Active Caterpillars Attract Children

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Our growing caterpillars continue to grab our patron’s attention. Today a number of children not only observed the caterpillars, but they also predicted what the caterpillars would look like when they turned into butterflies. The children’s drawings are displayed for our patrons to see.

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Brother and sister, Honey (4) and Trenton (2), share a seat while they each draw their picture.

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Ms. Kristi, the adult services librarian, loves talking about the caterpillars. Whenever a patron observes them, she is ready to discuss their care, growth, and even take one out of the aquarium for a close-up look.

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We encourage you to come and see our growing caterpillars the next time you are at our Library.

– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarain

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Baby and Me 8.19.15

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Hi,

Take a look at this slideshow from last Wednesday’s Baby and Me at the Library. I have planned today similar activities because repetition is so important at this age. You’ll get a look at how I set up the room, and how the babies engaged with the provided materials. Not shown in this slideshow are the songs, rhymes, and bounces that also are part of the foundation of Baby and Me.

– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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Baby and Me 8.5.15

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Hello,

I’m excitedly awaiting my next Baby and Me, which will be starting in just a couple hours. To help me prepare for my program, I just finished reviewing the photos I took from last week’s program. I like to take pictures during the program and review them, so I can remember what activities worked well with the children, and so I can share with the participants the proof of learning. I invite you to take a moment to look at the picture slideshow to see what the children did during Baby and Me. The combination of an engaging environment, supportive adults, and busy hands creates a picture of learning.

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– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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Baby and Me is back in session!

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Hello,

Today kicked off the first of the August four-week Baby and Me series. Babies 0-12 months old and their adults can join us on Wednesdays at 1 pm. We took time during today’s program to go outside and experience the Children’s Sensory Garden to engage babies’ natural curiosity to use their senses to better understand the world around them. Babies and their adults came armed with pinwheels that happily danced in the breeze. Patrons walking by us would have seen a 1-month-old’s toes touching brightly colored flower petals, an 8-month-old catching a fast-moving pinwheel, and another baby’s tightly grasped fist around a fluffy grass tuft. I hope you and your baby can come and explore with us next week.

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– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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Pop-Up Storytime at the Edgerton Community Garden

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Hi everyone!

This morning I hosted a pop-up story time at the Edgerton Community Garden. Six families joined me for a morning of stories, songs, beautiful weather, gardening, and exciting parachute play. Even though it was a very hot morning, everyone enjoyed combining two of my favorite things (books and the outdoors) in an outdoor community setting!

We started by welcoming everyone to the garden by greeting each person with a welcome chant:

 

Hi Miss JoAnna (or insert name)!

We’re so glad you came today, came today, came today!

We’re so glad you came today, to the garden to play!

 

After our welcome chant, we practiced a few signs in sign language (“more” “together” “happy” and “friends”) while singing The More We Get Together. Some of the signs were familiar to the majority of children, such as “more”, while others were not. Some of the older children remembered signing this song in preschool!

Next, we shared Candace Fleming’s Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! Each time the rabbits nibbled in Mr. McGreely’s garden, the children would help me chant “Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!” while Parker acted out the action with a Peter Rabbit stuffed animal. We also made predictions during the story by guessing whether or not the rabbits would be able to overcome Mr. McGreely’s obstacles.

After the story, it was time to stretch! We sang a modified version of the “Getting Dressed” song to sing about some of the things we’d need to go gardening, such as gloves, hats, shovels, and waterhoses. Oliver, Margaret, and Amelia Jane enjoyed pretending to put on their gardening gloves the most.

The last story we read today was Betty Ann Schwartz’s pop-up ribbon book What Makes a Rainbow? We practiced identifying the different colors of the rainbow as each ribbon joined the rainbow. Andrew told us that he liked green the best, and Amelia Jane told us at the end that “Sunshine!” was needed to complete the rainbow.

Continuing our experience with colors and rainbows, the entire group enjoyed using the big rainbow parachute! We practiced making big and small waves with it, used our strong muscles to pop foam balls off the parachute, and best of all, shrieked in delight when we used the balls and parachute to toss the balls to create fireworks! At the end, the children enjoyed running underneath the parachute while the adults waved it over their heads.

To end story time today, we sange “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with star props and collaboratively watered our community garden plot. We looked at some of the vegetables growing in our plot (cucumber, tomoatoes, and beans) and made sure to water them so they could grow bigger! Some of the younger children, such as Margaret and Amelia Jane, asked the older kids to water their hands and enjoyed splashing in the water hose while the older kids watered the plants.

Today was such a lovely day. I thouroughly enjoyed spending time outdoors sharing my love of reading and gardening. Thank you so much to everyone who came today. I look forward to seeing everyone at the next Pop-Up Storytime at the Edgerton Community Garden!

 

Enjoy some of the pictures from today’s  story time! A big thank you to my husband, Ryan, for capturing such fun moments!

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Until next time,

Miss JoAnna

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Read and Play Clinic: Curious George

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Hi everyone!

A few week’s ago I kicked off the first of my monthly Read and Play Clinics. The purpose of these events is to offer families a Saturday event that combines early literacy skill development (such as reading along with a text, listening to stories with repetition, rhyme, or other devices, engaging / playing with a variety of activities, cutting with scissors, coloring, etc.) with a high-interest topic. After the story time portion of the program, the families are offered a variety of activities to engage with including at least one that results in a take-away product to continue the experience at home.

In June, we celebrated one of my favorite literary characters: the mischievous Curious George! We read three Curious George stories, jumped like monkeys on the bed, and learned to sing and signThe More We Get Together”. Afterward, we made our own tin-foil boat with Miss Kristi and counted how many beads each boat would hold without sinking. We also used small construction trucks in rubber mulch like George did in one of our stories. The children practiced their fine motor skill development by creating food (and other creations) with play doh like Chef Pisgetti, cutting out Curious George finger-puppets, and colored a picture of Curious George flying away with balloons.

At the end of the experience, each child received a certificate from the Read and Play clinic as well as other give-aways. Looking back at the slideshow below reminded me of how much fun we had that day and how much I am looking forward to July’s Read and Play Clinic this upcoming Saturday, July 19!

 

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Until next time,

Miss JoAnna

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Friends Group Brings Outback Ray to the Library

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Hi everyone!

This past week, the Friends of the Highland Square Branch Library brought Outback Ray to entertain and educate us! Whether it was the famous Spongebob snake or the soft chinchilia named Bindi, we all had a wonderful time! Outback Ray provided opportunities for each child to touch two animals: Spongebob and one of the other animals depending on turn-taking. Each child seemed to relish his/her personal time with the animal.

Please enjoy this week’s slideshow of pictures. I look forward to seeing each of you here next Tuesday at 11am for the famous magician, Rick Smith, Jr.

 

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Until next time,

Miss JoAnna

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Mind, Body, and Sole Performers

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Hi everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather (when it isn’t raining) and finding time to read and move! The past two weeks, I have really enjoyed greeting so many of you at our Mind, Body, and Sole performances. Last week we hosted Dr. U R Awesome and watched as he put almost everyone in giant bubbles! This week, Sogbety Diomande joined us for some dancing and drumming. I loved watching each of you dance and clap along.

Please enjoy the following pictures of the performances. I look forward to seeing everyone next week at 11am for SciMobile!

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Until next time,

JoAnna

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Baby and Me 6.17.15

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Hello,

I hosted Baby and Me last Wednesday at the Highland Square Branch Library. The program is designed to provide a time for caregivers to bond with their babies and socialize with other parents/caregivers who also have babies 0-12 months old. I like to teach the adults some simple activities they can do with their children to build literacy skills and stimulate brain activity. I believe children learn best by following their interest. We can discover their interests by exposing them to all sorts of materials that engage the different senses. I like to use materials the are found around the house or non-typical toys to send the message that educating your child isn’t about accumulating stuff, or toys, but instead is about supporting experiences.

Aloe Plant: When you run your hand along it, the texture is spiky and may stimulate curiosity. Plants are everywhere, and it is so easy to just let your baby practice grasping by letting him grab on to a wet leaf after a rain, touch rough bark on a tree trunk, lay down on soft grass with no blanket, or smell flowers while outside.

Aluminum Foil: It plays with light, makes noise, and can change shape easily.

Parachute: Don’t have a parachute? Use instead a large sheet or blanket and let your child experience something lowering and raising above his head and feel the breeze as a result of the movement.

Mirror: Let your baby look at himself or herself in a mirror to help understand body parts and learn facial expressions.

Lavender Scented Cloth: Expose your child to familiar and unfamiliar smells to comfort or spark curiosity.

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Pinwheels: Teach about wind and cause and effect while adding a little magic and mystery.

Bells and Egg Shakers: They fit easily in small hands and are great first instruments. Make your own egg shaker with old plastic eggs from Easter and beads or other found noise makers around your house.

Books: Let your child touch them and chew on them and experience them. Children are never too young to be read to. Also, follow their lead. Never force them to sit in your lap if they are not in the mood to read. Instead, read when they are willing. Read bits of books. Leave books close to the ground so they can crawl over books and find them while wondering. Let books be a part of their world.

Paper Towel Tubes and Screws: Tubes change sound when spoken into. They have holes and encourage children to experiment with size. What fits in a tube? They are magical because they have the “now you see it” and “now you don’t” affect. Screws are similar in shape to paper towel tubes, but contrast in size and texture.

 

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Shredded Paper: Let children make messes. Imagine what it feels like for a baby to sit in a pool of paper. What happens when you toss the paper into the air? It invites questions.

 

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Please enjoy a slideshow made from some photos I took while the children and moms played during Baby and Me. I look forward to the next Baby and Me this Wednesday, at 1 pm. Call 330-376-2927 if you have any questions.

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– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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Gifts from the Garden Club: a NatureConnect update

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The Highland Square Branch Library Friends Group recently was awarded a $500 project grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division to build up the habitat by the bird feeder in a way that would invite more bird species for children to observe. The bird feeder was given to the library last year by the Highland Square Garden Club. The bird feeder was installed outside the children’s resource area window as an invitation for children to observe and learn more about nature. Signs were posted on the window that identified different local birds to build vocabulary and act as a teaching tool for caregivers to use with their young children or for school-age children to read themselves. A monthly chart was provided for children to sticker the birds they saw outside the feeder to track the activity.

After observing the feeder and looking at the tracking calendar, I noticed that not many birds visited the feeder. Jamey Emmert from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division came out to the library to give her input. She told us that there was perhaps not enough vegetation around the feeder for the birds to feel safe from predators while feeding. She also hypothesized that the frequent foot traffic on the sidewalk near the feeder and the glare from street traffic could also scare the birds away.

After her visit, Lamar, a school-age boy and library regular, helped me hang up pieces of yarn in the window to eliminate some of the glare and prevent birds from flying into the window, which was another concern brought up by Ms. Emmert. Lamar found me a week or so later and reported that more birds now visited the feeder. He was right. The feeder now regularly has fearless sparrows feeding from it; the same birds that can be seen trying to eat food scraps outside the cafeteria at the Akron Zoo. I was happy that the sparrows came because they are worth observing, but I was still disappointed that we didn’t have any other species of birds. In collaboration with the Friends Group, I applied for the ODNR grant and was excited to have it awarded to the Friends Group to work towards our goal of creating a richer habitat that would invite more species of birds.

The Highland Square Garden Club knew about our goal for the feeder and generously donated a serviceberry tree to the space. It was just recently planted. This tree will provide food for birds and also as it grows will provide a safe place for birds to make a home or hide in when they are at the feeder and feel threatened. With the project grant funds, soon to come will be new soil around the feeder, Ohio native plants, and hopefully another tree on the other side of the feeder.

We will continue to observe the space around the feeder and ask that our patrons do too as we watch the landscape change and we see the results of our continued efforts.

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Children were invited to draw pictures of what they want to see when they look out the window at the bird feeder to guide us in our selection process as we decided what plants to purchase with the grant. Their drawings are currently on display in the children’s resource area near the feeder.

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I am so appreciative of the Garden Club’s support, and I hope that a flock of birds and people fly to the library to enjoy the club’s gifts.

– Miss KT, Youth Services Librarian

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