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Over in the Arctic, Where the Great Stories Are – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we journeyed to the cold and wintry arctic, and south pole, for our Storytime. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids. As always, Mr. Tom Cat joined us, and he said he would return later to dance with us.

White Animals by Teddy Borth was our first book. Borth has a series of books that each focus on a specific color, and some of the animals that are that color. This book featured a lot of animals that you find in the poles. We learned interesting facts about all the animals as well, such as male snowy owls are mostly white, while females have black markings on them. As we read through the book, the children eagerly named all the animals they knew. The beluga whale was one of particular fascination.

Our first activity revolved around the cold, and the Northern Lights. Prior to Storytime, I placed various drops of food coloring on the bottom of plastic bowls, covered that with baking soda and covered that with ice. During the activity, I explained how the Northern lights are formed. When particles from the sun collide with our magnetic shield, the lights are the result. The magnetic shield is strongest at the north pole, though the lights can be seen in the south as well. The fabulous colors are the result of the particle interaction. Since the Northern Lights only appear in cold places, we recreated them in the ice bowls. I handed out squeeze bottles of vinegar, and as the children squeezed the vinegar over the ice, it turned bright colors, just like the lights in the sky. The children also enjoyed the tactile experience of the ice itself. While we made our own Northern Lights in a bowl, we listened to “Doing the Penguin” from the CD Sesame Street: Hot! Hot! Hot!.

Over in the Arctic, Where the Cold Winds Blow by Marianne Berkes was our next book. This was a counting story, where each number, one through ten, was connected to a different animal. As we counted up we got to see many different animals that lived in the arctic, from wolverines to arctic foxes, and all the unique ways they survived in their cold, icy home.

Penguin’s Big Adventure by Salina Yoon was our next book. Yoon has a series of books featuring lovable Penguin and his grand adventures. Penguins, as a species, do not live at the North Pole, so in our story, Penguin wanted to be the first of his kind to visit there. As he made his way north, he encountered several of his fellow penguins working on projects, from sewing a quilt, to weaving a basket. He also met with friends he had made in previous book. When Penguin finally reached the North Pole, and planted a flag, he met a new friend, Polar Bear. Together the two made igloos, and swam in the arctic sea. At the very end of the tale, Penguins friends from home arrived in a homemade hot air balloon, which was what Penguin saw them building as he left. Together, Penguin and his friends flew back to the south pole.

Our last activity was an animal matching game. Prior to Storytime, I printed out and laminated, images of not only various animals that live at the poles, but also a polar background. Before beginning the activity, the background was placed on the board, and each child got to pick two animals images. Then, one by one, a puppet related to each animal appeared and the child with the matching image was able to come up and place it on the background on the board. While we matched up our animals we listened to “Penguin Parade” from the CD Penguin Parade by the Banana Slug String Band.

Guess Who’s In the Snow by Camilla de la Bedoyere was our last book. This enjoyable lift the flap guessing game gave us clues about various arctic animals, and just a glimpse of them, leaving us to puzzle out all the animals that called the snow home. Each page was a new creature, and the children enjoyed lifting the flaps to reveal them all. We saw polar bears, arctic foxes, snow leopards and more. The vibrant illustrations were a mixture of hand drawn and photographic images, a creative mix.

Today was all about nature and the animals that live in it. Outdoor play is an essential element in childhood development as this article from Community Playthings discusses. If children have an ability to play outdoors then they can learn, and develop, many essential skills such as motor skills, and learning ways to explore their world. The greatest benefit of outdoor play is that it affords children an opportunity to get much needed exercise. The article goes on to talk about how playing outside can be educational, how it further benefits health and much more.

Mr. Tom Cat joined us in shaking our sillies out, and dancing with bubbles, along with Raffi from his CD More Singable Songs.

We took a journeyed into a cold, wintry world at Storytime today!

Valentine’s Day will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica

Elephants Never Forget a Good Story – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we went stomping about with our friends the elephants. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato was our first book. Little Elliot was a polka dotted elephant who lived in the city. Being so little, Elliot had unique challenges. Door handles were sometimes out of reach, catching a cab could be hard, and ordering at a counter proved challenging. One day though, Elliot me someone smaller than him, a mouse, with an even larger problem. The mouse was very hungry, but could not reach any food. Elliot lifted Mouse up so he could climb into a garbage can and eat. Mouse was so grateful that the next day, he came with Elliot to the bakery, and standing on Elliot’s trunk, was able to see over the counter to by them both a snack. Elliot and Mouse became good friends.

Our first activity revolved around one of my favorite elephants, Dumbo. Prior to Storytime, I set out the parachute and several small beach balls. During the activity I played “When I See an Elephant Fly” from the CD Disney Timeless Classics, and we all rolled and bounced the balls on the parachute. During most of the song, I held an elephant puppet, and he helped us bounce the balls. When the song was almost through, for our final big bounce, I tossed the puppet onto the parachute and we bounced him.

I Dream of an Elephant by Ami Rubinger was our next book. Rubinger has several books with rhyming text that feature animals and relate to different concepts. This story was an exploration of different colors. Each two page spread was devoted to one color elephant and what they were doing. The background was predominantly in that color as well. None of the colors were named though, which provided a perfect opportunity for audience participation. An excellent example was “The animals all love a rockin’ routine. I dream of an elephant whose color is…” I would read each rhyme and then, based on the colors they saw on the page, ask the children to tell me what color we were talking about. Rubinger included a wide range of colors in her book. At the end she posed the question, do elephants dream? It was left up to the children, or any reader, to decide.

Ellie by Mike Wu was our next book. Ellie, and her friends, lived in the zoo. There was a problem though, the zoo had to close. Ellie wanted to save her home, for her and her friends, but did not know what to do. While the other animals tried to spruce things up, Ellie decided that the zoo needed some color. So she took a paintbrush, and began painting. This turned out to be just what saved the day. Soon lots of people came to the zoo to see Ellie, the painting elephant. Her paintings ended up in museums, and all the money helped to save the zoo.

We saw a painting elephant in our last story, so for our last activity we painted elephants. Prior to Storytime, I cut out two large images of elephants out of poster board. Before beginning the activity, I not only assembled paint and brushes, but also set the supplies and elephant images out on newspaper. While we listened to “Heffalumps and Woozles,” and other songs from The Best of Pooh and Tigger Too, we all painted our elephants. When we were through, our elephants that started out and plain blue poster board, were a riot of vibrant color.

If Elephants Wore Pants by Henriette Barkow was our last book. This was the story of a little boy who could not fall asleep. Instead of counting sheep, he counted elephants, and one elephant came and whisked him away to adventure in Elephant Land. Each page of Barkow’s book was a new activity the boy, and his friend Elephant, were doing. Elephant had pants for each activity as well, that perfectly matched the fun things he and the boy got to do. For walking in the woods and meeting the bears, Elephant had brown pants that had fur on them. For stargazing, Elephant’s pants were a deep blue with sparkly silver stars. After an amazing, adventurous night, the little boy was finally feeling tired. So he laid his head down and went to sleep, with dreams of his elephant escapades for company.

Several of our books today dealt with the idea of friendship, and how friends help and support each other. This article from The Hudson Valley Parent discusses not only how friendships develop among young children, but also how beneficial friendships are to them. As friendships evolve and grow they enable companionship, support and social skills to develop. The article goes on to discuss how friendships continue to benefit children as they grow, and the ways friendships help shape their lives.

Eleanor, Mr. Tom Cat’s friend, joined us in shaking dancing and jumping our sillies out today, with bubbles and Raffi from his CD More Singable Songs.

Enjoy the bubbles Eleanor!

We stomped and romped and played with the elephants today at Storytime.

Polar Animals will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica


Live Board Game: Clue

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Who done it? That was the focus of everyone as Clearwater Main Library hosted Clue: A Live Board Game yesterday. The Clue board, along with props and cards was recreated in life size detail. Patrons who came to the program were able to choose their favorite character, such as Mrs. Peacock or Mr. Green, and become them in the game.

With a roll of the dice a suspicion could be made, such as Prof. Plum in the billiard room with the rope. If a card disproving part of that theory was possessed by one of the other characters, it was shown.

The game continued until, inevitably, one character would make a guess no other person could disprove. When that happened, the Confidential Case File was checked to see if that guess was, indeed, the answer to the mystery. It seemed that, more often than not, it was Mrs. Peacock who turned out to be the guilty party!


We played several rounds of Clue, with different participants.

While others were waiting for their turn on the live game board, other board games were available. Apples to Apples, Sorry and Tapple were the most popular.

Enjoying a rousing game of Apples to Apples while waiting for their turn at Clue.



Everyone had a very enjoyable time, commenting on how much fun they had!

  • – Miss Jessica

Snow Globe Winter Wonderland Craft at North Greenwood

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On Wednesday, January 13, the North Greenwood Library offered a winter-themed make-and-take craft program for the kids. We made a do-it-yourself snow globe with a wintry theme for the month of January.

You can also make a snow globe craft at home, but your supplies will probably be slightly different than the ones we used. To make this craft, first and foremost, you will need a snow globe. We used one from Oriental Trading, but you could use a mason jar. You will also need water, white glitter, a spoon, and glycerin. The glycerin helps to have the glitter float down, rather than drop in the water. It can be purchased at CVS. For this craft you will need some sort of toy or water-safe object to use as the focal point for the snow globe. Lastly, for adhesive we used hot glue. It was not as adhesive as we would have liked and we recommend using water-safe glue such as Gorilla Glue to get better results.


We first started by gluing our penguin to the lid of the snow globe. Make sure to center whatever you are using so that you can properly fasten the lid at the end. Set the lid aside to let the glue completely dry.

Next, fill your snow globe jar mostly full with water. Leave a little bit of room because the object you are using will displace some of the water.


Once the water is in the jar, it is time to add the glitter. We added this by sight. You can put in however much you desire. How much you need will also depend on the size of your jar. After the glitter is added, you will need to stir it with a spoon to incorporate it into the water. Some glitter will still cling to the surface of the water, and that is okay. You just want most of it stirred in.

Now it is time for the glycerin. You don’t need a lot of this. One squeeze of the bottle should do. We put in about 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon. Again, this will change with how big of a jar you use. Once added, use the spoon to stir and incorporate the glycerin into the glitter water.


The last step is to screw the lid with the glued toy or object you used onto the jar. If you have an air bubble, you can add a bit more water. You can also choose to secure the lid by gluing it into place. This should prevent leakage and any little kid hands from opening the snow globe.


Here are some pictures of the kids doing the craft at the library.

We watched this great video from PBS Parents on how to create a snow globe. It is really helpful as a walk-through for this craft if you are having a little trouble.

Join us next month on February 10 from 5 – 6 p.m. at the North Greenwood Library as we make a Valentine’s Day themed craft! Be sure to stop in for another fun and creative craft!

Up, Down, Big, Little, Opposites Everywhere-Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we all had fun learning about opposites. Mr. Tom Cat, a large kitty, was joined by his small friend Matilda the mouse. Our opening song, was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox was our first book. This was a pleasant story that introduced us to concepts such as opposites and colors. As we read along we saw lots of various kinds of sheep, from blue sheep to bath sheep, to thin and fat sheep, but, as the story kept asking, where was the green sheep?  At the end of the story we were asked to quietly turn the page, and there we finally found the green sheep, fast asleep on the grass.

Our first activity was all about matching. Prior to Storytime I had printed out, and laminated, images of lots of opposite items. There were big beach balls, and small baseballs, slow turtles and fast cheetahs. Before beginning the activity, I placed one set of images on the board, handed out the opposites of those images to the children and, finally, taped the same images the children had to puppets. Then, one by one, a puppet would appear and the child with the matching image could come up and place it by the appropriate opposites on the board. The children not only did an extremely good job of matching up the opposites, but also really enjoyed interacting with all the animal puppets, the whale shark and elephant were their favorites. While we matched up our objects we listened to “Opposites” from the CD Fun and Games.

Sun Above and Blooms Below: A Springtime of Opposites by Felicia Chernesky was our next book. Chernesky has a series of books, each set during a different time of year, and each about a different concept. The children in this rhyming tale were taking a field trip to a farm. They all piled onto their empty bus, making it full, and drove up and down hills to get to the farm. While there they saw black and white cats, had to stop while geese crossed their path and saw an egg go from whole to broken when a chick hatched out of it. As we read through the story the children enjoyed identifying all the animals they recognized.

Animal Opposites by Petr Horacek was our next book. This beautifully illustrated pop-up and lift the flap book took us on a tour of the animal kingdom though opposites. Each page would show a pair of opposite animals, like a spiked porcupine and a smooth skinned frog. The children really enjoyed not only lifting all the flaps and examining the pop ups, but also identifying their favorite animals.

Since our last story was all about animals, our final activity played off that theme in a technological way. We saw pictures of animals in our last book, now, utilizing the iPad, we got to hear them. The app Animal Sounds allows you to touch pictures of animals and hear the noise they make. The children had a lot of fun touching the different animal pictures, and were amazed when they then heard the animals sound. As we experimented with different animal sounds, we listed to various songs relating to opposites including, “Black and White,” and “Huge and Tiny” from the CD Colors, Shapes and Sizes.


Look at all the fun animals we got to listen to!


Outside, Inside by Carolyn Crimi was our last book. This story contrasted the inside life of a little girl named Molly, and her cat, with the outside world just beyond their front door. We saw things like, how Molly’s cat would sleep snug and warm inside, while outside it was raining. In the end, after the rainstorm, Molly brought both worlds together by opening the door and letting the outside in.

Learning to distinguish words that describe opposites is a developmental milestone for children. According to this article from The Child Development Institute outlines at what age children should begin to have certain language skills. The idea of being able to recognize, and vocalize opposites usually appears around 48 months. The chart begins at six months and goes on until year 8. A child’s early months and years are given precedence, with detailed language concepts listed and when they should begin to manifest.

We shook our sillies out, along with bubbles, Raffi and Matilda, to end our day.

We all learned about many different kinds of opposites at Storytime today.

Elephants will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica