Family Games for Road Trips

Car TripOh, summer car trips. They’re those wonderful times when the whole family piles into a vehicle, heading off on a grand adventure! While the travel destination is usually exciting, the long hours in the car can become dull and monotonous. Want to spice up your family car trip? Here are some great games and ideas to make your next car trip journey just as fun as the destination.

  • Create a binder of activity sheets for each kiddo. Include road sign bingo, tick-tac-toe, stickers and coloring sheets. You can find TONS of free road trip printables online.
  • Choose a color or an object and then count them until you find 100 of that item. (Some examples include: American flags, statues, churches, red cars, etc.)
  • Create a fun interactive map for kids to keep track of the journey. Draw pictures of simple landmarks that are along the way. A homemade map is easy for kids to follow and gives them a clearer picture of how much farther there is to go.
  • Create a scavenger hunt. Give each child a list of items to watch for while driving.
  • Create a simple felt board memory game. Here is a link for a great tutorial.

Don’t forget the simple joy of reading out loud as a family. Stop by one of our library branches before you head out to pick up books or audiobooks for your trip! Just make sure that if you read print books, your reader isn’t prone to car sickness. The Harry Potter series, the Little House on the Prairie series and the Lord of the Rings series are great for family car trips. If you’ve already read those, check out these great family read aloud ideas.

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