March 10, 2014

Preschool STEAM: Windy Days @ the Library

The weather is finally starting to look up a little, but with that comes the windy days of March! Last week our 4 and 5 year olds enjoyed stories and activities about wind. Here are 2 of the books we enjoyed:

Huff & puff Huff & puff  by Claudia Rueda
Children play the part of the Big, Bad Wolf in this fun book. They enjoy the surprise ending!

The wind blew. The wind blew by Pat Hutchins
The wind creates a mess as it blows away all sorts of items!

Instead of our normal movie and craft, the children were able to choose from several STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities.

This was probably the most popular station. We had 2 buckets set up, one with icy water and one with hot tap water. The children placed a small plastic pop bottle with a balloon on top into the cold water and then into the hot water to see what would happen. They were amazed when the balloon would stand up in the hot water and collapse in the cold. I think they would have stayed at this one the whole time if we hadn't encouraged them to try the other activities.

A couple of thoughts if you want to do this at home: The more extreme the hot and cold are, the better it seems to work.

If you blow up the balloon, or really stretch it out, before you put it on the bottle, it seems to work better.
 A simple one: We had a bowl full of water and some foam cut out shapes for the children to float like little boats. Then we had them blow with straws to create wind on their "lake." It didn't take long before they were blowing into the water as hard as they could. But then, that's just more experimenting with wind, right?

We did have a garbage can right next to this one so that they could throw away the straws as soon as they were finished.

We made pinwheels for our art activity. I had a fan set up on one of the tables that the children could use to test out the pinwheels. We also had streamer sticks, feathers and scarves that they could use. Again we saw amazement when the children watched the pinwheels spin wildly.

It took a little experimenting to find the spots that would blow best and how far to stand from the fan. There were some spots that didn't blow at all, where some would go crazy. And yes, I did tell the children not to touch the fan. I also had it set back far enough on the table that they couldn't touch it easily.

January 6, 2014

STEAM Away the Cold!

This week @ the library we are STEAMing (activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) about snow!

  •  Look at snow through a magnifying glass. What do you see? 
  • Which melts snow more quickly, salt, flour, or water? What happens when you put the melted snow back outside? 
  • Paint snow with eyedroppers of water color. What happens as the snow melts?
  •  Learn about snowflakes, then make one of your own. 
  • Blow bubbles outside. What happens? So much to learn, so much to see! 
You can do these things at home too! Here's a great one for days like today & tomorrow:
  • Go outside with your budding scientist (very briefly) and blow bubbles. No bottle of bubbles? Make some with water and dish soap. If you have a choice, Joy or Dawn are best. But any type will work. Then you need something to blow with. Pipe cleaners or thin wire or anything else that can be rounded into one shape will work. So will paper tubes! Dip the bubble blower into the solution, blow, and watch what happens. 
  • If you don't mind, let your young scientist blow some bubbles inside. What's the difference between the bubbles you blow outside and those you blow inside? Why? 
  • Try blowing a bubble onto a plate and set the plate outside. What happens to the bubble?

Want to learn about all this? Check out the Canada Science Technology Museum for a great explanation, picture, and a bubble solution recipe! (That's about 1/2 cup dish soap, 1/2 cup corn syrup, and 3 cups water. You don't have to have corn syrup--it may make the bubbles last longer--but so will the cold! And I didn't use corn syrup or hot water, but my results were the same.)
Check out the library's Facebook page for another fun cold weather activity.

December 30, 2013

Goodbye, 2013!

Wait! Don't say goodbye quite yet! We still have a few programs coming before the New Year!

Tonight (Monday, Jan. 30) we have our family storytime at 6:30pm - Ring in the new year with music and fun! Children will make their own instrument, too!

Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 10:30am and 1:00pm, children of all ages are invited to our New Year's Bash with stories, music and more!


October 8, 2013

Getting Ready to Read by Playing

Playing and pretending are great ways to get ready to read! Puppets and stuffed animals are a simple way to act out and pretend to be part of a story.

After reading a story, encourage your child to use toys or puppets to act out the story. Puppets can be anywhere from the really fancy store-bought puppets to something as simple as a paper bag with a face drawn on it. And they don't even have to match the story.

Ask your child to tell you about what he's playing. When he tells you the story, he's developing important Narrative skills. You can also add to the story and expand on their answers. For example, "Why did the frog jump in the water when he met the crocodile?" You may even be able to add some new words to his vocabulary.

Not sure what book to read? Come on in to the library! I'm sure we can help you find something both you and your child will love!

October 7, 2013

Happy October!

As always, we have a busy month planned at the library! Besides our regular programs, we also have our yearly Fall Festival on October 19th from 1-3pm. We also have a one hour all ages Play Party on October 29 at 10:30am and 1:00pm. So mark your calendars for fun!

September 24, 2013

National Library Card Month!

The library has been a busy place this month! This month we've started focusing more on STEAM, which is Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Every Friday we've had activities relating to the Giant Squid and the ocean. And we did some experimenting with our Preschoolers with sinking and floating.

Here's a little peek at what's been happening:

hollykoster's September 2013 album on Photobucket

Have you visited the library this month? Has your child showed us his or her library card? Remember... children can pick a prize and be entered into a drawing for a Target gift card through the end of September - just by showing that they're cool kids with a library card!

August 27, 2013

Toddler Time

The toddlers enjoyed these stories last week:

Trashy town Trashy town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha

Don't let the pigeon drive the bus Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Walking through the jungle Walking through the jungle by Debbie Harter

Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz

Children love to say "No!" without the risk of getting in trouble, so the Pigeon book is always popular. For that same reason, they also enjoyed "No!" by They Might Be Giants.

Using popular books, such as Mo Willems, makes children want to read, which is Print Motivation, which is so important when it's time for children to learn to read. Trashy Town introduces new vocabulary, as well as lending itself for children to act out the "Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the Trashy Town!" refrain.

At craft time, the children created a garbage truck of their own using simple shapes. Recognizing the shapes helps to build letter knowledge. And the coloring and gluing develops fine motor skills, which helps in writing as the children get older.