For this activity, obtain some candy conversation hearts. Next, you’ll need a nutcracker and a large tray to work on. After instructing your kiddo about how to safely use the nutcracker (little fingers need to be careful), let them use those fine motor skills to place a candy heart in the nutcracker. Now they just squeeze down, strengthening their hands and crushing the candy heart with a satisfying crunch! Before they do the next one, take a moment to predict how many pieces it will break into. Then count the pieces afterward, to see how accurate the guesses were. Now your child is not only having fun with destruction, they are also practicing math skills!
The candy hearts themselves offer an opportunity for literacy skills, as your child can recognize letters and tell you the sounds they make. If you’re working on colors, have your child sort the hearts by color before commencing the crushing. Thanks to Mary Catherine at Fun-A-Day blog for the idea.
These colder temperatures have me reminiscing about growing up in the north. One of my favorite activities during the frigid afternoons was digging into an “I Spy” or “Where’s Waldo” book. Remember getting lost in a world of marbles, toy cars and googly eyes? If this brings warm memories to mind, then you might enjoy checking out other search-and-find books. Search-and-find books ask you to locate specific objects or people amidst a crowded scene. They are great for any age and can be a fun family activity that promotes reading!
The library has a variety of search-and-find books that cater to the interests of any reader. Here’s a list of some of our lesser-known search-and-finds for you to browse. Not only will kids love the pictures, but they will practice early literacy skills such as scanning pages, building vocabulary and decoding symbols. It is also a great way to further develop observation skills as you explore detailed illustrations of fantastical worlds, animal habitats and castles from long ago.
February is Black History Month! This is the time of year to talk to our children about the great civil rights leaders, musicians, athletes and politicians who fought for equality and justice for all people. As parents, educators and caregivers, we encourage our children to grow into tolerant, open-minded individuals, so this month I have a two-part challenge for you:
Step 1: Check out a book by an African American author or illustrator. (Here’s a handy list of picture books, chapter books, and teen books!) As of 2017, in the U.S, only 7% of children’s authors and illustrators were people of color, compared to the 37% of the population who are people of color. By actively seeking out these underrepresented voices, we can help support diversity and authors of color!
Step 2:Talk about race. Easier said than done, right? If you’re having a hard time with this one, check out this great Today’s Parentarticle with an age by age guide to discussing race. Before children enter kindergarten, they’ve already formed racial biases, so please don’t wait for their kindergarten teacher to teach them about diversity. Start the conversation now, and help make the world a better place, one child at a time.
A record-breaking 22,000 preschoolers voted for their favorite picture book, selecting “Pug Meets Pig,” written by Sue Lowell Gallion and illustrated by Joyce Wan, as the winner of the 2018 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award. Check out our previous blog about “Pug Meets Pig” to read a full review of this charming tale.
For more information about the Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award program, go to the website molib.org/awards/building-block-award. And, in case you were wondering, our 2019 nominee announcement is just around the corner. Keep an eye out for an announcement in February!
Once a year, I gather my friends to celebrate, give thanks and appreciate the world’s most perfect and delectable food. On this day, we consume this food for breakfast, lunch, dinner and many, many snacks. Even though I eat this food at least once a week, I especially appreciate it on January 24, and, of course, I’m talking about PEANUT BUTTER! **She says like she was giving away cars on a talk show.**
You can pair it with noodles, cakes, icing, crackers, honey, marshmallows, chocolate and a true classic–jelly. Did you know that peanut butter dates all the way back to the Aztecs and the Mayans, and the first peanut butter making machine was patented in St. Louis, Missouri by Dr. Ambrose Straub in 1903?
To celebrate this most joyous of days, I will be making a giant peanut butter cup. However, if you are looking for a more kid-friendly and healthy recipe, you can try making some no bake energy bites.
“Peter Pan,” “Toy Story,” “Lion King,” “Lady and the Tramp”; just reading the titles of these iconic Disney and Pixar films brings back fond memories of childhood Friday nights, watching a film from Blockbuster. Blockbuster is no longer with us, RIP, but the library has stepped in to keep you and your family entertained when you can watch “Frozen” no more! In addition to all of your favorite classic American films, DBRL has a selection of international animated children’s films for families with kids of all ages! International films are a great way to start conversations about different cultures, help your children develop a broader worldview and enjoy a movie that’s new, even for you!
The films below are listed by country and are either available as a DVD at the library or on our streaming service, Kanopy. I’ve watched all of these films, so I’ve included a personal age recommendation for each movie.
¡Hola mis amigos de la biblioteca! Hello my friends of the library!
Monday through Friday, our children’s team crew hosts events such as Family Story Time, Discovery Time and STEAM Story Time for a variety of audiences. Often we focus our range of entertainment from birth to 5 years of age. However, once in a while, we release the reins to some of our favorite guest story tellers: members of the MU Voz Latina and presenters of the Confucius Institute of the University of Missouri.
What’s so special about these guest presenters we host here at the library? Their performance is like our traditional story times—with dancing, songs, activities, and stories—but they perform both in English and in another language!
If you want to introduce your early learner to some new words in Spanish, we definitely recommend Spanish Story Time. For the MU Voz Latina members, they perform a variety of stories and songs in Spanish for young audiences at our Spanish Story Time/Hora de cuentos en familia. Feel free to pop in and sing in Spanish with us!
If you’re looking to explore Chinese with your child, then we definitely recommend Children’s Chinese with the Confucius Institute of the University of Missouri. Their group usually visits us on weekends, making this a fun weekend activity for your little learners! The age range for Children’s Chinese is also a little higher, from ages 4 to 7, so it may be an opportunity for an older sibling to come enjoy story time!
Welcome to the new year! There is a lot to look forward to in 2019, including exciting new book releases. While some of these books won’t be released for awhile, feel free to mark your calendars and begin the countdown to their arrival!
“The Good Egg”- Jory John (Author) and Pete Oswald (Illustrator) It’s hard feeling like you have to be perfect all the time, especially when everyone else is rotten. The good egg must learn to take the pressure off himself and accept others, even when they’re not acting so egg-cellent. Publish date: February
“My Teacher is a Robot”- Jeffrey Brown Fred thinks school is so boring because his teacher is a robot. Can his imagination get him through the day? Publish date: June
“I’m Trying to Love Math”- Bethany Barton Math can sometimes be intimidating, but this humorous book answers the question, “When will I ever use this?” Discover amazing ways that math is used and learn how math isn’t so scary; it can actually be fun! Publish date: July
Authors and illustrators were on a roll with awesome children’s books in 2018. I asked the youth services staff at DBRL to brainstorm their top picks of 2018, and here’s a great list of favorites that they have put together just for you. So before you move ahead to books published in 2019, make sure to give these awesome books a read or two!
“Ben and the Scaredy-dog” written by Sarah Ellis and illustrated by Kim LaFave This book flips the narrative of “the child is afraid of the dog” and instead makes it “the dog is afraid of the child.” It’s cute, the dog is lovable and it shows kids that animals are much more afraid of them then they are of the animals. This book is a great read on perspective, and it can help give courage to children who are shy about animals. ~Jessica
“The Big Bed” by Bunmi Laditan and illustrated by Tom Knight Wonderful illustrations and sweet story about a child transitioning to their very own bed. ~Elf
“The Breaking News” by Sarah Lynne Reul When bad things happen, look for the helpers. And we can all be helpers. ~Dana
Just past the Children’s Services desk at the Columbia Public Library, there’s a little nook with book bundles and game kits. What are book bundles? They’re bundles of books that are preselected around fun themes such as “favorites,” “animals” and “friends.” All tied together, each bundle includes 5 (4 fiction and 1 nonfiction) of the best books on the theme. This is a wonderful grab-and-go station for when you are in a hurry or chasing kiddos around. Simply grab a bundle of books and check them out! It’s that easy. We take care of all the book searching for you.
Located just to the left of our book bundle station are colorful bags called Learning Props Game Kits. These kits are small, portable bags that double as a game board. Each kit comes with 1 board/bag, 4 game playing pieces, 1 die and a book about the theme. Theme’s include “critters,” “dress up,” “body parts,” “shape land” and more. Game kits check out for 4 weeks and are great for ages 3 and up.