Now that spring has finally arrived, I'm looking forward to this year's planting season and growing some container tomatoes on my balcony. I think I'll do an experimental planting as well this year as well, and find out if kale can grow in a container pot!
Why not introduce your kids to the joys of planting and growing this spring?
Catch kids' attention with this cute little rhyme:
A little sun,
(make a sun overhead with arms)
A little rain,
(wiggle fingers in the air in a downward motion)
Now pull up all the weeds.
(gesture pulling weeds up with the hands)
Our flowers grow all in a row,
(hold up forearms and extend fingers to make flowers and stems)
From tiny little seeds.
(pinch imaginary seed between thumb and forefinger and show to the kids)
Explain how seeds grow into plants and flowers by reading one of these great books together:
Seeds Go, Seeds Grow by Mark Weakland
How A Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan
Next, get those little hands dirty! :)
You might want to create a paper flower and label parts of the plant, and/or germinate seeds at home using household supplies!
They say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.
Make this fun loop craft and say, "Hello Spring!" Play with fluffy wooly cotton balls instead of snow. You may want to make a whole flock!
White Card Stock
Cut a 2" strip of card stock. Glue in a loop.
Cut ears out of card stock. Glue behind loop sticking out as shown in picture above.
Draw on a face.
Glue four cotton balls to the bottom for feet.
Break cotton up into 1/2" balls. Glue the little balls to the top of the head and down the back of the lamb completely covering the the paper loop except the face of the lamb.
If you are looking for a little playmate for this little creature, make a Paper Loop Chick to keep him company.
Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my mom reading aloud to me. Not just as a little kid but through middle school. Reading aloud to kids drops off dramatically after third grade and so does a child's interest in reading. Reading aloud to older kids has many benefits especially for those kids who are reluctant to read on their own.
-When you read aloud to kids you are modeling positive adults behavior towards reading. Kids just can't wait to grow up so why not show them that adults enjoy reading too.
-Reading aloud transforms reading from a solitary activity into a shared social experience. This creates positive and fulfilling reading experiences.
-Hearing words read aloud can increase confidence with sounding out words in print. Many kids are reluctant to read because they struggle with sounding out words. The more words a child hears the greater their success will be when they encounter words in print.
So find a warm spot and share a good book together. You can read anything you want and it can be any length. A classic fiction story, a non-fiction book, or today's comics section. Need some suggestions to get you started? Here are a few of my favorites for reading aloud to older kids.
Stand Straight, Ella Kate: The True Story of a Real Giant by Kate klise and M. Sarah Klise
Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs by Michaela Muntean
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
The Scarecrow and His Servant by Pilip Pullman
For more great suggestions see our Great Family Read-Aloud book list.
We've all seen jogging strollers being pushed by moms and dads that love to run. But here's something new: the Longboard Stroller for parents that love to skateboard!
I love the idea of parents being able to include their children in their favorite activities (instead of giving them up!) and being able to promote a culture of fitness while children are small.
Check out the test day video, shot in Cologne, Germany:
What do you think of the longboard stroller? Is this something that you'd want to do with your kids?
You have probably heard this before. I have, and yet it still blows my mind.
By age three your child's brain is 80% developed...90% by age five.
Interacting with your baby/toddler/preschooler daily has a huge impact on their early learning and language development. At our libraries we offer you a fun tool to make these times of learning and bonding even better.
Our free literacy calendars offer facts that motivate and activities that inspire. We have calendars for babies, toddlers and preschoolers that will guide you through the month. You will find out about materials and programs we have to support you during this stage in development.
For instance, did you know we have kits with picture books and CD's so your preschooler can "read" along? Did you know that all of our locations offer fun story times for babies and toddlers? (Actually, they are really fun for the caregiver as well!) You will also find buget friendly ideas for creative play like using a muffin tin and different sized balls to make an easy shape sorter for your baby. Or, try taking your preschooler on a "rhyming words" walk where you point out things around the house or neighborhood that rhyme, red/bed, dog/log?
Enjoy a few minutes of meaningful play every day with your beautiful baby...and grow that beautiful brain!
Little bodies love to be in motion! Come to storytime at JCPL, and you'll see just what I mean! However, when they're stuck inside on a rainy (or snowy!) day, little bodies do tend to get a bit cranky when confined.
Here are some of my favorite action song CDs that are perfect for bad weather days. Of course, they're perfectly fun to play along with on beautiful days, too!
Action songs work to improve self-regulatory behavior, gross and fine motor skills, and increase full-body strength and coordination. They're a fun way for kids to learn important concepts such as stop and go, wait, throw and catch, point, and so on. Plus, improving gross and fine motor skills will lead to your child being able to hold a book, a pencil and ultimately learning to read and write.
Steady, Ready, Jump! by Georgiana Stewart
Activity Songs & Games by Georgiana Stewart
I hope you have fun playing along with these CDs. Many of the songs I use regularly at my storytimes!
I'd like to introduce you to a picture book title that's new at the library, and is leaving patrons (and staff alike) in stitches: Moo! by David LaRochelle.
This is the story of "one cow, one word and one udderly wild adventure." That's right! This picture book only has one word in it!
In case you're wondering why anyone would want to read a picture book with only a few words (or only one) in it, let me explain:
Books with limited, or no text, are great for young readers because the child can easily master the text, and then can focus on understanding on what's happening in the story by looking at the pages. Once your child knows the word(s), they can "read" the book by themselves, encouraging reading confidence.
Stories with few words are also great conversation starters. Engage your child in a discussion about what's happening in the story. The pictures can be interpreted in many ways, encouraging the imagination to run riot. Talk about the characters' facial expressions and body language. What kind of non-verbal cues is your child picking up from the story?
So now that you know the secrets of the one-word book, hopefully you will be as moooved by this story as I was! :) Put a copy on hold for yourself today!
March 2nd is Read Across America Day in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday. This event was created by the National Education Association to encourage communities to come together to celebrate reading. Libraries and schools all across the country will be celebrating. Check out some of the special events happening at your local library.
Standley Lake Library will have Dr. Seuss crafts starting Saturday, March 1st and will continue to have them available while supplies last.
Belmar Library will have a special Dr. Seuss storytime on Sunday, March 2nd at 2p.m. Noodles & Company will be providing treats.
Parents and caregivers, grab your smartphones and tablets! Today's featured app is full of adorable little monsters who are ready and able to help your little monsters learn their sounds, letters and words.
Playing with the sounds that make up a word is called "phonological awareness" and is one of the important pre-reading skills your child needs to practice. Learning their letters is called "letter knowledge" and is an equally important early literacy skill. Fortunately, practicing these skills with monster friends is a ton of fun!
Pick a word to play with (all words are organized alphabetically) and watch the letters scramble around the screen. Pick up each letter with your finger and hear its sound as your move it. Put the letters back in order to get an adorable mini-movie that illustrates the meaning of the word along with a spoken-aloud definition that's easy to understand. Check out the video below to see the app in action:
Endless alphabet is available for both Android and iDevices. The app and base word set are free with optional paid downloads to expand the game. This app is rated 4+ on iTunes, but has been getting rave reviews from parents with children as young as 16 months. So don't be afraid to try it out with your toddler! :)
In case you missed it, visit last month's app post. Keep reading for another awesome app next month! :)
Think back to when you were a kid. You wanted to do the same things your friends were doing, right? You wanted to listen to the same kind of music, wear the same kinds of clothes, and read the same kinds of books. For struggling readers this is not so easy.
But did you know that the library has High-Low books? High-Low books are also known as High interest-low vocabulary books. These are books specifically designed to appeal to kids and teens that are not ready to read books at their grade level but they don't want to read "baby books" either. High-Low books can do wonders to build a kid's self-esteem about reading. The plot summaries of these books sound no different from the ones their peers are reading. Instead, the authors use vocabulary better suited to help kids who are reading at a level lower than their grade.
Sometimes struggling readers lack confidence. If they think their only book options for reading at their level are stories or subjects that appeal more to younger kids, their fragile spirits can be crushed. We have tried to make it easier to find these books in our catalog by grouping them together under the genre High interest-low vocabulary books. This group contains a variety of books that will appeal to a variety of ages and reading levels.
Need some more help figuring out which one is right for your child or teen? Feel free to ask your librarian. Be sure to tell your librarian what your child's interests are and the names of some of the books your child has had success reading. This will help us fill your arms with titles that will encourage your child to read because they are appropriate for their reading level and not lame.