Monthly Archives: May 2012

LEGO Club!

HOW IT STARTED

There are many libraries that now host a Lego Club for kids and I wanted to jump on the bandwagon! I had a conversation with a patron who was talking about her son and how he wasn’t really into sports and was very quiet. I told her I was thinking about starting a Lego club at the library and she loved the idea because her son loves Legos. I advertised for donations and a few trickled in. The Friends of the Library bought a few larger boxes and some green base plates. Everyone wanted to know when the first meeting would be and I said I didn’t know because we didn’t have enough Legos to start! Finally I just decided to set a date and see what happened.

ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS

I sent out a plea for advice on how to structure the club. What ages? How long? Can they bring their own Legos? Should each meeting have a theme? Etc. I received so many emails from other Children’s Librarians in the state about how they run their programs – it was great. They had some great advice, tips and they told me what HAD NOT worked. The best tip I received was from a wonderful Children’s Librarian in the North Shore: a king-sized sheet to spread under the Legos to make cleanup easier. This probably saved me 20 minutes of cleanup time, no joke. I would have been crawling around on my hands and knees for a long, long time. Thank you!!

THE WAY IT WORKS

I decided to have the club for ages 6 & older, but younger kids could come with an adult. There would be a “Lego Challenge” written on the board but would not be required, just a guideline for kids who might want to do it. I bought a few Lego books to put out and I subscribed to the Lego Magazine – they send a bunch to teachers and librarians for free – so everyone who came to the meeting would get a copy to keep. I bought a sheet to spread out on the rug. I would explain to the kids that they could dump out the Legos onto the sheet and ask that they try to keep most of the Legos on the sheet. I also would put out small bins on the floor for kids who wanted to fill them up with Legos and build at the tables. I also had a survey for parents with ages of interested kids and which days & times worked best. I now have Lego Club twice a month, on the 2nd Tuesday and 4th Thursday from 4-5 pm. It seems confusing, but this seemed to be the only way for everyone to get to at least one meeting a month.

THE FIRST MEETING

The first meeting was during April vacation week. I figured this way kids would be looking for something to do and might come. I ended up with about 35 people! A few parents, about 3 girls and the rest ALL BOYS. It was amazing. Plus, once I set a date, I received TONS of Lego donations. And they were all extremely well-behaved. I was walking around the room and wondering what was going on – why were almost 30 boys (ranging in ages 4-12) being so quiet? They were completely concentrating on building. Legos may actually have magic powers. The “Lego Challenge” was to build a robot and some did, but most did whatever they wanted. I explained to them that they could not bring home what they made, but that I would display their creations in the Children’s Room with their name. (Only a couple younger kids had some trouble with this.) Also, the older kids did not seem to have any problem building next to younger ones. And clean-up was VERY EASY with a couple helpers and the sheet!

 

WRAP-UP

Basically, this is an easy program once you have your donations and figure out how it will work. The kids have been great so far. The second program I had around 44 people and my most recent one was about 25. And the parents are very supportive too. The creations are displayed for about a week and a half, which also advertises for the club, and then my staff breaks them apart to be used for the next meeting.

If you have any questions, just ask!

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Filed under Children's, Lego Club, Library, Programs & Performers

YA Fiction Review

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this one – better than the first one. I ran into a YA Book Blogger who told me she heard that people who read the Infernal Devices series first tend to like that one better than this and vice versa. I think I like the time period better in the other series. Anyways, I did enjoy this one and I just started listening to the third one in the series. Pretty good so far!

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YA Nonfiction Review

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of FaithCharles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed listening to this book and I learned a lot about Charles Darwin that I never knew before – actually, I really never knew much about him except that the idea of Evolution came from him. I thought it was a nice turn from a typical biography, with the focus being mostly about Charles and Emma, not just Charles and his accomplishments. Though the book was also largely about that as well. I thought it seemed well-written and researched and I found that I enjoyed it more than I originally thought I would. Some of the little details about their everyday life were nice and made them seem like real people. Biographies & Nonfiction are not my favorite genre, but I like to break out of my fiction box every now and then and this was a pleasant side trip 🙂

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Book Signing with Jo Knowles!

A few weeks ago I received my copy of See You at Harry’s – Jo Knowles’ newest novel!

    

I was so excited because I have been waiting so long to read this book and I was not disappointed. This is an amazing middle grade novel – Jo’s first in this age-level. Her past 3 books have been for teens/YA. Though each of her novel’s is unique, they all have a small piece of her heart within their pages. I was lucky enough to hear her read a few passages at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA. Jo always speaks so eloquently and candidly about her writing, and this was no exception. I am so excited to have my copy autographed and it’s has moved up to the “Autographed Copy” shelf  in my bookcase 🙂

And maybe I’m biased after having Jo as my writing professor, but I think this is one of the best middle grade novels so far …..perhaps a Newbery contender? We’ll see!

(my review of See You at Harry’s coming soon via Goodreads)

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Kittens in my Office :)

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Story Time ~ ART

 

My computer is on it’s way out, but it appears to be working now so I’ll try to get a post in!

Here are my story time plans….which my dog just stole off the table and my husband had to bribe her with a treat to get it back. The paper is a bit soggy and has teethmarks. In case you wanted to know.

Ahem….

Story Time – Art (ages 3-5)

  • Introduction (if there’s anyone new I’ll introduce myself and say a little bit about what we’re going to do. I usually ask how everyone is doing, if they did anything fun over the weekend. If there’s a birthday, we’ll sing 🙂
  • Announcements (I’ll let parents know about upcoming programs or remind them that there’s no story time the next week, etc.)
  • Opening Song: “My Hands Say Hello” (to the tune of “the farmer in the dell”)

My hands say hello, my hands say hello / Every time I see my friends, my hands say hello  (Ask kids to  name body parts and sing the lines again – as many times as your sanity allows.)

  • Books (part 1)

Patrick Paints a Picture by Saviour Pirotta                                                                                                                                            Art by Patrick McDonnell

                

Art is a really cute book about a boy named Art who does….you guessed it! Art. The kids really liked this one. Highly recommend it!! Love all of Patrick McDonnell’s books!

  • Song/Dance Break (I find that I can sometimes get 3 books out of them if we stop for a song/dance break. I usually use “Shake Your Sillies Out” by Raffi. I have no idea what tune this is supposed to go to, so I sort of made one up. It’s great for an especially rowdy group.)
  • Books (part 2)

~If I think they’ll make it through one more book, then I go for it. The third book I read was The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle. This is a great book because it shows the kids that art can be anything you want it to be.

  • Game/Activity (we played The Color Game – which is a song by Jim Gill. I have bags with construction paper circles of each color he mentions in the song and we go through and talk about what colors things are so they are ready for the song (it goes a bit fast.) We had Jim Gill at our library a few years ago and he was AWESOME!
  • Walking, Walking – I usually end with this game/activity/song. They LOVE it. Have them line up in a circle behind you and start walking in a big circle, saying the words and doing the actions.

Walking, Walking (to the tune of “Frere Jacques“)

Walking, walking
Walking, walking
Hop, hop, hop!
Hop, hop, hop!
Running, running, running
Running, running, running
Now we stop
Now we stop.
 
  • Craft (using Bingo Daubers the kids made their own “modern art” pictures. Fun & easy, especially as this particular story time doesn’t leave as much time for a long craft.
  • Snack (Yeah, I usually have a snack. I started it and now I can’t go back. I chose rainbow goldfish for this one, but I also try to get something healthy and allergy-free to go with it. Pre-cut apple slices in a bag (I’ve only been able to find these in larger bags at Walmart or Target) work well and the kids really like them. So do the parents!

Fin. 🙂

 

 

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Easter Story Time

Yup, it’s definitely past Easter. Trying to catch up on my Story Time posts!

Holiday picture books are tough to find – especially for 3-year-olds. They have the tendency to be on the longer side. The kids did pretty well with the two I chose: The Story of the Easter Bunny by Katherine Tegen and Bunny Trouble by Hans Wilhelm.

We played an Easter Egg matching game I made for the felt board. Basically, I hand each kid an egg and when I put the matching one on the board, the kid who has the matching one brings it up and puts it on the board. Very easy, but they love it.

For the craft, I took a couple different ideas and put them together. I had tons of leftover plastic eggs from when we used to have a big Easter egg hunt. I bought large yellow pom poms (unfortunately I had to buy several assorted bags for this, but we’ll use them later.) Each kid had a pom pom, two google eyes, and a little foam triangle for a beak. They glued these on and while they dried, they decorated the eggs and a foam bowl with Easter stickers. They shredded green tissue paper and glued it into the bowl. Then they attached pipe cleaner handles to the foam bowls and ended up with an Easter basket. The pom pom chicks went into the plastic eggs and were placed in the basket. The end result: an Easter basket with an egg which, when opened, produces a cute baby chick! I wish I had pictures but I guess I forgot my camera that day, but the picture below is what the chicks looked like.

  The chick craft idea came from freepreschoolcrafts.com

 

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