Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tour de Villas

Have you ever tried to take a shortcut from Thacker Street to Algonquin Road? When I first moved to Des Plaines, I recall trying to save some time by cutting through on neighborhood streets. Instead of saving time, I spent what seemed like hours trapped in the Villas.

While this neighborhood makes a horrible shortcut, it makes a great race track for the first Tour of "De Villas" bicycle race. The races will begin at 8:30 am on July 3. The course will follow a 1-mile oblong on Grant Drive.

Neighborhood races begin at 11:15. Kids under 10 can race for free in the neighborhood races beginning at 11:15. Be sure to bring a non-perishable food item for the Food Pantry.

To get ready for the big race, check out these books about bikes and bike riding.

Kids' Easy Bike Care: Tune-ups, Tools & Quick Fixes

Tour de France

BMX Greats

Bicycle Race

The Bicycle

Friday, June 25, 2010

Green Crafts at Home, Part 2

We're Back!!!

Here are a few more great green crafts to do at home!

Camera Sleeve
Does your child have a camera or iPod device that needs to be kept safe? Want to make your child make you a colorful camera case? Use an old sock (even a holey one) to create a sleeve for it. You don't even need to know how to sew! For more information on this green craft, look here.

Beanbag Buddy
Create this colorful friend with your kid over the summer. Decorate it however you want and make it into a person, an animal, or a clown... whatever you like! All you need is an old sock (a clean one too), and dried beans. When your child is done playing with their new friend, use the beans to make a stew! For more information on this green craft, look here.

Treasure Box
Need a place to store your family's summer treasures? Help them turn an old shoe box into a treasure box. Decorate however you like and create one each summer as a remembrance box! For more information on this green craft, look here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Loved The Lightning Thief?

While reading Entertainment Weekly's book blog, I discovered something wonderful! Rick Riordan, the author of the Percy Jackson series, is coming out with a new series called The Heroes of Olympus! The first book is called The Lost Hero. While it doesn't come out until October you can read the first two chapters online! Click here to visit the website to view the cover and enter the secret password to read the chapters. The password is: newhero. Shhh, don't tell!

Click here to visit the Entertainment Weekly post where they break this exciting news.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Green Thumbs Kids Everywhere!

We had an amazing time learning about gardening and planting our own garden during the Green Thumb Kids Summer Reading Club program earlier this week. A big thanks to the Des Plaines Garden Club for their generous expertise and assistance.

Here's how to make your own magical snapdragon garden at home!

You'll need:
1 empty two liter bottle
scissorsgravel or rockspotting mix or dirt
A snapdragon plant and snapdragon seeds
a plastic spoon
foam sheet to make a garden marker
tissue paper squares
foam brush
glue mixture: 3 parts glue to 1 part water
All kinds of decorations such as glitter, colored sand, marbles, tiny rocks

Take the plastic bottle and cut off a little more than half a bottle. Keep the bottom portion as your "pot". Put 5-6 spoonfuls of gravel in the pot and fill up 1/2 way with potting mix using the plastic spoon. Take the snapdragon plant and rustle the roots, then plant it. Fill with more dirt until 1/2" from the pot rim. Take the tiny snapdragon seeds and place on top of the soil. Water your garden.
Now it's time to decorate. Using the foam brush, apply thin layer of glue mixture to the sides of the pot and press tissue paper squares onto it , creating any design you like. Then decorate the top of your garden with colored sand, colored fish gravel, mini rocks, glitter, tiny people dolls or toy bugs, a sprinkle of glitter, etc. Don't forget to make a garden marker: trace a dragon, ladybug, bee, or any shape onto the foam sheet and it cut out. Tape the shape onto the handle of the plastic spoon and insert the spoon into the dirt! Enjoy your garden by watering it once a week inside or twice a week outside and placing the pot near a window with full sun or outside in a sunny area.

See the gardens of the Green Thumb Kids displayed at the library in Youth Services.

If you like to read more about gardening with children, stop in to browse through the J 635 Dewey nonfiction section! The Gardening Book by Jane Bull is full of unique gardening ideas such as making grass people and a 5 senses garden.

There are many beautifully written and illustrated picture books that can foster a love of gardening and nature. One such book is Lois Ehlert's, Planting a Rainbow to entice even the hesitant child to dig in and plant. The ever powerful lesson of patience and perseverance is displayed in The Carrot Seed by Ruth Kraus where despite his doubtful family, a young boy is rewarded for taking care of his plant faithfully. My Garden by Kevin Henkes is new to our collection and let's us imagine the dream garden of a little girl where chocolate rabbits, jellybean bushes, and tomatoes the size of beach balls grow to her delight! What would your dream garden be?
Are you ready to help your child be a Green Thumb Kid? Let us help you along the way! Visit us today!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Face in Space

Did you ever feel like you wanted to get away from it all? I mean far, far, far, far away from it all? I have that feeling sometimes, so I scheduled myself for a trip to the International Space Station aboard NASA's space shuttle Discovery. I'm scheduled to leave on September 16, 2010 on Mission STS-133, the next to the last shuttle flight. The astronauts and I will be delivering critical spare components to the Station. We plan to be away for 8 glorious days.

Of course, I'm not actually traveling to outer space, but my picture is. After the flight (and my photo) return, I'll be able to print out my commemorative flight certificate signed by the Mission Commander.

If you want to send your children along, I'll do my best to keep and eye on them during the trip. You can reserve a spot on the shuttle for their photo at NASA's Face in Space website.

Here are some great books to prepare for the trip.

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 13

To Space and Back

Living in Space

Friday, June 11, 2010

Percy Jackson Comes to Chicago!

I absolutely LOVE the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. Since the books are rarely on the shelf I think a lot of our library patrons feel that way too! The Percy Jackson series is appealing to both boys and girls. There's plenty of action, information about Greek mythology, humor, a strong female sidekick, and a boy main character who has dyslexia and ADHD-but that doesn't hinder him! His dyslexia is because his brain is wired to read ancient Greek and his ADHD is to help his reflexes in battle.

The movie, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, came out last February. The National Hellenic Museum in Chicago is hosting a special exhibit called Percy Jackson and the Olympians: A Look Inside the Lightning Thief. Kids (and parents!) will get to test their knowledge about the gods and goddesses and get to see actual props from the movie. This special exhibit goes until September 4. Click here to learn more. Plus, the cost to go to the museum is only $5 for adults and children under 12 are free! But wait, did you know that the National Hellenic Museum is one of the museums that participate in the Museum Pass Program? That's right! Each pass will admit 4 people. So if you're looking for something fun (and educational) to do this summer, check out the National Hellenic Museum!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Green Crafts at Home, Part 1

While planning out our Trash to Treasure activities for the summer, we came across some GREAT green crafts that were too involved to do here at the library. In the spirit of everything 'green', we think these would be great activities to do at home with your kids. We will have three entries to this segment spread out through the summer, each with several green craft ideas for your family. Have fun, and remember, for more green craft ideas, feel free to come into the library and check out one of our great craft books (you will find them under the dewey number 745.5)!

Decorate a Compost Bin
Teach your kids about recycling and composting this summer with a compost bin. All you will need is a plastic storage bin with a lid. Let their imaginations run wild with decorating the outside of the bin, drill some holes in the bottom, and then discuss what items you will be able to put into the bin to keep them out of the landfill! For more information on this green craft, look here.

Create Animal Jars
Don't know how to keep your kids junk organized? Help them make Animal Jars out of old pasta sauce, olive, and jelly jars. Gather old or leftover fabric and googly eyes to create as many animals as you need. Come into the library to get inspiration in our animal book section. For more information on this green craft, look here.

Egg Carton Ladybugs
Looking for something to do after brunch on Sunday afternoon? Use that egg carton, pom poms and leftover house paints to create fun ladybugs. Let the kids decorate them with as many dots as they want, or have them decorate them with the same number of dots as their age. For more information on this green craft, look here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Who Was Stanley Anyway?

Who was this Stanley we've been hearing so much about? You know, the one that has caused the library and the local streets to be nearly deserted for three hour periods of time (or is that three periods at a time?). He's the one who donated the Dominion Challenge Trophy way back in 1892. That trophy is now known as the Stanley Cup.

I was curious, so I did a little research about Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley. He was Canada's sixth governor-general, and he loved hockey. Several of his children, including his daughter Isobel, played hockey. The Stanley Cup has been added to so that there is room each year to inscribe the name of the NHL champion team, including the names of the players and coaches. Currently, there are more than 2,000 names on the cup. Lots of local fans hope the Chicago Blackhawks will be the next to have their names added.

We have lots of great books about hockey for you to enjoy. Z Is For Zamboni is fun for an adult to share with a child. For older children, try Ice Time: the Story of Hockey. To learn to play,try Hockey Skills: How to Play Like a Pro.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The 10th Annual Taste of Des Plaines

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Celebrate the City of Des Plaines' 175th birthday with the Taste of Des Plaines. Beginning Friday, June 4, at 6pm, you can participate in all that the city has to offer. For more information on the taste, look here.

While you are out in front of the library on Saturday or Sunday, stop in at the Youth Services area to sign up for Summer Reading Club. This year's theme is 'The Green Days of Summer'. Your child can either read 32 books with you or 16 hours by him or herself to get prizes.

Just for signing up, your child will receive a bookmark that contains seeds and can be planted in the ground. At the halfway mark, children 3 and up will receive a 100% biodegradable plastic frisbee and children younger than 3 will receive a recycling rubber duckie. At the finish, all children will receive coupons for food and fun throughout the area. Children under 3 will receive a board book for finishing and children older than 3 will receive a crankable flashlight that doesn't need batteries.

We have plenty of programs going on throughout the summer as well, so stop by the desk to get information on the programs we have when your children up for SRC!