Thursday, January 22, 2015

Today's Preschool STEM Tips!

This morning was our second session of Preschool STEM, and we learned about Tools and Measurement. We discussed how we use various tools to complete different tasks, and we learned how measuring works. Then kids got to do some hands-on experimenting with scissors, rulers, measuring tape, magnifying glasses, and scales!

Most of the tools we utilized today are things you probably have at home! Grab your scissors, rulers, and bathroom scales and try them out with your little one!

  • Do you have a ruler, yardstick, or measuring tape at home? You can measure all sorts of things in and around your house! Measure the length of your hand, arm, foot, or finger. How does your size compare to other people, animals, or items in your house?
  • Is there a scale in your bathroom or kitchen? What can you find to weigh? If you don't have a scale, you can compare the weight of two small things by holding one in each hand.
  • Let your child practice using scissors (safety scissors with blunt tips are best for little ones). Using scissors helps strengthen children's hand muscles, specifically the abductor pollicis brevis at the base of the thumb. This will make their hands strong enough to hold a writing utensil later!

We also used magnifying glasses at today's program. If you don't have a magnifying glass at home, you can make one using water and a clear, concave surface like part of a plastic bottle. Emma Vanstone explains how in this Science Sparks article.

Vanstone, Emma. "Make your own Magnifying Glass!" Science Sparks: Making Science Fun for Kids

Missed today's session? Don't worry, we still have one more Preschool STEM program! Join us next week, Thursday, January 29 at 10:15am, when we'll be learning about Magnetism! No need to register, just come on by with your three-, four-, or five-year-old!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Preschool STEM Programs this January!

This month we've got three weeks of Preschool STEM programs, the first of which was this morning! These programs focus on developing an interest and skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math concepts for preschoolers. For each of the three weeks, children will get to try lots of hands-on experiments to develop the early basic understandings necessary to be ready for in-depth STEM education once they start school.

We had the first of these programs this morning, focusing on Light and Shadows. Kids learned about what makes shadows, how shadows move and change depending on the angle and distance of the light source, what happens when light passes through colored paddles, and more!

Couldn't make it this morning? You've still got two more chances to try this fun program!

Thursday, January 22 at 10:15am: Tools and Measurement
Thursday, January 29: 10:15am: Magnets

They're all for children ages 3-5, and there's no need to register. And don't worry, the programs do not build on each other, so you will not feel out of the loop if you've missed any previous programs.


As you tried the activities at each station, you may have noticed signs with ideas for "Activities to try at home." Give some of these a try around the house to extend what we learned about today!
  • Shadow Puppets: Use your puppet at home with a flashlight or lamp. You can make more puppets with paper and sticks or straws.
  • Shadow Theatre: You can make your own shaddow puppet theatre at home! Drape a light-colored sheet between to chairs with a light behind it. Or aim a light or flashlight at a wall.
  • Shadow Tracing: Trace your shadow under a lamp or flashlight. Or when it gets warmer, try tracing parts of your shadow with chalk outside on a sunny day.
  • Light Paddles: We used plastic light paddles today, but you can make your own version. Use markers to color onto plastic wrap, then stretch it across the glass of a flashlight. Now you can create whatever color flashlights you want!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Additional Dog B.O.N.E.S. Programs in January!

We've just added more dates and times for our January Dog B.O.N.E.S. program, where independent readers can spend a little time reading aloud to a dog! It's a great opportunity for children to improve their reading fluency skills, as they practice reading with someone who never interrupts, never judges, and just listens patiently and unconditionally. The fact that this someone is also furry and adorable never hurts.

Thursday, January 22, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 24, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 29, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

We do ask that readers register for a specific, fifteen-minute time slot, so please stop in or call 617-972-6435 to register.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's Hours

It's another holiday week, and that means special hours!

Wednesday, December 31: Close at 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 1: Closed

The rest of the week, we're open our regular hours. So come in to visit us, come to a program, and grab some materials for the new year.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Hours

During the next two weeks, our hours will be a little different due to the holidays.  Below are the days when our hours are different than normal:

Wednesday, December 24: Open 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Thursday, December 25: CLOSED

Wednesday, December 31: Open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 1: CLOSED

Every other day for the rest of the month we'll be open during our regular hours, so be sure to come visit us!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's time for the 2014 Watertown Children's Book Awards!

Which new books touched your heart this year?

2014 is almost through, and we're taking a look back at some of the best books that entered our lives this year. We're doing more than just reminiscing, we're rewarding!  We're beginning the search to honor our absolute favorite books of 2014 with the Watertown Free Public Library Children's Book Award!

We've got a pretty great list of our own ideas, but more importantly, we want to know what you think!

What were your favorite children's books published this year?  Let us know in person in the Children's Room, or comment on this blog post to share what you think!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Get through holiday travel with great free apps

Chances are, this won't last the whole trip.

Traveling for the holidays and terrified about how you'll get through the car ride or flight? Of course, books and audiobooks are excellent choices to pass those long hours. But we also get lots of questions about apps for iPads and various electronic entertainment devices. There are tons of high quality apps out there that do more for their kids than merely occupy their time.

We research great apps through review journals, online reviews, and recommendations from other librarians and educators. We make many wonderful apps available on our circulating devices, and we give families a chance for hands-on exploration at our Digital Story Time programs. Most of the apps on our devices do cost money, but you have an opportunity during our programs to try them before you buy them.

Looking for something to download with no commitment? Here are some wonderful apps that are FREE to download!

PBS Kids Video by PBS Kids – Ages 5 and under

Toontastic Jr. Pirates Puppet Theater – Ages 5 and under

Felt Board – Mother Goose on the Loose by Software Smoothie – Ages 5 and under

Colors That Luli Loves by Michael Kariv – Ages 18mo-5 years

Jackie Junko by Springy Thingy – Ages 3-7

How Far is UP by E Sargeant – Ages 4-6

Chewing Gum Adventures by Happy Ink Publishing – Ages 4-7

Shout Science by Scott Dubois – Ages 7-11

Bill Nye the Science Guy by Disney – Ages 7-10

And as always, feel free to come on in and ask us for even more ideas.