Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Special Christmas Edition!

Merry Christmas!  I absolutely love this holiday!  It is my favorite!  It is hard not to get excited when the kids come in all ready for Christmas!  I think that I work with the best age group in regards to Christmas!  Their ideas on Santa Claus, Rudolph, the elves and reindeer, as well as the North Pole never cease to amaze me!

This edition of the Explore to Learn: Early literacy blog is going to be a bit different.  Instead of giving you step-by-step of what we did, I am going to put it in pictures!  I will give you a few book, song, and craft suggestions!


This book is great for younger children.  I love counting
books and this book counts backwards.  There are also some
great sound effects in this one!

Who doesn't love Ollie books?  This book is also
great for a younger audience.  They will have
no problem sitting through this one!

Pop-up! Say no more!  I read this to a mixed ages
group with no problems at all!
Who doesn't love the "If You Give" mouse books?
I don't know a single good who doesn't giggle at
all the mischief this little mouth causes.

A holiday classic!  If you haven't read this yet... DO!  Although a
bit long, the pictures are beautiful and will keep your child's attention!

Everyone needs a good Christmas bedtime story, right? 
This one is more about winter than Christmas,
butit is still a great tale.
Perhaps my kids favorite that I read.  Anything by
Robert Sabuda is great!  He takes this classic
and makes it so much fun with the pop-ups!

Need a book that covers Christmas and New Year's?  This is it!
With great rhyming lines, you can't go wrong with this choice!


Found here.

Found here.

 Found here.

This is the version of the song that I use every year!

Jingle Bells... this isn't the version I use, but how
cute is this video?!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas video.. GREAT FOR KIDS!

     Well, that is it for 2011! Thanks for tuning in and we will see you in 20121  Have a safe and happy holidays from Miss Jaymi and the Mooresville Public Library!

L is for... Ladybugs and Llamas

     Welcome back!  It seems I have taken a mini-vacation, when in actuality; things have been so busy I haven’t had much time to blog!  A couple of weeks ago we covered the letter Ll.  This is a fairly easy letter in terms of finding books and crafts.  Just off the top of my head you could do leaves, lions, letters, lights and lawyers.  Ok, ok, that last one might be hard to create, but I promised a friend of mine from college who is almost finished with law school that he would make my blog during the letter L.  Happy Benny?  I, however, chose instead ladybugs and llamas

          The ladybug letter craft was interesting this week.  Although I had a couple of add-on parts, the bug and the antennae, I think what made this letter look the most like a ladybug was that I colored the letter L red and then put black dots all over. 

Materials:  Index card with capital L, red construction paper cut to look like a ladybug, pipe cleaner to look like antenna, and crayons

Front of card

Back of card

1)    Color the capital L to look like a ladybug.

2)    Trace the capital and lower case Ll on the back of the card.

3)    Glue the lady to the letter L.  Color black dots on the ladybug.  Glue the antenna to the ladybug.

With the older kids, I created a craft out of thin air.  I absolutely love the Llama,Llama books by Anna Dewdney, so I know we were going to create something with a llama.  After a little internet research on what llamas look like, I ended up with this.

I free-handed the llama shape.  I then gave each kid a bunch of cotton balls and had them glue them all over the llama to look like wool.  I also gave each child one googly eye to put on their llama once all of their cotton balls were firmly glue down.  Lastly, I put crayons out and if the kids wanted to, they could draw a scene behind their llama.  Although the whole craft was fun, I especially liked the last part because it made each kid’s llama craft different.
Books this week were an easy pick!  They were also really fun.  I just happened to come upon the most perfect ladybug I could think of.  Five Little Ladybugs by Karyn Henley was great because it was not only a story, but it is actually a finger play that I was able to teach to the parents.  Anything that allows your parents something to take home is always an added bonus in my book!  This book was also perfect because although it starts out spring-looking, it actually ends in SNOW!  Which living in Indiana in December means that we tend to get lots of snow, except this year!  I am not complaining, but my kids are!

As mentioned, the books I chose for the four to six year olds was from the Llama, Llama series by Anna Dewdney. I really wanted to read the Christmas book, however, I waited too long and it was checked out.  So I went with Llama Llama Mad at Mama.  This. Book. Is. Hilarious!  I have read a few others of Dewdney’s, however, I have somehow missed out on this one.  What a shame because I think every person, man, woman, and child, can relate to this book!  Can you tell that I loved it and would highly recommend it?

Music this week was the same as it’s been the past couple of weeks.  I did add a new song called, “Action Dance,” by Kate Kuper and Neal Robinson.  My 2-6 year olds loved this song so much they asked to do it again!  Don’t you love when that happens?  This song and many of her others can be purchased on iTunes.

That seems to be all for this installment!  Next time we will celebrate my absolute favorite holiday, CHRISTMAS!  Come back for some great Christmas ideas!


Monday, December 5, 2011

K is for... Kites and More Kites!

     Welcome back!  Sammy the Toucan finally gave me my camera back; however, I had to promise him that I would promote his Victorian Christmas PSA.  There Sammy, are you happy?
     I know that we have been on bit of a break, but now that we are back into the swing of things, let me introduce the letter of the week- Kk!  Kk is one of those letters that lends it to many proper names; at least it seems that was all my four to six year olds could think of. When I asked them words that start with Kk, I received, “Kate, Katie, Katherine, Kalyn, Kelsey, and Kennedy.”  Haha, I just love the way kids’ brains work.  I did, however, get kite and kids, also with a little prompting, koala. 
     My kids were at able to at least get this week’s theme: Kites!  Below is the alphabet card of the week.

Materials:  Index card with capital K, string, construction paper diamonds, crayons, and glue stick

Front of card

Back of card

1)    Color the capital K.

2)    Trace the capital and lower case Kk on the back of the card.

3)    Glue the string to the kites.

4)    Glue the kites to the card. Glue the knot of the string to the card!

5)    Add the letter K the other completed alphabet cards!

     As for the second craft for the four to six year olds, I continued with our kite theme.  Just like the kids when I asked them for “K” words, I had a hard time find other “K” crafts that I liked.  I thought about doing something with kittens, but everything I thought was cute and creative was either a bit too hard for the kids, or required too much time.  Thus, we ended up making kites out of cardstock, string, and crepe paper.  Although minimal in resources and prep time, the kids really seemed to enjoy being able to color and decorate their kite however they wanted. 
     As mentioned before, my four to six year olds are ALL ABOUT their independence!  I cannot tell you how many times a class I hear, “No Mom, I can do that by myself!”  I always encourage the kids to try the crafts on their own, but also remind them that it is okay to ask for help.  This kite craft was great because it required little assistance from the parents, which, in turn, really helped the kids’ self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.  Below is the finished craft that I created.  Needless to say, the kids' kites were MUCH more decorated than mine.

     I had a really good time picking out kite books this week.  I was a bit worried that finding a book solely about a kite would be hard, but I ended up finding a gem of a book called, Gilberto and the Wind by Marie Hall Ets.  First let me start by saying this book is OLD, which is why I love it!  Kids these days are inundated with so many colors, pictures, and words, I thought it might be nice to show books with simpler illustrations.  Although a big long, this book lends itself to skipping a page here or there without ever losing the plot of the story.

     As for the second book for the Story Time kids, I had ulterior motives in choosing this title.  This week, my library received THREE “Flat Stanleys” from a friend of mine who teaches school in Lithuania.  Cauli, our roving reporter, received a friend and blogged about their adventures here.  In order to introduce Geidre, my “Flat Stanley,” to the class, as well as continue with the letter K, I chose the book, Thank You, World by Alice B. McGinty.  You can use this book for many themes, however, I liked the fact that it not only had kites in it, but also allowed for me to discuss with the kids Flat Geidre and that she came overseas from another country. 

     Look for Flat Geidre in our video this week.  I also posted a few pictures below of some of the adventures Geidre went on.  This mostly included things we do during Story Time!

Geidre likes to listen to music on the library iPod.

Can you find Geidre in the toy box?

Geidre made the craft this week!  It was perfect size for her!

HO HO HO! Look who Geidre got to meet?

     Music this week was fun, fun, fun!  Because it’s December, I could care less if my music goes with the letter theme for the week, it is all CHRISTMAS music ALL THE TIME!  I am a stickler for the Polar Express Soundtrack, so my kids blow bubbles to it throughout all of December.  I also use a song from the Seasons and Celebrations CD by Kidzup Educational Music appropriately titled, “Winter.”  Both of these music videos below I found on YouTube.
     Lastly, I always try to introduce the kids to one new song a month that covers basic knowledge skills for preschoolers.  This may be a number, alphabet, color, or body awareness song.  However, this week, I found a fantastic shapes song by Parachute Express on the CD Sunny Side Up called, “The Shapes Game.”  I actually had a little bit of time, so I created the video below! I hope you enjoy it!

"When Christmas Comes to Town"
on the Polar Express Soundtrack.

"Winter" by Kidzup Educational Music.

"The Shapes Game" by Parachute Express.

     Well, that seems to be for this installment of Explore to Learn.  Next week will be our last letter update for the year.  After that, I will have my much anticipated Christmas Story Time followed by a few weeks of break, which really just means planning everything for January through May.  Stay tuned next week to see what happens!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Victorian Christmas Celebration!

Sammy the Toucan hijacked my camera(wo)man and made a video of his own this week!  We hope you enjoy it!

The Mooresville Public Library and Silly Safaris
proudly presents:


Bring your whole family out for this fun and educational event.  The Mooresville Public Library is just one of many stops during the Victorian Christmas Celebration! 
For a complete list of events, visit here.

Sammy and I hope you and your family have
a very merry Christmas!