Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Singalongs - Buy 2 get 1 Free!

Singalong books are among Barefoot's best-selling titles, and now is a great time to add a few more to your child's bookshelf!  Through Sunday May 5th, buy 2 paperback singalongs with enhanced CD and get a third one free when you use the code SINGALONG at checkout!  Here are some of our favorites...

The Shape Song Swingalong - find out what you can make with a line, a circle, a square, and a triangle in this super-catchy song by popular children's singer SteveSongs.

Driving My Tractor - follow the farmer as he chugs along on his tractor during a VERY busy day!  Learn counting, animals on the farm, and even more when you explore the end notes.  Another catchy tune from SteveSongs!

If You're Happy and You Know It! - in this traditional song with an updated multicultural twist, you can clap your hands, stomp your feet, wiggle your hips, and pat your head along with kids from all over the world!

The Animal Boogie - Down in the Indian jungle, the children and the animals are leaping, stomping, shaking, flapping - so much fun!

Port Side Pirates - go to sea with a lively band of buccaneers in this rollicking singalong book!  I promise you will be singing along with your kids by the end!  This one also has fantastic end notes about pirates and pirate ships.

There are plenty more fun singalong books included in this special offer - you can see them all here.  All of the singalong books are appropriate for ages four and up, and a set of three would make a fabulous end-of-year gift for your child's teacher as well!

If you are a local customer in the Greater Boston area, you can save on shipping and/or receive your three-for-the-price-of-one singalongs faster - just let me know which books you are interested in and I will deliver them right to you!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who's in the Garden Collages

This week's after-school storytime craft activity was inspired by my friend and fellow Barefoot Books Ambassador Sheila, who wrote about this amazing craft activity she did with some kids at a local art studio in her town last month.  I've been wanting to put my own spin on this project ever since I read Sheila's post, and yesterday I finally had the chance!

This craft is based on the fun illustrations by Jill McDonald in two books, Who's in the Garden? and Over in the Meadow.

Who's in the Garden is a cute peek-a-boo large board book for toddlers, all about the little creatures who are coming to visit the garden...rabbits, frogs, birds, bees, moles...

Who's coming to see how my garden grows?
Rabbits hop, hop, hopping between the rows.

Over in the Meadow is a singalong book based on a traditional English song, about the creatures you find in a meadow - bumpy toads and woolly sheep and spiky muskrats and more - it's great for counting as well as for learning about different animals.

Over in the meadow in a hole in a tree,
Lived a smooth mother robin
And her little robins three.
"Sing!" said the mother;
"We sing!" said the three.
So they sang and they chirped
In a hole in the tree.

After I read both books to the kids, I invited them to look more closely at the illustrations...I told them that the same person did the pictures in both books, and pointed out how the illustrations were created using layers of cloth and things like buttons and yarn.

Then we got busy making our own garden collages!  I played the CD from Over in the Meadow while we were gluing...

The original craft involved painting first and then gluing the shapes down on another piece of paper, but as I've mentioned before, I try to minimize the clean-up time for the after-school teachers.  So, instead of painted paper, I cut shapes out of some scrap-booking card stock in pretty colors and designs.

These kids are only four and five years old, so I cut out all the shapes for them.  For older kids, I might just show them an example of a garden collage and then let them decide what types of shapes they wanted to cut out.  Next time I do this, I might also try to cut out some shapes that the kids can use to make butterflies and bees and maybe some other creatures.  The possibilities are endless!

Here's another spin on this same idea - I helped Elfe create this garden collage that we are going to send to her grandfather (my father), who is recovering from open-heart surgery last week.  We thought a colorful and cheerful garden would make him smile and help him recover faster.

Have fun making your own garden or meadow collages, and let me know how they turn out!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Celebrate Spring with Barefoot Books!

Are you seeing signs of spring where you are yet?  Here in Boston it is still a little on the chilly side, but I am finally starting to see little purple and white crocuses, yellow daffodils and forsythia, and tiny green buds on trees...such a wonderful time of year after a long and difficult winter!  Let's celebrate with some springtime Barefoot Books on sale...

The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales - now in paperback!  Seven folk tales from around the world showing how different cultures live in harmony with the earth.  Each story is preceded by information about the culture it is from, and followed by a hands-on activity based on the story.  Recommended for ages 5 through 11 years old.  Sale price = $11.99

Grandpa's Garden - Billy helps his grandfather in the garden, from digging the hard ground in early spring through harvesting the fruits and vegetables in late summer.  Includes useful gardening tips in the end notes!  Recommended for ages 3 to 7 years.  Paperback sales price = $6.39

Kids' Garden Activity Card Deck - 40 fun indoor and outdoor activities and games to get your kids excited about gardening!  Recommended for ages 8 and up.  Sale price = $15.99

Over in the Meadow - a traditional English song about all the different kinds of creatures (and their little ones) who live over in the meadow, turned into a beautiful sing-a-long book that helps kids learn how to count.  Also includes end notes about meadows and the furry mice, bumpy toads, and other meadow wildlife mentioned in the story.  Hardcover sale price = $13.59 and paperback sale price = $7.99

The Beeman - a sweet little story about a boy helping his beekeeping grandfather take care of his bees all year round.  Includes great end notes about bees and pollination and honey, plus a recipe for honey muffins!  Recommended for ages 5 through 9 years.  Paperback sale price = $7.19 (and check out the craft I did to go with this book this week!)

Who's in the Garden - an adorable peek-a-boo board book in large format, with an energetic rhyming text build around answering the repeating question "Who's coming to see how my garden grows?"  Recommended for ages 1 through 4 years.  Sale price = $11.99

More books to get you in the mood for spring here - and don't forget that if you haven't done so already this year, you can use the discount code TWENTY13 when you check out to save an additional 20% on your order!

Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bees for The Beeman

This week's story time and craft activity with the after-school kids comes from the sweet little book The Beeman, a story about a little boy who helps his grandfather takes care of his bee hives all year round - and gets to eat honey muffins baked by his grandmother in the end!

The Beeman is written by Laurie Krebs, who has written several fantastic Travel the World books for Barefoot, and is based on her husband (a beekeeper) and their grandson.  It's got great end notes about bees and pollination and honey, and even a recipe for those yummy honey muffins!

After we read the book, we made little bees with flowers - here's the prep work at home:

I found a box full of these great cardboard craft tubes in different sizes at Lakeshore Learning, which just made everything easier when creating a craft for a group of kids.  If you are doing this with just one kid, you could use an empty toilet paper tube; or if you have two or three kids, you could cut a paper towel tube into pieces.

Then I cut one-inch strips of black and yellow construction paper, and taped them to the cardboard tube in alternating stripes (and I loved it when the kids all yelled "it's a pattern!" when I showed them how to do this - they are learning about patterns in class).

I glued on a couple of googly eyes, then cut up a black pipe cleaner and taped two pieces to the back of the tube for antennae.

Then I cut circles out of white card stock, and taped two circles to the back of the tube for wings.  

I was a little worried that this craft might not take up enough time, so I decided to give the bee a flower!  I took a small white coffee filter and dabbed it into some ink pads with different colors, wrapped a green pipe cleaner around the bottom for a stem and then taped the stem to the back of the bee.  The final result was a little hard to photograph, but this should give you the idea...

You could also paint the coffee filter - and the after-school teacher told me has done a similar craft with paint in the past - but I am always trying to come up crafts that involve minimal clean-up, so ink pads worked for us!

I don't have any pictures of the kids working on this craft, because they needed more help than I anticipated with taping the construction paper to the tubes so I couldn't stop and take pictures like I usually do.  If you try this at home or with a group, let me know how it goes for you!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Join My Barefoot Team!

Do you love children's books?  Want to earn some extra money by helping families build fantastic libraries for their children?  Would you like to join a company that believes in education through enchantment?

Then now is the perfect time to join my Barefoot Books Ambassador team!

Between now and May 31st, you can save $50 on the Barefoot Books Ambassador Starter kit, which contains everything you need to start your very own Barefoot business - books and other products, catalogs, flyers, order forms, and more.  The kit contains over $300 worth of material, but it's yours for just $89.99 during this special promotion!

Do you have questions about what it would take to be successful as a Barefoot Books Ambassador?  Feel free to contact me to find out if this opportunity is right for you!

Liz Hughes
Barefoot Books Ambassador Sales Leader

You can also read more about the opportunity here, or just go ahead and join!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Meet the Parrot Tico Tango!

For this week's after-school story time craft session, I developed this super fun and colorful craft based on a classic Barefoot singalong book - The Parrot Tico Tango.  For some reason I hadn't paid much attention to this book before I decided to do this craft, but now Tico Tango has become one of my very favorite Barefoot characters!

Tico Tango is a greedy parrot who flies around the rainforest snatching fruit from his friends - until he tries to grab one piece of fruit too many and learns an important lesson in sharing.

The book has a great rhyme that made it easy to read to the kids, and the colorful illustrations held their attention so well.  Then we listened to the singalong on the CD, sung by Brian Amador, and everyone was entranced - including the after-school teacher!

The parrot Tico Tango 
Had a round, yellow mango, 
But it wasn't quite as yellow 
As the lemon of Marcello.  
And Tico Tango knew 
That he had to have it too, 
So he took it! 

Creating Tico Tango wasn't as hard as you might think...I started by tracing around a salad plate on a piece of red card stock and then cutting it out.  I cut the circle in half, then also cut in half the end pieces left over after I cut the circle out.  One half circle became Tico Tango's body, and the two halves of one left-over end piece became a set of wings.

I glued the pieces down to some green construction paper - I know this doesn't look very much like a parrot, but I just wanted a red background with a general bird shape to attach the feathers to...

I used masking tape in different colors to attach the feathers - I figured tape would work better than glue, and the tape colors helped create the colorful look of a parrot.  Add a googly eye, two purple half circles for a mouth, and meet The Parrot Tico Tango:

But then came the real test...could the four year olds and five year olds handle it?  I was a little worried that this craft would be too complex for them, but they did great!

I think this was my favorite craft activity so far!  Let me know what you think...