Melted Snowperson Art

Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2023 by Katie

I love winter, especially snow. This is probably one of the reasons I love sharing winter-themed activities. I’ve also discovered a new appreciation for crafts that can be adapted in multiple ways.

These melted snowpeople can be created with or without paint, allowing children to practice fine motor skills while creating art. 

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Easy Woven Wall Hanging

Posted on Monday, February 13, 2023 by Laura

Crochet, knitting, macramé, weaving… Fiber arts seem to be popping up everywhere these days! Weaving is a great place for beginners to start, as there are no complicated patterns or fancy stitches to trip you up. You don’t even need a ready-made loom to get started. With some recycled cardboard and a little math know-how, kids can DIY their own!

This creative project puts practical STEM skills to use, like using a ruler and doing some simple multiplication. For this reason, this weaving project is probably best enjoyed by kids ages 7 and up. Younger kids who may struggle to construct their own loom or put on the finishing touches may enjoy collaborating with a parent, caregiver or older sibling to design a woven wall hanging of their very own. Regardless of age or ability, everyone can come away from this craft with a basic understanding of the age-old art of weaving and a beautiful, homemade wall hanging! Continue reading “Easy Woven Wall Hanging”

Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2023

Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2023 by Brianna

Brianna's Books Banner

I tend to read a lot of fantasy, so I think that’s often what my eye is drawn to when writing these blogs. This time, I’ve kept it all contemporary realism! Well, mostly. There is an anthropomorphized bird, but that’s kind of standard for a picture book. I hope you enjoy these new books, and that they help you to walk a mile (or two!) in someone else’s shoes.

Picture Books

Finding Papa” written by Angela Pham Krans and illustrated by Thi Bui

Mai lives with her mama and papa in a small village in Vietnam and loves playing with Papa. Her favorite game is “crocodile chomp” when Papa chomps his hands together like a hungry crocodile. One morning, Papa says an extra-long goodbye and doesn’t come back. He’s gone to find them a new home, and Mai consoles herself by playing crocodile chomp alone. Finally, Mama gets a letter and they pack a bag and leave to find Papa. Through rivers and boats and unfamiliar cities, Mama and Mai make their perilous journey together. Crocodile chomp paves the way for their eventual reunion with Papa. Love and hope shine from these pages, and the author’s notes at the back provide touching context from their personal immigration stories. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: February Favorites 2023”

Catching Up With the Classics: The Secret Garden

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2023 by Adam

The Secret Garden Book CoverPublished in 1911, Frances Hodgson Burnett’sThe Secret Garden” has been a perennial classic of children’s literature for over a century, inspiring multiple stage and film adaptations, including the popular and acclaimed Hollywood movie version from 1993. And though I remember seeing the 1987 television movie version as a kid, I had never read the book until now. Continue reading “Catching Up With the Classics: The Secret Garden”

Make Your Own Clay Conversation Hearts

Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2023 by Grae

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means you’ve probably already encountered plenty of heart-shaped items in stores across town, from pillows to candles to cookware and, of course, candy, candy, candy. Growing up as a future poet and all-around word nerd, I was always drawn to the snippets of love language stamped on Brach’s tiny conversation hearts, even though the actual taste and texture of these chalky candies left MUCH to be desired. (Sidebar: wintergreen and banana flavoring in the same package??? XOXO, no.) This year, instead of falling into the same old nostalgic trap of thinking “hmmm, maybe this time these hearts will be both adorable and delicious” (which they just never are), I decided to get my fill in a different way: by making my own long-lasting conversation hearts out of bakeable clay!


To make your own conversation hearts, you will need the following:

  • Oven-bake polymer clay, in Valentine’s and/or Brach’s colors like red, pink, yellow, orange or pastel purples and greens (or whatever colors you like!)
  • A cutting board or clean work surface
  • A paring knife or craft knife
  • Small metal alphabet stamps and/or toothpicks to draw your own letters in the clay

Photo of materials needed to make your own clay conversation heart: a silver sheet of construction paper (i.e., clean work surface), two toothpicks, a set of metal alphabet stamps, two blocks of oven-bake polymer clay (one in lilac, the other in red), and three black plastic clay sculpting tools including a plastic craft knife. Continue reading “Make Your Own Clay Conversation Hearts”

Counting In 2023

Posted on Monday, January 30, 2023 by Grae

We are now just shy of one month into the new year of 2023, a dazzling number that perhaps seems more at home in futuristic science-fiction stories than IRL. To help you (and myself if I’m being honest) wrap your mind around the sheer mundane magnitude of those four digits — and the two thousand and twenty-three years since the beginning of the Common Era that they represent — I’ve got a math-tastic list of stories and resources to practice and polish that most elementary and essential art of counting. 🔢

Room For Everyone

Cover page of the picture book Room For Everyone, featuring various Zanzibari people and their wares (including baskets of fruit, pails of milk, loose live chickens and dead fish) joyously riding a daladala, a shared minibus. Continue reading “Counting In 2023”

Ice Suncatcher

Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2023 by Robyn

Did you know the Iñupiat have more than 100 names for different kinds of sea ice? Although Mid-Missouri doesn’t get — and stay — as cold as places like Alaska, we still experience an array of winter precipitation. This time of year calls many of us to stay cozy inside, and I respect that. But, it can also be fun to bundle up, take a short walk and come back inside for something warm like hot chocolate or tea. I invite you to venture outdoors with any little ones around. Look in all directions as you walk, keeping an eye open for twigs, acorns, pine needles etc. that have fallen on the ground. When you come back inside, warm up with a yummy drink and gather ‘round to make an ice suncatcher you can later hang outside. 

Tip: This project can be used as a hands-on opportunity to talk about the water cycle

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Eagle Days in Missouri

Posted on Monday, January 23, 2023 by Beth

As I wrote last month, I have been thinking a lot lately about family traditions. Growing up, my siblings and I spent car rides looking out the window for Volkswagen Beetles. I loved being the first to spot one because the game opened up a wormhole of permissible behavior and allowed me a single sharp punch to a competitor’s shoulder while yelling “slug bug!”

Casual violence aside, fewer Beetles are on the road these days and we needed a new car activity. The game we came up with is best played on long winter car rides when bare trees and gray skies provide optimal conditions. We call the game “BOP,” because when we see a bird of prey (a.k.a. a BOP), usually perched on the power lines that run along Interstate 70, we yell BOP! And that’s pretty much it.

The game’s simplicity belies its appeal — recently my five-year-old son spotted a red-tailed hawk on the hunt, and as he screamed BOP!!!! at full volume. We all watched the brown, gold and red mosaic of widely stretched wings swoop down from a tall tree. It was magical!

This sight would be a BOP home run: two adult eagles perch on powerlines. Image courtesy of Raptor Resource Project, where you can learn more about the importance of safe powerlines for our bird friends.

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Indoor Ice Fishing

Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2023 by Katie

I found this fun experiment when searching for indoor winter activities and was thrilled with the creative use of a few household items. Preschoolers and school-age children can use this activity to study science, and it’s really fun. As a bonus, you probably already have everything needed, setup is quick and any mess created can be easily wiped away.

The prep for indoor ice fishing is relatively simple. Each fisher will need a bowl half-full of water, ice cubes, string and salt.

Image of ice fishing materials

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How to Build a Hug

Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2023 by Adam

Hugs are one of the most common ways to show affection and love, and there are many different kinds of hugs: front hugs; side hugs; group hugs; bear hugs; romantic hugs. Many kids love getting hugs from their parents, grandparents, siblings or friends, though (as we’ll see in some of the books in this list) not all do, which is why it’s important to ask if you’re not sure whether someone wants to be hugged. So, in honor of National Hugging Day, which is celebrated on January 21st, here are a handful of books about hugs that the library has to offer:

A hug between a parent and child can be one of the sweetest and most nourishing things in the world, and “The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs” by Mark Sperring, “Time for a Hug” by Phillis Gershator and Mim Green, and “Good Night Hugs” by Ag Jatkowska are all celebrations of the special bond between little ones and their parents. Continue reading “How to Build a Hug”