Little eLit about children's apps and what our role as librarians is in regards to apps. I've come to the conclusion that apps are a resource (just like books and music and everything else we have at libraries) and that there is a vast ocean of (mostly mediocre to downright awful) apps designed for kids in today's market and that we, as librarians, are in a prime position to help parents navigate those deep waters in search of the very best apps to offer our children.
I've shared before about using apps in WonderWorks, but I've also used apps in my storytimes (e-books are essentially just REALLY BIG "Big Books" with occasional moving parts, after all). After getting questions from several parents (and other staff members) about what apps I recommend, I started a list which is now posted on my library's website. I will continue to update this list as new apps are developed and/or discovered. If you have recommendations of great apps for kids (especially for the Android market!), I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below. Also, would you appreciate longer app reviews on this blog when I discover new ones that are rave-worthy? Chime in and let me know!
Nov 21, 2013
This Saturday is the special 50th anniversary episode of Dr. Who and I have some pretty serious teen fans of Dr. Who in my neighborhood, so we gathered together for some Whovian crafts. Here's what we made:
Nov 20, 2013
"I took our circa 1986 library benches, put tables on top of them with the legs folded up, and duct taped the two together. Wrapping the tape around two or three times is enough to hold it in place, and they come in at about 16 inches tall.
Oct 31, 2013
Oct 25, 2013
leaves (not too crunchy)
Red leaf, yellow leaf / Ehlert, Lois
Oct 24, 2013
felted wool sweaters and/or fleece
old t-shirts (optional, for lining)
Sweater surgery : how to make new things from old sweaters / Girard, Stefanie
(mitten patterns, p. 40 & 42)
Felt : 30 fun projects for felt (and fabric) lovers / Carestio, Amanda
(mitten pattern, p. 94)
Oct 23, 2013
Today's Topic: Catapults!
pvc pipes (leftover from this class)
cove molding (leftover from this class)
tongs (leftover from this class)
drink bottle lids (optional)
Katy did it! / Siomades, Lorianne
Oct 22, 2013
Rubberbands and pegs give shape practice and help build muscles.
Today's Topic: Geoboards (Math)
Geoboards -- ours were purchased, but you could also make your own (links at the end of this post)
Rubberbands (variety of sizes and colors is good) OR weaving loops
Printed templates from Planet of the Apels (template 1) (template 2)
iPad with Geoboard app (optional)
When a line bends--a shape begins / Greene, Rhonda Gowler
Simple materials can be the most compelling.
Art Project: Playing with [air dry] clay
clay (we used Crayola Air Dry variety)
plastic baggies in case anyone wants to take their clay home
Dave the potter : artist, poet, slave / Hill, Laban Carrick
Oct 17, 2013
What's the strongest bridge you can build?
Today's Topic: Bridge construction
plastic drinking straws (or uncooked spaghetti)
Duplo or LEGO blocks
books (for weights to test the strength of bridges)
Cross a bridge / Hunter, Ryan Ann
Oct 7, 2013
scrap paper in lots of different colors
old blenders (not to be used for food afterwards)
pitchers, buckets, containers for water
plastic bowls (we used some coated paper bowls, but I wouldn't recommend them...)
wire mesh strainers
Oct 4, 2013
Today's project: Printing with a slab of gelatin
gelatin slab (see instructions to make one here)
flat objects with interesting texture or shape
Oct 3, 2013
Art Project: Stamping dots
stamp pads (washable ink recommended!)
unsharpened pencils with erasers
wet wipes (or a sink in your classroom)
marker caps (optional, but fun!)
Press here / Tullet, Herve
Wiggleworms love you [sound recording] /
Oct 2, 2013
There are many ways to make holes in paper and all of them are fascinating to children!
Today's Topic: Scissors & Hole Punches, technology for little ones
Scissors (safety, kid-sized)
Hole punches (as wide a variety as you can gather!)
pipe cleaners (optional)
sandpaper (for a different texture to cut)
Cat and Mouse : the hole story / Fox, Christyan
Sep 26, 2013
Today's Topic: Mirrors + Reflection
--mirrors (in a variety of shapes and sizes. For safety reasons, choose plastic instead of glass where possible.)
--flexible craft mirror (optional, but fun! I got by with just two and there was minimal arguing.)
--half images (create your own, or feel free to use mine)
--DIY Periscope kits (note: I purchased only one set of 12 kits and put together 4 periscopes before class and used the rest of the small mirrors by themselves for kids to do experiments with.)
--flashlights (I had two on hand and e-mailed parents inviting them to bring one from home)
--bright colored paper or cardstock
Sorry! / Landa, Norbert
Aug 20, 2013
Summer Special : Puppet Show + Picnic
--Teen volunteers (we had 3, plus an event photographer)
--books to convert into scripts
--props as needed
We had such a fun time tonight at the Puppet Show and Picnic that I just had to share a few pictures and details here. Jan Thomas writes great books for puppet shows--simple, easy to act out, very few props and hilarious! Sixty-eight people showed up with picnic suppers in hand to watch the show and enjoy making their own puppets afterwards (free printables available on Jan Thomas' own website here and here). More details after the jump.
Aug 15, 2013
Project: assorted Duct Tape crafts
Duct tape (as wide a variety as you can afford)
cardboard (empty duct tape rolls from previous duct tape events were popular today!)
Aug 10, 2013
Featured Project: Painting on mugs (and one bowl)
plain ceramic objects (I bought mine from the Dig-N-Save), clean and dry
rubbing alcohol & tissues or q-tips
Pebeo Porcelaine 150 Paint Pens
Sharpie permanent markers
Baking instruction sheets to send home
Pros & Cons of paints vs. markers:
--Pebeo paint pens come in less colors than Sharpies.
--You have to "pump" the paint pens to get the paint to flow into the tip of the pen and if you're coloring a large area, you may have to pump several times throughout your project to keep a constant color.
--Sharpies are a little less predictable in the oven and dishwasher. If you love your Sharpie-decorated mug, you might want to hand-wash it only.
--Neither are considered "food-safe" so please only decorate portions of the dinnerware that will not come into contact with food or your mouth.
(see more photos of our projects after the jump)
Aug 5, 2013
Project: Ombre Dyeing
dye (we used Rit liquid dye, two bottles per dye bath)
large containers to hold the dye (we used a trashcan, a storage tub and a plastic Halloween cauldron)
fabric items to dye
sturdy rubber gloves
garbage bags (to carry wet items home in, individually wrapped)
Aug 2, 2013
Today's Topic:Pumps and Siphons
drinking straws (the kind that bend)
clean and empty handsoap dispensers
Fire truck / Oxlade, Chris
There might be better books out there about pumps and/or siphons, but this was the best I could find for today's class. The kids LOVED reading about fire trucks and this one has quite a bit to say about the water pumps found on an engine.
Aug 1, 2013
Melty, messy paint-on-a-stick, perfect for warm-weather days.
Art Project: Paint-sicles!
ice cube trays
What can you do with a paleta? / Tafolla, Carmen
Jul 29, 2013
Today's Topic: Will it sink or float?
tubs of water
items that may sink or float (light bulbs, full can of soda, pencils, keys, paperclips, balloons, plastic eggs, whatever you have on hand. It will either sink or float or do something interesting halfway between.)
foam sheets cut into triangles for "sails"
Arthur's dream boat / Dunbar, Polly <div style='clear:both;'> </div>
Captain Small Pig / Waddell, Martin
Jul 26, 2013
Measuring liquids is wet, messy math!
Today's Topic: Measuring Liquids
Funnels (optional, but very helpful!)
As many of the following as you can gather:
-measuring cups (both liquid and dry work well, plastic recommended)
-baby bottles with measurements on the side
-children's medicine syringes, spoons or the cups that come on top of a bottle of children's tylenol
-mixing bowls with measurements
-plastic or cardboard pint or quart containers
-plastic cups in various sizes and shapes (to do a more simple "which one holds more?" test)
How do you measure liquids? / Adamson, Thomas K.
This is a great non-fiction book about the topic! All of the fiction titles I found were way too long for read-alouds. This one keeps it simple, includes a few experiments and has a hint of a storyline with high quality photographs of an African American family measuring liquids in several different settings (more vs. less, measuring medicine, etc.)
Jul 25, 2013
Salad spinners and coffee filters make fun art outside the kitchen!
Art Projects: Spin Art & Coffee Filter Color Blending
salad spinners (I found mine at thrift stores and library staff donated a few)
small, uncoated paper plates (or cardstock cut into circles small enough to lay flat in the bottom of your salad spinner)
small squeeze bottles
liquid watercolors or food coloring
Monsters love colors / Austin, Mike
You are my sunshine [sound recording] / Mitchell, Elizabeth
Jul 18, 2013
Shiny, happy paintings add an interesting texture element.
Art Project: Painting on Foil
paint (we used regular tempera)
containers for paint
water to wash brushes between colors (optional)
Mouse paint / Walsh, Ellen Stoll
(not the best book-to-project match, but I did give the kids three colors of paint to mix and play with.)
Jul 16, 2013
Today's Topic: Drip, Drop
bowls of water
plastic or styrofoam egg cartons, small paper cups, bowls, other small containers to drip into
towels (or do this one outdoors)
Rain! / Ashman, Linda
update 3/2017: Newer book that would work great as the elephant sucks all the water in the bathtub up through her trunk, then squirts it back out. --
Get out of my bath! / Teckentrup, Britta