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All libraries will be closed Wednesday, June 19, for the Juneteenth holiday. Due to ongoing construction, the elevator at the Downtown Reno Library is currently not in service. Computers and restrooms are available on the main level for patrons who are unable to use the stairs, and staff can assist with retrieving materials from other levels.



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Our STEAM Spark activities, developed and curated by library staff members, explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math topics and concepts. They are loosely geared for upper elementary-aged students and are great for recreational learning or supporting school studies.

Eclipses: Now You See it, Now You Don't!

When you think about the night sky, what do you imagine? Maybe stars, planets, or the Moon. An eclipse happens when some of those spheres are blocked by others. Check out these cool activities to learn more about eclipses and how to view them safely.


Let it Snow

If you enjoy snow sports like skiing, skating, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing, or you just like to walk around and play in the snow, then you might like to know how snow forms.


Taste and Smell

Taste and smell make up two of the five senses typically found among humans. Our senses are associated with various organs that collect and relay information to the brain help us understand the world around us. Try this tasty activity to see how those two senses work together!


DNA and Your Genes

DNA is the chemical name for deoxyribonucleic acid, and it is found in the cells of every living thing on Earth. It is the substance that passes on traits from one generation to the next. Learn more about DNA and the science of genetics with this cool STEAM activity using strawberries!


Animal Pollination

Pollination is the way that plants reproduce or make new seeds and plants. Most pollination occurs with the help of animal pollinators: insects, birds, and even small mammals. Discover the fascinating world of these busy and important animals and how they keep us all well-fed!



Chances are, you have seen an earthworm. Perhaps you have seen some while digging in your garden, wiggling on the sidewalk after a hard rain, or in the beak of a hungry bird. These humble little creatures go unnoticed most of the time. Find out why earthworms are so important to farmers, gardeners, and the health of our entire planet.


Popcorn Science

You have probably enjoyed popcorn in a movie theater, at a baseball game, and in your own home with family and friends. It is estimated that Americans eat more than 15 billion quarts of popcorn every year! Check out this fun activity to learn all about this tasty treat.


Spinning Tops

Do you have a spinning top in your toy box? Tops have been around for thousands of years and were often made of clay, ceramic, wood, or ivory. Let’s take a closer look at this ancient toy and learn about the science that makes them spin!


Phases of the Moon

Have you looked up at the night sky and noticed that the shape of the Moon changes from night to night? Sometime it appears as a thin crescent, sometimes a perfect half circle or a bright, full circle. There are even times when the Moon seems to vanish! What on Earth is going on? Grab a bag of your favorite creme-filled sandwich cookies, and let’s find out!



If the ground beneath you suddenly starts to shake, rattle, and roll, you just might be feeling an earthquake! Earthquakes are very common on planet Earth with approximately 500,000 detectable quakes occurring every year. Let’s learn more about earthquakes and what causes them!


Bird Nests

Step outside during these early days of spring, look around, and listen. You will hear and see some very noisy, busy birds twittering and fluttering about while gathering twigs, bits of string, leaves, and feathers. What are they up to? Join us as we investigate this STEAM activity to find out?



Friction is a force that is all around us. When you rub your hands together on a cold winter day to warm them, you are using friction. Let’s learn more about this amazing force, then check out our friction scavenger hunt!


The Life of a Pumpkin: Part 3

The days are getting longer, and spring is on the way. It’s time to learn about seeds and how they grow. Let’s start some pumpkin seeds indoors while we dream of warmer days to come!


What Are You Eating?

March is National Nutrition Month, so it’s a great time to learn how to read and understand food nutrition labels. Think of a nutrition label like the table of contents in a book. The labels let you to know what’s inside the food you are eating. Try our fun activity and learn how to make the healthiest food choices!


Be Heart Healthy!

February is American Heart Month, a great time to learn about healthy lifestyles and how to prevent heart disease. Give yourself the gift of a healthy heart now by adopting heart-healthy habits. If you do little things to improve your health every day when you are young, you will be less likely to develop heart disease when you grow up!


The Great Backyard Bird Count

Birds lay eggs and sing, they have feathers and beaks, and most species can fly! Birds are also the only dinosaurs left on our planet. From February 12 to 15, 2021, you can help scientists with their research by participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen science project that collects local observations from around the world during spring migration! Are you ready to count?


Healthy Teeth, Happy Teeth

If you have healthy teeth, then you probably don’t think about them too much except when it’s time to brush or visit the dentist. Hearing that you don’t have any cavities during a dental check-up is always great news. Hearing that you do have a cavity, not so great. Let’s learn more about cavities and how to prevent them.


The Life of a Pumpkin: Part 2

Winter is still here, but spring is coming. It’s time to make plans for your garden by picking a sunny spot and choosing the kind of plants (especially pumpkins) you want to grow.



Have you ever wondered how warm-blooded animals can live in very cold climates? They have an amazing secret weapon called blubber. Blubber keeps them warm and even helps them float. Find out more with these cool activities! 



Osmosis is a natural process that occurs all around us. Plants depend on osmosis to take in water through their roots, and the cells in our bodies absorb water by osmosis. Let’s take a closer look at this amazing process with activities involving gummy bears and potatoes.


The Life of a Pumpkin: Part 1

Do you have a favorite vegetable? Have you ever tried to grow a vegetable plant of your very own? Winter is a great time of year to make garden plans to do just that! We’re starting a new STEAM project to track the life of a pumpkin through the coming growing season. Look for lots more information in the days ahead as we show you how to do it!


Singing Fork

Different types of sounds can be sweet music to our ears or an overload of unpleasant noise. Sound makes up a small part of a range of vibrations that exist all around us. We can listen to those vibrations more closely with this simple activity involving a fork and some thread.


Electricity and Circuits

Do you know how to make electricity work, to turn a light on or make something move? Let’s learn about simple electrical circuits and how we can make them do work for us.


Waves in a Bottle

There aren’t many places that are nicer to visit than the ocean. It’s fun to play in the sand and splash in the water. Watching the waves roll in is calming and soothing. Have you ever wondered what processes are responsible for the movement of those ocean waves? Let’s find out!


Life Cycle of a Flowering Plant

When we study plants and animals, we learn about life cycles. It's like a story that describes the stages a plant or animal goes through from the beginning of its life until the end and how the cycle starts all over again. Let’s look at the story of a flowering plant, then we’ll set out on a scavenger hunt and see what we’ve learned.


Make a Rainbow

Have you ever wondered how a rainbow forms? We’ll show you exactly how it happens and also introduce you to the beauty of parhelions, also known as “sun dogs”. Come and join the fun!


Geography Awareness

In celebration of Geography Awareness Week 2020, we have plenty of cool resources for you to explore that are guaranteed to make you geo-savvy. Take a look, dive deep, and learn lots!


All About Maps

Have you ever used a map to find your way? Maps are an important tool to help us understand our surroundings and the larger world around us. Check out these activities to learn about the math and science of maps.


Why is the Sky Blue?

Why is the sky blue and not some other color? Sunlight seems colorless, but it is actually made up of all the colors of the rainbow. Learn how light energy travels, scatters, and colors our brilliant Northern Nevada sky.



Photosynthesis is the process that allows green plants to use sunlight to make their own food. This process is absolutely necessary for life on Earth. Our STEAM activity will help you understand why it’s so important for all of us.


For Halloween! 

Garlic Garden

Can garlic scare away vampires and evil spirits? Garlic's part in vampire folklore has roots in the Middle Ages in Europe, but similar legends exist in many cultures. Whether or not garlic's strong odor can scare a vampire away, it is definitely great for cooking and has many beneficial properties. It's also very easy to grow. Let us show you how!


For Halloween! 

Halloween STEAM

Are you ready for Halloween? Since we can't celebrate together at the library this year, we're sharing some of our favorite spooky STEAM activities for you to try at home. Have a fun and STEAM-y Halloween.


Bulbs — How Do They Grow?

If you think spring is the only time to plant flowers in your garden, then you may be surprised to discover some beautiful varieties you can plant right now. Learn about bulbs and how to grow flowers from them with this fascinating activity.


Earth Science Week Resources

Let's wrap up Earth Science Week 2020 with a few Earth science tidbits, a fun scavenger hunt, and some helpful resources for further geoscience explorations. See you next year for Earth Science Week 2021! 


Geothermal Energy

Have you ever soaked in a hot spring or watched a geyser erupt? These amazing natural features are fueled by the extreme temperatures found inside the Earth. They are also examples of geothermal energy.  Discover this important source of renewable energy with our STEAM activity.


Atoms and Molecules

What is the tiniest thing you can imagine? Atoms and molecules are probably even smaller than that! The largest atom is about a million times smaller than the width of a human hair.  Learn more about these amazing building blocks of matter with this fun activity.


Fall Colors

Some trees and plants put on a magical show of color before they lose their leaves for the winter. You may see brilliant clusters of gold, red, orange, yellow, or purple in your neighborhood. Find out why and how this annual transformation happens.


Shoo Fly

Houseflies are those pesky flying insects that show up uninvited at your summer picnic or slip into your house if you leave a door open too long. Did you know that there are more than 100,000 different kinds of flies? Learn more interesting fly facts and find out how to keep them away.


Float Your Boat

Have you ever watched a sailboat glide across the water or wondered how a large ship weighing many tons can stay afloat? It seems like something so heavy would sink as soon as it launched. Discover how the force of buoyancy can keep heavy things afloat.


Good Vibrations

Sound is a wave of energy. Not only can you hear it, but you can feel those waves vibrate throughout your body. Find out how your ears and brain process sound, then try our fun activity to discover how you can see sound waves, too!


Listen to Your Heart

A doctor listens to your heart with a stethoscope to check for healthy beats and proper heart rhythm. Did you know that you can make your own stethoscope at home? Try it with us, and hear what your heart sounds like!


Apple Oxidation

Have you ever wondered why some fruits and vegetables turn brown and look yucky after you slice them? What about that banana that turns brown after it sits for a few days? Let us tell you why!


The Secrets of Tree Rings

The rings inside a tree trunk are full of fascinating information! They can tell you the age of the tree and lots more. Learn how to uncover some of the secrets old trees have to share, if you’re willing to pay attention.


Leaf Transpiration

Do plants breathe? Can they sweat? Yes, they do. And indeed, they can! You’ll learn about the fascinating transpiration process that keeps those breathing, sweating plants alive in this cool activity.


Ocean Planet Scavenger Hunt

We’ve got some surprising ways for you to learn about our ocean planet. Our scavenger hunt will lead you on a search for things related to sea life right here in the beautiful Northern Nevada desert! 



Slimy, gooey, sticky, crusty, wet, and gross. Those words can describe something you may also call boogers, or snot! That stuff is actually called mucus, and it’s found in many parts of our bodies. Discover all the slippery details with this hands-on activity.


Bouncing Eggs

Everyone knows that eggs are fragile and crack easily. But did you know that, with just a few simple ingredients and a little bit of time on your hands, you can make an egg that bounces? Find out how with this egg-cellent activity!


Moving Colors

Do you have a favorite color? Maybe you enjoy drawing or coloring with crayons, also called colors. But do you know what color really is? We’ll give you a hint: it’s more than just pretty pictures or a shiny new paint set.



Got any magnets lying around the house? Grab a few, and we’ll learn about magnets and magnetic attraction!


Feel the Beat

There’s a mighty pump right inside your chest that beats about 100,000 times each day. Do you know what that organ is called? Check out our activities, and see if you are correct!


Elephant Toothpaste


Rub a Dub Dub, Time to Scrub

Sharing is great, but not when it comes to germs! It is very important to wash your hands properly to prevent the spread of germs and diseases. Learn more about those tiny microbes with a couple of simple activities.


Pennies in Your Pocket

Pennies may not be worth very much, but these small coins possess lots of interesting chemistry. If you’ve got a few cents on hand, we can discover more about them.



Discover some of the interesting designs and patterns found within your very own fingerprints. Each print is unique. They are a small part of what makes you one of a kind! 


Lava Lamp


Straighten Up

Has anyone ever told you to stand or sit up straight? Have you noticed how much better you feel when you do? Check your posture with this simple activity, and learn how straightening up is good for your health.


Meet the Octopus

Would you like to shake hands with an octopus? If you could, which of its eight long arms, or tentacles, would you choose? There’s so much to learn about these amazing creatures. Let’s get started!  


Bend Wood into Bracelets

Wood is a very strong material, but you can bend it and shape it into a beautiful bracelet of your very own. You just need to know a few facts plus some simple tricks to get the job done.


Static Electricity Butterfly

If you’ve ever pulled a cap off your head and noticed your hair sticking out in all directions, then you’ve experienced static electricity. Let’s make a very special butterfly and discover more about this mildly shocking form of electricity! 


Spot the Mammals

Can you guess which animals are mammals? Having trouble guessing? Check out our databases World Book and Explora to learn more about each animal and see if you are right!


Feed the Birds

Make your own bird feeder to attract birds to your yard, then see if you can identify the different species that come to snack and visit!


Find the Hidden Bean Babies

Have you ever wondered what might be hiding inside that bag of dried beans in your pantry? Let's take a peek and see what we can find there.


Square Foot Science

Measure one square foot of land and see what natural wonders you can find within that small space. Be observant; there’s lots to discover! 


Blowing in the Wind

The wind can cool things down or heat things up. It can make wind chimes ring and mobiles twirl. Do you know what makes the wind blow? How can you observe the wind when you can’t see it? Learn more with this simple experiment.



Take a break outdoors and watch the clouds float by. Learn how clouds are formed and try to identify the different types.


Ice Cream in a Bag

Making homemade ice cream is super easy, and the results are delicious. Let’s mix up a batch and learn about some of the chemistry involved in turning cream into ice cream.


Invisible Ink

Calling all secret agents! Learn how to mix up some special ink to keep all of your secret spy messages hidden from non-spy eyes. 


Sink or Float

Let’s learn why some objects can float on top of the water while others sink like... well, like a rock! See if you can predict what will sink and what will float by testing a few things out for yourself.




Coding with Cards

Computers help us learn, play, work, and communicate. We use them in many areas of our lives. Since computers can’t think for themselves, people called programmers must tell them what to do in code, a language of instructions that computers understand. Try this fun “coding unplugged" activity and learn some of the basics of coding.


Da Vinci Bridge

Leonardo da Vinci was a talented artist, scientist, and inventor. He drew blueprints for inventions hundreds of years before they came into use, including the bicycle and the parachute. Da Vinci also designed a bridge that was way ahead of its time. Learn more about that bridge and try your hand at making one out of craft sticks.


Arches in Architecture

An arch is an opening in a structure that’s curved on top and distributes weight. They are frequently used to construct bridges. You might also see arches over doors and windows. Let us tell you more about them, then you can try to build one of your own.


Binary Bracelets

Do you enjoy playing computer games? Would you like to learn more about computers, what they do, and how you can communicate with them? Let’s discover how computers work, then make a bracelet to show what we’ve learned!


Simple Machines

Work, work, work! Most people do some kind of work every day. Simple machines are devices used by humans, and even some animals, that make work easier. Let us introduce you to these simple machines and how they are used, then try our scavenger hunt to see what you’ve learned.



Have you ever read books about or seen movies set in the Middle Ages? If so, then maybe you’ve seen pictures of catapults, which were weapons designed to break down castle walls. Discover how catapults work, thanks to Newton’s three laws of motion, then build one of your very own!


Building Challenges

Put your engineering skills to the test with these building challenges of famous landmarks from around the world! Read about the landmarks as you attempt to recreate them. All you need for these activities are any building blocks you may have at home! Using the image as a reference, see if you can recreate these icons with your building blocks!


Animal Building Challenges

Construct animals with building blocks at home. Learn more about these animals in our databases World Book and Explora.


Construction Toy Activities

You can build lots of cool things with stuff you probably have at home. Collect your favorite construction toys: pipe cleaners, straws, dominoes, etc., then use our prompts to create and construct!


Snack Bridges

Put your engineering skills to test and see if you can construct a sturdy bridge using only a few favorite snack foods.


Paper Chain Challenge

Let's learn how to make a paper chain, and then put those skills to the test! Timing and technique are important, but so is a creative eye. 


Learn About Algorithms

In this activity kids will learn about what algorithms are, what they look like in real life, and how they are used by computer scientist to tell computers what to do. These concepts are reinforced by an activity in which kids, using only four directions, will guide a bunny through a map to a carrot.


Build Your Own Algorithm

Let’s learn about algorithms! Algorithms are what computer scientists write to make computers do tasks. In this activity you will write your own algorithm to make a pizza! Includes printable pizza ingredients!


Angles and Triangles

Look around and examine some of the objects and structures we see every day. Many are made up of triangles. Triangles are frequently used in bridge and building design because they have a strong base, can hold their shape, and provide lots of structural support. Check out these activities and learn more about these fascinating shapes!


Circles in Geometry

Look around and you will see circles everywhere! Circles are one of the most basic figures in the branch of mathematics called geometry, the study of shapes and figures. Keep your eyes open and discover what you can learn about circles!


Number Sense

Help your preschooler learn about the basics of number recognition by honing their number sense. Teach them how to subitize! We’ll show you how.



Did you know that some natural objects have shapes made of repeating patterns? These shapes are called fractals, and they repeat at different sizes and form patterns within patterns. Come learn about fractals, then use your powers of observation to discover them all around you.


Special Shapes

Ever heard of an icosahedron? How about an octahedron? No? Then allow us to introduce you to the amazing mathematical shapes known as Platonic solids. 


Scavenger Hunt for Shapes

Let’s see how many shapes you can recognize by testing your skills on our special scavenger hunt. Shapes are all around us. Take a closer look and see what you can find.


Playing with Fractions

Fractions are just smaller parts of a whole, like a slice of pizza or a bite of a cookie. Give this activity a try using toys or other objects you have on hand.


Gallon Man

If you’ve ever followed a recipe, you know it’s important to measure correctly so the recipe turns out the way it's supposed to. But measurements can be confusing. Have no fear, Gallon Man is here! He’ll show you how all of those liquid measurements equate to each other. 


Math Challenge

Practice your math skills with these math challenges. Can you figure out what numbers the images represent? 


Math Challenge: Take a Walk

Practice your math skills on you next outdoor walk. Count how many of these items you can see on each street. Challenge yourself to see if you can figure out the mode, mean, and median.





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