I’ve received many compliments on the decor I used for the Amazon area of our library for summer reading this year. I used three main pieces.
The spiral vines I found here. I used the first spiral shown. I reversed the image, to make it easier for a right hander to cut out, and changed the color from black to green for printing the green spirals on two shades of green paper and from black to brown for the brown spirals on light brown paper. For the display I used a glue stick to put 2 dark green, one light green and one light brown spiral together, then I attached them to the shelves using tape.
The leaves I found here. I printed this free download on light green printer paper and cut out more than a hundred to decorate the spiral vines. I used tape to attach the leaves to the vines and the shelves.
I also purchased plastic 3D butterflies from Amazon here. I hid the butterflies among the vines and used a few on the pillars.
There were many hours spent cutting out the pieces, but I (and my co-workers) were able to cut many of the pieces during the small bits of down time at the desk.
Looking forward to summer reading next year.
Low literacy rates are not just a concern locally. It is a nationwide problem. If a child is not ready for kindergarten when they start school, statistically, there is a very good chance they will never catch up. Identifying children who may need extra help before they reach school has always been difficult. Parents may not realize the importance of reading to their children or how to encourage early literacy skills in their children through play. They also may not be aware of different services available to them.
At a recent Public Library Association conference many libraries discussed different methods their communities have tried to improve literacy rates. One way was to encourage people to speak to their neighbors with young children, letting them know what their local library can offer them such as free story times, books and educational material as well as other local resources. The Moline Public Library would also like to suggest giving out an Imagination Library form. When signing up their child under the age of 5 for this program, each child receives a book every month for free. If you pick up this form at our Children’s Desk, you may also pick out a United Way paperback book from our cart to give with the enrollment card. This will give the parent an idea of what to expect and is a nice gift to get them started. This simple gift is a great way to get a child started with those all-important literacy skills.
Together, we can make a difference.
It’s Shaky Egg Time!
It’s that time of year when fillable plastic Easter eggs are on the store shelves and you have the opportunity to make your own shaky eggs. Shaky eggs are very easy to make.
Take a plastic egg and fill it with items that make noise when shaken. I have used plastic coated paperclips, rice, small Legos, pebbles & metal washers as filler. Use whatever makes a sound that you like. I only used a small amount of filler so that 80% of the egg was just air. Then I used a small amount of glue to seal the egg. I also place cellophane, colored masking or washi tape around the opening for peace of mind. Decorate the egg as you wish with colored permanent markers and stickers.
For very young children try attaching a plastic spoon to the egg so that it has a handle.
Enjoy your shaky eggs!
Irish folklore tells of Leprechauns granting wishes to people who capture them, but be careful! Leprechauns are tricky.
Grab your craft supplies and have fun with glitter, boxes, streamers, holiday lights or whatever you choose. Most traps I’ve had the pleasure of viewing are green and about shoebox size. There have been nets, holes, false bottoms and foliage. Let your child’s imagination run wild and let them build whatever makes their heart smile.
Traditionally Leprechaun traps are place out the night before St. Patrick’s Day. Often Leprechauns will leave gold chocolate coins, real coins and small toys. But your Leprechaun can leave what is appropriate for your family.
At last week’s Creativity Lab, the freezing temperatures matched our frosty art project! We created a lovely wintry scene, using watercolors and salt to create texture and movement within the painting. Even the littlest learners enjoyed this project, learned about color mixing and composition, and were able to create beautiful finished products.
All you need for this project are:
- Watercolors (Crayola or similar is fine- nothing fancy!)
- Painter’s Tape (1/4″, or if wider, cut into 1/4″ strips)
- Black Crayon
Begin by laying thin strips of tape from top to bottom of the page, about 1 1/2″-2″ apart. These will be your birch tree trunks. Tear short pieces of tape and add these to create branches.
Next, paint the entire surface of the paper with plain water- you want your paper to be nice and wet in order for the paint to blend and work well with the salt. Then paint watercolors over top of the water, blending colors such as blue, purple, red or pink and even green to create a wintry color palette. After you’re done painting each section, sprinkle salt over the paint. It will give the painting a fun “frosty” look and texture, and your kids will be amazed as they watch the salt soak up the paint! If the painting is already too dry, the salt will not activate properly- so if this happens, just sprinkle a little more water over it until you get the effect you want.
Let your paint dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Gently peel up the painter’s tape. Using a black crayon, outline each trunk and the branches and make some short horizontal lines to show the texture of a birch tree.
Now for the final step: using a very diluted gray, paint the left-hand side of the trunks and branches to create the natural shadows and coloration of birch-tree trunks.
You’ve created a lovely winter birch-tree painting!
Here’s a beautiful example my student Joelle made:
Books make great gifts for children but it can be difficult to know what is age appropriate, especially if you are not with the child on a regular basis. Going through many pictures books at a bookstore can be a lot of fun but it can also be overwhelming. Below is a guideline to help you in choosing a book for a little one.
For infants to children about 9 months, the word to keep in mind is simple. Their eyesight is developing so books with simple pictures is a must. Look for board books, or books with indestructible pages as babies are reaching out and grabbing. Touch and feel books work great with this age group as are books that feature babies. Simple text and rhythm and rhyme help to keep a child’s interest.
Once the child is crawling and starting to walk—up to 18 months, add books with simple stories with bright illustrations. Rhymes and songs are great to share. As children start to say simple words, find books with objects they can easily find and point to. You’ll probably want to still keep with board books with this age group.
Toddlers are developing their attention span. They like books that have some action in them. Look for books with simple plots, sounds and repetition. They will become more involved in the story, pointing at things, repeating words and asking questions. Books that introduce colors and numbers are good too.
Preschoolers can sit still between 5-10 minutes for a picture book if you have their attention. They are interested in the world around them and are starting to ask questions including for books they want to hear read such as dinosaurs, trucks, trains, TV characters. Sounds, action, repetition are still of interest but you can also start picking out books with more involved plots. Introducing ABC books can be fun for preschoolers as well as some simple information books.
Kindergarteners and older preschoolers will enjoy longer stories, fairytales, and participation books. Your child may enjoy hearing chapter books as well, so starting with chapter books that have some pictures may be a good transition.
The above list is not a hard and fast rule, and you may discover that some books that appeal to Toddlers still have a great appeal to children in Kindergarten. You can also give a favorite book to a child to be shared with them when they are older. What is important, is that you like the book you are giving to the child. After all, you want to share a book you enjoy!