Kids & Parents

You Pin Some, You Do None? Hope for Pinterest Wannabes

What would William Blake say?  "To see a World in a Pinterest feed...and hold Infinity in the palm of your hand (Android? Or iPhone?)."  To me, Pinterest is both extraordinary - and overwhelming.

True story: My first two children were born into a world before Pinterest. 

It’s hard to imagine life without the advantages of instant advice, “how-tos” and ideas from millions of my fellow humans. 

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. 

I'm grateful for the amazing people who take time and energy to share their ingenuity on Pinterest.

At the same time, I’m appalled by my own lack of resourcefulness.  

Craft supplies

Partial collection of “maybe next week” supplies. Not pictured: 3 unopened bottles of Vitamin B, to be used to make glowing slime.

While I’ve come to accept that I will never have a sliding barn door in my house, admitting defeat is a little harder when it comes to all the I-meant-to-do-this-but-never-got-around-to-it activities I’ve pinned for my kids.

I’ve tried to make “fun!,” “easy!” and “educational!” happen at home….but honestly?  Keeping my family fed, clothed, and in the right place at (mostly) the right time already puts me over the edge.

I know this about myself, yet I continue to scroll and pin.

Every hopeful click makes my "projects pinned: projects completed" ratio even smaller, but I just can't wake up from my pipe dream.  

The force of mom guilt is strong in this one.

Am I the only one with a serious pinferiority complex?  Help, please! 

Enter the new Des Plaines Public Library Family PlayLab.

Light drawing

Your public library, here to help you work, play, learn – and avoid Pinterest-induced shame spirals. Try painting with light at GlowLab!

We’ve scoured all of our resources, Pinterest included, to bring you engaging STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math) activities for your family.  No more shopping lists or guilt-heavy piles of materials from failed or forgotten pinned activities.  No mess to clean up. 

All you have to do is show up!  

Oh – and maybe take a few photos while you’re there to prove to your future self that, yes, you did things with your kiddos!

The first Family PlayLab will feature snow and ice themed activity stations.  Drop in to the 2nd floor program room for “Snow Much Fun” on Saturday, February 17 from 2-4 p.m.  

Then pop back in over spring break for one of our “GlowLab” sessions on Thursday, March 29 from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. or Saturday, March 31 from 2-4 p.m. 

Family PlayLab is best for 5-13 year olds, but all are welcome (even if you’re one of the people who manages to do life AND Pinterest projects).  Kids will benefit most if their grown-ups come with them. 

And…oh yeah, what did we do before Pinterest?  You’ve heard about the slow food movement…

May I propose a slow Pinterest movement? 

Grab some project books from the library (ideas below) – and a warm drink.  Wrap yourself in hope - and a cozy blanket - while lazily browsing the pages of a book. 

Once you get your hygge on, believe me - the mom guilt will disappear faster than fireworks in a bowl of milk.

Try This!

Try This! 50 Fun Experiments For the Mad Scientist in You

by Karen Romano Young

This title has tons of great step-by-step photos - so much so that your kids might actually feel as though they've done the projects just by looking at them (hey, worth a try!). Adding to the real-feel even more, the author often includes a blurb about how the experiment worked - or didn’t work - when tested.

Maker Lab

Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects: Build, Invent, Create, Discover 

by Jack Challoner

Check out this book, chock full of beautifully photographed activities that vary from extremely doable (watch a marshmallow expand in the microwave) to more of a commitment (creating a volcano that has way more style than I have ever had). Clear instructions and explanations - along with realistic time estimates - help you know what you're getting into ahead of time.

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids

by the editors of Martha Stewart Living; photographs by Annie Schlechter and others

I know, nothing feeds the "not-good-enough" monster like the Martha Stewart machine.  But the gorgeous photographs of experiments, activities and crafts are just too appealing to pass up. I'll try to simply enjoy the fact that somewhere, someone provided such great opportunities for their kids.

Family Fridays

Family Fridays

Family Fridays are another great way to set aside time for you and your kids to play and learn together - without any of the prep work. Check out the Youth Services Program Calendar here.

There Might Be Giants

Here Comes Science

by They Might Be Giants

In my house, it often comes down to either doing a project - or dinner. And dinner usually wins.  Why not make dinner while rocking out to some science-themed tunes? Or, log in to Freegal to download some other music and forget about your Pinterest woes!


Peep and the Big Wide World Children's DVD Series

Narrated by Joan Cusack

Educational TV at its best: Cute, friendly characters and sweet plots - all with a science-y twist. At the end of every episode, real-life kids engage in a related activity and inspire your kids to create, question and experiment in their own play.  View our whole collection in the 2nd floor children’s DVD section.

Lab in a Bag

Lab in a Bag

Pick up your free take-home "Lab in a Bag: Snowflake Science!" kit from the 2nd floor Youth Services Desk. Available while supplies last.

Discovery Kits

Discovery Kits at the Library

By now, you've heard about our Discovery Kits Stop in and see which ones are available to check out!

Todd Parr

It's Okay To Be Different

by Todd Parr

“It’s okay to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub.  It’s okay to have green hair.”  How about, “It’s okay to pin 1,453 activities for your children and never actually do them….?” I read Todd Parr to my children to fill them with self-compassion, empathy for others, and to foster a growth mindset…and if I benefit from these lessons too, so much the better! 

Brene Brown

The Gifts of Imperfection

by Brene Brown

If you love Todd Parr, but want to delve into your feelings of inadequacy more deeply, check out the fabulous Brene Brown!  Her many books help me to introspect and navigate life - mom guilt, Pinterest failures, relationships and all. Here's to vulnerability, self-acceptance and true connection. Highly recommended!

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