Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Letter B books for Batman

Bobo has discovered the "easy reader" section of the library. This is where the beginning reader books are housed as well as beginning chapter books. Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a level 3 series of chapter books, which I find challenging for beginners. I read about 2 chapters aloud each night and it takes 20-30 minutes depending on how many questions Bobo asks. The vocabulary is challenging, so I can't imagine how long it would take an independent reader to finish.

Sidekicks Save the Day! begins with Robin, Aqualad and Speedy as children. They want more responsibility with missions. The heroes still think they have a lot to learn. Then, we jump to the sidekicks being grown up and finally getting a mission of their own. I think these books rely heavily on the show, but I haven't seen  it. The illustrations seem to be stills of the show with some blurriness. It is not my favorite thing to read aloud, but I still give it my all because Bobo:
1. Chose something on his own.
2. Is excited about reading these.
3. Is building his memory and anticipation by reading a few chapters each night.

Batman Versus Man-Bat, yes! The title is enough to reel you in, or a least me, and Bobo. Batman's enemy in this book is a bat who looks like a man, as opposed to a  man who dresses as a bat. This book is a level 2 and much more my speed. The story can be completed in one sitting and the story is interesting. Plus, it's really fun to say MAN-BAT in an ominous voice. The illustrations are vibrant and fit the mood and size of the book. 

And my pick is from the picture book section. Batman and the Toxic Terror features my favorite villain, Poison Ivy. The large pictures and minimal text make this Batman book ideal for preschoolers. Batman faces mutant tree and flies using the bat-glider. It takes place on Earth Day, so it would be a fun read to share that day as well.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Alcatraz Series by Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians
Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones
Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia
Alcatraz versus the Shattered Lens

All by Brandon Sanderson

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Horn-rimmed Glasses

Recommends for readers of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Spiderwick Chronicles and perhaps The Chronicles of Narnia

Summary: Alcatraz Smedry has the unfortunate knack for breaking things. After receiving a mysterious gift at the home of yet another foster family, Alcatraz discovers his talent may not be so unfortunate after all. Follow Acatraz's anti-hero antics as he tries to stop the evil librarians from taking over the rest of the world with the aid of a family he never expected.

Review: The witty characters of Sanderson's Alcatraz series weave an imaginative tale of epic proportions spanning four books. From book one, we are introduced to the sarcastic and bewildered main character who must accept a family and a homeland he never knew existed. Our world is being run by evil librarians, while the Smedry clan hails from the Free Kingdoms. No one knows this of course, because librarians hold the power of information.

The first book of the series is by far my favorite. Although each book has its own strengths, I think the first is the funniest. Alcatraz is a bit like another orphan we know and love in that he doesn't quite believe in his talents and is famous beyond words in a parallel world. Yet, Alcatraz is both sneaky and snarky. He doesn't quite trust his family or its talents.

I wrote about the second book right after finishing it,
I don't know if I find the series so funny because I'm a librarian, or because it is simply funny. Alcatraz is quirky to say the least and perhaps a little insane at most. The action is, of course, superb with crazier traps and darker foes. I don't usually go for books with an unreliable narrator, but Alcatraz is just the right mix of deceit and truth. I find him endearing.
The entire series is well worth the read. Each book builds momentum with Alcatraz gaining confidence in his family, friends and himself.

Sensitive Readers Beware: I can't think of anything objectionable in the books. There is funny nudity in book four. Enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Preschool Trays

(Age Four)

The trays this week are based off of mommy's reading and discovery time for Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-Fives by David Gettman. I try to read at least one non-fiction book a month in addition to my reading for fun, work and review.

I learned about the five areas of work in the Montessori method, Practical Life, Sensorial, Language, Mathematics and Geography & Cultural Studies. Gettman offers explanation and examples of each area.

We are still working our way through Bobo's science kit by Learning Resources. I'm not sure what area it fits in with Montessori. We talked about which items he thought would float and tried it out.

The block puzzles from allourdays works on math.

This vintage set of dominoes came in our early learning bag from the state college this month. You can work on math with them. We also had fun stacking them and knocking them down, creating patterns, making shapes and learning about cause and effect.

Wooden duck puzzle. Again, not sure where it fits in with Montessori, but I'm still learning. I've read many preschool and homeschool books which have all suggested a puzzle and building area. Bobo loves puzzles.

The pouring lentils tray is directly from the Basic Montessori book. It works on the practical skill of pouring.

Colorful scented candles work for a sensorial tray. Identify the scent by sniffing, the answers are on the bottom.

I'll be incorporating more Montessori ideas in our weekly trays. We are working on language skills with the Superhero ABCs each week as well. I'm sharing with Finished Friday and Montessori Monday.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

B is for Batman


Silly Putty letter B
I like introducing the letter of the week through a Youtube video. They have catchy songs that are easy to remember with the letter's sound. Then, we follow that up with the Leapfrog Tag flashcard and song. We looked through Bobo's collection of coloring books for characters who start with the letter B.

We found Batman, Black Cat, Black Widow and Ben 10. While doing this, Bobo found his DC sticker book. It has lots of fantastic learning pages that are re-usable. After a couple of times using the stickers, they've begun to lose the stickiness. I'm trying to brainstorm ways to save them, maybe laminating or contact paper.

Foam letters, Batman size sort, Pom magnet
We worked on letter direction by using the foam magnet letters. Bobo is loving the magnet board lately. He also sorted his Ben 10 confetti, which I covered with contact paper. We played basketball and bounced a ball.

Bobo is back in love with play dough! Letter B is proving to be somewhat of a challenge to write, so we did lots of writing activities.

And lots of puzzles...

I wanted to do a Bubble experiment for our science this week, but we just didn't get to it. On Sundays, I test  Bobo with a book my mom had from my preschool days. He asked to find the letter A's, too. I like adding on letters and talking about the previous lessons. I think we'll do three letters and review the fourth week.

Check out my sidebar for Superhero ABCs for all the printables we use each week. We watched Batman (1966) as our family movie of the week. This is our favorite scene of the movie.

Sharing with Learn and Link, PreK and K Corner.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Messy Learning Lab: Moon Sand, Floam and Planning Ideas

Moon sand is a great sensory substance for toddlers to explore. It sticks together easily, so it can be molded  and squeezed. I added a few puzzles pieces with large knobs and stamps with elastic handles to make impressions in the sand.

Floam, or foam dough as I've seen it advertised in stores, was a big hit at the previous MLL, so I put it out in a slightly new way by adding golf tees. The children made snowmen, hedgehogs and monsters.

There are lots of resources online for planning messy activities. The library is also a great place to find ideas. I suggest looking in the science area of your library. We have a preschool section, but you can also find fun experiments in Science Fair books. Other sections I frequently pull books from are the parenting section (especially for toddlers) and the craft section. I'll be offering more Messy Learning Labs in May, so check my blog for even more messy play ideas.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Messy Learning Lab: Baking Cookies

When I'm trying to come up with ideas for activities at the library and at home, I search through the items I already have on hand. It helps to keep costs down and lets me be creative. For the baking cookies activity, I already had icing bags, Kool-aid and icing mix.

At first, I tried to mix the Kool-aid with the shaving cream to put in the bags. It smelled fantastic and looked great but wasn't easy to get into the bags. So I added white glue to the mix and it worked much better. I used pink lemonade Kool-aid and mint icing flavoring (powder). 

The children decorated cardboard cookies with "icing" and "sprinkles" of glitter and shaved soap. Since I mixed shaving cream and glue, the cookies could dry and be used for further imaginative play.

Sharing with the Weekly Kids Co-op and For the Kid's Friday.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Messy Learning Lab: Noodles

Vibrant, rainbow noodles, fun! I cooked four boxes of different types of  noodles with lots of oil Ooey Gooey Lady style. After I drained the noodles, I added liquid watercolor or food coloring. Either method creates brilliant colors. The blue noodles are neon blue food coloring.

Add some cooking utensils and you've got a great sensory experience.

I used two boxes of uncooked noodles mixed with liquid watercolors to set up a lacing activity. Every mom needs a macaroni necklace in her jewelry box. Plastic needles make lacing through the noodles easy for even the smallest hands.

I suggest tying a large bead on the end to prevent the noodles from sliding off. Penne noodles work the best as they have the largest openings. These necklaces make a wonderful homemade present.

Sharing with Tuesday Tots.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Messy Learning Lab: Painting with Real Tools

The invitation for painting with real tools is simple. I re-used the box from the MLL's glow-in-the-dark session. The library already has painting tools and trays. I did use washable tempera paint as I anticipated it dripping on the floor and being spread with little feet.

The lab lasts for two hours and the box painting activity had participants for the entire time!

I used two entire bottles of tempera paint. We put the box out in the children's section for everyone to admire throughout the rest of the month. I love hearing the excited voices coming from the stacks, "I did that!"

Sharing with Montessori Monday and Tuesday Tots.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Letter A books for Avengers Assemble

I've been planning on teaching the alphabet to Bobo through his favorite topic, super heroes. When I saw these books, I thought the Avengers would be a great place to begin.

We recently received this new series of books based on the television program The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. We've already seen all the episodes, so it's good review to read the books. I also had Bobo identify the letter A's as we read as he already knew the story.

Iron Man is always the Avenger Bobo chooses first. This is the story of Tony Stark as Iron Man. It has lots of action and introduces Hydra, the bad guys.

And my favorite avenger is Thor. It helps that he has the best powers on Super Hero Squad (Wii), but I also love the folk lore in his stories. I have always been an avid reader of Greek and Roman mythology. Loki is the villain of this tale.

We also read the rest of the series available. It is an enjoyable series with action and favorite characters.
Sharing with the Children's Bookshelf and Read Aloud Thursday and Read Learn Explore.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A is for Avengers Assemble

Bobo's lettter "A" learning wall. I'm playing with learning the alphabet in order. As a librarian, I have a hard time doing it any other way. Luckily the first two letters are also in his name. Anyway, A for Avengers is a perfect place to begin with interest!

Sorting capital and lowercase

Science- Alka seltzer
1/3 water + 2/3 oil + food coloring + Alka seltzer

Pre-writing letter with sensory bag

Amazing Spider-Man printing

Tag reader Letter A

Stamping- Big A vs Little a

Finger painting

All of these printables came from 1 + 1 + 1 = 1's Alphabet Printables & More page. I found the Spider-Man Letters book at the Dollar Store. We have a large collection of coloring books to pull from as well. To introduce the letter, I put on several videos from youtube. This one was Bobo's favorite.

Sharing with the Kid's Co-Op and Preschool Corner.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Messy Learning Lab: Water and Glowing Fun

The slime I made for the Water and Glowing Messy Learning Lab was a failure. Yep, I think I let the solution sat in the Borax too long. It would stretch a little, then break apart.

It still had an interesting texture and looked beautiful mixed together. Oh, and it bounced!

I found some test tubes and goggles at Discount School Supply that are perfect for preschoolers. The water is tinted with food coloring, yellow, red and blue.

Little scientists work really hard.

In addition to water beads and baby water beads, I also set up watercolor painting on the "water" side of the room.

On the glow-in-the-dark side of the room, I made GID playdough. You add GID paint to any play dough recipe. I didn't like the texture of the play dough after adding the paint, though. It was really sticky. Maybe I should use less paint?

A local furniture store donated a large box for me to poke holes in and stick lots of glow sticks all over.

I expected the glow sticks to wind up in little hands and was not disappointed. At one point, they spanned the length of the room!

The glowing sensory box had hedgeballs, beads, stars, rocks, glow sticks and rattles.

As all the glowing materials need time to charge, I left the lights on in the room for several hours before opening the doors. I also left mini-flashlights at the door for the children to use while in the room.

I set up a black light station with items I had on hand that would glow.

The yellow highlighters worked best on the coloring mat. The white farm animal puppets also worked great under the black light. I have an inexpensive point and shoot camera, so it was difficult to get good pictures in the dark (what with the constant movement).

Not pictured is the glow-in-the-dark silly putty, which turned out to be a favorite with the parents. It's great to play with on hard wood floors and easy to pick up. And that wraps up the water and glowing fun!

Sharing with Tuesday Tots and For the Kid's Fridays.