Monday, 30 July 2012

Why You Should Go To The Library and How To Make Rain A Bit More Exciting


Last week saw the opening of Story Lab this year's Summer Reading challenge! Encourage your kids to read 6 new books over the summer and they could win prizes! Younger children can earn certificates too with the Bookstart Bear Club.

Libraries are brilliant - they're free, warm, dry and keep rotating their stock regularly. The staff are keen to help and if you're utterly forgetful like me ask about fines - many authorities don't charge for overdue returns on children's books anymore.

Have a look at the noticeboards too, library story time sessions often still run over summer and sometimes they have extra weekday activities too, ours offers a range of afternoon craft sessions either for free or a small £1 charge.

Libraries have internet access, sometimes free, particularly for children. As well as: computer skills courses for adults; puzzle, magazine and book swapping stations; daily newspapers; child friendly reference books for when you want something a little more succinct than wikipedia; access to information about local services and plans; dvd rental; large print and audiobooks; board books for babies; colouring to keeping small children entertained while you browse and automated machines so your child can check books in and out themselves.

Plus hundreds of new stories for both the kids and you to get stuck into.

Make a Rain Catcher

You will need:
  • A plastic bottle
  • A stick or wooden spoon
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Pens and a permanent marker
  • String, wool or fabric strips
  • A small spade
  • Ruler 
  • Notebook and Pen
How to make it:
  • Cut the bottom off your plastic bottle and throw it away, you want the top section with the lid screwed on tightly.Where you have cut through the plastic the edge may be jaggered and sharp - try covering it over with sticky tape.
  • Decorate the bottle with the pens and the top of your stick with knots of colourful wool or fabric.
  • Use the ruler to make marks every 1cm along the length of the stick.
  • Dig a small hole in the garden and put your plastic bottle inside, lid down.
  • Wait for it to rain. Once water has collected inside you can put your stick inside and count how many marks the water has covered to see how much it has rained.
Take it further:
  • Can you collect more rain in different parts of the garden, or in different shaped containers?
  • Where do you see animals in your garden (slugs, snails, frogs, foxes, cats) and is more rain collected where they like to be or less?  
  • Use the internet to compare rainfall in your garden with average amounts for the area or country.
  • Decorate the wooden spoon water-measurer as a person.

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