Friday, April 22, 2016

TinkerLab, Reverse Engineering, STEM Saturday...

So, this happened...


Old computers, laptops, and various electronics, screwdrivers, curious kids, a couple helpful parents, and lots of fun!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hooray for Audiobooks!

What have I been up to? Well, for starters...reading listening to many great audiobooks. I'm in the car 1-1 1/2 hours 5 days a week. That can be a lot juvenile fiction listened to. Here's some faves for upper elementary to middle grades that will make it onto my next "Staff Picks" list, check 'em out:

Bridge to Terrabithia by Katherine Paterson
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The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
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Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
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The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
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First Light by Rebecca Stead
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A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
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A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen
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Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
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And these are only the ones I loved!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Be My Valentine Party!

So much fun packed into 45-60 minutes! The line-up for this successful party program started with a story and a song. Because about 1/2 the children attending were between 2-4 I went with a slightly younger picture book: The Shape of my Heart by Mark Sperring and Alys Paterson. Colorful pictures and having the kids name different shapes in the book made it a great interactive book with a big the end. 

Next up: H.E.A.R.T. song (to the tune of BINGO). I made a Valentine for you. The heart shape says I love you. H.E.A.R.T. It took a couple verses to get into the swing of it because we were so used to singing BINGO. :)

Activity stations: 
  • Scratch art, I SPY Valentine sheet 
  • decorate your own bookmark (stickers, variety of hole punchers, and ribbon to go with the pink, red, and purple paint sample strips)
  • bubble station with a bunch of different shaped wands 
  • minute to win it games (stack the hearts and transfer the marshmallows with straws)
  • giant floor tic-tac-toe with purple vs. pink hearts and a heart toss game - Bozo bucket style
  • a "kissing booth" that was actually guessing how many Hersey kisses were in a jar
  • a cookie decorating table (very messy, but yummy) and finally,
  • a "Kind Bomb" area to make a sweet note to put in a book for someone to randomly find.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bedtime Storytime


There are so many great books to choose from to do a bedtime storytime. I had all 5 of these on deck ready to go for my 2's and 3's toddler storytime. I knew I wouldn't make it through all 5 but advised the grown-ups about all the great picture books out there with a edtime theme. What are some of your favorites?

I made little dinosaur stickers for each child to wear that said "ROAR!" And while I read Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, each child started to ROAR! when the word came up on the page. It was very exciting and one of the highlights of the story time. I love repetition in storytime!

I also read Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late and Llama Llama Red Pajama. Our craft was based on Llama Llama Red Pajama. I printed the Llama sitting in bed on card stock and provided bits of tissue paper in all kinds of colors for them to make their own custom quilt for Llama. 

A great activity song was My Engery by the Laurie Berkner. A lot of movement and then tiredness when done.

My transition between craft and the good-bye song is turning on the bubble machine. Usually the kids jump around and try catching the bubbles. Because today's theme was bedtime, I had them lay down on the storytime rug and imagine stars in the sky and wait for the bubbles to come to them. It was a nice peaceful version of bubble-time. (The following week, several children decided they preferred laying back down and make themselves at home on the floor...quite cute!)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Holiday Storytimes

Thinking ahead to the next session of toddler storytimes and reviewing the past seems appropriate for this week between Christmas and New Years. What I've learned is that over planning gives me confidence that I will always have materials/activities no matter the flow of the kids attending. I rarely have time to read more than 2 books, but having the extras there always gives me hope that I can squeeze in 1 more and sometimes I do! And 2, no one has covered their hears and run screaming from the room when I start singing ABC's or the Hokey Pokey(although I wouldn't blame them if I did), so sing on I will!
My last 2 storytimes of the year were themed "Gingerbread" and "Holiday Trees". I wasn't that happy with the selection of gingerbread books to pick from, not because they weren't good books, but most were too long for 2-3 year olds to sit through and be engaged. The two I used were Gingerbread Mouse by Katy Bratun and Maisy Makes Gingerbread by Lucy Cousins which worked perfectly. The kids loved our activity song: Jingle Bells and Stop! by Miss Carole on her Season Sings CD. So glad we had lots of bells for everyone! The decorate your own gingerbread (paper) cookie was a super cute craft.
Our Christmas Tree storytime involved a repeat of Jingle Bells and Stop! song...did I mention they LOVED this song? The books I will use again because the kids participated in both. And we made popsicle stick Christmas Tree ornaments with a little help from the moms and dads. (Lesson learned...pre-glue the trees together and tie on the string so all they have to do is glue on the decorations!) Candy canes and special stickers were also handed out at the end.

I can't wait to get back to our next session of storytimes!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Blast-Off! Fun! And a little science too.

This program was a fun Saturday morning. I took over for someone who was no longer at the library, but added my own programming expertise to the line-up. We did the regular station structure I'm familiar with and although not a STEAM program, I couldn't help myself and added a couple science related activities to the mix.

First up, I read the book Mousetronaut by Mark Kelly. And as it states, it's based on a (partially) true story. Some of the truths are listed in the afterwards and there are also internet sources for more info.
The kids actually clapped with enthusiasm for the story at the end. A big thank you to my co-worker who recommended the book.
Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story (Paula Wiseman Books): Mark Kelly,C. F. Payne: 9781442458246: Books:

Second, making mini rocket launchers (already on the agenda, but something I recently did for another STEAM program on force and motion, so I knew it would be a hit). 
Paper Mini-Rockets: Build a pocket-sized rocket launcher (and rocket) using a straw and a small piece of paper!:
Third, the screaming (orbiting) penny trick in a balloon. I've previously posted about this.

Fourth, the game stations included names such as Ring Around Saturn (hula hoops and beach ball), Moon Rock Toss (tin foil wrapped candies in planet labelled buckets), Alien Blast (knock down the stacked cups covering a silly looking alien), and Zero Gravity (keep the balloon in the air as long as possible).

Fifth, Rocket Races.
Keep Your Kids Busy On $10 Or Less With These 36 Awesome Summer Activities:

Sixth, snacks included Star Crunches and Capri Suns. Milky Ways and Starbursts were prizes.

Lastly, I made a rocket out of an appliance box by cutting a round hole in the front to look out and a little door on the side to enter. I covered the front with white paper and painted the rocket. It was a big hit. 

Finally, due to my past STEAM programming experience, I provided take home activities for the kids and/or families to continue the education and/or fun at home. This time I provided star gazing activities and a hidden picture. The kids also took home a Space Academy certificate. I was very happy that a number of families checked out the books I had set up around the room (also a habit from previous STEAM programming).

All in all, a great time.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Storytime: Turkeys

A book for the youngsters AND the big people: Turkey Trouble by Wendi Slivano.
Turkey knows he'll be in trouble with Thanksgiving around the corner, so he devises several costumes to evade his fate. The book has plenty of repetition in the text. The listeners are almost ready to "read" along, like singing a chorus to a song. There are some humorous lines that only the adults get (chuckling from the crowd). Highly recommend for a read aloud during Thanksgiving season.

A couple other fun Storytime activities: Turkey Hokey Pokey, Old MacDonald had a Farm, 10 Little Turkeys, book: I am a Turkey by Jim Arnosky, bubbles, craft: toilet paper roll turkeys with paper plate feathers (similar to this pinterest post except some real feathers were added).
Lots of clapping and lots of smiles!