Category Archives: Kids

Social Distancing: Free Virtual Escape Rooms

Libraries may be closed due to COVID-19, but many librarians are coming up with creative ideas to keep people entertained and promote literacy. One of those creative ideas is free virtual escape rooms. With a variety of themes, some may be fun to do on your own, others as activities with the kids.

Sydney Krawiec, Youth Services Librarian at Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, PA created this Hogwarts Virtual Escape Room. She shared this tutorial on how to create your own virtual escape room, which seemed to spark the creativity of many other librarians.

Some amazing librarians all over the country have been busy creating virtual escape rooms with a variety of themes.

Special thanks to the Humboldt County Library in Winnemucca, Nevada for gathering info on many of these escape rooms. Follow them on Facebook for their storytimes and weekly Facebook Live Science Time on Fridays.

Image: Canva.com

Social Distancing: 5 Online Adventures for Kids

Reading, playing, and doing art projects are always great ways to entertain children and keep them physically active and learning. It’s a good idea to limit screen time. But, in this time of social distancing, technology can play an important role in allowing kids to see and connect with the world outside of their homes. Many online resources are popping up to create those opportunities.

Here are five to get you started:

And if kids have questions about the coronavirus, Live Science has created an ultimate kids’ guide to the new coronavirus that has lots of information and is appropriate for school-aged kids.

Make Your Own Play Dough

Play dough is the perfect modeling material for children. Their small hands can pat, poke, pinch, roll and knead it into many shapes. Keep it in an airtight container to use another day, or let it air dry into favorite shapes.

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Measure 2 cups of flour, one cup of salt and 4 teaspoons of cream of tartar into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of oil to one cup of water in a separate bowl then add the mixture to the dry ingredients. For colored play dough, squeeze 10-20 drops of food coloring into the water before you add it to the mixture. Cook the dough at low heat in a wide pan, stirring constantly until it becomes rubbery. Remove the dough from the heat and knead it for a few minutes. When it cools the kids can play too!

Photo: Kevin Jarrett (Flickr)

Focus on Play: New Ideas for Some Classic Toys

It is good to offer kids a balance of independent play time and play where you are actively engaging with them. You can make toys they may be bored with, feel new and exciting, by suggesting different ways to play with them. Try some of the ideas below as a starting point.

Play Food/Dishes

  • Teach your host children how to say the names of some of the food and dishes in your language.
  • Using English and/or your language play games where you are ordering food like in a restaurant. Take turns with who will be the waiter and who is the customer.
  • Come up with silly food combinations.  For example: Who wants pickles on their slice of cake?
  • Play a guessing game where the children have to figure out what food you are talking about.  For example: I grow under the ground in the dirt.  People eat me fried, mashed and baked.  What am I? (a potato)
  • Play a game with setting the table using your language to ask for the different items (plate, spoon, etc.)
  • Ask the children to divide the foods up into the different food groups (vegetables, meat, dairy, etc.)

Lego Blocks and Other Building Toys

  • Divide up all of the blocks between the people playing, by taking turns for each person to select block by block.
  • Suggest specific things to build (robots, houses, mountains etc.) and build together.
  • Challenge everyone to use all of their blocks.
  • Sort the blocks by color or shape and make patterns with them (red, blue, red, blue or square, triangle, rectangle.)  You can create a pattern and ask the child to fill in what comes next to continue the pattern.
  • Make the tallest block tower you can and let them knock it down (over and over again, if like most kids, they like destroying things.)

Mr. Potato Head

  • Teach your host children the names of the different parts in your language and play a game asking them to put on the body parts by name.
  • Play Hide and Seek with Mr. Potato Head. Have the children cover their eyes and count, while you hide Mr. Potato Head, then they go looking for him. Switch things up by letting them hide Mr. Potato Head and then you are the one to locate him.
  • Play the same game above, but using Simon Says.  Simon Says is a game where the leader gives commands by saying “Simon says” first. For example, “Simon says, put on the nose.”  The players are only to follow the commands when the leader says “Simon says.”  If the leader doesn’t say “Simon says” first and just says, “put on the nose,”  and the player follows the command, they are out of the game.  Repeat the game multiple times, so all kids get a turn to be the leader at least once.

Photos:  Lisa Maxwell (top) & Tom Smalls (bottom)

Halloween Ghost Jug Decorations

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Stationed on a walkway or porch, these homemade lanterns will extend a ghostly greeting and good-bye to all your holiday visitors.

Materials
  • Clean plastic gallon milk jugs
  • Black permanent marker
  • Craft knife
  • String of 50 clear low-wattage holiday lights
Instructions
  1. Draw ghost eyes and mouths on the jugs. Tip: Leave the caps on while you do this, so the jugs don’t dent.
  2. Use the craft knife to cut a half-dollar-size hole in the back of each jug (a parent’s job).
  3. Arrange the ghosts near each other and string the lights between them, stuffing several bulbs into each of the jugs.

Halloween

Jack-o'-Lantern_2003-10-31Ghouls and goblins will take over the night.
But even scary creatures need to be safe and celebrate Halloween right.

Halloween’s greatest hazards aren’t vampires and villains, but falls, costume mishaps and automobile collisions.
The Red Cross wants your family to have a safe Halloween so we’re providing these tips:

The Lucky 13:

1. Map out the route that you plan to roam, so adults are assured you will find your way home!
2. From the bravest of superheroes to the noblest of knights, everyone should remember to bring their flashlights!
3. If you visit a house where a stranger resides, accept treats at the door and, please, don’t go inside.
4. When you get ready to put on your disguise, use face paint instead of masks, which will cover your eyes.
5. Always remember, before you embark, to wear light-colored clothing to be seen in the dark! (And remember to use reflective tape, even on bikes, and brooms and the edges of your cape!)
6. Whether you walk, slither or sneak, do it on the sidewalks and not in the street.
7. As you roam through the neighborhood collecting your treats, please look both ways before crossing the street! (And speaking of streets, the corners are the place for trick or treaters to cross no matter their pace.)
8. Wigs, capes and costumes are flammable attire, so avoid open flames to prevent a fire!
9. Use a glow stick instead of a candle so your jack-o-lantern isn’t a safety gamble!
10. You may fly on a broom or a space ship from Mars, but please be on the lookout for drivers in cars! (Between parked cars is no to hide, be sure that you’re seen whether you’re a clown or a bride.)
11. Monsters and zombies should stay off the lawn, and only visit homes with their porch lights turned on!
12. You may be dressed as a werewolf, a cat or a frog, but be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
13. For additional information on how you and your family can be prepared for emergencies on Halloween or on any day of the year, please visit www.RedCross.org

Autumn craft-Foliage Friends!

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Use your imagination (and some paper, glue, and a pen or pencil) to turn ordinary backyard leaves into a whimsical menagerie.

Materials
  • Autumn leaves from your yard
  • Paper
  • Glue
  • Pencils, pens, or crayons

Instructions
  1. Go outside and see what kinds of animals are hiding in your leaf piles. Below are some possibilities. When you’ve found leaves in your yard whose shapes you like, glue them to pieces of paper and use pencil, pen or crayon to make your creatures complete. To preserve your creations, press them between two books.
  2. Foliage Friends - Step 2 MAPLE:These leaves have three main points and lots of smaller ones; count them as they flutter by.
  3. Foliage Friends - Step 3 ROSE:The rounded shape of this bush’s leaves makes them look a lot like little shields.
  4. Foliage Friends - Step 4 BIRCH: As big and tall as this white-bark tree can get, its leaves are as small and as light as feathers.
  5. Foliage Friends - Step 5 GERANIUM: You might flip your wig if you find one of these wild-looking leaves in your yard.
  6. Foliage Friends - Step 6 BARBERRY:While this plant doesn’t live underwater, its leaves resemble raindrops