Early Literacy the Affordable Way

We Children’s Librarians have purchased lots of cool and educational toys to help build early literacy skills at the library. You may have seen some of these at our Discovery Time, such as the cloth box with colored scarves to pull out, the fancy colored nesting blocks or the counting food cans. However, you can encourage early literacy skills for little or even no money whatsoever – just be creative with items around your house! Below are a few ideas for you and your family to enjoy.

Stacking Bowls. Don’t have the money to buy a fancy nesting toy set? Take a set of different-sized plastic or Tupperware bowls from your home and let your child play with them. These bowls can help teach concepts of size (little fits into medium fits into big). You can even stack the bowls upside down and build a snowman (insert your own “Frozen” joke).

Magnetic letters on fridgeMagnet Letters. I‘ve been seeing lots of toys with light-up letters that feature sounds and word samples. Pretty nifty. But for my money, nothing beats a good old set of magnetic alphabet letters. Spell out words and sentences right on the fridge. Put some tape up, and make your own preschool Boggle board. My mom was fond of putting a new word up every day – great for vocabulary building and letter recognition!

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Tech Tips for Ages 2-5

PreK AppsYou may have seen our posts highlighting apps for kids or seen our dragon computers featuring all sorts of educational games. But do you wonder whether your child is old enough to have screen time? Daniel Boone Regional Library recently created a “Tech Tips” wallet-sized card just for you. These tips reflect the most up-to-date guidance from early childhood professionals for ages 2-5. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for kids younger than 2.)

  1. Limit screen time to 15-20 minutes a day, and stick to it.
  2. Teach your child to ask you whether it’s OK to turn on a device.
  3. Be aware of what your child will be doing on the device.
  4. Select activities and apps that encourage creativity, collaboration and discovery.
  5. Encourage your child to record a story or song, take pictures or draw.
  6. Look for apps that support your child’s interests.
  7. While your child is using a device, be actively involved with him or her.
  8. With eBooks, explore the technology first, then your child can focus on the book.
  9. Don’t keep TVs, computers and electronic devices in your young child’s bedroom.
  10. Lead by example. Don’t spend big chunks of your time on your devices.

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Fall into Fun Programs

The kids are back to school, the temperatures will (hopefully!) cool down soon and the fall edition of “At Your Library” is now available. Here’s a look at just a few of the up and coming fall programs you can find at your local library in the next couple weeks.

Block Party

Wednesday, September 3 • 10-11 a.m. , 3:30-4:30 p.m. , 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Columbia

Playing with blocks develops a child’s math, language, social and science skills, as well as being lots of fun! Come to our block party to build, talk, explore and create together. Families, ages 2-6.

Otis program on September 4th!Otis the Tractor Party

Thursday, September 4, 2014 • 5:30-7 p.m. in Columbia

The calf is stuck in Mud Pond, and only you can help Otis the tractor rescue him! So starts another adventure involving Otis, the star of a beloved book series by Loren Long. Drop in anytime during this session to create your own farm animal puppet, join a tractor parade and try to escape the treacherous mud maze. Ages 3 and older. Continue reading

Welcome to Story Time!

Kids enjoying story timeHave you attended a story time at Columbia Public Library? If not, prepare yourself for a fun time – songs, rhymes, stories, big books, flannel boards, puppets and more are featured as the library staff educates and entertains in each thirty-minute program. Below is valuable story time info for both our regulars and new story time visitors. We have story times for different age groups, and we try to keep our story times on a fairly regular schedule (only occasionally interrupting for a special program such as a visiting performer or annual Summer Reading-themed programs or wrap-up). Continue reading

Ready Early, Read Rhymey

Humpty Dumpty clip artYou have probably already heard that it is never too early to start reading aloud to your child. Sometimes we field questions about what the age minimum is for summer reading, obtaining one of our library cards, etc. The answer? There really isn’t one. Birth, in utero, we aren’t picky. Literally, never too early. We mean it. That is because the sooner children are read to, then the easier their transition to reading independently will be.

“But, Random-Library-Lady-Writing-This-Blog-Post,” you’re thinking, “my brand new bouncing baby, while perfect in every way, won’t even be able to recognize a blurry version of MY FACE (you know, me, the one who gave them life?) until around three months; how can it possibly be helpful to read books to a newborn?” Continue reading