I don’t know about all of you, but 2023 has flown by for me. I have definitely felt the truth behind this wonderful quote from Gretchen Rubin: “The days are long but the years are short.”
Being (miraculously) at the end of 2023 means it’s time for us to bring back our handprint calendar once again! These calendars can be wonderful personalized gifts for loved ones. They can also serve as heartfelt mementos. If you decorate a calendar every year, you’ll have a beautiful way of showing your child’s growth through the years. If you can, continue your collection. But remember, it’s never too late to start. Continue reading “Handprint Calendar 2024”
It’s time to settle into the wonderful fall weather and get cozy with a good book! Whether you’re reading under a snuggly blanket or sitting outside in the crisp air and sunshine, these new books will be perfect companions. This will be my last blog for a little while, so enjoy and I’ll see you again next year with some winter releases!
“Turbo’s Special Delivery” written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Eduardo Marticorena
I’m a little biased about this one because I have a toddler who loves trucks. Turbo is a delivery truck who loves to drive FAST! But today he has a very special delivery, and his supervisor tells him he needs to be extra careful with it. That means no zooming or zigging or zagging on the road. Turbo sets off at his usual speed before remembering to slow down. When he does, he’s bemused to see other cars actually passing him, but he’s delighted to notice the beautiful countryside and fresh air on his windshield. This is a reassuring example for little ones who want to go go go! Not only is it possible to rein yourself in, but there are definite benefits beyond just the approval of the grown-ups. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: October Favorites 2023”
Whether you’re longing for the cooler days and cozy sweaters ahead of us, or clinging to our last days of summer, take some time out to enjoy these new books! As a bonus, while I was writing this, an accidental theme emerged. Other than the first book, it lines up purrfectly!
“Don’t Worry, Wuddles” by Lita Judge
Wuddles is a delightfully fluffy sheep, with an overenthusiastic duckling for a friend. The duckling realizes that winter is coming and it may get cold, so their solution is to fashion a scarf from Wuddles’ wool. The duckling is so excited about the plan that it forgets to ask Wuddles for permission, and the pattern continues when the duckling spots a rooster that might get a cold head this winter. Same with the rabbit who needs earmuffs, and the goat who needs leg warmers. The duckling obliviously chatters on about its good thinking and generosity, all while poor Wuddles’ wool supply dwindles. This makes for a very fun read-aloud and would be a great opportunity to talk with little ones about being sensitive to other people’s needs and feelings, even when they don’t speak up. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: September Favorites 2023”
Have you seen our Recipes for Fun videos? We have 24 videos with our favorite activities for you to try at home. Check them all out here!
In the video below, librarian Megan will show you how to make ribbon pulls to help your child explore different textures and sounds while developing fine motor skills. Have fun!
I’ve got a nice mix of books for you this month! Family and empathy, swimming and an adrenaline-packed, weeklong dragon race — there’s something for everyone to enjoy in our last full month of summer.
“There’s Always Room for One More” written by Robyn McGrath and illustrated by Ishaa Lobo
Clare is looking forward to Grandpa moving in with their family, until Mama declares that this means the family will need a bigger table. Clare loved her old table, which was just right for homework and family breakfasts. The bigger table arrives and the family and neighbors help to clean and sand it, and Clare starts feeling overwhelmed and missing the old table. Mama gently points out that Grandpa might be feeling a little overwhelmed too about leaving his old home. Clare and Mama work together to make Grandpa’s favorite dessert to welcome him with a big party where she understands that a new table means plenty of room for new memories. This is a wonderful celebration of family and navigating change. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: August Favorites 2023”
Have you seen our Music and Movement videos? We have nearly 100 videos with our favorite rhymes, songs, chants and fingerplays. Check them all out here!
Here’s a song that’s fun for both littles and their adults. Get ready to sing and bounce around with this silly tune called “Bumpin’ Up and Down in My Little Red Wagon.”
Bumpin’ up and down in my little red wagon,
Bumpin’ up and down in my little red wagon,
Bumpin’ up and down in my little red wagon,
Won’t you be my darling?
(Want to sing some more? Add other verses: getting a hug, clapping our hands, giving a kiss, etc.)
I tend to be drawn to a lot of fantasy books, and I freely admit it! But this time, I’ve kept myself to contemporary realism. No spells or superpowers or talking animals, just real people in real situations. Okay, the virtual reality graphic novel might be skirting the line, but I still get points for trying.
“Big” written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison
This could easily be one of the most important books we read this year. The book opens with an adorable baby girl, who has a big laugh, a big heart and big dreams. She learns and grows, and adults exclaim over what a big girl she is. Being a big girl is an exciting aspiration when you’re little, but eventually it’s no longer a good thing. Soon it’s, “Aren’t you too big for that?” and suddenly you’re not fitting into costumes or swings or with the other kids. As the little girl is bombarded with cruel words, both unthinking and intentional, she withdraws until she finds the courage to love and accept herself. The author’s note shares her own experience of being “in the crosshairs of adultification bias and anti-fat bias” and offers hope and love to all other children that may be going through the same thing. Known as an illustrator, Harrison’s artwork is absolutely perfect, and the story itself is one that everyone needs to hear. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: May Favorites 2023”
Now is the time of year when plastic eggs become widely available in stores, and they also reemerge from under beds, the back of the closet or the top shelf of the garage. In some households, these eggs are filled with treats by adults, and hidden for children to find. Other households hide the eggs outside multiple times and decide who can find the most. This year I found a STEM challenge that can be done indoors, with less risk of losing the eggs.
This challenge is about guessing (or hypothesizing) whether the item you place in the plastic egg will make the egg sink.
For this game, you will need the following supplies:
- Plastic eggs
- Container to hold water (mixing bowl, sink, bucket)
- Assorted items that fit into an egg (see ideas below)
- Optional: paper and pencil
I suggest having your items for inside the eggs preselected and ready before you and your child begin experimenting. I organized my items in a muffin tin. If your eggs have holes, cover those with tape to make water-tight seal.
Continue reading “Sink the Egg Challenge”
Daylight saving time is upon us, and brighter evening skies can certainly boost our moods and signal warmer days ahead. But if you’re a parent or caregiver, daylight saving time can also make bedtime MUCH more challenging! Any changes in sleep routine can be super disruptive for kids, and “springing forward” can result in grumpiness and sleep deprivation that lingers for days.
Pediatricians and sleep experts stress that creating and sticking to a nightly routine is crucial as the days stretch longer. For many families, this routine is capped off with a bedtime story. On those bleak nights when sleep seems so far away, a blissful bedtime read may just be the perfect remedy for rambunctious little ones and stressed-out caregivers alike. For this list, I went in search of books with gentle rhymes, dreamy illustrations and sweet sentiments for saying “good night.” Continue reading “Dreamy Bedtime Books”
I’ve got some treats for you this month! Tasty picture books, a new fantasy series opener and a historical fiction for horse lovers. I can’t think of a better way to finish out the last few days of winter than spending time with some new books.
“Ramen for Everyone” written by Patricia Tanumihardja and illustrated by Shiho Pate
Do illustrations of food tickle your tastebuds? They sure do for me! This book is full of delicious pictures of ramen that had me searching for the nearest ramen restaurant. Hiro is a little boy who loves ramen, especially when his dad makes it every Sunday. His dad follows a recipe passed down from his father, and Hiro carefully observes and takes notes every time. When he turns seven, Hiro decides it’s time to make his own perfect bowl of ramen! But things are a lot more difficult than anticipated, and it takes some encouragement from Dad to prevent Hiro from giving up. The illustrations are reminiscent of manga, and the text is filled with action words that capture the excitement and joy in the kitchen. The lesson about perseverance and being okay with something that’s less than perfect would be a great conversation topic as you enjoy a bowl of ramen with your kiddo! (Full disclosure: as of the writing of this blog, I have not actually ever eaten real ramen. I hope that by the time you’re reading this, I will have remedied that.) Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: March Favorites 2023”