April and May Children’s Events at Roosevelt Branch Library

Probably you have read Dr. Suess’s famous, yet simple verse about reading:

“The more that you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you’ll go.”

We all agree that reading is a mighty good thing for our children- it improves their vocabulary, it builds new cognition, it grows their imagination, it teaches them about life, and it lets them travel vicariously to faraway places.
However, if reading does not come easy to your youngster, don’ t worry : keep reading and soon you will see that practice makes perfect. Young readers’ reading success stems from consistent practice and enjoyable reading experiences.

To welcome Spring and to give your new reader a positive and fun reading experience this spring, the Roosevelt Branch Library offers a New Readers Book Club, “Hop into Reading, with Spring Book Buddies”. This program is designed to strengthen new readers’ reading skills and to introduce them to the joy of reading, by paring new readers with teen volunteers in a fun read-aloud sessions. This reading club welcomes kindergardeners, first, second graders and their parents every Saturday in April and May, drop-in times: 2pm-4pm. Every child will get to record their reading leaps into a “Frog Log”. Hop into Spring with Roosevelt Branch’ s reading club!

For the younger ones (infant to 3 year-old) the Roosevelt branch offers the phenomenal story time, “Mother Goose on the Loose ” on Saturdays (April 6, 13, 20, 27) or Thursdays (April 4, 11, 18, 25), 10:30 am – 11:30 am. Registration required.

Preschoolers and caregivers, enjoy some playing, reading, and singing at the “Book Party! for Preschoolers”. Fridays(April 5, 12, 19, 26), 10:30-11:15am.

New at Roosevelt Branch: On April 20 and April 27 , 2-4pm, for those families who want to celebrate and explore Award-winning literature by Latino authors, come and joint the “Nuestros Libros Para Todos” Dia Family Book Club.

To register for this programs, stop by the the Children’s Desk at the Roosevelt Branch or call (312) 746-5656.

Enjoy the wealth of programs at Roosevelt Branch Library!

By Maria Gueret

New Eco-Friendly Play Space Opened in the South Loop

You are an eco-savvy parent and you have a toddler or preschooler eager to checkout a new play territory, then head to the newly opened eco- friendly play place, Sod Room!

Housed in the historic Buick Building, in the South Loop, Sod Room is the new hot spot for green-minded parents and their little explorers seeking new indoor fun. Furnished with state of the art sustainable play equipment, the Sod Room is a magical green place for both parents and children.Founded by husband and wife, Abdón and Cynthia Valenciana, Sod Room’s mission is to create a green space for children to play but also to bring the resources and education that parents need as they embark on the journey to eco-friendly living a little closer to home. Sod Room walks its “green” talk by offering a sunny, spacious, and tastefully decorated play space where children can run, roam, build and explore on sustainable play equipment.

This place is unique, as Kelly Aiglon, a Red Tricycle online site reporter writes: “At the entrance, there are storage cubbies made from repurposed milk crates and a front desk fashioned from more than 450 recycled books. Even the train table was created from an old shipping crate.”

Watch your green explorer dash down the slide, hike the climbing wall, get lost in the two-story wooden tree house or pump on the low hanging swing while you relax and twit with other moms. Discover what your preschooler can build with those colored wine corks on a pegboard wall. See your child’s imagination grow while playing with all those wooden toys! And if your tireless camper gets camp-tired he /she can crash on a giant grass pillow, a handcrafted tufted fabric perch that looks like a bean bag.

While visiting Sod Room just think about the benefits of this place: your child plays safe and “green”, you are good to Mother Earth, and most importantly, you are educating your off springs early on to become eco-savvy individuals.

Play safe, play green, and check out the Sod Room at http://www.sodroom.com/

By Maria Gueret

February Kid’s Events at Roosevelt Branch Library

It’s story time at Roosevelt Branch Library!

Several years ago my then two- year old daughter would start reciting “One, two, Buckle my shoe;  Three four, Shut the door; Five six…” every time we put on shoes and we head outside. Looking back, it was amazing to hear my two-year old counting till ten, rhyming words and memorizing short poems.  How did I do it? I brought her weekly to the “Toddlers & Two’s” story time at Roosevelt Branch library.

After participating in several of those fun story times, Ms. Jenna, the children’s librarian, handed me a colorful stack of laminated cards, which summarized all the literacy skills Sophie had “worked” on (while sitting and clapping on my lab at the library). You can be surprised to hear that in 30-45 min. story time she was exposed to Narrative Skills, Print Motivation &Awareness, Vocabulary Skills, Letter Knowledge and Phonological Awareness. Later, I would find my then two-year old  daughter sitting at home quietly on the sofa and “pretend reading” a book.  Oh, how I liked those quiet fifteen minutes time for myself. My husband often joked with me, that Sophie was practicing her narrative skills that she learnt at the library…

If you want your child to get exposed to books and all the wonderful things that come with reading consider these February Roosevelt Branch events/programs:

“Mother Goose on the Loose”. Meets Tuesdays. Tue. February 19, and 26, March 5 at 10:30am, at the Roosevelt Library Branch (1101 W. Taylor Street). Ages 0-5 years old. To register for this story time session you can stop by the Children’s Desk or call (312) 746-5656.

“Mother Goose on the Loose”. Meets Saturdays. February 9, and 16, 23 at 10:30am, at the Roosevelt Library Branch (1101 W. Taylor Street). Registration required.

Book Play! For Infants &Young Toddlers, Thursdays, February 14, 21, 28 at 10:30, at Roosevelt branch library. Ages 0-18months. Children will enjoy the animated reading time and after the program parents &children are welcome to stay for some play time.

NEW at the Roosevelt Branch: Book Party! for Preschoolers, Fridays, Feb.8, 15, 22 at 10:30 am. Utilizing the” It’s Every Child Ready to Read “approach, parents will learn how to “nurture”  pre-reading and reading skills at home and children will enjoy the carefully selected stories.

Visit the Roosevelt Branch Library web page for more info: http://www.chipublib.org/events/search/location/69/

5 Things to Do with Your Kids This Weekend in Our Neighborhood

Very often my weekends are spent bringing my children to various kids’ activities around town and last- minute weekend shopping. Does that sound familiar? How about you decide to spend your weekend right here in our neighborhood?! No traffic jam, no long cashier lines, no crowds.

While asking myself what I can do with my kids this weekend right here in Little Italy, I came up with this unpretentious but engaging to-do list:

  1. Go to the Park! It is officially winter, yet these days we get spoiled by 40 degrees temperatures, that are ideal for play at the park. Why not? Bundle up your kids with scarves, mittens and hats and visit the nearby park. If we are really lucky to get snow, then your park visit might be even more magical. Sledding down the Garibaldi Park hills, building snowmen, making snow angels and playing snowball fight is what my kids love to do on a snowy day at the park.
  2. Meet your neighbors. Schedule a play date for your children and your neighbors’ children. Add a twist to your play date- invite your neighbors’ kids and bake cookies, make a winter or Valentine’s Day craft, etc.
  3. Build a bird feeder and set it out in front of your home. Then, watch the birds and you will be surprised to find out how many different species “co-live” with us in our neighborhood. This is a great opportunity for children to learn kindness toward animals. My kids’ favorite species are the red cardinals, who often visit our yard. Learn how to make a birdfeeder with your children here: http://www.ehow.com/how_7274286_make-bird-feeder-children.html
  4. Explore Taylor Street cafés. My children love to dine at Sweet Maple Café and Stax. Recently, I treated my children to a cupcake at “Flirty Cupcakes” on Taylor, where they each ate a cupcake named “Curious George”.
  5. Visit the Roosevelt Branch Library: there you can find a book for everyone in your family. From science, comics, board books to poems, the book selection in the kid’s department (2nd floor) can accommodate book interest of infants to 18 years-olds.

Have fun right here -in your neighborhood!

January Kids&Family Events at Roosevelt Library


One of my New Year’s resolutions is to spend more quality time with my children.  If your New Year’s resolution is like mine, then you might make it happen simply by going to the local library with your children. Setting time aside and engaging in an educational and fun activities with your children once a week will work wonders to your parent-child relationship.

Roosevelt Branch Library at Taylor St. offers variety of programs for children and families. Visit the library and participate in their story times for the little ones and soon you will find yourself bonding with your child, while singing, clapping and reciting ”Little Miss Muffet”. Register for a “Family Trivia Night” and let your children experience the joy of family time, while playing a game together with you.

 Your little ones will be mesmerized by the animated story time, ” Mother Goose on the Loose”. This 30-45 minutes long story time meets three Tuesdays OR Thursdays in January, 10:30 am  at the Roosevelt Library Branch (1101 W. Taylor Street). To register for this story time session you can stop by the Children’s Desk or call (312) 746-5656.

For school- age children audience, the library offers variety of fun, one-time events. Register for “Family Trivia Night”, Mon. January 7, 2012, 6:00 pm (Ages-6 years & up with adult) and connect with your family while synergizing your knowledge to win as a family. “Awesome Afternoon: Craft Challenge!” Wed. January 16, 2012, 4:00 pm (Ages 6 and up) will give your child an opportunity to create their work of art given three types of craft materials.  Think like a future scientist, while teaming up with others to solve a daring design challenge at the “Awesome Afternoon: Design Challenge!”,Wed. Jan.23 at 4pm (6years and up, No registration). Finally, board games champions, don’t miss the “Awesome Afternoon: Board Games” program, Wed. January 30, 4:00 pm, (6years & up, No registration required).

Visit the Roosevelt Branch Library web page for more info: http://www.chipublib.org/events/search/location/69/

Have Fun!

Meet Maria Gueret:C4C Kids Activities/Library Blogger

Maria Gueret contributes to the Kids Activities/Library blog at C4C. She grew up in picturesque Bulgaria. Later, she married in Switzerland where she lived for four years. When she and her family moved from Europe to the USA, Chicago seemed the best choice of cities in which to settle down. Maria finds Chicago not only cosmopolitan, but multicultural enough to satisfy her passion for diversity and culture.

She fell in love with the Little Italy neighborhood because of its European touch and the possibility to get anything within walking distance- Conte di Savoia’s groceries, Starbucks coffee, Italian ice, library books, kid’s ballet classes at Hubbard Street Dance Studio, etc.

She is mother of two busy children, whom often you can see at the Garibaldi Park or on their bikes strolling through the neighborhood. She graduated from UIC with B. S. in Accountancy and speaks Bulgarian, Russian, German, and some French. In the last three years she has been active as a volunteer at her children’s school, where she chairs a committee linked to cultural events and exposure to world languages.

Children’s Activities At the National Museum Of Mexican Art in Pilsen

IMG_0191aHave you visited yet the National Museum of Mexican Art in Plsen? Located at 1852 West 19th Street, this museum is just a short bike ride for most of us who live in this community. Scanning its website, I was easily persuaded to visit the museum, given that the museum events satisfy perfectly my two passions: kid’s art activities and culture.

This month the museum offers plenty of engaging and culturally stimulating activities for children. The workshop, Family Sunday: Angel Ornaments with Guest Artist Patricia Carlos Dominguez, caught my eye. It takes place on Sunday, December 16th, 12-2pm, $2 fee per person, with prior registration required (Call to register 312-433-3908). Right after the workshop , the museum holds  FREE Family Christmas Concert with Miguel de León (Concierto Familiar Navideño con Miguel de León), Sunday, December 16th, 2-3 pm. Earlier in December, the  Children’s Workshop:  Holiday Ornaments(Taller para niños:  Adornos Navideños) is another  workshop I can add to my kids to-do list.  When: Saturday, December 8th, 10am-1pm, $5 per child, Registration: 312-433-3908.

For those of you who want to learn more about the wonders of this place, the museum offers FREE Public Tours, Saturdays, December 15, 12pm English, 1pm Español. Through the year there are attention-grabbing, Children& Family Programs, like Saturday Children’s Art Classes, After-school Art, Family Sundays and more. For more info, click here to visit the National Museum of Mexican Art website.

Lantern Parade For Kids At The Christkindlmarket

Looking for fun December Kid’s Events? Visit the Christkindlmarket at the Daley Plaza in the Chicago Loop. You don’t need to be a German to visit the Christkindlmarket and enjoy the festive holiday atmosphere. Visiting the Market is one of my childrens’ favorite holiday outings. My children love stopping by the genuine Nativity scene, trying the delicious sugared almonds, and sipping on a warm apple cider. Every year we purchase one Christmas tree ornament and we add it to the family’s ornaments collection.

Don’t miss the market‘s kids highlight event, the Chistkindl Market Lantern Parade (December 5). This spectacular event originates after the idea of the German St. Martin tradition that celebrates Samaritan deeds. At this event the children parade through the market  with  their colorful lanterns and feel the magic of the holidays. Bring your own lantern or order and pick up your’s from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm. The actual parade is from 5:00 – 6:00 pm  Cost: $13 Members; $16 Non-Members; $6 for children bringing their own lantern.  Don’t forget to stop by the Santa’s House and  whisper your secret holiday gift wish on his ear. For all the fun kids events,  visit the Christkindlmarket website for more info.

December Kids&Family Events at Roosevelt Library

“It takes a village to raise a child” says an African proverb. After I had my two children, I truly embraced this expression, but now I can add something to it:  I hope this village has a library, too.  Yes, a library. Take the Roosevelt Branch Library on Taylor Street. Eight  years ago as a  new mom of an one year old I started visiting the library’s story times for infants, and ever since my two children and I are devotees of the Roosevelt Branch Library on Taylor Street.

The phenomenal story times that the Roosevelt Branch Library offers are special, because they are targeted to the very little ones and they work wonders on the child’s early literacy skills.  At these story times you will not see babies chewing on a board book, but Ms. Jenna, the very talented children librarian who enhances the children literacy skills by reading animatedly picture books, singing nursery rhymes, clapping, and inviting everyone to participate.  Presently, I share the credit for the superb reading skills of my two bilingual children with the Roosevelt Branch Library.

If you have a little one (0-5year-old) now is the time to register for the December session of the story times.  ” Mother Goose on the Loose” meets three Tuesdays in December, 10:30 am – 11:00 am at the Roosevelt Library Branch (1101 W. Taylor Street). To register call (312) 746-5656. If you can commit to only one Tuesday, and you want to make new friends and engage in creative play with your little ones (0-18 months), you should register for the “Book Play! for Infants & Young Toddlers”, Thu. December 13, 2012, 10:30 am – 11:15 am. Another one- time fun event at the library is “Criss-Cross Applesauce! Multi-Age Book Sharing”,  Thu. November 29, 2012, 10:30 am – 11:00 am. This engaging story time criss-crosses and meets the developmental literacy need’s of infants, toddlers and preschoolers and it is a must-visit.

What if you have children that are older and that have outgrown the rhyming story times? In December the Roosevelt Branch offers “Programs for Friends and Families” that target elementary school age children. “Awesome Afternoon: Craft Challenge!” Wed. December 05, 2012,  4:00 pm – 5:00 pm ( Ages 6 and up) will inspire your child to create his/hers  craft masterpiece.  At “Family Trivia Night”, Mon. December 10, 2012, : 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, (Ages-5 years & up with adult). Your family can show off their knowledge and be rewarded by a fun experience (A small snack and drink will be provided).  For 8 year-olds and up Smarty Pants, the Library gives one more chance to show off your  brilliance: “Awesome Afternoon: Smarty Pants Trivia!”, Wed. December 12, 2012, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm.(This is a drop-in program, so no registration is required) . Lastly, another way to engage your school-age child in critical thinking and peer socializing is with the “Awesome Afternoon: Board Games”, Wed. December 19, 2012, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm, 8 years & up, (No registration required).

Check out all these fun events at the Roosevelt Library Website.
Experience the joy of reading and being read to-register for the fun kids reading events at the Roosevelt Branch Library!