FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- As part of its summer reading program, the Fort Rucker Center Library is hosting events throughout the summer to keep children's minds stimulated through hands-on learning.

The library is hosting events throughout the summer to keep children engaged in learning while out of school, specifically through workshops designed to stimulate their creative side through science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, according to Cameron Hill, Center Library youth librarian.

The next event will be Catapulting Through STEM June 28 from 2-3 p.m. at the library in partnership with the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory where children will learn about the history of catapults and even get to create their own.

"The children learn about engineering concepts through building because they're going to be creating these on their own," said the youth librarian, adding that the need to combine fun and learning is something she feels is missing in the classroom.

"A lot of these concepts are missing in some schools today, especially with art," she said. "There is a big need in the job market today for science and technology positions, and children want to learn about these things … and hopefully this will build on the concepts that they already know and they can work and grow on it."

Other hands-on events include Tie-Dye Travels July 12 from 2-3 p.m. at the library. Children will get the chance to create their own tie-dye T-shirt designs. Also, children will get the chance to create their own bath bombs during the Bath Fizzie Workshop July 19 from 2-3 p.m.

Hill said the workshops and events are less about simply creating crafts, but learning about the processes involved with creating such things.

There are intricate processes when it comes to crafting certain things, such as catapults or bath bombs, and the workshops are a great way for children to figure out how they work, said the youth librarian.

All of the events are in conjunction with the summer reading program, meant to stimulate children's minds and keep them reading throughout the summer, said Hill.

"This is a good way to keep the kids reading and engaged throughout the summer when they might lose a little bit of what they've learned, so this will help reinforce what they've learned throughout the year," said Hill.

The program, which is for children ages 4-17, allows children to read books of their choice and log minutes online to reach milestones and earn prizes.

Children read their favorite books and log their minutes through an online system, and for each milestone reached, participants will receive a virtual badge, as well as an email notification to come into the Center Library to claim a prize for that particular milestone.

"(The prizes) just give them a little bit of incentive to keep reading throughout the summer," said the youth librarian, adding that prizes will be age appropriate.

To participate in the program, participants must be authorized patrons of the library and register online at https://ftruckercenterlibrary.beanstack.org. Once registered, parents can begin logging minutes for their children now through July 20.

For more information on events or the summer reading program, call 255-3885.