In “Down by the Barn” by Will Hillenbrand, a dog happily drives a clunky blue tractor around a farm. Hitched to the tractor are two wagons, which the dog uses to collect a scarecrow and an array of baby farm animals. When the wagons are packed full of critters, the dog makes a stop at a school bus full of excited children. The story ends on a sweet note, with the scarecrow reading a book aloud, sharing a story with all of the children and animals.
The text is simple and contains repetitive phrases (Puff puff, clank, clank, moo, moo, and OFF WE GO!), adding new sounds to the end of each phrase as baby animals hop into the wagon. “Down By the Barn” is bursting with cheery art and onomatopoeic text that begs to be orated by all, making it a wonderful read aloud.
Continue reading “2015 Missouri Building Block: Down By the Barn”
America Recycles Day, celebrated on November 15th, has passed us by. Did you celebrate with your children by utilizing your local recycling center, repurposing something that you otherwise would have thrown away or by taking the Keep America Beautiful pledge? If you did, wonderful! If you missed out on celebrating America Recycles Day, that’s okay! You can celebrate recycling any day of the year.
Recycling is a great activity for children to participate in, not only because it helps the environment and reduces waste, but also because it can be a sorting project, requiring children to pay attention to details.
A great place to start your recycling journey is your local library, where you can find children’s books about recycling and examples of recycling. When we update the DBRL buildings or buy new furniture, we give preference to local products and products that have a percentage of the content made from recycled materials. Continue reading “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”
Dragons are fierce and mighty and SCARY- or are they? The lovable red dragon in David Kirk’s “Oh So Brave Dragon” is the scared one. Afraid of what terrible beasts might lurk in the woods, the dragon roars his loudest roar. Frightened by the ferocious sound he hears, the dragon bands with the little forest animals to roar back and scare the beasts away. Only the little yellow bird and the readers recognize that there is no monster; little dragon is making the entire ruckus and scaring himself. This is NOT a quiet read. Your young ones will be roaring along in no time.
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“Hooray for Hat!” is a fun, brightly colored picture book that follows animal friends as they go from being grumpy to being happy, all thanks to wonderful hats! The simple text and the animals’ facial expressions let us clearly know the animals’ moods throughout the book. Brian Won, both the illustrator and author, begins the book with a gray elephant waking up grumpy. What will change his mood!? Why, a stack of fun hats of course! Elephant then wants to show his friends his hats and share the joy.
As a gal who hosts lots of story times, I think this book is fantastic! It’s perfect as a read-aloud, boasting large bright illustrations, simple text and the message that it’s the little things in life that can brighten a grumpy mood. Continue reading “2015 Missouri Building Block: Hooray for Hat!”
In “This Book Just Ate My Dog” by Richard Byrne, a girl named Bella takes a walk with her dog. During their walk, her dog disappears into the gutter of the book (the center seam where the pages come together). Friends and various vehicles come to the rescue only to be eaten by the book. Bella goes in after them but then sends out a note to the reader asking for some help. Continue reading “2015 Missouri Building Block: This Book Just Ate My Dog”
The Building Block nominee “Bear Sees Colors” by Karma Wilson allows readers accompany Bear and Mouse on a beautiful stroll through the forest. Along the way they visit their furry friends and discover some of the dazzling colors that nature has to offer. The vivid and charming illustrations practically burst from the pages, and the look-and-find aspect encourages children to thoroughly examine the book to find the colors Bear and Mouse are focusing on.
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Last year I heard about a wonderful idea called the Teal Pumpkin Project. The primary goal of the project is to make trick-or-treating on Halloween safer for children with food allergies. To do this, Teal Pumpkin Project participants have non-candy treats on hand, and they display a sign and a pumpkin painted teal to let trick-or-treaters know safe treats are available. The Teal Pumpkin Project started in 2014, and it is the brain child of the Food Allergy Research & Education organization.
The Teal Pumpkin Project makes Halloween not only safer but healthier as well. If you hand out treats on Halloween, explore some non-candy options, such as pencils, erasers, glow sticks, stickers, bubbles, bookmarks, whistles or other small objects. Just be sure that you are aware of what might be a choking hazard for little ones. Don’t forget to display your participation with a Teal Pumpkin Project sign!
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Have you ever taken a song and added your own words? Jane Cabrera does this with “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” As her characters row down the stream, they spot a variety of animals, each making a noise. Have your child make the noise, too. Animal noises are a fun way to practice sounds. This is an early literacy skill—something that lays a foundation for reading readiness.
Children love to move. You and your child could sit on the floor, bottoms of your feet touching the bottoms of his feet. Hold hands and gently pull back and forth as you “row” and sing the song.
Your child could act out the story by pretending that a box or a laundry basket is a boat. Does she have some stuffed animals she could set beside the “boat” and tell her own story? This activity helps with narrative skills and reading comprehension.
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The library is celebrating Latino history with a variety of programs, book displays, special story times and more! One way you can continue this fun at home is to create a rainstick based on those used by the Aztecs. The Aztecs believed that they could summon rain storms by using rainsticks. Originally they were made from pieces of hollow cacti that were dried in the sun. The spines from the cacti were driven into the cacti like nails, and pebbles or other small objects were placed inside. To complete the rainstick, the ends were sealed. When the rain stick was tipped, the pebbles would fall through the tube and bump against the spines. This would create a sound like falling rain.
Now, I’m not going to ask you to go find a cactus for this project. There is a simple, child-friendly rainstick you and your kids can create.
Continue reading “Recycled Rainstick Craft”
One of this year’s Missouri Building Block nominees is “Buddy and the Bunnies in: Don’t Play With Your Food” by Bob Shea. This is a fun story about a monster named Buddy who really wants to eat the bunnies living nearby. However, the bunnies have other ideas. They would rather bake cupcakes, go swimming and visit the carnival. What’s a monster like Buddy to do when his “snack” is so much fun to be with?
Here are some ways you can keep the fun going:
Write or act out your own story.
- What would you do if a monster was trying to eat you?
- How would you make friends with a monster?
- What are some fun activities you and your friends have done over the summer?
Create your own monster or bunny – either on paper or as a costume. Continue reading “2015 Missouri Building Blocks: Buddy and the Bunnies in Don’t Play With Your Food”