A terrible mix-up happens at the castle! The baby princess Priscilla and the piglet Pigmella switch places (it's the kind of thing that happens all the time in books). Can a piglet become a princess and a princess be happy on the farm? Fairy tale fun for all ages, but especially those ages 5 and up.
Today’s children are expected to have strong pre-literacy skills before they enter kindergarten. How can parents ensure that they are providing the right experiences for their children to develop these skills? Many parents don’t realize that literacy education actually begins in infancy.
The good news is that helping your child attain such skills is much easier than you may think. Almost ANY activity that you do with your child is helping them develop literacy skills. It can be as simple as talking and singing to your child, reading to them, or even describing to them what they are feeling, hearing, tasting, touching, seeing and doing.
One simple activity to start with is looking at pictures. Look at family photos, or pictures from books and magazines and talk about what you see. Better yet, check out some of the UAPL’s wordless picture books. Snuggle up in your favorite comfy chair, look at the pictures and make up your own stories! This activity helps your child develop narrative skills. We have many wordless books, but some of our favorites are:
When two pigs have their house destroyed on accident by their much larger friends, a moose and a bear, they decide to make a house that will fit all four of them comfortably. They hire the best builders in the woods, the beavers, to build their new home. This is a sweet story of friends and finding happiness in the woods. This is for picture book lovers of all ages, but especially those in Preschool to Second grade.
Doug is a robot who is supposed to be plugged in to download all of the information he needs about the city in which he lives. However, his window looks out into the city and the urge to explore and learn on his own is too great! All young explorers ages 4 and up join Doug on his adventure through town.
Do you have a few favorite things? I just love chickens, the Muppets, and silly books. So, for my last blog of 2013, I’ve combined them all into one! Read some wonderful stories about mischievous poultry while you listen to classical music presented in a whole new way.
Can you spy the pets? Look through the hole in each page and see if you can guess the pets. If you like this, check out the other I Spy books by Edward Gibbs. Great fun for ages 2-5.
It’s time to have fun with food! There are a lot of great picture books out there that celebrate food – from using food to make art, as in The World of Food by Carl Warner, to the life of vegetables as seen in Little Pea by Amy Rosenthal, to the fun of discovering all that our utensils can do, as seen in The Table Sets Itself by Ben Clanton – there is plenty to get imaginations running and full! And if reading all about food gets your appetite going there are also some great easy recipe books for kids too.
For a sneak peek at one of my favorite books about food, The World of Food by Carl Warner, check out the video below. Warner creates stunning, fantastical worlds using food as art. Each page is themed with a different color and an imaginative description. This book not only teaches kids about colors and offers an interactive experience trying to guess what foods make up the different landscapes, but it provides a backdrop to making up stories that go with each world. For more information on how he creates these fantastical worlds see his website Carl Warner.
There are also some great books that celebrate all things utensils. A few of my favorites are:
The Table Sets Itself by Ben Clanton tells the story of when a young girl’s task of setting the table turns into a fantastic adventure as the utensils come to life, spoon and dish run off on their own, and they must be convince to come back! This book turns a routine task into an imaginative adventure.
In Chopsticks by Amy Rosenthal, explore the wondrous life of chopsticks! This story celebrates both friendship and independence as, after a slight food mishap with a very tough stalk of asparagus, the chopsticks, who have been together forever, must spend some time apart. One is on “bed” rest and the other ventures out on his own. What will the pair do without one another? And how many amazing stories will chopstick bring back to tell his best friend?
Spork by Kyo Maclear celebrates individuality and uniqueness as Spork, a little bit fork and a little bit spoon–but not quite one or the other–must find his way in the world of utensils.
Who lives over in the hollow? Owls, bats, mummies and werewolves help readers count from one to thirteen for spooky Halloween fun. Read and sing this story to the tune of “Over in the Meadow”. Recommended for ages 4 and up.
Phonological awareness is a child’s awareness that sentences can be broken down into words, syllables and sounds. Music naturally encourages development of this pre-reading skill by allowing kids to play with language using rhythm, rhyming and repetition. Take a peek at this short video for more information:
Did you know that it is very easy to make your musical instruments at home? Check out some great ideas from Nancy Stewart!
At the UAPL youth department, we have an extensive collection of children’s music. Check out some CDs and have your very own sing-a-long at home.
A child's simple note about cancelling bedtime ends up on the desk of a newspaper reporter, which then lands on the front page of the newspaper. Everyone reads this and bedtimes are stopped. What will happen to everyone with no bedtimes? A good sleepy-time read-aloud for ages 4-8.