Moon walking at the library

Published 9:17 pm Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Children walked and explored the moon with their own homemade jetpacks of cereal boxes and soda bottles at the North Suffolk Library Tuesday evening.

The Moon Landing Celebration was relocated to the North Suffolk Library due to the rain and wind Tuesday night, but roughly a dozen children and parents braved the weather to enjoy some out-of-this-world fun.

Tracey Nichols brought six of her children to the North Suffolk Library for the event. Her family often enjoys the Suffolk Public Library’s free activities, and this one was the next on their list, she said.

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“I think it’s fun,” Nichols said as her children played and learned. “It’s interesting and engaging and they’re enjoying themselves.”

The event was held in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, when Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong took mankind’s first steps on the lunar surface.

London Nichols, 6, and other children walked through that historic moment using the “Moon Walk — Apollo 11 Mission” app on the library’s iPads. This augmented reality app allowed the children to turn their iPads around the room to explore the Apollo 11 landing site.

They were able to follow Armstrong’s path from 50 years ago, highlight points of interest like the American flag and hear recordings of the astronaut’s conversations during the mission.

“The two men were on the moon a long time ago — a ‘long’ time ago,” London said as she held her iPad. “It was really fun to see it.”

She and her brother Hyrum Nichols, 5, got to be astronauts themselves with a little creativity and a lot of tape.

The children got to make “upcycled” jetpacks using cardboard boxes and rolls, plastic bottles and duct tape for straps. They also added some red construction paper to their tubes for a fiery-looking blastoff.

London’s sister Madison Lawhorn, 18, spent quality time making jetpacks with her siblings.

“It’s fun, being together,” Lawhorn said as she taped empty two-liter bottles to a Raisin Bran box.

Children wore their jetpacks as they carefully walked on a mat with sponges tied to their shoes with rubber bands, the library’s rendition of “moon walking.”

They watched YouTube videos about the Apollo 11 mission on the projector and took photos of themselves on green screen. The green screen was then changed in the photos to NASA-appropriate backdrops.

There were also Little Debbie “Cosmic Brownies” and “Star Crunch” cookies for refreshments, which gave the children even more energy for the “meteor drop,” in which they dropped marbles into a container filled with shaving cream to demonstrate how the craters formed on the moon.

The evening’s creative, exploratory and messy fun gave the children the chance to imagine what it was like for the men that made history 50 years ago.

“By using technology and making crafts, we pretended that we were like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon,” said Elementary Services Senior Librarian Deborah Ward.

For more information on upcoming library activities, visit