Posts Tagged archive-Activities

Click, Clack, Boo!

Doreen Cronin is a favorite author here in the children’s department, so we were all excited to get her new Halloween offering: Click, Clack, Boo!

Click, Clack, Boo! is the newest installment in Cronin’s books about Farmer Brown and his mischevious animals who are always making a fool of him. Farmer Brown is not a fan of Halloween, especially when he hears mysterious noises coming from the farm. What could be making all those noises? What could the animals be up to this time? Come find out at our Halloween storytimes – Oct. 31 at 11:00 and 5:00. We’ll also read Hallo-weiner by Dav Pilkey, and sing Halloween songs. After storytime, kids can trick or treat in the library.

If you aren’t yet familiar with Farmer Brown’s animals (and even if you are!), be sure to stop by the children’s room to check out our early literacy stations this month. You can make a pizza for the hens, wash the pigs with Farmer Brown’s bubble bath, and learn to use a rotary telephone! These activities are all based on Giggle, Giggle, Quack also by Doreen Cronin. The farm animals are also featured in Click, Clack, Moo, Dooby Dooby Moo, Click Clack Quackity-Quack, Click, Clack, Splish, Splash, Thump, Quack, Moo, and Duck for President.



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Great Rhymes and Activities for the Seasons

This website has so many great rhymes, not only for Autumn, but all seasons! Below is one of my favorites.

Fall Is Hleavesere

To the tune of Frere Jacque

Fall is here. Fall is here.
Yes, it is. Yes, it is.
All the leaves are falling. (wave hands)
All the leaves are falling.
Crunch, crunch, crunch. (stomp)
Crunch, crunch, crunch.

for a different variotion on this rhyme, gather up real leaves outside and let your child actually jump and throw leaves!

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6 by 6: Six Skills Kids Should Learn by Age Six

Everyone knows that libraries have storytimes so young children can hear good stories read aloud.  People who have attended storytimes know that, in addition to stories, children will learn action rhymes, songs and even dance moves.  It is all great fun and leads to enjoyment of books and the library.  That alone may be reason enough to present ten storytimes or more each week at our library, but there is actually more to it than that.

Public libraries have a strong connection to early childhood education and “early literacy,” a term that does not mean learning to read early, but instead refers to the skills children master in preparation for learning to read when they are older.  It begins with babies – hearing language spoken and sung, touching our mouths as we speak, and beginning to recognize shapes and images.  Babies love books. They love to look at them, hear the words, chew on them, rip their pages. Books are full of wonderment!  A father in the library recently told me he got a kick out of his daughter, who is just a few months old, because she is such a book critic. He can open the page of a new board book to her laughter or her cries – she shares her opinions openly.

But we know we need to be reading to our young children, and talking to them and playing with them.  How do these simple exercises translate into reading success?

The American Library Association (ALA) did extensive research into this topic several years ago and launched a nationwide program for librarians called “Every Child Ready to Read.” The research showed six early literacy skills that were key to children’s ability to learn to read when they got to school.  Not surprisingly, many of these skills have been a part of storytimes for ages.  Knowing the research, terminology and results associated with specific skills has helped us hone in on the activities that are best for early literacy. Additionally, we can easily pass this knowledge on to parents who attend our programs so their efforts at home are reinforced and encouraged.

Johnson County Public Library took ALA’s somewhat wordy program and transformed it into a fun, user-friendly version they called “6 by 6” – six skills kids need to know by the time they are ready to read around the age of six.  The State Library of Kansas adopted the 6 by 6 program, making it accessible to every library in the state.

The six skills are:

  1. Have fun with books (print motivation)
  2. Notice print all around you (print awareness)
  3. Talk, talk, talk (vocabulary)
  4. Look for letters everywhere (letter knowledge)
  5. Tell stories about everything (narrative skills)
  6. Take time to rhyme (phonological awareness)

In addition to weekly storytimes, we have been incorporating early literacy skills into fun 6 by 6 activity stations available in the children’s room all the time.  Our 6 by 6 stations include games, puzzles, felt boards and dress-up items that revolve around a picture book.  We recently had an Early Literacy Activity Day during which we set up several of the past stations in our auditorium and let children enjoy all the fun books and toys.

This month, our 6 by 6 station features “Giggle, Giggle, Quack” by Doreen Cronin, a fun farmyard follow up to her popular book, “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.”  Customers who have some time to spend in our space can read the book together on one of our cozy chairs, then use farm animal finger puppets and the barn puppet stage to retell it to each other.  Children can play and learn by acting out the story, comparing different letter fonts, creating a felt pizza with toppings, matching animals with their sounds, searching for notes left by Duck and bathing a pig!

These engaging activities will be available in the Children’s Room through October.  Librarians change the books and activities every two months, coming up with new and creative ways for children to explore language and stories.

by Jennifer Adams

Published in The Mercury, 9-22-13

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Leaf Man

As Jennifer mentioned, Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert is a perennial favorite around here. It’s a short picture book illustrated with beautiful fall leaves put together to make shapes ranging from butterflies to apple trees. This book can be great inspiration for a fall nature-based art project as she suggested or it can be turned into a lesson in horticulture by identifying different species of leaves used in the book or from your own yard. The front and back pages of the book show a number of common leaves with their species listed to help get you started. Most of the species grow in Kansas, and it can be a lot of fun to learn about the trees we see every day. You can also throw in some early math ideas like sorting from smallest to largest, counting points on the leaves, or talking about the different shapes in leaves.


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Refreshing fall!

I love fall and the energy I feel when those first cool days quietly slip in after the heat of August.  A favorite book to use in the fall is Lois Ehlert’s Leaf Man because it leads so easily to fun crafts and activities.  Read Leaf Man, then take a nature walk.  Crunch through leaves, inspect the nuts, limbs, bugs, leaves and other debris on the ground, and collect some nice specimens (“treasures”) to take inside.  Create your own leaf person or a whole family of them.  Kids are fascinated by what you can create with a little glue, scissors and crayons. Show them how to make a leaf rubbing with the long edge of a crayon, or trace differently shaped leaves and cut them out.  Make collages with your treasures, or get a little more elaborate with projects like these listed on the momtastic website.  Nature activities help children embrace and process their awe of the world and their many questions about what they see happening around them.  Be prepared with a few nonfiction books to reference.  For preschoolers, the  “Let’s Read and Find Out Science” nonfiction series for young children provides excellent explanations at the right level, such as Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro and Sunshine Makes the Seasons by Franklyn Branley.

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Mud Cooking

Last week, I took my 4-year old niece to the playground. Upon arriving, she yelled, “My kitchen!” and ran to a large bush. She showed me her table (a large rock) and her oven (another rock). We gathered a collection of leaves and ripped them up to make salad. We gathered some dirt to spice it, and tore apart some Trumpetvine flowers to be carrots. Then, of course, we ate it by munching loudly and throwing it over our shoulders onto the ground.

Mud cooking is a classic form of play. I spent hours mud cooking as a child, as I am sure many others did. Mud cooking is a great way for kids to explore the world around them, practice their fine motor skills, and your kids could practice literacy skills by making recipes for beautiful mud pies.

All you need is some dirt and plant materials! Of course, mud cooking can be as complex as your child wants it to be. You could devote some old dishes and pans to mud cooking, and stir up batter with water and dirt, and go on foraging expeditions around your backyard to collect materials. Regardless of what you use or how you do it, you will have fun! …and get a little bit messy!


Posted by Grace

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Fairy Gardens

Recently my three-year-old grandson and I made a little dish garden.  These gardens come into style every so often, being called terrariums, dish gardens, or currently “fairy gardens.”  Since we included a snake and a fox figurine in the garden, Colton dubbed it a “prairie garden.”  A basic garden can be made in a simple terra cotta pot saucer.  Or you can be creative and use any shallow container.  We planted Irish moss to represent the prairie, with a begonia for a “tree” and a fern for a “bush.”  Colton carefully laid light blue glass stones to make a “creek” and a “pond.”  Last came the fox figurine (which Colton thought should go into the ground head first like it was burrowing), and a small rubber snake.  You can include as many animals, fairies, plants, and props as you want to.  The local flower markets have a great selection of miniature  trellises, houses, toys, and animals to choose from.  Or recycle household items to decorate your garden. We put the prairie garden by the front door. Colton has fun checking on his prairie garden every time he comes over! Posted by Victoria.

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Let’s Play Outside!

My children seem to be born with a desire to be outside. My three year old son much prefers to play outside over any indoor activity, no matter how enticing. My daughter is 15 months old and just learned to sign “outside,” and boy was she pleased with herself. Twenty times a day I’ll find her standing by the door signing to go outside. I’m sure they are not alone in her desire to be outside rain or shine, day or night. As more and more children (and adults) pass their days inside, more and more experts are showing us just how important it is for little kids (and not-so-little-kids) to be outside exploring, experimenting, and engaging their environment.

The library has several books for parents and educators about how to help children engage in the natural environment and how to enhance playscapes to include more natural aspects. Many of these ideas are meant for daycares or preschools, but many can be applied in your own backyard. So take my kids’ advice and go play outside!

A Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature Through the Seasons by Rick Van Noy

Nurture Through Nature: Working with Children Under 3 in Outdoor Environments by Claire Warden

The Potential of a Puddle: Creating Vision and Values for Outdoor Learning by Claire Warden

Natural Playscapes: Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul by Rusty Keeler

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

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Fun With Letters Outdoors

Letter "A" In NatureFinding and making letters in nature is a great way to combine outdoor play with learning fun.

  • Make letters or lines using a stick in sand, dirt or mud.
  • Look for letter shapes in natural objects like plants, flowers, vines, branches, seeds.
  • Explore letter sounds by playing the letter game outside. Ask your child to find things that start with the “g” sound, etc.
  • Draw with colored chalk or “paint” with water and brushes on sidewalks and patios.
  • Gaze up at the clouds and talk about what you think the clouds look like.

Bring a book outside and read under the shade of a tree.  Don’t forget about some of the “oldie but goodie” picture books like It Looked Like Spilt Milk (for cloud gazers), Old Turtle (a religious tie-in to nature), Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears (a West African pourquoi tale), A Tree is Nice (1957 Caldecott winner), or From the Bellybutton of the Moon (poems about summer in English & Spanish).


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Builder Goose : it’s construction rhyme time! by Boni Ashburn

This board book has great rhymes for anything construction! These rhymes are simple for the little ones, and are versatile with numerous action possibilities! The rhymes are also great for older children because they can make up their own extra verses and actions! Kids who love construction will definitely love this book!

Reviewed by Brian Builder Goose

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