Friday, November 27, 2009

The Benefits of Music

Have you ever sat in on a storytime or library visit and wondered what was going on? During a storytime, not only is the performer reading stories, but usually music and movement are involved. If you have ever been to one of our summertime 'Wild Times' programs, you will have seen how much music influences the children who attend. Music is helpful for little children especially because it helps teach syllables and aides in speech development.

There is a great article, Tuning Into the Benefits of Music Education, that explains how experiencing music with your children is not only beneficial in their musical aptitude, but also can help get children ready for reading and benefit other areas of their education.

To help with this, the 24-hour TV network, Sprout, has introduced a three-hour morning music fun program that includes the Wiggles. Now, before you roll your eyes and scream "If I have to listen to one more song about hot potatoes or fruit salad....!", think about how much those songs will help your child as they grow and go into school. A little pain on your part, a lot of gain for your children.

Remember to have fun with your kids - dance around the room... enjoy yourself!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Parenting Books

Zach and His Dog
Story of bonding, love and loss for children to share together.
J Parent Collection 155.937 MEA

1001 T.I.P.S.

A delightful collection of ideas, insights and inspiration for mothers, from mothers:timely insights and parenting strategies.
J Parent Collection 296.74 ONE

The Smart Step-Family
Seven steps to a healthy family.
J Parent Collection 306.874 DEA

Eco-Friendly Families
Guide your family to greener living with activities that engage and inspire...from toddlers to teens.
J Parent Collection 333.72 COR

My Mom's Having a Baby!
Information answers to all sorts of questions a big sister or brother-to-be might have.
J Parent Collection 612.6 BUT

Food Fights
Winning the nutritional challenge of parenthood armed with insight, humor and a bottle of ketchup.
J Parent Collection 613.2083 JAN

How to Keep Your Child Safe
A parent's guide to protecting their children.
J Parent Collection 613.6 LEE

Smart But Scattered
The revolutionary "Executive Skills" approach to helping kids reach their potential.
J Parent Collection 649.1 DAW

The Science of Parenting
Practical guidance on sleep, crying, play and building emotional well-being for life.
J Parent Collection 649.1 SUN

Childhood Unbound
Saving our kids' best selves--confident parenting in a world of change.
J Parent Collection 649.1 TAF

Mommy Calls
Answers to parents' top 101 questions about babies and toddlers.
J Parent Collection 649.122 REM

Toilet Training for Individuals with Autism or Other Developmental Issues
A comprehensive guide for parents and teachers.
J Parent Collection 649.620874 WHE

Stop the Screaming
How to turn angry conflict with your child into postive communication.
J Parent Collection 649.64 PIC

Friday, November 20, 2009

Passport to Thanksgiving

In the fall of 1621, 90 Wampanoag men and 52 English people gathered together to eat; that shared harvest meal evolved into Thanksgiving.

This holiday time is a great opportunity to visit the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. You can use your Des Plaines Library card to check out a Museum Adventure Pass for free admission. An easy 25 minute drive will get you to this cozy museum in Evanston.

The museum has five permanent galleries highlighting Native Americans from different regions of North America. There are lots of games to play, as well as touching tables for kinesthetic learning. During a recent visit I ground corn, wove a rug, and sat in a wigwam. I also visited the gift shop and the library.

During my visit I was particularly interested in learning about the Algonquin, Chippewa, and Iroquois. I wanted to learn about these groups because our local middle schools have the same names. Did you know that one of these groups is also called Ojibwe or Anishinabe? Check out The Ojibwe to find out the which one it is.

For an entertaining book to read with your child, you might try Iktomi and the Coyote. This trickster tale with audience participation is fun to share.

Have a happy Keepunumuk (time of harvest in the Wampanoag language)!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thank You!

A big heartfelt thanks to all of you who participated in our Veteran's Day card writing activity. With your help, we collected over 130 letters for Veterans and Soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Look at how the letters stretch from the preschool boat to the poetry corner!

If you didn't make it, but still want to help, you can collect items to be sent to our soldiers overseas. They are collected in the lobby of the library all year, and include: lip balm, pocket-size Kleenex tissues, silly string, fruit roll ups, and much more. For an entire "Soldier's Wish List", stop by the collection bin on the first floor of the library and pick up a flyer.

Do you know someone who is currently serving overseas and would like a care package? You can fill out the name and address of a relative or friend in the armed services and submit it to the Des Plaines VFW through the collection box. Then, when the packages are put together and sent, one will be send in your family member or friend. Donations are also accepted at the VFW Post to pay for shipping the items to the soldiers. You can e-mail vnvetsteve@comcast.net for more information or call 847-296-9878.

Thanks again to all who participated! As someone who has had a loved one overseas during the holiday season, I know how much they appreciate all the love and support we can send. Remember to give thanks for their service every Veteran's Day and again next week on Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holidays Around the World

According to the Webster's International Dictionary, 'a holiday is a day on which one is exempt from one's usual labor or vocational activity.' In fact, the word Holiday is derived from 'holy - day', a day to offer prayer or celebrate a religious event. In ancient times, holy days were established to thank the gods for such events as the start of a new year, the coming of spring, and the ripening of the harvest.

Each holiday is observed in its own special way. It may call for joyous feasting, solemn fasting, or some other means of expression. Whatever the celebration, holidays are anticipated eagerly, remembered fondly, and celebrated differently by country or region. A program . There are 193 holidays celebrated throughout the world! Some of the major holidays celebrated are listed below.

Thanksgiving is a day set aside each year for giving thanks to God for blessing received. Families and friends gather together in feasting and prayer. The fourth Thursday of November in each year observed as Thanksgiving in U.S. and Canada. For more information, click here.

Christmas is a Christian holiday observed on December 25th for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. On this day, many people go to church where they participate in religious services.
For more information, click here.

Hanukkah is the Jewish Feast Lights of Feast Dedication. The Hebrew word Hanukkah means dedication. The Hanukkah holiday begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev (approximately December) and last eight days. See Hanukkah Activities for children for more information.

Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday that begins on December 26 and lasts for seven days. The word Kwanzaa means first fruits in Kiswahill, an East African Language. See Kwanzaa Fun for Kids for more information.

New Years Day is a day to greet the new year with hope and happiness. For more information click here.

Kidworks Touring Theatre Co. will perform the holiday traditions program, Holidays Around the World, on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. at the Des Plaines Public Library. Please join us for a great program!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bringing the World to Kids

National Geography Awareness Week is November 15 through 21.

The desire to learn about where we are in the world begins as early as age 2. Children learning about places and those places shaping their environment is an ongoing process.

The library is the place to come to further increase geography knowledge. We have many resources available to help you in your efforts to add to your child's awareness of the world. Books, atlases, dvd's, cd-rom's in our collection to check out. Databases that are available to library cardholders to explore.

Stop by the 2nd floor Information Desk and ask one of the YS desk staff to assist you in locating resources.

While you are online at home, try looking at the My Wonderful World or the Geography Games for Kids webpages.

Learning about Geography and the world begins at home! Great Explorations await!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Caudill Club Blog

You may have noticed a new blog listed on the library's home page called Caudill Club - For readers in 4th through 8th grade. This is an online book club for children who are reading books nominated for the 2010 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award. This award is given annually to the book receiving the most votes from the children in Illinois who have read at least three of the nominated titles.

Some of our local schools promote this award in their buildings; however, not all do so. That's why in 2003 we started a Caudill Club for students who don't have one at their school. It's evolved over that time from a monthly book discussion group to what is now an online community of readers. We've designed it to operate like a social networking site, where children can share their opinions about the books with one another -- but one that is completely safe for them.

Here at the library, we ask that children fill out a Feedback Form for each book they read. Everyone who submits at least three feedback forms will be eligible to vote for their favorite title in February. As an added incentive, each reader who reads at least ten of the books (and submits feedback) will receive a copy of the winning book to keep. The comments children make on these forms are then published so that everyone can read a variety of opinions about each book. Take a look at some of the comments yourself. You'll get a kick out of them, I promise!

Let me emphasize again that this is completely save for your child! All comments and feedback are submitted directly to me. I then publish them, making sure that the only way a child is identified is by their first name and last initial. Any other information collected is for our record-keeping purposes only.

Take a look at the blog and let us know what you think. Also, if your child has posted to it, let us know how they like it...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yay! Storytime is Here

Join us for Toddler storytimes on Thursdays, November 12, and 19th at 10:30 am and for Preschool storytimes Tuesdays, November 10, 17, and 24th at 10:30 am.

In case you want to put on a storytime at home, here are some of the fun things we did at this week's storytime:

We read the book, The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri which emphasized the pre-reading skill of Narrative Skills. Narrative Skills is the ability to describe things and events, and to tell stories. This skill will help your child understand that stories have a beginning, middle and an end. Later on, this skill will also help your child as he/she learns to write.

Another book to share is I Went Walking by Sue Williams. Invite your child to pat his/her knees whenever you read the line, "I went walking." This story introduces many names of animals, builing your child's vocabulary. One way to increase your child's exposure to language is to "narrate" your day by simply saying out loud what you are doing while doing it. Be patient and encouraging by leaving time for your child to "answer" so that they are learning narrative skills aswell.

After reading a story, pick yourselves up and move to the following rhymes:

Tick-tock, tick-tock, (stand straight up and move from side to side)
I’m a little cuckoo clock.
Tick-tock, tick-tock,
Now I’m striking one o’clock. (hold up 1 finger )
Cuckoo! (take a bow and say, "Cuckoo!")
Repeat the rhyme for two o'clock (say cuckoo twice) and three o'clock.

Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
Head and shoulders, knees and toes.
Knees and toes, knees and toes.
Head and shoulders, knees and toes,
Eyes, ears, mouth and nose.

Check out the Wiggleworms Love You CD by Old Town School of Folk Music and listen to the song Mary Had a Little Lamb. Use multicolored scarfs for movement actions.

See you in storytime!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Are We There Yet?

Now that November is here, that means the holiday season will be here before we know it. And for a lot of us that means traveling to visit family.

Car rides full of "He's on my side!", She hit me!", and "Moooooooommmmmmm!" can be more exhausted than the act of traveling itself. Need something to distract and entertain the kids, and save your sanity?

Try audiobooks! I love audiobooks. They're perfect for making a long drive seem shorter. Trust me- just like a kid, I start to get antsy after being in the car for too long.

Get the kids involved in the story. Make guesses about what you think might happen. Ask them questions about who their favorite character is and why. What did they like best? Do they think the ending should be different?

Get several different titles so if the family isn't getting into one story, you can switch to another. Some titles that would be great for families of all ages are:

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has the cures for such common children's diseases as Won't-Put-Away-Toys-itis, Answerbackism, and Fighter-Quarrelitis.

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Adventures begin when Elmer Elevator runs off with an alley cat to an island to rescue a flying dragon.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
A story about Despereaux who is a tiny mouse with enourmous ears, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who desires to be a princess, and a rat determined to bring them all to ruin.

The BFG by Roald Dahl
BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant. It's up to him and Sophie ( a little girl) to save the world from giants who love to eat children.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The first book in a series, Percy Jackson discovers he's the son of Poseidon, God of the Sea and becomes involved in a quest to prevent a war between the gods.

Savvy by Ingrid Law
In Mibs Beaumont's family, children receive their "savvy"--a magical power unique to each member. When her dad is in an accident she goes to rescue him believing her soon to emerge savvy will save him.

Do you have any favorites that your children enjoy listening to in the car? Please post them in the comments section. Meanwhile when you're traveling to Grandmother's house give one of these, or one of our other audiobooks a try. I bet you'll end up being entertained too!