Storytime Picks from Monday, February 27th

Three more days of February to go! The weekend offered a temporary chill, and cold times always mean more indoor times, so our storytime audience was ready to warm up and get loud with a few high energy stories about a couple of unruly dinosaurs:

No T.Rex in the Library
by Toni Buzzeo
illustrations by Sachiko Yoshikawa

When Tess misbehaves in the library, her mother puts her on a ten-minute timeout. But a knocked over pile of books unleashes a dinosaur that proceeds to run and rip his way through the children’s section. Can Tess contain the rampaging dinosaur before it destroys the library books?

Dinosaur VS. Bedtime
by Bob Shea

Roar! This little dinosaur can conquer any foe, from a big slide to boring grown-ups, but then he must face his biggest foe yet: Bedtime! Can dinosaur reign supreme over the irresistible pull of sleep?

Dinosaur books are a great way to bring physicality into your kids’ reading, so encourage them to participate with their own sounds and movements. Roaring and stomping along with the dino characters can allow kids to enjoy reading in a different way.

And if you’re looking to add something else special to your dinosaur reading time, try out one of these crafts with your children:

Dinosaur Finger Puppet

Paper Plate Dinosaur

Wading Dinosaur Paper Craft

Dinosaur Cookies

Paper Clip Dinosaur Cut Outs

Sensory Dinosaurs

Storytime is every Monday at 10 am and is intended for all ages.


Art Group – Wednesday, February 22nd

Outside may have been a far cry from frigid, but the PTLL craft area was white as snow.Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Groupgot fun and fluffy this week, experimenting with cotton balls and tempera paints. Never ones to fear a mix of textures and paint, our little artists got right into it.

Getting started is super fun. Make sure to have your kids feel the pile of cotton balls first. Ask them what they feel, them have them tear apart one of the balls to see how the texture, shape, and size changes. If they like, have them build a temporary sculpture out of the fluff and dismantle it one ball at a time as they use them for painting and other possible crafts.

The simplest painting method is to use the cotton balls like they would use a paintbrush. The kids dipped each ball in the paint and then smeared it around the page. Blending colors is especially easy with cotton balls, so encourage your kids to combine colors and see what new colors they can produce on their paintings. Point out difference in application – Where on the page is the paint heavier and where is it lighter? Where do the colors combine and where do they fade? Asking questions helps kids learn a vocabulary to associate with being creative.

Once your kids master painting with the cotton balls – and it won’t take long – have them explore the many ways to use the balls on the page. The fluff easily sticks to the paint, so have them use it in the work they create. They can even paint on top of the fluff for additional texture to their painting. Compare and contrast the brightness of the paint on the white cotton to the paint on the page.

Used cotton balls can be discarded or hydrated to use as texture for other projects. Kids don’t often like to use the same ball once there is already paint on it, but you can reduce the amount of balls you use by tearing them into halves before the painting begins.

As always, don’t forget to have fun and be a little messy!

Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group meets every Wednesday at 10 am and is open to all members and visitors (with paid admission to PTLL’s playspace). The group is run by Megan Spak and Elisabeth Moyer, with assistance by Emily Fear.

Storytime Picks for Monday, February 20

With only nine days left in February, it looks like the cold winter has finally caught up with us. Not much snow, but there’s definitely a chill! What better way to warm up on a frosty Monday than to join in with the storytime group, do some fun stretches and shouts, sing some fun songs, and learn a bit about a certain kind of bird that prefers the ice and snow: Penguins!

Before we started our penguin-centered story, we decided to build one for ourselves. The project is super easy and can be done individually or with a group. Using the following template, cut out individual pieces in the appropriate colored construction paper, then have the kids assemble the penguin, one part at a time.

After we had our storytime penguin assembled, we settled in for our featured book:

A Penguin Story
by Antoinette Portis

Edna lives with her fellow penguins in the article, and though the only colors she sees every day are white, black, and blue, she is convinced there is something… else. Exactly what, she is not sure, but she sets out to find that something else.A Penguin Story is beautifully illustrated, vividly imagined, and lovingly told. Readers will have fun with the frosty explorations of our plucky heroine and be delighted at the resolution, which finds Edna and her friends in awe of a tiny, but important piece of new information about their world.

When reading with younger children, focus on the color story. What do white, black, and blue mean to Edna and her fellow penguins? What other colors does she find in the end? What colors dothey like best and why? Use the room to illustrate different colors in their own environment. What colors dothey see most often?

With older children, have them consider the things that Edna might find on her next journey. Talk about the Arctic, the environment, and what other animals the penguins may come in contact with. Create a follow up story for Edna using the construction paper penguin, or try doing snow drawings with white chalk on black or dark blue construction paper.

And for more fun, try these other penguin books:

Storytime is every Monday at 10 am and is intended for all ages.

Art Group – Wednesday, February 15

The Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group has made a special habit out of re-using materials in fun and creative ways. Today’s project was no exception. Looking at the abundance of toilet paper rolls in the arts and crafts area, we decided to use them for further experiments in print making. Lots of paint, lots of cardboard tubes, lots of recycled paper. The results were nothing less than excellent.

We figured there would be a lot of stamping of each end of the tube, which results in perfect little paint circles on the paper surface. If pressed down quick enough and with enough pressure, the paint can even form a bubble on the tube-end, giving the paint print a distinct mark once applied to the page. Color-mixing is especially easy this way, either by dipping the end in multiple colors, or by layering different colored circles on top of one another on the page. Either way, a great pattern is merely a matter of repetition and color choice.

Of course our artists would surprise us by using the tubes in an unexpected way. Instead of dipping each end in the paint, many kids chose to roll the entire side in the paint and then roll it on the paper, leaving a varied trace of paint that could then be mixed with the circles… or by fingers!

Honestly, color mixing just seems more fun when done by hand. The texture of paint can be irresistible to young children, so don’t be afraid to let them handle the paint even when using non-fingerpaint paints, so long as they’re non-toxic. After they’re done painting with their fingers and hands, have them try using other paint tools to see what kind of textures they can add to the page. And make sure you’ve got those long sleeves rolled up tight!

Another quick reminder on painting with kids – encourage your kids to work on a single project for as long or as little as they like. As long as they are learning something from each project, it does not really matter how long it takes them to create. Some kids require a lot of time with a single work, some only want a minute or two. It’s okay to let them be done when they think they are done. There’s always next time!

Next week: We continue the print fun with cotton ball prints. Ooh, fluffy!

Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group meets every Wednesday at 10 am and is open to all members and visitors (with paid admission to PTLL’s playspace). The group is run by Megan Spak and Elisabeth Moyer, with assistance by Emily Fear.

Storytime Picks for Monday, February 13

On this chilly, sunny morning before Valentine’s Day, our storytime group was robust as ever and the seating in the reading circle was totally packed. We even had a lone driver pull his “car” adjacent to the space. We invited him to the carpet, but he said he could see from his spot inside the car. We did our storytime stretches, our customary storytime shout, and sang a fabulous rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” But we were most excited to get to today’s story, a contemporary classic featuring one of today’s favorite children’s literature characters:

Pigeon Wants a Puppy
by Mo Willems

Pigeon has moved on from buses and hot dogs to firmly declare his love and desire for… puppies! But can a little pigeon care for a big ol’ doggy? Can your kids stand up to his requests, demands, whines, promises, and bargains? Each turn of the page will have your kids yelling “No!” amidst delighted giggles.

Willems is a star in the children’s literature world and there’s little question as to why. His illustration style is both simple and enduring, graphically bold and developed with a sketcher’s fluid sense of motion, reaction, and animation. His characters speak to even the youngest children without sacrificing intelligence, humor, or warmth.

Need more Pigeon? Check out his other titles!

Need more Pigeon in your life? Who doesn’t?!? Check out this great animated video for Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Storytime is every Monday at 10 am and is intended for all ages.

Art Group – Wednesday, February 8

With the Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group, we’re all about being resourceful. In the Fall, we experimented with paint prints using Q-tips, string, fabric, and (my personal favorite) apples! We continued with this week’s project, utilizing something that might be familiar to a lot of kitchens: Cookie Cutter Prints!

The process is exactly what it sounds like. Lay out some paint in shallow trays – we used tempera – and let the kids dip each cookie cutter into the paint, then stamp it on the page to leave a print. It works just like stamps, only with more color blending and a larger variety of potential shapes and combinations. They can layer shape upon shape or make a pretty pattern all over the page.

Mixing colors is inevitable, especially when working on a project with multiple children. Make sure to call attention to the new colors formed out of the base paint colors used. As your children what colors they like to mix together and why. Do simple color equations with them: Yellow + red = red, etc.

Like stamps, cookie cutter prints are great ways to spruce up a simple craft project. Images can be used for cards, wrapping paper, collages, even on clothing and other fabric items. The same old print project can be easily revived by a simple change up of the surfaces used. Don’t want to use art or construction paper? Try printing on newsprint or recycled paper bags.

The importance rests with your child’s ability to be resourceful. Encouraging creative expression through household objects can enable thoughtfulness and open mindedness at a young age. Once their creative minds start to grow, you’ll be amazed at their inventiveness. The emphasis on the process (rather than the results) will foster an independence in their art-making.

Toddlers, Twos and Threes Art Group meets every Wednesday at 10 am and is open to all members and visitors (with paid admission to PTLL’s playspace). The group is run by Megan Spak and Elisabeth Moyer, with assistance by Emily Fear.