Five Activities for the Fall

It’s starting to feel like Fall around here. The air feels cool and crisp. The leaves are turning beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and red. You can find pumpkins and mums everywhere. So I want to share some outside of the box games you can play with your children right now.

img_95311. Friendly monsters. This is an easy project using materials you already have at home. I used felt and cut out random shapes and pieces. You could use old cereal boxes for a sturdy base. You could use construction paper or old fabric, feathers, pipe cleaners–whatever you might have on hand. Then the fun begins. As your children design the monster faces talk to them about what they look like and why. Ask your children to tell you a story about their monsters. Have fun with this activity. Let your child be creative. If you can record them telling you about their monster or write down the story.



2. Where the Wild Things Are. After reading Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, use up your craft supplies and create your own wild thing. Ask your child questions relating to the story to help with story recall. Ask your child what it would be like to be Max. Talk to your child about the wild things in the story. Ask your child what would it be like if they went to their room and dreamed of a faraway place with “wild things.”


3. Stacking Pumpkin Towers. This is a great STEM activity. You will need toothpicks and img_9529-2some kind of gummy candy. We used pumpkin candy. Give your children the materials (making sure to tell them to be careful with the toothpicks), and then let theme have fun trying to build the tallest tower. If their tower falls, let them figure out what went wrong. Guide them with clues. This is a great activity to teach problem solving. You can also include counting and measuring.



img_95304. Pumpkin Hammering. This is a great game to use a pumpkin if you do not want to carve it or if you have an extra pumpkin. Using plastic nails or large push pins and a plastic hammer, let your child hammer the nails/pins into the pumpkin. Add rubber bands around the nails or pins to create shapes. Talk about what shapes you created. Ask your child to identify the colors of the pins or the names of the shapes.




5. Fall Leaf Prints. This is a work of art for your refrigerator. It works best with watercolor paper, img_9549but you can use regular paper as well. Have your child gather three to four leaves–different shapes work well, if possible. Place the leaves flat under the paper. Rub the side of a white crayon over the paper pressing hard where the leaves are. (For younger children, you could do this before the children come to the table to make it a surprise.) Then let your child use watercolors to paint on the paper, allowing colors to mix. Watch your child’s face as the leaf shapes appear! And I recommend reading Fall is Not Easy by Marty Kelley.

Don’t forget to stop by the library and tell us which activity was your favorite this month!


Sing a Little Song, Recite a Little Rhyme: Part One

The next couple of week we will be sharing our staff’s favorite songs and rhymes. These can be heard during storytime at many of our locations.

Singing and rhyming can have a very positive impact on young children. Singing helps break up the syllables in words, which makes identifying the parts of words easier. Rhymes help children hear the sounds that make up words, which makes reading easier as children are able to identify parts of words quicker. For instance, say the words “Twinkle, Twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are…” out loud. Now sing those lyrics out loud. Chances are you slowed down a little bit to sing the lyrics. This made hearing the parts of the word simpler. It also allowed you to hear the rhymes better.


Fun fact: If children can identify all of the words in a word family (-at, -an, -ig, -it, etc…), they will know more than 500 words! How cool is that?!

So, here are a couple of rhymes and songs you can sing with your child when they wake up in the morning or after naptime, in the bathtub, when it is time to change a diaper, when it is time for bed, in the car…and remember, you do not have to be an American Idol to sing a song to your child.

Sunshine, Sunshine
(use a scarf to “dance” around your child–a Miss Elizabeth original)
Sunshine, sunshine warms my nose,
Sunshine, sunshine warms my toes.
Sunshine, sunshine warms my chin,
Sunshine, sunshine makes me grin.
Sunshine, sunshine at my side,
Sunshine, sunshine time to hide.
Sunshine, sunshine warms my head,
Sunshine, sunshine goes to bed.
(can be used with bubble, flower, raindrop, and snowflake)

A Hunting We Will Go
(change out the words mouse/house, dragon/wagon with your own fun rhyming words)
A hunting we will go, A hunting we will go
We found a mouse, and put him in a house
A hunting we will go.

A hunting we will go, A hunting we will go
We found a dragon, and put him in a wagon
A hunting we will go.

Stay tuned for more fun rhymes this month!


Book Review: Raymie Nightingale

Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Elizabeth. You’ll find Miss Elizabeth sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at one of our branches. She shares her review of the book Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo.

Image resultIt’s the summer of 1975, and Raymie Clarke has one goal in mind: to reconnect her family.  In order to do so, she has to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition.  And in order to win, she must learn how to twirl a baton and perform a good deed, like Florence Nightingale. 

During her baton twirling lessons, Raymie meets two competitors, Louisiana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski.  While struggling to come to terms with her separated family and other personal issues, Raymie quickly understands the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  All three girls learn that to get through tough times, it’s best to make friends and stick together.

Be sure to check out this book from your local library!


But that won’t work for my child…

“My child doesn’t like to sit still.”

“My infant likes to put things in their mouth.”

“That won’t work. My child can’t focus.”

“My child doesn’t like to read.”

“My seven-year-old doesn’t like to talk to me.”

These are the challenges I face every time I speak with parents about literacy and reading together. So today’s we are going to focus on what to do in these situations.

mad reader

I would like to preface this by saying I am in no way an expert on parenting or child development. The information I am sharing is based on experiences I have had and/or tips I have learned from experts in the field.

  1. Every child is different. Each child learns different. Each child likes different things. Each child has his/her own way of doing things. This is what makes working with children challenging, but it is also what makes working with children fun.
  2. There is no specific trick or tip that will work for every child. Remember the first rule: every child is different. And because of this, some things work better with one child than they do they other.
  3. Start early. Talk to your child when he/she is a baby. Read to your child when he/she is young. Children will pick up on these habits at an early age. Reading will become part of their routine. Talking to you will become part of their every day routine.
  4. Try different things. Going back to rules one and two, sometimes you have to try multiple techniques to get them to open up or to find that one thing they enjoy.
  5. Most importantly, just have fun! Laugh together. Smile often. And don’t be afraid to be silly. It is during these moments you will find some of the best conversations will happen. Your child will feel comfortable and want to talk with you, read with you and learn with you.