Design Tools

I wanted to share a few of my favorite *free* design resources that I’ve been enjoying lately.

1. Google Photos

I love this app for many reasons. It automatically backs up your photos using wifi for starters! It also has some of the easiest video editing software I’ve encountered in an app. It’s really easy to make a slideshow, edit videos you’ve uploaded, add music and share. Here’s an example of a slideshow I put together in just a few minutes to share photos from this summer’s Stuffed Animal Sleepover at my library: Stuffed Animal Sleepover

2. Canva

This site has a vide variety of ready to go templates and graphics to use for free. The interface is very user friendly and pretty easy to navigate. The search tool isn’t the best, but I still really enjoy using this site. There are templates and graphics that you can purchase as well. Instead of paying for a subscription though, you just pay for the element you want to use. The best part is that you can create your own templates and save them for later use. Below is an example of a few things I’ve created with their free elements. I’ve been using these graphics to post on my library’s social media pages.

3.  PicMonkey

This website is promoted as a photo editor, which is does well, but you can also use it to create content using their drag and drop tools. They conveniently organize their elements by themes such as “comic heroes” with superhero themed fonts and graphics. I find this site useful when creating elements for event flyers. Below are a few examples of things I’ve created with this site:

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Dr. Seuss Extravaganza

I’ve been settling into a new position this winter and just hosted my first weekend family event. Since Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’s birthday are celebrated in early March, my event was all things Dr. Seuss!

This event was drop in based for an hour and half on a Saturday morning. So, I set up several stations that families could explore at their own pace. I tried to have a variety of activities that could be adapted for a wide age range since I was expecting everything from babies and toddlers to upper elementary school students. So, here’s what I came up with:

1. Cat in the Hat Craft

What Seuss event would be complete without some Cat in the Hat hats?! We made hats our of paper. I had a teen volunteer cut out strips of red paper and the rims of paper plates in advance. Kids then glued the red stripes to large white sheets of construction paper and then attached their paper to the paper plat rims with tape.

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2. 10 Apples on Top Building Challenge

I used some blocks we had lying around and got 10 red apples. The kids were challenged to build a structure that could support all 10 apples just like the guys in Seuss’s book. For younger kids I asked them to try to support 1 or 2 apples, and the older kids worked towards the 10 apples.

3. Cat in the Hat Stacking Challenge

In this building challenge kids had to create a Cat in the Hat pattern (white/red/white/red) using notecards and plastic cups. This one was surprisingly popular with all ages!

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4. Truffala Forest Collage Art

We had small pieces of yarn, popsicle sticks, crayons, glue, and fabric squares with Seuss characters on them our on a table. The kids used their creativity to make collages.

5. Pin the Green Eggs on the Green Ham Game

 

This was a fun game! I had a teen volunteer make the giant plate with the ham on it ahead of them, then we blindfolded the kids and had them try to add a green egg to the plate. It was a lot of fun!IMG_5490

A Few of My Favorites Things: Picture Books

With the year wrapping up, I wanted to share a few of my favorite books that I came across in 2015, and decided I’d start with picture books. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the great picture books that came out in 2015 or guesses at which books will be winning awards. It’s simply a short list of the books I enjoyed the most and the ones that stuck with me over the year.

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Maker Camp!

Happy Summer, Everyone!

It’s been a little while since I posted, but I blame summer in general. Summer Reading is keeping me crazy, busy, and happy at work and summertime always means more travels, more time outside, and less time for blogging.

MakerCamp2014_Logo_Robot-FullColorHowever, I have to share how awesome our Maker Camp has been! Continue reading

Family Yoga

A couple of months ago a yoga instructor stopped by the children’s desk and asked if she could put up some flyers for a free bilingual family yoga class she was teaching at a health center in our library’s neighborhood.  We got to talking and I asked her if she was looking for more places to teach her classes and if she would be interested in teaching a class in the library. She enthusiastically said “Yes!” and so began our spring family yoga series. Continue reading