Feb 29, 2016

Apps on the News: Fiete Match

After many years of pronouncing this app character's name, "Fee-EH-tay," I realized I needed to double-check my pronunciation before talking about it on the news.  I contacted the app developer and they were kind enough to send me a teeny little recording with the sailor's name pronounced more like "FEE-tuh."  I hope I got it right!  I love all the apps by this developer.  I hope you enjoy this one!

Here's my full written review of the app on my App Picks Page.

Feb 22, 2016

Toddler Art Class: Tea Painting

A perfect example of process over product!

Art Project: Painting with tea bags
tea bags
warm water (I tried cool water and it didn't work as well)
thin cardboard sheets (I get these donated from a participant who says they come back in her drycleaning order)

  cover art Ruby's tea for two / Wells, Rosemary

I also incorporated one of my favorite fingerplays into the second class called, "Here's a Cup"

Feb 18, 2016

Craft Lab: Pasta Maker Printing

Re-purpose kitchen tools for making art!

Today's project: Pasta Maker Prints
pasta maker (just the flat rollers--the cutting roller can be missing)
craft foam (sticky back kind works easiest)
printing ink
cards or cardstock to print on

I happened to own two pasta makers but on one, the cutters never worked very well, so I donated that one to the library for projects just like this one. Valentine's Day (the day after I hosted this event) is a perfect excuse to make some cute cards, so that's what we did!  I got the inspiration for this project from the Eric Carle Museum.

Here's what we did:

Feb 16, 2016

Apps on the News: Red in Bed

I don't actually recommend many book apps for home use because it seems to me like they don't get a lot of repeat play (at least at my house--is it different at your house? Leave me a comment and let me know!), but this one is really well made and a great value. To me, it's like a really interactive pop-up book at an amazing price.  I actually appreciate that there's no spoken narration options because that makes it necessary for families to snuggle up and read it together. Plus, check out all the languages it's available in!

Here's my written review and links to purchase the app.

Feb 13, 2016

Toddler Art Class: Stamping Hearts

Cardboard tubes make convenient stamps--just not always heart-shaped.

Art Project: Stamping "hearts" with t.p. tubes
Clean, empty toilet paper tubes
paint (we used red and white)
small paper plates
masking tape (optional, but helps hold the t.p. tube in a heart shape if that's what you want)

cover art Penguin and Pinecone : a friendship story / Yoon, Salina

Feb 12, 2016

Toddler Art Class: Cheerios on Chenille Stems

We've been here before....

Art Project: Cheerio bird feeders (or snack bracelets, whatever!)
chenille stems (pipe cleaners)
Cheerios (I used the Multigrain variety here so that there would be several different shades of tan in case someone wanted to try making a pattern.  No one did and these are sweet like Honey Nut Cheerios, so MANY of them just got eaten.  Not sure if that would have changed if they were the plain kind instead.)
Small cups to hold individual portions of cereal

cover art Snowy, blowy winter / Raczka, Bob
This book includes one 2-page spread about feeding the birds in winter.  It also happened to include a groundhog which was perfect since we did this class on Feb. 3 (okay, it would have been even BETTER on Feb. 2, but oh well).

Feb 10, 2016

The Supper Club presents: Create-your-own-adventure apps

Choose your own adventure or create it as you go along in these interactive, mostly story-based apps.

Sago Mini Superhero ($2.99, iOS, Amazon, Google Play, Windows)--Where will Super Jack the Rabbit go next?  How will his story unfold? Great app for preschoolers, but loved even by older kids for the humor hidden around each corner.

Cookie Next Door-Rainy Days (FREE, iOS only)--A graphic novel that allows you to record your voice to add the words that tell this (currently wordless) sea-faring tale.  There's also a sequel--Rainy Days 2. I am amazed that this one is free!

Loose Strands (free preview / $4.99 full, iOS, Google Play, Amazon)--Wacky choose-your-own-adventure story, complete with a story map that shows you where you've been and what avenues have been cut off as you make your choices.  Not a great choice if you are icked out by hair.

Toca Blocks ($3.99, iOS, Google Play)--Often compared to Minecraft, Toca Blocks allows users to create their own world, building with blocks that have different properties.  Mix multiple blocks together to discover new blocks!

Infiniscroll ($1.99, iOS only)--A story-creation tool like no other!

Mr. Glue Stories (FREE, iOS only)--A set of e-books with a few choices for the user to allow for a custom-made story full of silliness.  Also includes some options for adding your own color enhancements to some of the illustrations and record your own voice for some of the sound effects.

Toontastic (FREE, iOS only)--Create your own animated cartoon and record your voice as narrator.  Tons of options to choose from and a great guide through the various points of a storyline from set-up through resolution. Lots of great music options built right into the app.

Telestory (FREE, iOS only)--by the same company as Toontastic, this app allows you to record your own "television show"--complete with virtual costumes, action-prompting cards, music and sound effects.

Feb 5, 2016

Apps that challenge users to create an invention or pose for a crazy picture

Taking tablets on my outreach visits continues to be popular with the participants! (Though they don't always trust that the apps I introduce will be any fun.  Until they've played them.)

A few apps I tried last fall with the group:
Pettson's Inventions (no photos of this visit, sorry!)
Image Scrimmage

The first two apps are invention-building apps and are good to do in the order listed.  Pettson's Inventions solutions have one right answer whereas Inventioneers can be solved in multiple ways.  Both are by the same app developer (Filimundus) and so they have a similar feel, but I like them both for different reasons. The kids seemed to really engage with these apps and did a nice job of working together to problem-solve each challenge. No one finished all of the free portions before the end of my visit, but a few came close.

 Image Scrimmage is a photo treasure hunt with physical challenges.  I did this one in December right before Winter Break and it was a great way to channel all of the wiggly energy of the group that day!

For our winter series, I'm going to be trying out a series of comic-creation apps.  Stay tuned for more app-ventures!

Feb 2, 2016

WonderWorks: Snow & Ice

When it's cold outside, do some winter science!

Today's Topic: Snow & Ice
large bowls
black construction paper (to catch and view snowflakes if they're falling)
measuring cups
cookie sheets filled with water and frozen into sheets of ice
Things that might slide across ice (metal drink lids, balls, marbles, toy cars, etc.)
Things that might not slide across ice (cotton balls, felt scraps, feathers, etc.)

  cover art The snowy day / Keats, Ezra Jack

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