Last Monday families joined us again at the library for Baby Time. One of the toys during play time was actually an art piece made by the preschoolers during last month’s story time. Miss JoAnna encouraged the children to select and tie pieces of torn fabric to a soccer net. The creation is beautiful, and the fabric moves when a fan is blowing behind it. The art piece has been on display at the library. The preschoolers and Miss JoAnna were kind to share their work with the babies. (I thought it would make a great interaction piece for the babies because of their previous interest in fabric and wind.) Charlie especially loved it! He was on the ground and the art piece surrounded him. He started on his back and then rolled over to his belly. Charlie’s hands enthusiastically played with the different fabric pieces. William, Leah, Miranda, Wyatt, and the other preschool children who created the art piece were so generous to share it with the babies. Miss JoAnna told me that they were very excited to know that others were going to enjoy their work.
The older children at Baby Time were impacted differently than Charlie by the art piece. They wanted to add to it. Ella and Corrine picked up pieces of fabric from the sensory table and brought them over to Corrine’s mom and asked her to tie them on the net. They were inspired, too, and also wanted to make it their own.
- Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian
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I have been thinking and thinking about what to do for the next collaborative art piece at Baby Time. I know they love to create. I see a slideshow in my head: Ella making thick chalked lines on black paper; Ellen exploring and manipulating clay the entire play time; Harper’s face and belly pressed against the paper as she writes; young Gemma not wanting to put away the crayons; Tatum crawling through paint; Wyatt making brush strokes; young Ella writing in my notebook; glued feathers; splattered dauber ink, painted clothes, shoes, and hands. The children continue to want to create. After last Monday’s Baby Time, I think I know the next project.
It will be sticky.
Margaret saw me taping large paper on the floor and wanted the tape. I gave her a piece and her fingers played with it. Big sister Gemma took a close look at the sticky contact paper on the mat. Little brother William tasted it.
It will play with light.
The light table is always in use. Zeke’s mom told me it is his favorite place to play. Micheal and Corrine have spent energy pushing on and off the button to watch the light on the projector shine and go away.
It will play with wind.
The children love it each week when I blow the bubbles. Mia used her breath to try and make a bubble, and with her mom’s help, she was successful. Alice and others were entranced by the pinwheels. Aided by my breath or their hands, the pinwheel spun and with dedication they watched it move. Feathers magically flew off the projector and children gathered around to watch the show.
I don’t want to say yet what it is because its direction may gradually change each week as the children work on it, just as the children change each week I see them. I’ve enjoyed meeting with the families the past eight Mondays. I was talking with Alice’s caregiver after Baby Time, and we both were remarking how each week we see the same faces and get to watch the children as they grow. I look forward to many more Mondays together. Next week will be our first break in the Baby Time streak. Our library is a voting site, and the meeting room will be used that day to prepare for the election. I look forward to seeing everyone the following week. It is going to be great!
-Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian
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What a fun day we had in preschool story time!
Today, we learned about Henri Matise from The Iridescence of Birds by Patricia MacLachlan, laughed at Big Anthony in Strega Nona Takes a Vacation by Tomie dePaola, and especially enjoyed acting out Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy.
The highlight of our day, however, was experimenting with bubble wrap painting! We painted on the bubble wrap, taped bubble wrap to sound blocks to create stamps, and best of all, taped bubble wrap to our bare feet and painted with bubble feet!
Next week, we’ll be creating a three-dimension piece inspired by the painting Starry Night! You don’t want to miss it!
Enjoy this week’s smilebox creation!
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See you soon!
Next week is our last story time of the year! We are off in November and having playtime on Thursday mornings in December. Look for our flyers coming soon!
Our art show is the first full week of November! Make sure to come by to see your art!
The book we read together during Baby Time was Baby at the Farm. I chose this text because it is a touch and feel book. The pages have added material and texture for the young child to experience while you read him/her the story. Inviting your child to have different sensory experiences is great for brain stimulation. The children last week were putting their faces on the sensory mats, so I wanted to build on that interest.
The movement song we did together was the Itsy Bitsy Spider. This song continues to be a favorite. I can be in front of an active group of young children who are all doing their own exciting thing, and then once I start singing this song, all eyes are on me and many little hands are making spiders crawling up an imaginary water spout. The magic has nothing to do with my singing. I believe this song and accompanying movements are just comfortingly familiar.
The itsy bitsy spider crawled up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
and the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.
I am happy to share with you the important work I documented the children doing during Baby Time. I have taken notice of their interest in light and wind. In the slideshow you will see them engaged in blowing feathers, spinning pinwheels, moving sand on light tables, and projected light on walls. To continue to build on this interest, next week the children will start to work on creating a new collaborative art piece. The end result of this piece will play with light and wind.
-Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian
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We had another Monday morning Baby Time! This week’s book I shared was How Does Baby Feel? by Katz. This book will help your child name some simple emotions–happy, sleepy, sad, silly, and loved. The end of the book leaves baby covered in kisses, which is always a perfect way to end a story. I noticed while reading this story that the babies were practicing turning the pages of their copy of the book, which is a wonderful early literacy skill.
I tell the parents each week that it is okay for the children to move around during story time because at this age, we want to applaud each new skill the children are learning to master, like using their hands, rolling over, crawling, and walking. This Monday I had the lucky opportunity to watch Tatum walk all the way into the meeting room by herself. I try to set up the meeting room to encourage each child’s learning style. I have beads hanging from the windows, a few large mirrors around the room, and stuffed animals on the floor so the children who are moving and exploring have something to engage them. My philosophy is that the lap jogs, rhymes, ticklers, and other activities I do during story time are learning tools I share with the parents for them to do with their children whenever their child is ready and willing to do them. Everything will not nor does not need to happen during Baby Time. I love it, too, when parents share with me stories about how their children are practicing at home what we do together during Baby Time. Harper’s mom recently showed me a video of Harper singing and signing “The More We Get Together” at home. Nate’s mom told me a couple weeks ago that he is now doing the “more” sign at home while they are playing. These stories make my day.
The lap jog we did together can easily be done with a baby or adapted for a toddler. It simply is:
Jack be nimble. Jack be quick. (bounce baby on lap)
Jack jump (lift baby) over the candle stick.
If you have a toddler, say this rhyme while walking or bouncing in place, then jump on the work “jump”. When playing outside, you could say this rhyme while challenging your toddler to find things that he can jump over. Another simple adaptation is to replace “Jack” with your child’s name to personalize it.
Play time today was as busy as usual. The children, like Michael today, like to move from one activity station to the next to see and experience everything.
The slide show at the bottom gives a good overview of the inspired learning stations the children chose to explore.
- Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian
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Monday was another happy Baby Time. The book we shared was Peek-a-Baby by Katz. This lift-the-flap book is a delight for children who love playing peek-a-boo. It really lends itself easily to some peek-a-boo extension play after sharing the text.
The children play with egg shakers during each story time. While reciting a familiar rhyme, we shake the shakers on each syllable. Young children just a few months old that can grasp objects can do this activity. Just give the child an egg shaker (plastic eggs filled with beans/rice and sealed) and guide her hand during the activity. Here is the rhyme we did on Monday:
One, two, buckle my shoe.
Three, four shut the door.
Five, six, pick up sticks.
Seven, eight, lay them straight.
Nine, ten, a big, fat hen.
I repeated many of the play stations from last week because of their high interest. In some, I added a slight twist to enhance the activity for the child.
Collaborative Art Piece
The art mural was popular with the children again. I had out again the paint daubers and crayons. Harper continued to use brown and purple colors. Because of the children’s enthusiasm for this activity, there is little white space left on the board. I encourage the public to take a look at their work, which is displayed in front of the fish tank in the library.
Last week Ellen and Ella spent most of their time at this station. The same occurred on last Monday. I purposely added a few sponges to the container because Ellen last week grabbed a clump of the mixture and squeezed the water out of it to pretend it was a cloud. I thought she could continue that play with a sponge. Instead, she looked at one of the sponges, which was a natural sponge, and pointed it out to me and asked me why it was there. She told me it was gross and wanted me to remove it, which I did. She did play with the other sponges by pretending one was the sun. She asked why I put the sponges in there, and I told her my reason, and that is what prompted her to tell me it looked like the sun, not a cloud. Ella and Ellen seemed to prefer to not have the sponges in there. Ellen liked using her hands in the mixture, and Ella started cutting the clay with a tool.
Samuel and his mom were playing in the shadow play area for a little while. Other children joined them. I put out similar materials in the shadow play area as I did in the light table space. Parents played with the children by pretending their hands were shadow animals. The children were putting objects on the projector and looked at the shapes. I chose objects that were opaque, transparent, and translucent. Shadow play was a new experience for some children. Their attention was draw to the light bulb. They had to learn to look at the wall to see the shadow. Declan was very amused when I cast a shadow of my hand and counted my fingers. He started clapping and laughing.
Alice explored the light table. I put some leaves, pine cones, and pine needles on the table. She grabbed some and tried to explore them with her mouth. Declan spent a little bit of time at the light table, but then he went over to the window and looked at the beads hanging. Margaret played with them, too, after I picked them up and let them fall against the window. Margaret looked very closely at each bead. I watched her stare at each one and move her fingers to each different sized-bead while examining them.
I filled the sensory table with leaves, pine needles, and pine cones. I added newly fallen maple leaves on Monday that were a brighter red. I hoped this inclusion of pine needles would bring about the same interest that occurred with the shredded paper. Some children, like Tatum, played in the leaves by moving them around in the container, but no one took them and tossed them in the air or rolled in them, at least that I saw. I also put out some blankets on the ground and put leaves on that for the crawlers to experience. I didn’t see any children in that play area. I am wondering if I would have tossed the leaves in the air or crawled over the leaf-covered blankets if the children would have play with them in this more liberal manner. I love their feel, color, sound, and smell. I still think this group of children finds them engaging. I may give them another try before I move on to something else.
The toy cabinet was heavily used this past Monday. A community of parents and children were playing near it, and I looked in it and saw the empty shelves. I loved seeing at this station and at all of the stations the parents and caregivers playing with the children and the children observing and learning from other children. Please click on the link below to view a slide show of photos from last Monday’s Baby Time to see for yourself the fun we have at the library.
- Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian
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We had another fun week at the Highland Square Branch Library! We had quite a few new faces at our toddler story time this week (Welcome!) and lots of returning friends in our toddler and preschool story time (Welcome back!).
Toddler Story Time
we continued our examination of animals and their habitats by discussing animals that can live at our own houses… pets! Our first book My Dog, Rosie by Harper, had a very personal attachment to our group since our friend, Maggie, has a dog at home named Rosie! We looked at some of the ways we can take care of our pets, such as feeding them, walking them, and sharing a special story with them. Using the flannel board, we practiced our counting and color recognition skills with the story Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd. We ended story time today by laughing at all of the crazy noises George the dog made in Pfieffer’s story Bark, George and enjoyed connecting the animals in the story with puppets from the prop box.
After story time, we put our mats away and explored lots of fun toys. As always, we pulled out some fun toys out of the toy cabinet: Mylan and Malachi were especially interested in the woodshop toys they could practice hammering on while Liam and Westin enjoyed the puzzles best. This week, Miss KT switched our sensory bin from rubber to leaves. Malachi and Liam both explored the leaves, felt their crunch, and used the rakes to move the leaves into and out of the sensory table. Vihaan took a little blue car around the room with him throughout play time and explored the different sounds the car made on different surfaces: the car sounded different driving over the light table than it did on the flannel board. Fiona, Maggie, and Leah each explored the mesh tunnels this week and experimented with tossing play yard balls into the tunnel with different force.
Preschool Story Time
Continuing our exploration of art techniques and mediums, we devoted our attention to different sculptures and 3D art techniques this week. Our focus book was Look Look Look! At Sculpture by Wallace, a story about three mice who sneak into an art museum and explore different ways to look at and be inspired by sculpture. The group really seemed to enjoy Portis’s Not a Box; each child enjoyed trying to figure out what the box might be and used his / her imagination to think of other ways to play pretend. The favorite book of the day, however, was Simms Taback’s Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. Instead of simply reading the book, I told the story with a piece of felt that I cut smaller and smaller like Joseph does in the story. Many of the children had seen the book before and enjoyed seeing a new way to tell the story.
During our art extension activity, each child explored and created with a piece of clay. The younger children spent the majority of the time exploring the texture of the clay and the various tools that can be used to shape the clay. Leah approached the activity by trying to find meaning in what she was creating and began to try to partner the clay creation with a story / purpose. The oldest child in our group, Miranda, began with a clearer idea of what she wanted to portray and used the clay as a tool for communicating those ideas. This insight into the various ways children of different ages approach art was very interesting and will play into how I plan art in the future!
Enjoy this week’s smilebox, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone soon!
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This week we had another fun-filled Baby Time at the Highland Square Branch Library. I am so lucky to have such wonderfully supportive families join us each week. I love getting to know everyone. It is truly a great way for me to start my day.
The book featured this week was Dear Zoo by Campbell. This lift-the-flap book tells the story about a person who wrote to the zoo to send him a pet and instead receives all sorts of unexpected animals like a camel, snake, tiger, etc. In the end, the person receives the perfect gift, a puppy. To extend this story, after reading the book caregivers can put stuffed animals in large bags and repeat the familiar refrain to the story and have the child participate in retelling the story in this new twist.
The lap jog rhyme we did I must share because it is one of my favorites to do with my own child. Find a time when your child is sitting on your lap and try this out and see if he/she likes it:
I’m toast in the toaster getting very hot (bounce baby)
tick, tock, tick, tock (sway baby)
up I pop (lift baby)
If your baby allows it, I recommend repeating the activity multiple times in a row so your baby can begin to anticipate what will happen next. Repetition is such a great learning tool at this young age.
I provided materials during play time that continued to build on the children’s interests. (You can follow the link below to see photos in a slideshow.)
Last week I put by the window blocks with transparent or translucent screens because Harper liked looking through them previous weeks. Brady noticed them right away before story time even started. This week, I taped to the windows different translucent and transparent materials. Brady went right to that window at the beginning of story time and touched the yellow tissue paper with his hand. I could hear the sound the tissue paper made while his hand touched it.
While Gideon’s mom held him, I saw him playing with the window blinds plastic piece that adjusts the blinds. It is transparent and hangs. I drew Gideon’s attention to the materials taped to the window by playing a game of pee-a-boo with him. When I covered my face with the translucent plastic, he could see my shadow. He laughed while we played and then began to hide his own head behind the plastic. While he was hiding, he saw his reflection in the mirror. Next week I’ll have to have something hanging down from the glass, perhaps plastic beads, for Gideon, Brady, and other children to play with that replicates what Gideon may have found interesting about the blinds and Brady liked when he touched the noisy tissue paper.
I put leaves and tissue paper on the light table for the children to explore. Aaron liked playing with light. He played with the leaves on the light table and was looking at them through the colored block screens. I saw children playing with the leaves, but I didn’t notice much attention made to the tissue paper. Next week I will have to figure out more ways for the children to interact with translucent and transparent materials since that seems to be a major interest. I also think the children may like to explore some shadow play because of Gideon’s delight in seeing my hidden shadow behind the translucent plastic.
Corrine and another child were trying to climb over the triangle mirror. Corrine looked at herself in the mirror with some coaxing on my part to show Alice how to use the mirror. Corrine and another child seemed more interested in going over the triangle. I will have to think about obstacle course materials to bring out next week that encourage gross motor movement.
Alice did like the triangle mirror. It was great seeing her notice the reflection in the mirror and watch Alice smile at the baby and then reach out to touch the child. Both Gideon and Alice took notice of their reflections. I can bring out next week different mirrors and also dress up clothes for the children. I am curious if these children will also be drawn to the shadow play.
I put leaves in the sensory table along with a rake, hidden duck, and a couple of clear containers. I chose leaves because they can be tossed in the air and moved around like the shredded paper. I was curious if the children would interact with them in the same way. I did not observe the children playing with the leave with the same intensity as the shredded paper. In fact, that play station did not have much activity. I saw Corrine walking around with the rubber ducky and Margaret was carrying the rake. The children played with leaves at the light table. I’m not sure why they were not of huge interest in the sensory table. I may mix them with shredded paper another day to see if that makes them more engaging. I have to think more about this.
This station was a favorite for two older children in the class, Ella and Ellen. Both girls were without hesitation taking their hands and squeezing and squishing and moving the mixture around. No one added anything else to this mixture. I thought someone in the class might toss leaves in there like they did with the shredded paper, but I was wrong. I asked the girls to tell me about what they were doing, and Ella kept saying, “We are playing.” Ellen pretended a glop of the mixture was a cloud and held it up high in the air and told me it was raining. Next week maybe I will put a sponge in with this mixture for the children to squeeze like Ellen’s cloud.
Collaborative Art Piece
I put out bingo daubers and large crayons with the poster board this week. I took notice that many children went to this station right away and added to the piece. This is a significant difference from the few kids who interacted with this board the first week I put it out for the children to paint on it. I have to bring it back out again next week, even though the lack of white space makes it look like it could be finished, because the children are still so interested in adding to it. The previous week’s marks are like welcome signs luring them back to add more.
The toy cabinet is always there for children and parents to go in and choose from traditional toys. Usually, it gets used every week. I found it interesting that no one went into the toy cabinet this week. We had a large group, too. My guess is that the other nontraditional and messy activities were just more fun. That makes me smile.
- Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian
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Baby Time kicked off another Monday morning. Faces lit up when I rang the bells to signal the start of Baby Time. Collin, Brady’s older brother, ran quickly into the meeting room followed by other friends. The participants also were full of smiles during our regular morning lap jog song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” from the CD Songs for Wiggleworms.
The book we read today was The Babies on the Bus by Katz. It is a fun sing-along story to share with your child.
After the story time activities, the children explored and played with different materials. I brought out materials that I thought the children would be interested in based on previous weeks’ play times.
Transparent Colored Blocks: I put a few of these along the window ledge to see who would play with them. Last week Heather, Harper’s mother, asked about them because her daughter likes to look through the blocks. I did see Harper looking through the blocks, and Brady also found the blocks and was shaking them during a song.
Mirrors: I caught Margaret looking at her reflection in the large standing mirror. I didn’t see any of our friends crawl through the triangle mirror. Someone did find the small mirror in the light table supplies box but did not play with it that much other than putting it on the light table.
Light Table: Michael used a piece of red transparent plastic almost like a road on the light table. He took two small vehicles he found, and he drove them over the plastic while talking. By listening to the sound the wheels made, it was obvious when the wheels went over the plastic piece and onto the main table. He had them repeat this action multiple times.
Water: Last week the children liked splashing in the soapy water. I kept the water in the same container, but this week I also put just a large hunk of clay in it. The clay became soft from the water. I wanted to see if the children would continue to splash the water with the clay in it. I was curious also if they would splash the puddles on top of the clay. I observed that right away children went to the clay and started to poke at it. However, before I could document this, I finished bringing out other play materials, and when I returned, the children were not interacting with it the same way. Instead, children like Eliot and Wyatt were putting shredded paper into the container with the water. Some children were mixing the wet “soup” around. Next week I will have to remember to bring out shredded paper in water to see what their next step is.
Shredded Paper: Last week I had the shredded paper hidden in a box for the children to find. Not many really found it. This time I put it in the center of the room in a sensory table. The older children excitedly ran to it. Collin liked putting both his hands in it and moving the paper around in the container. Wyatt at the same time was trying to take the paper and throw it in the air to watch it fall down like snow. The two activities did not work well together because neither child wanted to use the paper on the ground. They both wanted the paper to start in the container. I had to step away, so I didn’t get to see how they solved this problem, but later I did observed Collin, Wyatt, and other children playing with the shredded paper in the container and everyone was happy, and Collin had a stuffed animal in there, too, so they must have worked out a solution.
Painting: I brought out the same collaborative painting display board that the children were painting last week. To build on the children’s interest in splashing, I put out with the paint fly swatters. Sara used the fly swatter to paint by putting it in the paint and dragging and smacking it again the board. Harper and Corrine painted, too, with their hands. Harper put both of her entire hands into the paint and asked her mom to join her saying, “Mommy want to paint please.” Corrine used her pointer finger to draw lines.
Music Instruments: I put out the music instruments because Alice’s caregiver said she liked playing with them a couple weeks ago. I didn’t get a chance to see Alice with the instruments this week, but I saw Mia play with the drums next to Alice, while Alice was playing with a spinning toy from the toy cabinet. The children like the toy cabinet because they can easily reach many of the toys to select for themselves what they want to play with that day.
Next week’s plans:
As previously mentioned, I will bring out the container of water with shredded paper in it to see what the children’s next step is. It seemed like they were making something by adding the paper to the water and mixing it. I am curious if they will continue adding to the water. I will have to have some other material out that they can add to their “soup.”
I’m curious to see what the children will do with leaves. They are similar to the shredded paper because a pile of them can be tossed in the air and dried leaves can brake into little pieces. Ella and Nate have taken notice of small singular pieces of paper. I wonder if either of them or other children will look for a singular leaf or will instead throw the leaves up in the air like Wyatt did with the shredded paper. I will also put the leaves on the light table and am curious if children will notice the details of the leaf accented by the light.
I plan to tape colored tissue paper to the windows to see if they draw Harper and other friends who liked looking through the transparent blocks to see their world in a different color.
I hope you can join us next week as we continue to explore during Baby Time.
Please enjoy the slideshow to see for yourselves the fun the children had at the library today.
- Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian
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This past Thursday, I was lucky enough to begin my day exploring one of my favorite topics–bugs!– with an energetic group of toddlers and their families. We began by reading Aarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks. Next, we sang “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” together and learned a song about each of her friends: “The Great Big Spider”, “The Teeny Weeny Spider” and “The Very Quiet Spider”. After being so quiet, it was time for some fun! Using the library’s great big Old Lady puppet, we sang “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” and watched as the old lady ate each of the animals: fly, spider, bird, cat, dog, goat, cow, and horse. Next, we read The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isobel Finn. The children enjoyed looking at all of the animals pop out of the book, especially at the end when the elephant sneezes! We ended with a flannel story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
Today’s play time proved to be a very focused discovery experience. As you can see in the Smilebox slideshow below, children practiced sharing in the tunnel, explored reflections in the large triangle mirror, and connected different toys in the room with the habitat created at the sensory table.
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Thank you so much for joining me in story time! I look forward to learning and exploring with you again soon!
Reminder: There is no story time next Thursday, September 25. Our next fun adventure will be on Thursday, October 2 at 10:10am. Have a great two weeks!