The Provo City Library will reopen June 1 with limited hours. You can return items to our outside book drops during curbside hours.
The Provo City Library will reopen June 1 with limited hours. You can return items to our outside book drops during curbside hours.
 

 

Caitlyn

  • brain elementary 

    Welcome to the fourth child brain development blog! This time we will cover elementary school-age children, or those 6-10 years of age. If you are looking for information on younger children, be sure to check out earlier posts in the series on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers ( ). At this point in the game, it seems like brain development isn’t emphasized as much. Just send them to school for writing, math, science, and history and that’s it – right? But your little one’s brain is still growing. Even now our three favorite activities are important: reading, singing, and talking! While they might look a little different than they did at younger ages, they are still just as key to brain development at this stage.

    Be sure that your child is reading every day, particularly something that interests them. Textbooks are great, but so are fun stories that inspire the imagination. If you are at a loss for what books are age-appropriate, visit the Children’s Reference Desk in the library. There are booklists for different grades, as well as topical guides and read-alikes. Maybe your child loves dragons or science fiction, or maybe your 2nd grader is reading at a 4th grade level. We’ve got you covered.

    You may find that your child isn’t interested in typical chapter books, but rather prefers comics or graphic novels. These are still great for your child’s development, and may help them find an interest in reading outside of school. Below are some popular choices among elementary school-age children. 

    2.24 The StonekeeperAMULET: THE STONEKEEPER
    By Kazu Kibuishi
    (2008)

    In this series, Em and Navin find themselves living in a mysterious house that leads them on magical adventures to save their mom and, later, fight for justice among a society they had previously never known. 

     

    2.24 Big Nate In a Class by HimselfBIG NATE: IN A CLASS BY HIMSELF
    By Lincoln Peirce
    (2010)

    Nate is a mischievous middle-schooler, finding himself in detention quite often for his antics. Each of the comics in this series is humorous and fun, while also showing the consequences of acting out in school, making them great for growing kids. 

     

    2.24 Dog ManDOG MAN
    By Dav Pilkey
    (2016)

    Dog Man is a superhero who is half dog, half-policeman. His enemy, Petey the cat, provides him with plenty of crimes to fight. 

     

    2.24 SmileSMILE
    By Raina Telgemeier
    (2010)

    Raina tells the story of how her dental problems affect her growing up. She addresses her appearance and self-esteem, making this a very relatable comic for kids in school. 

    Singing is a fun activity that can transition into other artistic outlets as well, to encourage creativity. While we encourage literacy at the library (and it is extremely important), there are other areas of the brain that need stimulation, and creativity is a huge part of that. Drawing, painting, music, and other artistic activities can help your child make neural connections to improve their memory, social skills, cognitive abilities, and much more. We have great activities in the library, such as Make-and-Take crafts and Kids with Cameras, where your child can be exposed to different artistic techniques to try out.

    Talking is very important at this age as well, not just with parents, but also with peers. Socializing with other children helps your child to understand and empathize with others and gain a better theory of mind. While previously your child was more egocentric as they worked on understanding their place in the world, they are now trying to understand their place in the world in relation to others. We never quite stop learning about either of these, but this is a key point in your child’s development. Coming to events in the library, like those mentioned above, provides the opportunity for your child to socialize with other children. We often place them at tables together and encourage them to help one another, so it’s a great experience outside of the typical school setting they may be used to.

    If you are interested in learning more about how your child’s brain develops and strategies to help them along, check out the following book. 

    2.24 The Whole Brain ChildTHE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD
    By Daniel Siegel
    (2011)

    This book offers much more than I can say on the topic of child brain development and how to guide them in their growth. 

     
  • Baby Genius 

    Are you looking for resources to supplement your child’s learning? In the coming weeks, we’ll be doing a series of posts on child brain development and how the library can help.Today, we will be talking about infants, which are children up to 18 months of age.

    At every stage, the first recommendation (after love) is to read, sing, and talk to your child, which means that the library is a great place to start. For more exposure to reading, singing, and talking, bring your little one to story time! We have story time at a variety of times during the week where our storytellers read, sing, and talk to your children. For children under one year, we offer Book Babies on Mondays and Fridays at 10:00 am, while one- and two-year-olds can attend Toddler Time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10:05 and 11:05. 

    Beyond storytime, the library offers a number of resources to help your children learn and flourish. In particular, we have books and discovery kits that can help develop your baby's eyesight, tactile senses, and ability to identify and name objects.

    Eyesight

    Not having had the chance to hone his or her senses in the womb, your baby is in need of natural stimulation to help him or her progress, particularly for visual and tactile senses. Contrasting and bright colors help babies to focus on and distinguish between different visual stimuli. While you can (and should) read any and all books with your child, here are a few that might help specifically with their developing eyesight:

    5.7 My AnimalsMY ANIMALS
    By Xavier Deneux
    (2015)

    This board book has pictures of animals in black and white with pops of color to train your child’s eyes. Each animal is labelled (which is another great aspect for visual attention, as discussed below), and each page has holes so that your growing child can learn to turn the pages themselves. 

     

    5.7 Birds of a ColorBIRDS OF A COLOR
    By  élo
    (2018)

    Focusing more on color contrasts than just black and white, this board book has interactive elements to teach colors by placing them behind black and white patterns. 

     

    5.7 Patterns Jr. Discovery KitPATTERNS JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    Our Junior Discovery Kits come with books, toys, and suggested activities for a particular topic.The Patterns Jr. kit is filled with contrast perfect for aiding your little one’s visual development. 

     

    IDENTIFICATION AND NAMING

    A study done by Lisa Scott at the University of Florida showed that labels – like in MY ANIMALS – and names in books have a positive impact on infants' visual attention as they age. You can create the names yourself as you read, or read books like those below with recognizable characters. As you read, point to pictures and say the name of the character or object, even if it isn’t explicitly stated. 

     

    5.7 The Cat in the HatTHE CAT IN THE HAT
    bY Dr. Seuss
    (1957)

    This classic by Dr. Seuss has names for many of its characters that you can repeat again and again. 

     

    5.7 Berenstain Bears THE BERENSTAIN BEARS: WE LOVE THE LIBRARY
    By Mike Berenstain
    (2017)

    The Berenstain Bears books have repeating characters that you can point out in book after book. We like this one because we also love the library. 

     

    TACTILE RECOGNITION

    As their tactile senses develop, around 3-6 months, books with texture can be a great tool to introduce your baby to different sensations. We don’t typically keep these in the library, as they tend to get dirty or damaged very quickly travelling between children’s hands. One place where the library does offer them is in a few of our Junior Discovery Kits. 

     

    5.7 Night Night FarmFARM JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    Not only does this Junior Discovery Kit have textured materials, but farm animals, which can be used to teach names and sounds. 

     

    5.7 Numbers Jr. Discovery KitNUMBERS JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    The Numbers kit is great for reading, singing, and playing; along with textured materials for tactile senses. 

     

    5.7 Safari Jr. Discovery KitSAFARI JR. DISCOVERY KIT

    If your baby liked the Farm kit, they’ll love the Safari kit. It has more animals and textured materials! To wrap up, here is another book that discusses child brain development that might have some useful tips. You can check it out directly or get it in any of our Junior Discovery Kits. 

     

    FOR PARENTS

    5.7 The Whole Brain ChildTHE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD
    By Daniel Siegel
    (2011)

    This book offers much more than I can say on the topic of child brain development and how to guide them in their growth. Be sure to follow the blog to learn about more library resources to aid brain development in older children!

     
  • Toddler Brain Development

    It’s time for another child brain development blog! Today we'll cover preschool-age children, or those 3-5 years of age. If you are new to this series, check out our other posts on infants and toddlers. If you’ve been following along, you are probably tired of hearing this, but:

    What are the best things we can do for our children’s brain development?

    Read, sing, and talk to them!

    Where’s a great place to get help with that?

    The library!

    I probably sound like a broken record, but here at the library we have a great program called Story Time where our fantastic storytellers do all three of our favorite activities with your children: read, sing, and talk. They also get your children moving and interacting, which is great for their social development.

    During the school year we have a special Story Time for preschoolers in the Story Room, which looks like a castle and has a special child-sized entrance. Children are locked in for their safety and get some time with other children without their parents. During the summer we instead have Story Time on the lawn and at various parks around Provo, so they can get some fresh air.

    As you might expect from the name, our Preschool Play time is specifically geared towards children this age. We bring out different age-appropriate toys from dress up clothes to wooden trucks for your children to play with. We also have puzzles available all day long which are a great resource for stimulating child brain development at this age.

    For library resources you can use at home, look for books with repetition and rhyming, which is beneficial for your child’s language development. As you read, ask open ended and who/what/where/why questions to stimulate your child’s engagement with the books. Here are some classic options:

    9.16 Brown Bear Brown BearBROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE?
    By Bill Martin
    (1983)

    This children’s classic is beautifully illustrated and filled with rhyming. 

     

    9.16 Hop on PopHOP ON POP
    By Dr. Seuss
    (1987)

    Dr. Seuss is one of the most recognizable children’s book authors for a reason! His repetitive rhymes are a great way to get your child learning and reading at a higher level. 

     

    9.16 The Giving TreeTHE GIVING TREE
    By Shel Silverstein
    (1964)

    All of Shel Silverstein’s poetry books are whacky and fun – which is just what kids love! Along the way, they are interacting with valuable literary elements to help them learn, too. 

     

    You can also check out our Discovery Kits (the full size ones, now), which include books, toys, and activities to explore a specific topic. Some great ones are Shapes, which has great puzzles; Multicultural, which has memory matching; and All About Me, which teaches children to recognize emotions.

    For more information on how to help with your preschooler’s brain development, see the book below. If you have older children, be sure to follow along with the blog for upcoming brain development posts! 

    9.16 The Whole Brain ChildTHE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD
    By Daniel Siegel
    (2011)

    This book offers much more than I can say on the topic of child brain development and how to guide them in their growth.

     
  • Toddler Brain Development

    Welcome to part 2 of our child brain development series. Today we will be talking about toddlers, or children from 18 months up to 3 years of age. As I mentioned in part 1 of this series, on infants, it is important to read, sing, and talk to your child every day, no matter how old they are. Now that they are talking more and more, however, it is essential to encourage your child’s new skills.Here are a few activities you and your child should take advantage of within the library:

    STORY TIME 

    We recommended Story Time for infants, but now that your child is moving and talking more, they will get even more out of this activity. We have Book Babies and Toddler Time in the story circle, which are specifically geared toward this age group. Your child will not only get the chance to hear from our fantastic storytellers, but practice imitating their movements and sounds – key for development at this time.

    PRESCHOOL PLAY

    Although preschool typically starts around 3 years of age, the toys in the story circle during Preschool Play can be fun for your toddler as well. We also have several toys for young children next to the story room. Play is vital to child brain development, so letting them explore and learn both on their own and with your guidance is beneficial at this age.

    JUNIOR DISCOVERY KITS

    Explore a topic with your child using books, toys, and activities by checking out one of our junior discovery kits. In particular for toddlers, we recommend: colors, numbers, and shapes. These kits include toys that challenge their learning and level of play with stacking and matching.

    Now to what you typically think of when bringing your child to the library: books.

    You may have noticed your child loves to point at things and ask what it is or name it themselves. You can encourage this curiosity and connectivity through books with interactive and follow-along elements, like those below. Also, while reading together be sure to ask them questions, such as “Where is the dinosaur?” or, while pointing at the dinosaur, “What is that?” 

    5.28 WigglesWIGGLES
    By Claire Zucchelli-Romer
    (2018)

    This fun book gives instructions to your child on using different fingers to make patterns. It is a beautiful little book packed with activity! 

     

    5.28 Around the WorldAROUND THE WORLD: A FOLLOW THE TRAIL BOOK
    By Craig Shuttlewood
    (2015)

    Your child can follow this book around the world – with their finger! Not only do they learn as they go, and see pretty pictures, but they become more engaged with the book by utilizing this tactile attachment. 

     

    5.28 Baby DinosaursBABY DINOSAURS
    By Dawn Sirett
    (2018)

    Similar to Around the World: A Follow the Trail Book, this book teaches your child about dinosaurs while having them tag along on the paper trail. I am no expert on this subject, so I will continue to refer to the following book for any questions you may have about how to help your child’s brain develop, both in the library and at home. You can check this out directly, or find it in one of our junior discovery kits mentioned above. 

     

    5.28 The Whole Brain ChildTHE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD
    By Daniel Siegel
    (2011)

    This book goes into much more depth about child brain development and ways you can help your child in their growth. For more recommendations about how the library can help with the brain development of your growing child, stay tuned for more in this series on the blog. 

     
  • Coding 

    Every Tuesday from 4:00pm-5:00pm, kids ages 9-12 fill the story room in the children’s department for Coding +. After taking the Coding + Basics class on the first Tuesday of the month, they are free to come to other classes that teach them coding skills using Bitsbox, Harry Potter, Codecademy, and more. Not only do they learn a thing or two about coding, but they have fun and make new friends. For those outside of the age range, or looking to learn more about coding at home, below are a few books and websites to get them ready for their future as a programmer. 

    Books

    3.15 Computer CodingCOMPUTER CODING
    By Jon Woodcock
    (2014)

    This workbook provides detailed instructions to take your child from a novice to a programmer using Python. The tasks can be done alone or with a parent to help them along. 

     

    3.15 Get CodingGET CODING!: LEARN HTML, CSS, AND JAVASCRIPT AND BUILD A WEBSITE, APP, AND GAME
    By Duncan Beedie
    (2016)

    If your child is interested in building websites and applications, this is a great book to check out. It teaches the basics of HTML, which provides the basic layout of the site; CSS, which adds style and flair; and Javascript, which makes the site interactive. 

     

    3.15 Python for KidsPYTHON FOR KIDS
    By Jason R. Briggs
    (2012)

    A Python textbook made fun, this book takes kids through the basics and into the nitty gritty of programming in Python. With sections dedicated to particular topics and fun programming tasks along the way, this is a great in-depth introduction to programming for kids and adults alike. 

     

    3.15 Star Wars Coding ProjectsSTAR WARS CODING PROJECTS: WITH SCRATCH
    By Jon Woodcock
    (2017)

    Using the website Scratch (https://scratch.mit.edu/), your child’s favorite Star Wars characters show them how to make games and animations that teach coding principles along the way. 

     

    Websites

    • Code.org uses games and recognizable characters to teach kids coding basics at their learning level.

    • Codecademy has a step by step approach to real coding that is good for kids and adults.

    • Codemoji teaches web development in a kid-friendly way.

    • Scratch is a creative outlet for kids that utilizes block coding.  
     
  • Marie Kondo

    Chances are, you’ve heard of Marie Kondo and the KonMari method by now. If not, you’re probably still buried under a mountain of possessions like most of America. With her 2014 bestseller, THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, Marie Kondo single-handedly started a revolution of decluttering and organizing. More recently, she has come out with a Netflix series called TIDYING UP WITH MARIE KONDO that has reached a whole new audience and flooded the world with decluttering fever once again. Now that you’ve read the book (and the sequel, SPARK JOY), and watched the Netflix series, you may be wondering where else you can get inspiration for your spring cleaning. The following are some great books on organization and living with less that you may find interesting. 

    11.01 Digital MinimalismDIGITAL MINIMALISM
    By Cal Newport
    (2019)

    Perhaps you have KonMari-ed down to just the items that “spark joy” and are looking for a new frontier to battle. Cal Newport suggests diving into your digital clutter. The same way that an overabundance of physical clutter can overwhelm you at home, an overabundance of digital clutter can overwhelm you everywhere you go. If non-essential notifications and the pressure to capture the perfect picture for social media can distract you from real-life moments, perhaps this book is for you. 

     

    11.01 The Gentle Art of Swedish Death CleaningTHE GENTLE ART OF SWEDISH DEATH CLEANING: HOW TO FREE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FROM A LIFETIME OF CLUTTER
    By Margareta Magnusson
    (2018)

    While similar in the aim to declutter, Swedish Death Cleaning and the KonMari method are a bit different. Have you ever had a relative die and, during the grieving process, had to sort through their collection of stuff only to find junk and items you felt guilt-tripped into keeping? Swedish Death Cleaning aims to remove this burden from your relatives by taking care of it throughout your life. Rather than just asking if items "spark joy” for you, you also ask if they will be useful to your posterity. Margareta Magnusson does a beautiful job of outlining this process as she goes through her own things, with some humor thrown in along the way. 

     

    11.01 The Minimalist HomeTHE MINIMALIST HOME: A ROOM-BY-ROOM GUIDE TO A DECLUTTERED, REFOCUSED LIFE
    By Joshua Becker
    (2018)

    Written by Joshua Becker, popular editor of the Becoming Minimalist website (https://www.becomingminimalist.com/), The Minimalist Home guides readers through the process of decluttering their home by room rather than by type. If Marie Kondo inspired you but her style of decluttering didn’t work for you, Becker’s might. Also, note that minimalism to Becker doesn’t mean getting down to the bare bones – it means to get rid of the excess, whatever that means for your life. 

     

    11.01 Organized EnoughORGANIZED ENOUGH: THE ANTI-PERFECTIONIST’S GUIDE TO GETTING – AND STAYING – ORGANIZED
    By Amanda Sullivan
    (2017)

    If minimalism isn’t for you, and you’re looking for another gentle organizing technique that doesn’t suggest getting rid of everything you own, Amanda Sullivan may be the next author you need to read. Her tips on organization are a bit more realistic for the everyday person. Read this book if Marie Kondo’s technique was a little too much for you and you want to try another method of organization – one that doesn’t involve an intense folding process. 

     

    11.01 Soulful SimplicitySOULFUL SIMPLICITY
    By Courtney Carver
    (2017)

    After being diagnosed with MS, Courtney Carver took on the excess in her life so that she could focus on what mattered most: her daughter. She describes her diagnosis as a “wake-up call,” but hopefully the rest of us don’t need an incurable disease to get us on the path we want in life. Jonathan Fields said it best, “Marie Kondo taught us how to declutter our homes; now it’s time to let Courtney Carver take us to a deeper place.” If tidying up with Marie Kondo brought you joy, but you still feel that there is something missing (or rather, excessive) in your life, this might be the next book for you.