Kent District Library
Early Bit Lits

December,  2013
Issue No . 44
KDL Blue
In This Issue
Rooftop Landing Reindeer
Fine Motor Skills
Music Minute
Learning with Crafts
Book Review
App Review
App Review

Rooftop Landing Reindeer

Traveling all the way from the North Pole (via Rooftop Landing Reindeer Farms), live reindeer will be visiting the library. Dress warmly, and don't forget the camera!


Check the online event calender for a program near you.

Fine Motor Skills

Everyone loves puzzles, especially small children. What a great way to build fine motor skills and have fun too. Letter puzzles are one activity that helps your child get ready to read and helps with their fine motor control. Visit for free printable activities including  Letter Puzzles. Cut apart the puzzles and as you reassemble them, say the names of the pictured items aloud. Talking with your child about the pictures will increase their vocabulary. Cutting and using puzzles are both great ways to help build fine motor control, which is  an important piece in learning to write!  




-Chris S.

Englehardt Branch

Music Minute

This holiday season, don't let all the leftovers go to waste - the paper leftovers, that is. Empty boxes and paper tubes can be used to make a variety of musical instruments that will provide hours of entertainment for your child.

  • Wrap waxed paper around one end of a paper tube, secure with tape or a rubber band; poke a small hole in the center of the paper and you have an instant kazoo.
  • Rubber bands stretched around the opening of an empty tissue box become a great guitar.
  • Plastic cookie tubs and metal popcorn tins make excellent drums. Check out Be Quiet, Mike! for inspiration, then try using different kitchen utensils as drumsticks to get different sounds.
  • Metal popcorn tins are also a great for singing into!  Kids will have lots of fun playing with the echoing sounds.
Be quiet mike

Encourage your little one to hum or strum their favorite holiday tune on their homemade instruments. Or, try out one of these rockin' rhythm children's CDs to play along with:

Rhythms on Parade by Hap Palmer

Rockin' Red or Groovy Green by Eric Litwin


-Sara M. 
Sand Lake Branch

Kent District Library is here to provide you and your child with the skills needed to succeed in school and in life. KDL's Early Lit Bits newsletter is full of FUN and simple activities that will help foster that growth. For more information regarding the skills your child needs before he or she learns to read, visit the Play-Grow-Read section of the KDL website. You can also stop by any KDL branch to speak with one of our helpful youth librarians. We hope to see you soon!

Learning With Crafts

Cinnamon Ornaments 

Following a recipe and working in the kitchen making cinnamon ornaments is a fun and easy way to practice both early literacy and math skills. Even very small children can help measure and stir ingredients and knead, roll and cut dough. Hang them on your Christmas tree or in your kitchen to keep the room smelling wonderful throughout the winter season.



cup applesauce

1  4oz bottle of cinnamon

drinking straw

colorful ribbon

paint markers (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 200F. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed. Children can use hands for this. Using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut dough into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Make a hole at top of ornament with drinking straw or skewer. Place ornaments on baking sheet.
  2. Bake 2 1/2 hours. Cool ornaments on wire rack. (Or, to dry ornaments at room temperature, carefully place them on wire rack. Let stand 1 to 2 days or until thoroughly dry, turning occasionally.)
  3. Insert ribbon through holes and tie to hang. Decorate with opaque paint markers, found in arts and crafts stores, if desired. This recipe makes 12-15 ornaments.

Other Ideas

Have older children poke whole cloves into the surface of an orange to make an old fashioned pomander ball. Tie a ribbon around the orange to hang it up to dry. Hang in a closet to keep your clothes smelling fresh. 

-Anjie G.

Walker Branch

Book Review

Moo by David LaRochelle


Look out-cow behind the wheel! In this humorous picture book, a cow discovers the joys and dangers of driving when the farmer leaves his car unattended. The only text in the book is the word "moo," allowing children to interpret emotion through the illustrations and by listening to your voice. In a one-on-one reading, ask your child to point to the letters in the word "moo" and ask what other words begin with "m" and "o." In a group setting, invite the audience to "moo" with you! Talk about the sequence of events in the story and ask your child what might happen next. Reading together and talking about what you've read boosts comprehension and are great ways to get your child ready to read!  

-Liz W.  

 Plainfield Branch

App Review

In the app Bugs and Buttons 2, cute life-like bugs, fun sound effects and music are combined with colorful, high definition graphics for a fun learning experience. The app includes 18 different games at 3 levels that engage critical thinking skills and teach counting, music memory, sorting and more! As you play you can choose your mode of play and the games will adapt to the skill level of the player. Easy-to-follow instructions lead users through games that test observation or listening skills. The arcade-like games have you racing bugs past obstacles, watching a puppet show or saving bugs from "raining" buttons. The fine motor skills used in the games can help children's hands get ready to write. Activities like counting and matching help develop early literacy skills through talking and playing.  This well-rounded app is available for iPad and iPhone for $2.99.


bugs and buttons  



-Julie R. 
Caledonia Township Branch 
Early Literacy Gift Ideas from Katie L.

1. NEW Crayons, Markers or Pencils - Scribbling and drawing help children develop eye-hand coordination and the fine motor control they need to hold a pencil.

2. Finger Puppets - Use the puppets to retell favorite stories or make up your own!

3. Wiki Sticks - Use them to form letter, circle things, make shapes, etc!

4. Coloring Books - Learning to color inside the lines helps control muscles that get kids hands ready to write!

5. Blank Notepads - Give them something to draw and write in. Writing and reading go together!

6. Blocks - Wood, foam, building bricks, etc all make for great imaginative play!

7. Bells, Scarves or Shakers - Listen to music to shake and dance to the beat to slow language down and better hear the different sounds.

8. Stickers - Peeling  and placing stickers help build hand muscles which in turn helps with pencil grasp.

9. Play Dough - Writing doesn't always have to be writing! It can be playing to help strength finger muscles!

10. Books - Reading together remains the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers.



-Julie R. 
Caledonia Township Branch