Technology escapades for children

Published 9:52 pm Thursday, August 3, 2017

Children have built their own creations and learned the basics of computer science and coding during a month-long program at the North Suffolk Library.

The library began its “Tech Trek” program on July 12, which culminated with its final session on Wednesday. Children ages 8 to 11 attended four sessions of hands-on activities centered on computer technology concepts and gadgets.

These children are some of the young “digital natives” that have grown up in a world of modern computer devices, according to library services coordinator Mary Rossiter.

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“I didn’t have this in elementary school,” Rossiter said. “This is just the world they’re in.”

One of the most popular activities for the children was a lesson built with Snap Circuits pieces. These electronic kits teach elementary engineering concepts using pieces that snap together and conduct electricity.

“It’s basically creating something out of circuits and wires and stuff,” said 8-year-old Sienna Dennis. “I made a musical doorbell.”

That lesson made her a fan of the program.

“I didn’t really want to do it at first, but all the tech stuff made me want to do it more,” she said.

Her 10-year-old brother, Braedon, who also in the program, has been interested in computer science for years. He attended a coding camp a year ago and has played games on frequently.

He has even made his own computer game called “World,” in which the player fights evil trees with a bow and arrow. He keeps that game on a flash drive.

“I think it’s fun to make my own things on a computer,” Braedon said.

He wants to pursue a career in technology like some of his peers in the program, like 10-year-old Erika Lynne, who wants to study electrical engineering.

“I think it’s fun to put all the pieces together to make something work, and if it doesn’t work at first then you do it again,” Erika said.

The program filled up its 10 available spots quickly, with a similarly sized waiting list, according to Rossiter.

Erika’s mother, Maggie Stoup, was excited her daughter could join from the waiting list, and her husband, James — who does electrical engineering for a living — is excited that their daughter wants to follow in her father’s footsteps.

“He’s super excited that she’s been able to do this,” she said. “She’s had so much fun.”