Beat the Heat

Photo of children playing in waterWow! The summer heat is already in full swing, and August is promising to be even hotter! One way that I like to beat the heat is to face it head on by going outside and splashing around. You can do this too by going to the beach or the pool to catch some waves, or you can even turn to your own yard! Here are some ideas that will help you cool off at home.

  • Freeze toys in ice cubes — Place small toys like plastic cars or bugs into your ice cube tray. Fill the tray with water, and freeze it overnight. Take the ice cubes outside, and see who can melt theirs the quickest.
  • Ice cube painting — Fill an ice cube try with food coloring and water. (This is a great time to talk about color mixing.) Put plastic wrap over the tray and add craft sticks or toothpicks to each cube. (This is optional, but it will make a great handle for painting.) When the cubes are solid, use them to paint on paper or fabric.
  • Target practice — Draw a target on the sidewalk with chalk. Wet down a few sponges, and toss them into the target!

What would summer fun be without a soundtrack? Personally, I stay cool by listening to the Beach Boys, which you can find on Hoopla or on CD at your local branch. Or you can get really creative and make your own summertime playlist on Freegal.
Remember to wear sunscreen and drink lots of water!

Happy Moon Landing Anniversary, Apollo 16!

Photograph of John W. Young on the MoonPicture it. Landing on a cold, desolate, and inhospitable surface that is at once familiar and completely alien. A handful of others have gone before you, but nothing can compare to the vast expanse that awaits you. This is what the crew of the Apollo 16 – John Young, Charles Duke, and Ken Mattingly- must have felt upon their arrival on the lunar landscape. April 21st marks the 43rd anniversary of the Apollo 16 moon landing, the fifth mission to land on the moon and the first to land in the highlands.

Here are few fun facts about this mission: Continue reading

Great Websites for Kids – App Inventor and More!

Kids using touch screen computerThe 2014 Great Websites for Kids Committee recently announced the final selections for 2014! Looking for some fun and educational sites to share with your children? Try some of the links below! And be sure to check out Great Websites for Kids frequently – a different website is highlighted every week.

App Inventor
This site was designed to help beginners program mobile apps for android. The site offers tutorials with step-by-step directions, an online book and a “course-in-a-box.”

Code.org
Code.org is a site designed to support the learning and teaching of computer coding. It features Hour of Code, a special program designed to teach beginners how to code. Through well thought out tutorials people of all ages can learn Scratch, Hopscotch and Java programming languages. Continue reading

Encourage Curiosity!

butterfly nonfiction booksWe often want to build on our children’s curiosity, but do you always have the right answer when they ask, “Why?” We can often discover the answers together in books shared between parent and child. Knowledge about the world, even in very young children, is key to understanding. Pairing a story and a factual book on nature or science helps expand children’s scientific knowledge. Read aloud “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, and then explore a nonfiction book on butterflies. Since related activities can help reinforce learning, you may also want to perform a fingerplay of “Little Arabella Miller.” Here’s how.

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Every Scientist Needs a Lab Coat

It’s a summer of science at your library, so pull out your safety goggles, test tubes, skeleton models, microscopes, magnifying glasses and other scientific gear. Make lab coats using the following instructions, and create your own mad scientist names.

picture of a lab coatWhat you need:

  • white t-shirt, prewashed
  • cardboard
  • fabric markers
  • yardstick
  • pocket template, copied at whatever size you wish

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