Ready, Set, Play!

The Novi Public Library now offers a playgroup immediately following the Wednesday Tot Time for children ages 2 and under at 10:45 am. Ready, Set, Play! is a relaxed time for young children and their parents/caregivers to play and socialize. Playing in groups allows children to develop social/emotional skills, hear and practice new vocabulary, strengthen problem-solving skills, and use their imagination. Ready, Set, Play! is planned based on the concept of “Loose Parts,” the idea that children can be more creative and imaginative when given the opportunity to engage in unstructured, open-ended play with everyday objects. There is not one specific way to use the materials offered, but instead they can be used in an unlimited number of ways.

Basic loose parts materials for infants and toddlers used in Ready, Set, Play! include:

  • Balls
  • Blocks
  • Scarves
  • Fabric
  • Rhythm sticks
  • Buckets
  • Baskets

Special items are also offered depending on the week, such as:

  • Large shells
  • Plastic eggs
  • Muffin tins
  • Pom poms
  • Hula hoops
  • Sand
  • Cookie cutters
  • Magnet wands
  • Wooden or metal spoons
  • Pine cones
  • Cardboard tubes

This past week, children were offered the opportunity to explore magnets with a basket of metal cookie cutters and magnet wands. Children also used buckets, scarves, and rhythm sticks to cook up a pot of soup or were busy collecting interesting items in their buckets and baskets. Other children learned about weight by noticing the difference between trying to throw a heavier ball versus a lighter one. Giving children loose parts to investigate, manipulate, and actively explore using their senses, helps them to become more active and curious in their play.

Loose parts play can be easily replicated at home or anywhere you go because it uses everyday materials! When choosing materials for infants and toddlers, please be aware of choking hazards, otherwise the sky’s the limit! Interested in learning more? Check out the books Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children and Loose Parts 2: Inspiring Play with Infants and Toddlers by Lisa Daly and Miriam Beloglovsky.

Check the Library’s calendar for the next date for Ready, Set, Play! See you next time!

Miss Emily

Let’s Go to the Library!

Winter is here and that means there are fewer things to do to keep little ones occupied. So why not visit the Library? Not only do we have story time but also a place to play and develop social skills. And of course we have books. Lots and lots of books.

When introducing your child to new activities or visiting new places it’s always a good idea to talk about the experience first. Let them know what to expect. What they can do there, who they will see. One of my favorite blogs, Growing Book by Book has 5 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRIP TO THE LIBRARY WITH A TODDLER. They suggest discussing your expectations for behaviour, letting them explore once you arrive, and of course, checking out books. Here is a list of books that will help prepare kids for visiting the library.

D.W.'s Library Card by Marc Brownlola
Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss
Maisy Goes to the Library by Lucy Cousins
Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp
Curious George Visits the Library by H.A. Rey
Froggy Goes to the Library by Jonathan London
Library Day by Anne Rockwell
Dinosaur vs. the Library by Bob Shea

And now is the perfect opportunity to teach your child how to care for books. Whether they are library books or books from your own home library, you will find some great tips at Growing Book by Book Teaching Kids How to Care for Books.  And we understand, accidents happen. If a borrowed book gets torn just let us know when you return it and we will take care of the repairs.

Speaking of home libraries, The Children’s Council has some fabulous lists for building a home library for children of all ages. Take a look — I see some of my favorites.

See you in the Story Time Room!

Miss Kathleen

Why Fine Motor Skills Are Important

What exactly are fine motor skills anyway? It’s the ability to use the smaller muscles in fingers, hands and wrists. Fine motor development is an important skill for kids. In a recent article on ABC Radio Melbourne teachers expressed concern for the iPad generation and their readiness to write.  They believe there is a decline in fine motor skills because kids aren’t holding crayons and coloring or using scissors to cut as much as they had in the past.  Continue reading