Family Activities

Suggested Family Activities

#NerlSFA on Social

Fun and Creative Ideas for Your Family to Do at Home.

New Suggested Family Activities are posted on most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

As with our Summer Reading Program activities, we would love to see pictures of your completed artwork, craft projects, or how your family has completed each activity.  And with the parent’s permission, we will share your pictures on our Northeast Regional Library website and social media.  If you have any suggestions or comments on the types of activities you would like to see, please let us know!

Send your pictures, ideas, and comments to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

🏆 2021 Jane Smith Literacy Award Winner
🏆 2021 Library of Congress Award Winner

December 2022

Suggested Family Activity • Paper Chain and Pinecone Craft

Paper chains are a great craft project for all ages!  You can make one to be a countdown calendar to your favorite winter holiday and pull off a loop for each day until it arrives.  Or you can make one to use as a decoration in your home or on a tree.  All you need is different scraps of paper cut to the same size (about 1-inch x 5 inches is a good size) and some glue.  Before the time of mass-produced ornaments, people decorated their homes with paper chains, strings of dried fruit such as cranberries and orange slices and strings of popcorn.  For children old enough to hold a large, blunt needle themselves, stringing popcorn would also make a great decoration for trees and shrubs outside – plus a great holiday treat for visiting birds and squirrels!

To make a beautiful natural ornament for your tree, just pick up a pinecone on your next walk.  First, tie a piece of string or yarn to the top to be the hanger.  Next, paint the tips of the pinecone with craft glue and sprinkle glitter on the glue while it is wet.  After the glue is dried, the ornament is ready to hang!  For a more colorful ornament, you could substitute acrylic paint (thinned out with a little water) for the glue.  You could also add other small decoration that might fit into the crevices of the pinecones such as silver balls (like the ones used for cake decorating), sequins or small beads.

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

November 2022

Suggested Family Activity • National Mississippi Day

Today is National Mississippi Day – a day to recognize the state we live in and some of the great things to be found here!  Mississippi is well known for being the home of wonderful writers, entertainers and athletes including Elvis Presley 🎤, B.B. King 🎸, ✏Eudora Welty, John Grisham, Richard Wright, William Faulkner, Oprah Winfrey, Jim Henson 🐸, Robin Roberts, LeAnn Rimes 🎤, James Earl Jones ✨, and Jerry Rice, just to name a few.  How many famous Mississippians can you name?

Mississippi is home of the Delta blues 🎼🎺🎻 and the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement, which can be explored online at https://mcrm.mdah.ms.gov/.  To find out more about the Delta blues, visit their museum at https://www.deltabluesmuseum.org/.  Our state is full of beautiful scenery and natural wonders, such as those found along the 444-mile long Natchez Trace Parkway, which runs through our area.  This ancient pathway began first as a trail used by herds of bison and then was used by the hunting and gathering mound builders in the area.  Later, it would become a passageway for those transporting goods from the northern U.S. to the river town of Natchez. To learn more about the Natchez Trace, visit their website at https://www.nps.gov/natr/index.htm.

If you have young children, do they know how to spell Mississippi?  If not, teach them the “M, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, crooked letter, crooked letter, I, humpback, humpback, I” rhyme that has been used for generations to teach children how the word is spelled.  Another fact about Mississippi is that people all over the U.S. count seconds of time by saying, “One Mississippi, two Mississippi, etc”.  No one knows why – it could be just that it is a fun word to say!

Send it to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us and we will post it on our website!

Suggested Family Activity 🍂 Leaves

Leaves are falling everywhere!  If you are taking time this weekend to do yardwork, try out some of these fun fall activities if the weather is nice enough to go outside: 

Rake up small piles of leaves around your yard to make an obstacle course.  (This is also a great activity to get children involved in helping with leaf pick up – let them have some fun with the leaves first and then get them all picked up!)  Scatter the piles of leaves in straight lines or zigzag them around your yard so that the children must change direction frequently.  You can even make some piles taller than others to increase the difficulty.  Children can race the obstacle course over and over to see how long it takes them.   

Some people like to use large pieces of carboard, a tarp, or an old sheet to gather their leaves.  If you use that method, let your kids have fun playing with them before you get rid of them.  Put a small (or large) number of leaves on the tarp or sheet and then fling them all back in the air for your kids to catch.  Sure, it’s a little extra work, but the kids will really love it! 

Send it to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us and we will post it on our website!

Suggested Family Activity 📓 Gratitude Journal 

During the week of Thanksgiving, many of us start thinking of all the things we are grateful for in our lives.  This would be a good time to start a Gratitude Journal to record those things.  Gratitude Journals do not have to be fancy.  All you need is paper to start writing down daily things in your life for which you feel thankful to have.  Having your list of things all in one spot will not only help you to remember them, but it will also give you a good place to go to when you are having a bad day.  If you are feeling down and ‘blue’, pull out your journal to read about all the great things in your life.

Young children can draw pictures of their family, friends, pets, homes, etc. to show the things they are grateful to have in their lives.  Older children can do a combination of both – drawing or writing – to prompt them to think about the people and things they appreciate the most.

Send it to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us and we will post it on our website!

Suggested Family Activity ✂ Fall Craft & Activity Packets

You have a few more days this week to pick up your Fall craft and activity packets for families and children of all ages.  (NERL branches will be closed on Thursday and Friday.)  The Fall packet covers everything fall related and has lots of fun things for everyone in your family, including:

For those 5 and under:  a Paper Plate Pumpkin craft project, drawing prompts based on Peter Brown’s picture books Creepy Carrots! and Creepy Crayon!, sheets to practice drawing lines and printing letters, as well as other mazes, coloring, counting, and activity sheets.

For those 6 – 11: a Fall Tree craft project, an Autumn Sketchbook with lots of drawing prompts, a Spooky Science experiment, Thanksgiving Trivia, and lots of other fun activity sheets, such as mazes, crossword puzzles, word searches, and Spooky Sudoko.

For those 12 and up:  a Spiraling Apple craft project, a leaf identification sheet with a science experiment that explains why leaves change color, Thanksgiving Trivia, and lots of other fun activity sheets, such as more experiments, crossword puzzles, word searches, and Spooky Sudoko.

Send it to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us and we will post it on our website!

Suggested Family Activity 🌲 Fall Trees

Look around your kitchen this week and see what interesting things your kids can use to make a fall tree.  After drawing a tree trunk on a piece of paper, they could glue small round breakfast cereal pieces (such as Cheerios) to represent falling leaves.  One fun variation is to trace their arm and hand with their fingers spread out onto black or brown paper to be the trunk and limbs of the tree.  If you only have white paper available, no worries!  Just trace it and have your kids color the tree trunk.

Another fun way to make falling leaves for your tree is to tear up small pieces of tissue paper, crepe paper, or even regular paper in fall colors such as yellow, red, and orange.  Crumple and scrunch each piece to make it look like a falling leaf.  The picture below is a version of this craft created by the mom behind the Resourceful Mama website.  Check out her step-by-step instructions, as well as extra ways to expand the activity, here:  https://www.theresourcefulmama.com/crepe-paper-fall-tree-craft/.

Send it to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us and we will post it on our website!

Suggested Family Activity 🍗🥧 Holiday Baking

Check out cookie pans and make your own! These baking pans (and many more) live at the Iuka branch, but you can reserve them for checking out at any branch. Munch on, cookie lovers!

This week is a good week to start your holiday baking – yesterday was National Bundt Pan Day, Thursday is both National Butter Day and National Homemade Bread Day. 

Did you know our Iuka branch has cake pans you can check out to use?  In addition to basic sheet pans and tiered pans, they have other fun shapes such as stars, circle, a round hemisphere, and a bowl shape.  They have Thanksgiving themed ones include a cornucopia, a football, and two different turkeys, as well as characters such as Barbie and Garfield.  Most of them are aluminum (many are the legendary Wilton brand, although a few are made from plastic).  If you check one out today, we would love to see your creation.  Send it to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us and we will post it on our website!

Suggested Family Activity ✏ Thanksgiving Drawing Game

Make it a Family Game Night.  One great suggestion is to try out this Thanksgiving Drawing Game – All you need are blank pieces of paper and pencils, crayons or markers. It works just like other drawing games – you take turns, either one at a time or in teams, trying to draw a specific image and everyone else must guess what you are trying to draw. (If you work in teams, your teammate would be the one doing the guessing.) You can keep points or just do it for fun. To make this fun game perfect for the season, we have put together a list of November and Thanksgiving themed items you can use (insert link). (If you would like a copy of the list printed out, just ask one of your local NERL library branches.)

Don’t think you can draw well? Don’t worry! That’s part of the fun!

Another fun variation is to use our list but play Charades instead.For a fun combination drawing project and game, play Autumn Tic-Tac-Toe by drawing a Tic Tac Toe grid on a piece of paper. Decorate the edges with fall leaves, pumpkins, turkeys and other signs of fall. Then use candy corn as markers to play the game. The winner gets to eat all the candy corn, but bonus points go to anyone who shares! If you are lucky enough to find white and orange mini pumpkins this year, you could also draw a grid with chalk on a your patio or porch or on a larger sheet of paper to make different versions of the game.

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

Suggested Family Activity • Veteran’s Day

Today is Veteran’s Day – a day set aside each year to honor military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces.  Some things you can do today to honor veterans include:

  • Just say “Thank You” to acknowledge their work and sacrifice.
  • Write a note to thank a veteran, send them a card, or have children draw them a picture.
  • Listen to their stories.  Many veterans feel recognized when people listen to stories about their time in service.
  • Take a veteran you know out for a meal.  If you see a veteran while you are at a restaurant or drive-through line, pay for their meal.
  • Fly the U. S. flag to signify your support of veterans.
  • Some communities have begun hosting Veterans Day Parades, so attend one if you can.
  • Attend a Veterans Day lunch.  Many VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) posts will host one today.
  • Volunteer at your local VFW post or with active groups of other organizations such as the VA Voluntary Service, Disable American Veterans, and others.
  • Donate used clothing and household items at an AmVets (American Veterans) Donation Drop-Off location near you.

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

Suggested Family Activity • Grateful Pumpkin Craft

A fun craft project to make using your child’s hand as a template is a Grateful Pumpkin:  All you need are orange and green paper, a green pipe cleaner, a hole punch, and a pen or marker.  Start by cutting a sheet of orange paper into 1-inch strips.  On each strip, have your child write down (or tell you what to write) something for which they are grateful this Thanksgiving.  Punch a hole in each end of each strip.  Next, trace around your child’s hand on the green piece of paper and cut it out.  On the palm, write “I am thankful for”.  Punch a hole at the bottom of this hand as this will go on top of your pumpkin to be the leaf. Thread the strips of orange paper on the pipe cleaner so that they fan out to make a rounded shape.  (See our example below.)  Twist the bottom end of the pipe cleaner to hold the pieces together.  Thread your green hand on the top and twist the paper remains to look more leaf-like.  Everyone in your family could make one of these for a great display or centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table!

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

Suggested Family Activity • Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Heritage Month so celebrate all this month by reading some of the great new titles available at your local library:

New non-fiction includes The Earth is All that Lasts: Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and the Last Stand of the Great Sioux Nation by Mark Lee Gardner.  Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley was a breakout YA book of 2021.  It is the story of 18-year-old Daunis Fontaine, who struggles with her identify as the child of a white mother and Ojibwa father in Minnesota.  Boulley will return to the characters from Firekeeper’s Daughter with her second novel, Warrior Girl Unearthed, due out in 2023.

New works of adult fiction that focus on Indigenous and Native peoples in our branches’ collections include Daughter of the Morning Star by Craig Johnson, which is part of the “Longmire” book and TV series, Jane Kirkpatrick’s Christian Fiction title The Healing of Natalie Curtis, and Ice and Stone by mystery great Marcia Muller. Ridgeline by Michael Punke is a new title that focuses on the story of Crazy Horse and his Lakota warriors, while Stargazer is the newest Leaphorn, Chee, & Manuelito suspense title from Anne Hillerman.  Legendary native writer Louise Erdrich’s newest novel The Sentence takes place at her real-life independent bookstore Birchbark Books and tackles such topics as ghosts, what makes someone native, and the COVID pandemic.

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

Suggested Family Activity • Fall Activity Packets

Don’t forget NERL branches are handing out a new set of Fall craft and activity packets for families and children of all ages.  The Fall packet covers everything fall related, from Halloween through Thanksgiving, and has lots of fun things for everyone in your family, including:

For those 5 and under:  a Paper Plate Pumpkin craft project, drawing prompts based on Peter Brown’s picture books Creepy Carrots! and Creepy Crayon!, sheets to practice drawing lines and printing letters, as well as other mazes, coloring, counting, and activity sheets.

For those 6 – 11: a Fall Tree craft project, an Autumn Sketchbook with lots of drawing prompts, a Spooky Science experiment, Thanksgiving Trivia, and lots of other fun activity sheets, such as mazes, crossword puzzles, word searches, and Spooky Sudoko.

For those 12 and up:  a Spiraling Apple craft project, a leaf identification sheet with a science experiment that explains why leaves change color, Thanksgiving Trivia, and lots of other fun activity sheets, such as more experiments, crossword puzzles, word searches, and Spooky Sudoko.

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

Suggested Family Activity 🎃 Pumpkin Bowling

If you are looking for a way to get rid of your jack o lantern, let your kids try out Pumpkin Bowling: Cut the stem off a small, round pumpkin. Set up ten (or less if you want) items in a staggered triangle shape like bowling pins.  You can use gourds, plastic bottles filled with a small amount of water, sand, or rocks to make them stand up, or anything else your family will enjoy knocking over!  Have your kids (and adults too) roll the stem-less pumpkin towards the items to see how many they can knock over.  (You will probably want to do this activity outside as it can get very messy.)

Other items for things to do with your jack o lantern is to cut up the remainder to cook into fall favorite dishes such as a pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread.  Pumpkin seeds sprinkled with seasoning and baked in the oven also make a delicious snack.  But if your family doesn’t want to eat the pumpkin, you can always leave it outside, especially in a wooded area, for area wildlife to eat.  Birds, squirrels, deer, and other animals would like a tasty snack too.

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

October 2022

Suggested Family Activity • Spooky Science Experiment

This Halloween, try some of these Spooky Science Experiments, courtesy of the website Education.com.  See below for instructions for three different experiments:  a Water Color Mixing Potion Lab, a Shaving Cream Lab, and an Exploding Color Lab.  Each experiment only requires a few simple ingredients, such as shaving cream, vinegar, baking soda, etc.  Don’t forget to send us pictures of your experiment to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us and we will post it to our website!


Spooky Science Experiment
Celebrate Halloween by treating your child to a spooky science activity! Craft colorful concoctions, make great gooey potions, and explore how much fun science can be.

What You Need:
Plastic test tubes
Child-friendly cups (try clear plastic)
Paint palette or washable art tray
Tempera paints
Paint brush
Craft sticks
Shaving cream
Vinegar
Baking soda
Construction paper
Vegetable oil


What You Do:
Option 1: Water Color Mixing Potion Lab
1. Pour a small amount of red, yellow, blue, and white onto a palette or washable art tray.
2. Fill three cups halfway with water.
3. Have your child use the paint brush (or a craft stick) to scoop the paint into the water,
mixing two colors at a time. Ask him to stir gently, and watch the colors swirl and mix
together.
4. If you have test tubes, fill one a quarter of the way full with water, one with vegetable oil,
and leave one empty. If you don’t have test tubes, simply use small clear plastic cups.
5. Add one of the paint mixtures to each test tube. Cover and gently shake to see what
happens. Ask your child how each one looks different in the test tubes. Then have him try to paint with each color concoction on the construction
paper. Do the colors look different? Do they dry differently?
6. Repeat with different colors and different amounts of the added substances.

Option 2: Shaving Cream Lab
1. Scoop a small amount of tempera paint into the shaving cream.
2. Ask your child to use her hands to make a gooey, colorful mixture.
3. Use the mixture to paint with, or simply allow her to explore. Add new colors and more shaving cream to see what happens.

Option 3: Exploding Color Lab
1. Place a large cup onto a covered surface.
2. Mix a very small amount of paint with approximately two tablespoons of water.
3. Mix in one tablespoon of baking soda.
4. Add a tablespoon of vinegar, stand back, and watch it explode!
Choose one or more of these awesome options based on your young scientist’s age or use this as a Halloween party activity for some spooktacular fun!
Copyright © 2022 Education.com LLC All Rights Reserved

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

Suggested Family Activity • Autumn Tree Craft 

Little ones who are just learning how to use a glue stick can practice this skill by making an Autumn Tree using the same concept as a traditional paper chain.  With an adult’s help, cut paper links in a variety of fall leaf colors (gold, red, orange) out of colored paper.  Glue each link together individually, though, instead of making them into one long chain.  Then cut a wide strip of brown paper for the tree’s trunk and have the child glue it onto a sheet of paper.  Finally, they should glue each paper chain individually in a cloud formation at the top of the trunk until they have a full and beautiful autumn tree.

Another fun alternative for children (and adults) of all ages is to color a paper plate orange (or cut a pumpkin shape out of white or orange paper) and then cut apart an old magazine, looking for funny expressions on people’s faces or various parts (noses, eyes, mouth, etc.) to mix and match to make a face collage for their Jack o Lantern.  Everyone in the family can get into the fun and make one.  You can make your face scary, funny, or try to make it look like yourself!  Whatever you do, we would love to see a picture of it.  Send your pictures to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us and we will post them on our website.

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

Suggested Family Activity 🎃 Halloween Costumes

If you like to make your children’s Halloween costumes, your local library has books available to give you inspiration.  Clever Costume Creating for Halloween: An A to Z Guide of 200 Costume Ideas by Suzanne Singleton and A Ghostly Good Time: The Family Halloween Handbook are good choices for ideas to fit any budget and skill level, from beginner on up.  For any experienced knitters out there, Monster Knits for Little Monsters by Nuriya Khegay contains twenty designs for animal themed hats, mittens, bootie sets and more to knit to give your little ones a costumed look for every day.  Costumes are not just for children either – Halloween: A Grown-up’s Guide to Creative Costumes, Devilish Decor & Fabulous Festivities by Joanne O’Sullivan and The Halloween Handbook: 447 Costumes by Bridie Clark have lots of ideas for adults and older teens too.

To start getting kids into the Halloween spirit, check out some of these picture books: Pink or Treat! by Victoria Kann, Gustavo, the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago, The Spooky Express Mississippi by Eric James, The Halloween Parade by Rosemary Wells, Minerva Louise on Halloween by Janet Morgan Stoeke, Pug & Pig Trick-or-Treat by Sue Lowell Gallion, and Scaredy-Cat, Splat! by Rob Scotton.

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

Suggested Family Activity 🚶‍♀️🏞🚶‍♂️ National Walk to a Park Day

Today is National Walk to a Park Day so head out to your nearest city or state park to enjoy the fall weather!  Many local parks have walking trails, playground equipment for children to play on, and lots of benches or picnic tables to sit at and enjoy your surroundings.  You could also take a blanket to your local park and have a picnic or stretch out and read a book.

While you are at the park today, why not go on a Color Scavenger Hunt?  Before you leave home, grab a piece of cardboard and glue 5 -10 clothespins onto it.  On each clothespin, clip a small colored square of paper.  For fall, think shades of yellow, orange, brown, red, and green as some of the colors you pick.  Then have the members of your family look for things that match the colors as they enjoy the offerings at your local city park.

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

Suggested Family Activity 🥦 Eat Better Together Month

October is National Eat Better, Eat Together Month.  This month, families are encouraged to gather at the same table to enjoy mealtimes.  When people eat meals together (as opposed to grabbing snacks at different times or individual meals ‘on the go’), they tend to eat healthier and make better food choices, so make it a priority to eat one meal together as a family.  Eating together is also a great way to spend time together and share what you did during the day.  Some sample questions to get the conversation started could be:  What was the best thing that happened to you today?  What was the worst?  What was the funniest?  Did you meet someone new today?

To increase your family bonding time, make family mealtimes a special event by setting the table (even if it is just with paper plates).  Little ones can even help by putting out spoons, forks, butter knives, and napkins for everyone.  And don’t forget to get everyone’s help in planning and cooking your meals – and ESPECIALLY for the cleanup. 

To make family mealtimes work with everyone’s hectic lifestyles, try planning out and preparing several meals ahead of time.  A little time spent during the weekend to plan out the next week’s meals, prep ingredients, or even make meals ahead to freeze for later will pay off with a huge time savings during the week. 

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

Suggested Family Activity 🙂 Do Something Nice Day

Today is National Do Something Nice Day so try to take every opportunity you can over the next few days to do something nice for those around you.  Who knows?  Your kind deed could have the power to change the course of someone else’s day from a bad one to a good one.  It often doesn’t take much time at all to do something for someone else.  It could be as simple as letting someone go in front of you in line at the store, holding the door open for someone, or picking up your neighbor’s newspaper out of their driveway and putting it on their doorstep. 

Sometimes doing something nice can be as easy as listening to someone talk.  Maybe you can help someone with a problem they are having.  Or maybe an elderly neighbor or someone who lives alone just wants someone to visit with them.  All ages can get involved with doing nice things.  Children of all ages (and adults too!) can practice giving other people compliments, which is always a nice thing to do. 

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

Suggested Family Activity 🍂 Fall Leaves

As you go for out for a walk this week, be on the lookout for brightly colored fall leaves as they begin to turn.  Hopefully you’ll be able to find beautiful ones in yellow, orange, and red in all shapes and sizes.  When you get back home, save them by using wax paper and an iron to make beautiful Leaf-Stained Glass.  You will need to make sure that the piece of waxed paper you tear off is big enough that you can fold it in half.  Lift the top layer of paper and sandwich your collection of pretty leaves in between the two layers of waxed paper.  Arrange them in a pretty pattern.   (To add extra color, you can also shave waxed crayons over the blank spaces of the paper.)  Flip the top sheet back down and with an iron set on medium heat (and an adult’s help), slowly and careful iron the wax paper until the paper seals in the leaves.  To turn this activity into a learning experience about trees, challenge your family to identify which leaves came from what type of trees. 

If you need a handy tree identification guide, your local library has titles that can be checked out.  Some titles include The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees, The Eyewitness Handbook of Trees, and A Field Guide to Eastern Trees.  Hoopla has digital titles that you can borrow on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, including several titles especially for young children.  In addition to tree identification titles, check out the picture e-books Why Do Leaves Fall from Trees? by Ruth Owen, Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland and What Happens to Leaves in Fall? by Rebecca Felix.

Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

September 2022

Suggested Family Activity ⭕ Hula-Hoop Games

Enjoy the fall weather this weekend by heading outside and playing a game of Hula-Hoop ring toss.  If you don’t already have any, Hula-Hoops can be picked up inexpensively at most dollar stores.  Grab some buckets to be the target and see how many times you can get your hoop around it. 

Another variation is to use a family member as the target – if they are brave enough!   (It helps to avoid injury if they raise their arms in the air with their palms together and pointing up so that the hoops go down their arms.)  Play around with different family members – from the tallest all the way to the shortest – to give everyone in your family a chance to get their hoops around the target.  If you have enough people playing either version, you could even divide up into teams to have a friendly competition.

    Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

    Suggested Family Activity 🖼 Save Your Photos Month

    September is Save Your Photos month, which serves as a good reminder to all of us to make sure our precious family memories are in a secure place.  Here are some tips to keep your memories safe:

    • If you have tons of photos saved to your phone, make sure that they are saved in another locations, such as a cloud service, on a computer’s hard drive, or on a flash drive.
    • If you have photos printed out, make sure they are in a photo-safe container or album to slow down the effects of aging.
    • If you have boxes of old family photos that have been printed out, make a digital copy of them by scanning them to a computer’s hard drive or onto a flash drive.  Once the images are scanned, it is amazing how much you can work with them to improve the quality of the image.

    Make sure to leave a record of dates, times, and places for your photos, as well as who is in them!  Years from now, you might not remember your oldest child’s 3rd grade best friend’s name – but you will if you have it documented with the image.  For hard copies of photos, it is fine to write on the back with pencil but avoid using a pen as it will bleed through to the other side

      Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

      Suggested Family Activity 🍎 Johnny Appleseed 

      Today is Johnny Appleseed’s birthday!  To celebrate the birthday of the man who spread fruit trees across the country, enjoy an apple or pear while reading some of these stories about his life’s work: Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend by Will Moses, Who Was Johnny Appleseed? by Joan Holub, or Folks Call Me Appleseed John by Andrew Glass.

      Fun apple related crafts project children can do today include turning a plain white paper plate into an apple by coloring it red and attaching a brown paper stem and a green leaf.  For a variation that’s great for toddlers, tear up pictures of red paper into small pieces and then let them glue the pieces back onto the paper plate (or a blank sheet of paper).  In addition to helping them learn how to master glue, this activity will also help improve their hand-eye coordination.  Another way to improve manual dexterity in young children could be to cut the shape of an apple out of cardboard or cardstock weight paper and give your child red, yellow, or green yarn to wrap around it to make an apple.  Apples make great decorations for fall because they are in season right now and ready to pick.

        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

        Suggested Family Activity 📝 Journaling

        A journal doesn’t just have to be a diary or a recording of what you did every day.  It can also be a book where your child can write about ideas they have, make up stories, draw pictures, or answer questions such as, “If you could do anything at all next summer, what would you do?”  You can also journal using a journal jar to store all the story ideas, writing prompts, and questions to use when your child wants to work on their journal.  You can use a wide-mouth Mason jar, recycled peanut butter jar, or similar type of jar that has been washed, cleaned and dried thoroughly.  (Here’s a tip:  If you can’t get the smell out of an otherwise clean jar, try putting two or three spoonful of coffee or baking soda and sealing it up for a few days.  Either one of these should absorb the smell.)  You can even decorate it however you like, for example with glitter paint, ribbons, or a sticker.  Then write or print out writing prompts, ideas, and questions and put them into the jar.  Each day, have your child draw a slip and draw and write in their journal, depending on what the slips says to do.

          Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

          Suggested Family Activity 🍁 Autumn Equinox

          The Autumn, or Fall, Equinox is tomorrow, which means that we will experience equal hours of day and night.  This phenomenon occurs twice a year and is caused when the Sun is exactly above the equator.  This equinox marks the beginning of autumn and will last until the Winter Solstice in mid-December.

          Since temperatures are beginning to feel a little cooler, take your family outside this weekend and go on a sound walk.  While you are walking around your neighborhood or local park, have everyone make a list of the different things they hear.  They might hear dogs barking, birds tweeting, children playing, law mowers running, or a hundred other things.  You can even turn it into a family contest to see who can hear the most sounds.  This activity is great for all ages – even little ones can practice listening closely and listening for different sounds as they walk.

            Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

            Suggested Family Activity 🏴‍☠️ Talk Like a Pirate Day

            Get ready to pull out some pirate lingo today – it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day. According to the website Grammarly, some popular pirate words to use today include “ahoy” when you want to greet someone or call their attention to something or “shiver me timbers” when something exciting happens.  If you want to talk about your friends, you call them “mateys” and you can use both “yarr” and “yo ho ho” just about any time.  In addition to trying to talk like a pirate as you go about your day today, try to turn your favorite songs into pirate versions by substituting pirate words.

            It is super easy to make a Pirate Treasure Hunt for your kids today.  Just hide a few small prizes in your backyard or outdoor area for them to find.  Or hide things they already have – the main fun in this activity is in the searching, after all, not just getting something new.  Draw a map (as simple or as complicated as you like) for the kids to follow to find the objects.  You can make it more of a challenge by giving them clues to figure out along the way.  Put in things that are unique to your family, such as “the place where we like to sit outside” or “where the azaleas bloom.”  To make your treasure map look authentic, you can pick from several different things to make your map – a brown grocery bag cut apart, thin cardboard from a cereal box, kraft paper, brown paper packing material, or plain white copy paper dyed with tea.  Make sure that a big X marks all the spots and stand back to see how fast your children can read your map.

              Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

              Suggested Family Activity 📚 Library Card Sign-Up Month

              September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month!  If you do not have a library card from one of your local library branches, we encourage you to stop by one today to sign up!  Getting a library card is FREE and easy – all you need are a picture ID and a document with your current address.  Most people use a driver’s license, although two separate documents will also work.  Children between the ages of 6 and 15 will need a parent or guardian to sign their application.

              NERL branches will be giving out incentives all month long to anyone who gets a new library card this month or renews an old one.  So head over to your local library to see what they have to offer.  Don’t know where your closest branch is?  You can find NERL branches listed under the LIBRARIES tab on our homepage at www.nereg.lib.ms.us.  A library card opens a world of possibilities to everyone in your family.  Often, it is a rite of passage for children when they turn 6.  And with children starting school recently, now is a great time to introduce them to the world of reading to jumpstart their love of books.  Library staff work hard every day to find the perfect book for each person who comes into the library.  Come in today to see what they can find for you!  (And did we mention that it is FREE?)

                Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                Suggested Family Activity 🧠 National Live Creative Day

                  Today is National Live Creative Day – a day to celebrate the power of your imagination and let your creativity shine!  If you like to draw or paint, take time to do so today.  Woodworkers, graphic designers, crocheters, and knitters can also take time to work on their craft.  But being creative doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make something.  You can also get creative outside by planting flowers in your yard, working in your garden, or decorating your outdoor living space.  You can look around your home and add details, such as flowers, art, or decorations that express your personality.  You can also be creative today by appreciating someone else’s creativity – whether you listen to music you enjoy, read a good book, look at an art exhibit, or watch a funny movie.

                  One fun way for your whole family to get creative today is to take different sizes and colors of sticky note pads and challenge everyone to see what they can make with them.  Pick a large area (like a window, door, or blank stretch of wall) and make it into a family mural.  For an added spark, you can even draw on the sticky notes to really make it clear what they represent.   

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🎈 Games!

                  Try some of these fun outdoor games today:

                  • Play tennis with clean fly swatters and balloons.
                  • Play shaving cream Twister by adding shaving cream mixed with food coloring to the dots.
                  • Play Sardines – one person hides and everyone else tries to find them.  When each person does find the one hiding, they quietly join them until only one person is left searching.  Then that person becomes the one who hides.
                  • Have races while walking like various animals, such as crabs, horses, elephants, etc.

                  For more ideas, check out the books Go Wild! 101 Things to Do Outdoors Before You Grow Up by Fiona Danks, Let’s Go Outside!: Outdoor Activities and Projects to Get You and Your Kids Closer to Nature by Jennifer Ward, and Great Big Book of Children’s Games: Over 450 Indoor and Outdoor Games for Kids by Debra Wise.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🧸 Teddy Bear

                  Today is National Teddy Bear Day so let us see your favorite teddy bear!  Did you know Teddy Bears were inspired by an event that happened in Mississippi?  In 1902, President Theodor (Teddy) Roosevelt was on a hunting trip in Mississippi and refused to shoot a bear cub that was tied up to make it easier.  A cartoonist made fun of the incident, a New York store owner saw a way to make money, and a new toy was born.  Generations of children have found solace with a bear friend, whether it’s a Winnie-the-Pooh, a Paddington, a Care Bear, or any other soft and cuddly version.  So send us a picture of your favorite Teddy Bear and we will post in on our website.  Email it to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us.

                  Your local library branches have lots of great picture books about Teddy Bears.  Check out Always There Bear by Trudi Granger, Good Times with Teddy Bear by Jacqueline McQuade, Where’s My Teddy by Jez Alborough, and Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber.  To find out more about the event that inspired Teddy Bears, check out Holt and the Teddy Bear by Jim McCafferty.

                    

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🚲 Clean Your Ride

                  For some outdoor water fun today, let your children clean their “rides”!  Have them round up all of their Big Wheels, tricycles, bicycles, scooters or anything else they have that they ride on.  Add baby shampoo or mild, chemical free laundry detergent to a bucket of water and give them sponges or old rags to wash their “rides” clean.  Once the vehicles are nice and soapy, spray the suds off the vehicles with the water hose – then turn it on your kids!  No one can resist playing in a water hose!

                  For more water fun, have a water gun race.  Get two or more plastic cups and have an adult poke a hole in the bottom of each.  Next, thread string or a piece of yarn through the hole and tie it securely to a starting point and an ending point.  Try using your porch post, a fence, trees, or even kitchen chairs brought outside for this purpose.  Fill up your water guns and squirt water into the cups to make them race along the string, just like they do at a carnival.  The first one to the finish line is the winner!    

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • Labor Day

                  The first Monday of every September is set aside as Labor Day, a day to honor all those who work and labor in America’s workforce.  Labor Day also signals the official end of summer, so it is a perfect time for those who work hard all year to take a day to do something fun. 

                  Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 6, is National Read A Book Day, so get a head start and enjoy your free time today by relaxing and reading a great book.  In addition to reading your own book today, don’t forget about reading books out loud to your children or other members of the family.  Even older family members or neighbors will enjoy being read to, especially if it is difficult for them to see books themselves.  Children can get into the fun too, by reading out loud to other family members, reading to their pets, or even just reading to their favorite stuffed animals.

                  All NERL branches are closed today but make sure to visit one sometime this week to pick up lots of great books to read.  Whether you like fiction, such as romances, mysteries, thrillers or westerns or non-fiction titles, such as self-help categories, history or religious studies, your local library has just the book for you!  Branches even have audio books on CD and MP3, large-print books, and digital books through our website at www.nereg.lib.ms.us.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity

                  Mariah Waldon, as she receives SRP prizes and her own very first library card!

                  September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month!  If you do not have a library card from one of your local library branches, we encourage you to stop by one today to sign up!  Getting a library card is FREE and easy – all you need are a picture ID and a document with your current address.  Most people use a driver’s license, although two separate documents will also work.  Children between the ages of 6 and 15 will need a parent or guardian to sign their application. 

                  NERL branches will be giving out incentives all month long to anyone who gets a new library card this month or renews an old one.  So head over to your local library to see what they have to offer.  Don’t know where your closest branch is?  You can find NERL branches listed under the LIBRARIES tab on our homepage at www.nereg.lib.ms.us.  A library card opens a world of possibilities to everyone in your family.  Often, it is a rite of passage for children when they turn 6.  And with children starting school recently, now is a great time to introduce them to the world of reading to jumpstart their love of books.  Library staff work hard every day to find the perfect book for each person who comes into the library.  Come in today to see what they can find for you!  (And did we mention that it is FREE?)

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  AUGUST 2022

                  Suggested Family Activity • Back to Hogwarts

                  Cole in his invisibility cloak!

                  Tomorrow is Back to Hogwarts Day, a day created by Harry Potter fans to commemorate the day that Harry boards the Hogwarts Express to go to Hogwarts for the school year. Those who live near London gather at King’s Cross Station, a location that is proud of their role in Harry Potter lure and created a special Platform 9 ¾. But those of us in the U. S. can still celebrate Harry’s first day back at school in a variety of ways. Maybe you will reread one of the books or have a film marathon. You can also dress up as your favorite character or try to make some of the recipes from the books, such as Butterbeer (similar to root bear) or a Pumpkin Pasty, found in The Official Harry Potter Baking Book by Joanna Farrow.

                  In addition to the books and movies, your local library branches also have

                  Cole at Platform 9 3/4

                  lots of other Harry Potter themed materials for you to enjoy today. The unabridged audio book versions, beautifully narrated by Jim Dale, have won numerous awards. Or check out The Science of Harry Potter: The Spellbinding Science Behind the Magic, Gadgets, Potions, and More! by Mark Brake or Harry Potter: Page to Screen, the Complete Filmmaking Journey by Bob McCabe. If you would like to try your hand at making someone like Harry or Hermione have, check out Crochet Wizardry: The Official Harry Potter Crochet Pattern Book by Lee Sartori or Harry Potter: Crafting Wizardry: The Official Harry Potter Craft Book by Jody Revenson.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • MOON SAND!

                  If you would like to make your own version of Moon Sand for your little ones to play with, try this simple home version.  You’ll need a total of 8 cups of flour and 1 cup baby oil.  If you would like to make different colors, you will also need food coloring. To begin, put 4 cups of flour in a large bowl.  Make a well in the bottom of the bowl and pour in ½ cup of baby oil.  Combine the two ingredients before adding in the additional 4 cups of flour and ½ cup of baby oil.  You may need to use your hands to mix it all up towards the end.  If you would like to color your Moon Sand, add in a few drops of food coloring at a time until you achieve the color you want.  To make it easier to mix in the food coloring, put some of the mixture in a gallon plastic bag, seal it securely, and squish it around with your hands until it is completely combined.  The results will be a soft mixture that is easy to clean up and safe if your little ones get some in their mouth!

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🐶 National Dog Day

                  Today is National Day Dog – the perfect day to share with us why you love your canine best friend.  Send us photos to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us and tell us why your dog is part of the family.  For more ideas on how to celebrate today, check out the list here: https://www.nationaldogday.com/ways-to-celebrate

                  There are lots of great craft projects you can make if you love doggies.  The website DLTK-Kids has several fun ideas that only use basic supplies such as paper and crayons.  To find out how to make a paper model of a Siberian Husky dog, check out their instructions here https://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/m-model-husky.htm.  Brown paper bags are very versatile (and cheap!) craft project supplies.  The website also has instructions to make a cute puppy dog out of one.  Directions can be found here https://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mbagdog.htm

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • E-books and E-audio

                  Each day, more and more people turn to digital resources such as E-books and E-audios as they go about their daily lives.  Electronic books, also called E-books, are books that have been converted to a digital format for use on devices such as computers and laptops, smart phones, or e-book readers, such as a Nook or a Kindle.  You need an internet connection to initially download the book but after that, readers can be used almost anywhere and at any time.  Although many people still prefer the traditional book format (or a combination of both), some of the benefits of these devices are that they are portable and can hold many titles at once.  Many people who must commute to work or drive long distances regularly enjoy the benefits of downloading e-audios to their devices so that books can be listened to by syncing their devices with their vehicles.  NERL branches have many patrons who are truck drivers or factory workers who enjoy listening to e-audios during the day to help them pass the time.

                  Did you know NERL has two options available for e-book and e-audio users?  Hoopla is a digital materials service made possible through a partnership with the Mississippi Library Commission.  Thousands of e-books and e-audios, including titles for both children and adults, can be found through this service.  Hoopla has even recently added a new feature that allows you to listen to audio books through smart TVs, such as those that use Roku, Android TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast.  Support is even available for those with Alexa devices, so that you can tell Alexa to play your audio book while you are at home!

                  NERL also belongs to the Mississippi Library Consortium through the digital service OverDrive.  Using their Libby app, you can borrow digital titles purchased by any library in the state.  To find more information about these services, visit the homepage of the NERL website and look under the MENU option for “Digital Services”.  You can also call your local library branch for one-on-one assistance

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity

                  For a fun STEM experiment to do with your family this weekend, have everyone wear an old sock over their shoe and then go for a walk outside.  After everyone has walked around, take the old socks off and spritz the bottom of each sock with water.  Then put each sock in a separate resealable plastic bag.  Hang the bags in a sunny window for 2-3 weeks and see what grows.  You might be amazed!  Make sure you keep the bottom of the sock moist for the best growing conditions.

                  If your family likes to do experiments, check out these books for fun ideas: Backyard Science by Shar Levine, Exploring Fields and Lots: Easy Science Projects by Seymour Simon, Foodworks: Over 100 Science Activities and Fascinating Facts That Explore the Magic of Food, Janice Vancleave’s 200 Gooey, Slippery, Slimy, Weird & Fun Experiments, or Mythbusters Science Fair Book by Samantha Margles. 

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • Fun in the Rain

                  The next time it rains, why not let your kids go outside and play in it, if there isn’t any lightning, of course.  The slightly cooler temperatures that occur during a summer rain shower may just cool everyone off from this horrible summer heat.  Stomp, jump and roll in mud puddles just like a pig – that’s what they do to cool down their bodies, you know.  Before the rains start, make your own rain gauge to see how much rain falls this week.  It’s easy to do – just find a straight, tall container like a Mason jar and mark ½ inch increments on the side using a ruler and a permeant marker.  Put the container somewhere outside in an open area so that the rain falls right into your container.  You can also recycle a plastic bottle for this project but since it is more lightweight, you’ll need to weigh it down with a few small rocks in the bottom.  Other fun rain time activities include finding a puddle and making a dam (think about the big ones in our area) with assorted objects such as sticks, pieces of wood and other items.  You can even take your (waterproof) toys such as cars and trucks outside to play in the puddles.  (As always, get permission from an adult first!)

                  And don’t forget to send us photos of your child practicing at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us.

                  Suggested Family Activity • Relaxation Day

                  Today is National Relaxation Day so take some time today to slow down and relax a little.  We all lead fast-paced lifestyles juggling work, family, caregiving, household chores, and a million other things.  But we all need to take time for ourselves to let our minds and bodies recuperate.  Some ways to relax today might include reading a good book or watching a movie (all by yourself or cuddled up with your family.)  Being outside in nature is also very relaxing so maybe you will take a walk, visit your local park, or have a picnic.  If you love to take a bath, take time today to spend as long as you can in the bathtub.  Maybe you will even make your own spa day at home.  Some people like to relax by doing crafts so if you like to knit, crochet, sew, cross-stitch, do wood-work, or just make things – plan plenty of time today to do it!

                  Send us photos at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us.

                  Suggested Family Activity Navajo Code Breaker

                  Sunday, August 14th is National Navajo Code Talkers Day, a day to honor the contributions of the Native Americans during World War II.  During the war, Navajo speakers were recruited to create a code system based on their language, which had never been written down.  They created a secret code that they used to send and receive messages that the Axis powers were never able to break.  The program was classified until 1968, at which time the United States presented the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers with Congressional Gold Medals.

                  The library has several books that will help young children learn about this fascinating part of our history Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac and Who Were the Navajo Code Talkers? by James Buckley Jr. in the popular “Who Was?” series.  You also check out the CIA’s website to learn more about the history of the project or this article from The National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

                  Send us photos at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us.

                  Suggested Family Activity • Gardening

                  If you need help knowing which yard and gardening tasks you should work on this weekend, the Mississippi State Extension Service can help you.  Their website provides a month by month listing of things to do.  Check it out here.  For August, you can plant daylilies and divide and transfer irises, Easter lilies, cannas, and Shasta daisies, among other plants.  You can also cut back annuals, such as impatiens, so that they will continue to bloom this fall.  Apple and pear trees should have fruit appearing this month so you can keep an eye out for those to pick.

                  Don’t forget you can also call your local Extension Office to speak with someone if you have a question about something in your home, yard, or garden.  Find a strange bug and don’t know what it is?  They can help.  Rose bushes not blooming?  They can give you advice.  To find out how to contact your local agent, check here.

                  Send us photos at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us.

                  Suggested Family Activity 📚 Book Lovers Day ❤

                  Tomorrow is National Book Lovers Day so what better way to celebrate it than by making a visit to your nearest public library to see what has just arrived?  If you are looking for lively picture books to read to your family, check out the upcoming Tiara Saurus Rex by Brianna Caplan Sayres, The World Belonged to Us by Jacqueline Woodson and Leo Espinosa, or Gwendolyn’s Pet Garden by Jane Renaud.

                  Children just learning how to read on their own will want to check out Fly Guy Presents: Space by Tedd Arnold to learn more about planets, spacecrafts, and space suits or the graphic novel version of The Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn by Jenny Laird.  Young Adult readers might like Jumper by Melanie Crowder, which follows a female wildland firefighter through her second season fighting fires or Never Coming Home by Kate Williams, where ten teen influencers head to a private island only to be meet with the unexpected.

                  Library staff are happy to help you find something fun and exciting to read, whether you like fiction or non-fiction, classic or contemporary writers, or any in the wide variety of genres the library carries, such as westerns, political intrigue, romances, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and more.  After you’ve picked out a good book to read today, take it to your favorite reading spot and read the day away!

                  Send us photos at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us.

                  Suggested Family Activity 💧🎈 National Water Balloon Day

                  Today is National Water Balloon Day so take some time today to beat the heat with a little water balloon fun.  Water balloons can be found inexpensively at many dollar stores.  Or if you want to save time filling each one, you can try one of the products that fills a lot of balloons in seconds.  Regardless of which method you pick, make sure to have coolers or buckets to put them in.  Playing with water balloons is not only fun, but also a great way to get some exercise.  If you have your water balloon fun in the late afternoon or early evening, it also helps children burn off some of their excess energy before settling down for the evening.  And if you don’t have enough members of your own family interested in getting wet, invite some of your neighbors over for some water fun.

                  There are many ways you can play with water balloons.  You can have a classic family water balloon fight or look for inventive ways to incorporate water balloons into outdoor challenges, obstacle courses, and more. You could try a water balloon toss, where everyone pairs up and takes turns tossing water balloons to each other.  The team that has the most intact water balloons in their container at the end wins.  Or you can put on some music and play a version of Hot Potato, where everyone stands in the circle, passing the balloon around while music plays. When the music stops, whoever has the balloon must pop it over their head and is eliminated. You can also try relay races, either individually or in pairs.  One fun version to try with water balloons is Under the Chin.  Place a balloon under a racer’s chin and have them race to the goal line and back to the starting line.  If you have enough people to team up in pairs, they then can try to pass the balloon to the next racer using only their chins.

                  Send us photos at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us.

                  Suggested Family Activity • Early Literacy + Magic Wand Pointer

                  To help young children learn how to follow along when they are reading a story, let them make magic wand reading pointers today.  To begin, you will need something to be the handle of the wand.  You can use a small dowel rod, a chopstick, a wooden skewer, or even a pencil or stick from outside.  For very young children, you can use a popsicle stick or craft stick to give them something wider to hold.  Next, get out your pom poms, stickers, feathers – anything they can glue to one end of their stick.  After it is completed, let them use it to follow along with the words while you are reading a story to them.  Or you can ask questions about the text while you are reading, such as “Can you find the red hat?” and let them point to the answer.

                  You could also give your child their own book as a Back-to-School treat.  Or check out these new Back to School picture book titles that have just arrived for our collection: A Letter to My Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson and Nancy Carpenter, Persuading Miss Doover by Robin Pulver and Stephanie Roth Sisson, Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale and Guy Francis, Click, Clack, Quack to School! by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin, and Ginny Louise and the School Field Day by Tammi Sauer and Lynn Muntinger.  

                  NERL branches are giving away wide ruled paper sheets this month (some with just lines and some with an empty space on top for children to draw a picture) to help children just learning how to hold a crayon or pencil.  As a first step, parents and caregivers can lightly draw straight and curving lines for children to trace over with their crayon or pencil.  As children master that skill, they can practice drawing shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles before starting numbers and the letters of the alphabet.  Stop by a NERL branch today to pick up your paper!

                  And don’t forget to send us photos of your child practicing at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us.

                  Suggested Family Activity ✏ School Supplies

                  Picking out new school supplies is a fun perk this time of year.  As children begin to head back to school, don’t let those not old enough to attend miss all the fun.  Pull out all your home school and craft supplies, such as crayons, stickers, paper, pencils, etc. and let them go school supply shopping too by picking out supplies to be ‘theirs’.  If they already have a backpack that is their own, they can put their supplies inside.  Or you can give them a plain gift bag or recycled paper bag to decorate to hold their ‘school supplies.’  Dollar stores are heavily stocked with inexpensive school supplies as well.  Taking your toddler to one to let them pick out 2-3 things can be a fun, yet inexpensive, treat.

                  To help get your young ones ready for school when they are old enough, make sure to read to them every day.  Everyone in the family can participate.  Older siblings can practice their own reading skills by reading to their younger brothers and sisters.  Grandparents also LOVE to read stories to their grandchildren.  Family members who your child doesn’t see regularly (or parents who must work night shifts) can record themselves reading a story so they can participate too.  And don’t forget NERL’s recorded Story Times on our You Tube channel, click here.

                  Check back on Wednesday for more early literacy tips, a sneak peak at new Back to School picture books coming to NERL branches, and news about a special giveaway! 

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  JULY 2022

                  Suggested Family Activity 

                  Tomorrow is International Friendship Day so spend some time today thinking of nice things you can do for your friends.  Maybe you will write them a nice note or send them a greeting card to tell them how much they mean to you.  You don’t have to buy something to send though, your friends will love to receive your handmade notes and cards.  Maybe you will take some time today to bake cookies, brownies, or some other kind of sweet treat for your bestie.  Don’t forget to give your friends a quick call this weekend or send them a text message to let them know you are thinking of them.  People of all ages, include young children, can also show their friends how much they appreciate them by drawing or painting them a picture.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🐚 Seashell Craft

                  Do you know you can turn extra seashells from your last trip to the beach into cute hair accessories?  Just thoroughly wash and dry each shell and then glue them onto bobby pins, hair clips, or a headband with a hot glue gun or strong craft glue.  (Just make sure kids have adult supervision when you have a glue gun out!)  If you want to match your favorite outfit, you can paint the shells with inexpensive acrylic paint or use glitter to add some sparkle to them.  And here’s another hint: if you don’t have any seashells, you can find them very inexpensively at your local dollar stores.  For more ideas for fun summer kid’s craft projects, check out Crafts to Make in the Summer by Kathy Ross. 

                  If you need help identifying what kind of shells you have, the branches of the Northeast Regional Library have several books to help you, such as The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Seashells by Harald Alfred Rehder or the coffee table book The World’s Most Beautiful Seashells.  Picture books for young readers about seashells include The Water Shell by Gretchen Schields, Seashells by the Seashore by Marianne Collins  Berkes, Sherman Swaps Shells by Jane Clarke, and the classic A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🧪 Sink or Float Experiment

                  A fun learning activity for toddlers that is perfect for hot weather is Sink or Float.  You can do this activity indoors using anything that holds water, such as a bucket, a large bowl, or a large pot.  You can also use your kitchen sink or even your bathtub.  If you want to do the activity outdoors, you can take your water vessel outside or use a small kid’s pool.  After your container is filled with water, grab a variety of waterproof objects, and have your kids guess (and then test) whether the object will sink or float.  For older, school age children, you can sneak in a little STEM learning by asking them plenty of questions about why they think an item will sink or float.  After they have tested their answer, you can ask more questions if the result was not what they expected.  Was the object heavier than it looked?  How did the material it was made from (paper, plastic, metal, etc.) influence the outcome?   How are the things that float and the things that sink similar or different?  (As with all activities involving water, adult supervision is required.)

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • Pool Noodles

                  This summer, we’ve talked about lots of things you can make with an inexpensive pool noodle.  Here’s another idea: To turn one into a fun pom pom shooter, cut a pool noodle into three-inch sections so that you have sections that resemble a doughnut.  Next, grab a balloon and tie the open end of the balloon into a knot.  This end will be what you pull back to launch your pom poms.  From the round end of the balloon, cut off a quarter inch piece to make an opening big enough to be able to stretch the opened end over one end of a pool noodle circle.  For extra security, tape down the edges of the balloon with a strong tape, such as painter’s tape or duct tape.   Fill the empty hole on the other end of the pool noodle piece with pom poms and pull back on the balloon’s knot to launch your pom poms into the air.

                  If you don’t have any pom poms, you can substitute cotton balls or even small balls of scrap paper.  This technique will also work if you want to substitute a small paper cup (such as a leftover birthday party cup) for the pool noodle piece.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🐬 National Geographic Kids

                  The National Geographic Kids website has lots of cool stuff to entertain your family.  In the Games section, you can play action games such as Dolphin Diving and Krill Smackdown or take a Personality Quiz to see which mythical creature you’re most like or which ocean animal matches your personality.  You can even see which shark species matches you the best.  If you like to put together virtual puzzles, check out their Ocean Maze puzzle or try to match various animal cards.  Or if you like to play around with words, check out their Funny Fill-Ins to find hilarious stories like Scuba Surprise or Postcard from Paradise. 

                  You can also watch videos on the website, such as Amazing Animals and Weird But True! – Fast Facts.  And of course, they have tons of information about all kinds of animals and things in nature.

                  If you like to do craft projects, the website has a Craft Corner filled with printable coloring pages and instructions to make your own lunch bag or make paper beads.  They have lots of stuff to do outside, such as making seed bombs and starting a compost area, as well as lots of other fun things to do, such as making a stop motion movie or your own guitar out of cardboard.  They even have child-friendly food recipes for young chefs.  To see what National Geographic Kids has to offer, check it out here: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🐙 Octopus Craft

                  Colorful cupcake liners are an inexpensive craft material you can turn into several fun things.  To turn one into a cute octopus, flip it upside down so that the flat portion faces up.  Next, draw on eyes (or use googly eyes if you have any) and a smiling mouth on one side.  Cut strips of paper about an inch wide and eight inches long for tentacles.  Glue one end of each tentacle underneath the ruffled edge of the liner.  As a last step, use a pencil or marker to roll the end of the paper for several inches to make a fun curly effect.

                  10 year old Dani Marie Martin- she has read 11 chapter books this summer! 📚 💗

                  You can also flatten out cupcake liners, glue them to a piece of paper, and turn them into several kinds of sea creatures with just crayons and markers.  Cut small fins shapes to glue onto one to make a fish sailing through the water or make another kind of octopus by drawing on tenacles.  To turn your flattened circle into a jellyfish, fold it in half and glue curly ribbon hanging down for tentacles.  You can also draw turtle shell pieces (think octagon shapes), a head, a tail,  and four legs to turn your circle into a turtle.  With a little imagination, you can turn your circle into just about anything!

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • Bubbles

                  Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles!  To turn your home into an under the sea experience, all you need are bubbles!  They are inexpensive but oh so much fun for kids (and adults) of all ages.  Blow great big bubbles or little, small ones and let everyone jump, catch, and pop those bubbles just as fast as they can.  And they will never know it is also a sneaky way to work in some physical exercise while they are at it.  Have contests to see who can pop the most bubbles or let everyone take turns blowing bubbles to see who can make the most.  But whatever you do, just have fun!

                  After everyone has played with bubbles, have your family make Messages in a Bottle.  Grab an empty plastic water bottle and have each person write out a secret message to put inside.  They can write it in code, such as using a simple number substitution of 1=A, 2=B, and so on.  It is also very easy to make your own invisible ink.  You can find several simple recipes online that use baking soda mixtures and liquids such as milk, lemon juice, vinegar, and water.  Use a cotton swab to write out a message, roll it up, and send if off in your bottle.  When they are ready to reveal their messages, have an adult help hold the paper over a candle flame to cause the chemical reaction that makes the writing visible.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • JellyFish

                  Jellyfish are another type of fascinating creature found in oceans and seas.  To find out more about them, check out I See Sea Food: Sea Creatures That Look Like Food by Jenna Grodzicki or Faceless, Spineless, and Brainless Ocean Animals by Jody Sullivan Rake.  Picture books for young children about jellyfish include Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett Krosoczka and Spencer and Vincent, the Jellyfish Brothers by Tony Johnston.

                  Have you ever wondered what would happen in a post-apocalyptic world where seas levels have risen so high that people become trapped on a giant killer jellyfish floating in the ocean?  If so, check out the Young Adult title Jelly by Clare Rees.

                  NERL branches are now handing out Packet 4 of our Summer Reading Program grab and go activity packets, so stop by today if you haven’t picked one up yet.  Packets for those 6 -11 have a jellyfish experiment for your family to try.  We provide straws and paper clips, and you will provide an empty water bottle for a fun experiment.  Our Packet 2 from a few weeks ago had a cute jellyfish craft project for children 5 and under featuring colorful curling ribbon.  If you missed it, ask your local branch – many still have packets left!

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • Mote Marine Laboratory

                  The Mote Marine Laboratory is a nonprofit marine research institution located in Sarasota, Florida.  They provide science education for people of all ages and provide lots of free information and resources on a wide variety of oceanic topics.  Each topic gives the suggested age range the activity is targeted to and gives links to related resources, questions to ask about the topic, and handouts.  For example, 🐢 Sea Turtle Science, which is aimed at teens from age 11-13, you will find a link to Mote’s Sea Turtle Hospital where you can view the Laboratory’s rehabilitation program.  There is information about sea turtles in general and research questions, such as, “What threats do sea turtles face?  How can we help them?”  There is also a worksheet and a link to a podcast that discusses tagging turtles to track their progress once they are released.

                  Other interesting topics include Shark Catch and Release, Changing Seas: Blue Hole Science, lots of art activities, and a Manatee Challenge, just to name a few.  To view all this fascinating information, check out their website.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🥤 STEM Experiment

                  Today we have another fun STEM experiment for your family from our recent Grab and Go Activity Packets:

                  You will need five wooden toothpicks, a shallow dish or plate, and a small pipette or drinking straw.  If you don’t have a straw or pipette, though, don’t worry.  You can also drip water slowly from your fingertips.  Take your toothpicks and bend each one in the middle so that it cracks but doesn’t break apart.  You want them still barely connected so gently press the end together if necessary to widen the split without breaking them apart.  Place the bent toothpicks in the center of your plate or dish with the broken ends touching, forming a star shape.  Then, place drops of water in the open center of the star very carefully.  Your goal is to add enough water so that the exposed, broken ends of the toothpicks get soaked but don’t add so much that the toothpicks start to float away.  If you add the right amount of water, you will get a reaction!

                  This experiment gives you an understanding of wood fibers and their capillaries.  Capillaries are microscopic hollow tubes within the wood that draw water along the length of the toothpick.  When you break the toothpicks, you stretch and compress the wood fiber inside them.  Then when water is added, the dry wood fibers absorb it, making the capillaries swell and expand.  This is called capillary action.

                  Another thing you can test with this experiment is to see if hot or cold water makes a difference.  Is the reaction time faster or slower or does it not change at all?  You can also test what happens when you put the toothpicks on other surfaces, like a wooden picnic table or a concrete sidewalk.  And finally, you can test if other types of liquids (such as juice or a cola) cause the same reaction time.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 📖🚶‍♀️🚶‍♂️ Story Walks® 

                  Beginning this week, the funny children’s book Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever – or Snack Time? by Tammi Sauer can be seen as a Story Walk® at the beautiful Mineral Springs Park walking trail located at 118 S. Pearl Street in Iuka.  If you go check it out, don’t forget to stop by the Iuka Library to pick up a Scavenger Hunt sheet that has things to look for while you are reading the book.  If you take it back to the library after you are finished, you will get a small prize!

                  Other area Story Walks® include Jennifer Satler’s hilarious Pig Kahuna Pirates! at the walking trail at the Booneville City Park, Hello, My Name is … How Adorabilis Got His Name by Marisa Polansky at the walking trail at the Farmington Park, Pretend by Jennifer Plecas at the William H. Sanders walking track located in Blue Mountain, The Octopus Escapes by Maile Meloy at the walking trail at Crossroads Regional Park in Corinth, and James Dean’s Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach, located at the walking trail at the J. C. Nance Park located on North Main Street in Ripley.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 📻 Podcasts for Kids

                  Does your family like listening to podcasts?  Then check out this playlist of kid’s podcasts curated by School Library Journal – all of them are centered on our Summer Reading Program theme “Oceans of Possibilities.”   You’ll find one by the Curious Kids group that answers questions about oceans, one by the Earth Rangers that talks about Deep Sea Adventures and the World’s Biggest Animals, as well as lots of podcasts with fun children’s stories being read out loud.  To listen to the podcasts, click here.

                  One of the podcasts talks about ways to keep plastic and other trash out of the oceans.  Listen to it and then challenge your family to find things to recycle and use again, instead of putting them in the garbage.  Maybe they will turn cardboard boxes and an empty juice bottle into a full set of body armor, like Cole did below.  Another great recycled crafts he made during a recent Recycled Art camp session at Corinth Elementary includes a wind spinner made out of a plastic water bottle.  What will your family make?

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • S.T.E.M. Experiment

                  Today we have a fun STEM experiment for your family to try out:

                  Grab a shallow dish or plate and put water in it.  Sprinkle black pepper onto the water’s surface.  Does the pepper sink or does it float?  Next, dip your finger into the peppery water.  Does your finger stay clean or does the pepper stick to it?  Finally, dip your finger into dish washing soap and stick it into the water.  What happens to the pepper this time? You’ll be surprised!

                  This experiment teaches about the surface tension of water.  Water has a high surface tension, which means that light objects, such as the pepper, will float on the top of the water.  When the liquid soap is introduced though, it reduces the surface tension and causes the pepper to disperse.  Have fun trying out this experiment with other objects – a feather, a small scrap of paper, paper clips, or pennies.  You can also experiment and see if regular hand soap or body wash causes the same reaction as the dish washing liquid.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🐚 Seashell Ornaments

                  Have you picked up seashells on the beach but don’t know what to do with them now that you are home?  You can turn them into ornaments to decorate your home or put on your Christmas tree by painting them and adding glitter and other sparkly bits like sequins.  Adults can drill a small hole in them to thread ribbon through to be a hanger.  Or you can wear your creations as a necklace by using a longer piece of ribbon or cord.  You can also turn a large seashell into a tropical fish by painting it a bright color and then gluing on tiny seashells to be the flippers.  Don’t forget to paint on an eye or use a googly eye if you have one.  You can also turn various sized seashells into collages by challenging your children to see how they can arrange shells to make pictures.  Maybe they will make a sea creature or a flower or a butterfly. You can also turn seashells into a cute summer wreath by gluing them onto a form you have cut out of cardboard.  Tie a pretty ribbon around the top and your house will look like the beach!  

                  Don’t forget to remember your friends and neighbors while you are having fun with seashells.  Many people like to paint rocks and leave them for others to find.  You can do the same with seashells.  Paint a pretty design on them and then leave them in a place where someone will stumble across it and brighten their day.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity Narwhals

                  Narwhals are one of the many fascinating creatures that make their homes in our oceans and seas.  To find out more about them, check out What if You Could Spy like a Narwhal!!?  Explore the Superpowers of Amazing Animals by Sandra Markle.  Another great information book is Narwhals and Other Wales by Mary Pope Osborne.  It is the companion non-fiction work that goes along with Narwhal on a Sunny Night in her “Magic Tree House” series for chapter book readers.  Another fun series for that age group includes the “Narwhal and Jelly” books by Ben Clanton.  With titles such as Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea and Narwhal’s School of Awesomeness, these graphic novels will have everyone giggling out loud.  Picture books in our libraries’ collections about narwhals include Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima and Someday, Narwhal by Lisa Mantchev.  Check one out today!

                  Have you picked up Packet 3 of our Summer Reading Program grab and go activity packets?  They are filled with fun things to do for everyone in your family.  This set includes coloring sheets and information about narwhals, a color your own placemat, and the steps for how to draw a jellyfish.  Craft projects include a Paper Plate Seahorse for those 5 and under, a Chomper Fish craft for those 6 -11, and Whale Origami and some yarn to practice tying nautical knots for those 12 and up. 

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity ⛹️‍♀️🏀 Make Your Own Bouncy Ball

                  Did you know you can make your own homemade bouncy balls using just a few simple things from the grocery store?  Just follow these steps:

                  Step One:  Grab two disposable plastic cups. Step Two: Pour 2 tablespoons warm water into one of the cups.  Add ½ teaspoon borax and stir using a disposable stirrer until the mixture is dissolved. Step Three:  Into the second cup, add 1 tablespoon white glue and 1 tablespoon corn starch.  If you would like to color your bouncing ball, add a few drops of food coloring to the mixture. Step Four:  Finally, add ½ teaspoon of the 1st cup containing borax and mix it into the second mixture. Step Five:  Allow the mixture to sit for 15 seconds, then stir it.  Once it become difficult to stir, pour it out of the cup and roll it into a ball with your hands. You can store any leftover mixture and your bouncy ball in an airtight container so that they do not dry out.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🦈Shark Craft

                  For a combination craft project and learning activity, try out this fun idea:  On a piece of paper or cardboard, draw a picture of a shark’s head with its mouth spread wide open (or find an image online to print out).  Cut out the mouth area from the center of the picture.  Don’t forget to draw some shark teeth around the whole mouth!  Use tape, such as painter’s tape, to secure it in place up against a table, box, or anywhere else that will allow the shark to stand up and still have some space behind it.  Next, cut out some fish shapes from colored paper (or use white paper and have your children help you color them).  On each fish, draw numbers, letters, or sight words, depending on what your child needs help learning or reinforcing.  Alphabet letters and simple numbers are great for preschoolers, while children getting ready for kindergarten can benefit from using simple sight words.  You can even leave some fish blank and use those to work on the words for colors.

                  Let your child help you cut out the fish shapes, which is a great cutting activity that lets them learn how to handle scissors safely.  Once the fish are cut out, put them next to the shark and then let the children explore and play.  When they place a fish in the shark’s mouth, tell them the color.  Soon, they will begin telling you the colors of the fish!  The same goes for numbers and sight words that you use.  Gently reinforce the concept to the child until they can repeat it back to you.  You can also turn this activity into a matching game and let them match up fish with others of the same color.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🌊 Ocean Animals

                  For a fun and interactive look at which ocean animals live at what depth in the water, check out the website https://neal.fun/deep-sea/  As you scroll down the page, you’ll see images of various animals.  At thirty meters deep, for example, you’ll see a manatee, a polar bear, and a clown fish, among many others.  As you keep scrolling and the depth meter gets deeper, you’ll see more creatures you’ve heard of, like the beluga whale, as well as several you might not know, such as the cockatoo squid.  Do you know about the Midnight Zone, the area in the ocean where sunlight cannot reach?  This website lists all the known animals in the Midnight Zone and even beyond.  Scattered throughout the website are also interesting sea facts, such as the deepest any human has ever successfully completed a scuba dive and where the deepest shipwreck has been documented. 

                  If you see any animals you would like to know more about, check outWhat’s Under the Sea?, a starting science book by Sophy Tahta, Super Shark Encyclopedia and Other Creatures of the Deep by Derek Harvey, Secrets of the Sea by Kate Baker, or Creeps From the Deep: Life in the Deep Sea by L. R. Taylor.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity ✏ Do You Like to Draw?

                  Do you like to draw?  Would you like to learn how to draw ocean and sea animals this summer?  Check out these titles from our library’s collection to help you:  Draw 50 Sharks, Whales, and Other Sea Creatures by Lee J. Ames or Drawing Sharks, Whales, Dolphins, and Seals by Paul Frame.  Both titles are in the juvenile section but are appropriate for all ages.   If you need inspiration for ocean themed crafts in general, check out Read, Learn & Create: The Ocean Craft Book by Clare Beaton.  This title helps you transform cardboard and construction paper into a coral reef, as well as twelve other craft projects.

                  These books are available at the Tishomingo Library

                  If you are a budding artist and film maker, check out Underwater Claymation by Emily Reid, which includes step-by-step instructions for creating clay stop-motion animations, known as Claymation.  And the title fits into our Summer Reading Program theme – it walks you through making underwater creatures and ocean scenery.  Not sure what Claymation is?  Think of shows such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Wallace and Gromit, and Shaun the Sheep.   

                  Retired art teacher Karl Hudson filmed two recordings for us this summer demonstrating how to draw basic sea animals.  Check out his videos as he walks you through how to draw a fish and how to draw a crab.

                  More on our YouTube Channel

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🎆 A Capitol Fourth 🎇

                  Each year for the Fourth of July, PBS hosts “A Capitol Fourth”, a concert featuring live musical performances.  This year’s concert will be hosted by four-time Grammy-nominee Mickey Guyton and will contain a lineup of performers from pop, country, R&B, classical, and Broadway.  Expect to see Andy Grammar, Gloria Gaynor, Keb’ Mo’, Jack Owen, Vanessa Williams, Jimmy Buffett, Gladys Knight, Alan Jackson, Pentatonix, Train, Jimmie Allen … the list goes on and on!  The National Symphony Orchestra will accompany many of the artists.  The United States Army Band, the U. S. Army Herald Trumpets, and the Joint Armed Forces Chorus will also be performing.

                  In addition to being broadcast on local PBS stations, the concert can also be viewed live on their website at https://www.pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth/.  The concert will be recorded and made available on their website for an additional two weeks after the performance.  If you want to host your own Watch Party, or just need ideas for how to celebrate the day, the PBS website has lots of patriotic recipe ideas, game and activity suggestions, DIY decoration tips, and a pre-show party playlist.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🏴‍☠️ Talk Like a Pirate

                  This weekend will be a good time for your family to learn how to talk like a pirate.  According to the website Grammarly, some popular pirate words to use include “ahoy” when you want to greet someone or call their attention to something or “shiver me timbers” when something exciting happens.  If you want to talk about your friends, you call them “mateys” and you can use both “yarr” and “yo ho ho” just about any time.  In addition to trying to talk like a pirate as you go about your day today, try to turn your favorite songs into pirate versions by substituting pirate words.

                  A fun pirate activity for your whole family is Walk the Plank.  You can do this activity either indoors or outdoors by putting down a blue mat, blanket, sheet, or plastic tablecloth on the floor or ground.  Next, lay a piece of cardboard shaped like a wooden plank over the blue “water.”  The longer you make your plank, the more challenging the activity will be.  So if you have toddlers and very young children, make it about 4-6 feet long.  But for older children and adults to join the fun, a plank that is 10 feet longer or more would challenge their agility and balancing skills.  For more excitement, cut out “shark fins” from black, blue, or gray paper and position them as if the fins are sticking out of the water.  And for an added challenge for older participants, challenge them to walk the plank with their eyes closed.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  JUNE 2022

                  Suggested Family Activity 🌊 World Ocean Day

                  If you missed World Ocean Day earlier this month, don’t’ worry.  Their website still has lots of great information that you can view at any time.  They have coloring sheets, lesson plans, book recommendations, and activities for kids to do.  The World Ocean Day group partnered with several popular children’s shows to advertise the event, such as Fraggle Rock and Splash & Bubbles.  Do your kids love the Octonauts?  The website has collectable creature cards, coloring sheets, and posters for the popular show.  You can find materials here:  https://worldoceanday.org/resource-type/materials-for-kids/

                  Your local libraries have DVDs of the “Octonauts”, a fun family show starring a courageous crew of ocean protectors who travel the oceans and seas looking for underwater animals in trouble.  Led by polar bear Captain Barnacles, other crew members include Tweak the bunny, Dashi the Dachshund, daring pirate cat Kwazii, octopus Professor Inkling, Peso the penguin, and Shellington the sea otter.

                  Do you remember the Jim Henson show “Fraggle Rock”?  The show was revamped in 2021, with new episodes available on Apple TV+.  To introduce your children to the original version, check out DVDs such as Down in Fraggle Rock or Wembley’s Egg Surprise.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🐙Octopus Crafts

                  To turn your child’s hand into an octopus, grab some paint and make an imprint of their hand with the fingers facing down.  If you paint on a face in the palm area, their fingers become tentacles and you have a cute octopus.  Let them decorate an underwater scene around it – and don’t forget bubbles rising to the top!  You can also turn their hands into a crab scuttling along a sandy beach by making two imprints – one with the fingers pointing left and one with the fingers pointing right.  (The palm areas will overlap).  Arrange it so that the two thumb imprints form a “V” so that these will be the eye stems of your crab sticking up.  Then draw and decorate around the crab with seashells, starfish, and other sea creatures.

                  Kids can also use our favorite plain, white paper plates to make some cute and colorful sea creatures.  If you fold a plate in half and add an extra piece of paper sticking out one end as a fin, you can turn it into a fish.  Just draw an eye and mouth on the opposite end of the fin and color it in whatever color combinations you like.  Kids can turn a plate into a turtle by coloring a white plate green and gluing or taping on extra pieces of paper to make a head sticking out the top, four legs, and a triangle tail.  For an extra touch, they can draw circles to mimic the turtle’s shell or make it more life-like and draw interlocking octagons.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🐙The Octopus

                  This week our featured animal is the octopus. To learn more about this fascinating creature, check out The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk by Sy Montgomery or Smart and Spineless: Exploring Invertebrate Intelligence by Ann Downer.  Picture books for young children that star the tentacled octopus include Good Thing You’re Not an Octopus! by Julie Markes, Octopus Alone by Divya Srinivasan, or Oswald by Dan Yaccarino.  Check out our Story Time here to find NERL staff reading the picture books Inky the Octopus by Erin Guendelsberger and The Octopus Escapes by Maile Meloy.  NERL also has a Story Walk® for The Octopus Escapes that will be put up during the first week of July.  It will be located at the walking trail located in Crossroads Regional Park at 309 S. Parkway Street in Corinth.

                  Have you picked up Packet 2 of our Summer Reading Program activity packets?  You’ll find lots of fun things to do, including octopus themed handwriting practice sheets for children 5 and under, as well as lots of other fun activities for the whole family.  If your kids have already finished Packet 2, don’t worry!  Packet 3 will be coming next week.  To tide you over until then, check out our idea for an octopus craft tomorrow.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🏞 State Parks

                  June has been National Great Outdoors Month.  In June, everyone is reminded how fun it is to explore our nation’s abundant wildlife refuges, parks, and all the beauty to be found in the natural world.  Whether you like to hike, or bike, or swim, or play an outdoor sport, there are lots of great places in our area to enjoy these activities.  You can visit a city park in your area – chances are, you might even find a NERL Story Walk® at a nearby walking trail.  There are several state parks in our area including the Natchez Trace Parkway, Tishomingo State Park and J. P. Coleman State Park.  In nearby Tennessee, Big Hill Pond State Park, Shiloh National Military Park, and Pickwick Landing State Park are all a short drive away.  In you live closer to the Tupelo area, you could try out the nearby Trace State Park, the Tupelo National Battlefield, Elvis Presley Lake, or Tombigbee State Park.

                  There are also several local beaches that offer free access to play water sports and swim.  Try out the Pickwick area in Tennessee, which has several locations available.  The Piney Grove Beach, located a quick drive from Booneville, is a small (but mighty) swimming spot that features a picnic area, campground, public restrooms, and both indoor and outdoor showers.  You can also find the Old Bridge Beach on Bay Springs Lake, which is also located in Prentiss County.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 👁👃👂 Sensory Box

                  Have fun today by making a sensory bin, box, or bottle for your family.  Sensory items can take two forms.  The first option is a container that you leave open so you can run your fingers and hands through and the second option is a sealed container that you just watch move around while they are inside.  To go along with our “Oceans of Possibilities” theme this summer, you can make a sensory bin by taking a small box or plastic container and filling it about ¾ full of sand.  You could also use rice, dried beans, or a mixture.  Next, bury “treasures” in your bin (things like small plastic toys or seashells) that young children can dig to reveal using a cup, spoon, or small plastic shovel.  If you have any kinetic sand, it will work well for this activity.  Whatever you use, don’t forget to put something under you bin for easy clean-up, such as an old bath towel, sheet, or plastic tablecloth.  And make sure to always have adult supervision to keep small children from putting things in their mouth!

                  If you prefer your sensory experiences more contained, that’s easy too!  Just grab an empty water bottle or plastic sandwich bag, make sure it is well sealed, and fill it with a mixture of sand, rice, and small items such as beads, seashells, or plastic coins.  Children (and adults) will be mesmerized for hours as they turn the bottle to see what is revealed along the sides.  Another alternative is to use water to fill your bottle.  You can tint it with a little blue food coloring to look more like the ocean.  And for extra security, put a piece of tape over the top to keep it from spilling.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🎲🃏 Boredom Smashing Games

                  In honor of our “Oceans of Possibilities” Summer Reading Program theme, here are a few miscellaneous things your family can do today:

                  • Teach young children the card game Go Fish 🐟 and play it as many times as they want. 
                  • Older children can play the classic ocean battle game 🚢 Battleship.
                  • Teens and adults can try out Catan where they must work to trade, build, and settle their section of Catan Island.
                  • Does your family know the song “Down by Bay?”  It is a classic children’s song that is full of repetitive verses that are easy for everyone to learn 🎶. 

                  The variations in the song occur with repetitions of the line

                  “Did you ever see a _____ _____ing in a _____?” 

                  Children’s recording star Raffi performs perhaps the most famous version of this song.  Some of his rhyming lines include seeing a whale 🐳 with a polka dot tail and seeing a llama 🦙 in pajamas.  Sing this song with your family and see how many rounds you can make with new rhyming lines.

                  • Another song to sing is “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” 🚣‍♀️ Have each family member start singing the song staggered a minute or two apart.   Eventually, everyone will end up singing it together!

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🌊 Water Safety

                  The scorching weather the last few weeks makes everyone want to play in water to beat the heat.  Before you do, make sure you know everything you can about water safety.  The Red Cross website offers lots of information, such as the skills of water competency, what to do in a water emergency, and general water safety tips.  The information is presented in a variety of formats, such as videos and handouts.  They also offer a free online course (available in both English and Spanish) for parents and caregivers to learn the basics of water safety.  Check out the Red Cross Website here.

                  For just a little taste of water fun, try this fun activity that can be adapted for children of all ages.  For toddlers and young children, grab some small plastic toys (sea animals like whales, sharks, and fish would be great) and put one in each compartment of an ice tray.  Put the tray in the freezer until it is solid and then let kids figure out ways to release the items.  Maybe they will put it in a patch of sun to use the sun’s heat to free their animal.  Little ones may even try to gnaw the item loose so this activity should always have adult supervision!  To make the activity more challenging for older kids, freeze items (plastic toys or maybe even coins) in a larger plastic container so that the items take longer to get out.  If you have several kids gathered, they can even have a race with hairdryers or other methods to see who can melt the ice the fastest.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🦈Sharks

                  Are you and your family fascinated by sharks?  We are too!  In our activity packets this week, we have a moving shark craft project for ages 6 and up, as well as a floating shark experiment for ages 6-11 that helps them understand why sharks are able to move through the ocean.  Packets for all ages also include shark coloring sheets and our youngest participants (those 5 and under) have a fun activity that lets them measure the length of sharks.  At our Corinth branch, we have a great photo opportunity for you – Sharla the Shark is patiently waiting in our children’s area for you to take a picture with her.  You can see Mr. Cody and Sharla’s picture below! Today is also National Selfie Day, so visit our branches and take your selfie with some of our great ocean themed decorations.

                  In addition to many non-fiction books about sharks, your local libraries have lots of fun pictures  books about them:  Don’t Eat the Babysitter! by Nick Ward, Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton, Never Take a Shark to the Dentist (And Other Things Not to Do) by Judi Barrett, and Shawn Loves Sharks by Curtis Manley, just to name a few.  You can also find NERL Director Dee Hare reading Shawn Loves Sharks on our Story Time Page

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🐟🐠 School of Fish Activity

                  If your kids like to finger paint, you can have them use their fingerprints to make a school of brightly colored fish.  Check out this set of instructions below from education.com.  A few tips: You can substitute acrylic paint, which can be found very inexpensively at most dollar stores, for the tempera paint.  And you can substitute white paper for black paper.

                  Fingerprint Fish

                  What lives in the darkest, deepest waters of the ocean? Let your child’s imagination go vividly wild while creating brilliant fish using her fingerprints! They will start with a black sheet of paper and paint vibrant colors of tempera paint to create a glowing view of sea creatures.

                  What You Need:

                  Black drawing paper, 8.5” x 11”

                  Brightly colored tempera paint

                  Paint dishes, or a paper plate

                  Paintbrushes

                  Crayons

                  Newspaper

                  What You Do:

                  1. Ask your child what type of fish live in the ocean and what they look like.
                  2. Set out some paint in dishes and have your child practice dipping different parts of their fingertips, entire fingers, thumbprints and the sides of their hands into the paint and then pressing a print onto the newspaper. This will help guide them as to what shapes different parts of their hands can create.
                  3. Let them make as many prints of fish as they like using all different colors directly onto the black paper. They can test print shapes on newspaper to make sure the consistency of the paint is correct for the outcome they want.
                  4. Use the length of fingers to create jellyfish. Or use multiple pinkie fingertip prints to create a school of fish.
                  5. Allow the paint to completely dry.
                  6. Go back in with wax crayons to add in fins, eyes, gills and any other information that creates a beautiful, brilliant habitat for deep sea fish.

                  Instructions copyright © 2021 Education.com LLC All Rights Reserved.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🐳 Learn About Whales

                  Did you know that whales breathe air, even though they live in the water?  And that they are the largest animals on Earth?  According to the World Wildlife Federation, the Antarctic blue whale weighs approximately the same as 33 elephants and reaches up to 98 feet in length.  There are several different types of whales, including belugas, baleen whales, orcas, and bowhead whales.  Unfortunately, whales are on the endangered animals list, which means that they are at a very high risk of being extinct.

                  If you would like to learn more about these fascinating creatures, check out these titles from your local library: Blue Whales by Grace Hansen, Humpback Whales by Victor Gentle, or Do Whales Have Belly Buttons? by Melvin Berger.  Junior readers might like Mo Willems’ A Big Guy Took My Ball! to read what happens when Elephant & Piggie come across a new friend or Operation Orca in the A-Z Mystery series by Ron Roy.

                  Titles for our youngest readers include Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett, If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano, and Wiggle and the Whale by Roger Priddy.  And don’t forget to check out our recorded stories to listen to Iuka Librarian Teresa Templeton read A Whale in the Bathtub by Kylie Westaway.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🌳 Nature Photography Day 📸

                  Nature Photography Day is today so head outside with your family and take some photos of the great things to be found in the natural world around us.  Maybe you’ll take pictures at a nearby national park, in your community’s city park, or even in your own backyard.  Whatever pictures you take today, don’t forget to share them with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us.

                  If you head over to a walking trail in your community’s park, look out for a

                    NERL Story Walk®!  Story Walks® are outdoor reading experiences where a children’s book is presented via plastic signs at various points along a walking trail.  Participants walk the trial, stopping at each sign to read the pages of the story.  NERL is proud to partner with our local communities to present Story Walks® at walking trails in Belmont, Blue Mountain, Booneville, Corinth, Farmington, Iuka, and Ripley.  (For a listing of all locations with addresses and other information, check out the Story Walk® information on our Summer Reading Program main page.)

                  Story Walks® this month celebrate our Summer Reading Program 2022 theme, “Oceans of Possibility.”  Our featured Story Walk® this week can be found at the lovely walking trail at the C. C. Shook Park in Belmont.  It features the story Pretend by Jennifer Plecas.  To discover what happens when Jimmy convinces his dad to pretend their couch is a boat in the ocean, visit this Story Walk®.  And don’t forget to stop by the Belmont Library to pick up a Scavenger Hunt sheet before you go.  If you can’t get to Belmont, don’t worry.  NERL Director Dee Hare’s family has recorded this story for your listening pleasure.  Find it and many more on our Story Time page.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity

                  Generations of children have learned about the amazing world of animals through the adventures of zoologists Chris and Martin Kratt, first through their PBS show “Zoboomafoo” and now with their current show “Wild Kratts.”

                  On their website www.wildkratts.com and on their page through the PBS website, they have lots of fun activities for kids, including some perfect ones to celebrate our “Oceans of Possibilities” theme.  Kids can investigate “How Objects Sink or Float in Different Types of Water” or see instructions for making paper plate snakes, egg carton turtles, and many other activities.  They can also watch a short video of the Kratt brothers “Speaking Dolphinese” as they swim with dolphins.

                  The PBS Kids website has a special Wild Kratts section with tons of amazing features – ideas for craft projects, games such as “Archerfish Bug Rush,” “Aviva’s Eel-Ectric Challenge,” and “Capture the Fishmobiles” and of course, episodes of their show!  There is also a special Creaturepedia section with lots of information about all sorts of animals, searchable by type of animal, region of the world where it lives or its habitat.

                  Parents, if you follow the link to the Parents section of PBS Kids, you will find even more great ideas for craft projects, book recommendations for kids who love animals, and articles such as “Discover Animals and Their Habitats Through Books” and “What if We Let Kids Get Bored?”  They also have a question-and-answer segment with the brothers so check it all out at https://pbskids.org/wildkratts/.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity

                  🦈 Shark Craft Project 🧠 Learning Activity

                  For a combination craft project and learning activity, try out this fun idea:  On a piece of paper or cardboard, draw a picture of a shark’s head with its mouth spread wide open (or find an image online to print out).  Cut out the mouth area from the center of the picture.  Don’t forget to draw some shark teeth around the whole mouth!  Use tape, such as painter’s tape, to secure it in place up against a table, box, or anywhere else that will allow the shark to stand up and still have some space behind it.  Next, cut out some fish shapes from colored paper (or use white paper and have your children help you color them).  On each fish, draw numbers, letters, or sight words, depending on what your child needs help learning or reinforcing.  Alphabet letters and simple numbers are great for preschoolers, while children getting ready for kindergarten can benefit from using simple sight words.  You can even leave some fish blank and use those to work on the words for colors.

                  Let your child help you cut out the fish shapes, which is a great cutting activity that lets them learn how to handle scissors safely.  Once the fish are cut out, put them next to the shark and then let the children explore and play.  When they place a fish in the shark’s mouth, tell them the color.  Soon, they will begin telling you the colors of the fish!  The same goes for numbers and sight words that you use.  Gently reinforce the concept to the child until they can repeat it back to you.  You can also turn this activity into a matching game and let them match up fish with others of the same color.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity

                  📽 National Movie Night 🎞

                  The second Friday in June is always National Movie Night.  To celebrate it in combination with our Summer Reading Program theme of “Oceans of Possibilities,” why not watch a fun family movie that features lots of water and adventure?  Hotel Transylvania 3 finds everyone’s favorite monster family going on a luxury cruise ship, while Moana is a fun mythic adventure set in a series of South Pacific islands.  And who could forget the classics The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, and Finding Dory?  Or more contemporary titles such as Luca, about a young mer-boy who yearns for life on land.  Older children and teens might enjoy the Disney classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

                  If documentaries are more your family’s style, check out Blue Earth by National Geographic.  This DVD takes you all around the world to view the beautiful coral reefs of the Caribbean, the Hawaiian monk seals, and the Great Whales, one of the world’s most ancient creatures.  Or check out Coral Reef Adventure, filmed by ocean explorers working with Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the famed Jacques Cousteau.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🏴‍☠️ Treasure Hunt

                  Arggh!!  There could be treasure buried in your backyard!  It is super easy to make a Pirate Treasure Hunt for your kids today.  Just hide a few small prizes in your backyard or outdoor area for them to find.  Or hide things they already have – the main fun in this activity is in the searching, after all, not just getting a reward.  Draw a map (as simple or as complicated as you like) for the kids to follow to find the objects.  You can make it more of a challenge by giving them clues to figure out along the way.  Put in things that are unique to your family, such as “the place where we like to sit outside” or “where the azaleas bloom.”  To make your treasure map look authentic, you can pick from several different things to make your map – a brown grocery bag cut apart, thin cardboard from a cereal box, kraft paper, brown paper packing material, or plain white copy paper dyed with tea.  Make sure that a big X marks all the spots and stand back to see how fast your children can read your map.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🐟 National Zoo and Aquarium Month

                  June is National Zoo and Aquarium month but don’t worry if you can’t visit one in person.  Many zoos and aquariums have live camera feeds that let you watch the action at any time.  Some of the great Aquarium Cams include the Monterey Bay, California aquarium, which has webcams so you can see live views of sea nettles, moon jellyfish, sardines and leopard sharks swimming through a kelp forest, as well as sharks and many other fish inside their aquarium.  They even have live feeds from outside in the nearby Monterey Bay waters.  Find these cams, as well as animal stories and information about water animals, on their website at https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams.  The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California has web cams viewing their Penguin Habitat (from both under the water and above), their Shark Lagoon, Sea Nettles, Tropical Reef, and their Blue Cavern and Coral Predator displays full of many brightly colored fish.  View them here:  https://www.aquariumofpacific.org/exhibits/webcams.  The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta has a live view of their Ocean Voyager habitat, which even sometimes features scuba divers waving to the audience!  They also have additional webcams viewing their piranhas, jellyfish, whale sharks, angelfish, and Indo-Pacific Barrier Reef.  Check them out here https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/webcam/ocean-voyager/.  The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga has cameras watching their otters, penguins, tropical fish, and other exhibits.  View information about this great aquarium at https://tnaqua.org/.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🖐 Hand Crafts

                  Skylar Ewing, 5yrs
                  Belmont, MS

                  If you like to turn your child’s handprint into pieces of art, you can make lots of fun sea creatures to fit in with our “Oceans of Possibilities” Summer Reading Program theme.  If you take an imprint of their hand with the fingers facing down, it can become a cute octopus 🐙 by painting a face in the palm area.  Let them decorate an underwater scene around it – and don’t forget bubbles rising to the top!  To turn their hands into a crab 🦀 scuttling along a sandy beach, make two imprints – one with the fingers pointing left and one with the fingers pointing right.  (The palm areas will overlap).  Arrange it so that the two thumb imprints form a “V” so that these will be the eye stems of your crab sticking up.  Then draw and decorate around the crab with seashells, starfish ⭐, and other sea creatures.

                  Kids can also use our favorite plain, white paper plates to make some cute and colorful sea creatures.  If you fold a plate in half and add an extra piece of paper sticking out one end as a fin, you can turn it into a fish 🐟.  Just draw an eye and mouth on the opposite end of the fin and color it in whatever color combinations you like.  Kids can turn a plate into a turtle 🐢 by coloring a white plate green and gluing or taping on extra pieces of paper to make a head sticking out the top, four legs, and a triangle tail.  For an extra touch, they can draw circles to mimic the turtle’s shell or make it more life-like and draw interlocking octagons.

                  Our Summer Reading Program is happening now!  Click to se more!

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 📚 Summer Reading

                  NERL’s Summer Library Program starts today!  In celebration of this year’s theme, “Oceans of Possibilities,” we will be exploring all the interesting creatures and activities that happen in, on, and around our oceans and seas.  Summer Reading activities will run from June 6 through July 29 and will include activity packets and craft projects (a different one every two weeks), virtual craft project demonstrations, Story Walks®, and several types of Scavenger Hunts.  You can also find daily Story Times on our website, which have been recorded so that the stories can be watched at your convenience.  Reading incentives are also making a return this year so ask your local branch for a reading log to record your books.  Prizes will be available each week for those who have read.

                  Virtual programming kicks off today with a presentation by local favorite Deb Davis, an Outreach Educator from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson.  Deb will be sharing lots of information about the various animals that live in bodies of water in our state.

                   

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🔴 Disc Golf

                  If you are looking for a fun activity to do outside, disc golf is gaining in popularity everywhere.  And one of the best things about it is all you need to start the fun is a disc (a special disc golf one or just a frisbee) and a course to play on.  Some city parks departments have started incorporating disc golf courses within their parks and along walking trails.  City parks in our area that have courses include ones in Corinth, Booneville, New Albany, and Tupelo.  Nearby courses in Tennessee include ones in Crump, Savannah, Bolivar, and Henderson, as well as one in Red Bay, Alabama.  National parks have also had disc golf courses for several years, so check out the ones at nearby Pickwick Landing State Park, Tishomingo State Park, or Tombigbee State Park in Tupelo.

                  It is even easy to make a simple outdoor disc golf set up at home if you have tomato cages and laundry baskets.  Just push the cage down in the ground and nestle the basket in the top of the cage.  Another super fun throwing activity to try outdoor involves scattering plastic pink flamingos around your yard and using small hoops to throw at the flamingo’s necks.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity 🧺 Family Picnic

                  Summer is here – the perfect time of year to go on a picnic 🧺 with your friends and family.  You can pack a traditional picnic in a wicker basket or just grab some snacks 🍉 and sandwiches 🥪 and head outside with a blanket to enjoy your food.  Take time to sit and really enjoy nature 🌳, whether you stay at home in your backyard or go to a nearby park.  Make sure to spend at least part of the day barefoot 👣 to enjoy the tickly sensation of walking on the grass.  You can even plan to make a whole day of it and take pillows for relaxing while you read 📖 a book.  You could also grab some coloring books and crayons 🖍 or other art supplies, such as pencils, paper, and paints 🎨 to try your hand at drawing and painting the natural world around you.  When your kids need to run off some energy 😜🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️, get the whole family together to have a water balloon 🎈 fight.  Try to stay out all day so you can catch the sunset🌆 and have fun watching (and catching) fireflies.  Or you can wait to start your picnic time outdoors after adults are home from work.  Picnicking later in the evening by taking your supper outside to enjoy is a fun activity to try out anytime with your family. 

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  MAY 2022

                  Suggested Family Activity • Memorial Day

                  Memorial Day weekend usually kicks off the summer season for many families but let us not forget what the holiday is really about – honoring the men and women of the military who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.  Did you know that some people believe that the holiday originated in Columbus, Mississippi?  To learn more about the history of Memorial Day, check out the history channel’s information here https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/memorial-day-history.  Each year for Memorial Day, PBS hosts a concert on the Sunday before Memorial Day that will feature live musical performances and heartwarming tributes.  (The concert is recorded and will be available on their website for two weeks.)  This year’s concert lineup has not been announced yet but usually features performances from various military groups, as well as well-known musicians.  In addition to being broadcast on local PBS stations, it can also be viewed live on their website at https://www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert/.

                  To celebrate the real meaning of Memorial Day, there are several things your family can do this weekend:  You can learn and sing a patriotic song – traditional ones such as “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America, the Beautiful,” any of the five service songs from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or Marine Corps, or some of the many contemporary patriotic songs that have been released over the years.  If you know a veteran, ask them to share their stories from their military experience this weekend.  Red poppies are worn as a sign of remembrance on Memorial Day so craft your own with red tissue paper and a pipe cleaner.  Your family can also visit local cemeteries to put out small flags or flowers on soldiers’ graves.  Finally, you can get your children to help you write thank you cards and handwritten letters to soldiers and veterans.  If you don’t know where to send a letter, the organization A Million Thanks collects letters and mails them out to active, reserve and retired military.  Visit https://amillionthanks.org/letter/ for more information.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity •Drawing Cartoons and Characters

                  Do you have a favorite cartoon character?  What about a favorite comic book character?  A favorite superhero?  (Or villain?)  Have you ever wanted to learn how to draw cartoons and comics yourself?  Your local library branch can help you find books that will help everyone in your family learn drawing skills.  Or if following along with a video is more your style, check out the various short art tutorials that can be found on YouTube.  Whichever way you choose, draw us a picture of your favorite comic book character or superhero.  We would love to see what you come up with!

                  Cole working on his comic book.

                  Children can begin learning to draw cartoons and comics with Cartooning for Kids by Carol Lea Benjamin, How to Draw Batman and His Friends and Foes by Aaron Sautter, or Manga Dragons in the “Learn to Draw Manga” series by Richard Jones.  Careers for People who Love Comics, Animation, and Manga by Siyavush Saidian will even give young people information about what it takes to make a career from their hobby.

                  For teens and adults wanting to learn how to draw in the Japanese anime or manga style, we have Anime Art: Easel Does It by Keith Sparrow, The Complete Guide to: Create Mesmerizing Manga-Style Animation with Pencils, Paint, and Pixels by Chi Hang Li, and Anime Mania: How to Draw Characters for Japanese Animation by Christopher Hart.  Other interesting titles include The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Drawing Superheroes & Villains by Matt Forbeck and The Art of Cartooning by Jack Markow, which focuses on tips for drawing and selling both cartoons and comic strips.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • National Grape Popsicle Day

                  Today is National Grape Popsicle Day so take some time today to try this basic recipe to make your own popsicles:  Pour some grape juice into a popsicle mold or plastic or paper cup. Add a wooden stick or skewer and put it in a freezer for at least two hours.  Once they are frozen, pop them out and your kids will be ready to enjoy this tasty treat.

                  Eating a popsicle while reading a story at your local walking trail sounds like a fun activity.  NERL Story Walks® have recently returned just in time for summer.  The Story Walk® at the walking trail in Plumrose Park in Booneville features Gianna Marino’s sweet tale Just Like My Brother.  At the lovely Iuka Mineral Springs Park Walking Trail located at 118 S. Pearl Street in Iuka, you will find Ryan T. Higgin’s first book starring everyone’s favorite reluctant parent, Mother Bruce.  The walking trail located in C.C. Shook Park at 383 2nd St. in Belmont features Julia Donaldson’s classic The Gruffalo, while at the William H. Sanders walking track located at 110 W. Mill St. in Blue Mountain, visitors can read Isadora Duncan’s I Just Want to Say Goodnight.  The new J. C. Nance Park located at 702 North Main Street in Ripley has Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer.  If you are in the Corinth area, the walking trail located in Crossroads Regional Park at 309 S Parkway St. has Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry, while the walking trail in the Farmington City Park has Chimpanzees for Tea by Joe Empson.  New Story Walks® will be coming in the first few days of June so catch these while you can!

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • Fun 📦 with Boxes

                  Do you have lots and lots of carboard boxes 📦 hanging around your house and are not sure what to do with them?  Has your family ever explored the endless possibilities that are found with an empty cardboard box?  For young children, empty boxes can be turned into a treehouse 🌳 perched high in the sky, a pirate ship 🏴‍☠️ sailing on the sea, or a secret palace hidden away from the rest of the world.  All they need is the power of their 🧠 imagination!  And if you want to let them get really creative, they can also use 🖍 crayons, markers, stickers, or even 🖌 paint to turn their cardboard box into their 🚤 ship, 🏰 palace or fort.  You can also make an awesome maze for them to travel through with large cardboard boxes taped together with duct tape.  Cut a few windows and doors in between various ones and you might keep your children entertained for hours. 

                  Smaller cardboard boxes can be covered with pretty paper, such as leftover wallpaper or wrapping paper, to make decorative storage containers.  Or you can cover them with a plain piece of paper and let your children decorate the box with crayons, markers, or stickers to make storage containers for their rooms.  With gardening season upon us, you can also use small cardboard boxes lined with plastic bags to start plant seeds or even to make low-cost planters for inside your home.  Flattened cardboard boxes are also great to use outside to put over areas where you are trying to prevent weeds from growing.  A handy trick is to water the cardboard so it stays where you put it, then cover it with a layer of dirt of mulch.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • Get Caught Reading Month

                  This slideshow requires JavaScript.

                  May is Get Caught Reading Month so we challenge people of all ages to get caught reading whenever they can!  And if you send us the photographic evidence, we would love to share your reading moments on our website.  (To submit photos, send them to photos@nereg.lib.ms.us.)  It’s easy to get caught reading at any time.  One way is to keep books and magazines scattered in all the areas of your home, as well as in your vehicle.  That way, no matter where you are, you will have something to read.  You can also visit your local library branch to pick up free reading materials or view NERL’s website at www.nereg.lib.ms.us to borrow free e-books (and e-audios) for your digital device through the Hoopla and Libby platforms.  You can make a point to read to young children (older brothers and sisters can help read to them too) to show them how fun it is.  Making story time a regular routine, at the same place and time every day, is great fun for all involved.  Many children love for this to happen at bedtime, of course.  It can also be fun to take a book with you when you go outside to enjoy the fresh air, such as in outdoor spaces at your home or even taking a book with you to a local park.

                  If you are not following us on Facebook, you should be!  You’ll stay up to date on all our latest news from the Northeast Regional Library and our branches in Alcorn, Prentiss, Tippah, and Tishomingo counties.  Over the last two months, we have been having weekly giveaways of Advanced Reader’s Copies (ARCs) of recently published titles.  They happen randomly throughout the week, so check our Facebook accounts often for your chance to win.  Next week’s giveaway will be Girl in Ice, a thriller by Erica Ferencik.  It is the perfect summer read for fans of writers such as Ruth Ware and Paula Hawkins.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • Pool Noodles & Games!

                  Pool noodles can be found inexpensively in most dollar stores.  Did you know that you can do lots of other things with them besides playing in water?  You can bend colored noodles into tunnels for your kids to crawl through or shape them into hurdles for them to jump over.  And the best thing?  If they miss a hurdle, the noodles are made of foam, so no one gets hurt!  You can also turn them into a tightrope for kids to walk along or a limbo stick to see how low they can go.  Try creating a variety of obstacles outside this summer to turn your yard into an obstacle course.  Young children can work through the obstacles at their own pace or challenge older kids to tackle each section as quickly as they can.

                  If you don’t have any pool noodles on hand and want to get your kids outside quickly, you can set up obstacle course stations with ⭕ hula hoops, jump ropes, or Frisbees. If you have a driveway, sidewalk, patio, or porch, you can try tracing a tightrope onto them with colored chalk.  Or you can turn all your empty cardboard boxes 📦 into tunnels that children can climb through.  If you have any paper plates, you can turn them into a game of 🧲 horseshoes.  Just cut out the inside of each one, leaving just the outer ring, and you have an instant horseshoe.  Players can throw it at an empty paper towel roll or even a stick pushed into the ground.  If you have several family members wanting to play this game and each one wants to make their own set of horseshoes, grab the markers, crayons, or paint and let everyone decorate their own.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • National Do Something Good for Your Neighbor Day

                  Today is National Do Something Good for Your Neighbor Day so take some time today to do something nice for those who live around you.  You could write them a quick note to compliment them on something about their yard or home, such as beautiful flower beds or a pretty door hanger.  Or if you have lots of flowers 🌷🌹🌺 blooming in your yard and your neighbor doesn’t, you could take them a small bouquet to share with them.  If you have an elderly neighbor or someone who has mobility issues, offer to help them out by moving their trash cans can after garbage day or assisting with light yard work, such as picking up limbs that have blown out of trees.  If you like to cook or bake, you could take a casserole dish 🍚 or cookies 🍪 over to your neighbors.  Or invite them over to your house to share a cup of tea or coffee ☕ and some 🍰 cake.

                  When you can think of neighbors, Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers from PBS’s long-running series, comes to mind.  To give you inspiration for today, read Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Wonderful Wisdom from Everyone’s Favorite Neighbor by Melissa Wagner or The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King.  Children’s books about Mister Rogers include Hello, Neighbor!: The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers by Matthew Cordell and Who Was Mister Rogers? by Diane Bailey. 

                  Your local libraries also have collections of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on DVD, as well as the major motion picture film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • National Take Your Parents to the Playground Day

                  Kids, grab your parents and head outside this weekend for National Take Your Parents to the Playground Day 🎈 and International Family Day on Sunday.  Playing outdoors is not only fun, it is a great way to get exercise.  Playing on a playground can help you to improve your coordination and build strong bones and healthy muscles.  It is also a great way to reset your brain 🧠 after a busy week of work ⚒ and school 🎓.  For many kids (and parents too), the social skills developed while interacting with other people on the playground will stay with them throughout their life.  This includes things like sharing, being considerate of others, and taking turns.

                  This weekend, on Sunday May 15, we will also experience a total lunar eclipse 🌑.  This occurs when the full moon enters the shadow of Earth 🌎, cutting off the sunlight reflected off the moon.  This eclipse is not only considered a supermoon eclipse; it is also referred to as a “Blood Moon” event.  According to the National Geographic website, because the only sunlight the moon receives will be bent through the Earth’s atmosphere, the moon’s appearance will change from gray to pink and orange before appearing red.  The eclipse is supposed to begin around 9:30 p.m. and reach totality around 10:30 p.m.  It should remain visible until just before 1:00 a.m. on Monday as the moon is expected to take 3 hours, 27 minutes and 58 seconds to pass completely through the umbra.  Unlike a solar eclipse, it is perfectly safe to watch a lunar eclipse without protection for your eyes.  For more information, check out this article at National Geographic.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • Ed Emberley Drawing 🎨 Books

                  Children’s book artist Ed Emberley is best known for his instructional drawing books that follow the philosophy that anyone can learn how to draw.  His how-to books include diagrams and language that are easy for children and parents to understand.  Many of his books start with making a simple finger or thumb print on a piece of paper and then turning it into something.  In the latest post on his blog, available here:  http://edemberleydrawingpages.blogspot.com/ ✏ he walks you through drawing various animals such as dogs, cats, and an elephant, among others.  NERL branches have several of his books to give you and your kids some drawing inspiration:  Ed Edmberley’s Big Green Drawing Book, Ed Emberley’s Big Red Drawing Book, and Ed Emberley’s Fingerprint Drawing Book, to name a few.  You can also check out some of his award-winning picture books, such as Ed Emberley’s Bye-Bye, Big Bad Bullybug and The Wing on a Flea: A Book About Shapes.

                  As you will see from Emberley’s books, you can make a variety of drawings using a minimum of lines 📏 and basic shapes 🟢.  Or you can follow his example and use your fingerprint or thumbprint 👍.  Kids will love making prints with various colors of paint.  Use acrylic, as it washes off hands (and out of clothes) very easily.  Or try animals or flowers – a single fingerprint can become a dandelion, or you can put several together in a circle to become flower petals.  

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family Activity • Finger ☝ Puppets

                  If you have paper, crayons 🖍 or markers, and scissors ✂, you have everything you need to make some fun finger puppets for your kids.  To make a cute bee 🐝 to fly around, cut out a 2 ½ inch circle and a 3-inch circle from yellow 🟨 paper.  (If you do not have any colored paper, just use crayons or markers to color your circles.)  You will also need two 2-inch white ⚪ circles for the wings.  After your paper pieces are cut out, draw black 🦓 stripes across the largest yellow 🟡 circle with a black marker, Sharpie, or black crayon.

                  You’ll need to cut holes 🕳 for your fingers to go in next.  Use a craft punch or hole punch if you have one.  Or use a dime to trace two small circles and carefully cut them out. The other yellow 🟡 circle is the bee’s head so glue it to the body circle at the opposite end of the finger holes.  Then draw in eyes 👀 and a smile 😁.  If you have a craft supply that is stiff, like a pipe cleaner or even a twist tie from a plastic bag, poke pieces into the head to make your bee’s antenna.  Next attach your wings by trimming off just a little bit of one side to make one straight edge.  Glue this edge to each side of your body.

                  Kids can make as many bees 🐝 as they want, sticking with the traditional yellow and black or experimenting with all kinds of other color combinations.  They can also make ladybugs 🐞 by switching out the yellow body and heads pieces for red 🟥 paper and drawing black ⚫ polka dots all over the body.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family ActivityMay the Fourth Be With You 🚀

                  Today is National Star Wars Day, a.k.a. May the Fourth Be with You Day.  May 4 is a day to celebrate all things from the Star Wars universe.  According to the National Day Calendar website, May 4 became known as Star Wars Day after Star Wars creator George Lucas said the famous phrase, “May the Force Be with You,” during an interview on German national television.  The line was misinterpreted to be, “On May 4, we are with you”. Star Wars fans eventually latched onto this funny 🤣 misunderstanding and have created a whole day full of activities.

                  What can you do to join into the fun?  Maybe you will wear your favorite Stormtrooper, Darth Vader, or Princess Leia costume or just your favorite Star Wars 👕 shirt.  Maybe you will have a lightsaber battle or play with your R2D2 or Chewbacca.  Maybe you will watch some of the many Star Wars films or television series, such as The Mandalorian or the upcoming Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Maybe you will fix some of the Star Wars themed goodies in The Star Wars Cookbook: BB-Ate: Awaken to the Force of Breakfast and Brunch by Lara Starr or maybe you will try out some of the crafts in The Star Wars Craft Book by Bonnie Burton.  Whichever way you decide to show your love of Star Wars, don’t forget to send us a picture to show us what you’re up to!

                  Your local library branches have lots of Star Wars materials to keep you entertained today.  If you are interested in introducing the youngest members of your family to Star Wars, check out the picture books Star Wars ABC-3PO by Calliope Glass, 5- Minute Star Wars Stories, or the humorous books by Jeffrey Brown: Goodnight Darth Vader and Vader’s Little Princess.  Children just venturing into reading on their own might enjoy Are Ewoks scared of Stormtroopers?, a Dorling Kindersley Readers Level 1 title or The Adventures of Han Solo by Lindsay Kent, a DK Readers, Level 2 book.

                  Chapter book readers will love The Strange Case of Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger, The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo, or Star Wars Character Encyclopedia by Simon Beecroft.  Young adult readers might enjoy the Star Wars: High Republic series or the coffee table book The Art of Rogue One by Josh Kushins.  There are many other novels that are set in the Star Wars world by such outstanding writers such as Timothy Zahn, Troy Denning, Aaron Allston, Michael Stackpole, Claudia Gray, and others.  Author Ian Doescher has even brought together the worlds of William Shakespeare and Star Wars in his novels that present the Star Wars stories in Shakespearean sonnet style.  If this combination intrigues you, check out William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope or The Empire Striketh Back.

                  This slideshow requires JavaScript.

                  Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                  Suggested Family ActivityMother Goose 🦢 Day

                    Yesterday was National Mother Goose Day, a day set aside each year to celebrate the fictional author of fairy tales and nursey rhymes that everyone knows and loves.  You may be wondering, “Was there ever a real Mother Goose?” 🦢 The answer is: not that we know.  According to the people at the National Calendar website, the earliest mention of Mother Goose occurs in a book by Charles Perrault in 1729.  Since then, many popular writers and illustrators have published their own illustrated versions of Mother Goose stories, including Kate Greenaway, Charles Adams, Mary Engelbreit, and Tomie dePaola.  Ask for one today at your local library branch – we even have a Spanish language version – La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for Los Ninos by Susan Middleton Elya.

                    One way to celebrate Mother Goose Day could be to look at different versions of the tales and decide which ones your family likes the best.  Some of our favorites include Janet Stevens’ rendition of And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, Daniel Kirk’s Humpty Dumpty, The Book that Jack Wrote by Jon Scieszka, Pete the Cat and the Itsy Bitys Spider by James Dean, and Jerry Pinkney’s Three Little Kittens.

                    What is your favorite Mother Goose

                     tale? Humpty Dumpty? Hey Diddle Diddle? Hickory, Dickory, Dock?  Entertain your kids today by not only reading Mother Goose rhymes, but also acting them out.  Kids can pretend to climb a hill like Jack and Jill, pretend to be Miss Muffet when she sees a spider, or blow a horn like Little Boy Blue.  The National Calendar has a free coloring sheet in honor of today.  Print one out here: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Mother-Goose-Coloring-page.png or ask your local librarian for a copy.  As you color it, can you guess which classic stories each image is from?

                    Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                    APRIL 2022

                    Suggested Family ActivityToday is Arbor Day 🌳

                      Today is Arbor Day, a yearly celebration of trees that is always held on the last Friday in April.  On Arbor Day, we celebrate all the many ways trees improve our environment and make our world more beautiful.  And with our ongoing climate crisis, it is more important now, more than ever, for us to plant trees.  If your family would like to learn more about the importance of trees or about the many varieties of trees they are, your local library can help.  Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer takes children through all the layers of the ecosystem and shows how each one is connected to the next.  Older readers might enjoy The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate by Peter, Wohlleben.

                      Other picture books that present the importance to trees in a child friendly way are The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, The Family Tree by David McPhail, If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay, Meeting Trees by Scott R. Sanders, Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel, and Picture of a Tree by Barbara Reid.

                      If you are interested in planting your own tree, check out The Easy Tree Guide: Common Native and Cultivated Trees of the United States and Canada by Keith Rushforth or The Eyewitness Handbook of Trees by Allen J. Coombes.

                      The website for National Day Calendar has created a special coloring sheet for today.  It is available to print here or you can ask your local library branch to print one for you.

                      Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                      Suggested Family ActivityNational Tell a Story Day

                      Today is National Tell a Story Day. 📖 Stories can be found all around us -in books, in the lyrics of our favorite songs 🎵, or even in story lines of popular movies 🎥 and television 📺 shows.  Stories that are told from person to person have long been used to pass on information in an entertaining way.  To celebrate today, try sharing a story with someone else.  One simple way to share a story is by reading a children’s book story out loud to a child.  Another great idea for all ages is to make up your own stories from your imagination 🧠 and share it with friends and family.  If you are having trouble coming up with a story to tell, try describing a favorite childhood memory or telling a funny 🤣 story about something that happened to you.  Telling each other stories is a wonderful way for families to pass down their histories, knowledge, and traditions, so the activity can turn out to be as educational as it is entertaining.  Another special way to share a story today could be to have a child 🧒 ask a grandparent 👴, parent 👨, aunt 👩, uncle 👲, or any elder member 👵 of your family to tell a story about how they grew up or things they remember fondly from the past.

                      If you are new to the art of storytelling, try these tips as you tell a story today:
                      • Form a connection with your audience by making eye contact witheach one throughout the story.
                      • Invite your audience to participate by asking questions, even if it is as simple as, “Can you guess what happened next?” during your story.
                      • Change voices for each of the characters in your story.
                      • Make movements whenever possible.  For instance, you could act out what is happening in the story whenever appropriate.  
                      • Don’t forget to make your face assume different expressions as it fits the story.
                      • Most importantly, have fun!

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity • Earth 🌎 Day

                        Celebrate Earth 🌎 Day today by exploring all the ways that you and your family can make small changes in your daily lives to save the Earth 🌎 and its valuable resources.  You may wonder what one person, or one family, can do to help the Earth, but all it takes are small actions to make a big difference.  Some of the subjects discussed during Earth 🌎 Day activities may sound scary or confusing, such as “climate change,” “renewable fuels,” and “carbon footprint.”  To help introduce the subject to young children, check out some of these titles from your local library branch:

                        Hey Little Ant by Philip M. Hoose tells the story of a little boy who wonders if it really makes a difference if he squishes an ant or not.  The Great Kapok tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest by Lynne Cherry explores the plant and animal life destroyed when tropical rain forests are cut down.  Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson by   Amy Ehrlich tells the story of one of the first persons to call attention to the damage being done to the environment.

                        Some of the small things that you and your family can do every day to help the Earth 🌎 includes recycling ♻ everything you can, either by turning recyclable trash into a recycling ♻ center, repurposing an item into something else to continue using it, or passing items along 📦 to someone else if you do not need it anymore.  Your family can also shop at secondhand stores, thrift stores, yard sales, and similar places instead of buying new items whenever possible.  When you do need new items, you can look for things that have very little packaging that needs to be thrown away.  Other small actions include turning lights 💡 off when you leave a room, planting trees 🌳 to produce more oxygen and bushes that will attract bees 🐝 and butterflies 🦋, not letting the water run when you are brushing your teeth 🦷, and combining your errands into one trip so that you get several things done at one time instead of making individual trips, which uses more gas ⛽.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity • Caterpillar 🐛 Craft

                        As the weather turns warmer ♨, the trees 🌲 and bushes 🌳 around us are beginning to wake up.  They are sending out green sprouts 🌱 and starting to form buds that herald the arrival of blooms 💮 in the coming weeks and months.  Flowers, such as irises 🌺 and tulips 🌷, are already beginning to wake up and put out a burst of color.  Bees 🐝 are beginning to buzz, and butterflies 🦋 are emerging.  Today, try out this craft project that celebrates caterpillars🐛, which you should be spotting soon:

                        One way to make a creepy, crawly caterpillar🐛 is by using chenille stems or pipe cleaners.  To form the caterpillar’s body, just wrap one stem or pipe cleaner very tightly around a pencil ✏ and then gently slide it off.  (If you have two different colors of pipe cleaners, you can coil them together to make a multi-colored 🌈 caterpillar.)  To make their eyes 👁, glue two wiggle eyes on one end of your coil, dot eyes on with a marker pen, or cut them out of paper.  Your caterpillar🐛 can go back on a pencil or marker to entertain your kids during their drawing time.  Or you can attach a piece of fishing line or thin string to the coil just behind its eyes and the end coil to turn your caterpillar🐛 into a simple puppet that your children can make wiggle and move around.

                        If you do not have any pipe cleaners, you can also make a fun caterpillar by cutting out circles 🔴🟢🟢🟢 and then gluing them together so that they change position slightly each time.  You can use regular paper or stiffer paper (like construction paper or even card stock).  Make your caterpillar all one color or alternate colors with each circle to make it even more bright and cheerful.  After your craft project is completed, relax by reading the children’s classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  Put this book on hold here https://bit.ly/3rBbZrC

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity • Weather ⚡ Emergencies

                        Our recent run of bad weather can serve as a good reminder to go over with your family what to do in case of a weather emergency.  Does your family know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning?  Does everyone know where the safest place to be during a tornado?  Do you have flashlights, candles, and battery-operated lanterns ready in case the power goes out or a radio to take with you to listen to weather reports?  Do you have a plan for where to meet outside your home should a tornado or other emergency force you to leave it unexpectedly?

                        The federal website, www.ready.gov contains a wealth of information on how to prepare for disasters of all kinds, including tornados.  This website includes information for not only securing your home but also your vehicles and your pets.  For a full listing of everything they suggest you include in a tornado emergency preparedness kit, check out the following link: https://www.ready.gov/kit

                        Since it is tornado season, talk to your children about the different types of storms they might experience.  Your local library branch has titles to help you – the DK Eyewitness series title Hurricane & Tornado by Jack Challoner contains a lot of basic information, along with full color illustrations and graphics.  Picture books to introduce the concept of tornados to young children include The Bravest of Us All by Marsha Diane Arnold, One Lucky Girl by George Ella Lyon, and The Storm by March Harshaman.  Chapter book readers might want to check out Twister on Tuesday in the “Magic Tree House” series by Mary Pope    Osborne, I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011 by Lauren Tarshis, or Hank the Cowdog: The Case of the Swirling Killer Tornado by John R. Erickson.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity • Egg 🥚 Drop

                        As part of your family activities this weekend, try having an egg drop contest.  For this contest, each family member designs and makes a protective casing for an egg using recycled materials they find around the house.  You can let everyone have several days to brainstorm and make their coverings or put a time limit on the activity, such as one hour, for everyone to get their entry put together.  After your eggs are all covered, perform an experiment on which types of coverings protected the eggs the best by dropping the eggs from somewhere high.  You can use a ladder, a step stool, or just roll them off a counter.  Encourage family members to decorate their coverings and give bonus points to those whose coverings are attractive as well as protective. For more fun, consider letting family members have a second try if their egg breaks – sometimes trial and error is the best teacher.

                        This project is a good activity if you always have a lot of leftover dyed Easter eggs.  If you use eggs that have already been cooked, they will not make as big a mess when they are dropped.  But if your family likes yucky experiments, go ahead and use uncooked eggs.  You just might want to move your experiment outside.  Or if you want to escape the mess all together, you can use plastic eggs that will just split apart when they are dropped.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity • Easter 🐥 Chick Craft

                        Paper Loop Chick 🐥 Supplies: Yellow paper, Scissors, Glue, 3 yellow feathers, 1 orange pipe cleaner, Markers (black & orange)

                        With Easter coming up this weekend, we have a cute Easter chick craft project that is made from a simple loop of paper that has been curled around and taped together.  You can make one – or a whole flock of cute chickees!

                        You’ll need: 

                        • Yellow paper
                        • Scissors
                        • Glue
                        • 3 yellow feathers
                        • 1 orange pipe cleaner
                        • Markers or crayons (black & orange)

                        To turn these supplies into your Easter chick, follow these simple instructions:

                        1. Cut a 2” x 6” strip of yellow paper. Glue the short ends together to make a loop.
                        2. Cut the pipe cleaner in half, then cut 2” off of both pieces. Twist one short piece around the end of one long piece. Repeat with the other pieces to make two feet. Glue to the bottom of the paper loop.
                        3. Draw on the eyes and a beak.
                        4. Glue a feather on the inside of each side of the loop. Glue the last one to the back as a tail feather.

                        If you do not have any feathers or a pipe cleaner, you can draw those pieces on paper and cut them out to use.  Or look around your house (and even outside) to see what kind of things you can substitute.  A drinking straw or a small stick could make your chick’s feet, while you can make feathers out of paper, cloth, or even thin pieces of recycled plastic.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity • Library of Things

                        Did you know the Iuka Public Library has cake and baking pans for you to check out and use?  Spring and Easter themed pans include a sheet with 6 mini lambs, several different pans of Easter bunnies, an Easter egg sheet that makes 8 mini eggs, and a large oval Easter egg to make one big egg-sized cake.  If you don’t live in Iuka, don’t worry!  Your local library can request a pan for you.

                        Check out cookie pans and make your own! These baking pans (and many more) live at the Iuka branch, but you can reserve them for checking out at any branch. Munch on, cookie lovers!

                        In the library word, having other kinds of unique things to borrow (items other than books and media such as DVDS) is called “A Library of Things.”  NERL’s newest edition to our Library of Things is coming this summer – crafting supplies such as crochet hooks, knitting needles, and knitting looms.  Have you ever wanted to try out one of these hobbies but wanted to test it out first to make sure you were going to like it?  Well, this will be your chance!  Some kits will even come with yarn and instructions to make a simple item.  And of course, you will have access to NERL’s extensive collection of crafting books for instructions and inspiration.  This service will be coming to our branches beginning in May.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity • Library Collection Displays

                        Many of our local libraries have interesting collections on display for you to enjoy.  At the George E. Allen Library in Booneville, you will find a collection of hand painted miniature figurines by Nathan Horn.  The figurines are from various miniature games, including Battletech, Dungeons and Dragons, and the A Song of Ice and Fire Miniature War Game.  They were painted by hand using acrylic paint.  The tents and taverns arranged in the display were constructed by hand using recycled household materials.

                        At the Corinth Library, you can view a collection of Micro-Machines and Transformers from the 1980’s belonging to Wayne Johnson and a collection of autographed children’s books where the author or illustrator has drawn a picture to go along with their signature.  This collection belongs to NERL Director Dee Hare and her family.

                        Many branches have semi-permanent displays that you might not have seen.  At the Ripley Library, they have displays of items related to the Faulkner family, as well as historical items relating to local resident Paul Rayney.  At the Burnsville library, four antique replica fire engines belonging to Ricky Joe Johnson are on display, while at the Iuka Library you will find a lovely holiday themed display of decoupaged Easter eggs by Rosemary Cross.  Several of our branches also have spotlighted spring and Easter children’s picture books or titles related to National Library Week for you to browse, so stop by one today!

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity • Feel-Good Inspiration

                        Do you need some feel-good inspiration today?  Then watch this eight-minute clip from Newbery Medal winner and children’s book author Erin Entrada Kelly.  Kelly delivers a short but powerful message about the importance of liking yourself and being happy with who you are.  In “The Power of Curiosity,” she also talks about what happens when you ask, “Why?” and how important using your imagination is.  

                        The characters in Kelly’s books are often tasked with finding ways to overcome the challenges of bullying.  In Blackbird Fly, eighth-grader Apple decides to be true to her love of music by learning how to play the guitar and in Hello Universe, four misfits are unexpectedly brought together by a common purpose when a bully’s prank lands shy Virgil at the bottom of a well and the others try to rescue him.  Many of Kelly’s book are set in her home state of Louisiana, such as The Land of Forgotten Girls.  In addition to the themes of bullying, feeling like an outsider, and being shy, Entrada’s characters often have to overcome family difficulties, such as the Thomas siblings in We Dream of Space and the main characters in You Go First, who use their word skills to play highly skilled competitive online Scrabble and who bond over the hardships of both family issues and the chaos of middle school.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity • National Library Workers Day

                        Today is National Library Workers Day!  Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), this day recognizes library staff members for their public service contributions in transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning.  ALA invites you to show your support and share stories of how librarians have helped you by posting messages to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SubmitAStarforNLWD.

                        Get your children involved in showing their love for libraries and library staff today by getting out paper, pencils, crayons, and markers and having them make their favorite library worker a ‘Thank You’ card.  Or maybe they would like to draw a picture of what the library means to them to bring by the library.  Library workers LOVE to hear how they have helped people of all ages, but especially their communities’ youngest members so let us know how your favorite librarian has impacted your life today.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity National Library Week

                        NERL staff Dee Hare, Leigh Hood, and Iuka Librarian Teresa Templeton with Kwame Alexander at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival 2017

                        This week is National Library Week, a time set aside each year to celebrate our libraries and the many contributions that library workers make to their communities each day.  NLW is also a great time to promote the use of your local libraries and to show your support for what they do.  The theme for this year’s National Library Week is “Connect with Your Library,” which promotes the idea that libraries are places to get connected to technology by using broadband, computers, and other resources. Libraries also offer opportunities to connect with media, programs, and ideas, in addition to books.  Most importantly, libraries also connect communities to each other.

                        Special NLW events this year include lots of free library and book related coloring sheets (in addition to our Spring activity packets); daily Suggested Family Activities about libraries, books, and the joy of reading; and new recorded Story Times each day.  Today beginning at 10:00 a.m, you will be able to hear Corinth Librarian Cody Daniel read How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, with illustrations by Melissa Sweet.  Tomorrow, you will get to see two new recordings: at 12:00 noon, NERL Director Dee Hare will read Elise Parsley’s hilarious If You Ever Want to Bring a Circus to the Library, DON’T! and at 6:30 p.m., NERL Administrative Assistant and Branch Services Coordinator Leigh Hood will read the equally funny Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer, with illustrations by Dave Mottram.

                        On Wednesday, April 6 at 1:00 p.m., you will find a recording by Ripley Librarian Eric Melton reading the classic Froggy Goes to the Library by Jonathan London.  On Thursday, April 7 at 4:00 p.m., Iuka Librarian Teresa Templeton will read Building Books by Megan Wagner Lloyd, with illustrations by Brianne Farley.  Finally, on Friday, April 8 at 11:00 a.m., NERL Collection Development Librarian Erica Will will read Llama Llama Loves to Read by Anna Dewdney.  The recordings will stay on our website for at least 30 days.

                        Share your photos 🖼 with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity 🥜 Peanut Butter and Jelly Day!

                        Tomorrow is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day!  How will you celebrate it?  Will you make the 🥪 classic treat that combines equal parts peanut butter (creamy, crunchy, or a crazy flavor) and your favorite kind of jelly?  The two sweet and salty flavors are even sometimes combined in other types of delicacies, such as cookies, cupcakes, fudge, pie, and even French toast and pancakes.  If you are looking for fun recipes to try, check out Peanut Butter Comfort: Recipes for Breakfasts, Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Candies and Frozen Treats Featuring American’s Favorite Sandwich Spread by Averie Sunshine or Peanut Butter Party: Including the History, Uses, and Future of Peanut Butter by Remy Charlip.  This later title is in the junior section, so it’s the perfect book not only to educate young people about how peanut butter is made, but also to try out some of its tasty recipes.

                        Other junior level books that might be of interest to beginning readers are Peanut Butter and Jelly in the popular “Narwhal and Jelly” series by Ben Clanton (junior) and A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff.  Picture books to enjoy about peanut butter and jelly include Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett Krosoczka, King and Kayla and the Missing Dog Treats by Dori Hillestad Butler, Bread and Jam for Francis by Russell Hoban, The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord, and Mystery at the Club Sandwich by Doug Cushman.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        MARCH 2022

                        Suggested Family Activity ✏ National Pencil Day

                        Need an excuse to buy a brand-new pack of ✏ pencils or 🖍 crayons?  Well, here’s your chance!  Celebrate National Pencil Day today and National Crayon Day tomorrow with us – two great opportunities to celebrate these humble, but oh so fun, writing and drawing tools.  Opening a new pack of pencils is a great way to get your brain to start thinking of all the interesting things you could put down on 📄 paper.  Maybe you will use them in a 📓 journal to record what your day was like, use them to 🧠 brainstorm ideas for a short story, or even use them to sketch a drawing.  And everyone knows crayons are a fun way to jumpstart your creativity, no matter what your age is.

                        If you need some help trying to decide what to write or color, pick up a 🐸Spring activity packet from one of the branches of the Northeast Regional Library.  Our packets are filled with craft projects, activity sheets, and coloring sheets for your entire family, including a Spring Banner to color, ✂ cut out, and use to decorate your house; 🐰 an Easter bunny and large Easter egg 🐣 to decorate; and a 🦋 butterfly template to embellish however you wish to make your very own butterfly design.

                        Art activities include learning how to draw a 🦋 butterfly, drawing your favorite thing about Spring, and an Outdoor Scavenger 🔍 Hunt that has a fun twist – you draw small pictures of the things you find, such as something 💧 wet or something that’s fallen from a 🌳 tree.  Packets for children up to age 11 will include craft supplies and instructions to make a 🐑 Curly Paper Sheep and Spring 🐸 Frog Paper Plate, while those 12 and up will enjoy a 🦋 Butterfly Coffee Filter craft and 🌷 Tulip Origami.  We even have a new spring themed set of adult 🖍 coloring sheets for teens and adults who enjoy this relaxing pastime.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity 🪁 Fly a Kite

                        The windy days of spring are a great time to fly a kite!  Go outside this month and let your children decide if it is 💨 windy enough to fly a kite.  Have them tell you why they think it is or is not a good day to fly a kite🪁.  Some questions to help move the conversation along for little ones include: Do they feel anything on their face?  Are their clothes moving around?  What about any tress or bushes they can see – what are they doing?  Are they still or are they moving around?  In movies, people lick one of their fingers and stick it up in the air to see if it feels colder, which is an indication the wind is blowing. 

                        If you do not have a kite at home, no need to worry!  It is a fun idea to make ✂ your own.  The PBS website at https://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-and-experiments/take-flight-with-a-diy-kite has simple directions for how to make a kite using just 🧵 string, 🌿 sticks and 📄 paper.  You can go on a walk today and look for sticks that would fit together to make the cross-shaped body and let go back home to make your kit.  The PBS contributor used 📰 newspaper for their kite, but you could use other large pieces of paper instead such as tissue paper, drawing paper or brown packing paper.  You could also experiment with making different sized kites, depending on what size of paper you have on hand.  Whichever way you choose, let the kids have fun decorating their kite by 🖍 coloring designs on the paper, 🖌 painting on the newsprint and tying 🎀 ribbons or streamers on the ends.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity🧙‍♂️ Tolkien Reading Day

                        –  Do you like “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy”?  What about The Hobbit?  Then celebrate Tolkien Reading Day today!  This day was created in 2003 by the Tolkien Society to encourage people to explore the many writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, who was not only a writer but a poet and a university professor.  March 25 was chosen because it is the day Frodo destroyed the Ring and began the fall of Sauron.  Although Tolkien is best known for the titles above, along with The Silmarrillion, he published more than 30 books in all.  Several of them were not published until after his death.   After the success of Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy from 2001-2003, sales of those titles continue to grow from year to year.  If you loved the movies but have not read the books yet, start one today in honor of Tolkien Reading Day.  Your local library branch can even let you borrow a copy.  Or if you would like to learn more about Tolkien’s most famous creations, check out The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth by Robert Foster, The Complete Tolkien Companion by J. E. A. Tyler, or The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien: The Places That Inspired Middle-Earth by John Garth.

                        Tolkien liked to ✏ doodle and draw while he was 💭 thinking so you can also celebrate today by getting out your pencils and creating a drawing of your own 🧙‍♂️ magical story.  Or maybe you will create a 🗺 map of Middle Earth. Tolkien also had a great love for languages and created his own versions for his tales.  Junior readers can learn more about this aspic of his life in the book J.R.R. Tolkien: Creator of Languages and Legends by Doris Lynch.  He enjoyed doing crossword and other types of word 🧩 puzzles so you could also try your hand at one today in his honor.  Tolkien’s friendship with other great minds of his era has been the topic of many books such as The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Philip Zaleski.

                        The Tolkien Estate recently published a trove of rare, unpublished art by the famed fantasy author on its website. Read more at the Smithsonian.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity ⏲ Daylight Savings Time

                        ⏲ Daylight savings time has started, which means that we are getting to enjoy more 🌅 daylight in the afternoon and early evening.  If you need some 💡 ideas to help keep your 🚸 children busy outside, check out these activities:

                        Have them play a game of 🐲 dinosaur tag.  Whoever is ‘it’ has to scrunch up their arms insides their 🙋‍♀️ shirt to make their arms short like a T-rex and try to tag the others.  And bonus points for making T-rex noises as they run around!  The variations on this game are endless.  Whoever is ‘it’ could pretend to be an 🐘 elephant and try to catch others with one arm swinging like an elephant’s trunk or ‘it’ could act like a 🐊 crocodile or an alligator and use their arms to make chopping motions to catch the others.  Just make sure that the children are taking 🔁 turns being ‘it’, as no one likes to be the one who always has to do the 🏃‍♂️🏃‍♀️ chasing.

                        Another fun outdoor activity is to take a 👟 walk around your neighborhood or a nearby park and have an 🔠 Alphabet Treasure Hunt.  The first person starts with ‘A’ and looks around in nature (or any of your surroundings really) for something that starts with the letter, such as an 🐜 ant.  Then the next person tries to spy something that starts with ‘B,’ such as a 🏀 ball, and so on.  See if you can go all the way to 🦓 ‘Z’!

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity

                        ✂🖌 National Craft Month 🖍🎨

                        March is National Craft Month so celebrate by picking up a 🌷 Spring Activity Packet this week at any NERL branch.  Each packet is filled with fun crafts ✂ and art activities to use this month.  We have something for everyone in your family to enjoy, including a 🌸 Spring Banner to color, cut out, and use to decorate your house; an Easter bunny 🐰 and large Easter egg 🥚 to decorate; and a 🦋 butterfly template to embellish however you wish to make your very own 🦋 butterfly design.

                        Art activities include learning how to ✏ draw a 🦋 butterfly, drawing your favorite thing about Spring, and an 🔎 Outdoor Scavenger Hunt that has a fun twist – you draw small pictures of the things you find, such as something wet or something that’s fallen from a 🌳 tree.  Packets for children up to age 11 will include craft supplies and instructions to make a Curly Paper 🐑 Sheep and Spring 🐸 Frog Paper Plate, while those 12 and up will enjoy a 🦋 Butterfly Coffee Filter craft and 🌷 Tulip Origami.   And as always, we have a new set of coloring sheets for teens and adults to enjoy as well.  Spring Break is ending soon so come by today to get your packet of goodies, especially if you still need something to entertain your kids!

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity 🌧 Playing in the Rain

                        Spring 🌷 is heading towards us – and with it, more and more rainy weather.  But the temperatures are going up as well, which means that kids (and adults too) might enjoy playing outside in the rain.  There is something special about getting to jump, dance, and hop around when it is raining outside.  And do you know another perk of having a lot of 🌧 rain?  Mud!  Muddy puddles are meant for splashing and playing in too.  Just remember – never play outside in the rain if it is lightning ⚡, as the electrical charge in lightning can travel through objects and onto you.  The best precaution while it is lightning is to stay away from windows, tubs, showers, sinks, toilets, and electrical outlets, even while inside.

                        Muddy places are also a great place to check to see what kind of animals live in and around your home or neighborhood.  A day or two after a rain, go outside and look around the ground and see if you can find the prints that they leave behind.  Maybe you will see the marks of a 🦌 deer or a 🦝 raccoon or the small prints of a 🐦 bird.  If there is a place where water flows around your home, like a stream 🌊 or a ditch, the sides of these places also make a great place to spot animal tracks.  If there are any wooded areas or fields around your home, you can also keep an eye out for the small paths (or trails) animals use to move from one place to another.  These are called game trails and they can usually be spotted by looking for places where grass and weeds have been mashed down, or by looking for a cleared space through the woods.  If you hang out near one and stay very quiet, maybe you will even spot a 🦨 skunk, armadillo, or a 🦌 deer.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity 👨‍🍳🍳 Julia Child

                        Julia Child 👨‍🍳 is everywhere these days, thanks to a recent 🎞 documentary about her life, an upcoming HBO Max 🎥 movie, and the Food Network’s new “The Julia Child Challenge” 🍴 competition.  Many remember Child’s distinctive voice and the fact that she brought French cooking to everyone’s attention, but did you know that she was a ⚠ spy during World War II?  Or that she is considered the first educational TV star and the success of her show “The French Chef” was the beginning of PBS as a TV phenomenon?

                        To learn more about Julia’s life, check out Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz, My Life in France by Julia Child, or A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS by Jennet Conant, a look at Child’s early career as an OSS agent in the Far East.  NERL branches also have several of Child’s cookbooks, including Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes From a Lifetime of Cooking, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, just to name a few.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity • Childrens Craft Day

                        Today is National Children’s Craft Day, a day set aside each year to encourage crafting with children.  Crafting as an activity is a great way for children to explore their creativity and imagination.  It also encourages them to learn something new and to explore what inspires them.  But crafting doesn’t have to cost a lot.  You can challenge your children to take everyday household items to use for their crafting projects.  Popular items include toilet paper and paper towel rolls, cardboard recycled from packing boxes, dried beans and pasta, empty water bottles … the list goes on and on! 

                        Today is also National Learn About Butterflies Day, which encourages us to start watching for butterflies as they begin to appear outside.   Like other pollinators such as bees, butterflies help spread pollen from place to place, which allows plants to grow.  Butterfly populations are declining, which is also a predicament bees are facing, so you can help them out by planting more flowers for them to use for fuel.  To learn more about butterflies, ask your local library branch for books on the subject.  NERL’s Spring Packets also have several informational sheets about butterflies, as well as butterfly coloring sheets. 

                        NERL’s Spring Packets are a great way to combine National Children’s Craft Day and National Learn About Butterflies Day, as each one contains several craft projects for you to do.  One great craft idea is to use the butterfly template in the packets (or draw a black outline of one yourself) and fill the inside with squares of colored tissue paper or crepe paper to make a stained-glass butterfly.  Use several different shades of one color or mix the colors up for a kaleidoscope effect.  You can leave the wings smooth or cut them into different patterns, such as points, curves, or even fringe.  After you have finished with your design, use a pipe cleaner or chenille steam to scrunch the wings together.  Once your kids have finished crafting today, read a fun butterfly book such as My, Oh My – a Butterfly by Dr. Seuss or Butterfly House by Eve Bunting.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity 🌷 Spring Activity Packets

                        Corinth librarian, Cody Daniel and Assistant Librarian, Amy Alvis showing off our new Spring Activity Packets!

                        NERL branches began handing out new Spring activity packets this week, each one filled with fun crafts and activities.  We have something for everyone in your family to enjoy, including information about the life cycles of butterflies 🦋 and where they live; a Spring Banner to 🖍 color, cut out, and decorate your house with; a Mindful Breathing 😤 exercise that leads you towards taking Butterfly Breaths; and an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt 🔍 that has a fun twist – you draw small pictures of the things you find, such as something wet or something that’s fallen from a tree.  Each packet also contains a Spring Bucket List with fun activities such as flying a 🪁 kite, cloud gazing ☁, and making a 🐦 bird feeder; book lists from NERL’s collection of materials; writing prompts; and drawing activities.

                        Holidays covered in this month’s packets include 🍀 St. Patrick’s Day, spring (of course!), Easter, and Earth Day.  Packets for children up to age 11 will include craft supplies and instructions to make a Curly Paper Sheep 🐑 and Spring Frog 🐸 Paper Plate, while those 12 and up will enjoy a Butterfly 🦋 Coffee Filter craft and Tulip Origami 🌷.   And as always, we have a new set of coloring sheets for teens and adults to enjoy as well.  Spring Break is coming soon so come by today to get your packet of goodies to entertain your kids!

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity 👩👱‍♀️👵 International Women’s Day 

                        March is Women’s History Month and tomorrow is International Women’s Day so it’s a great time to learn about the social, economic, and political achievements of women around the world.  Originally started in the early 1900s as women started becoming more politically active, this day also serves as a day to think about continuing issues such as gender parity, voting rights, fair pay, improved working conditions, and representation under the law.

                        The Northeast Regional Library has several new books on these subjects for you to discover this month.  Jennifer Chiaverini has written a fictionalized account of an early occurrence in the fight for women’s right to vote with The Women’s March: A Novel of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession.  A great new non-fiction that shows us the world of early female adventure seekers is Jayne Zanglein’s The Girl Explorers: The Untold Story of the Globetrotting Women Who Trekked, Flew, and Fought Their Way Around the World.

                        Ursula Burns, who became the first African American women to head a Fortune 500 company when she was named CEO of Xerox in 2010, has written a memoir titled Where You Are is Not Who You Are.  Burns writes about her early childhood in New York City, where she and her siblings were raised by a single mother who championed the importance of education, as well as her experiences trying to fight the stereotypical corporate image of big businesses interested only in the bottom line.  Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words is a new DVD that traces the story of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who couldn’t get a job after graduating first in her law class because she was female, went on to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and an iconic figure for gender equality and women’s rights.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity • Pool Noodles

                        Do you have any old pool noodles left over from the summer?  Cut them in half and they will make great racetracks for marbles, small bouncy balls, or small vehicles (think Matchbox car size).  One pool noodle will make two tracks of equal length for races.  Have your kids experiment with different placements to see what works best – and is the fastest!  Does putting one end up too high make it too steep?  Does it make it faster?  What happens to the other end of your noodle if you prop the other up very high?  If you have more than one pool noodle to cut up, you can also combine multiple pieces with duct tape to make an even longer track.  Or you can experiment with making your own loop-the-loops, twists, and turns, just like a roller coaster. 

                        As the weather begins to turn warmer, pool noodles are already showing up at some dollar stores.  Other fun things to do with them include cutting them into 3 inch circles to make blocks for young builders.  They will be easy to pick up – and won’t make a lot of noise when they crash down!  Pieces this size will also make a fun indoor soccer activity that is quiet and will not hurt your furniture if a piece goes haywire.  Just have your kids kick them into an empty cardboard box to get in some exercise.  You can also use duct tape to tape them into a circle to make a large basketball style hoop.  Duct tape the hoop to a door and let kids throw beach balls into them.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us

                        Suggested Family Activity 📖 Read Across America

                        Today is National Read Across America Day, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss Day.  Read Across America, a project created by the National Education Association, is celebrated each year on March 2nd, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. This project hopes to inspire a love of reading in children by celebrating all things Dr. Seuss.  In school systems nationwide, teachers and students often dress up like Dr. Seuss characters and read Dr. Seuss books all throughout the day (or even week!).  Often, special visitors such as community leaders, essential workers, and local celebrities stop by to read a Dr. Seuss book to children in their classrooms.

                        National Read Across America/Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd, 2022

                        Here are some ways you can celebrate this day at home:  Pick up some Dr. Seuss books at your local NERL library branch.  Everyone knows The Cat and the Hat and The Lorax, but what other Dr. Seuss books are your favorites?  Horton Hears a Who!Fox in SocksOh, the Thinks You Can Think?  The list goes on and on …  Let us know what your favorite Dr. Seuss book is by sending us a photo of you with your favorite title.

                        For some fun at supper tonight, try out some of the recipes in The Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook by Georgeanne Brennan.  It includes simple things to make in the kitchen such as Cat in the Hat Pudding, Moose Juice, and of course, Green Eggs and Ham!  To learn more about the life of Dr. Seuss, children can check out several biographies, including Who Was Dr. Seuss? by Janet B. Pascal, part of the popular “Who Was” series.  Adults interested in knowing more about this creative genius might enjoy The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing but the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel by Charles D. Cohen or Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel by Richard H. Minear.

                        Share your photos with us at photos@nereg.lib.ms.us