Archive for school age kids

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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early literacy at home–puppets

Adding  puppet play to the reading of your child’s favorite books will increase their enjoyment of the books and help your child make connections to the stories.   You don’t even have to purchase the puppets–puppet making can be a fun and easy activity to do with your child at home.

You can make puppets out of small paper lunch bags.  Use whatever materials you have on hand to decorate the paper bags.  You can attach stickers and glue on feathers, paper scraps, fabric, buttons, googly eyes, sequins, gift wrap–whatever your imagination and craft drawers yield.  Just be sure to keep safety in mind as you make your choices.   Remember too that the bottom flap of the bag will the head and mouth of the paper bag puppet so decorate accordingly.  Once your puppets are decorated, show your child how to stick the bag on their hand and how to make the puppet talk (by moving the bottom flap with your hand inside the bag).

Craft sticks (also known as popsicle sticks or tongue depressors) can also be used, along with paper plate or construction paper shapes.  Just decorate the shape with crayons or markers, or design and color a puppet on the paper plate.  You can cut the plate in half to make it easier for your child to handle.    You can even glue on yarn for hair, and wiggly eyes.  Then use strong tape to attach the shape to the craft stick.  Voila, a puppet!

Have fun acting out your favorite books with puppets!

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web review

I know I’ve told you about Tumblebooks before, but I think it’s time for a reminder!   Tumblebooks is an interactive library of animated, talking books for readers from preschoolers to teens.  Users can choose to read along as they listen to a story, or read a story on their own. TumbleBooks are based on existing, mostly classic, children’s books, to which are added animation, sound, music and narration to produce an electronic book, or e-book. TumbleBooks help kids enjoy reading in a format they’ll love!

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book some fun

Book some fun with a fish named Swimmy!

First, read the classic picture book Swimmy by Leo Lionni (Lane Library info here) and find out just how fun swimming and cooperating can be.   If you have fish at home, gather everyone around and watch them swim.  Very relaxing!

After you have read the book with your child, get ready for some fun Swimmy activities.   First talk with your child about cooperation and how important it is to work together.  Then help them cut several red fish and one black fish out of construction paper (or use white paper and then color the fish with crayons).  Turn to the page in the book where the fish work together to form one large fish shape.  Guide your child in using the small cutout fish to make one giant fish, just like in the book.  Ask your child to count them as you place the fish in formation.  Now gather up some paint and bubble wrap and get ready to make your own Swimmy.  Draw (or help your child draw) a large fish shape onto heavy paper.  Pour various colors of paint (or use foam paint) onto paper plates.   With your child, dip large pieces of bubble wrap into the paint, then gently press them onto the fish shape.  Be careful not to overload the bubble wrap with paint–you don’t need much!  The bubble wrap’s shape will give the effect of scales on the fish.  Be sure to let the fish dry thoroughly.  Then do fishy theater!  Tape a craft stick or small ruler to your child’s fish to make it into a puppet and watch it swim away!  If you need a fishy snack during the puppet show, try yummy Goldfish crackers.

Have fun “getting Swimmy with it”!

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Book some fun–alphabet letters

Let’s book some fun with the letters of the alphabet.

First, read the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr (Lane Library info here), and find out just how much fun the alphabet can be.   Don’t forget to skit skat skoodle doot!  And check out the audio version of the story (Lane Library info here)–Ray Charles reads the story, the authors discuss the writing of the book, and there’s a fun song by author John Archambault.

After you have read the book, get ready to make a boom boom letter bottle.  Start with a clean, empty water or other small bottle.  Help your child put alphabet pasta or cereal, letter beads, glitter, beans, uncooked rice, and other similar items inside the
bottle.  Use Elmer’s glue or a hot glue gun to securely attach the lid back on to the bottle.  Have your child use markers and stickers to decorate the outside of the bottle.  Permanent markers like Sharpie’s work the best.  For cheap alphabet stickers, check the discount section of a hobby or teacher supply store, or you can even make your own.  Purchase some blank file folder coding labels at an office supply store, and write letters on them.  You could even let your child practice writing his or her own letters on the stickers.  Once you have made your own boom boom bottles, reread Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  Each time that you say the refrain chicka chicka boom boom, your child should shake their boom boom bottle.  Have fun making noise and reading about the alphabet!

For lots more alphabet activities, click here.

–Miss Tracey

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web review

Starfall is a highly rated website designed by educators to help children learn to read.  The materials on the site are modelled on the five focus areas recommended by the National Institue of Child Health and Human Develpment: phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

The first section, “ABC’s” (let’s get ready to read), features each letter of the alphabet on colorful blocks.  When a viewer clicks on a letter, they see the ‘big’ and ‘small’ versions of the letter, hear the pronunciation of that letter, and see objects that begin with that letter.  For example, when a child clicks on the letter ‘C’, they see both versions of a written C and then see a picture of an actual cat.  This is followed by sections called “Learn to Read”, “It’s Fun to Read” and “I’m Reading”.  You can also reinforce your child’s online experience by printing the free practice pages that accompany each section.

Thanks to a clear and simple organizational structure, kids will even be able to manipulate the site on their own.  Be sure to check out Starfall.

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book review

Collecting Things by Kate Needham

Cover Image

Many kids are collectors and don’t even realize it, from the shells from that trip to the beach littering their dresser to the cool rocks from the yard on their desks.  This book not only gives kids ideas on what to collect, but what to do with the collection once they have one.  For example, the section on shells describes how and when to look for shells, and how to sort them.  This is followed by a section on how to varnish a shell, and information on using shells to decorate boxes, picture frames, and more.  Other kinds of collections featured in the book are stamps, marbles, souvenirs, and coins, among others.  If you have a young collector in your house, check this book out!

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