Jan 31, 2014

NeedleReads: Pajama Pants

Did you know that you can sew your own clothes at the library?

NeedleReads project:  Pajama Pants!
fabric (at least 2-2.5 yards of quilting weight or flannel or fleece)
sewing machines
paper to trace the pattern onto


cover art Weekend sewing : more than 40 projects and ideas for inspired stitching / Ross, Heather
We used the "Pajama Pants for Everyone" pattern by Heather Ross.

Jan 29, 2014

Craft Lab: String art

If I had a hammer.... and some nails and a bit of thread, I'd make string art to hang on my walls!

Craft Lab Project:  String Art
blocks of wood (ours were about 4-6"-ish)

Jan 28, 2014

WonderWorks: Symmetry (Math)

Mirrors, palindromes and inkblot artwork--all fun ways to explore the concept of symmetry.

Today's Topic: Math--Symmetry
brushes (optional)
mirrors (a variety of shapes and sizes)
alphabet letters (print your own if you don't own any.  Lots available online. Try these.)
wooden blocks

 cover art Let's fly a kite / Murphy, Stuart J.
This one is a little long for a group read-aloud, but it explains symmetry SO nicely.  I skimmed and skipped and it was fine.

cover art Mom and Dad are palindromes : a dilemma for words-- backwards / Shulman, Mark
Palindromes are another fun way to discuss symmetry!

Jan 24, 2014

Wonderworks: Kitchen Engineering

Two simple ingredients can make fantastic structures!

Today's Topic: Building with Grapes and Toothpicks

cover art Henry builds a cabin / Johnson, D. B.
cover art Raise the roof! / Suen, Anastasia
cover art Sing as we go! [sound recording] / Hope, Charlie

Jan 21, 2014

Wonderworks: Color

There are so many fun ways to blend colors and learn about the color wheel, and they all blend a little science and a little art together.

Today's Topic: Color Mixing
play-dough in multiple colors
transparent color paddles
tops painted with primary colors
dancing scarves in a variety of colors
food coloring
egg cartons
black markers
coffee filters

cover art Mouse paint / Walsh, Ellen Stoll

cover art I like everything about you, yes I do! [sound recording] / Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble

Jan 7, 2014

WonderWorks: Staplers!

With this amazing technology, kids can bend metal with their hands!

Today's Topic:  Staplers (Technology)
staplers (as wide a variety as you can gather)
staple removers


cover art Ralph tells a story / Hanlon, Abby
I love this book!  It not only incorporates staplers (perhaps the only picture book ever to do so?), but it also has an excellent literacy element about how to tell a story!  It's a teensy bit long for a read-aloud to this age group, so just skip most of the speech-bubble asides and you should be fine.

Jan 2, 2014

Free Apps!

Have you seen this great article about free apps on Little eLit yet?  Go read it, then come back here.  I'll wait.

*hums a quiet tune.  twiddles thumbs.*

Are you back?  Wasn't that the clearest explanation of the different types of free apps that you've ever read?  With that fantastic list of resources at the end?  I just wanted to make sure you read it because even I (who have been researching apps for awhile now) found it to be a very helpful breakdown of a very confusing and convoluted topic.

To support the article, here are a few of my personal favorite free apps (I've identified which type of app they are according to the article by including the corresponding number.  I won't tease you by posting 4's or 5's since those aren't always free.):

Toca Boca free apps: [2, but only minimal ads to the full versions]
 (Toca Tailor Fairy Tales, Toca Kitchen Monsters, Toca Hair Salon Christmas Gift)
These are smaller versions of three of their paid apps, but you can have tons of fun with them without having to buy the paid version and if your kid LOVES the app, then you'll know it's worth the (very small) investment to get the paid version.
This is such a sweet little app about how to handle challenging emotions and it's free. No strings attached.

Geoboard by the Math Learning Center (web app here) [1]
This one is free because of a grant.  There's a mobile app and also a web app.  All free!

This one is free and you can see the first 5 words or so for free, but after that you're required to purchase "word-packs."   It's a great way to preview this app and you CAN have fun and enjoy just those first few words on their own, but be forewarned--you and the kids you let play with this app will love it to pieces and you'll quickly realize that the word packs are a bargain and the app is a huge educational goldmine of wonderfulness.

And a few new ones I just discovered for older kids:

Sushi Monster [2, but extremely minimal ads]
This app was created by Scholastic and is promoting their "Fastt Math" curriculum, but the commercial aspect is fairly low-key and the game can be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone game.  You need to be able to do addition and multiplication to play these games.

Sound Uncovered and Color Uncovered by the Exploratorium (these are mentioned in the article I linked to, but I wanted to post them here as well) [1]
Interactive books with fun optical and aural illusions!  There's a lot of reading involved in these, so I'd recommend them for older kids or for reading aloud with an adult for younger kids.
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