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Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Year’s Resolutions (a few days early)


Welcome Somerville!  As of January 1st, Somerville Library will become a branch of the Somerset County Library System and Somerville residents will be able to partake of all the materials, services, and programs provided by our nine libraries.  We’re very happy to have you!
A Reminder: The Bridgewater Library will be closed  Saturday and Sunday January 1-2.
As the new year approaches, we wanted to share our New Year’s Resolutions with you – and hope that you, our readers, will share your comments with us as well!   Email us at bwljuv@sclsnj.org with your ideas… what you like about what we do, and what you don’t!   What your family is looking for in a library – materials, services, programs, outreach…  Are we meeting your expectations?  Are the ages appropriate?  Are the times convenient?   We are all ears!


As for us, the Bridgewater Library Youth Services Department’s goal for 2010-2011 is for every student in the Bridgewater-Raritan School District to have a library card in order to have access to the materials we own and services we offer as well as 24/7 access to the many information databases we subscribe to (the “Online Resources” tab at the top of our Home Page.)  In this era of budget cuts to  schools, this will increase informational and recreational reading options for all our students.
To this end, we have started hosting classes to come into the library for a visit.
The Courier-News wrote up one of these visits this Fall:

Somerset County Library System to share services with Bridgewater-Raritan students  BY KARA L. RICHARDSON 

The Bridgewater school system and the Bridgewater Library have partnered amid budget cuts to promote literacy. Frist grade students from the Bradley Gardens elementary school visited the Bridgewater Library to tour the library and to have a story time session. Youth Services Librarian Carol Levin reads to the first graders. 12497 10/22/10 photo by Ed Pagliarini/MyCentralJersey
Youth Services Librarian Carol Levin reads to first-graders from Bradley Gardens Primary School on Friday at the Bridgewater branch of the Somerset County Library. The young students from the Bridgewater-Raritan School District all were given library cards.

The lesson of sharing is taking on a whole new meaning in the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District.

No longer just a lesson for youngsters to grasp, the Somerset County Library System is taking the concept of sharing to a new level. As the district continues dealing with the fallout of budget cuts that cut some library personnel, the county library system — which has also sustained budget cuts — is giving every child in the district a library card so they can use the county's resources to aid their education.

The sharing concept came about when Marna Elliott, the Bridgewater library's branch director, had to figure out ways around budget cuts, which will amount to about $70,000 in the Somerset County Library System's 2011 budget. In doing so, she checked with the schools and the county library branches, first to make sure they weren't duplicating efforts and then to find places where they could share.

One step, she said, was to give every Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District student a Somerset County Library System card.

A busload of Bradley Gardens School students Friday were the first batch of children to get library cards. Eventually, all students in the district will get them. Raritan Borough students wouldn't ordinarily have access to the county library because the Raritan Public Library isn't part of the system but they will get cards, too, said Brian Auger, Somerset County Library System director. The move to encourage students to visit the Somerset County Library System is about creating a “culture of sharing.”  Elliott said the library card will give students “equal access to programs and services.”

For example, Elliot said the Somerset County Library System has 2 million items in circulation. It provides programs from story time to adult education. Her library has online resources such as the Lumos, a test prep program, and World Book, an online encyclopedia, that students can access from their home computers by using their library cards.

Bradley Gardens school librarian Jennifer Minnichelli said the past two years have been difficult for school district librarians. In 2007, Minnichelli lost her library aide, one of eight library positions amounting to $200,000, including benefits cut from the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District budget.
In 2009, when the district eliminated several enrichment teachers from the budget, she was also required to teach language literacy enrichment classes.“There are piles of work to be done in my office. I am just not getting to things that need to be processed, and books that are falling apart,” Minnichelli said. “I am swamped.”

Minnichelli said the funding cuts mean that her fourth grade students may only borrow four books at a time. The limit used to be seven, but now she doesn't have time or the help to process that many books.  The Somerset County Library System allows patrons to borrow 100 items at a time, Elliott said. She said the library offers a mixture of books and other media such as DVDs.

Also, the school library is only open when schools are open, Minnichelli said. The county library's schedule includes the weekends, evenings and the summer.  “It gets them excited about going to the library with their parents,” Minnichelli said.

Anne Marie Derogatis, who has two children at Bradley Gardens School, volunteers in the library two hours a week to help check out and reshelve books.  She welcomes the idea of opening the Somerset County Library System to the Bridgewater-Raritan District students, who have lost a number of programs such as Spanish language instruction in lower grades.
“Everyone is making sacrifices but we have to make it work for the kids,” Derogatis said.  Reprinted with the permission of the Courier News, originally published on Oct. 25, 2010.


@ the Library: Displays & Materials:

Perhaps your New Year’s Resolution is to learn a new language (or polish an old one) – the library has the perfect tool: MANGO LANGUAGES.  Mango is the place to go to learn foreign languages at your own pace and in a fun and engaging way.  Available languages include: Arabic (Levantine), Chinese (Mandarin), Croatian, Czech, Dari, Dutch, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean,Pashto, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Slovak, Spanish (Latin American),Tagalog, Tamil, Thai,Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, English, English for Arabic Speakers, English for Chinese (Cantonese) Speakers, English for Chinese (Mandarin) Speakers, English for French Speakers, English for German Speakers, English for Greek Speakers, English for Italian Speakers, English for Japanese Speakers, English for Korean Speakers, English for Polish Speakers, English for Portuguese (Brazilian) Speakers, English for Russian Speakers, English for Spanish (Latin American) Speakers, English for Turkish Speakers, and English for Vietnamese Speakers.

Also, the last day to vote for your favorite titles for the Children’s Garden State Book Award is Friday December 31st.  Come check out the options on display on the bulletin board near the big snowman (and color a little snowman of your own for our display!) 


By the way, if your new books are making your old bookshelves over-crowded, the Friends of the Library will be collecting books and media for their Winter Book sale January 6th-8th in the lobby. 


@ the Library: Programs:

Ramona-and-Beezus-MovieRamona and Beezus (Rated G) (Recommended for families with children 5 and up) Wednesday December 29 at 1:00 pm. Join Ramona Quimby and her older sister Beatrice (unfortunately nicknamed Beezus) as Ramona embarks on a quest to find a new job for her father. Of course like in any Beverly Cleary book, things do not work out as planned!  No registration required.



Celebrate New Year’s Eve, Eve! (For ages 3 and up) Thursday, December 30 from 11:00 am - 12:15 pm.  That’s right! We’re having a New Year’s Eve party on December 30, one day before the big night, complete with a countdown to NOON! Join us for crafts, stories, and New Year’s Eve Eve revelry!  Registration Required.




WHOOO’s Out there on a Winter’s Night? Owls from the Raptor Trust! (For grades K-5) Wednesday January 5 from 4:30 till 5:30pmWhoooo’s flying and hunting while you’re tucked in your bed? Join the Raptor Trust and learn about owls and their incredible nocturnal activity! Registration Required.








Despicable Me (Rated PG) (Suggested for children 6 and up) Saturday, January 8 at 10:30 am Gru, an aging super-villain, thinks that by adopting three young girls, his falling popularity at the hands of his nemesis, Vector, will be saved and what unfolds is an unexpected shift in attitude that will forever change the lives of Gru, Vector, and all three girls. No registration required.








Lego Club K-2 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm session limited to grades K-2  
Lego Club gr. 3-6  3:00-4:00pm session limited to grades 3-6
Saturday January 15, 2011.  Get together with other Lego-maniacs, share ideas and tips on building, and have a great time! Library Legos will be available for building. Registration begins January 3rd.


Toddler Time resumes Wednesday January 12th at 10 & 11 a.m. and Thursday January 13th at 10:30 a.m.  Baby Lap Sit resumes Thursday January 13th at 9:30.  Family Story Time resumes Tuesday January 18th at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (NOT at 1 p.m. – there is an error in our printed calendar.)  For full details on this and other programs, see the Bridgewater Library Online Calendar.



News for Teens:


The application for the second session of our School Year Volunteer Program is now available!  If you are in 7th to 12th grade, you can help out with children's programs, join our Teen Advisory Board, and much more! Visit the Youth Services desk for an application, or you can download one here: http://www.somerset.lib.nj.us/middleschoolers/PDFs/bwteenvolappwinter11.pdf.
Applications are due by 5 PM on Friday, January 21, 2011. The application for our Summer Volunteer Program will be available in April.
If you have any questions, please contact Lynn Mazur at: lmazur@sclsnj.org or (908) 526-4016 x197.

Teens, there is also a Teen Garden State Book Award election going on in the Teen Room – and one winning entry will get a $50 gift certificate!  The teen deadline is January 6th.
 

On display in January:

Past Caldecott, Newbery, and Siebert Award-Winning Books will be display on the bookcase near the big snowman bulletin board all month long.  Tune into your TV or radio station on Monday January 10th to hear this year’s winners!

And we make it easy to follow up your New Year’s Resolutions with books on nutrition and health available atop our magazine shelves.

Around the Community:

Video Games Live (With NJSO)
The first and highly successful video game concert in the world with music performed by SCH and NJSO. This immersive event combines synchronized lighting, video, live action and audience interactivity.
WHEN: Wednesday, Dec, 29, Thursday, Dec. 30, at 7:30 PM
WHERE:
NJPAC, Prudential Hall, 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ
For tickets, visit www.njpac.org or call 888.GO.NJPAC


EXPLORE EXPRESSIVE FACES @ PRINCETON ART MUSEUM

If you are looking for arty things to do with your family (kids), head on down to the Princeton Art Museum on the campus of Princeton University:
Art for Families 2010Faces and Feelings
WHEN: December 24, 2010, through January 2, 2011
WHERE:  Princeton Art Museum, Princeton
609.258.3788
HOURS: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Thursday, 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and Sunday, 1:00 to 5:00 PM. In celebration of the winter holidays, the Art Museum will be closed December 24, 25, 31, 2010; and January 1, 2011.

Looking for an indoor activity the whole family can do together? Faces and Feelings is a self-guided tour exploring expressive faces throughout the Museum and the artists who created them, from fierce Asian tomb guardians to smiling Remojadas ceramic figures. Like all of our family programming, this activity will provoke thoughtful discussion and help families of all ages interact with the art and each other.

 

Frost Festcontinues at the Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge

190 Lord Stirling Rd, Basking Ridge, NJ • 908 766-2489
The Environmental Education Center has lots of programs for kids.   Plan ahead for the new year – check out their January classes as well!  Note: a link to the EEC schedule of events is located in the “Useful Links for Families” at the top right side of our blog (along with many other calendars for local events from other local organizations.)


clip_image002The Children's Museum has lots of programs planned this winter & spring.  Each program has interactive activities suitable for children ages 3 to 9.  Get reminders on Facebook – search: Children’s Museum of Somerset County.  You can also find a copy of the schedule in the useful websites section of this blog. http://bwlibys.blogspot.com
DATE TOPIC
Sunday January 9, 2011 1-4PM Ahoy, Mate! A voyage to our Oceans
Saturday January 22, 2011 1-4PM Journey Back in Time: Rocks, Minerals, and Dinosaurs
Sunday February 6, 2011 1-4PM Science/ Experiment Day
Saturday February 26, 2011 1-4PM Westward Ho!: A Train Extravaganza
Sunday March 13, 2011 1-4PM Animals around the World
Saturday March 26, 2011 1-4PM Blast Off! A Journey into Space
Sunday April 10, 2011 1-4PM Kites, Airplanes and Boomerangs - Our annual Flight program
Saturday April 30, 2011 1-4 PM Earth Day Celebration
Wed August 10 – Friday August 12, 2011 Somerset County 4H Fair (find us in the Prep Tent from 10AM to 10PM every day!)
All programs (except 4H Fair) are at the PeopleCare center run from 1PM to 4PM on either Saturday or Sunday Afternoons. Families can arrive and leave at any time. Parents and/or caregivers are expected to stay with children during the museum visit.
Main Location: The PeopleCare Center, 120 Finderne Avenue, Bridgewater, NJ 08807 (parking and entrance are in the rear of the building).
Cost: There is no charge for those in need, but a $3/ per child donation for those who can afford it is suggested. For more information, please call 908-595-0001 or email us at: info@childrensmuseumnj.org .
Youth (and youth organizations) interested in helping with programs to obtain service hours should contact Tom Davidson at 908-725-4677 to reserve a program date.
PLAYRIGHT’S THEATER RUNS SPRING THEATER CLASSES FOR KIDS, TEENS AND ADULTS
Creative Play (Pre-K & K, ages 4 & 5)
Thurs. 3:30-4:45 PM • 10 classes • Feb. 24 - April 25
Registration deadline: February 18 • Tuition $225
Playmakers (Grades 1 - 3)
Sat. 10:30 AM-12:00 PM • 10 classes • Feb. 26 - May 7 • No Class 4/23
Registration deadline: February 18 • Tuition $275 ($250 for returning students)
Musical Performance (Grades 4 - 6)
Thurs. 4:30-6:00 PM • 10 classes • Feb. 24 - April 25
Registration deadline: February 18 • Tuition $275 ($250 for returning students)
Acting Lab (Grades 4 - 6)
Tues. 4:30-6:00 PM • 10 classes • Mar. 1 - May 3
Registration deadline: February 18 • Tuition $275 ($250 for returning students)
Musical Performance (Grades 7-9)
Tues. 4:30-6:00 PM • 10 classes • Mar. 1 - May 3
Registration deadline: February 18 • Tuition $275 ($250 for returning students)
Visit their website to register or call the Education Department at 973.514.1787 X21.
Playwrights Theatre  33 Green Village Road  Madison, NJ 07940

Looking for more things to do? – check out our previous postings and access our links to area activities and interesting websites on the Bridgewater Library Youth Services blog at bwlibys.BlogSpot.com.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last Minute Shopping? -- Here are Some Great Gift Book Guides

Books make great gifts, but picking the perfect titles can be daunting. The expert staff of the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books have created an extensive, easy-to-use guide to some great choices for children & teens.



The New York Times  Best Illustrated Books of 2010 Imagination SoupParentCentral and Barnes & Noble also have some great ideas.


National Public Radio recently ran a story about Internet-connected children's books like the uber-popular 39 Clues Series.  These titles are proving a great draw for both enthusiastic- and reluctant-readers -- and provide a good dose of history and biography alongside the mystery and adventure.  You can listen to the story and see what your kids are so excited about.


By the way, children aren't the only readers around the Bridgewater Library.  Late this Tuesday night, we found quite a few Teddy Bears  came to a sleepover at the library!  Check out their adventures here.



Examples of Keith Haring's art and a brief introduction about the artist begin an interesting, informative and inspiring hour at the Bridgewater Public Library. The event, held Monday, taught children in kindergarten through fifth grade about the character art created by Haring, after which the children were invited to design their own pieces.Speaking of programs at the library, in our last blog entry we had a misplaced link to the Bridgewater Patch article about our Picture This: Characters at Play Art Program.  The corrected link is here.
 


Sometimes the best gift isn't a "thing" but an outing with your child.  In that spirit, check out the area activities listed in the printed Winter-Spring Edition of Kidsguide.  Come by the library to pick up your free copy.


And, don't forget, you can see our previous postings and access our links to area activities and interesting websites at any time by visiting the Bridgewater Library Youth Services blog at bwlibys.BlogSpot.com.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Something Special for the Holidays

 

Note: Bridgewater Library will be closed Friday December 24 through Sunday December 26 and Saturday and Sunday January 1-2.


@ the Library: Displays & Materials:


‘Tis the season for the mall to be open extra hours and for the airwaves to be blanketed with advertisements for plastic toys.  If the spirit of giving seems to be getting lost in the spirit of getting at your house, you may want to include a few of these books on your holiday reading list.  Whether the setting is Christmas, Chanukah, Diwali or Kwanzaa, the messages are universal and may help your children be more thankful for the things they have, more compassionate toward others less fortunate and more attuned to the spirit of the holidays.  (The list and the books mentioned are on display at the library.) 

We continue our display “Thanks & Giving” atop the magazine section with many craft and cook books with ideas that kids can use to make presents for friends & family.

Also, be sure to check out our Garden State Book Award nominees on display behind the reference desk and vote for your favorite titles.  Voting ends January 1st!


Let Your Fingers Do (More) Walking:


Wondering whether the new Narnia movie will be appropriate for your 10 year old?  How about Tron?   Commonsense Media provides detailed movie reviews and recommendations. 

Dylan plays in the racks of the children's library.Speaking of media…a photo of one of our young patrons took top billing in Examples of Keith Haring's art and a brief introduction about the artist begin an interesting, informative and inspiring hour at the Bridgewater Public Library. The event, held Monday, taught children in kindergarten through fifth grade about the character art created by Haring, after which the children were invited to design their own pieces.the favorite photos article on Bridgewater Patch.

They also had a very nice write-up (and more photos) of our recent program Characters at Play about the artist Keith Haring. 


@ the Library: Programs:


Spectacular Winter Craftacular

Saturday, December 18 at 10:00 am (For ages 3 - 6)   Registration required   Brrrr….it’s getting cold outside!  Come on in and make a craft to celebrate the coming of winter!


Retro Game Night  For all ages – Families welcome!

Monday, December 20 from 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm   No registration required  It’s a blast from the past!  Come to our Retro Game Night  and play video games from the last 30 years!!



Celebration Sing! (For families with children of all ages) Tuesday, December 21 at 10:00 am   No registration required   Get ready for holiday celebrations with song!


 
Home for the Holidays Stories and craft! (For families with children of all ages) Monday, December 27 at 10:30 am  Hey kids!  Bring your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles… all those relatives who are “home for the holidays,” to your library and share a story and make a special 'treasure box'.  Please bring a  box (shoe or shirt size) to decorate. Registration Required.


Ramona and Beezus (Rated G) (Recommended for families with children Ramona-and-Beezus-Movie5 and up) Wednesday December 29 at 1:00 pm. Join Ramona Quimby and her older sister Beatrice (unfortunately nicknamed Beezus) as Ramona embarks on a quest to find a new job for her father. Of course like in any Beverly Cleary book, things do not work out as planned!  No registration required.






Celebrate New Year’s Eve, Eve! (For ages 3 and up) Thursday, December 30 from 11:00 am - 12:15 pm.  That’s right! We’re having a New Year’s Eve party on December 30, one day before the big night, complete with a countdown to NOON! Join us for crafts, stories, and New Year’s Eve Eve revelry!  Registration begins December 16.
 

Around the Community:

FOUR CHANCES TO SEE “THE NUTCRACKER” IN NEW BRUNSWICK
State Theatre presents American Repertory Ballet’s The Nutcracker
WHEN: Saturday, December 18, at 1 PM and 4:30 PM, Sunday, December 19,  at 1 PM and 4:30 PM
WHERE: State Theatre, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick
TICKETS: $57, $52, $42, $32
Ticket Office: 732.246.SHOW (7469)
State Theatre presents American Repertory Ballet’s The Nutcracker for four performances. This classic family holiday ballet stars the professional artists of American Repertory Ballet (ARB) and students from ARB’s Princeton Ballet School. This performance also includes a live orchestra.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL original musical adaptation by Philip Wm McKinley and Suzanne Buhrer is playing in Chatham  Dec  17 and 18 at 8pm and Dec 18 and 19 at 3pm (2010)
CCP's '05 CarolIn this version, produced exclusively at the Chatham Playhouse since 1988, Dickens serves not only as narrator, but also as a character that befriends Scrooge and walks beside him during his life-changing journey through memories and premonitions. The story of Ebenezer Scrooge has become one of the most beloved of all holiday tales.


A VISION OF CHRISTMAS @ McCARTER THEATRE
WHEN: December 5–24; Tuesday - Friday 7:30 PM; Saturday 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM;
Sunday 1:00 PM & 5:30 PM; Dec 24 12:00 PM & 4:00 PM
WHERE: McCarter Theatre Center, 91 University Place, Princeton
609.258.ARTS(2787)
Celebrate the season with McCarter's critically acclaimed production of Charles Dickens' classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol. Join Ebenezer Scrooge on his magical journey through Christmas past, present and future, and experience the show that embodies the peace and goodwill of the season. The perennial favorite The New York Times calls "A Must-See."

For those of you who like Holiday/Christmas Light Displays, this is not too far from here...

From the Hunterdon County Democrat:

More than 75,000 lights, 20 buildings at Christmas City display in Readington Twp.

Darren Pieper, creator of the Christmas City light display at his home here, said the display went under its largest construction project ever this year.
It will open Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. The Pieper family has created a town village out of the multiple buildings and sheds located on the property at 1064 Route 523 that visitors can drive or walk through.
The North Pole town village starts off with a large North Pole palace built out of the three-bay garage on the property, followed by a village of sheds turned into a town totaling over 20 houses and “store fronts” decorated in lights.
Other parts of the display consist of Candy land with a ginger bread house, lighted 45-foot Golden Gate bridge, and an ice rink with Frosty the snowman.
Visitors are welcome to drive around the display or park and walk around it. The display will be lit from 5 to 10 p.m. on weekends, 9 p.m. weekdays up until Christmas Eve, then until 11 p.m. through Jan. 2.  The Piepers will be hosting an open house on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 6 to 9 p.m., and visitors will be able to go inside their house to enjoy all of their decorated Christmas Trees.
 

Frost Festat the Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge

190 Lord Stirling Rd, Basking Ridge, NJ • 908 766-2489
Winter arrives in December and The Environmental Education Center will be celebrating all month! Lots of new programs have been added to the list of the many standard programs.     Note: a link to the EEC schedule of events is located in the “Useful Links for Families” at the top right side of the blog. Plan ahead for the new year – check out their January classes as well!

Frosty Footprints  (Ages 4-6) Thursday, December 16  4:00pm-5:30pm Animals leave behind clues that are fun to follow, especially in the snow and frosty dirt! Bundle up and we will head out to find evidence that animals are still busy, even in winter, then come in to get warm and do a footprint-y craft.
$9 per person  Course Code: 51033

Reindeer Games  (Ages 7-9) Thursday, December 16 4:00pm-5:30pm
Learn about the magnificent creature called a Reindeer. We will look at the life cycle and habitat of reindeer. We will play reindeer games to help you understand what it would be like to be a reindeer. We will also create a reindeer craft or two to take home.  $9 per person  Course Code: 51320

Penguin Party (Ages infant-3 with parent) Friday, December 17 10:30am-11:30am  Chilly Willy is one cool guy! Did you know that some penguins live close to the equator? Come learn all about the many different types of penguins, where they live, what they eat, and much more!
$10 per pair/$5 per additional child  Course Code: 51032

Fantastic Fibers - NEW! (Family and Friends ages 8 and older) Saturday, December 18 2:00pm-3:30pm Join a Naturalist and learn how animals keep warm and dry. Samples of a variety of ‘wooly ones’ fur - sheep, llama, and alpaca - will be available to feel, to look at under the microscope, and to test for weather resistance. Historical fiber usage will be discussed. The craft will involve an introduction to knitting and weaving. Participants will be contacted one week prior about materials (knitting needles and yarn) to bring to class.  $9 per person Course Code: 51610

Snowy Owls - NEW! (Ages 4-6) Sunday, December 19 2:30pm-4:00pm
Winter is a great time to learn about owls! Many of our resident owls are active this time of year, while many unusual owls may stop by for a visit. Snowy owls and Great-horned owls, Barred owls to Barn owls…this program will cover it all. The sky is our limit!  $9 per person Course Code: 51622

Winter Constellations - NEW!  (Family and Friends) Sunday, December 19 6:00pm-7:00pm  Star light, star bright especially on a winter’s night! Bundle up and head out to view the winter constellations and other cosmic bodies. Myths about the stars and their arrangement will be told as we look through binoculars to view the sky. Hot chocolate will be served to warm you at the end of the program. Class will be moved inside if cloudy.  $6 per person Course Code: 51625

Nature Hikes for Tykes Series I (Ages 2-3 with parent) Monday, December 20  “Forever Greens” 10:30am-11:30am  It is never too early to begin exploring nature. Bring your tyke for a hike and activities that focus on using the five senses. All classes will consist of a themed hike, craft, and hands-on activities.
$10 per pair/$5 per additional child  Course Code: 51413

Ice Cold Art - NEW!  (Ages 3-5 with parent) Tuesday, December 21 10:30am-11:30am  It’s water, it’s vapor, it’s ICE! Brrrr! Ice may be surrounding us this winter, so why not discover creative ways to play with ice! We may build an igloo or water paint with ice cubes. The possibilities are frostastic!  $12 per pair/$6 per additional child  Course Code: 51616

Winter Solstice Walk (Family and Friends) Tuesday, December 21 4:00pm-5:30pm Join a Naturalist for a walk in the swamp on the shortest day of the year. As twilight falls and the full moon rises, we will search the night for animal activity.  $8 per person  Course Code: 51377

Snow - NEW!  (Ages 4-6) Wednesday, December 22 4:00pm-5:30pm
No two are alike, like zebras and fingerprints, snowflakes are all unique. We will hope for a blanket of white, as we look at all things snowy. Join a Naturalist for a story and a craft about this flaky subject.
$9 per person  Course Code: 51635

Winter Survival - NEW! (Ages 7-9) Wednesday, December 22 4:00pm-5:30pm  Learn the basic skill of survival in the out-of-doors in the winter time. Find the warmest places outside in the swamp, learn to set up a tarp, and help make hot chocolate in the cold.  $9 per person Course Code: 51605

Holiday Colors - NEW!  (Ages 3-5 with parent) Monday, December 27 10:30am-11:30am  Green, red, blue, and white; these colors are all around us, especially this time of year! Go on a color hunt, observe natural objects that match these colors, and make a colorful craft!
$10 per pair/$5 per additional child  Course Code: 51617

Winter Marshmullers (Ages 4-6) Tuesday, December 28– Thursday, December 30 9:30am-11:30am  Winter holds mysteries that are ready to be explored. Dress your little ones warmly, as we will be taking expeditions to the forest, field or pond in order to discover how winter is alive. Each day will have craft projects, games, stories, and snacks to keep us busy. We hope this program will inspire a respect for the natural world.  $40 per person Course Code: 51314

Follow the Winter Whifflepoof - NEW! (Ages 7-9) Thursday, December 30 9:30am-11:30am  Learn how Native Americans tracked things in the middle of winter! You will play a trail game that teaches tracking and observation skills, learn a bit about the Native Americans in this area, and hear some neat stories. A small snack will be offered.  $10 per person  Course Code: 51600
 
BEAT CABIN FEVER WITH THE KIDS @ MORRIS MUSEUM
Morris Museum Holiday Week   Family Festival, Model Trains and Children’s Programs
WHEN: Monday, Dec. 27 through Friday, Dec. 31
WHERE: The Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road (at the corner of Columbia Turnpike) in Morristown
boy w model trainDSC02733Winter Wonderland Family Festival
Monday, December 27, 11 AM – 4 PM
COST: $10/adult, $7/child
Drop in anytime for holiday craft activities. See two special holiday exhibitions :
  • Model Trains: Children and families are sure to be delighted by the Tri-State Railway Historical Society’s 30 foot long model train display, which will be running in the Main Gallery from Dec. 13, 2010 – Jan. 3, 2011. A member of the Society will be on hand every day to answer your questions about trains and railroad history. For additional model train fun, museum visitors can enjoy the Morris Museum’s permanent model railroad exhibition.
  • Home for the Holidays, on view from Dec. 18, 2010 – Jan. 3, 2011: a holiday-themed exhibition of dollhouses, nutcrackers, and holiday cards from the Morris Museum collection and private lenders.
Michael Dubois2Michael DuBois, Acclaimed Circus Performer Tuesday, December 28, Performances at 12:30 & 2:30 PM TICKETS: $10 Box Office 973.971.3706 or www.bickfordtheatre.org Michael DuBois will perform amazing circus stunts, involving the audience in everything from juggling seven balls to mind-reading and unicycling. Art in Motion with In Motion Dance Company of Chester, NJ. Wednesday, December 29, 12 & 2 PM $5/child plus museum admission ($10 adult/$7/child) Enjoy a performance by In Motion, and then come on stage to move, shake and dance with company dancers. Space is limited. Pre registration is not required. For more information, please call 973.971.3718. Holiday Craft Activities Pre-registration is not required. For more information, call 973.971.3718 Make a Dapper Penguin Finger Puppet Thursday, December 30, 12 – 2 PM $5/child plus museum admission ($10 adult/$7/child) Create a Sparkling New Year’s Eve Ball Decoration Friday, December 31, 12 – 2 PM $5/child plus museum admission ($10 adult/$7/child) Admission to the museum is $10 for adults and $7 for children, students and senior citizens. Admission is free for museum members and is free to the public every Thursday between 5 and 8 p.m. The museum will be closed December 24, 25 & 26, 2010 and January 1, 2011. For more information, call 973.971.3700, or visit www.morrismuseum.org.
HOLIDAY DOINGS @ THE NEWARK MUSEUM

For Kids and Families Drop-in Art Activities Saturdays and Sundays, 1–4 PM December: Caught Red-Handed Visit the new gallery installation Red Luster: Lacquer and Leatherworks of Asia, then create your own decorative box using techniques of leatherwork. Kwanzaa Candle lighting Ceremony Wednesday, December 29, 2–4 PM Join us for a Kwanzaa candle lighting ceremony, workshop and tours of the Museum's African Collection as we celebrate the joys of family, community and culture.
Planetarium HOLIDAY FUN DAYS December 26–31
Looking Ahead Circus Science Saturday & Sunday, February 12 & 13
CALLING ALL BUDDING PLAYWRIGHTS: A COMPETITION FOR YOU!
The Theater Project’s 9th Annual Young Playwrights Competition
Now Seeking Submissions from NJ High School Student Playwrights

theater project logoOpen to all secondary school students, ages 13 to 18, in New Jersey, the competition seeks original works only, no adaptations.  All submissions must be at least 10 but no more than 30 pages typed in play format, and all entrants must be New Jersey residents in secondary schools (ages 13 to 18). Entries must be postmarked by January 31, 2011.
The winning scripts will be performed in March 2011 by The Theater Project during the state-wide Family Week at the Theater celebration of theater and New Jersey’s youth. Monetary prizes and certificates will be awarded at that time to all winning authors. First place will receive a $600 savings bond, second place will receive a $400 savings bond and third place will receive a $200 savings bond.
drama masksThe goal of the Young Playwrights' Competition is to encourage the next generation of theater practitioners and audience by honoring their work and bringing it to life. The competition was inspired by a generous donation from Linden resident Bill Mesce, Jr., an award-winning playwright and screenwriter, whose recent novel The Advocate was published by Bantam Books.
How to Enter: By January 31, 2011, please submit a 10-30 page script to The Theater Project, Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue, Cranford, NJ, 07016 or e-mail to TheaterProject@aol.com. All entries must include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope), a biography of the author including contact information, and the $5 entrance fee (check or money order, payable to THE THEATER PROJECT) which can be sent via snail mail for e-mailed scripts. Only one entry per author. Please remember that you must be a resident of New Jersey and a secondary school student in the 2010- 2011 academic year to be eligible.
All questions can be directed to The Theater Project at 908.659.5189 or by e-mail at THEATERPROJECT@aol.com.
 


Friday, December 10, 2010

4H Festival of Trees this Weekend

Around the Community

One more event of interest this weekend:
Somerset County 4-H Association presents the annual Festival of Trees     
Saturday and Sunday, 
December 11th, 9am-4pm  
December 12th, 9am-3pm
Ted Blum 4-H Center
310 Milltown Road
Bridgewater, New Jersey 08807
Local Musicians,
Children’s Crafts
Santa Claus will be there
Free Admission   
www.4HisTops.org

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The weather outside is cold, but there is lots to do inside this month!

@ the Library: Programs

In addition to the programs below, Story Times (ages 2-6) are Tuesday at 10 & 1:30, Toddler Times (ages 18mo-3) Wednesday at 10 & 11 and Thursday at 10:30,  and  Baby LapSit is Thursday at 9:30.  See our calendar for more details.

Play With Shapes!

Monday, December 13  Registration Required   SHAPE UP!  (For ages 2 - 6 at 10:00 am)   SHAPE UP!  (For ages 4 - 9 at 4:30PM)  Join us as we share the new book 'Shapes that Roll' then use pre-cut shapes to form original artistic creations!  

Special Evening Story time:  Teddy Bear Sleepover  (All Ages) Tuesday, December 14, at 7:00 pm  Registration Required You've heard of the Teddy Bears' Picnic but this is their sleepover!

Bring your favorite Teddy or another favorite furry friend to a pajama story time. Then, when it's time for you to go, the Teddies spend the night in the library  for their very own sleepover… no humans allowed!  Pick up your friends the next day after 10:00 am and find out what fun they had in the library overnight!

Chapter Book Club

Wednesday, December 15 at 4:30 pm  (Limited to grades 3 - 4)  Registration required  Year of the Dog by Grace Lin Pacy, a Taiwanese-American girl, struggles to integrate her two cultures.  As she celebrates the Chinese Year of the Dog with her family, she finds out more about herself and why the Year of the Dog may be  very lucky for her!

Spectacular Winter Craftacular

Saturday, December 18 at 10:00 am (For ages 3 - 6)   Registration required   Brrrr….it’s getting cold outside!  Come on in and make a craft to celebrate the coming of winter!

Retro Game Night  For all ages – Families welcome!

Monday, December 20 from 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm   No registration required  It’s a blast from the past!  Come to our Retro Game Night  and play video games from the last 30 years!!

 

Celebration Sing! (For families with children of all ages) Tuesday, December 21 at 10:00 am   No registration required   Get ready for holiday celebrations with song!

 

 

@ The Library: Displays & Materials

Check out our holiday displays – we have books about the holidays as well as a books describing how to make gifts for your family and friends.  And don’t forget to check out the nominees for the Garden State Book Awards on the back wall…and vote for your favorites before January 1st!

Around the Community

Gingerbread Wonderland --  Marvel at the creativity, skills and sense of optimism that characterizes this charming and ecumenical exhibit of over 200 edible structures. Past years' "gingerbreads" have included models of Notre Dame cathedral, Hanukah menorahs, Japanese temples, Chinese pagodas, European castles and neighborhood sweet shops. Saturday, December 4 - Sunday, December 12  from  9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Friday at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morris Twp. Suggested $2 per person donation  Contact: 973-326-7601

RVCC Planetarium

STAR SHOWS & LASER CONCERTS:  All shows run approximately 40 minutes.  Admission:$6 for one show, $11 for two shows on the same day  Call 908-231-8805 for reservations

 

The Alien Who Stole Christmas Saturdays & Sundays, December 4 & 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19  2:00 p.m.(recommended for ages 6-10) Discover the stars visible in the winter sky.  Then follow Santa on a trip through the solar system when a friendly alien kidnaps him.  

Winter Wonder Lights  Saturday and Sunday, December 4 & 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19  3 p.m. (recommended for ages 6-adult)  Listen to songs such as “Wizards in Winter,” “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree,” &“Jingle Bell Rock.”

The Christmas Toyshop

December 11 - December 19, 2010at the Villagers Theater, Somerset General Admission - All tickets $10  Saturdays at 12NOON and 3:00PM, Sundays at 12NOON and 3:00PM.

 

Branchburg Recreation Department's Creative Theater Program Presents`Twas the Night Before Christmas  By Kathryn Schultz Miller Based on the poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas by Clement C. Moore. Join our hero, Mouse as he saves Christmas with Rudolph, Santa and all his elves. Special appearances by Santa & Mrs. Claus.  Friday, Dec. 10 at 7:30PM  Saturday, Dec. 11 at 6:00PM   Whiton Elementary School.   Admission is by donation of a new unwrapped toy to benefit  Toys-for-Tots.For more info call the Branchburg Recreation Department at  908-526-1300 X-187

There is also The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus at the Growing Stage Theater in Netcong,  A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theater in Princeton, and A Holiday Jubilee Cross Cultural Musical Celebration at the Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick.    There are many more holiday happenings than can be listed here. Check out Macaroni Kid Hillsborough, Macaroni Kid Warren, NJArtsMaven and the RVCC Arts Calendar for more possibilities.

 

Let Your Fingers Do (More) Walking

Gift-giving but not sure whether a particular book, movie, TV show, videogame or music is appropriate for your child?  Thinking about bringing your child to the movies but not sure how age-appropriate it is?  CommonsenseMedia.org provides information to help you decide about the suitability of thousands of titles and tips on how not to give an inappropriate gift.  They also provide tips about everything from avoiding violent TV to online safety and have just released a list of recommended gifts for this holiday season.

And just a reminder for those new to this blog, check out the “Wonder of the Day” at the new Wonderopolis website!  This site engages and inspires families in the pursuit of education and learning together -- talk about what makes popcorn pop while preparing a snack for a movie, or go stargazing and explain shooting stars.  You can subscribe to the Daily Wonder or find the link on the “useful links” to the right of this blog entry.  Wonderopolis.org  is presented by the National Center for Family Literacy, a not-for-profit supporting literacy and reading for children and families.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Deadline Extended to this Sunday - December 12th for Books for Kids!

To make the holidays a bit brighter for kids in NJ, please remember to bring in new-looking children’s and teen books to our Books for Kids Donation box in the lobby outside the Youth Services Room by December 10th.  Thanks for your generosity!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to Everyone!

To make the holidays a bit brighter for kids in NJ, please remember to bring in new-looking children’s and teen books to our Books for Kids Donation box in the lobby outside the Youth Services Room by December 10th.   Thanks for your generosity!

Here is another possibility for giving and sharing -- the annual toy drive run by the Somerset County Jail Chaplaincy. Participation is simple. It involves bringing unwrapped children's toys to the First Baptist Church on East High Street in Somerville between November 29 and December 10. Please call first! 908-725-1016
The families of those who are in jail then come to that church office and choose presents that  inmates can give to their children. This is a gesture of immense importance to the "captives." If you would like to do more, you can also drop off small toiletries such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste as well for the inmates themselves. Every year the chaplaincy program endures cutbacks that limit its ability to tend to prisoners and every year, the need is great.

@ the Library: Displays & Materials

HAPPY HANUKKAH! -- there are still a few days left and the library has lots of books celebrating the Festival of Lights on display -- come check them out! 
 
For an unusual and very special look at the holiday, check out Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky.  Based on a true story, it tells of a Hanukkah night when George Washington met a Polish Immigrant soldier in the Continental Army. Hearing the narrative of  the outnumbered Maccabees miraculous victory against the much larger Greek army gives General Washington hope for his own cold & starving army’s success in standing up to the British.  It is a perfect preliminary to a visit to the reconstructed revolutionary soldiers cabins at Jockey Hollow (a site maintained by the park service site just about 20 minutes from Bridgewater at exit 30 off 287.)  Visiting there now might give your kids a little of the sense of the cold the soldiers felt, but a visit in warmer weather is a lot more comfortable!

For those of you eager to get a head start on CHRISTMAS and KWANZAA, those books are up on display now too.  
 
And we continue our display “THANKS & GIVING: MAKE SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR SOMEONE YOU LOVE” above the children’s magazine shelves.  It has lots of ideas for homemade gifts your family can make and give!)

@ the Library: Programs

In addition to the programs below, Story Times (ages 2-6) are Tuesday at 10 & 1:30, Toddler Times (ages 18mo-3) Wednesday at 10 & 11 and Thursday at 10:30,  and
Baby LapSit is Thursday at 9:30.  See our calendar for more details.

Play With Shapes!
 
Monday, December 13  Registration Required
SHAPE UP!  (For ages 2 - 6 at 10:00 am)
SHAPE UP!  (For ages 4 - 9 at 4:30PM)
Join us as we share the new book 'Shapes that Roll' then use pre-cut shapes to form original artistic creations!  
(All Ages)  Tuesday, December 14, at 7:00 pm  Registration Required
You've heard of the Teddy Bears' Picnic but this is their sleepover!
Bring your favorite Teddy or another favorite furry friend to a pajama storytime. Then, when it's time for you to go, the Teddys spend the night in the library  for their very own sleepover… no humans allowed!  Pick up your friends the next day after 10:00 am and find out what fun they had in the library overnight!

Wednesday, December 15 at 4:30 pm  (Limited to grades 3 - 4)  Registration required
Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
Pacy, a Taiwanese-American girl, struggles to integrate her two cultures.  As she celebrates the Chinese Year of the Dog with her family, she finds out more about herself and why the Year of the Dog may be  very lucky for her!

Saturday, December 18 at 10:00 am (For ages 3 - 6)   Registration required
Brrrr….its getting cold outside!  Come on in and make a craft to celebrate the coming of winter!

Retro Game Night  For all ages – Families welcome!
Monday, December 20 from 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm   No registration required
It’s a blast from the past!  Come to our Retro Game Night  and play video games from the last 30 years!!


Celebration Sing! (For families with children of all ages)
Tuesday, December 21 at 10:00 am   No registration required
Get ready for holiday celebrations with song!



Around the Community

Gingerbread Wonderland --  Guests, young and old, marvel at the creativity, skills and sense of optimism that characterizes this charming and ecumenical exhibit of over 200 edible structures. Past years' "gingerbreads" have included models of Notre Dame cathedral, Hanukah menorahs, Japanese temples, Chinese pagodas, European castles and neighborhood sweet shops. Date: Saturday, December 4 - Sunday, December 12   Time: Daily 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Friday   Location: The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morris Twp. Cost: Suggested $2 per person donation   Contact: 973-326-7601

STAR SHOWS & LASER CONCERTS:
All shows run approximately 40 minutes.
Admission:$6 for one show, $11 for two shows on the same day
Call 908-231-8805 for reservations
The Alien Who Stole Christmas
Saturdays & Sundays, December 4 & 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19  2:00 p.m. (recommended for ages 6-10)
Discover the stars visible in the winter sky.  Then follow Santa on a trip through the solar system when a friendly alien kidnaps him.  The kids on the other planets need presents too, you know!
Winter Wonder Lights
Saturday and Sunday, December 4 & 5, 11 & 12, 18 & 19  3 p.m. (recommended for ages 6-adult)  
Listen to songs such as “Wizards in Winter,” “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree,” &“Jingle Bell Rock.”

The Christmas Toyshop December 11 - December 19, 2010
at the Villagers Theater, Somerset
General Admission - All tickets $10
Saturdays at 12NOON and 3:00PM, Sundays at 12NOON and 3:00PM.

Branchburg Recreation Department's Creative Theater Program Presents
`Twas the Night Before Christmas  By Kathryn Schultz Miller
Based on the poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas by Clement C. Moore
Join our hero, Mouse as he saves Christmas with Rudolph, Santa and all his elves. Special appearances by Santa & Mrs. Claus.  Friday, Dec. 10 at 7:30PM  Saturday, Dec. 11 at 6:00PM
Whiton Elementary School
Admission is by donation of a new unwrapped toy to benefit  Toys-for-Tots
For more info call the Branchburg Recreation Department at  908-526-1300 X-187

There is also The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus at the Growing Stage Theater in Netcong,  
A Christmas Carol at McCarter Theater in Princeton, and A Holiday Jubilee Cross Cultural Musical Celebration at the Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick.  
There are many more holiday happenings than can be listed here. Check out Macaroni Kid Hillsborough, Macaroni Kid Warren, NJArtsMaven and the RVCC Arts Calendar for more possibilities.
And, for families with Middle & High Schoolers, check these out:


Premiere's Holiday Workshop at Kean University
December 9 - 11
Join Premiere Stages for a special holiday treat: three readings of new holiday-themed plays perfect for the whole family. Admission is free — just bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. Hot cider and cookies will be served. All performances start at 7pm.
Wooing Milo by Hal Corley (ages 14 and over) - December 9
Charming young Milo captivates three generations of singular women during the infamous Christmas blizzard of '59 that blanketed New Jersey.
The Last Noel by Maureen Clarke (all ages) - December 10
In this moving comedy, set in 1934, local carolers gather together to spread cheer on a cold December night. Confronted by the winds of progress, these hometown friends come to realize that it may be the last holiday celebration for their sleepy little Massachusetts town.
PRONT by Peter Filichia (ages 12 and over) - December 11
In this new comic take on A Christmas Carol, one ghost does the work of three in rehabilitating Willard Pront, a New York City slum lord who makes Scrooge look like Mother Teresa.
Discussions with the playwrights will follow each reading.
For more information, or to reserve tickets: (908) 737-4092

LOGOMANIACS By Paul Fleischman
Like a barker at the circus, this new play by the Newbery Award-winning author dares us to step past the curtain and examine the oddities of life in the form of those whose passion for words carries them to extremes. In quick-change manner, a troupe of four actors narrates, acts, dances, duels, and delights the audience. The tone is light, the style physical as well as verbal, the material progressing from the merely odd to the jaw-dropping.
Describing the work as “a tour of wonders built with words,” Fleischman says, “Logomaniacs is an intellectual freak show exhibiting 26 real-life word-obsessives—one per alphabet letter—in a series of swift scenes.”  From Georges Perec and his novel without the letter “e,” to the Russian futurists and their invented language, “Zaum,” Logomaniacs is a hymn to our instincts to play and create.
WHEN: Thursday, December 9, through Sunday, December 19; 7:30 PM on Thursdays and Fridays and 3:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.
WHERE: New Jersey City University’s West Side Theater, 285 West Side Avenue near Culver Avenue), just minutes from Routes 440 and 1-9, and the N.J. Turnpike extension I-78.  
TICKETS: $30 general admission, $15 for students and seniors, and children under 15 pay their age. All tickets for the December 12 opening are $30 and include Meet the Playwright and the reception following the show.  For information, http://www.njartsmaven.com/2010/09/actors-shakespeare-company-inaugurates.html 

Let Your Fingers Do (More) Walking

Gift-giving but not sure whether a particular book, movie, TV show, videogame or music is appropriate for your child?  Thinking about bringing your child to the movies but not sure how age-appropriate it is.  CommonsenseMedia.org provides information to help you decide about the suitability of thousands of titles and tips on how not to give an inappropriate gift.  They also provide tips about everything from avoiding violent TV to online safety and have just released a list of recommended gifts for this holiday season.

Travelling with kids this holiday season or just looking for some unusual ideas for family travel?  Check out this article from Macaroni Kid.

And just a reminder for those new to this blog, check out the “Wonder of the Day” at the new Wonderopolis website!  This site engages and inspires families in the pursuit of education and learning together -- talk about what makes popcorn pop while preparing a snack for a movie, or go stargazing and explain shooting stars.  You can subscribe to the Daily Wonder or find the link on the “useful links” to the right of this blog entry.  Wonderopolis.org  is presented by the National Center for Family Literacy, a not-for-profit supporting literacy and reading for children and families.