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5 Easy Holiday Treats to Make With Kids

Baking together is one Pinterest-inspired holiday fantasy that’s actually doable, thanks to our completely kid-friendly cookies from the author of the children’s cookbook Baking Class. By Deanna F. Cook from 
Cozy Cookies Use our sugar cookie recipe or bake up a mix. Either way, the fun is in the decorating. What You'll Need: Butter, granulated sugar, an egg, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, milk, food coloring, sweetened coconut, assorted sprinkles and sugars for decorating. Countdown to Christmas: Crafts, Food and DIY GiftsActive Time:45 mins Total Time:2 hrs (includes chilling time) Get the Recipe




Sugar Cone Trees 'Tis the season to try a no-bake treat! Set out frosting, ice cream cokes, and sprinkles and let your little elves work their magic. What You'll Need: Vanilla frosting or recipe for Cozy Cookie Glaze, sugar ice cream cones, sprinkles, sugars, and/or sweetened flaked coconut for decorating.
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Young Children and Social Media

It is difficult to know what to do when your child becomes increasingly persistent about wanting to have more and more of an online presence. Here are some suggestions from Kara Corridan, the health director atParents, as she keeps in mind her experience with her young children.


1. Children need a social-media mentor, someone in the know who can help them navigate the right way to behave online. Ideally, that would be a teacher or a librarian. But as keynote speaker Mega M. Subramaniam, Ph.D., explained, teachers and librarians rarely have the opportunity to guide our kids in that way, because school and public computers automatically filter out all social media sites. Of course, there's a good reason for that. But I hadn't thought of the downside until Dr. Subramaniam pointed it out. She's the associate director of Information Policy and Access Center at the University of Maryland, and runs several social media literacy programs for tweens, and she suggests that in place o…

Show Me a Sign, Baby!

Studies have shown that preverbal children flourish when they learn sign language.

Distinct from American Sign Language (ASL) and other sign languages, baby sign language typically features simplified gestures and is used with hearing children to help improve preverbal communication. Libraries are getting involved in teaching it, offering classes to parents who want to communicate with their preverbal children. Both library staff and parents give these programs high praise. Anecdotal and scientific evidence shows that baby sign language can have long-term benefits.
Advocates also note that communication is a core aspect of social emotional development , and boosting it with sign language can only benefit young ones.

We have many books on baby sign language; check one out today!

~Excerpt taken from School Library Journal, July 2017

Why Storytime, a Classic Library Service, Endures

A Foundation for School

Multiple reports and studies emphasize the need for young children to be surrounded with books, to hear and learn big and interesting words, and to interact with language through play. In addition to those vital elements, storytimes in libraries and other learning opportunities in the community are now viewed as a critical component of young children's preparation to enter school. They are also vehicles for giving parents guidance on how to encourage early literacy skills at home.

Beyond introducing young children to stories, book characters, and print concepts, storytime expectations range from encouraging executive functioning skills in children to introducing them to the latest technology and learning apps. It is no longer a passive listening experience- it is a much about play as  it is the stories, according to Susan B. Newman, and education professor at New York University.



Engaging Parents
It's no secret that parents also play a much larger role i…

Using Props in Early Learning Programs and At Home

In an article written for School Library Journal by Lisa G. Kropp, we discover how using props can add a new dimension to a storytime at home. Props are extremely useful for five reasons:




They make it easy to model play.  Using a simple prop such as a tissue box to pull out scarves or another surprise makes it more fun. Caregivers can easily do this at home.They don't need to be store-bought.  Use easy to duplicate flannel board pieces, made out of oak tag or card stock. Make stick puppets for children to act the story out or extend the book by creating a new ending. They help little ones sit through a rhyme or story. Sometimes young brains need a different visual than the book.  Perhaps they are sitting on a lap 15 feet away from you or the illustrations in the book are on the smaller side or very detailed. Having a prop, such as an enlarged photo, a puppet of a character from the story or a flannel board to supplement the "turn of the page", creates more interaction to …

Here's a great App recommended in School Library Journal!

Mammals
Tinybop Inc., 2017. iOS, requires 7.0 or later. Version 1.2.0 $2.99 PreS-Gr. 2

Using this app, viewers can explore the attributes of an African elephant, a Bengal tiger, a brown bat, a red kangaroo, and a two-toed sloth.  Interactive options allow for a look inside each creature's skeletal, muscular, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems and, for two of the animals, their urogenital system.

While exploring the digestive system of each mammal, viewers experiment with menu options to determine the foods each animal prefers. Herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores are represented in the group, and astute observers may notice that the stomachs of these animals differ.  Food intake eventually produces waste, which young viewers will no doubt delight in causing to happen. Urogenital systems depict an elephant fetus and a kangaroo's joey nursing.

Kids can also explore the animals' unique traits: the bat employs echolocation to determine what is flying wit…

8 High-Tech Toys for STEM-Savvy Kids

There’s so much more to digital toys than your typical video games and computer programs. These eight innovative picks bring STEAM education to life through coding, robotics, animation, and more—plus they’re alotof fun.  By Liz Schnabolk from

1 of 8                                              Jimu Robot Meebot Kit Not your average toy! Made by high-end robotics company Ubtech,Jimuuses cutting-edge technology and six impressive robotic motors to follow your child’s commands. Kids start by building the bot with help from the iOS app’s 3-D, animated instructions. Then they can make him wave, walk, dance, and more with three levels of play that help them advance from learning basic coding concepts to writing their own programs.Ages 8 and up, $130. 2of 8
Think & Learn Code-A-Pillar Preschoolers can learn early programming skills while this wiggly worm works his way across the floor! As little ones rearrange the pieces in theThink & Learn Code-A-Pillar's tail to creat…