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May 30, 2014

[friday]: Building a love for reading

Science is fun. Just ask My Little Friend.

She and I spent an evening this week playing a version of Jenga while the hamburger cooked for our dinner of homemade burritos. (Well, as homemade as it gets with me – I still opened a can of refried beans.) The wooden blocks stacked in a foot-tall tower got more and more precarious as we picked pieces out of the tower.

The tension ran high as the tower wobbled like a tree in a windstorm. You never knew when it would fall — or whose hand would get smashed by the falling blocks. At one point, My Little Friend was so sure I’d knock the tower down, she picked up her glass of Kool-Aid and stepped away from the table to avoid the onslaught. (I won, though!)

Jenga blocks are great for building Stonehenge-like structures, too, or small houses with no windows. I even cantilevered a roof over a three-sided miniature building.

You can also knock the Jenga blocks down one by one like dominoes. Just make sure your burrito isn’t sitting right next to where the blocks end.

My Little Friend probably didn’t know we were watching physics in action. We were just having some good clean fun.

So it’s no wonder the library’s summer reading program revolves around science this year. With a name like “Fizz, Boom, Read” and a weekly Mad Science Lab for elementary school kids, it’s enough to make me wish I were 9 years old again.

There are prizes every week, and free books! Free is one of those magic words, like please, thank you, Open Sesame and abracadabra. (I can’t get shazam to work, though — my spider plant still won’t turn into a real spider. It’s a defective magic word.)

Children’s librarian Larina Shaffer even told me Logansport High School is lending her a robot to put on display after the reading program starts on Monday.

Maybe My Little Friend and I can teach the robot to play Jenga.

– Sarah Einselen

Friday columnist / Tower toppler

sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com

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