STEAM Storytime Spotlight: Boxitects

Every November and December, I ask my library teammates to save their spare boxes for a special box-themed storytime. It’s a great way to re-use all the holiday packages people get in the mail and a super popular program!

Rhyme: Bread and Butter*


Welcome to STEAM Storytime, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. Today we’re focusing on Engineering. Research shows that constructive play (creating and building with different types of materials) supports children’s physical, cognitive and emotional development. And so we’re going to share some stories, sing some songs, and then… we’re going to BUILD WITH BOXES!

Sing: If You’re Happy and You Know It…*

Sing: If You’re Ready for a Story…*

Set Expectations

Read: Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

This classic story is such an oldie but a goodie. I am the fortunate owner of a BIG book copy!

Sing: Snake in the Grass by Mr. Jon & Friends

Rhyme: Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey see, monkey do.
Little monkeys at the zoo.
Little monkeys in the tree,
Can you clap your hands like me?
(repeat with other actions)


Snake Breaths

We were VERY excited after all that rhyming and running around, so we did a little exercise from Kira Willey’s book, Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere.

Read: Not a Box by Antoinette Portis


Book Excerpt: A bunny stands inside a box and pretends they are a robot.

I just LOVE the celebration of imagination in this story (and in the companion title, Not a Stick)! The book ends with bunny blasting off to space in a rocket, so naturally we had to sing…

Sing: Zoom, Zoom, Zoom…

Zoom, zoom, zoom.
We’re going to the moon!
Zoom, zoom, zoom.
We’re going to the moon.
If you want to take a trip,
Climb aboard my roket ship!
Zoom, zoom, zoom.
We’re going to the moon!
In 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…

Repeat: far to the stars, fun to the sun


Stay and Play with Boxes

When I ran this program in 2020 (which I STILL haven’t gotten around to blogging about)… almost everyone was stacking boxes and building with my DIY interlocking cardboard climbers:


I had very few builders this time:

ST Boxitects 4

Photo: A child stands proudly in front of a tall box tower.

Mostly, kids just wanted to hide themselves away:

ST Boxitects 1

Photo: A child peers out from a small hole in between the flaps of a big box.

The TV box was of great interest. I could not believe how many kids managed to squeeze inside:

ST Boxitects 2

Photo: Two young children squeeze themselves into a narrow TV box.

This family was THE CUTEST! This young toddler just sat and smiled in the box while mom rocked the box back and forth and sang, “Row Row Row Your Boat.”

ST Boxitects 3

Photograph: A young child sits smiling in a box while their mother rocks the box back and forth.

I love this program because it reminds caregivers that the best gifts are often those that are free: everyday materials, imagination and time together.

What special storytimes does your library do? Do you offer STEAM programs for littles? Would love to learn more in the comments below!

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