2014 Missouri Building Blocks: The Watermelon Seed

Book cover for The Watermelon Seed by Greg PizzouThe Watermelon Seed” by Greg Pizzoli

Crocodile loves watermelon so much that it becomes a regular meal choice – for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. This love for melon leads to a gulp with a seed included. What might happen inside Crocodile’s tummy? Have you ever swallowed a seed?

While reading “The Watermelon Seed,” try pausing the story just after the seed is swallowed. Encourage the kiddos to make predictions about what might happen to Crocodile. After the story, try some of these extension activities.

  • Plant a seed and watch it grow! Discuss the conditions that plants need to grow – water, sunlight, warmth, etc. Would a seed be able to grow inside a stomach?
  • Make a chart of favorite foods – write out the names of family members and encourage them to draw a picture of their favorite.
  • Visit the National Watermelon Promotion Board website for lots of fun facts about watermelon, and make sure to visit the Carvings page to see some really interesting creations. You can even enter a watermelon carving contest! This website also has many great recipes and a section just for kids.

Check out some of these titles on watermelons, planting seeds, swallowing things and the human body: Continue reading

Stuffed Animal Sleepover

Mini Fig BearSince stuffed animals frequently attend story time, we decided to have a special story time for them last week at the Columbia Public Library. Over 40 stuffies attended with their families. Many decided to stay after the library closed for a special library sleepover just for the stuffies.

Tutor Dino vs BedtimeAfter all the stuffies were snuggly tucked into bed and given one last kiss goodnight, many of the stuffies decided they just weren’t ready to go to sleep. Miss Chaquill, a tutor from A Way With Words/A Way With Numbers, read them Dinosaurs Vs Bedtime by Bob Shea. Apparently the dinosaur gave them ideas. According to the library’s security footage, the stuffed animals began to awaken shortly after the library closed.

In case they woke up in the middle of the night and needed another story, we left a few books out for them to quietly read in bed. The stuffies had other ideas.

Bats LibraryThe owl led several of the stuffed animals to the third floor where he did a special retelling of Bats at the Library by Brian Lies. The stuffies pretended they, too, were bats. Continue reading

Cooking With Kids

daughter making cookiesCooking with children is about more than food. It’s also about spending quality time together and making good memories. It can teach kids confidence and independence, and even some math.

I recommend starting with cookies. Two of my younger sisters still talk about how much they enjoyed making cookies with me when they were kids. (They are 8 and 10 years younger than me.) Two years ago my older son said, “Mom, I remember baking cookies with you every Christmas. Will you continue the tradition with my son?” His son was 6 months old at the time, but he was still able to press down on the cookie cutter to make cookies. Last year he was able to help stir the batter. This year, he’ll be able to do even more. When I asked my younger son if he remembers baking cookies as a child he said, “Sure. I think that was the beginning of my enjoyment of cooking.” He now cooks for himself and loves to invite friends to his home for meals. The older son also cooks and often has dinner ready when his wife comes home after picking up the children at daycare. Continue reading

Give the Gift of Reading!

presentLooking for a gift for little ones? The gift of reading is beyond compare. And while you can check out all your child’s favorites at the library, we understand there may be some special titles you’d like to keep at home all the time. The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books produces an annual Guide Book to Gift Books every November. Find over 300 titles divided by age group with author, title, description, publisher and current price. Print out your pdf to take shopping, or download it to your smart phone and away you go!

Missouri Building Blocks 2014: Count the Monkeys

Book cover for Count the MonkeysCount the Monkeys” by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

What will you count in this “Count the Monkeys” book? You may find grizzly bears, lumberjacks, beekeeping grandmas, wolves (who don’t mix with the grandmas – shocker) and more. Each time you count, you also get called on to do a fun action, such as move your arm in a zigzag line to confuse those crocodiles. But where are the monkeys? Read this fun book and find out!

After you share the story, take the book further with these fun activities:

  • Feed the monkey! Use construction paper or a large paper plate to make a monkey face. Cut out a large mouth for the monkey, too. Place the monkey face over a small trash can or laundry basket, and laugh along as your kids throw in fake fruit, use it as a beanbag toss game and more.
  • Count with monkeys! Using felt, cut out monkeys and bananas. Assign each monkey a number and place them on a felt board. The children can then give each monkey the number of bananas matching the number on the monkey.
  • Dance like a monkey! Do the “Jungle-Pokey.”
    You put your monkey tail in,
    You put your monkey tail out,
    You put your monkey tail in
    And you swing it all about.
    You do the jungle-pokey and you turn yourself around.
    That’s what it’s all about.
    Repeat with other jungle animals/animal parts.

Remember to help your child vote for his or her favorite Missouri Building Block Picture Book after you’ve read at least five titles.