At Central Park Library on June 17, about 45 people, both children and parents, gathered to assemble houses, towers and skyscrapers using colorful straws and connectors as well as KEVA planks, which are wooden building blocks. Children marveled at their masterpieces and gasped at the rumbling noise of layered blocks plummeting down. Sponsored by the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends, the Family KEVA Club welcomes children of all ages to come by on Fridays through July 22 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. at the library’s Redwood Room. As shown on kevaplanks.com, KEVA planks can be used to create various things, including bridges, buildings, roller coasters and sculptures.
“The building activity that goes on in the Family KEVA Club is intended to nurture children’s imaginations,” says Allen Chin, youth services librarian. “I first discovered KEVA blocks at the American Library Association’s convention in San Francisco last year. I was amazed by the product’s flexibility. KEVA blocks are just plain and simple maple planks that you can build into whatever you like without restriction. Here, students also learn how to share, take turns and be responsible.”
At the first meeting of the Family KEVA Club, children worked alone and in small groups to construct projects of their own choosing.
Aeshon Balasubramanian, 12, worked on building the Stark Tower, a tall New York City building that appears in Marvel comics. For over an hour, Balasubramanian constructed his tower by carefully laying down KEVA planks piece by piece. When the tower grew past his height, this aspiring architect and engineer grabbed a chair, stood on it and continued stacking the blocks.
“My blocks fell down five or six times,” Balasubramanian says. “Even though these blocks fell, my tower was still standing. Even if the tower breaks, it’s okay. This is just for fun.”
“My children were building with the wooden planks today,” says Pradeepaderi Karthikeyan, a mother who brought her 8- and 10-year-old sons. “They learned how to balance the bases and make a strong base. It was also fun seeing them go inside the cage that their friends built.”
Karthikeyan is referring to a structure some children built with colorful straws and connectors, separate from the KEVA planks. The resulting cage was tall and wide enough to hold a small group of children inside. At the end of the club meeting, the children tore down the cage in a split second.
“My daughter said she made a huge house and she loved watching the tall buildings around her crash,” says Jenna Stuckey, whose 6-year-old daughter created a house and palm trees using KEVA planks. “This club is beneficial for children because it slows things down for them. They get to focus on an activity using their fingers and they can improve their manual dexterity and patience as they build towers and other things.”