Hobbies, Crafts, & Sports
To celebrate National Kite Month starting April 1, Porter Branch will once again display a variety of fabulous kites suspended from the ceiling. The exhibition will be provided by Stafford resident, Mike Clark, a lifelong kite enthusiast. Mr. Clark has more than 1,400 kites in his collection, including single, double, and quad line kites, as well as stunt kites. He started collecting and making his own kites when he was a child. Enjoy these colorful beauties and learn more about kites, how to fly them, and how to make them.
Is your child Deaf or does your family know someone who is Deaf? Are you or your family simply interested in learning basic sign language? American Sign Language (ASL) is the native language for thousands of Deaf* children and adults in the United States. Gallaudet University, a four-year liberal arts college focusing on deaf students, has produced materials to help people of all ages learn ASL for years. The new Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language is a welcome resource for the Deaf community and those who love them and work with them.
Making bread from flour, yeast, water/milk and whatever else goes into your recipe is one of the most satisfying things a person of any age can learn, and there are so many good lessons for homeschooling, too. There’s measuring, of course, but there are a lot of little things that baking reinforces. Patience: it takes time for a loaf of bread to rise. An eye for detail: how do you know when the bread is mixed enough? When it's done? Sharing: whether you’re sharing an Amish or sourdough starter or a complete loaf of bread, sharing can be the best part of baking.
Even with all those good lessons, author Elizabeth Harbison and illustrator John Harbison go it one better by including a cheerful history of bread making in their book, Loaves of Fun: A History of Bread with Activities and Recipes from Around the World. You’ll learn how people across the world and across time have made their bread. They might use different kinds of flour. They might not even use yeast. But it’s all bread, made to be enjoyed—and shared.
Author and yoga practitioner Lorena Pajalunga believes that children can grasp the important symbolic root of yoga practice. When children are asked to become "strong like a lion," or "feel the energy of an eagle," they can immediately become that energy and embody it—while adults, who have more of a commitment to literal analogy, may take longer to embrace these suggestions. Pajalunga has dedicated her new book, Play Yoga: Have Fun and Grow Healthy and Happy, to children around the world who "can internalize what is proposed to them," such as poses that are based on well-known animals.
During World War II, victory gardens were important to Americans around the country. The steel and tin industry was working hard on supplying the army with weapons, so there were not enough raw materials to make these and tin cans for vegetables. Trains were being used to carry soldiers instead of civilian food supplies. And, to make matters worse, Japan controlled most of the rubber factories overseas, which meant there was no rubber for new tires on trucks that carried food across the country.
Is Arts & Crafts class your favorite camp activity? Does working with yarn, felt, and fabric put you in a happy, creative place? Then, Knit, Hook, and Spin: A Kid’s Activity Guide to Fiber Arts and Crafts, by Laurie Carlson, might be the best book ever. It has directions for all kinds of fun. With its very clear instructions, you can learn to weave, knit, crochet, and even spin your own yarn if you like.
In Carole Lexa Schaefer’s The Children’s Garden, there are so many things to see—and do! It’s the children who are watering, weeding, and scattering seeds. They are also the ones who enjoy the many vegetables and herbs. Brightly colored illustrations, by Pierr Morgan, are cheerful and relatable.
Young readers and listeners may be inspired to start their own gardens, whether on a windowsill, in the backyard, or by taking part in a community garden. Gardening teaches children how nature works and to value their own work in the world. Gardening also allows them to enjoy the literal fruit of their labors and is a great way to spend more time outdoors.
“Healthy Recipes & Culinary Skills for the New Cook in the Kitchen”
There is no reason older kids can’t cook many dishes on the same level as most adults. If you can handle cooking without supervision, you can really develop your palate and your skills to create dishes you and grown-ups will truly enjoy. There are no cute presentations in Melina Hammer’s Kid Chef. This is a book about taste and freshness. Of course, there are kid favorites, such as Crispy Fish Sticks, but these are from scratch, with panko, lemon zest, freshly ground pepper and other delightful flavors.