Turkey Tunes

Thanksgiving Greetings DrawingThanksgiving is finally here! Looking back over the history, it’s amazing how much this holiday has changed. Did you know that Americans did not celebrate Thanksgiving as an official national holiday until 1863? Also, the first Thanksgiving meal was held in 1621 and was three days long! The foods the pilgrims ate were not the same foods we think of as a Thanksgiving meal. The now-traditional meal was created by journalist Sarah Josepha Hale who created the children’s rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Hale worked for almost 30 years to make the Thanksgiving holiday official. After writing letters for years to five different presidents, Hale succeeded, and Thanksgiving was finally declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

In celebration of Sarah Josepha Hale, here are some rhymes to share with your family on Thanksgiving Day. Continue reading

2015 Missouri Building Block: Down By the Barn

Down By the Barn bookIn “Down by the Barn” by Will Hillenbrand, a dog happily drives a clunky blue tractor around a farm. Hitched to the tractor are two wagons, which the dog uses to collect a scarecrow and an array of baby farm animals. When the wagons are packed full of critters, the dog makes a stop at a school bus full of excited children. The story ends on a sweet note, with the scarecrow reading a book aloud, sharing a story with all of the children and animals.

The text is simple and contains repetitive phrases (Puff puff, clank, clank, moo, moo, and OFF WE GO!), adding new sounds to the end of each phrase as baby animals hop into the wagon. “Down By the Barn” is bursting with cheery art and onomatopoeic text that begs to be orated by all, making it a wonderful read aloud.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Picture of recycling binAmerica Recycles Day, celebrated on November 15th, has passed us by. Did you celebrate with your children by utilizing your local recycling center, repurposing something that you otherwise would have thrown away or by taking the Keep America Beautiful pledge? If you did, wonderful! If you missed out on celebrating America Recycles Day, that’s okay! You can celebrate recycling any day of the year.

Recycling is a great activity for children to participate in, not only because it helps the environment and reduces waste, but also because it can be a sorting project, requiring children to pay attention to details.

A great place to start your recycling journey is your local library, where you can find children’s books about recycling and examples of recycling. When we update the DBRL buildings or buy new furniture, we give preference to local products and products that have a percentage of the content made from recycled materials. Continue reading

2015 Missouri Building Block: Oh So Brave Dragon

Oh So Brave Dragon book coverDragons are fierce and mighty and SCARY- or are they? The lovable red dragon in David Kirk’s “Oh So Brave Dragon” is the scared one. Afraid of what terrible beasts might lurk in the woods, the dragon roars his loudest roar. Frightened by the ferocious sound he hears, the dragon bands with the little forest animals to roar back and scare the beasts away.  Only the little yellow bird and the readers recognize that there is no monster; little dragon is making the entire ruckus and scaring himself. This is NOT a quiet read. Your young ones will be roaring along in no time.

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The Raising of America: Free Community Screening

The Raising of America Logo

Children’s earliest interactions and environments shape their developing brains, building foundations for life-long emotional, intellectual and physical health. It’s important that parents and educators understand and start conversations about how early conditions affect babies and young children, and a great way to do that is to become educated on the topic.

The Raising of America” is a new five-part documentary special that explores how conditions faced by children and their families during infancy and the early years can literally alter their brain and affect a child’s future success — in school and in life. Many families are struggling to provide the nurturing environment all young children need to thrive. How does the growing squeeze on parents — for time, for money and for resources — impact the future mental and physical well-being of their children? What are the consequences for the nation? And how might we do better? The Signature Hour (episode one)  covers all of these issues. The four subsequent episodes each dive in for a closer look.

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