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Monday, July 25, 2016

Last Week of Summer Reading and Boredom Busters

Can you believe July is almost over? The last day to turn in your Summer Reading Log is THIS SUNDAY, JULY 31. Prize winners will be notified the first week of August.
 Did you know that more than 500 kids have signed up for Summer Reading? If everyone completes their Summer Reading, Roselle's kids will have read 360,000 minutes this summer. That's amazing!

Coming in August we will have two weeks of Grandparents Got Game, on Wednesday, August 3 and Wednesday, August 10. Bring your grandparent or grandfriend to the library for an afternoon of games, crafts, and snacks!

Looking to wrap us your summer with something fun? Here's an ABC of activities for August!

A: Airplanes! Make paper airplanes and see which style flies the farthest.
B: Blow Bubbles!
C: Camp Indoors!
D: Donate Food (or other supplies) to an Animal Shelter
E: Explore a New Park
F: Fly a Kite
G: Go to a Farmer's Market
H: Hide and Seek--play a giant game of hide-and-seek with friends
I: Ice Cream--have ice cream from somewhere new
J: Journal--make a journal
K: Play Kickball
L: Visit the Library
M: Check out a Museum Pass
N: Go on a Nature Walk
O: Watch a Movie Outdoors
P: Picnic in the Park
Q: Make a Fort with Quilts
R: Have a Relay Race
S: Make S'mores
T: Taste of Roselle on August 6, 7, or 8 and stop by the Roselle Public Library booth for a chance to win prizes.
U: Unplug for a day--No TV, Computer, Tablet, or Cell Phones)
V: Visit a Relative or Neighbor
W: Eat Watermelon
X: Play Tic-Tac-Toe
Y: Play with a Yo-yo
Z: Go to the Zoo

Have a great last week of July and remember to TURN IN THOSE SUMMER READING LOGS!






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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cold Blooded Creatures

There is a buzz in the air around here.  Next week the library is being visited by reptiles.  That's right, live cold-blooded reptiles.  It's all very exciting.  Lucky for us, Jim Nesci, an experienced reptile handler and educator, will be handling and teaching us about reptiles.  I thought you might like to learn a little bit about the reptiles who may make an appearance at the library.

Snakes are always popular reptiles.  Personally, I am very apprehensive around these creatures.  Jim has an Albino Burmese Python that he brings to his shows.  These snakes are native to Southeast Asian jungles and grassy marshes and are among the largest snakes on Earth as they are capable of reaching 23 feet in length and may weigh up to 200 pounds.  They also are excellent swimmers and can stay under water for up to 30 minutes.

The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is one of the largest tortoises in the world.  A male can be 48 inches in length and weigh up to 200 pounds.  That's one large reptile!  The giant tortoise is mainly a herbivore, which means its diet consists of grasses, leaves and woody plant stems.  In the tortoises' natural habitat, there is very little fresh water so they obtain most of their moisture from their food.  These giants can live up to 200 years!  Now that's a lifetime.

One of the most famous reptiles is the alligator and Jim Nesci has
one named Bubba.  I did not realize that alligators are native only to the United States and China.  I also learned that Louisiana has the largest alligator population as reported by the 2005 Scholastic Book of World Records.  I would have thought Florida had the biggest population but I guess the Gator Boys were in Louisiana rescuing gators a few years ago so it makes sense. The average alligator reaches the length of 13.1 feet and weighs 790 pounds.  Lucky for us, Bubba is 8 feet and over 200 pounds (but that's still not a small alligator in my books!)  While I never personally want to meet up with an alligator in the wild, I still find them intriguing and enjoy learning about them.

Hopefully you'll be fortunate enough to meet these cold-blooded visitors but if not, the library has some great books and DVDs available so that you can learn more about these amazing (if somewhat intimidating - my opinion only) creatures!

Reptile books
Jim Nesci






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Monday, July 11, 2016

We ALL Scream for Ice Cream on July 16th

Just about everyone I know loves ice cream.  You don't have to ask me twice if I want any.  Mint Chocolate Chip is my favorite flavor.  So lucky for you the Roselle Public Library is having an Ice Cream Social this Saturday, July 16.  While the ice cream we serve probably will be vanilla, we'll have some great toppings to add to it.  I am getting such a taste for ice cream right now.

Ice cream has been a favorite of our United States Presidents as well.  During the summer of 1790, a merchant from New York kept records of President George Washington spending $200 for ice cream.  That was a pretty pricy treat back in those days.  After Washington's death, inventory records of Mount Vernon revealed "two pewter ice cream pots."  Now there was a man with a sweet tooth!  I wonder if that's why he had wooden teeth?


President Thomas Jefferson had a favorite 18-step recipe for a dessert that resembled a modern-day Baked Alaska.  Want to try his recipe?  Check it out here.  If you do try it, I'd love a sample!


Even in 1813, the wife of President James Madison, Dolley, served a magnificent strawberry ice cream creation at his second inaugural banquet at the White House.

During World War II, FDR made sure each branch of the military served their troops ice cream to keep up morale.  Each branch tried to outdo the others.  In 1945, the first "floating ice cream parlor" was built for sailors in the western Pacific.  When the war ended, America celebrated its victory with ice cream.  Over 20 quarts of ice cream was consumed by Americans in 1946.


While I don't think we'll consume that many quarts here at the library, you have to admit it would be fun trying.  So come in and celebrate summer and reading on Saturday, July 16 from 12-2 PM.  You'll get to create your own ice cream sundae masterpiece while you are here.  Plus there are fun games, face painting and prizes to be had.  Bring your sweet tooth!
 
How to Make Ice Cream for Kids
History of Ice Cream
Books about ice cream


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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ready for Kindergarten: Physical Skills

Welcome to the final installment of the Ready for Kindergarten series! We will cover the necessary physical skills children are expected to have when they enter kindergarten. 

These skills include:
  • knows how to use classroom tools: pencils, crayons, scissors, paper
  • holds pencil correctly
  • able to button, zip, snap clothing and shoes
  • knows how to open snack and lunch packages
  • uses bathroom independently


The best way to ensure your child is ready to use classroom tools is to provide access to the necessary materials. They will need to bring their own scissors, glue, crayons, pencils and markers to school so why not go ahead and let them use them (with supervision) at home? 

 It might add 15 minutes to leaving the house, but try to encourage your little ones to dress themselves--including zipping up their coats and putting on their shoes. Their teachers will thank you! 

Here's one that I didn't think about before--how often do your kids open their own food packages? As with any task, practice makes perfect. Give them the opportunity to open packages at snack time or when cooking dinner.

In my work with the preschool set, I have observed that a lot of kids don't know how to use scissors and glue. Cutting with scissors strengthens the hand muscles used for writing. One way to give kids practice cutting is to have them cut out pictures from the newspaper or weekly grocery store advertisements. You can also use this task to practice letter recognition, sorting by color, and build up their vocabulary. Take all those cut-outs, give them a blank piece of paper and a glue stick and you have given them a full afternoon of activity.

We have a ton of books on activities for kids that also help them get ready for school. Personally, I like this one for the wide variety of activities and this one for the introduction to the scientific process.


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Monday, June 27, 2016

Latest Movie Based off a Book!



Mrs. Seuss here with some exciting news.  Another book from one of the greatest children's writer of the twentieth century is being released as a movie on July 1st!  This amazing writer has already had five other books made into either animated movies or live action ones.  Can you guess who it is?  I'll give you a few clues.

  • British writer
  • Over 200 million copies of this author's books have been sold
  • Typically writes from the perspective of the child character
  • Wrote the movie script for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Have you guessed the author yet?  The author is one of my favorites when I was growing up.  I must have reread one of the writer's books ten times and as an adult I still would read it again.  Okay, I've stalled long enough.  The author is....Roald Dahl.  I just love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (guess what's on my summer reading list again along with the sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator!).
The BFG story, which was first written in 1982, makes it way to the big screen on July 1st.  Other titles he wrote which have been made into movies are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, The Witches and James and the Giant Peach.  My son's third grade teacher made him fall in love with The BFG when she read it aloud in class.  He came home telling me we had to read this book together.  That was music to my ears and The BFG became a beloved book for us.

The idea for The BFG came several years before 1982.  Roald wrote down ideas for books in his "Roald Dahl's Ideas Books" - notebooks where he used to write down thoughts that came to him and were sometimes changed into stories.  Roald shared how the story of the giant developed.  In Danny the Champion of the World, the giant was the character in a bedtime story Danny's father told him. Roald often told his own children the story of The Big Friendly Giant, even going so far as to climb up on a ladder outside his daughters' bedroom and use a bamboo cane to pretend to blow happy dreams in through their window.  How cool of a dad is that!
Why am I telling you all of this?  Because if you have never read a Roald Dahl book, YOU NEED TOO!!! He was an amazing writer and I just know once you read, you will have to read more titles by him.  Plus the books are always better than the movie.  So come in, check out one of his titles to read and then you can watch the movie version.  You won't be sorry.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Ready for Kindergarten: Social Skills

Hello again friends! Let's take a look at this week's Ready for Kindergarten topic: social skills. Given the academic focus of kindergarten, it's really in everyone's best interest if these skills are well developed before kids get to the classroom. But do not fret! If your child hasn't mastered them, you can work on them at home.
Social skills for kindergarten include:
  • ability to take turns and share
  • raising hand to speak
  • ability to stay in seat when appropriate
  • ability to keep hands to themselves
  • able to walk and not run when asked
  • able to maintain eye contact when speaking
If you spotted that these are mostly impulse control tasks then you are on it! It's true that impulse control is one of the most challenging aspects for children and it's also true that children who demonstrate impulse control are likely to have an easier time in school.

The best way to introduce your child to the idea of turn taking and sharing is to have them interact with kids their own age. Older children are more likely to let younger children have their way, whereas kids of the same age will not be so willing to give up their own needs. This sounds painful to watch, and it can be, but one of the best ways to learn is by doing. If kids are in short supply in your neighborhood, you can play board games as a family--but remember that the goal is to teach taking turns and sharing. You can also play games like Mother-May-I or Simon Says to practice following directions.

Raising your hand to speak is a tricky one. There aren't a whole lot of places in life where hand-raising is a prerequisite for speaking. This is a learn-by-doing activity as well. You could make a game out of it or attend some of our summer performance events on Thursdays, where your child can see hand-raising in action.

The ability to stay seated is hard for everyone. If you eat dinner together around a table, you could encourage your child to ask to be excused from the table at the end of the meal.

Keeping hands to themselves is a skill that takes a few years to build. Use gentle reminders with your children when you are in crowded places.

The reason kids need to be able to walk and not run when asked is for their own safety. Imagine being in the middle of a pack of running kids and falling down! It would not end well for anyone.

Maintaining eye contact sends a clue to the person you are speaking with. It also allows the speaker to read facial and body clues.

If any of these skills are of concern to you, mention them to your child's kindergarten teacher. They want your child to have the best possible experience in school and are happy to have input on your child.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Ready For Kindergarten: Math

Hello! Welcome back to another Ready for Kindergarten post! This week we will be tackling MATH. You'll be surprised at how easy and painless it is to incorporate math into your daily routine.

When your child gets to kindergarten, these are the math skills they are expected to have conquered:
  • Identify basic shapes
  • Name numbers 1-10
  • Demonstrate 1:1 correspondence for numbers 1-10
  • Sorts objects by color, shape, size
  • Recognize simple patterns and can duplicate them

Identify basic shapes is pretty simple. If your kiddo can properly name all the shapes above, then you are good to go. Just a small tip: in mathematical terms that's a rhombus, not a diamond. If these shapes baffle you, we have a few books here that can help. I like this one and this one, but we have plenty!  You can also cut shapes out of colorful paper and label them together. Or stop by the Youth Services department and use our bucket of magnetic shapes to create a picture.


Name numbers 1-10: sure your kid can count to 10, but if you show them 4, do they know that is four? Again, there are plenty of number books in the library (a whole section, in fact) or you can make a game out of finding numbers when you are running errands.



If you hand your child a bunch of pennies, can they count them? If so, they are demonstrating 1:1 correspondence. It's a skill that takes a little practice, but think of all the stuff you can count around the house! Take it one step further by writing down the number and have them bring you that amount of items.

Sorting is a skill that is built on the back of gained knowledge. A child can group things into a pleasing arrangement, but will need to understand the concepts of color, size and shape before they can group things into those categories. This is an excellent game to do while waiting--at a restaurant, at the doctors office, anywhere there is built-in waiting is a good time to practice sorting. And what can you sort? EVERYTHING! You can sort pocket change, small toys, crayons, flash cards, pencil erasers, family members...everything!


Spend enough time sorting, and soon enough your child will be making patterns. The ability to recognize and recreate simple patterns is built in to being humans. It's part of the reason that kids like routine--it makes things predictable. You can work on patterns by creating ones for your child to recreate. Start simple with an AB pattern (the top row is an AB pattern) and then gradually work up to other pattern types. Once they get the hang of patterns, they can create patterns for you to copy. Don't be surprised when they start pointing out patterns all around them!

Tune in next time, when we will cover social skills!

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