Community Spotlight: Day Dreams Foundation

Day Dreams Foundation logo

Founded in September 2014, the mission of the Day Dreams Foundation is to eliminate financial barriers to participating in extracurricular activities and promote healthy life styles, goal setting, academics, team work and respect for others.

Children who qualify for free or reduced lunch at Columbia Public Schools can apply for scholarships from the Day Dreams Foundation to pay for the fees associated with extra curricular activities.

In 2015, the Day Dreams Foundation awarded $8,635 in activity fees and equipment costs to 42 kids in Columbia!

The following is a list of extracurricular activities for which the Day Dream Foundation will provide scholarships. Continue reading

Take a Color Walk!

Two people walkingThis is an exciting time for young ones to be outside, observing how Mid-Missouri shifts from winter to spring. Plants are changing from little green sprouts to blooming flowers or trees within a few days’ time. Would you like to enhance your time spent outside? Try a color walk.

A color walk is very simple. As you walk around outside, look for different colors. You can use a log to keep track of the colors you have seen and where you saw them.  I’ve created a sample log you can view and print by clicking on this link. The log can be filled in with simple marks to show you have seen that color, or it can be more detailed with a word or picture describing where that color was seen. You can also create your own log, which is a great way to get your child involved and excited about their color walk adventure. If your walk is in a safe (and mud-free) area, you can also add texture to your walk by asking your child to look for textures such as smooth, bumpy, rough or soft. All of these tasks will help your child develop their vocabulary and sharpen their observation skills.

For more resources about colors, search our collection for books and kits on the topic!

2015 Missouri Building Blocks: Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera

Have you ever taken a song and added your own words? Jane Cabrera does this with “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”  As her characters row down the stream, they spot a vBook cover for Row, Row, Row Your Boatariety of animals, each making a noise. Have your child make the noise, too. Animal noises are a fun way to practice sounds. This is an early literacy skill—something that lays a foundation for reading readiness.

Children love to move. You and your child could sit on the floor, bottoms of your feet touching the bottoms of his feet. Hold hands and gently pull back and forth as you “row” and sing the song.

Your child could act out the story by pretending that a box or a laundry basket is a boat.  Does she have some stuffed animals she could set beside the “boat” and tell her own story? This activity helps with narrative skills and reading comprehension.

Continue reading

Books We Love: Jinx

Jinx coverJinx” is a juvenile fiction book that was first brought to my attention when participants in DBRL’s own Heavy Medal: Mock Newbery program decided it their winner last year. Its win nudged me into giving it a read, and I am so glad I did.

Jinx” is the story of an orphan (of course he is an orphan, you have to get those pesky parents out of the way so that our young characters can have any sort of adventures, right?) who lives in a magical world with fantastical facets presented though humorously matter-of-fact narration. The story kicks off with a stepfather attempting to leave young Jinx in a dense and dangerous forest, called the Urwald, that surrounds all of the cities in Jinx’s world. After an unlikely rescue by a grumpy old wizard named Simon, Jinx finds himself a wizard’s apprentice and gathers some sidekicks along the way. Adventure naturally ensues, and the story does a lovely job of examining the fact that “good” versus “bad” is not always a black-and-white concept. Jinx’s internal ruminations on the subject are particularly touching. Continue reading

Check It Out: Battle Bunny

Book cover for Battle BunnyRecently I have found several books that I feel are as much for adults as for children. One such book is a recent addition to the collection called “Battle Bunny” by Jon Scieszka. This is the (heavily edited) story of a young rabbit on his birthday. Countless are the stories about a young person who feels forgotten on his birthday, only to be surprised with a party thrown by his friends. We’ve been there, done that. At the outset, “Battle Bunny” is such a story. However, with the help of an additional author/illustrator, only known as Alex, the story takes a drastic turn. Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny and receives special powers, which he will use to put his evil plan into action!

What I love about this book is how it looks. Each page has been altered to look as if a young mind has taken the story into his own hands and not only changed the text, but also added to the illustrations with his number two pencil. You can still see the original text and illustrations, so reading both versions is possible. In my opinion, the story of Battle Bunny is more exciting than that of Birthday Bunny. Check out this clever book and see if you agree!