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!

2016 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award

Photograph of child readingThe Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award is presented annually to the author and illustrator of the picture book voted the best by preschool and kindergarten children. Over the next 10 weeks we will be featuring book reviews and ways to enjoy this year’s nominees. Once you have read at least five of the nominees, you can vote for your favorite.

Want to get started reading the 2016 Missouri Building Block nominees? Here’s the list! Continue reading

Rhythm Sticks

This month for toddler story time I put on my brave face and brought out our collection of rhythm sticks. I’ll be honest parents–I wasn’t sure how this would go over with the toddler crew. Would the sticks be used for evil instead of good? Would they take flight across the room? Would a wee one poke their eye?

Photograph of rhythm sticks
To my relief, using rhythm sticks turned out great! The toddlers were so excited to try out something new. They tapped, made noise and used them to drum on the floor. And, best of all, there were no accidents. Rhythm sticks will for sure become a part of my regular rotation of story time fun.

The benefits of using rhythm sticks with young children are endless. Rhythm sticks: Continue reading

Fall Arrives and Leaves Leave

Today is the first day of fall, and we’re already seeing hints of it all around us. Leaves are changing color, woolly worms are wiggling and the scent of pumpkin spice fills the air.

"Fall Leaves" book cover
One of my favorite books about autumn is “Fall Leaves” by Loretta Holland. This picture book plays on the different meanings of the words “fall” and “leaves.” It takes you on a journey through the first stirrings of the season through changing leaves, cooler weather and shorter days, and then it ends with the reader at winter’s doorstep. The illustrations capture the colors of fall and all the beauty of this time of year. The end of this book brings the story into your home with instructions for a wonderful activity where you and your child can gather leaves and make painted leaf prints to decorate your walls.

If you want more fall fun for your little ones, here are some other activities you can do with your child at home and at the library. Continue reading