Posts Tagged ‘Children’s Room’

Water Fun with Little Ones!

by Karen Gordon on June 22nd, 2016

Beat the heat! Summer is a great time to get babies and toddlers into the water. Water play encourages the development of eye/hand coordination through pouring, squeezing, stirring, and squirting. Water helps release their emotions by pounding, splashing, swishing, stamping and kicking feet.

Here are some watery nursery rhymes to share with your child. Read the rest of this entry »

Babies Learn in the Womb

by Karen Gordon on May 16th, 2016

Babies are learning more than you think. Studies show that your baby can start to hear and recognize voices of you and your partner in the womb as early as 25 weeks. This is a great time to talk to your baby or read to her.

A few weeks ago I was invited to be a part of North Liberty Community Library’s Womb Literacy initiative. Womb Literacy was created to encourage expecting families to begin developing daily reading rituals, while their child is still in the womb. NLCL’s Stork Storytime Podcast was created for new and expecting parents. The podcast makes it easier for busy parents to learn about early literacy before their baby is born. Parents can tune in to Stork Storytime Podcast and listen to a variety of guest speakers as they engage expecting parents while helping them to feel confident in their role as their child’s first teacher.

I lead the Iowa City Public Library’s Book Babies program (which is held on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.) so a good part of my job is to role model reading and offer early literacy tips.  I was excited to share and talk about Narrative skills with librarians Jennifer Jordebrek, and Emily O’Sheridan-Tabor for their May Podcast.

Narrative Skills:

Narrative Skills includes: describing things and events, telling stories, knowing that a story has a beginning, middle and end.

If you would like more information about the North Liberty Community Library’s Womb Literacy visit their website at

Listen to NLPL’s May’s Stork Storytime Podcast here:




Celebration of the Young Child at the Iowa Children’s Museum

by Karen Gordon on April 13th, 2016

Last Saturday families from all around the corridor area explored the Iowa Children’s Museum in “Celebration of the Young Child” event with free admission. Kids attended performances, created make and take crafts and had “Permission to Play” with dozens of community groups devoted to children and playing

The Iowa City and Coralville Public Library’s staff volunteered their time along with a variety of other organizations dedicated to early education, health and well-being.

The library’s booth had sensory play dough for kids to play, pat, pound, and squeeze. The play dough we provided was made out of simple ingredients found at home and needless to say our booth was a big hit! Recipes at the booth were available and quickly ran out. For families who did not get a recipe, here it is:

4-Minute Play Dough Recipe

It’s the easiest play dough you can make. Get creative and add, essential oils, extracts, 1-2 packages of Kool-Aid, food coloring, cinnamon, cocoa powder, fresh or dried herbs, etc.


  • 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • Up to 1.5 cups boiling water

(Adding in increments until it feels just right)

  • Food coloring (optional)

Few drops glycerin (optional- adds more shine!)


  • Mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl
  • Add food coloring to the boiling water then into the dry ingredients (color optional)
  • Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
  • Add the glycerin (optional)
  • Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all of the stickiness has gone.    * This is the most important part of the process, so keep at it until it’s the perfect consistency!*

(If it remains a little sticky then add a touch more flour until just right)

ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Children’s Books

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 25th, 2015
ICPL Staff Top Picks for 2015: Children’s Books Cover Image

This category encompasses everything you’d find on the shelves in the Ellen Buchanan Children’s Room — board books and picture books to chapter books and children’s non-fiction. That might be why our list of Best Children’s Books of 2015 is longer than any other category. Or it could be because there were so many great children’s books released this year!

ICPL’s BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF 2015childrens room

  • Simon’s New Bed by Christian Trimmer
  • Black Day: The Monster Rock Band by Marcus Sikora with Mardra Sikora
  • All My Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism by Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer
  • Painting for Peace in Ferguson by Carol Swartout Klein
  • When You Were Born by Emma Dodd
  • The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
  • Enormous Smallness: A Story of E. E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess
  • Lullaby and Kisses Sweet: Poems to Love with Your Baby by Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • P. Zonka Lays An Egg by Julie Paschkis
  • Snoozefest by Samantha Berger
  • The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
  • Waiting by Kevin Henkes
  • Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman
  • Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
  • The Cottage in the Woods by Katherine Coville
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
  • The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems
  • Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
  • Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
  • Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks
  • Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola
  • Beyond the Western Deep by Alex Kain
  • The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko
  • Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story by Emily Arnold McCully
  • The Story of Life: A First Book about Evolution by Catherine Barr and Steve Williams
  • The Only Child by Guojing
  • Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick
  • The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
  • I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems
  • The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach
  • Naptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica Shyba
  • The School for Good and Evil #3: The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani
  • Wings of Fire Book Seven: Winter Turning by Tui T. Sutherland
  • Stolen Magic by Gail Carson Levine

Children’s Outreach Services

by Karen Gordon on December 22nd, 2015

Last Wednesday was my last outreach before schools’ Winter Break. The kids say they’ll miss me. They give me hugs before I leave for the library…what’s not to love about my job?
Katherine Habley, Nancy Holland, and I do children’s outreach every week. Maybe you’ve seen us leaving the library with bags of books or puppets hanging out of our wheeled library suitcases. Between the three of us, we visit 40 Iowa City sites, which include preschools, daycares, Neighborhood Centers, and Hacap (Hawkeye Area Community Action Program) centers. We share stories with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
While manning the desk, we’ll often encounter a family whose child runs to us with arms open. The child’s parents are somewhat confused and ask how we know their child, so we explain our outreach program and are acknowledged with immediate smiles and gratitude for our services to the community.
Part of our strategic planning for fiscal year 2016 is to create a bookmark informing parents about our 30-minute storytime. Hopefully, the bookmark will encourage parents to talk and ask open-ended questions about encouraging early literacy in the home.


Outreach bm

  Here are the bookmarks we’ve been handing out to sites since the beginning of the school year.

Outreach is a big part of the joy we get from our jobs. We get the “warm and fuzzies” after each visit. There’s nothing better than reading books and getting smiles, hugs, and kisses after storytime. Our job is as Mister Rogers sings, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

Toy Collection at ICPL

by Heidi Lauritzen on September 21st, 2015

puzzle It’s been a long time since I’ve had a toddler at my house, so when I got news that my three-year-old great niece was coming for a visit I knew I had to get my hands on some children’s books and toys.  The Children’s Room came to my rescue, with age-appropriate reading suggestions from Nancy and a rack full of toys in bags that I could browse.

I checked out four toys and six books, and everything got a once-over by my visitor as she unpacked the book bag and took the toys our of their plastic bags.   Alas, we didn’t actually read any of the books–I think we needed to get more settled than their short visit allowed–but the toys were a hit.

My selections were the Kidnoculars.  The puppets got a little bit of play and the puzzle was taken apart and put back together again with some help, but it was the Kidnoculars that were the big hit.  The plastic binoculars have 2x magnification and do not require focusing.  They are light, easy to use, and were perfect for scouting the yard for birds.  They also had to come along on a short walk we took down the alley.binoculars

The bags of toys in the Children’s Room are all listed in the catalog and check out for three weeks.  The labels on the bags give the suggested age range to help you pick out appropriate materials for the children you are playing with. The labels also contain a description of the contents, so you can be sure you have all the parts back in the bags before returning them to the Library.

The toy collection is great for someone like me, who needs toys only occasionally.  It also can be helpful for families with children and toys already at home by providing a way to try out new kinds of entertainment.  The toys are a popular collection so what’s available will be different each time you come in and browse the shelf.

Thanks to the Children’s Room staff for the great resources and help–youKimber with binoculars equipped a new young explorer and made this aunt look good!

Teach Math with Picture Books!

by Karen Gordon on June 11th, 2015

GiraffeNumberCountRhymeWhat I’ve learned during many outreach visits is that math is another important skill to bring to storytime. There are so many wonderful books to get kids counting.
Without a doubt, kids are willing participants . I like to use flannel board activities or fingerplays, because they allow us to count up and count down together. They also learn about subtraction and addition through fingerplays. The kids are so enthusiastic about learning math and I notice these activities give them an extra boost of confidence.
Research shows how important and critical it is that parents read to their children every day from birth up until kids enter school. Well, it’s also critical that parents make an effort to incorporate math, too. This is where picture books can help.
Counting using picture books can spark the interest in, and nurture a wonder of, math the same way reading books can nurture a wonder of books. In math, kids can find imagination and wonder in so many ways.

Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep! by Lucy Cousins  Counting w Maisy cheep is an adorable flap book that will keep any toddler’s attention: “It’s almost bedtime. Mommy Hen is looking for her 10 chicks.” And Maisy is there to find them. Little readers can help by lifting the flaps to see who’s hiding in the stable, the tractor, and the apple tree. This game of hide-and-seek will keep little ones busy and eager for more.

More counting – Look for these new counting books in the Children’s Room.

Count on the subway Count On the Subway by Paul DuBois Jacobs

llustrations and rhythmic text describe the  sights and sounds of a subway ride in New York City as a mother and child go uptown, counting their way from one to ten and back again.

Counting Crows by Kathi AppelCounting Crowst The reader is invited to count hungry crows as they hunt for savory snacks.

1 to 2o Animals a Plenty by Katie Viggers1-20 Animals                                    This beautiful and simply written counting book teaches kids to count from 1 to 20 as they meet a menagerie of amusing creatures.

Robot burp head

Robot Burp Head Smartypants! By Annette Simon
On your mark, get set, belch! The green and purple robots from Robot Zombie Frankenstein! are back for a second round of “Top This” games! Burp to ten? Easy! Burp the alphabet? No sweat! Burp by tens while blindfolded, juggling, and skateboarding? Yikes! Reluctant readers won’t even notice that they’re learning as they laugh out loud at the wacky antics of these irreverent robotic pals.

Book Babies with Sonia Culver

by Karen Gordon on May 7th, 2015

Enrichment Therapy


Boy with Dad



Friday, May 8th, 10:30 – 11:00 a.m. & 1:30 – 2 p.m.

Join the fun with Sonia Culver from the Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center.

Soina will share stories, songs, and rhymes, with information about helping your baby develop language skills. Specifically planned for babies. This program is an active program intended to stimulate infant language development. We ask that there be a lap for every baby.



by Nancy Holland on April 23rd, 2015

This is the phrase you are hearing a lot at ICPL recently. The Children’s Room has a new display that emphasizes the  importance of play in early learning, but this is a philosophy the Library has supported for the many (30+) years that I have worked here. I think Hazel Westgate was the first Children’s Librarian to provide toys and activities to engage ICPL’s youngest patrons while parents or caregivers selected books.Nancy blog photo

Since that time the Children’s Room has gone through many transformations and many, many well-used and loved toys. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of the new playhouse we recently acquired.

New toys are fun for us all! Opportunity for play in the Children’s Room encourages language development and socialization skills. Our staff often share with each other the cute conversations we overhear throughout the day.

Of course providing play opportunities for children requires a constant effort to keep those items safe, clean and attractive. During our most recent remodeling of the children’s area we were able to acquire two sturdy play tables. One is used for train play and the other for Duplo block construction, and they are in use pretty much every hour the library is open.

Check out these and other opportunities for early learning through play at ICPL.


Sensory Storytime Kits available at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 1st, 2015

The Iowa City Public Library recently received a grant from the Pilot Club of Iowa City to fund the creation of four Sensory Storytime Kits.SensoryKitCheckout

Designed to make storytimes accessible and enjoyable for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, sensory disorders, or other special needs, the kits include books, props, music CDs, puppets, flannel boards, fidget toys, and information on presenting Sensory Storytimes.

Patrons can choose from Good Morning, Good Night; Teeth!; What’s the Weather?; and Pick a Pet,. Kids will enjoy getting a monkey all dressed for his day; brushing giant teeth; matching clothes to the weather; or voting on which pet to choose.

While the kits were created with a specific audience in mind, they are available for all patrons to check out. The Sensory Storytime Kits are shelved in the Storytime Kit collection in the Children’s Room.

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200.sens