Monday, December 15, 2014

Fun Activities to Keep Your Preschooler Busy in the Early Learning Center

Even though we are on a break from our regular weekly storytimes, be sure to visit us over the holiday season. There are always plenty of fun activities to keep your preschooler occupied.  Some examples are:
  • Themed "book bundles" 
  • Books with activity sheets
  • Literacy activity
  • Science, or STEAM, activity
Also, do you ever sit at our craft counter with your child and help him complete the craft project of the week? This week's craft is an angel and involves tracing, cutting, coloring, and gluing.  In addition to the fun, quality time spent together, this involves many learning opportunities.  For example, learning to cut with scissors promotes fine motor development by exercising the muscles in the hands and honing hand-eye coordination.  

Just ask at the Help Desk in the Early Learning Center and we will be glad to give you more information.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Winter Reading Program: Have Book Will Travel

Birth - 8th grade
Monday December 8, 2014 - Saturday February 28, 2015
Pick up a reading log at the Main Library or Rakow Branch or print one from the following link -

Return your completed reading log to either location beginning Monday, February 2 to pick up your prize.  The last day for prizes is Saturday, February 28.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Literacy Apps

Are you looking for some entertaining literacy apps to use with your preschooler?  Here are some great free ones.  For an even more complete list of recommended apps, just click on the apps link on the Resources for Parents page.

PBS Parents Play & Learn -
The bilingual (English/Spanish) app makes it easy for parents to seize upon those daily "teachable moments" through theme-based interactive games and simple hands-on activities.


Story Patch -
Allows the student to create a story from a template (good for those who need some guidance) or from scratch. There is a bank of pictures to choose from to illustrate the story.

ABC Alphabet Phonics
This is an exciting, educational game that helps your child learn the alphabet by sight, sound, and touch.

Tap n Learn
This app has three different modes which allow children to listen and learn words, match up letter blocks to form the name of the item featured, and finally drag blocks to form words without any prompts.

Lazoo: Squiggles!!/id498599631?mt=8
Even a child who can't yet form a letter or shape can draw a squiggle.  Squiggles teaches kids that written marks can signify other things, an important concept in beginning to understand the alphabet and words.

Toontastic teaches key storytelling principles.  Creating a story is as easy as putting on a puppet show - children simply press the record button, move the characters onscreen, and tell their stories.  Once they're done, Toontastic will play back their animation and voice as a cartoon for them to share with friends and family.

Little Writer
Made for just-beginning writers, this well-designed tracing app includes upper and lower case letters, shapes, and numbers.

First  Words Sampler
More than just a game, First Words Sampler is a powerful educational tool for toddlers and preschoolers. It provides hours of fun while giving your child a head start on learning about letters and words.

Pete and the Secret of Flying -
This would be a great picture book printed on paper, and its interactive elements make it even stronger.  All are done with a light touch and serve to forward the action of the story.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fall 4 Weekly Programming

Welcome to Week 4 of our Fall programs!  We have lots of fun going on.  We also have a wonderful program coming up called Read, Create, Play on Saturday December 6th from 10:30-11:15 where we will be creating with Playdough for children age 3-Kindergarten.  This hands-on program will spark children's creativity, help develop fine motor skills, and lay the foundation for future readers by increasing children's early literacy skills.  Registration is open now for this program.  We hope you'll join us!

Baby Rhyme Time
This week our theme is yummy Food!  We read the books Red Pepper Yellow Squash by Rookie Toddler and Maisy’s First Colors by Lucy Cousins.  Continue the fun at home by pointing out the colors of your little one's favorite snacks!

Rhyme: Cracker Count
One cracker, two crackers,
Three crackers, four.
Five crackers, six crackers,
Seven crackers.  More!
Eight crackers, nine crackers,
Ten crackers. Then…
Eat up all the crackers and start again!

Rhyme: Food Bounce Song
If you were spaghetti, you’d wobble like this.
You’d wibble and wobble, and it would be bliss.
If you were hot water, and started to boil,
You’d bounce all around, and it would be joy.
But if you were popcorn, you’d jump in the air.
Pop pop pop pop pop pop pop!  Pop everywhere!

Wonderful Ones
In Wonderful Ones this week we are having fun reading the books We’ve All Got Bellybuttons! By David Martin and A Book of Babies by Il Sung Na.  At home, share your favorite childhood rhyme with your little one.  

Rhyme: Tickle you here (Twice)
Hug you here, hug you there,
Hug you, hug you everywhere.
Tickle you here, tickle you there,
Tickle you, tickle you everywhere.
Kiss you here, kiss you there,
Kiss you kiss you everywhere.
Bounce you here, bounce you there,
Bounce you, bounce you everywhere.

Rhyme: Five little ducks went out to play,
Over the hills and far away,
Mother duck said, “quack, quack, quack, quack,”
But only four little ducks came waddling back.
Four, three, two…
One little duck went out to play,
Over the hills and far away,
Mother duck said, “quack, quack, quack, quack,”
And five little ducks came waddling back.

Terrific Twos
This week's I Can is Play!  Who doesn't love to play?!  We read the books Play With Me by Michael Elsohn Ross and Playground Day! by Jennifer Merz.  At home, let your young one take the lead on play.  See what he or she wants to do and go along with it and have fun!

Action Rhyme:
One little, two little, three little children,
four little, five little, six little children,
seven little, eight little, nine little children,
ten little boys and girls.
They clapped and they clapped til the sun went down, (Sing 3 times)
those ten little boys and girls.
They stomped in puddles til dinner time, (Sing 3 times)
those ten little boys and girls.

Story Mix
We are having fun with Shoes this week in Story Mix!  We read the books Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and Hello Shoes! By Joan Blos.  Continue the fun at home by pointing out how shoes can be the same and different.  See what ideas your child comes up with for each!

Action Rhyme:
Before I jump into my bed, before I dim the light
I put my shoes together so they can talk at night
I’m sure they would be lonesome if I tossed them here or there
So I put them close together for they’re a friendly pair

Action Rhyme:
Old shoes, new shoes
Who is wearing     (colors)    shoes?
1, 2, 3, 4
Now I stomp them on the floor!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fall 3 Weekly Programming

Baby Rhyme Time
We are counting in Baby Rhyme Time this week!  We read the books Spot's First Numbers by Eric Hill and Counting Kisses by Karen Katz.  To add to our theme at home, do simple counting with your baby...count toys, fingers, toes, anything!

Rhyme: Tick-Tock (#2)
Tick-tock, tick-tock, (Swing side to side)
I’m a little cuckoo clock.
Tick-tock, tick-tock,
Now I’m striking one o’clock.  (Up in air)
Cuckoo!  Cuckoo!
(Two, Three)

Rhyme: One to Five
One little nose,
Two little feet,
Three little tickles on your tummy so sweet!
Four little kisses on five little toes,
Then one more kiss for your sweet little nose

Wonderful Ones
We are having lots of fun in Wonderful Ones!  We read the books Ten Tiny Tickles by Karen Katz and Peekaboo Morning by Isadora.  To extend at home, play or sing your little one's favorite action rhyme together!

Rhyme: Up, down, Turn Around
Up, down, turn around,
Touch the sky and touch the ground.
Wiggle your fingers, wiggle your toes, wiggle your shoulders,
Say “Hello!”

Rhyme:  Peek a Boo
Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo
I see you, I see you!
I see your little nose,
I see your little toes.
I see you! Peek-a-boo!

Terrific Twos
We're continuing our "I can..." series with "I Can Eat"!  This week we read the books I Like a Snack on a Iceberg by Ready Arno and How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jan Yolen.  To continue the fun at home, make your little one's favorite snack together!

Action Song:
Let's make some pizza, (For me and you)
We're making pizza, (And Mom helps too!).
Roll out some dough (go go go)
Spread out the sauce (of course!)
And put on the cheese (yes please)
Then place on some ham (yeah man!).
Mom turn on the oven (watch it cook)
I think the pizza's ready (let's take a look).
We've made some pizza (Try a slice)
We've made some pizza (mmm it's nice!).

Eating pizza - so much fun
Eating pizza - yum yum yum.

Action Song:
Apples on a tree, Apples on a tree
Pick them off, Eat them up
Apples on a tree
Carrots in the ground, Carrots in the ground
Pull them up, wash them off
Carrots in the ground
Food in your tummy, Food in your tummy
Lick your lips, Mmm Mmm Mmm
Yum yum yummy

1, 2, 3, Go!
We are having more Farm fun this week!  We read the books Old MacDonald Drives A Tractor by Don Carter and Down on The Farm by Merrilly Kutner.  At home, talk about what jobs the Farmer has on the farm.  Come up with some ideas and then pretend together and act them out in play.

Action Song: Hurry Hurry Drive The Tractor
Hurry hurry drive the tractor, Hurry hurry drive the tractor, Hurry hurry drive the tractor,Grrrr, Grrrr, Grrrr, Grrr, Hurry hurry plow the field, Hurry hurry plow the field, Hurry hurry plow the field,Grrrr, Grrr, Grrr, Grrr Hurry hurry cut the hay, Hurry hurry cut the hay, Hurry hurry cut the hay, Grrr, Grrr, Grrr, Grrr!

Flannelboard Rhyme: Five Little Farmers
Five little farmers get up early each day.
For there is work to be done and no time to play.
(Yawn and stretch.)
The first little farmer goes to milk the cow.
(Close both fists, make milking motions up and down.)
The second little farmer gets ready to plow.
(Grasp a steering wheel and pretend to drive.)
The third little farmer feeds the hens and chicks.
(Pretend to scatter corn.)
The fourth little farmer has gates to fix.
(Make hammering motions.)
The fifth little farmer sells vegetables in town.
(Cup hands around mouth as if calling out.)
Five busy little farmers work 'til the sun goes down.
(Yawn, stretch, sleep)

Story Mix
We're continuing the Fall fun in Story Mix!  We read the books Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri and Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone.  For more fun at home, retell the story with your preschooler and act out the Gingerbread Boy!  

Action Rhyme:
 This is the way we rake the leaves,    This is the way we jump in the leaves,
 Rake the leaves, rake the leaves.        Jump in the leaves, jump in the leaves
 This is the way we rake the leaves     This is the way we jump in the leaves 
When Fall is here!                                 When Fall is here!

5 little gingerbread boys baking in a pan
1 jumped up and said, “Catch me if you can!”
I chased it and chased it and chased it some more,
Then the gingerbread boy ran out the door.   4,3,2,1

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fall 2 - Weekly Programming

Baby Rhyme Time
This week we read the books Peek-a-Boo, You!  by Roberta Intrater and Read to Your Bunny by Rosemary Wells.  An early literacy activity to try at home with your baby is Follow the Leader Sounds which promotes Phonological Awareness  
• Make a sound that your child has made before (da-da-da) 
• Look at your child to see if he will repeat the sounds 
• Or if child begins to make a sound, repeat the sound and see if child will 
repeat sound back to you

Prop Rhyme:Two Little Babies
Two little babies,
Ready to play,
Jump up and down,
At the start of day.
Crawl to the left,
Crawl to the right,
Keep on playing till the night.

Rhyme: The Baby Hokey Pokey
You put your right hand in,
You put your right hand out,
You put your right hand in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself about,
That’s what it’s all about.
(Left hand)

Wonderful Ones
This week we read together Duck & Goose Finds a Pumpkin by Tad Hills and I Love Fall! by Alison Inches.  For extra Fall fun with your little one, rake a small leaf pile and let them explore!

Opening Action Rhyme: Where Is Your Nose?
(Tune: “Where is Thumbkin?”)
Where is your nose? Where is your nose?
There it is, there it is!
Touch it with your finger; touch it with your finger,
Just like me, just like me.
Where are your hands?-Clap your hands together

Where are your feet? -Stamp your feet loudly

Rhyme: Two Green Apples
Way up high in a tree,
Two green apples smiled at me.
So I shook that tree as hard as I could,
And down fell the apples,
Mmmmm, they were good!

Terrific Twos
This week we are "Taking a Walk" in Terrific Twos.  We read the books I Went Walking by Sue Williams and Walking Through the Jungle by Debbie Harter.  Naturally, extend this theme at home by taking a walk with your little one!  Describe what you see while on your walk!

Rhyme: (With Puppet)
One foot (raise one leg)
now the other (raise other leg)
we walk down the street (march in place)
walking fast (march fast)
walking slow (march slowly) 
we walk on two feet! (march in place)

1, 2, 3, Go!
This week we are talking about Horses!  We read the books Rockabye Farm by Diane Hamm and Horses! Trotting! Prancing! Racing! by Patricia Hubbell.  Have more fun at home by pretending to play horses.  Talk about what they eat and why we have them as pets and more.

Action Rhyme:Horses in the Pasture
Horses in the pasture (point to one side)
Horses in the hay (point to other side)
Horses like to run and jump (run and jump in place)
Each and every day (clap along with words)

Action Rhyme:Clippity-Clop
Clippity, clippity, clippity-clop (alternately slap hands on lap)
This is the way the horses trot
Clippity, clippity, clippity-clop
Faster, faster, faster (slap hands faster and faster)
Until you…(even faster)
Drop! (slap both hands on ground)

Story Mix
This week we are talking about Scarecrows!  We read the books Scarecrows by Calvin Harris and Scarecrow's Hat by Ken Brown.  If you happen to visit the pumpkin farm with your child, count how many scarecrows you see while you are there!

Scarecrow    (tune: "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around")
Scarecrow, Scarecrow, turn around.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, jump up and down
Scarecrow, scarecrow, arms up high
Scarecrow, Scarecrow, wink one eye
Scarecrow, scarecrow, bend your knee
Scarecrow, scarecrow, flap in the breeze
Scarecrow, scarecrow, climb into bed
Scarecrow, scarecrow, rest your head

Focus rhyme:
I’m a dingle-dangle scarecrow     
With a flippy floppy hat
I can shake my hands like this
I can shake my feet like that

When all the cows were sleeping and the sun had gone to bed
Up jumped the scarecrow and this is what he said:
I’m a dingle-dangle scarecrow…

When all the hens were roosting and the moon went behind a cloud,
Up jumped the scarecrow and shouted very loud:
I’m a dingle-dangle scarecrow…