Homemade Monday: Puzzle of Opposites

Here’s a new way to look at any of those wooden/board puzzles you might have in your toy chest, closet, or playroom floor your children are tired of putting together.

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Instead of putting the puzzles together based on the actual picture on the front of each piece, write and/or draw opposite pairs on each piece and the board onto which they fit. Turn the pieces so they are face side down. Then your children can match the opposites.

Book Review: Pete the Cat’s Got Class

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 Pete the Cat’s Got Class by James Dean.

51Zg+cghrYL__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_It’s the perfect read for children as they are preparing to head back to school.

Pete heads to math class in this story, which is one of his favorite subjects. He’s such a great mathematician that he volunteers to help his classmate Tom learn to add and subtract using Tom’s favorite toy, racing cars. Using something of great interest to learn a new task was successful! Maybe Pete will grow up to be a teacher?

Be sure to checkout this book at your local library, and let your librarian know how you liked it!

Tall Blocks, Small Animals

Books become more meaningful when you can expand the story to a hands-on activity. Here is one extension activity you can do with very little supplies.

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You’ll need to read the book Tall by Jez Alborough. (Hint: Stop by your local library and pick up a copy if you don’t own it.) Tall is about a few jungle animals who help a little monkey feel taller than he really is. This is a great book with very few words. You can use the illustrations to talk about what is happening on each page.

Next, get out the blocks or the LEGOs. You will also need a couple small animals or action figures. Now let your child’s imagination go wild. Let he/she build towers as tall as can be (just make sure no one is on the other side in case it falls!). When he/she is done building, place the small animal on top of the tower. Just how tall can the tower be before it falls over? Experiment with different shapes.

This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about the tower he/she is building. Ask questions like how tall do you think it can go before it will fall? What kind of tower is it? Why is the animal or action figure climbing so high? What is it the animal is trying to see?

Try to avoid yes/no questions as they require no other answer. To help expand your child’s vocabulary and comprehension of the story, you want to ask open ended questions.

Credit for activity idea: Teach Preschool.

A New Collaboration!

We are excited to announce a new collaboration with the Canton Repository!

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Laugh, Play, Read is now a weekly feature of games, stories, puzzles, arts, and information designed to foster early literacy and enrich children’s lives. Find a copy every Sunday in the Lifestyle section of The Canton Repository or visit this page to download and print your own for free.

Everything you love about the Laugh, Play, Read blog now delivered through our local newspaper and our website. Each week you will find activities you can do with your child as you read and learn about a new topic, laugh with characters in a comic strip, and play fun games. You’ll also see content highlighting the StartSmart initiative at your local Stark County District Library!

Make sure you stop by and tell us your favorite activity each week.

Reading Just 20 Minutes a Day…

Today’s post comes from a tidbit posted by Reading with Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers. Children learn new vocabulary by being exposed to new words, exploring new worlds, and experiencing new ideas.

IMG_3643Let’s do the math: If you read with your child for 20 minutes a day, you will have read 7,300 minutes over the course of a year. Let’s assume an average rate of 200 words per minute. Your child will have heard 1,460,000 words by the end of the year.

Multiply that by 5 years (birth to kindergarten) and your little one will have heard 7,300,000 words before entering grade school.

These are words your child may never have heard in his or her own environment and were likely coupled with images, concepts, and creative ideas your little one may also not have encountered.

Simply stated, reading is the easiest, and most entertaining (in our opinion), way to prepare your child for school – and life.

Be sure to visit the Reading with Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Facebook page for more great tips on reading with your child!