The Ultimate St. Louis Tourist Essay Contest

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission is sponsoring an essay contest for students in grades 3-12!

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As St. Louisans we are fortunate to enjoy amazing attractions and many of them are free!  To enter, students need to visit at least three St. Louis attractions and write a 500 word essay about their experience. Plus, they can add photos and videos to illustrate their experience.

Each winner will receive $500 and be featured on explorestlouis.com and in the 2015 Official St. Louis Visitors Guide! Entries can be submitted until September 2, 2014 by visiting www.explorestlouis.com/ultimatetourist.

School Days

Looking for some fun activities to help ease your family back into the school flow?  Scholastic’s Story Starters allows kids to express their creative talents.  Have a case of writer’s block? Don’t worry, Story Starters is here to help!  First, select a story theme, then spin the story wheel for a story topic. After you’ve finished writing your story, draw your own characters and print the finished product to show off!

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Still have writer’s block?  Try making a pencil topper to keep you company while you wait for inspiration to strike.  Kids at Central Children’s Library created writers’ buddies recently using felt, googly eyes and pipe cleaners:

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Back to School!

Whether your kiddo is starting school for the very first time or returning after summer vacation, these picture books are a fun way to get youngsters ready for the upcoming school year.

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Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten! by Hyewon Yum
A five-year-old boy, ready and eager on his first day at “the big kids’ school,” must calm his very worried mother.

Dinosaur vs. School by Bob Shea
Fearless Dinosaur takes on new challenges as he starts preschool, from meeting new friends to pasting glitter and googly eyes, but one task requires assistance from everyone.

The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School by Laurie Halse Anderson
A young girl’s talented but untamed tresses do not impress her strict first-grade teacher, who has rules for everything, including hair.

David Goes to School by David Shannon
David’s activities in school include chewing gum, talking out of turn, and engaging in a food fight, causing his teacher to say over and over, “No, David!”.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
After Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her new classmates help her decide what her name should be.

Create some popsicle-stick pencil magnets to keep this year’s important assignments and notices posted on your refrigerator at home!  Instructions available from Silly Eagle Books.

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Seussical at the Muny

A St. Louis summer is not complete without a trip to the Muny in Forest Park. We certainly had a great time last week seeing Seussical the musical! The weather could not have been better, and the show was full of fun and imagination. Before the show, the crowd had the pleasure of watching a juggler on stilts as well as stopping by the St. Louis Public Library table to vote on their favorite Dr. Seuss book. The clear winner by a margin of 2 to 1 over every other title was Green Eggs and Ham. The people of St. Louis have spoken!

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Seussical‘s run may be over at the Muny, but you can still see Grease and Hello, Dolly! this season.  Check out some of the Seuss-voting below, and leave a comment with the title of your favorite Seuss book!

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Butterflies at your Library

Schlafly branch’s resident caterpillars turned into chrysalises recently. Soon, they’ll become butterflies! During Schlafly’s butterfly program (August 5th 3:30-4:30pm), kids will watch a video created using 3D scanning technology that shows how a caterpillar developments inside its chrysalis and view a video about the life cycle of a butterfly and butterfly farming. Don’t miss all the butterfly fun!

There are Dogs in the Library!

The dogs in Central Children’s Library are eleven-year-old Sander and his little sister, nine-year-old Aria. The two are trained and certified Therapy Dogs and their owner Melanie Fries is a St. Louis Public Library volunteer. Previously a volunteer at a library in Milwaukee, Melanie and her crew have been coming to Central to read with the children since September of 2013. “When we moved, it seemed very natural to come to Central.”

readingdogs1Therapy Dogs are specially trained pooches that excel at putting humans at ease and alleviating stress. While most commonly used at hospitals and nursing homes, Therapy Dogs also visit schools and libraries to give emotional support to kids who may struggle with confidence in reading. Sander and Aria are non-judgmental listeners who will never critique a beginning reader’s mistakes. Fries says they are especially good with special needs kids. “They are very patient. They are very polite listeners”.

Sander and Aria are a breed well-suited to their profession. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are often used as Therapy Dogs due to their temperament and affection for people. “Cavaliers are lap dogs”, explains Fries “and they keep track of a person’s demeanor”. This gentle empathy is what seems to get kids, even shy kids, to happily read a book to the two siblings.

Contact Central Children’s Library at 314.539.0380 for Melanie, Sander and Aria’s current schedule.

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Wacky Wednesday Lego Challenge at Julia Davis

pigeonThis summer on the second Wednesday of each month, young patrons at Julia Davis Branch have been having fun with Legos. Each time we play we have a different challenge. This month, we created an entry for a Lego Education contest called “The Pigeon Builds a Story”.

Inspired by Mo Willems’ book “The Pigeon Wants a Puppy”, young patrons at the Julia Davis Branch Library created a spin off story. Pigeon is chased around the house by the big puppy, but is luckily given the chance to escape when a cat comes in to distract the dog. The cat runs up a tree and makes it to safety.

The kids worked in small groups to create structural characters to represent each animal as well as the scene. We used the Lego Movie Maker app, a stop motion film tool, to tell their story.

Can you “like” our entry on the Lego Education page? The post with the most likes will win the grand prize. The “like” button looks like a turquoise and white star on the top right side of the page. You can find our entry here.

If you think this looks like a fun activity, join us next month at Julia Davis (or at many other SLPL locations) to use your creativity with Legos.