercise with your family this summer?
  • During Elmo’s World, Elmo asked children how they play with their pets. Do you have a pet? If so, how do you play with your pet? If you don’t have a pet, have you ever played with a friend or relative’s pet? What did you do?


Below are some other activities to try as a family.


    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie 

You can now register to pick up a Take-and-Make Kit during the Barrington Area Library’s Parking Lot Pickup hours, bringing a fun new art project home to explore. Here are instructions for each kit:


Toddlers & Preschoolers: Contact Paper Stained Glass and Nature Art

Contact Paper Stained Glass

  1. Cut out different colored shapes from the cello paper.
  2. Remove the backing from the contact paper, carefully setting the sheet down sticky-side up. 
  3. Press the cello paper down onto the sticky contact paper. 
  4. Display your artwork in a window, letting the light shine through. 

Contact Paper Stained Glass

Contact Paper Nature Art 

  1. Go outside, gathering up small leaves, sticks, and flowers.
  2. Remove the backing from the contact paper, carefully setting the sheet down sticky-side up.
  3. Press the objects from nature down onto the sticky contact paper.
  4. Feel free to add any other materials from your own supplies.
  5. Display your artwork!

Contact Paper Nature Art


Grades K-2: Sidewalk Stained Glass

Turn your sidewalk or driveway into a work of art, while having fun in the sun.

  1. Find a square of sidewalk or driveway, or make a large square or rectangle out of tape.
  2. Stretch and stick a piece of painter’s tape, any size, across the space in any direction. 
    Stick another line of painter’s tape in a different direction.
  3. Keep going to create different geometric shapes. 
  4. Once your square of sidewalk is broken up with a good number of lines, start coloring in the shapes with sidewalk chalk.
  5. Use one color for each space.
  6. Once all the visible pavement is colored over, pull off the painter’s tape.


Grades 3-8: Sun Prints

Use the power of the sun and objects from nature to create beautiful designs.

  1. Find some objects you’d like to print - leaves, flowers, rocks, or anything you’d like to use to make a print. 
  2. Once you are ready with your objects, remove the blue sun-printing paper from the manila envelope. 
  3. Place the paper in the sun, and then immediately place your chosen objects on the paper. 
  4. Allow to sit in the sun until the sun-printing paper turns very pale blue, about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the objects from the paper, and quickly remove the paper from the light.
  6. Immediately soak the paper in a container of plain tap water for about 1 minute. 
  7. Dry flat.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 


For a silly summer read, I recommend this funny take on mermaid life and drama.

You can download Bad Mermaids Make Waves by Sibéal Pounder on Overdrive. 

Subscribe to our Youth Services YouTube channel for more videos of book recommendations, story times, and activity how-tos.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 



Is hand washing becoming a hassle? Try these simple tactics…

    • Make it easy to do. Use a step stool or a faucet extender.
    • Your kids are going to learn from you. Make sure you are washing your hands too! 
    • Sing a song as you scrub along.


Sung to the tone of: Wheels on the Bus

The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud.

Sud, sud, sud. Sud, sud, sud. 

The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud.

And the germs go down the drain.

Sung to the tune of: Are you Sleeping, Brother John?

Tops and Bottoms,

Tops and Bottoms,

In between, 

In between,

All around your hands, 

All around your hands,

Now they’re clean,

Now they’re clean.


Sung to the tune of: Row, Row, Row Your Boat 

Wash, wash, wash your hands,

Wash them nice and clean. 

Scrub them here (hand motion scrubbing together) 

Scrub them there (hand motion scrubbing tops of hands) 

And scrub them in between (hand motion scrubbing between fingers) 

Wash, wash, wash, your hands, 

Play our handy game 

Rub and scrub, scrub and rub, 

Germs go down the drain HEY! 

Wash, wash, wash, your hands 

Play our handy game


Looking for some other ideas of things to do with your little one(s)? 

See a list of the library’s upcoming events for young children (Birth to PreK). 

  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Venessa 


I don’t know about you and your families, but I’ve been using a lot of canned goods these days: from beans to tomatoes to hot peppers. With a few materials from around the house you can  upcycle those tin cans into a cute planter, pencil holder, or even a change canister.


    • Tin can: any size will do, but make sure it has been washed, any sharp edges have been smoothed down, and the label has been removed: ask an adult for help!
    • Markers, crayons, colored pencils: you can use one of them, all of them, or whichever medium you most enjoy to decorate with.
    • Craft sticks: fat, skinny or a combo, totally up to you.
    • Paper: an alternative if you don’t have craft sticks. You can use construction paper, computer paper, textured paper, or whatever you have around the house.
    • Rubber bands: the plain, boring kind, or a colorful variety will work; it should fit around your can. You’ll need these if you are using craft sticks.
    • Tape: plain tape, colored, or decorative, as long as it sticks to the can: you’re good! You’ll need this if you are using paper.
    • Scissors: you’ll need these if you are using paper. Don’t forget to follow good scissor etiquette: pointy part down if you are walking, and never point the pointy part toward someone else.
    • Ruler: if you are using paper to wrap your can, you might want this to take measurements. 
    • Ribbon: optional, but I like the flair it adds.

Now that you have your chosen materials, watch the video below for a step-by-step guide to create your own tin can decor.

  Youth Services Librarian Demitra 

Even though Pride Month is almost over, the Youth Services staff at the Barrington Area Library love to read books that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community all year round! Here are some of our most recent favorites.





Rainbow: A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart and Anne Passchier

A wonderful primer for LGBTQ+ pride for any time of the year, this book celebrates all kinds of families and the meaning behind each of the colors in the rainbow flag.







When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita

When Aidan was a baby, things didn’t go so smoothly for him. You see, everyone  thought he was a girl, and that was very frustrating for him, because he is actually a boy. Things got better for him when he got to pick out his name, his clothes, and share his true self with his family. When Aidan finds out that his mom is having a baby, he does everything he can to ensure that his family creates the most loving and inclusive  environment for his new sibling.




Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale and Mika Song

Ho’onani really wants to audition for the traditional hula chant at school, but this role is usually reserved for boys (kāne), not girls (wahine). But Ho’onani feels just like Ho’onani--not quite a girl and not quite a boy--and therefore decides to defy traditional gender norms and try out for the role anyway. Based on a true story, Ho’onani: Hula Warrior is an inspiring tale that showcases the dynamic tradition of the māhū, or nonbinary, people of Hawaii.






It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book about Gender Identity by Theresa Thorn and Noah Grigni

This is a non-fiction introduction to gender identity that provides accessible explanations and language for different identities, and encourages children to be true to themselves.











Rainbow Revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ People Who Made History by Sarah Prager and Sarah Prapworth

This illustrated biography collection celebrates the lives of revolutionary figures in the LGBTQ+ community, such as Marsha P. Johnson, Frida Kahlo, James Baldwin, Sylvia Rivera, and so many more!












Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender

Because she was born during a hurricane, Caroline Murphy believes she has been cursed with bad luck. Everything around her seems to confirm this: her mom left abruptly, her classmates and teacher bully her for her dark skin, and she seems to be followed around by a mysterious spirit. Things begin to change when she befriends a new student named Kalinda, but she also must grapple with her budding feelings for this person in a world that describes them as sinful. Infused with magical realism, this book is a vibrant and poetic masterpiece.









Zenobia July by Lisa Bunker

Zenobia July is starting a new life in Portland, Maine with her cool, eccentric aunts after the death of her not-so-accepting father. An expert coder and hacker, Zenobia often hid behind her computer in the past, but begins to open herself to a new friend group. She is reluctant to share her true gender identity, even after developing a strong relationship with Arlo, who is genderqueer and uses vo/ven/veir pronouns, but decides to take a stand when someone posts transphobic and anti-Muslim memes to the school’s website. This is a phenomenal story about navigating identity and friendship, standing up for what is right, and growing and learning from our mistakes along the way.








Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee

12-year-old Mattie, a star student and book lover, is beyond excited when she's cast as Romeo in her school's production of Romeo and Juliet. As opening night approaches, Mattie develops a crush on Gemma, the new girl in school who just so happens to be playing Juliet. But does brilliant, outgoing Gemma like her back? This is a sweet, funny romance in which Mattie learns how to be the leading player in her own life.










The Moon Within by Aida Salazar

An Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret for the modern age, Celi is turning 12 soon and trying to make sense of all the impending changes happening in her life. Written in verse, this book beautifully encapsulates the ups and downs of middle school, including first crushes, body changes, and helping a friend who has recently come out as genderfluid navigate a world that can sometimes be so cruel.








Looking for some personalized selections? Fill out this form and you’ll receive a customized list direct to your inbox!


    Youth Services Assistant Librarian Stefanie 

I love Creativebug's motto of "You are more creative than you think" because so often we admire what others are creating but we don't think we can manage anything creative ourselves. And most of all, we don't know where to start! However, creativity is not always about the outcome- It's the process of creating that is so beneficial. When you think of art as a process it becomes a great stress-reliver for all ages. This is something we really try to emphasize at the Barrington Area Library with our "process art" programs. There's no right or one way to create art.  

So where do we begin? Creativebug is a database that is available to you with your Barrington Area Library card. They have many videos to help you with "the joys of making". They offer classes such as knitting, paper crafts, sewing, painting and drawing. Creativebug even has a collection of videos for kids' crafts. So why not put on some fun music and print these coloring pages today and color with crayons, pencils or watercolor paints (I recommend printing with a laser printer so the printer ink won't bleed). 

Mindful Moment: "Art is a natural way to practice mindfulness." The colors, textures, and the sounds of creating pull us into the moment. You don't need any previous training to meditate through art, just a willingness to draw like a child, with freedom and sense of curiosity." - Amy Maricle, Art Therapist and founder of Mindful Art Studio.

  Youth Services Assistant Librarian Nancy 


Have you ever made a paper airplane, only to be disappointed with the results? The folds are too complicated, and it just doesn't seem to fly very well.

Well, I have a solution for you! With just a straw, strips of stiff paper (such as an index card), tape, and scissors, you can make a simple straw glider that will fly well.

Check out the video below, to see how to make a straw glider.

Now that you know how to make a straw glider, you can experiment with the design and see what happens when you change your design. Here are some questions to ask when you make changes.

  • What happens when you make the glider with a different type of paper?
  • What happens if you move the loops to a different part of the straw?
  • What happens if you add more loops?
  • What happens if you use different kinds of straws?
  • What happens if you make the straw shorter or longer?

Once you've determined the best design, try having some glider races with your family. How far was your glider able to go?

At the Barrington Area Library, we love seeing your creativity. Share your pictures or videos of your straw gliders by emailing

Looking for more fun activities?  Here is a list of the library’s upcoming events for kids.


  Youth Services Librarian Ann 



The world is very weird right now. Embrace it by reading about disaster, survival, and science-fiction futures in these strange new worlds.

The Disaster Days by Rebecca BehrensThe Disaster Days by Rebecca Behrens

 A young babysitter survives an epic earthquake with two kids in her charge. The damage has them stranded on their small island off Seattle, with no cell service, and all their adults stuck on the mainland. 



Sputnik's Guide to Life on EarthSputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce 

Separated from his aging caregiver grandfather and placed in a foster home, Prez forges an unusual friendship with an alien who appears as a dog to everyone else and entreats Prez to help compile a list of Earth's redeeming qualities to prevent the planet from being destroyed.



The Last Kids On EarthThe Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier 

After a monster apocalypse hits town, average thirteen-year-old Jack Sullivan builds a team of friends to help slay the eerily intelligent monster known as Blarg. Also available in audio.




It's the End of the World as I Know It by Matthew LandisIt’s the End of the World As I Know It by Matthew Landis

Derrick is sure that doomsday is coming, and he's prepping to survive—whether his friends believe him or not—in this quirky, sometimes-funny, sometimes-moving middle grade novel.




The World Ends in AprilThe World Ends in April by Stacy McAnulty  

Eleanor Dross knows a thing or two about the end of the world, thanks to a survivalist grandfather who stockpiles freeze-dried food and supplies—just in case. So when she reads about a Harvard scientist's prediction that an asteroid will strike Earth in April, Eleanor forms the (secret) End of the World Club.



Bloom by Kenneth OppelBloom by Kenneth Oppel 

An invasion of toxic plants threatens to take over the world. The only ones immune to the deadly pollen are three kids, isolated on an island. This new sci-fi thriller is the first in a planned trilogy by a fantastic author. Also available in audio. 



Life As We Knew ItLife As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer  

Through journal entries, sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. This is the start of the Last Survivors series. Also available in audio.




We're Not From HereWe’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey 

After the Earth becomes inhabitable, all people are now refugees in space. When a possible new planet is found, the creatures who already live there (who look like giant mosquitoes) aren’t convinced they want to share the planet. They agree to allow one family in to see if humans are worth saving. No pressure! Also available in audio.



Little Apocalypse by Katherine SparrowLittle Apocalypse by Katherine Sparrow 

A sudden earthquake leaves a girl stranded in a devastated city, but she meets a group of kids who call themselves The Hunters and claim that monsters caused the damage. This survival story's got a creepy, supernatural vibe.



The Last WildThe Last Wild by Piers Torday

In a world where animals are slowly fading into extinction, twelve-year-old Kester Jayne discovers that he can speak to them, and perhaps help them survive. A unique adventure tale.




The Boy at the End of the World by Greg Van EekhoutThe Boy at the End of the World by Greg Van Eekhout

Fisher is the only one left alive when the survival dome (the only thing keeping humans safe from wild, super-evolved animals) is destroyed. He must face terrible creatures and dangerous environments on his journey to a second dome rumored to exist. 



Me and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan VaughtMe and Sam-Sam Handle the Apocalypse by Susan Vaught

When her father is arrested for a crime, Jesse and her trusty Pomeranian must prove his innocence, even as a tornado strikes their town. A mystery with a smart and funny young hero. 




 Want personalized reading suggestions? Fill out our form and we’ll email you a list of great reads.

Youth Services Librarian Allison 



I love Creativebug’s motto because so often we admire what others are creating, but we don’t think we can manage anything creative on our own, and most of all, we don’t know where to start. 

But creativity is not always about the outcome: it’s the process of creating that is so beneficial. Because of that, art can be a great stress-reliever for all ages. This is something we really try to emphasize at the Barrington Area Library with our “process art” programs. There’s no one way or right way to create art. 


So where do we begin? Creativebug is a database that is available to you with your Barrington Area Library card. They have many videos to help you with “the joy of making.” They offer classes such as knitting, paper crafts, sewing, painting, and drawing. They even have a collection of videos for Kids' crafts. Today, why not put on some music and  print these pages to color with crayons, pencils, or watercolor paints (I recommend printing with a laser printer so the ink won’t bleed). 


Mindful Moment: “Art is a natural way to practice mindfulness. The colors, textures, and sounds of creating pull us into the moment. You don’t need any previous training to meditate through art, just a willingness to draw like a child, with freedom and a sense of curiosity.” — Amy Maricle, art therapist and founder of Mindful Art Studio