Friday, March 10, 2017

School Age Storytime “Mothers of Invention”


A K-3 storytime emphasizing pioneering women inventors and the challenges they faced. Opened with a discussion of the phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention”


In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps it Up by Monica Kulling – the story of the 19th century “Lady Edison” (also discussed NJ’s own Thomas Edison) Knight, eventual holder of twenty patents, fought discrimination and proved that she was just as intelligent an inventor as a man.

Action: Hi, My Name is Joe & I Work in a Button Factory – Left/Right reminders, get the wiggles out!


One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay & The Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul – showed the pictures and summarized this true story of a woman who had the idea of turning the mountains of discarded plastic bags plaguing her village into crocheted purses.


Imaginative Inventions by Charise Mericle Harper (poems about inventions – shared the Frisbee poem – another example of reuse, though eventually became plastic!)


Ada’s Ideas by Fiona Robinson – showed the pictures and summarized the story of the world’s first computer programmer.

Additional wonderful books featuring the women profiled above – great for “compare & contrast”:



Spic-And-Span! Lillian Gilbreth’s Wonder Kitchen by Monica Kulling --the story of the world's first female industrial engineer & efficiency expert and the first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering.



Closed with two books celebrating imagination, creativity & girl power (with a nod back to the paper bag we started with):

If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen – a kid imagines a truly spectacular house (I encouraged kids to design their own imaginative rooms) -- and The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch – a princess outsmarts the dragon holding her fiance prisoner then decides the shallow prince is not worth marrying.

Another wonderful empowered princess –Princess Atalanta from “Free To Be You and Me” – check  out the Youtube video HERE.

If you want to get your kids involved in inventing & constructing, you might want to do a “Cardboard Challenge” inspired by Caine’s Arcade – details at:, and 2017:

Bedm 3/2017

For more women’s history programs, check out:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

S.T.E.M. Playground : Straw Buildings, Snap Circuits & More! (Ages 2 to 102)


School's off so come and explore S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) at the library.  No registration required  Drop-in to this informal program. Stay a few minutes or several hours.  (Expanded to allow younger children with Duplo, Shapes, & Train Sets)

Create circuits with Snap Circuits; build simple machines with Legos; construct with Keva blocks, K'nex, or Straw Builders; defy gravity with your balancing skills; engineer a roller coaster; explore magnets; solve a math or science puzzler and more.


  • Thomas the Tank Engine Train Set Up (big bin of track & trains) – kids laid out tracks and played (on the stage)

on the floor:

on tables:

  • Deciphering codes (left over from Crazy 8’s Spy Program)
  • Visual Brainstorms Cards
  • Blokus Game
  • Checkers Game
  • Keva Blocks
  • Magnetic Blocks
  • Lego
  • K’nex
  • Snap Circuits
  • Unit Cubes



LOOKING FOR MORE STEM FUN? – Sign up for this program on March 2nd:


Celebrate Maker and Women's History Month -- We'll hear the story of Margaret E. Knight, the nineteenth century inventor who figured out how to make a machine that could fold a flat-bottomed paper bag, then we’ll make wild and wonderful paper bag creations.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pre-School Storytime/Craft: Valentine’s Day & Celebrating Friendship

Ages 3-6: Stories and songs celebrating friendship.  Includes a non-fiction book showing how animals greet each other, concepts of shape and direction, numeracy and rhyme. 
Optional additions address loss and bullying prevention.

Music playing when enter: More Tickles and Tunes (Track #5 Razzama Tazzama)

Book: My Friend Rabbit – Eric Rohmann (Caldecott Winner, sometimes friends drive us crazy!)

Flannel: Snowman’s Valentine  (source unknown)
Fay made a snowman, fat and fine
And oh how his button eyes did shine
When little Fay
Gave him today
A big red heart for a valentine

follow with:
Flannel & Rabbit Puppet: A Chubby Little Snowman (source unknown)
A chubby little snowman had a carrot nose
Along came a bunny, what do you suppose?
That hungry little bunny, looking for his lunch
Ate the snowman’s carrot nose
Nibble, Nibble, Crunch!

Book: Mouse’s First Valentine
– Lauren Thompson (guessing game – children figure out what is being used to make the valentine) – not that interesting, didn’t hold their interest 2017

Flannel: This Valentine is shaped like… (shapes, rhymes = phonemic awareness)
This valentine is shaped like a square
This valentine is shaped like a bear
This valentine is shaped like a circle
This valentine colored purple
This valentine is shaped like a rectangle
This valentine is shaped like a triangle
This valentine is shaped like a dove
This valentine is shaped with love!

Stretch: Head Shoulders Knees & Toes

“Animals use different body parts to say hello”

Hello, Hello! – Miriam Schlein (narrative non-fiction: ID animals, animal behavior)

Song: If You’re Happy & You Know It

“Some friends might not be human”

Book: Boy + Bot – Ame Dyckman  or  Clara and Asha -- Eric Rohmann (try Strictly No Elephants – Lisa Mantchev in 2017)

Flannel: May I Bring a Friend? based on the book by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers (1964 Caldecott Winner)

Song: Skinnamarink from Sharon, Lois, and Bram’s  One elephant, deux éléphants (also on other albums)

Skidamarink a dink a dink, Skidamarink a doo, I love you. (2x)
I love you in the morning, And in the afternoon, I love you in the evening
And underneath the moon;
Oh, Skidamarink a dink a dink, Skidamarink a doo,I love you!

(some groups): City Dog, Country Frog – Mo Willems (beautiful story of friendship, loss, and renewal)  and/or One --  Kathryn Otoshi – (anti-bullying parable where the number one stands up for the color blue against the red bully and all the colors discover that everyone counts.)

Flannel: Hi Harry (source unknown) – No one has time to play with Harry Tortoise until Sam Snail shows up…

Song: Make New Friends but Keep the Old
Make new friends but keep the old,one is silver and the other gold
A circle’s round, it has no end – that’s how long I want to be your friend!

Optional: Book: If You’ll Be My Valentine – Cynthia Rylant (rhymes articulate the different valentines a boy makes for family members and pets)

Glove or Flannel: Five Little Valentines (source unknown, can use numeral cards to reinforce subtraction numeracy)
Five little valentines from the grocery store - I sent one to mother, now there are four
Four little valentines pretty ones to see - I gave one to my brother now there are three
Three little valentines, what´ll I do? - I gave one to my sister now there are two
Two little valentines , it´s so much fun - I gave one to Daddy, now there is one
One little valentine, I´m almost through
Who should I give it to?  I gave it to YOU!

Optional VHS: One Zillion Valentines (Weston Woods) Reading Rainbow: Best Friends

Other possible titles:

Ribbit! by Rodrigo Folgueira
Flora & the Flamingo by Milly Idle
Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea
The Lamb-a-Roo by Diana Kimpton and The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond – Fran favorites


2.17: Emphasis on friendship and sticking up for each other in a difficult time.

Music playing as kids enter & during craft – Happy Feet album by Fred Penner
Book: Friendshape by Amy Krouse Rosethal
Flannel: This Valentine (shapes)

Book: One Good Deed by Terri Fields (Nice, a bit long, had to abridge for afternoon group)
Flannel: Snowman’s Valentine 
Action song: Happy Feet #8 from Fred Penner’s album
One by Kathryn Otoshi
Glove or Flannel: Five Little Valentines
Flannel: May I Bring a Friend? based on the book by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers (1964 Caldecott Winner) – skipped p.m.
Song: If You’re Happy & You Know It
If time: Book: Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev and/or Because of You by B.G. Hennessey or Whoever You Are by Mem Fox – no time for any, use next time?
Book: My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall  --> Valentine crafts (supplies: die cut hearts, foam hearts & letters, googly eyes, stickers, scrap paper, scissors, glue sticks, pipe cleaners, tape, 12x18 boards, white, pink, and red construction paper for cards, scrap construction paper.)



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