Tag Archives: kids

Before YouTube There Was The Great Courses

Lifelong learning and personal enrichment is available anytime and anywhere.  Hoopla has introduced The Great Courses to it’s collection.  The Great Courses are video classes produced and distributed by The Teaching Company.   Hoopla has made available over 212 courses taught by experts and professors where you can learn anything from do-it-yourself engineering to Greek 101.  You can stream any of these titles from your desktop or mobile device by downloading the Hoopla app, available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.  You will need your library card number and password to use the app.  You can view all 212 courses available by going to https://www.hoopladigital.com/collection/12811.

Magnificent Read Alouds

Reading the same book over and over to your preschoolers can get a little monotonous, for you. Your child probably loves to read the same book again and again. There are some great things happening for your child when you do that. It is boosting your child’s vocabulary and comprehension. It’s also helping your child have a deeper level of understanding of nuances in the story that just one reading wouldn’t give them. So go ahead and read that favorite again. Here are a few great stories that we think you will enjoy reading again and again!

4H Project Resources

I love the fair! I always have. One of my favorite things to do at the fair is take my time looking through the 4H projects. I am always impressed at the skill, care, creativity, and time these kids put into their projects. And of course, I’m impressed with the parents who take the time to help their children be successful.

It’s getting down to crunch time for those projects. As always, the Library is here to help.
Genealogy project- stop by for free access to Ancestry library edition. You’ll be able to add cool images, like census records, to your project.
Sewing-yes, you can check out a sewing machine at the Library.
Cake decorating-we’ve got books for that!
Arts and Crafts-check out all the classes on creativebug. You’ll be sure to find a project you love.
Home environment-we have decorating books that will inspire you.

Whatever you are working on, the library probably has a resource to help.

Walking Colors Your World

Walk around the world with your community this summer! Between June 1 and August 31, our goal is to walk a grand sum of 52,000,000 steps! This will take us across the 7 continents.  You can walk around a park, on your treadmill, or even around your home. Every step counts! There are many ways to track your steps. You can use your own personal step tracking devices, including smart watches, or pick up a free pedometer at the Library to track your steps.

Register and track your steps in the Beanstack app.  In each continent, you will track your steps in groups of 10,000 or 5,000. When combined with others, this will take us across each continent and eventually around the world.   You can see how well everyone is doing by stopping in the library and looking at our progress on a large world map.  You can download the Beanstack Tracker app in the Apple App Store or in the GooglePlay store.

Sometimes we forget that we have many beautiful places to walk right here in our own community.   Have you tried the trails at Bendix Woods County Park or Spicer Lake Nature Preserve?  You can walk right here in New Carlisle at Memorial Park and at Bourissa Hills.  To see more places to walk locally, watch the walking series on our YouTube channel.

Spring has sprung and summer is on it’s way!

This school year has been a stressful one.  Hopefully summer will be a time of peace and relaxation.  During all the peace and quiet, here are a few ways to keep your kids learning this summer.

Plant a garden.  It doesn’t have to be a big one.  There is so much to be learned by caring for and harvesting a garden.

Encourage your kids to write this summer.  It doesn’t have to be a formal affair. Have them write in a journal, write a story together, create a play, make a movie.

Fill your home with music. Check out some new genres. Maybe your family doesn’t typically listen to classical or jazz. Check it out! Maybe you will discover a new love.

Draw maps-maps of your house, your yard, your community, etc. Talk about scale and direction.

Learn new things about your community.  Visit places that you haven’t been to before. (Don’t forget to check out a pass at the Library for the History Museum in South Bend.) There are so many wonderful things to do in our area of the world and it’s easy to get busy and not take the time to experience them. Change that this summer!

Finally, make sure you participate in our summer reading program. Registration begins May 17 in Beanstack. This summer our theme is READING COLORS YOUR WORLD.  It really does!  We have a fun summer of reading, challenges, and activities planned for your family.  Join us for a great time!

Welcome to the Exploration Garden!

We are so excited to have you visit the Exploration Garden at the library! Many of you have walked the sweet little path that goes behind the children’s department.  We have a log to climb on, rocks to walk on, a stage to sing and dance on, and an akambira that you can play.

Beginning on April 15, you will also be able to use the mud kitchen, paint on the art panel, and complete the literacy activities that will be posted throughout the space!  Paint and a few other items will be available for checkout inside the library.  Please help keep the space tidy by putting things back where they belong. People are welcome, but pets should stay at home.

You are more creative than what you think!

Who has time to create something every day? You do, absolutely.

Join the Create Everyday Challenge in 2021. Your creative acts could be in cooking, sewing, knitting, doodling , jewelry making, journaling, decorating, using your Cricut, STEM projects with your kids, or making art in the form of collage, paint, or clay…or whatever! You are limited only by your creativity and Creativebug is here to help. With Creativebug you can experience the joy of creating with thousands of award-winning video classes taught by top designers and artists. The best part is the library offers Creativebug for free! All you need to do is visit our website and click the Creativebug widget. You then just login in with your library card and password.

Your challenge starts now.

Bring Back the Joy

I recently watched a child have a meltdown while doing homework. Why? Not because she is lazy or apathetic. She felt so much pressure. Unfortunately, kids feeling stressed and anxious is a very real thing in our world. Many times the joy of reading is sucked right out because of all that pressure. So, let’s talk about a few ways to reduce the pressure and bring back the joy.

I really believe that for children to understand the joy that comes from reading they need to see it modeled, especially those who find reading stressful.  Read in front of them. Talk to them about what you are reading and why you are enjoying it.

Read together.  Many families have popcorn and movie nights. Switch things up and have a special snack that it reserved for family reading nights.  Don’t stop reading out loud.  Just because your child can read independently, doesn’t mean that he/she always has to.  Pick a family chapter book and read it out loud.  Create a family book club and read together.  Read things that are funny!  Laughter is such a gift.  Read joke books, funny poems, comics and graphic novels. Use books as gifts and rewards.

Stop treating reading as a task and instead treat it like a treasure.    Cook things that you read about in books.  Go to places that you read about in books. Make things that you read about in books.

Here are some award winners to get you started.

Stay Warm, Read with Libby

I don’t know about you, but February is not my favorite month. I don’t like the cold or the dark. Once I get home from work, my favorite thing is comfy clothes, a fire in the fireplace, and a book to read. I don’t like to go back out, well, because it’s cold and dark. I find my next library book to read easily enough on the Libby App. If you haven’t tried it before, it’s super easy and available in both the Apple and Andriod app stores. Here’s a quick overview of how to use it.

When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

“Listen: This isn’t like any other tiger I’ve seen in a zoo.  It’s huge, as big as our car. The orange in its coat seems to glow, and the black is as dark as moonless night. This tiger belongs in one of Halmoni’s stories. I lean forward until the seat belt slices into my skin. The big cat lifts its enormous head-and it looks at me. And then the tiger raises an eyebrow, like it’s daring me to do something.”

When You Trap a Tiger is the 2021 John Newbery winner.  It is the story of a girl named Lily.  Her grandmother is sick so Lily and her family move in with her.  A magical tiger arrives right out of Korean folktales and it is Lily’s job to unravel a family secret.

Teaching Books is a free resource for all Indiana residents. It is full of all kinds of resources to be used with this spectacular book, including author interviews, book guides, and activities. All you need to do is scan this QR code and it will take you straight to the resources.


Learning is the Outcome. Play is the Method.

One my favorite childhood memories is hauling blankets, dishes, and dolls out into my backyard where I forced my little brother to play house under the only big tree in my yard.  I especially liked doing this in the spring when the leaves were budding.  I would pick them and “cook” with them.  My dad, a tree lover, was not a fan of cooking the buds.

Through creative and dramatic play children develop physical, mental, and emotional strength.  It helps with coordination, fine and gross motor skills. It grows physical strength and stamina. It is a good way to practice problem solving skills, decision making and helps develop risk awareness and judgement. It develops a child’s sense of self and autonomous thinking. It develops independence. It helps children to work with groups, learn to share, and how to resolve conflict. It helps them learn how to communicate, negotiate and build relationships.  It develops confidence and resilience.

Over the last two decades the amount of time children spend playing has decreased significantly. Children are also showing signs of higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression.  Allowing and encouraging play in children is incredibly important.

Allow your children plenty of time for unscheduled/unstructured creativity and play.  Play WITH your children. In a stressed out world, crawling into a blanket fort and going on an adventure might be good for more than just your child!

Reading Aloud

One of my favorite early childhood memories is sitting on the porch swing at my paternal grandma’s house.  Her house had once been a one room school and I found that magical.  My grandma loved books, maybe, because as a child of the depression, she didn’t have many of her own growing up. She would spend hours reading aloud to me-many of those hours spent reading our favorites over and over. I am sure that I love books because she loved books.

Learning starts by hearing.  Language develops while listening to it all around us. That is why talking to children is important!  Children who arrive at school with a large vocabulary do better.  Books contain more sophisticated language, which helps increase vocabulary, which helps children become more successful learners.  

Reading to older children is also important.  Many times when children become “independent readers” grownups stop reading to them.  A child’s “listening level” is usually much more advanced than their reading level.  Children in upper elementary and even middle school still benefit from being read to.  It helps children process difficult emotional issues and increases attention span.

As a sophomore in college, I walked into my children’s literature class to find that each day my professor was going to read aloud to us. At first, you could feel the uncomfortableness in the room.  We were nineteen and twenty.  We didn’t need someone to READ ALOUD to us.  That notion lasted about two days.  Then we were hooked.  We couldn’t wait to hear the next class day’s selection.  

Reading aloud to your child is the best way to promote the importance of reading and the joy that it brings.

Photo credit: Depositphotos

Picture Book Month

November is Picture Book Month! In honor of Picture Book Month, I want to tell you about an experience with one of my favorite authors.  The Mother Bruce series is written by Ryan T. Higgins.

Bruce is a grumpy bear. He lives alone and the only things that brings him any joy are eggs. He “collects” them from all over the forest.  Then he searches the internet for recipes and makes amazing egg dishes.  One day he stole, I mean collected eggs from Mrs. Goose’s nest.  Instead of delicious eggs, he ends up with four goslings that think he is their mother.  While Bruce’s grumpiness never goes away, he parents the goslings well and they all live happily ever after, on a beach, in the south.  There are several other books in the series and they are all great reads!

One day, I received a call from my sister and she asked me if I had ever heard of a children’s book author named Ryan T. Higgins.  “Um, yes!  He is one of my favorites”, I replied.   SO a few weeks later, with permission, I got up early one Saturday morning and drove an hour to the business that my sister works at and there, taking care of business was Ryan T. Higgins.  He signed all the library’s copies of his books, told me about a new one he was working on. He talked about the trip he was on with his dad and brother and took a picture with me. He was flattered when he found out I had driven an hour to meet him and is a really nice guy.

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