Kids’ Crafts & Activities on the Blog

Here on the Youth Services blog, we now have a page of crafts and activities that our staff has made for our young patrons. The page is easily accessible in the top menu on each blog page.

Make a monster puppet, create a car wash for your toy cars, practice some zen art, or take our body and mind challenge! There are many possibilities, and each one can be done at home and with materials that you already have.

On this new crafts and activities page, you will find a variety of crafts, as well as printable games and challenges, and also crafts from specific children’s programs at our library. Each project is both viewable and printable as a PDF file. Have fun completing them!

We would love to see what you create and appreciate any feedback you have about other items we can provide.

We will be adding to this page regularly, so please check back often!

Fun Holidays in June

Can you believe that June is almost here? Each month ushers in a variety of annual celebrations that are great ways to get the family together and have some fun or learn something new. For example, did you know that June is both National Candy Month and National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month?

On June 1, you can celebrate Say Something Nice Day. And the first Friday of June is always National Donut Day.

At the library, we love that June is Audiobook Appreciation Month. Want to listen to an audiobook? Check out our online services.

Here are some official special days in June this year:

  • June 1: Trails Day
  • June 4: Cheese Day
  • June 5: Hot Air Balloon Day
  • June 6: Yo-Yo Day
  • June 7: Frozen Yogurt Day
  • June 8: Best Friends Day
  • June 11: Corn on the Cob Day
  • June 12: Flip Flop Day
  • June 14: Flag Day and Monkey Around Day
  • June 15: Nature Photography Day
  • June 18: Go Fishing Day and International Picnic Day
  • June 19: Take a Road Trip Day
  • June 20: Ice Cream Soda Day and World Juggler’s Day
  • June 21: Father’s Day and Selfie Day
  • June 23: Pink Day
  • June 24: International Fairy Day and Swim a Lap Day
  • June 26: National Canoe Day
  • June 27: Sunglasses Day
  • June 29: Hug Day
  • June 30: Meteor Day

Here are several other fun annual celebrations in June:

  • Accordion Awareness Month
  • Adopt a Cat Month
  • Camping Month
  • Children’s Awareness Month
  • Foster A Pet Month
  • LGBTQ Pride Month
  • Ocean Month
  • Potty Training Awareness Month
  • Safety Month
  • Smile Month
  • Sports America Kids Month
  • Zoo and Aquarium Month

June is a great month for family fun! How can your family engage and celebrate together during this first month of summer? We’d love to hear about it!

Living Through an Infodemic with Teens

In a recent post, we addressed one of the greatest challenges of the present moment: the information (and misinformation) overload we experience each day.  

The primary place we encounter this misinformation is social media, where the challenge of avoiding it is amplified by the very nature of these platforms, especially those frequented by teens. Content on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter comes directly from other users. We see their faces, hear their voices, feel a connection to them. These connections put us at even higher risk of falling for false authority. For instance, someone in scrubs is not inherently an expert on viruses, no matter how convincing their “treatment” for COVID-19 is.  

The unfortunate reality is that some segments of the internet are dedicated to misinformation. Young people are often targets of conspiracy theories about governments and supranational governments as well as false advertising about home cures, beauty products, and “life hacks.” Falling for these hoaxes, especially now, can take them down some strange and potentially dark paths.  

Fortunately, however, these platforms also have safeguards against negative rabbit holes. TikTok and YouTube users can curate a positive online environment for themselves by simply focusing on what they enjoy. Skipping right over content flagged with a coronavirus label will eventually remove it from their feeds altogether. The same goes for content that is just awful or infuriating. On Instagram and Twitter, users choose who they follow and can mute or block topics and other users. Again, not looking at upsetting content will keep them from seeing it!  

Caretakers of teens can help them avoid ruining their own days by engaging them in regular conversations about what they’ve been seeing and hearing. Encourage them to not watch or engage with content or people that upset, anger, or scare them. Remind them that they are in control of their experience online, and they can make it a wonderful place by refocusing on the funny stuff, the dance videos, the craft tutorials, or whatever helps them cope, relax, and grow.  
 
Also, be sure to keep yourself informed of hoaxes, conspiracies, and misinformation that’s circulating. The Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center provided by NewsGuard and official sources like WHO,  CDC, and FEMA can help with this. Remind yourself and the teens around you to double check what’s shared on social media with other sources. (This is especially important for information found on TikTok as the date and geographical location of a post is not always clear!) 

And, of course, remind yourself and the young people in your life to just log off sometimes! 

Emotional Resilience Through Picture Books

Raising healthy children requires not just providing for their physical health, but also their mental health. In order for any individual to develop and maintain good mental health, they need a set of skills and attitudes known as emotional resilience, or the ability to cope with failure, difficult feelings, traumatic events, significant life changes, and other adversities.

Emotional resilience lies in the ability to recognize and accept negative experiences for what they are and then effectively heal from them. Fortunately, there are a number of picture books out there to help children and caregivers hone their emotional resilience skills together.

Here are a dozen great choices …

Mistakes and Trying Again: 

  • Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beatty and David Roberts  
  • It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr 
  • The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Difficult Emotions and Personal Experiences:

  • Pilar’s Worries by Victoria M. Sanchez & Jess Golden
  • When Sadness Is at Your Door by Eva Eland
  • After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up by Dan Santat
  • A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams  

Scary World Events:

  • Come With Me by Holly M. McGhee and Pascal Lemaître 
  • The Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul 
  • What Are You Scared Of, Little Mouse? by Susanna Isern & Nora Hilb
  • Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna

Several of these books are available digitally on Overdrive and Hoopla for free with your library card.

Outdoor Family Fun at Home

Just because we are at home doesn’t mean we have to be bored or feel stuck! It’s time to get everyone outside and enjoy some fresh air, play some games, and maybe even learn something new.

Here are 20 ideas for outdoor family fun at home, brought to you by our fun-loving Youth Services staff!

  • Play hopscotch (learn to play here).
  • Play four square (learn to play here).
  • Set up a driveway tic-tac-toe game (learn to play here).  
  • “Paint” things outside, using large paintbrushes and buckets of water.
  • Enjoy a family car wash at home (for your family’s cars, bikes, scooters, etc).
  • Play “I Spy” on a family walk.
  • Have some old-fashioned fun with a backyard game of Duck Duck Goose, Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, Freeze Tag, or Red Rover.
  • Get your moves on with a family dance party.
  • Make a homemade outdoor obstacle course.
  • Make a birdhouse out of things you find at home (for one version, see here).
  • Take a backyard safari.
  • Paint some rocks to decorate your porch or yard.
  • Take a walk around the neighborhood and find objects of every shape and color. Make it more challenging by looking for specific combos like a red square, a blue circle, etc.
  • Make a kite and see if it will fly (such as this one).
  • Do an indoor activity outside, such as coloring, reading, playing a board game, or telling a story.
  • Have a picnic meal in your yard, and let the kids help plan it.
  • Find shapes in the clouds, the trees, etc.
  • Collect Spring flowers to press and display:
    • trim flowers to desired length.
    • flatten the flower.
    • press between wax paper inside a heavy book for about two weeks.
  • Make your own bubbles:
    • 1 1/2 cups of water
    • 1/2 cup of dish soap
    • 2 tsp sugar (optional: sugar slows down water evaporation, which lets the bubbles last longer)
    • bubble wand (or anything with holes that can be dipped into the solution: fly swatter, slotted spoons, etc)
  • Check out these creative outdoor literacy activities.

Most of all, have fun with your family, make some memories, get some fresh air, and stay safe!

Living Through an Infodemic with Kids

We’ve been hearing it everywhere, from work correspondence to every commercial: we are living through challenging, uncertain times.

What makes these times so challenging and uncertain is how difficult it is to figure out what exactly is going on and what it all means. There is a lot of information to take in about coronavirus and its larger impacts, that information changes daily, and there is a whole lot of misinformation to sift through, too.

All of this is especially hard on children and teens. They already have a harder time processing information and difficult emotions, even when they’re not scared and only partially informed.

Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to get a handle on living through this pandemic and “infodemic” together.

First and foremost, limit children’s direct exposure to the news as much as possible. Get yourself informed and understand your own emotions and biases before talking younger people through what’s happening. Be careful to only tell them the basics, but answer their questions honestly if they want more details.

When we first hear about a current event, it’s essential to ask ourselves how it makes us feel. (It can make us feel lots of ways all at once.) And, then, we must ask ourselves why it makes us feel that way. Did we learn about it in a shocking or harsh way? Does it involve people we like or dislike? Does it involve subjects that make us uncomfortable or that we don’t understand?

Once we’re aware of our initial feelings and what’s behind them, we can start to gather more detailed information and make sure it’s up-to-date and accurate.

To evaluate a source or a claim, first consider the source as a whole. Some websites will try to dupe you with URLs like worldhealth.net, CDC.news, or NYTWatch.org. Explore the full website to see their other content. Is the source a blog or forum? Is it trying to sell you something? Has it made other claims that seem outlandish or that you already know are false?

Whenever you’re doing any kind of research, but especially when you’re trying to understand current events, consider what multiple sources are saying. If you only see something in one place, it may not be true. Additionally, a source may only be giving you one side or one part of the story. Be sure to check lots of sources and check out their sources to get a more complete picture. (Also, check the dates! And be extremely wary of alleged cures. The vast majority of these claims are not based on medical research and can even be dangerous.)

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, remember to take breaks from the news and social media to rest, relax, and help. It’s okay and, in fact, essential to log off and spend some time outside, reading or watching something funny or soothing, or talking to friends and relatives. Help your family and neighbors in whatever ways you can (while maintaining appropriate social distancing!). Keep your eye out for community groups and individuals who are working to make things a little easier and find ways to join in, too.

Fun Holidays in May

May is right around the corner! And every month brings something to look forward to. For example, did you know that May is both National Bike Month and National Hamburger Month?

At the library, we love that it is also Get Caught Reading Month! Where do you like to read?

Check out these other fun annual celebrations in May:

  • National Pet Month
  • National Smile Month
  • Home Schooling Awareness Month
  • National Comfort Month
  • National Community Action Month
  • National Inventors Month
  • National Strawberry Month
  • National Youth Traffic Safety Month

How can your family engage and celebrate together this month? We’d love to hear about the fun things you do!