Butterfly Rings

Posted on Monday, May 16, 2022 by Katie

Want a super quick and easy craft to brighten your kiddo’s day? If so, work together to create some adorable butterfly chenille stem rings!

Not only are these little bug rings super cute, they only require three chenille stems to create. I love how little changes, such as different colored chenille stems, different lengths or a different way of bending the wings, enable crafters to create so many different species of fuzzy bugs.

butterfly chenille stem rings

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Virtual Activity Bundle: Mother’s Day

Posted on Thursday, May 5, 2022 by Adam

Virtual Activity Bundle: Mother's DayIn case you didn’t already know, Mother’s Day is May 8! Since 1908, when it was created by Anna Jarvis, this has been a day to celebrate the mothers in our lives and all that they have done for us (this could also include grandmothers, aunts, godmothers and any other mother figures). Here are some eBooks, songs, videos and an easy, fun craft to help commemorate this special day. Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Mother’s Day”

❁ May Flowers ❁

Posted on Monday, May 2, 2022 by Grae

Bloodroot. Blue phlox, or wild sweet William. Common water hemlock, or spotted cowbane. Johnny-jump-ups, or field pansy. Rose verbena/vervain. Spring beauty, or fairy spud. Toothwort. Wild strawberry.

Incantations? Lipstick shades? Exercise positions? Potentially, though these are also all names for the early native wildflowers you might see blooming across mid-Missouri as the season shifts from the patchy humidity of April to the lengthening sunlit days of May and on to early summer. Of course, you might also have encountered other common nonnative species such as dandelions, clovers, henbits, violets and (my favorite) dead nettles speckling your lawn or favorite playground hillside.

A close-up of Blue Phlox or Wild Sweet William flowers growing amidst grass tuffs and dried leaves on a rocky outcropping in the Grindstone Nature Area. The flowers are a deep lavender color.
Blue phlox or wild sweet William along a local trail in the Grindstone Nature Area, with patches of spring beauty or fairy spud dotting the background. Compellingly, the phlox flowers are a deep shade of lavender, rather than blue as their name might suggest.

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Tree of Life Craft

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2022 by Katie

The tree of life is a common image across many cultures representing growth. To celebrate spring and the sprouting of all things green, create your own tree of life!

First, select a paper plate. Any size will work. Working from the middle outward, cut out the center of the plate, leaving the raised edge. This is where your tree will grow.

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Paper Daffodils

Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2022 by Katie

Not only is spring officially here, but it finally feels like it as well. I love walking around my neighborhood and seeing all the flowers starting to bloom, including the always early daffodils. It’s a joy to see the different color variations and sizes of daffodils. When I saw an idea to create paper daffodils using colored paper, craft sticks and cupcake liners, I had to give it a try.  

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Feeling the Love: Picture Books About Weddings

Posted on Monday, April 18, 2022 by Laura

April is a BIG month for me: after six years together, my partner and I are finally getting married! *Cue the confetti!*

As we were creating our guest list months ago, we were tasked with making two big decisions: do we want children present for our wedding day and how will they be involved in the festivities? It’s certainly understandable that not every couple wants to throw a kid-friendly soirée. But as a proud member of DBRL’s youth services team, I just couldn’t bear the idea of leaving our littlest loved ones off the guest list. When one of my best friends expressed hesitation at bringing her toddler along, I assured her that we would do everything we could to make sure she and her kiddo felt safe and welcome at our big day. And of course, I went in search of picture books all about weddings!

A young flower girl in a white dress stands in front of a line of bridesmaids in yellow dresses. The flower girl holds a basket of petals. Continue reading “Feeling the Love: Picture Books About Weddings”

Brianna’s Books: April Favorites 2022

Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2022 by Brianna

Brianna's Books Banner

It’s time for my top April picks! I’ve got a nice mix of titles this month, with something for everyone to enjoy. If you’ve got a kid aging out of chapter books and getting ready for YA, make sure to check out my “Selector’s Selections” posts on the Teen Blog too. Or, you know, if you want some YA recommendations for yourself!

Picture Books

Kick Push” written and illustrated by Frank Morrison

Ivan, nicknamed Epic for his incredible skateboarding skills, has just moved to a new neighborhood. Missing his old skateboarding friends, Epic tries to fit in by playing the sports the other kids are playing. He’s not successful at any of these attempts, and his parents send him to the nearby bodega after some encouraging words. Epic skates there of course, and his moves attract a crowd of future friends. The idea of making friends by being yourself is a classic, but the author tells this story with so much joy and energy. With fascinating angles and onomatopoeia showing Epic’s skateboarding, this is an exciting call to authenticity. Continue reading “Brianna’s Books: April Favorites 2022”

Siblings

Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2022 by Adam

Did you know that approximately 80 percent of Americans have at least one sibling? I have one younger sister, and though it sometimes seems like we are opposites, we’ve always had fun together and made each other laugh;  we’ve done our best to support each other through the ups and downs of 37 years together. In honor of Siblings Day, which is celebrated on April 10th, here’s a selection of books about both the complex feelings around having a new brother or sister and the many ways in which siblings work together, play together, fight, reconcile and help each other learn and grow.


Having a new baby brother or sister can be both exciting and a little scary — it’s a big change for older kids to make room for a new sibling. In “The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby,” by Stan and Jan Berenstain, Small Bear makes room for his new sister by giving up his old, small bed and helping Papa Bear make a new one. Lola, in “Lola Reads to Leo,” by Anna McQuinn, loves being read to, and when her new sister comes she shares the gift of reading with her. And in “Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble,” by Rosemary Wells, Max and Ruby have to make room for not one but two new siblings — so they spend some time preparing by practicing on Ruby’s dolls, and by the time the babies arrive Max has become an expert at getting the twins to sleep!


Sometimes, when our siblings get on our nerves, or we feel like our parents aren’t giving us the same attention we once received, we may want to run away.  That’s what Cassie in “The Big Sibling Getaway,” Mia in “Mia Moves Out,” and Peter in “Peter’s Chair” do: Cassie wants to escape the nonstop crying of her new baby brother, so she climbs into an empty box to drive, sail and soar until she finally finds quiet; Mia is fed up with her younger brother’s messes, and as she searches for a replacement space, she tries the bathroom, the basement and finally the pantry; and when Peter discovers his blue furniture is being painted pink for a new baby sister, he rescues the last unpainted item, a chair, and runs away. But of course they all discover that it’s lonely without their family and they return with a new appreciation for their younger siblings.


And when siblings work together, in spite of their differences, there’s so much they can accomplish. The Alden children, in Gertrude Chandler Warner’s “The Boxcar Children” series, are four orphaned siblings who make a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar and end up becoming amateur sleuths, each drawing on their own unique skills and qualities to solve mysteries and help each other out. In “From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” by E.L. Konigsburg, precocious twelve-year-old Claudia and her younger brother, Jamie, run away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and end up solving the mystery of a new statue at the museum by an unknown artist. And finally, when Gideon, in Tom Booth’s “Day at the Beach,” decides that he is going to build an amazing sandcastle without the help of his little sister Audrey, his day at the beach becomes a lesson in sibling bonding.

Honoring International Transgender Day of Visibility

Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2022 by Julia Deters

March 31 is the International Transgender Day of Visibility. This day was created to celebrate transgender people and raise awareness of the discrimination they face still today. One of the best ways to better understand someone’s experience (and often our own) is through reading. Here’s a list of books that feature transgender characters or explore gender identity. Below are a handful of my personal favorites. 

Being You” works wonderfully as a first-introduction-to-gender book for young ones.

"Being You" book cover

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Mud and Puddle Fun!

Posted on Monday, March 28, 2022 by Amy

As the snow melts and the rains come, mud and puddles form all around us! Hands-on mud and water play offer wonderful sensory opportunities. You don’t need to buy anything fancy to facilitate play. Dig around your home for items such as pie pans, bowls, sand toys, beach buckets and even paintbrushes. Below are some ideas to get the fun started. Be sure to check out the book list at the bottom for some great reads perfect for the season.

  • Create a nice mixture of water and mud in a bowl. Use paintbrushes to paint rocks, concrete and just about anything you fancy.
  • Use pie pans to create mud pies! Decorate the tops with flower petals, sticks and rocks.
  • Pull out some plastic figures like dinos and farm animals. Create an outdoor sensory bin full of mud. Extend the fun by washing all the figures clean in a puddle after they roll in the mud.

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