Last Monday was the last Baby Time scheduled, and because of a power outage, the library was closed. I missed seeing everyone and hope that the unexpected closure did not cause any major inconveniences. I crossed my fingers that most families decided to stay in their warm homes with their babies that morning instead of brave the cold to head to the library. At the bottom of this post you will be able to see a slideshow created from photos taken during the last Baby Time.
New flyers will be out soon at the library advertising children’s programs for March, April, and May. Miss JoAnna and I try to provide thoughtful programs that meet our community’s needs. We hope that you find something that works for your family so we may continue to see you at the library.
We have observed that play time after story times is always a favorite time for the children, and as educators, we understand that play is essential for young children to learn:
Investigation: An Open Play Time
Thursdays, April 2 – 30, 10:15 am – 12:15 pm, for all children
We will provide a variety of activities designed to invite your little ones to explore, investigate, and manipulate in order to better understand the world around them. This drop-in event may include messy elements so please dress ready to discover and play!
In January the library hosted a Baby Yoga class that had a guest presenter. The program was for babies birth – 12 months. I observed how much the mothers valued this program and wanted to replicate something similar:
Baby & Me
Wednesdays, April 1 – 22, 1 pm, for babies 1-12 months plus a caregiver
Bring your baby for a relaxing and informative class that focuses on songs and massage to bring FUN and JOY into your little one’s day! Bring a blanket or yoga mat and your baby’s favorite toy.
Miss JoAnna and I believe in the importance of outdoor play. Our library is making efforts to bring children closer to nature by having a fish tank, inviting children to take care of the library’s indoor plants, and adding bird feeders outside the children’s resource area in the library. With May comes warmer weather, and we want the children to be able to play outdoors. We value what we do in the library during story time, so we decided to take our story time outdoors:
Stories in the Park
Mondays, May 4 – 18, 10:30 am, for birth – 3 years
Join Miss KT and Miss JoAnna at Hereford Park for a fun-filled outdoor story time. We will leave the library at 10:10 am if you are interested in walking to the park with us. After a mixture of stories, songs, rhymes, finger plays, and movement activities, enjoy play time at the park! Please feel free to bring picnic snacks or lunch. We will bring blankets! If the weather does not permit outdoor play, story time will be held at the library. Siblings are welcome.
The safety of the children in our community is very important. The preschool age is the perfect age to teach children about different safety topics and Miss JoAnna will be utilizing the community’s resources to educate preschoolers and their families.
Preschool Story Time: All About Safety!
Thursdays, May 7 – 28, 11:15 am, for 3 – 6 year olds
Join Miss JoAnna for a special preschool story time series featuring guest presenters from the community! This month we will be looking at various safety topics through stories, songs, rhymes, games, and art explorations. Siblings are welcome.
– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian
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I am happy to share another slideshow from our Baby Time play explorations. A highlight for me during Baby Time was seeing the children interact with the ground corn cob. I have two young children. When I take my boys to different places, I am always looking for ideas that I can incorporate into my programming at the library. Last December, I took my then 3-year-old and 7-month-old to the Natural History Museum, and both of my boys loved playing in a fossil sensory table that was filled with a new, interesting material. I asked the staff and learned that the material was ground corn cob. I knew that I would have to share this at the library with the children.
I like ground corn cob because it has a different feel from sand or dirt. Margaret repeatedly felt the cob with her hands to try and understand it. I also like that the material is natural and safe if young children accidentally swallow it. Last, I like that the material utilizes a part of a food that is not consumed by people or animals. The feed store told me that the ground corn cob is usually sold as litter for animals.
I am trying to make an effort to not use food for play experiences. I have learned that it can be confusing to children to see food in a play environment because it sends mixed messages. Children are told to eat the food in one situation and not eat it in another. In addition, it is wasteful to use food in a play experience because food is best eaten. In the past, I didn’t understand this. I had children paint with vegetables to see texture and play with whip cream to explore their sense of touch and build with marshmallows to encourage math and creativity. I no longer do that. I don’t care much for the taste of marshmallows or whip cream, but I do love vegetables and think it is a waste for them to be covered in paint instead of making a child’s body stronger when sea shells, sticks, rocks, carpet squares, and other easily found items can teach texture just as well. I also understand how a hungry child may look at a piece of desirable food being used to build with instead of consumed. As I mentioned earlier, I am always looking for good ideas to incorporate in my programming. Sometimes, learning what not to do is just as valuable as learning what to do. I watched a person at a summer event teach my child and other children to drop Kit-Kat bars, Hershey kisses, and other chocolates into a tub of water to demonstrate sinking and floating. I watched eager tiny hands try to grab the candy to eat it and quickly get reprimanded. I felt my own hungry stomach rumble and saliva pool in my mouth and thought, “What a waste.”
-Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian
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It has been almost a week since last Baby Time. The days have flown by for me, and I want to make sure to share the slideshow photos from last week before tomorrow’s Baby Time.
The slideshow will reveal that the children loved scooping, eating, and sticking materials into the snow. The parents playfully painted the snow with the children. Gemma loved moving her fingers around in the water. The sound of the beads, shiny color, weight, and texture continued to delight the children, especially Mia who piled them on top of herself like a blanket. The balls, car, and tent entertained the children, too. With each wiggle, sitting on a container filled with balls was a fun sensory experience for Nate. The balls were also fun to throw or pass. Last, the triangle mirror provided curiosities for young Perry. Enjoy the photos, and I look forward to tomorrow’s Baby Time and new play experiences.
– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian
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Baby Time was back in session after having a week off due to the holiday.
The book I shared at story time was Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. I like this text because the repetition helps young children learn new vocabulary. After reading the book, a parent could apply the same poetic structure to describe anything in the child’s environment as a word game. For example, while taking a walk the parent could say, “Red car, red car, what do you see? I see an oak tree standing by me. Oak tree, oak tree, what do you see? I see a …..” Or while playing in your child’s toy room you could say, “Fast car, fast car, what do you see? I see a lazy turtle looking at me…” The options are endless, and if the child is interested and ready, he/she could play the game with you instead of just listening.
We had new friends join us at Baby Time, babies Jack and Perry, along with each of their mothers. These children were new to Baby Time but regularly attended last January’s Baby Yoga series presented by Kristin Schon. It was fantastic and inspired new programming the Highland Square Branch Library will offer specifically for caregivers and their babies 0-12 months.
One of the songs that Kristin taught that I love and find myself singing and likely butchering goes something like this:
Hey dum diddley dee
Hey dum diddley dee
Hey dum diddley
Hey dum diddley
I’ve got a wonderful mom.
Each time she taught this song I observed the mothers all make a similar noise when the line “mom” was sung. The noise expressed both surprise and elation. It was important and unexpected that the mothers heard aloud that they were doing a good job raising their child. As a parent of two young boys, I also made that same sound when I heard Kristin sing “wonderful mom.” I think it is necessary to recognize the important work that parents do each day, and I think that any parent that takes the time to bring her child to the library is pretty wonderful.
– Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian
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We experienced another chilly Monday morning to start off our week. During Baby Time, we all read together the story How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. I chose this title because putting away toys and items is something the children experience at the end of each Baby Time when we clean-up together. I know some of the children enjoy cleaning. Last week, Margaret’s mother shared with me that her daughter has a toy broom that she likes to use at home. It was Margaret that sang the clean-up song during play time this week while she put balls into their container. I also chose to share this title because I wanted to introduce the families to the “How Do Dinosaurs” series of books by Yolen and Teague which includes my favorite, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
I invite you to view the slideshow from this week’s Baby Time play time. While documenting the children’s play, I observed that William and his older sister Gemma desired gross motor play. William picked up a ball and threw it. Then he chased it and grabbed the same or a new ball to repeat the process. He and Gemma would look for challenging places to walk, like the small ramp or the raised section of the sensory mats. William climbed on the chair by the paint and then quickly climbed back down to the ground. Gemma climbed quickly through the tunnel, and when she had it all to herself, she rolled and turned her entire body to move the entire tunnel.
Nate was less interested in gross motor play and more interested in painting. His mom painted his feet, and he decided that he wanted to use the brushes to make marks on the paper. His mom cleaned him, and Nate played with other toys and then came back to the paint to do more.
Twins Gemma and Gianna, and Margaret seemed to float from one play area to the next. They interacted with the different toys and observed the other children play.
Charlie, the baby of the group today, did most of his exploring by using his hands to grasp and feel objects like the snow and the toys.
Next week is a holiday and the library is closed, so I look forward to seeing familiar and new faces at the next Baby Time on Monday, January 26, at 10:10 am.
– Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian
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What an exciting start to the new year! The toddlers really enjoyed getting back into the story time routine after our open play time in December. We started with “A New Way to Say Hello” where we practiced blinking our eyes, stomping our feet, and playing our horns! The newest activity for story time this session is the nursery rhyme and song die! Each child took turns rolling the die, and then we all said the rhyme, sang the song, and danced! It was so much fun!
We all read the story Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin, Jr. together. Each child had their own copy of the book to hold as I read the story aloud to the group. I will be ordering multiple copies of the same book each week so we can all practice reading together! The best part of story time for everyone was the bubbles! We all tried to catch bubbles on our fingers and really enjoyed looking at the bubbles that landed in everyone’s hair!
Enjoy this week’s slide show!
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Until next week,
Reminder: We are going to be getting messy on Thursday in play time, so please dress in clothes that can get messy!
I hope all our families enjoyed celebrating their holiday traditions with each other and had a Happy New Year. We have had a chilly week that has likely kept young children indoors. It may feel too cold to be outside with your young child, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t experience the outdoor wonders inside the comfort of their home. Bring the outside inside! Snow shouldn’t be wasted. I encourage parents to get a storage container and fill it with snow. Bring it inside, and set the container on a blanket on the floor. Add to the container different toys: things to scoop, fill, and pretend. Follow up the play experience with a great book about snow, like Baby Loves Winter or The Snowy Day.
I know the children at Baby Time have snow on their minds because last Monday, I observed some children calling the shredded paper and bubbles snow. I have made that connection before with the shredded paper. It was a new perspective for me with the bubbles. Imagine a room full of small color-catching bubbles gently descending. It does draw parallels to new fallen snowflakes.
If there is snow still outside on Monday morning, I will bring some in during the Baby Time play time for the children to play with to continue to build on their interest in snow, and their interest in filling and emptying containers.
I do my best to take pictures and notes during Baby Time. I do so to provide documentation for the parents and children about their experiences. I also do it to help me decide what to present at my next Baby Time. Upon reflection, some observations stood out to me from our play time that I want to share.
Last Monday next to the large shredded paper container I had a large empty container for the children, like Harper last week, to transfer the paper. Ella found a rubber duck and brought the empty container to me and told me right away that her duck needed water. I love it when the children interpret the play materials differently than I do. I filled up the container with a few inches of water, and she put the duck in it. Afterwards, she played with the duck and added shredded paper and pretended the duck was searching for food. Ella, Margaret and others added more paper, and soon it looked like the duck was hiding in a marsh.
Nate and his mother were playing with the light table toys. Nate smelled the containers. I found out it was similar to a container he had at home that has something in it with an appealing smell. Next Monday I will have to have something during play time that encourages children to use their sense of smell.
I want to also have something at next Monday’s Baby Time that allows the children to continue to experiment with the idea of things that roll. Sebastian liked rolling the marbles on the music tree. At one point, he switched to acorns and observed that they did not roll as well because sometimes one would get stuck half-way down and create a sort of traffic jam. Another child rolled a ball with me and then tried to roll a paper cup.
The slideshow contains pictures taken of play at the light table. I try to be diligent and capture images and take notes of the children’s investigative play, but I can’t always be everywhere. I observed clusters of children at the light table including Nate and his mother and visits from almost every child during play time. I did not get a chance to take notes about their discoveries, but I thought the pictures were still valuable to see.
Please take a look at the slideshow to see the fun the children had during last Monday’s Baby Time, and I look forward to seeing familiar and new faces next Monday.
– Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian
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Thursday was such a fun morning at preschool story time! To help us get excited about Miss KT’s stuffed animal sleepover event, we talked about teddy bears! We all particularly enjoyed Where Teddy Bears Come From by Mark Burgess. Nora was especially excited when she figured out who the surprise person was at the end! We also looked at the beautiful illustrations in Kadir Nelson’s 2014 book Baby Bear.
All of the children, both older and younger, were amazed by my Gymboree bubbles! Everyone enjoyed catching them on our fingers, watching them float all around the room, and laughing as bubbles stuck to each other’s hair. Bubbles will definitely be making more appearances this month!
After story time and bubbles, the children thought of creative ways to position stuffed animals and toys in the library to create silly pictures! Evie, Nora, Miranda, and Wyatt took turns creating silly scenes and using my iPhone to take their own pictures! This week’s slide show is filled with the pictures and video that the children designed and took themselves. (Only the very first picture was taken by me!)
I hope you enjoy all of the silly antics at the library this week!
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Until next time,
Reminder: Next week I am hoping to have lots of messy activities to promote our messy play day on Saturday, January 17. Please dress ready to make a mess at story time!
We had another fun Baby Time this morning! There isn’t much snow outside…yet…but I found a winter slideshow theme with penguins in it that I think your child will enjoy watching when you share today’s slideshow.
The play time featured shredded paper, which the children loved experiencing in their own way. It is an inexpensive open-ended toy that your child will make his or her own. Gianna liked putting in inside of a container while Harper and Daffney liked traveling with it. Another favorite toy was the music tree that plays different sounds when marbles travel down the leaves. Elias spotted this toy right away even before story time started.
Today we read the book Baby at the Farm by the very popular Karen Katz. I selected this book because it is a touch-and-feel book. These types of books are great to not only engage the child but also to expose children to different textures, which is great for neurological development. It is easy and beneficial to help your baby have these different sensory experiences. Touching rough sticks, pokey pine needles, soft grass, silky ribbons, sticky tape, and other easy-to-find materials both natural and man made is something your child will love to experience and is really an easy and inexpensive way to nurture your child’s natural curiosity.
As always, thank you to the families that joined me today. Also, a big thanks to the parents that helped clean up after story time.
-Miss KT, Early Childhood Librarian
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Over the last few weeks, I have been exploring the idea of talking to children and sharing stories with them. One of my favorite activities, both as a librarian and as a parent, is to talk with children and share ideas. As Jennifer Birckmayer, Anne Kennedy, and Anne Stonehouse argue in their book From Lullabies to Literature: Stories in the Lives of Infants and Toddlers (2008), talking with children matter for very young children by “enrich[ing] children’s lives, strengthen[ing] relationships, and support[ing] their emergent literacy.” We as adults in our society can support the early literacy of children by simply talking with them.
From Lullabies to Literature presents eleven ways that “sharing stories” or information with children can help to bridge the word gap and prepare children for life-long learning. (Fore more information on the thirty million word gap please refer to Rice University’s School Literacy and Culture Site: http://centerforeducation.rice.edu/slc/LS/30MillionWordGap.html)
1. Access Information: discover answers to simple and complex questions such as “Why is the sky blue?” and “Why does eating my vegetables make my mom happy?”
2.Learn New Concepts
3. Learn to wonder and ask questions and have the satisfaction of getting answers to their questions: not only does this allow children to contemplate what they do and do not know, but children will begin to gain confidence and trust that their questions are valid and will be answered
4. Experience the rhythms, rhymes, and beauty of language
5. Reflect on and clarify past experiences and link them to the present: reading a variety of books and looking at the wide range of their illustrations will help children link their personal experiences with similar situations and concepts
6. Anticipate experiences that lie ahead: for example, books about going to the doctor can help prepare children for a checkup.
7. Become informed about experiences they may not have had: telling stories about a favorite vacation spot, holiday, or other experience can stretch the child’s imagination and help their world view grow
8. See a reflection of themselves and their experiences: like individuals of all ages, children enjoy “Just like me!” moments in oral and written stories
9. Be lifted out of the tedium of daily routines
10. Imagine: stories can stimulate children’s ability to think beyond their daily lives
11. Have fun!
There are so many ways that you can tell stories with a child. You can read a book, explore a digital app, talk about the clothes you are putting on to go outside, describe the meal you are cooking, or develop a story with their toys. There is no right way to develop a child’s love of language and self-exploration; exposing a child to words, ideas, and images from their first day of life is a key way to enrich a child’s life and instill a life-long love of learning.
If you are interested in more information about early literacy, please ask any library staff member!
Have a great week, and I look forward to seeing many of you at the Highland Square Branch Library!
Until next time,