Banishing Boredom

Photograph of bored childNow that summer has arrived, many children will find themselves with more free time on their hands. If you are worried about hearing “I’m bored!” we have a solution: create your own Boredom Busting Jar! When your kids say they are bored or have nothing to do, send them to the jar, and soon they will have an activity to keep them occupied. It is a genius idea in its simplicity. Children will have a stockpile of activities, freeing caregivers from being put on the spot to think of the perfect afternoon project.

Start with a jar with an opening large enough for a hand to reach in and pull out a piece of paper. If you don’t have a jar, you can use a box, coffee can or other container. Create a list of activities children can do on their own, together or with the family. Cut the individual activities out, and place them into the container. You can label or decorate it as desired. When someone utters the phrase “I’m bored!” send them to the jar for an activity.

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Fidget Boxes

Photograph of a fidget boxDoes your child need a little extra help focusing during story times or other children’s programs? We’ve got you covered! We’re proud to be introducing the Fidget Box–now available at all three branches and on Bookmobile, Jr. What is a fidget you ask? A fidget is a small tool (disguised as a toy) that kids can hold, squeeze and, well, fidget with, all the while helping them concentrate. Fiddling with a fidget is a great and quiet way to channel energy that might otherwise disrupt others. Our fidget boxes contain toys, I mean tools, to tantalize the senses, including a small weighted lap blanket, a Koosh ball, Tangles and more!

What about fidgeting when you aren’t at the library? Try Silly Putty, Play-Doh or stress balls. You can also try making your own fidgets. Cut up a pool noodle to make a stress ball. Wrap a pipe cleaner around a pencil or take out the middle man and wrap it around your finger, as seen here. And don’t worry grownups, you can fidget too–keep one of these by your desk and just see how productive you can be. Happy fidgeting!

Shhh! Stop Saying Libraries Are Dying!

Photo of scolding librarian

There are many, many things that I dearly love about working in a library, about providing children’s services and that absolutely thrill me about my decision to pursue my post-graduate education in library science. But people telling me…

“That’s what Google is for.”

“Nothing relevant is even in print form anymore; even books can be digital.”

“Once everyone owns a Kindle no one will even go to the library.”

“You chose, like, the Latin of professions.”

…are DEFINITELY NOT among those many, many things. (Don’t even get me started on, “You need a degree for that?”)

Because the truth is, libraries are not just giant warehouses full of musty, dated books, just like librarians are not brittle, grumpy ladies who wear ugly cardigans and cat-eye glasses on chains and shush you from on high through lipstick-stained teeth. (We are really more ChapStick people.) Continue reading

2013 Missouri Building Blocks: It’s A Tiger!

book cover for It's a TigerCreepy creatures and scary stories abound in October. A book that isn’t TOO scary but will build anticipation and excitement is “It’s A Tiger” by David LaRochelle. It starts in the jungle with a monkey swinging from vine to vine. No. Wait. That’s not a monkey…IT’S A TIGER! Your child won’t be able to stop himself from shouting as you turn the pages of this fun Missouri Building Block nominee. But if you are worried about sharing scary stories with your child, here are some suggestions: Continue reading

Reading Nonfiction Books

Nonfiction books work in a different way than stories. You don’t need to read a cookbook or repair manual from front to back; you can use the index to find the information you want. Explore a title like “Big Babies, Little Babies: Discover the Enchanting World of Newborn Animals” by Lorrie Mack Share to introduce and practice using a table of contents or index.

When sharing nonfiction with your child, revisit the book several times, focusing on a different tool within the book each time. One day, use the index to find a topic. Another time, use the glossary to define new vocabulary.