Archive for fun with…

fun with…music for the whole family

Kids love music.   And often they love to sing, move and dance to the music they hear (or even sometimes make themselves!)

Research has proven that listening to and participating with music is beneficial to kids in many ways, especially in the development of language and literacy skills.   For example, how did most people likely learn their ABC’s?   Almost certainly, we learned them by singing that oh so familiar song.  Combining music with information stimulates the brain and makes that information easier to remember.

A child’s instinctive ability to listen and decode a song extends to reading.  Just as they have sung along with a familiar song, so they will read along in a familiar book.  The sense of rhythm obtained from listening to music will also help young readers to identify patterns, like rhyming words, which will help them learn to read.  Because songs automatically break down words into smaller sounds through tones, singing particularly helps to develop the early literacy skill phonological awareness.

While the traditional songs of Raffi and Pete Seeger are almost always a popular choice with kids, there are many wonderful cd’s at Lane that will entertain the whole family.  Be sure to check them out!

You Are My Little Bird — Elizabeth Mitchell  Lane Library info

Ralph’s Word: Happy Lemons — Ralph Covert  Lane Library info

Bloom — Zak Morgan  Lane Library info

Jim Gill Makes It Noisy in Boise, Idaho — Jim Gill  Lane Library info

No! — They Might Be Giants  Lane Library info

Peter, Paul and Mommy — Peter, Paul and Mary  Lane Library info

Family Dance — Dan Zanes  Lane Library info

Snacktime! — Barenaked Ladies  Lane Library info

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fun with an I Spy bottle

Get ready for a summer full of mystery by making an I Spy bottle!  Save a water bottle, and clean and dry out the inside.  Find several small objects that will fit inside the bottle.  You could use a brightly colored paper clip, different kinds of buttons, a penny, a rubber band, a small earring, a barrette, a balloon (not blown up), a screw–any (preferably brightly) colored item that will fit into the bottle.  Make a list of your items before you put them into the bottle.  Slip the items into the bottle, and then add rice or or even brightly colored rice cereal.   Using a funnel can make that step a little easier.  Be sure not to fill the bottle up all the way–you need space for your items and the rice to move around inside the bottle.  Glue the lid of the bottle on using a hot glue gun or superglue.  You can also wrap some duct tape around the lid for extra security.  Now find your list of the items in your bottle, type up the list onto a label and print them out.  You could even substitute pictures for words if you have non-readers.  Tape this list onto the bottle with clear tape.  Now, it’s time to play I Spy.  Shake the bottle and see what your child can find from the list.  Do you spy a ….??

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fun with crafts

This coming weekend is a great time to spend some time crafting with your kids.  Or you may need some activities that keep the kids busy having fun on their own for a while.  Here are some ideas that fit both of those scenarios.

Make stained glass eggs!  That’s right, stained glass eggs.  All you need is a blown-out egg, white glue, a paintbrush, and small squares of brightly colored tissue paper.  Directions for blowing out a raw egg can be found here, and adult assistance will be needed.  Once the egg is ready, brush on a coat of glue.   Then stick on a layer of tissue paper squares.  Follow this with a coat of glue, and another layer of tissue paper.   Finish up with another layer of glue.  If you feel like the glue is too thick, you can mix it with a little water.  Because the egg was blown out, your creations will last indefinitely, or at least until they break.  Be sure to send me pictures of your stained glass eggs!

Not into eggs?  I know you’re into stories!  So, make your own storytelling theater.  Find a large, clean pizza or shoe box (or large piece of cardboard would work as well).  Cut a large piece of felt to fit the inside of the lid (or one side of the piece of cardboard), and glue it into place.   Use a color that will make a good background for your stories.  Black, light blue, or light green can be great colors for this.  Then cut out some story pieces.  You can use felt, magazine pictures, or even real pictures.  Cut them into shapes, like people, trees, houses, or anything that you need for the stories that you want to tell.  Glue another piece of felt, or better yet a piece of velcro or sandpaper, to the back of the figures to make them stick to the felt storyboard.  To make your figures stronger, you could glue them to cardboard before you cut them out.  When your figures and stage are ready, let the storytelling begin!  When you’re finished, store the figures inside the box.

Have a great weekend!  Don’t forget to get crafty!

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fun with art

March 30th is the birthday of the ear-ily talented (HA!) artist Vincent Van Gogh.  Celebrate his birthday by looking at his famous sunflower paintings, and then make your own sunflower craft.  All you need to make your own sunflower is some yellow and orange paint, some paint brushes, and a few paper plates.  Encourage your child to mix the two colors together, as well as use them separately to make a  sunflower on the paper plate canvas.   Beautiful!  You could even plant a garden of your own sunflowers! (from seeds of

Be sure to send me a picture of your sunflowers (both painted and garden-style), too!

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