Bright Ideas | June 2013
Tech Fun with BabySmash | Fingerplay Friday | "Scene" on ALSC-L - Dad-friendly crafts, Promoting a "Dig into Reading"
Where's That Giggling Coming From?
A three-year-old yells in the children's department to his mother, “ABCs, ABCs!” He points and runs toward a computer on a child's-height table. He's heading for the Baby Smash computer. Soon the toddler is happily clicking the mouse and pushing keys on the keyboard and laughing and smiling. All is right with the world.
This freeware product, at http://www.hanselman.com/babysmash/, is the perfect thing for our library. We recycle old computers and make parents happy, with a side benefit of teaching children about colors, shapes, and letters. Onto old computers that can't be used in the library for any other purpose, the freeware program is loaded. Using an old monitor, keyboard, and mouse, babies, toddlers, and the occasional older child can sit, press keys, click the mouse, and watch and listen to what happens. The best part...for once, young children can bang away on the keyboard and know they are making the computer do something. No one is telling them, “Don't touch,” or “Be gentle.” This is their computer at the library to use. And it is in use seemingly all the time. Even better is when curious adults stop to press a few keys and see what happens. They leave with smiles just as big as the children!
How did we find this fabulous software? We didn't. It was suggested to us. A computer scientist friend had been looking for some way to allow his 14-month-old son to be with him while working in his home office filled with bits of old computers. Scouring the internet he found BabySmash, and his son loved it. Every key on the keyboard does something. Press a letter key and the letter comes on the screen and its name is said. Press a function key and a red square might come up, and a voice says, “Red square.” Move the mouse and colored dots trail across the screen. Click the mouse button and something else happens.
It's fun seeing how parents and children use BabySmash. Sometimes they sit together and press buttons. Other times, the child presses buttons and the adult browses for books to borrow. It's the child carried screaming from the library because he doesn't want to stop playing on BabySmash that makes us both smile and cover our ears at the same time. Soon it will be time to upgrade computers in the library, and maybe we'll be able to have more than one BabySmash computer in the department.—Shawn D. Walsh is Emerging Services and Technologies Librarian at Madison (Ohio) Public Library. Melanie A. Lyttle is Head of Public Services there, and she is lucky enough to have her office right by the BabySmash computer!
Fingerplay Fun Friday
Taking a page right out of Flannel Friday’s* (http://flannelfridaystorytime.blogspot.com) book, the Washington County (Oregon) Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) recently launched a brand new weekly service for our library community: Fingerplay Fun Friday!
Each and every Friday, we post a new rhyme video on our kids’ blog: http://kids.wccls.org. The posts are automated to go out on both our Facebook and Twitter feeds. This helps them reach the widest audience. The rhymes that we share are performed by a librarian and are intended to assist caregivers in sharing quick and fun literacy building activities with their children.
By using this simple and convenient online video-sharing tool, we have increased our ability to connect with parents and caregivers outside of the storytime environment. We also are able to provide a deeper conversation about why the rhymes are helpful. Each rhyme includes a brief description of why it is important and how it ties-in with early literacy skill-building. When appropriate, we recommend additional resources that can help extend the fun, like book recommendations or craft activities.
WCCLS is dedicated to ensuring that all children in Washington County grow into strong and confident readers. We firmly believe that the best place to start is with the caregiver. When caregivers have a thorough understanding of how reading-readiness works and a great big arsenal of fun ideas for engaging children in literacy enrichment activities, success is sure to follow.
Sharing rhymes is a great way to form a solid connection between caregiver and child. The rhyme videos are short and sweet, making them convenient for busy parents.
Fingerplay Fun Friday builds on our already successful rhyme-sharing initiative. Over the past year, WCCLS has offered online rhyme videos and free rhyme booklets to the children, families and childcare providers in our community. For more information, visit: www.wccls.org/rhymes and www.wccls.org/rimas. --Rick Samuelson, Youth Services Librarian, Washington County (Oregon) Cooperative Library Services
*Flannel Friday is a weekly online event for sharing flannel board and other library storytime activity ideas.
“Scene” on ALSC-L
Members of the ALSC-L electronic discussion list know that they can count on fellow subscribers for recommendations and answers fast! Some recent exchanges are shared below; maybe you too will find them helpful.
Easy Dad-friendly Crafts. A recent poster was in need of some quick and easy craft ideas for a Dad’s group meeting at the library. You might want to file these ideas away for next Father’s Day!
Neck ties: Cut out a tie "shape" from cardboard—a knot & tie or a bow tie. Use the cardboard template to trace and cut out ties on construction paper (or craft foam). Kids and dads decorate the ties with crayons, markers, stickers, cut-outs from magazines, etc. Attach yarn to either side of the tie knot or to the center of the bowtie. Dads can tie them on and wear them for the rest of the program and out of the library. (Idea from Cynthia K. Richey, Director, Mt. Lebanon (Pa.) Public Library) Find a tie pattern at: http://www.craftelf.com/kids-tie-craft-idea.html. Hint: Pipe cleaners work nicely for diagonal stripes! :)
Also check out the web for cookie recipes to make tie-shaped cookies for dad!
Also check out the web for cookie recipes to make tie-shaped cookies for dad!
Custom shirts: Dads bring in a white (or light-colored) shirt and decorate it with their child using fabric crayons. My husband wore his proudly for years! Remind crafters to include the date somewhere on the shirt. (Idea from Linda Pannuto, Youth Services Librarian, Orion Township Public Library, Lake Orion, Mich.)
Fun & games: Make sock puppets, kites, or bean bag games. Dad and the kids will enjoy them together even after they’ve left the library. (Idea from Laura Yanchick, Youth Services Manager, Joliet (Ill.) Public Library)
Another vote for kites: One poster suggested an easy kite plan at: http://betterinbulk.net/2010/03/kite-directions-for-preschool.html. Kids can decorate the kites with their dads and then fly them together afterwards. Prep time is reasonably minimal and all that’s needed is paper, twine, stapler, hole punch… supplies for decorating. (Idea from Rick Samuelson, Youth Services Librarian, Washington County (Oregon) Cooperative Library Services)
D Is for Dad Story Time: Vivian Milius shared a link to numerous father-friendly story time ideas available on her blog (http://vivianthelibrarian.blogspot.com/2010/10/abcdfun-story-times-this-weekd-is-for.html). (Ideas from Vivian Milius, Madison Library District, Idaho)
Summer Reading Promo. ALSC-L subscriber Liz Gotauco, Head of Youth Services, Merrimack (N.H.) Public Library, recently requested ideas for promoting her summer reading program. She compiled and shared the suggestions she received and described one of her summer reading school visits.
About a month ago, I asked you (and some non-librarian friends too) to help me think of some children’s books that feature iconic items that could act as clues, for my summer reading promo. The compiled list of responses is below. If it’s something you want to use in the future, here’s how I did it; I just came back from a visit today. I dressed up as an archaeologist (with one of the school’s language arts coordinators—it was fun to have a teacher involved), and brought in a big box that said “Artifacts – fragile.” We told students that we were reading explorers and we’d dug up clues to some books they loved. We asked students to raise their hand as they guessed the book titles. We took out the clues/artifacts one by one and provided ad-lib for them. For example, when we took out the candy beans from Harry Potter, we’d eat some and talk about the flavors; and we waved our hands before our noses when we pulled out the cheese from Wimpy Kid, etc. As for the props themselves, I printed out large clip-art pictures of each item, mounted on foam board.
Below is the list Liz pulled from. She didn’t use all the ideas –she is using titles that the school’s language arts teacher indicates are the most recognizable to each specific class.
Chapter Books and Props
Captain Underpants—Giant jockey shorts, a cape
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—Candy bar, stick of gum, TV remote, Golden Ticket
Harry Potter—Jelly Beans, map with “I solemnly swear I am up to no good”, golden snitch
Diary of a Wimpy Kid—Journal, moldy piece of cheese
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—Turkish Delight, stuffed lion, lantern/lamp post
Wonder—Boba Fett Mask, Bloody Scream Mask, Star Wars® items
Lemonade Wars series—Lemonade-related items, bell, money (“208” dollars), Valentine hearts
The Invention of Hugo Cabret—Picture of moon with rocket in the eye, pocket watch, wind-up toy (mouse)
Magic Treehouse—Four “riddles,” “Master Librarian” badge, wizard hat
Wonderstruck—Wolf, Museum of Natural History postcard, How to Teach Lip Reading book, locket
Tale of Despereaux—Spool of thread, soup, tiara
Picture Books and Props
Pigeon books—Hot dog, school bus, cookie, duckling
Pete the Cat—White shoes, red shoes, blue shoes, groovy buttons, cat
Polar Express—Bell, model train
Green Eggs and Ham—fox, box, mouse, house, green eggs, ham
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie—Cookie, glass of milk, straw, napkin
The Very Hungry Caterpillar—Apple, pear, strawberry, ice cream, pie, watermelon, cupcake, big green leaf (with bites)
Fancy Nancy—Blue duster, pen w/plume, Elton John glasses, How to Speak French book, feather boa
Stone Soup—Pot, rock
Lorax—Truffula tree, Thneed
Strega Nona—Pot, spaghetti, magic words
Martha Speaks—Alphabet soup, dog collar, treats