Chittenden County childcare providers seeking to nurture kids' curiosity about the natural world now have access to some new tools to help them. Last spring, IBM awarded a $10,000 grant to the nonprofit Child care Resource, which used the funds to purchase magnifying glasses, light tables, scales, magnet blocks, snowshoes and other exploratory playthings. Starting this summer, CCR began loaning the new materials to childcare providers, using its Toy Van service to make deliveries. CCR also gives recipients tips on using the items to encourage science, technology, engineering and math education, aka STEM. In addition to bulking up CCR's learning-materials lending library, the grant money is also funding a series of public "STEM-inars" at the CCR offices, such as "So Easy a Baby Can Do It," which focuses on math and science skills for infants.