Growing up, my family didn’t own gaming consoles. They were expensive, and, according to my parents, a waste of time. Thus, going into my teen years, I had a rather disdainful outlook toward the “gamers” of the world. I couldn’t understand the obsession with sitting in front of a TV for hours on end, mashing buttons.
But then I met my (now) husband. He was funny, an accomplished musician, an A student, active in his scout troop and yet he still played video games. After a few years of dating, he finally convinced me to play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. To say I was skeptical was an understatement; really I was just doing this for him as a birthday gift. I figured, elementary school kids can do it, how hard can it be? Oh boy, was my snooty little patootie about to learn just how much I’d been misjudging gamers. Continue reading “The Case for Video Games”
Food can be an extremely fun topic for preschoolers. Food can be delicious (chicky nuggies), divisive (peas: a food…or a projectile?) or it can be the perfect accessory to any outfit (why yes, this is a new ketchup stain, thanks for noticing).
Use the resources below to explore everything from how we grow food to making your own dinner. You and your kiddo may want to grab a snack before chowing down on these activities! Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Food”
Want to write, draw or tell a story in your very own book? Look no further than the art of Japanese side sewn bookbinding! This project is great for older kids to do by themselves, but with a little bit of prep and adult supervision, even your preschooler can bind their own books.
You will need the following:
- Plastic cord or string (See my tips below for your string.)
- Hole punch
- Paper (Any size works, but the tutorial uses 8.5 x 11)
- Tape (optional)
Follow Creativebug’s short video tutorial for your directions and template. To access Creativebug, all you need is a library card!
In the video, they used a plastic cord (the kind often utilized in the creation of bracelets) but I used string, because it’s what I had!
After a couple of passes through the holes, my string began to fray, but nevertheless I persisted. I recommend wrapping some tape around the edge to prevent fraying and to create a little point to make it easier to lace.
Since I also had some googly eyes lying around, I decided to give my book a face!
I love this project because the possibilities are endless. You could make a journal. You could make a sketchbook. You could bind some old artwork together and make your own masterpiece!
Here’s the next round of digital goodies that I’ve purchased recently!
“The Button Book” written by Sally Nicholls, illustrated by Bethan Woollvin
I LOVE interactive books! In this book, the characters come across buttons that do different things. A button may cause them to clap, or sing, or bounce—actions that the readers and listeners can gleefully participate in. Not only does this book highlight fun actions, it also reinforces colors and shapes as each button is different.
“Boxitects” written and illustrated by Kim Smith
Cardboard boxes are serious business. Meg is a boxitect, someone who creates astounding things out of cardboard boxes. When a new boxitect arrives at her school, she learns important lessons about teamwork. If you have any spare boxes laying around your house, this STEAM book will be a great inspiration for some creative time away from screens.
“Tomorrow Most Likely” written by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Lane Smith
Here’s a bedtime book that focuses on tomorrow. A child and his mom imagine all the things they’ll see and do tomorrow, from ordinary things like admiring blue skies to outrageous things like riding whales and eating clouds. The multimedia illustrations are full of energy and humor, and the book celebrates living with anticipation and hope. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: Excellent eBooks (Part 3)”
I have a confession: I love to doodle. Just ask anyone who sits next to me during meetings. Chances are good that you might have a doodler in your life too. If you are looking for some fun ways to amp up your doodle game, I’ve got three words for you—add a face. Everything is so much cuter with a face on it! Below, I’m going to show you some fun ways you can add faces to shapes. Doodling with shapes is a great way to combine math and art. Bonus: If you talk about the names of shapes or label them, you can also practice vocabulary.
- Markers (This is what I used, but you can use you crayons or colored pencils.)
- Pen (I used a black Sharpie pen, but you could use a regular ink pen too.)
I like to draw and fill in my shapes first. I’m going to make a square, but you can see octagons, circles and triangles are fun too.
Then you add a mouth. Continue reading “Megan Doodles: Fun with Shapes”
Did you know that 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness during their lifetime? And everyone, kids included, faces challenges that can impact their mental health. May is Mental Health Month, and this is an important topic for kids to learn about and discuss. Maybe your child is dealing with mental health issues of their own or perhaps they know someone who struggles with mental illness. As with all important topics, books can do a great job of exploring these ideas in a way that is both compelling and helpful.
Below are some powerful middle grade books concerning mental health. All of these books are accessible in electronic format through OverDrive using your library card. I recommend these titles for kids in the 8-12 age range. (These books do cover complex and sometimes dark topics, so you may want to read them first or be on standby if your child has questions.)
“After Zero” by Christina Collins
Elise carries a notebook full of tallies, each page marking a day spent at her new public school, each stroke of her pencil marking a word spoken. A word that can’t be taken back. Five tally marks isn’t so bad. Two is pretty good. But zero? Zero is perfect. Zero means no wrong answers called out in class, no secrets accidentally spilled, no conversations to agonize over at night when sleep is far away.
Elise isn’t sure she could speak even if she wanted to—not to keep her only friend, Mel, from drifting further away or to ask if anyone else has seen her English teacher’s stuffed raven come to life. Suddenly, the discovery of a shocking family secret helps Elise realize that her silence might just be the key to unlocking everything she’s ever hoped for. This book takes you along Elise’s journey, covering subjects such as anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. Continue reading “Middle Grade Fiction Featuring Mental Health”
Welcome to our very first virtual activity bundle! For many years, we’ve been creating book bundles for our patrons. Books bundles are a stack of our favorite books on different subjects, all lovingly bundled together and ready for you to grab and go. They’re a great way for parents and caregivers to quickly pick up quality books without looking through our huge collection of picture books.
While we still plan on making (and possibly even expanding) book bundles, the youth services team is extending this idea so that you have access to great materials from the comfort of your home. That’s where virtual activity bundles come in! In these bundles, we will compile a list of books, songs, videos, at-home activities and other resources that you can use to explore different subjects with your child. Each virtual activity bundle will be based around a theme and will be geared towards a certain age group.
Without further ado, let’s get started with our first virtual activity bundle!
Chirp! Cheep! Caw! These are some of the happy sounds you might hear outside your window from our favorite feathered friends—birds! Birds are such beautiful and interesting creatures; my little one can watch the birds eating from our bird feeder all day long. If you and your child want to explore the fascinating subject of birds, check out the resources and activity below. Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Birds”
Having trouble explaining to your kids just what exactly is going on these days? The current pandemic can be confusing and emotional for us adults, which makes discussing it with kids challenging at best. There’s a fine balance between telling children the facts and over-explaining the pandemic to the point of panic or confusion. To help parents out, there have been several picture books quickly created to discuss COVID-19 in a realistic way that is also hopeful and kid-friendly.
Here are two eBooks that I have found helpful when explaining COVID-19 to kids. (You’ll want to read these with your child to explain concepts and field questions.)
“Coronavirus: A Book for Children” written by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson and Nia Roberts; illustrated by Axel Scheffler
This informative and accessible guide for young readers defines the coronavirus, explains why everyday routines have been disrupted and lays out how everyone can do their part to help. With child-appropriate answers and explanations, the book addresses key questions such as:
- How do you catch the coronavirus, and what happens if you have it?
- Why are people so worried about it?
- Is there a cure?
- Why do we have to stay home?
- What can I do to help?
- And what happens next?
Continue reading “Coronavirus Explained: eBooks for Kids”
Running out of ideas to keep your kids entertained? If so, try out salad spinner art! It’s a fun and creative STEAM project that will have your kids amazed at the results. The artwork always turns out beautiful and unique, and it makes for great gifts or fridge decor.
What you need:
- Salad spinner
- Thick paper (coffee filters or paper plates also work)
What you do:
- Cut the paper into a circle that will fit in the salad spinner.
- Place the paper in the salad spinner.
- Squeeze some paint onto the paper, mostly in the center. Use as many colors as you’d like.
- Close the salad spinner.
Continue reading “Salad Spinner Art”
The librarians of Missouri believe that exposing students to quality literature impacts their future reading habits. The MASL (Missouri Association of School Librarians) Readers Awards encourage students in grades one through twelve to explore new literary genres, to recognize excellence in writing and illustrating and to experience the joy of literature.
DBRL has purchased digital versions of the MASL award winners so you can check out and read them from the comfort of your home. Enjoy!
And the 2020 award winners are…
Show Me Readers Award Winner
“Legend of Rock Paper Scissors”
If you could fit a big budget Hollywood action movie into a tiny and ridiculous picture book for children, this would be it. Rock feels no joy in squashing Apricot. Paper outwits Computer Printer with ease. Not even Dinosaur-shaped Chicken Nuggets can defeat Scissors! Will they ever find worthy adversaries? This is the origin story of the legendary game played across the world.
Mark Twain Award Winner
“One For Sorrow”
Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief. Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie’s friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her. Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost. Continue reading “2020 Missouri Book Champions!”