How to Remix PLIX Activities

Six strategies to remix PLIX activities to fit your context, programming ideas, and community interests.

We’ve heard from the PLIX community that our activities are easy to pick up and use for in-person workshops for library youth. But how might they fit into the wide range of library needs you might have? This guide to remixing is here to help you make PLIX activities your own, to fit your context, programming ideas, and community interests.

What is Remixing?

To remix is to take the original elements of something, and change and recombine them. At PLIX, we think of “remixing” as making an activity your own. Because PLIX activities are designed to be open-ended, they are also easily customized and adapted. For examples of how other librarians have remixed PLIX activities, check out the Remix Activities section in our Activities page!

Any of the core components of a PLIX activity can be remixed:

  • materials list,
  • printable zines and handouts
  • project prompts and example projects,
  • how to playtest and plan,
  • editable flyer
  • and facilitation tips!

Don’t Change Everything

Of course, there are some aspects of PLIX activity that should remain intact. Consider the PLIX facilitation techniques. Does your design still feel “PLIX-y”? Your remix should allow for peer collaboration, maintain an appropriate technical level, widen the walls, lower the floor, and raise the ceiling of creative possibilities.

Our 6 Remix Strategies

New to remixing?

Here are 6 strategies that we’ve co-designed with library professionals in the PLIX community to fit different contexts and community interests. You may already be familiar with some of them!


Passive programming


Who it’s for:

💗 Libraries with small staff and big hearts

📚 Library professionals multitasking at desk duty

What it is:

Also known as drop-in workshops, passive programming is a way to offer a drop-in activity with occasional check-ins on learners.

Activities can be run on a small table surface, near the circulation desk or reference desk.

How to do it:

If you have some table space, set up materials and table tents that guide learners in trying out the activity. When you have a chance, check-in on any learners that seem confused.

You can include at least 2 different “easy-entry” or half-finished example projects that inspire learners to make things their own way!

Bonus: Asynchronous Sharing:

Since learners are participating asynchronously, try to include some space for creations, half-finished or otherwise, that others leave behind, or photos of creations others have done! These can also serve as examples to inspire others!


Example: Bugs Among Us

Tyler of Cherokee, Iowa liked the PLIX Urban Ecology activity, but wanted to find a way to offer it while on desk duty. Venturing outside to field sites would require additional staff, which his small, rural library doesn’t have. In response, he developed the Bugs Among Us remix. It hones in on entomology, and patrons could participate indoors in the library while still engaging with the broader topics/questions explored in the Sorting and Collecting part of the PLIX Urban Ecology activity.

Component(s) Affected: Facilitation tips, Patron handouts

Take-and-make kits


Who it’s for:

🏠 Libraries with learners who are not able to stay or participate in an in-person program.

What it is:

Health-conscious and convenient, take-and-make kits allow learners to try activities outside of libraries, on their own time.

How to do it:

Gather materials and create bags for learners to take home.

Include printouts with guidelines, QR codes to an online activity page or video that you or someone else created. These can be in the bag or attached to the outside of the bag.

Bonus: Getting Feedback:

It’s hard to know how it went for the learner. In the printouts, ask the learner or caregiver to snap a photo of their creation to share out on social media, tagging the library. Include a motivation for doing this, like “inspire others” or “win a small prize”.



There are several ways to deliver any activity. Most PLIX activities were designed to be completed in-person at a library, but many members of the community have created take-and-make kits (Claudia’s Space Food Kit; Jean’s Beautiful Symmetry kit), making it possible for patrons to complete creative learning programming from their homes.

Component(s) Affected: Patron handouts

Locally relevant remixes


Who it’s for:

🪅 Library professionals that want to add a hands-on STEAM activity to celebrate cultural heritage or local interest.

☘️ Library professionals that want to add a hands-on STEAM element into a less hands-on library program, monthly library theme, seasonal theme, or summer reading theme.

What it is:

Adapt any activity to incorporate a prompt that highlights a holiday, a season, another library program or event, or celebrate a local cultural interest or festival with this remix.

Plus, the more you can connect the activity to the interests and concerns of your local community, the more opportunities you will have for building relationships with learners.

How to do it:

Use the local interest, library event, or seasonal theme as the theme of the PLIX activity, and adjust the prompt accordingly.

Bonus: Share out:

Share your creations and future explorations in your library social media, your local news or share it back with us!


Example: Patterns in the Park

When Chris Dorman was looking for  an outdoor activity at the  annual summer program, she created a remix of Beautiful Symmetry called Patterns in the Park — which used natural objects as tools for creating customized, symmetrical works of art.

Component(s) Affected: Project prompts, Example projects

Other Examples:

Multi-session plan


Who it’s for:

⏳ Library professionals who want to cut back on planning time by running an activity in different ways.

🗓️ Library professionals who want to offer variations of beloved PLIX activity to their eager learners who also love the activity.

🧪 Library professionals who want to spread out an activity across multiple sessions to make more time for learning and exploration of the different components.

What it is:

Go deeper or be expansive with a PLIX activity. For deep dives, you can try the multi-session Urban Ecology or CubeSats activity, or add challenges to each iteration.

You can be expansive by trying different prompts with your learners.

How to do it:

For groups you know you will see frequently, break out the workshop into different experiences to give learners more time to explore.

For drop-in workshops, try the same activity with different prompts, community remixes, and even add your own.



Some libraries space out the content of the workshop, going deeper more slowly in a multi-week program plan or another workshop model that is not just a 60- or 90-minute experience (as is typical of PLIX activities).

Component(s) Affected: Zines, Patron handouts, Project prompts

Other Examples:

  • Aquatic Symmetry to celebrate the Oceans of Possibility summer reading theme with an aquarium that showcases a variety of sea life and symmetry, created over 6 weeks.

Reimagine and refuse (new plastics)


Who it’s for:

Library professionals who want to model environmentally-conscious ways of doing things.

Libraries with limited funds or new budget opportunities.

What it is:

This remix strategy emphasizes imagining environmentally-friendly alternatives to the materials you usually use for an activity, and refusing new plastics. Sometimes the most environmentally conscious move is to use what you already have.

It can also be safety-conscious remix of activities that uses tools and materials that are too sharp or too hot..

How to do it:

Take an activity you’ve already done and swap out the materials with non-plastic alternatives, second-hand materials, or items you want out of your library storage.

If an activity’s materials or tools don't suit your target audience, swap out the materials and tools that pose a concern with more accessible materials.


Example: Paperflatables

Concerned about using heat/irons and melting mylar with younger patrons, Ry Greene and Chris Dorman remixed the PLIX Inflatables activity. Ry (with colleagues in Phoenix) and Chris (in Maine) explored alternative materials. They discovered just using paper and tape could unlock the same types of motion achievable with the original mylar designs, and called these paperflatables.

Component(s) Affected: Materials lists

Other examples: Map the Plastic

Lissette Gonzalez of Berkeley Public Library explores environmental awareness with Map the Plastic remix. Expand Urban Ecology by noticing MORE of the impact humans have on the nature around us. Take a field trip to find plastics in the urban wilds, catalog and sort your findings, and create a Google Earth layer that different groups of patrons can add to over time: tweens, teens, adults can make this a one-off or a year-long project. She also shared eco-friendly materials alternatives to craft with, here.

Games over garbage


Who it’s for:

👩‍👩‍👧‍👦 Library professionals interested in supporting intergenerational play or peer play within or outside the library context.

♻️ Library professionals who have seen creations get tossed out at the end of a library program.

What it is:

Turn PLIX activities into an opportunity for learners to create their own games and game pieces that learners would be excited to share with friends and family.

This helps answer the age-old question of “Well, what do I do with this now?” and turn it into “Ooh, I’d like to use this to play with my friends and family!”

How to do it:

Break down the process of creating into an opportunity for play. For example, instead of gluing, keep the parts separate to turn them into game pieces to explore different possibilities of combining them.

Have learners create rules of how to react when something expected or unexpected happens.


Example: Pattern Manipulatives

Pattern manipulatives remix the Beautiful Symmetry activity into a game that uses paper pieces and learner-defined rules to create patterns and incorporates physical ways to respond, play, and dance.

More Ways to Remix

Other ways of remixing might include:

  • engaging local experts to help run a workshop at your library;
  • combining PLIX activities with one another!

Some other components you might like to add or remix: Slideshows / Table tents / Program plans / Posters / Templates / References / Flyers / Examples / Tweets / Web pages

All PLIX materials are licensed under a CC BY SA 4.0 license, which means you can take any pieces of them and change them however you’d like!

Sharing Your Remix

No matter how large or small your modifications to PLIX activities are, they are valuable. Your experiences encourage other librarians to gain confidence in running an PLIX activity, and feel that it is not only doable, but also enjoyable.

We encourage you to share:

  • Notes/reflections on running the program
  • Any documentation you’ve created for the remix (zines, handouts, additional resources, etc.)
  • Images or video of the creations in action
  • A final “gallery” of projects that came out of the workshop
Need more inspiration? Check out remix examples by other library professionals in the PLIX Community on the Remix Activities section in the PLIX activity repository and the remix tag on the PLIX forum.

Context: Remixing Code in Computer Science and Scratch!

In the realm of computer science, programmers are constantly reusing or expanding code written by peers, customizing it for their needs or context.

If you’ve ever coded with Scratch, you may have noticed the “Remix” button on each project page. It allows Scratchers to expand on what other community members have already created. Remixing does more than jumpstart the creative process; it enables learners to create projects that are more complex (or sometimes simpler!) than those they might have made working by themselves. By using the “Remix” button, Scratchers get a chance to learn how others thought about solving the problem, as they hack the existing code to work just as they envision.


Learn more!


Take a deeper dive into this topic and read more about what researchers in creative learning have to say about remixing.