Thursday, November 29, 2012

Science Is Everywhere!

Interested in science and technology?  Then you'll love our upcoming series of new programs!  Starting in December we'll have tons of awesome science programming for elementary-aged children.  We've been awarded a grant* to develop a range of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs, and they'll start next month!

Each month we'll do an experiment-based science program for kids in grades 3 to 5.  Our first will be in December, and we'll be dissecting owl pellets!  In the coming months we'll experiment with chemistry by doing pH testing, we'll explore solar energy, we'll design our own space rovers, we'll make paper roller coasters to learn about physics, and so much more!

And in 2013, keep an eye out for LEGO Robotics, as well as some great summer science programming!

For now, be sure to sign up for our first Science is Everywhere program where we'll be dissecting owl pellets.  It'll be on Thursday, December 13 at 3:30 p.m.  It's gross, it's amazing, and it's science!  Registration starts today (Thursday, November 29), so stop in or call 617-972-6435 to sign-up!

*The Children's Department's Science is Everywhere grant is funded by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Library Services and Technology Act, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Week Hours

Amidst all the eating and relaxing of this Thanksgiving holiday, don't forget about the library!  While we will be closed for some of the holiday, there will still be time before and after Thanksgiving to come visit us!

The library will close early on Wednesday, November 21 at 5:00pm.  We will be closed all day on Thursday, November 22.

However, we'll still be open tomorrow from 9am to 5pm for you to stop by and grab books, movies, and whatever else you'll need for the holiday!  Perhaps you'll be traveling?  Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass the time!  Stop in and pick up some fun audiobooks to share with the whole family!

Additionally, we WILL be OPEN on Friday, November 23!  We'll even be showing a Family Movie at 2:00pm!  So stop in and see us the day after Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Baby Up and Baby Down

In today’s Nursery Rhyme Time, we shared an early literacy tip about tummy time and encouraging your child to sit up.

Did you know that different kinds of physical movement are incredibly beneficial to your baby? Tummy time helps develop back and neck muscles and visual tracking abilities. And sitting upright causes baby’s larynx to drop lower in the throat. That extra space allows baby to make a much wider variety of sounds, and is actually why humans can speak and animals can’t. So make sure baby spends time both horizontal and vertical!

You’ve probably heard of tummy time – making sure your baby spends plenty of wakeful hours on his or her tummy. When babies are young, this helps them develop their back and neck muscles. It can also decrease the likelihood of flat spots on baby’s head, a common problem for babies who spend too much time lying on their back or in reclining seats. It also allows baby to develop their visual tracking abilities, since they’re controlling their own head, and therefore eye, movements.

Healthy, a website sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics, has a whole host of tips as to how to best utilize tummy time (and a bunch of other great parenting tips). Though some babies don’t seem to like tummy time, the benefits are worth sticking it out. Try introducing fun new toys while baby’s on his or her tummy, and make sure you provide lots of fun interaction.

Once babies can hold their own heads up, help them practice sitting up. Spending time in an upright position is essential in developing baby’s language skills because it allows baby’s larynx to drop. Humans have greater spoken language than animals precisely because our larynx is low in our throats. When babies are born, their larynxes are closer to their mouths, which protects them from choking and allows them to drink and breathe at the same time. As they grow older and spend more time upright, their larynx drops. The additional space between our larynxes and mouths allows us to make a wider variety of sounds, and that’s why we can talk and animals can’t.

So while your baby’s tiny, make sure to encourage lots of tummy time. As your baby gets older, encourage him or her to sit up. Once he or she has spent enough time upright, your child will begin to make a much wider variety of sounds and will be able to begin the process of speaking your language!

Research and More Info:

The Healthy Children website provides a wide variety of information about child development, including info about tummy time.

The Baby Center website has more great info about tummy time.

We also have a few great books about language development! Try:

Language Development by Erika Hoff (Information about larynx dropping begins on page 43.)
How to Talk to Your Baby by Dorothy Dougherty
How Babies Talk: The Magic and Mystery of Language in the First Three Years of Life by Roberta Golinkoff

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What (or who) is in the water?!

Have you ever wondered who or what lives in the water right here in Watertown?  On Saturday at 11:00am, you can find out!

Carole Smith Berney is a wildlife photographer, and she'll be sharing some of her amazing photographs with us!  Along our very own river walk, she's found and taken pictures of raccoons, great blue herons, snapping turtles, and much more!  All sorts of animals live right next to us along the Charles River, and you can find out more about them.

Carole will also talk about the efforts that have been made to preserve the river and the surrounding areas, and to protect the plants and animals who call it home.

There's no need to register, just come on by at 11:00 on Saturday.  The program is geared toward families with children in grades K-5.  We'll see you then!