2016 Missouri Building Block Nominee: Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups

"Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups" book coverClose your eyes. Wait, open them! You have to finish reading this article. Okay, that’s better. Now imagine you are closing your eyes and thinking of a cute and fuzzy little penguin. Can you imagine anything more adorable? Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute. You can’t think of anything, can you? What if I told you that the penguin has the hiccups? You didn’t think it was possible, but that cute and fuzzy penguin got 50% cuter.

In our next Missouri Building Block nominee, “Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups” by Tadgh Bentley, poor Little Penguin gorges himself on chili and subsequently gets the hiccups. This book has some great opportunities for audience participation, as you have to help scare our cute heartburn-suffering protagonist. Besides talking to your child about the unpleasant side effects of eating spicy food before bed, here are some other activities you might enjoy: Continue reading

Books We Love: Sew and Play

I love to sew; I do it for fun and for relaxation. And I like to make things for my two grandchildren, so I was excited to discover “Sew and Play” by Farah Wolfe. It contains instructions for sewing 11 games for children.

First I made fabric pancakes decorated with brown felt syrup and yellow felt butter for the “Pancake Game.” I added a store-bought play skillet, plates and a pancake turner.

Photograph of "Pancake Game" pieces Continue reading

2016 Missouri Building Block Nominee: Bunnies!!!

"Bunnies!!!" book coverDeclan is a very friendly monster. He says hello to everything in the forest, from the clouds to the stumps. He also really loves bunnies. He gets super excited when he sees them. Maybe a little too excited…

Bunnies!!!” by Kevan Atteberry’s is a wonderful story with bright, inviting illustrations.The simple text is easy to read and understand and practically begs to be read aloud. “Bunnies!!!” can initiate conversations about meeting new friends and when it is appropriate to use loud and soft voices. This is also a fun story to act out with your children or with puppets. Regardless of how large or small your audience is, sharing the book is a delight and will leave you with a smile.

Once you have read at least five Missouri Building Block nominees, help your child vote for their favorite.

Check out this activity sheet for more books, rhymes and activities related to “Bunnies!!!”

2016 Missouri Building Block Nominee: Rex Wrecks It!

"Rex Wrecks It" book coverRex knocks down all the wonderful creations each of his friends builds out of blocks in “Rex Wrecks It!” by Ben Clanton. It makes everyone sad, including Rex. So his friends decide to work together, including Rex, and build something “awesomerific.”  Hooray! Now everyone can knock it down together!

I read this story to my young grandsons. One told me we shouldn’t call people names. (Sprinkles calls Rex a blockhead.) We agreed that it was not a nice thing to do. Later when we were playing outside in the sand making castles, my other grandson grinned at me and quoted the last line of the story, “[Let’s] wreck it all together!” So we did. I love it when kids make connections between a story and their own lives. Continue reading

CoMo (and Ashland and Fulton) Rocks!

Photograph of a painted rockEverybody knows that Columbia rocks, but did you know there’s an easy and free way for your family to express that sentiment? The project is called CoMo Rocks, which, at its core, is a community-wide hide-and-seek game that sparks creativity within the people of the city.

The premise is simple: you decorate and hide rocks anywhere outside for people to find. The person who finds the decorated rock can then hide the rock in another location. Or they can keep the rock and decorate a new one to hide. This creates a perpetual cycle of making, hiding and finding. Fairview Park, Stephens Lake Park and Cosmo Park are just a few of the common locales for hiding and hunting your rocks.

The CoMo Rocks project is picking up more steam than ever, as the Facebook page recently surpassed 1,000 members. Surrounding areas are participating as well: Ashland and Fulton are both playing, and Jefferson City has over 13,000 members in its Facebook group! These Facebook pages (linked above) tend to be the place that people gather to discuss, leave hints and show off their findings of the day. Check out the flyer and the Facebook groups to get more info. Get creative, get outside and get rocking!