What’s Happening (Virtually) at Cheshire Library in February

February is Love Your Library month! We’ve got lots of online programs to love in February, sign up for as many as you like!

February Teen Volunteering Challenges

Earn community service hours by submitting a photo, video, or other content that may be added to CPL’s social media pages! Each submission will be awarded 2 community service hours. February’s challenges include:

  • Art: Make art with heart- design a Valentine’s Day card for someone, or create a masterpiece made out of hearts.
  • Writing: Write a story, poem, or essay about something you love. It could be a person, a book or movie, or food- fact or fiction.
  • Food: February is Great American Pie Month, so bake your favorite pie and share that flaky goodness with someone special.
  • Reading: Re-read a book you fell in love with as a kid.
  • More Reading: For Black History Month, read a Coretta Scott King Award-winning book. (Named for Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife, this award is given to the most distinguished children’s and teen’s books about the African American experience. You can find a list of all the winners since 1970 here.)
  • Even More Reading: Close your eyes and run your hands along a book shelf (either yours, or in the library). Choose any book at random and read it!

If you participate in the challenges, earn community service credit by submitting your creations so we can share them on our social media pages!

Tips and Tricks for Remote Learners from a Homeschool Veteran

Monday, February 1, 2021, 6:30 – 7:30pm

Schooling at home and homeschooling are different, but there’s also a lot of overlap.  Get some tips and tricks for remote learning from 20 year homeschool veteran, Linda Hincks. We’ll talk about how to relieve stress for kids and adults alike and revive energy for learning.  Bring your questions and concerns. Please forward your questions to aallen@cheshirelibrary.org ahead of time so Linda can include the answers in her presentation. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program

What Can We Learn From the Census?

Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 2:00 – 3:00pm

Carol Ansel, Director at the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, will discuss the history of the United States Census, how the questions changed to reflect what was happening in the nation at that time, and how you can use it to learn about your ancestors. There are stories hidden in all those facts and figures–you just have to know how to find them! Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Musical Journey with Liz McNicholl

Saturday, February 6, 2021, 10:00 – 10:45am

We can’t celebrate Take Your Child to the Library Day in person, however we can still have fun together, virtually! Join Liz McNicholl from Musical Folk for a wonderful, interactive virtual music making program with your little one! Grab some items from around the house to use as instruments (shakers, scarves etc.). Best for children ages 2-5, however everyone is welcome to attend. Please register for this virtual event and you will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

Food Explorers

Join a Registered Dietitian from Food Explorers to make Chocolate Cheesecake Egg Rolls and Loaded Veggie Tot Nachos! Ingredients are listed on our Event Calender. For kids ages 6-12. Please register for these virtual events and you will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

Take + Read: Blind Date with a Book

Pick up February 8-13, 2021

Blind Date with a Book is a “mystery” book, wrapped in brown paper, tagged with clues, and is yours to keep! This can be a fun way to discover something new or read outside your comfort zone. Registration is required to reserve and pick up a kit, and kits are limited to one kit per teen per week. register to pick up your kit in the Children’s Room any time the library is open during the week of February 8, or arrange for contactless pickup. For grades 6-12.

Virtual Paint Time (Adult Take & Make )

  • Pick up kit Tuesday, February 5, 2021, from 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Painting Program Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 2:45 – 4:45pm

Learn how to paint a real work of art at home! Follow instructor Pamela Halligan of Pam’s Picassos online as she walks you through the steps of creating your own masterpiece and you will create a beautiful completed painting.  You must be registered for the program in order to pick up a paint kit, which will be available for pickup on February 5, 10-4. There are limited spots for this program. Please make sure you can attend (and pick up kit) BEFORE you register.

Adult Cooking Program – Chocolate!

Thursday, February 11, 2021, 3:30 – 4:30pm

Join Food Explorers to learn how to make two chocolate recipes with a Registered Dietitian! Perfect for Valentine’s Day, we’ll be making Chocolate Bark and Chocolate Avocado Truffles, and while we’re cooking you’ll have the chance to ask any food or nutrition related questions you may have. Please register for this virtual event and you will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

Cartooning Workshop for Beginners

Thursday, February 11, 2021, 4:00 – 5:00pm

Award winning cartoonist and humorous illustrator, Rick Stromoski, will teach you how to create your own cartoon characters, draw facial expressions and animals! All you will need is a stack of paper and something to draw with. For children and teens in grades 3-8. Please register once per family and you will receive a Zoom meeting link 1 hour prior to the program start time.

Pajama Storytime

Monday, February 15, 2021, 7:00 – 7:30pm

Put on your pajamas and fuzzy slippers and tune in for a fun-filled evening of stories, songs, and adventures! Best for ages 2-5. Registration is required for this virtual event. You will receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the event start time.

Homeschooling: What’s Next?

Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 6:30 – 7:30pm

You’ve decided to homeschool. What’s next? Join Linda Hincks of Wren Homeschool Consulting to find out not only what to do, but how! Please forward your questions to aallen@cheshirelibrary.org ahead of time so Linda can include the answers in the her presentation. Please register for this virtual event, and you will receive a Zoom meeting link 1 hour prior to the program.

Looking for Owls

Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Through field experiences and knowledge about the life histories of owls, we will embark on a continuing expedition in search of owls and in the process reveal strategies for finding owls in your backyard, your local patch, and beyond. Please register for this virtual event, and you will receive a Zoom meeting link 1 hour prior to the program.

Minecraft Hour of Code: Voyage Aquatic

Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 4:00 – 5:00pm

Join us for this free, one-hour virtual workshop to take part in the global Hour of Code movement. Using the power of code, students will explore aquatic worlds and uncover hidden treasure with the 2018 Minecraft Voyage Aquatic tutorial. For children and teens ages 8-16. Please register for this virtual event and you will receive a Teams Meeting Link 1 hour prior to the program start.

Genealogy Research Tips & Tricks

Wednesday, February 24, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Carol Ansel, Director at the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, will share a number of hints to make your online genealogy searching easier and more effective. Please register for this virtual event, and you will receive a Zoom meeting link 1 hour prior to the program.

Teen Take & Make: Book Hedgehogs

Wednesday, February 24, 202, 6:00 – 6:45pm

Learn how to fold discarded books into adorable hedgehogs and personalize them with a variety of craft supplies. Pick up a Take + Make kit with supplies for the craft any time the library is open during the week of February 15, 2021. (Arrangements can also be made for contactless pickup.) Registration required to reserve supplies to be picked up and to attend this virtual program.

 

Facing War: CT in WWI

Thursday, February 25, 2021, 3:00 – 4:30pm

What was life like on the homefront during WW1? Learn about this dramatic time during which CT confronted women’s demand for the vote, a deadly flu epidemic and the mass immigration- all while sending thousands of men and women to the front. Please register for this virtual event, and you will receive a Zoom meeting link 1 hour prior to the program.

Macramé  Earrings & Necklace (Adult Take & Make )

  • Pick up kit Tuesday, February 23, 2021, from 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Macrame Workshop Saturday, February 27, 2021, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Join macramé artist Linda and learn to make macramé earrings & necklace using basic knots. We will make a set of jewelry using 2 mm cotton or jute cord, and working on a small scale, so average manual skills in tying knots are needed. You must be registered for the program in order to pick up a supply kit, which will be available for pickup on February 23, 10-4. There are limited spots for this program. Please make sure you can attend (and pick up kit) BEFORE you register.

What’s Happening (Virtually) at Cheshire Library in January

Happy New Year! Back when we started doing virtual programming in April, we thought it might be for a couple of months. Now here we are starting our tenth month of virtual programs, with no in-person programs on the immediate horizon. We like to think we’ve gotten pretty good at them, though, and have found that some kinds of programs actually work better in a virtual setting. We’ll keep working to bring you entertaining and informative program online – we’ve got a ton of them coming in January, here’s a look:

January Teen Volunteering Challenges

Earn community service hours by submitting a photo, video, or other content that may be added to CPL’s social media pages! Each submission will be awarded 2 community service hours. January’s challenges include:

  • Art: Make a fancy snowflake (cutting from paper), or draw a picture of an Abominable Snowman.
  • Writing: Write a story, poem, or essay about someone who inspires you.
  • Food: January is National Soup Month, so make some soup and warm your family up with piping hot bowls of comfort!
  • Reading: Read a book about Martin Luther King Jr. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 18th).
  • More Reading: Celebrate A.A. Milne’s birthday (also January 18th) by reading (re-reading?) a Winnie-the-Pooh story.
  • Even More Reading: Build a pillow fort and read a book inside it!

If you participate in the challenges, earn community service credit by submitting your creations so we can share them on our social media pages!

Take + Make: Paracord Bracelet

Pick up January 4 – 9, 2021

Make something at your own pace with Take + Make kits! We have a limited number of materials so please register to pick up your kit in the Children’s Room any time the library is open (hours listed here) during the week of January 4, 2021. For grades 6-12, one kit per person, please.

Support Through Meditation – Weekly Zoom Event

Tuesdays,  January 5-26, 2:00 – 3:00pm

This introductory meditation class is geared towards helping you through these anxious and challenging times. You will learn various meditation techniques that you will practice in session and guidance to perform meditation on your own. Presenter Tia Mandrozos will explain the purpose of meditation and interact with the participants to provide the help needed and to address specific concerns. Please register via the Event Calendar for each session you wish to attend.

White Memorial Through the Seasons – White Memorial Conservation Center

Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Brother and sister Alain and May White left their fingerprints all over Litchfield County, beginning with our 4,000 acre sanctuary. Sit back and enjoy breathtaking images from a variety of contributors depicting the extraordinary people, places, and things that make up this living masterpiece! Advance registration is required to join this program.

Murder of the High Wizard – Virtual Murder Mystery

Thursday, January 7, 2021, 3:00 – 4:00pm

The College of Wizards investigates a shocking murder! Join us in playing the roles of wizards and faculty for this virtual magic-themed murder mystery game. For teens in grades 6-12. Please register in advance to receive your character sheet before the program.

Adult Take & Make Workshop: Macramé Coaster

  • Pick up materials: Tuesday, January 5, 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Zoom workshop: Saturday, January 9, 3:00 – 4:30pm

A macramé coaster is a great project for beginner to intermediate level crafters. We will use cotton rope and basically we will repeat one type of knot several times in a circle to create this useful and cool looking object. Join our Macramé artist Linda to make this fun project. Supplies are limited, registration is required to pick up your supplies on January 5th and attend the virtual workshop on January 9th.

Foundation Gardens and Native Plants: A Winter View

Monday, January 11, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Presenter Kathy Connolly will discuss how to use winter’s lean lines to assess a foundation area, imagine new design, and build your plant list during the dark months. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Homeschooling 101

Monday, January 11, 2021, 6:30 – 7:30pm

So you’re thinking about homeschooling? Join Linda Hincks, East Hampton homeschool mom and owner of Wren Homeschool Consulting, to learn the basics of homeschooling and the laws in Connecticut. Please forward your questions to aallen@cheshirelibrary.org ahead of time so Linda can include the answers in the Zoom presentation. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Baby Steps

Join us in an exploration of shared activities for babies ages 0-12 months and their caregivers that provide the opportunity to strengthen your connection with your child and enrich your baby’s cognitive development through joyful movement and social experiences. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Preschool Storytime

Wednesdays, January 13 – February 10, 10:00 – 10:30pm

A virtual storytime for preschoolers (and their grown-ups!) to learn through talking, singing, reading, writing,and playing! Best for children ages 3-5. Younger and older siblings are welcome.  This program meets five times: January 13, 20, and 27 & February 3 and 10. Registration required, register once to attend all five sessions.

Getting Started in Genealogy

Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 2:00 – 3:00pm

Carol Ansel, Director at the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, will present the ABC’s of beginning genealogy, with an emphasis on the 8 (or so) basic types of genealogical records—where you can find them and how best to use them. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Sing Your Story

Wednesday, January 13, 2021, 4:00 – 5:00pm

Sing Your Story is an education music experience where kids become songwriters! Creator, Michele Urban, is an Early Childhood Music specialist, songwriter and vocal performer. Check out the song we wrote this summer here! Best for children in grades K-6. Please register for this virtual program to receive a link to the Zoom meeting 1 hour prior to the program start time.

Cooking Program: Ditch the Diet

Thursday, January 14, 2021, 3:30 – 4:30pm

Join Food Explorers to learn how to start the New Year off in a healthy way with a Registered Dietitian! No more calorie counting or juice cleanses, you’ll learn how to determine if a diet is fad or fact. You’ll also have the chance to cook along and make a delicious lunch-prep recipe: Sweet Potato Fajita Bowls with Guacamole (ingredients in the calendar description). Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Teen Take + Taste Challenge: Kit Kats!

January 19 – 23, 2021

Try some new tastes in the New Year- discover the wild and wacky flavors of Kit Kat candy bars and try to guess the flavors without peeking… do you think you can guess the flavors by just their taste? We have a limited number of materials so please register to pick up your kit in the Children’s Room any time the library is open (hours listed here) during the week of January 18, 2021. For grades 6-12. Registration is required to reserve and pick up a kit, and kits are limited to one kit per person per week.

Connecticut & the Pandemic of 1918

Thursday, January 21, 2021, 3:00 – 4:30pm

What was it like to live through the Influenza Pandemic of 1918? In this program, we’ll look at archival images, letters, and newspapers to explore this topic, including sources left by Connecticans who experienced the flu first-hand. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Take + Make: Snowflake STEAM

January 25 – 30, 2021

Make something at your own pace with Take + Make kits! We have a limited number of materials so please register to pick up your kit in the Children’s Room any time the library is open (hours listed here) during the week of January 25, 2021. For grades K-6, one kit per child, please.

Cut the Cord

Monday, January 25, 2021, 6:00 – 7:30pm

Join us for an entertaining presentation meant to help cable-TV customers break the expensive and often frustrating cable service cycle. The presentation will cover  details of streaming equipment (some of which you may already own) and how to explore the ever-expanding list of channels and services streaming—as well as the “forgotten” free resource of broadcast TV—can bring to your living room. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Books Over Coffee: The Searcher

Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 12:00 – 1:30pm

Want to engage in great discussions about books? Meet new people? Join us for an adult monthly book club program called Books Over Coffee. This month’s book is The Searcher by Tana French. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Feeling Alone-a Because of Corona

Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30pm

Hands-on Workshop with On-hand ingredients – with Velya and Ehris Urban. We’ll learn how to make DIY Ginger Ale and Vanilla/Almond Extracts. Registration is required, registered participants will receive a Zoom link via email on the day of the program.

Screen-Free Week is coming – can you go a week without screens?

Today’s post is by Children’s Librarian Lauren:

“Have I told you all about the time that I got sucked into a hole through a handheld device?” So goes a lyric on the Arctic Monkeys’ technologically ambivalent album Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino. This line repeats in my head every time I find an hour of my life has been lost to compulsively scrolling through Instagram or following clickbait articles. So much of our lives is mediated through screens, and the side effects aren’t always as light as lost time and an earworm. Night-time screen use has been linked to insomnia, and studies are linking excessive social media use to anxiety and depression.

For kids too young for Snapchat, studies have tied screen use to developmental delays. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for kids under 18 months and 1 hour max for kids under 5 years old. The more time toddlers spend silently watching screens, the less time they spend talking, playing, moving, and learning. Likewise, the more time parents and caregivers spend with screens, the less time we have to facilitate those crucial experiences for our kids.

To combat the negative effects of screen-based entertainment, some folks came up with Screen-Free Week, an annual week of unplugging and re-discovering the joys of real life fun. From Monday, April 29 to Sunday, May 5, families and individuals will be closeting the iPads and shutting off the backseat DVD players. Sound like something your family could try? Here’s some ideas on how to amuse yourselves while the screens are away:

Be bored! Boredom provides kids with an opportunity to get creative. Lin-Manuel Miranda – the creator of Hamilton and one of the most creative folks around – fondly recalls being left to his own non-screen devices. If you’re not up to writing an award-winning musical, though, provide your family with open-ended materials like art supplies, the contents of the junk drawer, and your backyard. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Clash your clans in a fantasy book! Look in the kids section for the blue sticker with a unicorn. Magic Tree House and Percy Jackson are classics that work as family read-alouds, or check out a new book like The Cryptid Catcher. We also love us some Neil Gaiman, especially Coraline, a delightfully creepy tale that begins with a super-bored girl who, to put it mildly, finds a way to amuse herself.

Go outside for a walk! This is one of the best times of year to hang out around the canal trail, when birds who migrated south are coming back and starting to make nests for the spring. You can see turtles, beavers, and snakes at Lock 12, and in the last couple weeks I saw diving kingfishers, big herons, and colorful wood ducks in the new section of trail north of West Main Street. Sleeping Giant State Park is still closed from tornado damage, but nearby Brooksvale Park has salamanders, frogs, and even farm animals, as well as easy hiking trails. The library has free maps of local trails, as well as wildlife guides for kids and adults to borrow.

Take advantage of the spring birds & blooms that are popping up all over this time of year, as close as your own back yard! Ask little kids to point out colors, compare sizes, and count petals on flowers. Explain pollination and photosynthesis to big kids – or, better yet, let them explain it to you. See how many different kinds of birds you can spot.

Take a break from Allrecipes and Epicurious, and follow a recipe from a book! Whether tacos or teiglach are more your speed, you can find a ton of family-friendly recipes in cookbooks designed especially for kids. Some cookbooks specialize in classics and others offer a history of food. Wherever your interests lie, head to the 641s for your cooking needs.

After you’ve cleaned up the kitchen and the kids are busy writing their own history-based raps, you might have a few minutes during Screen-Free Week for some adults-only reading:

Will you be participating in screen-free week from April 29 to May 5?

It’s National Keep Kids Creative Week

September 24st – 30th, 2017 is “National Keep Kids Creative Week”. The holiday was started in 2003 by author/illustrator Bruce Van Patter to restore children’s innate ability to “think outside the box, not “in front of the box.”

 

During National Keep Kids Creative Week, parents are encouraged to eliminate or at least cut down on kids’ screen time, and help them brainstorm creative activities instead. Write a story or create a recipe together. Challenge them to come up with their own superhero, cool invention, or fun game to play.  Bruce Van Patter’s website has some great ideas to get the ball rolling.

Cheshire Library has a lot of resources to encourage creativity, too, as you might imagine. Let’s get those creative juices flowing!

Art Lab for Kids : 52 creative adventures in drawing, painting, printmaking, paper, and mixed media by Susan Schwake

The Artful Parent : simple ways to fill your family’s life with art and creativity by Jean Van’t Hul

You Can Write a Story! : a story-writing recipe for kids / by Lisa Bullard

150+ Screen-free Activities for Kids : the very best and easiest playtime activities from FunAtHomeWithKids.com! by Asia Citro, MEd

Tinkerlab : a hands-on guide for little inventors by Rachelle Doorley

365 Things to do with LEGO Bricks by written by Simon Hugo

ChopChop : the kids‘ guide to cooking real food with your family by Sally Sampson

Smart from the Start

Let’s face it. Toddlers are adorable, but they’re a pain in the kneecaps when you have to keep getting up to chase them. Like an overcaffeinated octopus in a waterpark, they get into EVERYTHING. Once a baby starts to creep, your time to sit and relax evaporates. So what do you do to keep them busy long enough to check your email without having to hold them, yet manage to keep them from banging on the keyboard?

The worst thing you can do is plug them in. No child under the age of two should be parked in front of a TV or – and I see this every day in one store or another – a cell phone. Babies and toddlers need to DO. They need to use their bodies – crawling and climbing and running for gross motor, and touching, poking, pulling, pushing to develop not only fine-motor skills, but tactile, sensory integration, mental mapping, visual-motor integration, social expectations, and spatial memory – things they cannot develop from passive observation of a flat screen.

And that is not an easy task. Walk through Toys я Us or Walmart and almost every toy is merely a piece of plastic that beeps or flashes when you push a button. Maybe it sings a song or says the ABCs. Cute, but useless, really. Learning without context is gibberish – it has no meaning. If I suddenly switch to кириллица alphabet, and give you no explanation, ქართულად წერა, most of you will never clue in to my meaning*. These are no better than a cell phone or endless Dora. But the toys that ARE geared for actual learning are not usually found in stores but educational catalogs, and those are  often overpriced because they expect a school system to pay for them – like these awesome 32-pc clear plastic magnet builders, for $53. My favorite toddler toy is the Bilibo chair, an artfully designed piece of plastic that has endless imaginary uses: a chair, a stepstool, a rocker, a doll bed, a helmet, a bucket, a turtle shell, and it creates a vortex really well – but at $30, these two toys alone are close to $100 without shipping, making Christmas a stretch.

One of the memes making the rounds of the internet is one Dad’s solution, which is genius. Give the kid all those things he wants to explore, but in one safe location: a real-life busy board. Phones, switches, calculators, all those forbidden things, right in reach, and no one yelling. Finding myself the unexpected guardian and caretaker of an infant and starting all over again, I wanted one of those. As she started to crawl, I built one, too. Wheels for spinning, latches, jingly keys (and old dog license tags), a push-on closet light, a light switch that turns on an actual LED, a small baking sheet for magnets (we use photos of relevant family and friends), interchangeable carabiners with a pacifier, a fun keychain, a small measuring tape that retracts, a mailbox flag that goes up and down, a brush for sensory input, Velcro dots for sticking pictures to (and they feel fun), a light-up keychain, numbers for counting and matching clothespins, an old TV remote, and most importantly – the springy door stoppers that go BOING when you whap them. Fastened to the wood, they make a very satisfying sound. Another important item was a small grab bar fourteen inches off the ground. This allows the beginning stander and walker to hold on and pull, and feel secure while standing and playing. All this, on a 2  by 3 foot piece of plywood attached to the dining room wall. The only other thing we did was add three mirrored tiles at baby height on a different wall.

Now, raiding your garage or your family’s may land you half these items, but to buy them all from scratch is not cheap – easily in the $100 range, as the plywood section alone was $20, and all those $5 items add up. Of course, you can start off with just a few and add on. A toddler’s toy that can’t be thrown, lost, and actually occupies them over and over while letting them explore and learn? Priceless.

Today it’s building the busy wall; tomorrow the treehouse, then the race car, the playhouse, and the sandbox. Are you game? Then check out these books on simple building projects, and things to keep your toddler busy.

        

 

* by the way, the above is the word Cyrillic in Russian, and the words writing in Kartuli, which is Georgian Russian.