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Hoot, Hoot, the Owls are Here! – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we swooped through the sky with the owls. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

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Mr. Tom Cat joined us all as we jumped and clapped to show how happy we were.

Goodnight Owl, a DwellStudio book was our first story. This was a fun lift the flap book, which the children always enjoy, and were very eager to assist me with. As night fell on the forest, and Owl was out on a flight, he stopped by different locations to see who was sleeping there. As we visited each location in the story, the children were able to come up, lift the flap, and see what animal was sleeping. Some of the animals we saw were moose sleeping behind trees and ducks sleeping near the pond. At the end of the story morning had come, and as we saw, behind the last flap was Owl, fast asleep.

Our first activity, called “Five Owls in a Tree” utilized counting and puppets. Prior to the activity I placed not only a construction paper tree, but also five owls up on the board. Before beginning the activity, one of our owl puppets made an appearance and told us he needed help counting all of his friends. As we counted down, the children came up and removed one owl at at time from the board. Each time the little owl puppet asked the children, how many owls were left. The children loved being able to count down with our owl, and tell him how many little owls were left on the board.

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Here is Otto the Owl and his five friends

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One owl was removed, we only had two left.

Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino was our next book. Owl and Rabbit were the best of friends, who, like friends sometimes do, got into a disagreement. Rabbit had a garden, but that garden blocked Owl’s view. So Owl built is house up a little bit taller. That caused another problem because it blocked the sun from Rabbit’s vegetables. So Rabbit built his house up taller still. On and on the building frenzy went, would it ever stop? As it turned out, yes, courtesy of a gust of wind. Both houses were toppled, but in the process the two friends remembered what their friendship really meant, and learned that perhaps small houses, and strong friendships were the best things of all.

Little Owl’s Orange Scarf by Tatyana Feeney was our next book. Little Owl loved a lot of things. He loved his tree house, riding around on his scooter and ice cream. What Little Owl did not love was is orange scarf. The scarf was long, itchy and just way to orange. Little Owl tried everything to accidently, on purpose, loose his scarf. It took some doing, but he finally succeeded. His mother though had other ideas. She took Little Owl to the yarn store and found the perfect solution to help keep him warm.

Our last activity involved the parachute, some balls and an owl puppet. I put on the song “Do the Owl” by the Wiggles, from their CD Wiggly Safari. Then, as the lively tune played, the children and I bounced the balls, and our owl puppet on the parachute. The children loved watching the owl go flying through the air.

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Let’s watch the balls, and the owl puppet, go flying though the air as we all Do the Owl!

Owlet’s First Flight by Mitra Modarressi was our last book. This enchanting tale, written in rhyme, told the story of a little owl leaving his nest for the first time. In the beginning, the little owl is somewhat afraid of his dark world, but his mother encouraged him to be brave. Soon, he took the first leap and he was flying through the night. The little owl set out to explore his nighttime world, occasionally encountering things that were a little scary. He learned to overcome his fears, and in the process saw that flying around on his own could be a grand adventure.

As always, we ended by shaking our sillies out along with Raffi, from his CD More Singable Songs. Mr. Tom Cat and his friend Olivia Owl joined us.

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Mr. Tom Cat and his friend Olivia Owl loved shaking their sillies out with us!

We had a real hoot of a Storytime today.

Travel will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica

UnMasked Teen Masquerade Party

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On Saturday August 1st the Main Library hosted it’s UnMasked Teen Masquerade Party for participants in the Summer Reading Program. Costumes were encouraged, and masks were essential.

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Some of the children, along with Mr. David, who attended the party.

We started off the event with a craft. Children could either make a mask of their own, if they did not have one, or a bookmark featuring a figure from Venice Carnival. The mask craft was very popular, and everyone was extremely inventive with their creations.

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Crafting creative masks to wear. What will yours look like?

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Images such as these could be cut out, glued onto card-stock, and turned into bookmarks.

Then we moved on to our major event, the Contra Dance. Mr. David taught us all this lively dance that originated in the 17th century. The dance itself is somewhat similar to a Square Dance, with two lines of couples facing each other. Mr. David added some additional elements of his own devising to the version of the dance he taught everyone. After much practice, and a lot of laughter, everyone was able to dance all the way through one complete song.

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First, make two lines facing each other.

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Cross to the center, touch hands and circle around each other.

After dancing we played two traditional games. The first, Three Men’s Morris, which dates back to the 13th century or possibly earlier, is a version of Tic-Tac-Toe. The game board is laid out in a square, with a cross shape in the middle. The resulting nine points on the board designate where pieces are meant to be placed. The object, just like in Tic-Tac-Toe, is to line up three game pieces in a line. During the party, we put a twist on the game by playing it with people instead of game pieces. Mr. David and I divided the children up into two teams with three players each and one person acting as team leader. It was the leaders job to direct their other teammates on where to stand on the board. The game was highly enjoyed by all.

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A Three Men’s Morris game board.

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One more person and we have three in a line!

The second game we played, and our final activity of the night, was Fox and Hounds. Games such as this go back to the 14th century. The game is traditionally meant to be played on a checkerboard, with the pieces designated as Hounds lined up on one side of the board, and the piece designated as the Fox situated at the opposite end. The objective is for the Fox to safely cross the board, using only the dark squares, to arrive at one of the Hounds spaces, the goal of the Hounds is to prevent this from happening. As with Three Men’s Morris we played the game with live people instead of game pieces. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this game.

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The Fox and Hounds game board set up.

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The Fox tried to evade the hounds.

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The Fox almost made it to safety!

The UnMasked Masquerade Party was a huge success, everyone had a very enjoyable time.

-Miss Jessica

Tiger, Tiger – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we all ventured into the jungle after that elusive and mysterious cat, the tiger. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

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Mr. Tom Cat and Mr. Tiger were very happy to join in our song…

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as we jumped, and clapped…

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to show how happy we were too!

The Dancing Tiger by Malachy Doyle was our first book, written in rhyme. The tiger in this book was mysterious and magical, he only appeared when the moon was full. One little girl knew to watch for the tiger. She spotted him one summer night. The tiger told the little girl, if she kept it a secret that he was there, every night when the moon was full she could come and dance with him.  She kept her promise and, as the seasons, and years, wore on, every time there was a full moon the little girl got to dance with her tiger. As the story ended the little girl had grown older, she now had a great-granddaughter of her own. To this young child the woman passed on the joy of the dancing tiger. Now, every night when the moon is full her great granddaughter can go dancing with her tiger.

The tiger in our first book loved to dance, and so did everyone at Storytime today. Prior to beginning our first activity, I handed out egg shakers to everyone. Then I put on the CD Disney’s More Dancin Tunes and, as we listened to “Limbo Rock” and “Twistin the Night Away” everyone energetically danced around the room with their egg shakers. Some of our tiger puppets even joined in on the dancing and fun.

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We danced with some very friendly tigers today!

If You Go Walking in Tiger Wood by Alan Durant was our next book. Durant employed cutouts in this story to great effect. Two young children go walking one day in Tiger Wood. As they journeyed through the trees they spotted different animals watching them. Each time a new animal was seen the question “Is that a tiger?” was posed. All you could see of the animal at first was it’s eyes behind a cutout. Flip the page though, and the eyes resolved themselves into an animal. Not until the end of the book did the children actually find a tiger, but, as the children in my audience pointed out to me, tigers were hiding on every page watching the children walk through the woods. The children loved pointing out all the hidden tigers on each page.

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown was our last book. Mr. Tiger, and all his animal companions lived in a very strict well ordered society (meant to be reminiscent of the Victorian age), everyone dressed in suits and dresses and good manners prevailed. All Mr. Tiger wanted to do though, was let loose and have some fun, but that was not permitted. This was shown most clearly in the illustrations, all the other animals were drawn in muted tones of brown and gray, Mr. Tiger was always a bright pop of orange in an otherwise dreary landscape. One day though, Mr. Tiger got a radical idea, why not live the way he wanted to. Off came the suit and the top hat and Mr. Tiger bounded off into the woods outside the city to live, be free and have fun. At first the other animals disagree with his behavior, but eventually Mr. Tiger’s new fun loving style wins them over, they accept him for who he is. He returns to the city to discover it has loosened its strictness and become freer. Mr. Tiger trades his suit for a Hawaiian shirt and he and his friends set about living a less severe life.  At its heart this is a tale about acceptance and letting children know it’s ok to be different. As Mr. Tiger taught us today, individuality is a wonderful thing.

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Mr. Tiger started out a proper gentleman.

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But soon, he discovered he wanted to be wild, and to be himself.

Our last activity involved Tigger, from Winnie the Pooh, and lots and lots of bubbles. I put on the CD The Many Songs of Winnie the Pooh and, beginning with the delightful tune “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers” everyone got to romp and play in the bubbles. We listened to two more songs, “Up, Down, and Touch the Ground” and “Rumbly in My Tumbly” and during our bubble adventure, one of our tiger puppets made an appearance, just to see if he could catch any bubbles.

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The wonderful thing about Tiggers is they love to dance, and play with bubbles.

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So did we and our friend the tiger.

Several of our books and activities dealt with the idea of imagination. Encouraging imagination is important for children’s cognitive development, as the article from Babycenter.com discusses. As children grow they forge connections in their brain that allow them to learn, and retain information. The article goes on to say that the first three years of a child’s life are when a vast majority of these connections are formed, and encouraging imagination helps immensely with this process. Using imagination enables children to develop ways of thinking creatively and expressing themselves. The article goes on to offer excellent tips for helping children develop their imaginations.

Cat’s Colors by Jane Cabrera was our last book. This story asked us all to guess the little cat’s favorite color. Each page had him playing on a brightly saturated background of a particular color. There was yellow, for the sand on the beach, blue for the sky where he liked to chase birds, and red for the rug by the fire he loved to sleep on. On each page, I blocked out the names of the colors, and had the children tell me what they were. The children were very enthusiastic, offering opinions on what they thought was the little cat’s favorite color. It was not until we reached the end that we learned that orange was his favorite color, because that was the color of his mom.

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Was red his favorite color, like the rug he loved to sleep on?

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Perhaps it was blue, the color of the sky where the birds lived. He liked to chase birds.

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Or maybe pink, the color of flowers?

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No, it was orange, the color of his mom!

As always, we ended our day, shaking our sillies out, along with Raffi from his CD More Singable Songs. Mr. Tom Cat and Tigger joined us as we clapped and jumped to the music.

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Mr. Tom Cat and Tigger had fun shaking their sillies out with us today!

Today we learned just how much fun, and exciting, tigers can be.

Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime is taking a short break, and will return September 1st when our theme will be Owls!

– Miss Jessica

Dive Into the Ocean – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we journeyed past the shore and beneath the waves in Storytime. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

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We showed we were happy by clapping, and Mr. Tom Cat got into the occasion by going scuba diving!

Under the Sea by Anna Milbourne was our first book. We all went on a vibrant, energetic tour of the ocean’s underwater world. We saw so many varied animals, some well-known, others less well known. Sea turtles, eels, and dolphins all made an appearance. We also learned about submarines that people can send down into the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean to explore.

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Down in the deepest parts of the ocean, you see jellyfish that light up.

To play off the theme of our first book, I brought out our instruments, and let everyone choose one. I then played “Under the Sea” from the Little Mermaid soundtrack. This song, with an energetic beat, not only talks about lots of different sea creatures, but also the instruments they play. We all played and danced right along with the music, as did several of our sea creature puppets. The children loved the opportunity to come up and not only pet, but also interact with the puppets.

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Sebastian and Ariel got the activity started.

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Then we all shook our jingle bell shakers and danced around to the lively music.

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We also got to meet interesting animals like an octopus…

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and a stingray.

Following Papa’s Song by Gianna Marino was our next book. The papa in this book was a blue whale, and he was teaching his son, Little Blue, all about what it meant for whales to migrate. Whales migrate to find food, and Papa told Little Blue that they would always be able to stick together as they swam through the ocean, if Little Blue listened for his song. As young children, and young whales, can be curious, Little Blue decided to go exploring on his own. When he dove beneath the surface he encountered many wondrous sea creatures, like octopus and dolphins. When he dove down deeper though, it got very dark, and Little Blue couldn’t see anything. He got a little worried, until he remembered what his Papa told him. Little Blue listened, and heard, his father’s song, following it back up to where his father and the rest of the whales were.

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Little Blue and Papa set off on their migration.

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When Little Blue strayed too far from his Papa and the other whales…

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he just had to follow Papa’s song to get back home.

Our next book was Old Shell, New Shell by Helen Ward. Hermit crab lived in a coral reef and he really loved the shell he called his home. He had a problem though; he had grown too big for it. The hunt was now on to find a new home. On his search he met many other sea creatures who called the reef home. They all gave hermit crab suggestions for a new shell, but it wasn’t until he met another hermit crab looking for a new shell that he finally found the perfect home. The final pages were a fold out showing hermit crab in his new shell surrounded by all the sea creatures that lived on the reef. I invited the children to come up and help me with the fold out, and they were very enthusiastic. This story demonstrated how change can be a good thing, especially when you have friends to help you through. Ward’s illustrations were incredibly vibrant and lifelike depicting the fish, and the coral reef in stunningly realistic detail. This book also had a wealth of information at the back which identified all the creatures in every illustration and gave details about their looks, habitat and qualities. Ward provided educational material on coral reefs as well, going so far as to include a world map that highlighted where major reefs were.

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This hermit crab was looking for a new home, a new shell.

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He had to search far and wide, be eventually he found the perfect new shell, and made a new friend.

For our last activity, we conducted a little science experiment. I filled up two plastic tubs, one with fresh water and one with salt water. Prior to Storytime I had gathered a variety of different plastic fish, some heavy some light. One by one I had the children come up and place the objects, first in the fresh water, then in the salt, to see how much, or little, they float or sink. The children were fascinated to see the objects either sink to the bottom, or float on the top of the water. We listened to “Water Music” from the CD Baby Neptune during this activity.

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In fresh water all the fish sink because they are heavier than the water.

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But, if we put them in salt water, what will happen?

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Some will sink, and some will float because the salt makes the water heavier than the plastic fish.

I Spy Under the Sea by Edward Gibbs was our last book. I have used Gibbs’ books several times in Storytime and they are always a hit with the children. The reason for this is the books are constructed in a unique way, with a die cut hole in the middle that only reveals a small portion of the illustration behind it. That small glimpse, coupled with a factual clue in simple text, is all the children and I had to work with to try to identify each sea creature. Gibbs has a series of I Spy books, each focusing on a different type of animal. This installment had an added counting element as well. So, when the first animal was revealed, a clown-fish, there were seven clown-fish on the page. The children and I counted them all before moving along to the next animal. We counted down from seven to one, the last animal being a shark.

Going to the beach or an aquarium is an enjoyable activity for children. Exposure to a wide variety of animals that live in the sea, whether in a structured environment like an aquarium, or a natural one like the beach, can be both educational and fun. As this article from Earlychildhoodnews.com expounds, having access to nature is beneficial for childhood development. Being in contact with nature is an all-around encounter for the senses. Whether the child is observing it, as they would at an aquarium, or interacting with it, if they went to the beach and swam in the ocean, nature provides children a wealth of different experiences. The article supports the premise that children should be given access to nature as it aids in their cognitive and psychological development.

As always, we ended Storytime by shaking our sillies out with Raffi from his CD More Singable Songs.

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Mr. Tom Cat joined us for our final song!

Today we all experienced the delights of the sea.

Tigers will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica

SuperWhoLocked and The Next Doctor Who Contest

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Today at the Main Library we held our SuperWhoLocked and Next Doctor Who Contest programs. SuperWhoLocked is a mixture of Supernatural, Doctor Who and the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes.

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Look out for the Weeping Angel!

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Never fear, the Doctor has just arrived in his, or her, TARDIS, she will protect us.

We began our program with trivia, for prizes, and then jumped right into the activities which included:

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A Sherlock Holmes inspired deductive reasoning game.

First we began with items you had to smell. Paper bags went around the room and everyone was able to take a sniff. Then the item within the bag had to be identified. Next, we tried it with touch. Same idea, items in paper bags went around the room, and people had to reach in, touch them, and try to figure out what they were.

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Next came Weeping Angel Tag.

One team was Weeping Angels, the other team was Companions to the Doctor. The Weeping Angels had to try and tag all the Companions and turn them into Weeping Angels, the last Companion standing won.

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It’s Supernatural!

Next, we played a Supernatural themed game based on Red Light, Green Light. One person stood at the far end of the room calling out “Red Light, Green Light.” The goal of everyone else, who were playing Hunters, was to be the first across the room to tag the one calling out “Red Light, Green Light.”

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Another game we played was Match the Doctor to His Catchphrase

Pictures of all of the Doctors were taped to the board, then, one by one, in random order, one of the Doctor’s catchphrases was read out. Everyone had to match the catchphrase to the Doctor.

Soon it was time for The Next Doctor Who Contest. This was a system wide Clearwater Library contest where people could submit, online or in person at today’s program, ideas for what type of character they thought the next Doctor should be. Each entry had to have a one page description and picture.

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We began this part of the program with a very British Tea Party.

Then it was time to read the contest entries. We had four, three came in person, and one, submitted online, was read at the program by Mr. David.

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It was a very tough decision, but eventually a winner was chosen, Cassidy! Cassidy received a customizable Sonic Screwdriver kit as a prize.

We all had lots of fun choosing the next Doctor, and celebrating these three great series with our SuperWhoLocked party!

-Miss Jessica