Welcome to our Online Newsletter and Virtual Bulletin Board!

Question or Suggestion? Contact cslevin59 (at) gmail.org.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Groom a pony, pet a snake, go on an egg hunt, see a robotics demo, watch a magic show, see K-9 dogs in action, get your face painted & more–it’s all at the 4H Fair!

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Free Family Fun! (Please Leave Your Pets at Home!)

Wednesday August 10th- Friday 12th from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

North Branch Park, 355 Milltown Road, Bridgewater, located between Routes 22 and 202.

Join us at the Somerset County Tent at the Somerset County 4H Fair. In addition to the library table, there are lots of tents featuring various 4H clubs – everything from animals to astronomy, bee-keeping to baton-twirling, magic to model-airplanes! There are musical performances and lots of good eats. Plus the fire, maintenance, and parks departments are on hand with their big trucks to climb on and around and the Children’s Museum will have a tent with dinosaurs, their step-in bubble machine, and more! It is a great place to help your kids discover new interests. Click here for a complete schedule of events including dog, horse and livestock shows, twirling, go karts, rockets, magic, line dancing, model airplanes, R.C. cars, model trains and other 4-H clubs.  Musicians will be on stage as well.

Since 1948, thousands of visitors have enjoyed the Somerset County 4-H Fair. The Fair has grown and changed, but there are still no admission or parking fees, no midway or carnival rides. This Fair recognizes the accomplishments of 1,000 Somerset County 4-H members and is a showcase for visitors to see a wide variety of 4-H projects in action.

The Arts Tent, Science Tent and Prep Tent (for the youngest 4-H'ers) are packed with exhibits, activities for visitors, demonstrations and performances. Ten other 4-H tents house a variety of animals including dairy cows, beef, alpaca, horses, dogs, herpetology, sheep, goats, poultry, rabbits and small animals. Most animal tents have a petting area.
"Avoid the fuss, enjoy the bus!" To make getting in and out of the fairgrounds as easy as possible, free shuttle buses run from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. each day of the Fair from Raritan Valley Community College Rt. 28, North Branch.

Sheriff’s Patch Contest:
Somerset County students in grades 6 through 12 are invited to submit a design for a Somerset County Sheriff’s Office patch to mark the office’s 300th anniversary.
“Our office is proud to be celebrating three centuries of service to the people of Somerset County,” said Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano, who became sheriff in January 2002. “We’re reaching out to middle- and high-school students to help commemorate this milestone by designing a new patch that we can use on our printed materials.”
Contest guidelines and an entry form, which includes a template for the patch and an illustration of the current emblem, are online at www.somcosheriff.org   They also will be available at the Sheriff’s Office tent at the Somerset County 4-H Fair in Bridgewater, Aug. 10 through 12. 
The deadline for entries is Dec. 1, 2011.
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in late December and will serve as “Sheriff For A Day.”  He or she will spend the day with Sheriff Provenzano and learn firsthand the duties and responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Officers and the county jail.  For more information, contact Barbara Bye in the Sheriff’s Office at 908-231-7135 or at bye@co.somerset.nj.us

@ The Library: Programs
There is still time to join in our summer reading clubs…Any reading (or listening to books) done since school ended June 20th counts! And kids and teens (and adults – we have a club for you too!) can win great prizes. Kids count minutes (so the child reading Harry Potter and the one listening to Hop on Pop are on equal footing.) Teens & adults count books read. Stop by the Youth Services Reference Desk for more information. No time to come to the library? Check out the online summer reading clubs in the Useful Websites section (if you are getting this as an email, click on the Headline to open this up as a web page – useful links are in the right-hand column.)

Bridgewater Library’s weekly programming has finished (we will resume in September) but we have many special programs this month:

Swinging Summer Sing Along (For all ages) No Registration Required Tuesday August 16, 2011 Two sessions: 10:00 AM OR 11:00 AM. Clap your hands and stomp your feet and come for a tuneful summer jamboree before that school bell rings!

Summer Reading Club CARNIVAL!!! Fun and games for children of all ages! No Registration Required! Thursday August 18, 2011 -- drop in anytime between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. Participants in our Summer Reading Clubs are invited to celebrate “One World Many Stories” at this afternoon filled with games, prizes and activities. Bring your family and friends for a fun-filled summer afternoon!

For full details and to register for any of these programs, click on the program in the August Bridgewater Library Online Calendar.



School Year Volunteer applications for the First Session are now available!  You can pick up a copy at the Youth Services desk or get one online on the Middle School/High School Volunteer page.
The First Session will begin on Monday, September 19th and applications are available now and are due by 5 PM on Friday, September 9th.  First Session: 9/19/11 to 1/27/12.
Second Session: 2/6/12 to 6/15/12. Applications will be available in December and are due by Friday, January 20, 5 PM.
Summer Volunteers 2012:  A separate application will be available on Friday, March 30 and will be due by 9 PM on Monday, April 30.

Talk-It Up Book Discussion Group Tuesday, August 23 from 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm. For students entering grades 5 – 8 Registration Required. If you love to read and talk about books, you are cordially invited to an hour of book talk and friendly company. Parents and parent substitutes are welcome to join in the discussion. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stock piled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove. Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

@ the Library: Displays & Resources:

Help Winnie-the-Pooh celebrate his 90th Birthday, check out our new display of books and media about Pooh and all his teddy bear friends atop the magazines!

Around the Community:

Branta PondThe Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge has lots of programs this month…including night hikes and science projects and crafts and kayaking…. check out their schedule for a complete listing.

Thursday, August 11 - Outdoor Movie Night: Madagascar Escape 2 Africa
Bring your blankets, chairs and picnic dinner to see this week's movie, Madagascar Escape 2 Africa, rated PG. Hot dog and ice cream truck will also be there, so don't worry if you don't have time to make dinner! Warren Library Field, 42 Mountain Boulevard. Warren. 8:00 PM All ages, movie rated PG. No registration, just show up! Free.For more info: Go to www.warrennj.org/wtrec.

Kids Knit at Bound Brook Library Mondays August 1-22, 2011 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM (Ages 8+) Please register for this program. Do you know how to knit or would like to learn? Whether you are an experienced knitter or just a beginner then this program is for you! Each week, Miss Karen will introduce you to a different technique and a simple project will be done. Please note - When you register your child, he or she will be registered for all sessions.

Evening Stories at the Somerville Public Library Tuesday August 16. 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM Stories, rhymes and a craft. Ages 3-5 years. Registration Required.

MUSIC IS MAGIC! Music for Special Needs Kids at Watchung Library Registration Required for each session. Thursday August 18, 2011 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM ages: Birth through age 5 with Caregiver This program is designed to provide an accepting and stimulating musical environment for special needs children and their families. Using guitar, song, movement, shaky eggs, scarves and drums, Ann Wild creates a musical environment that is meant to be a safe haven where children and their parents/teachers can sit back and enjoy music-making. Music is a powerful tool that can be used to:-comfort a child, help teach new skills, smooth over stressful situations, aid in speech development, help a child transition between activities, help a child self-soothe AND IT'S JUST PLAIN FUN!
Artful Adventures 2011
The Planetarium at RVCC has many family shows this summer including: Fee: $6 per person Please call us at 908-231-8805.

The Little Star That Could
The Little Star that Could Tuesdays, July 5 - August 23, 2:00 p.m. Join Little Star, an average yellow star, as he meets other colorful stars in our galaxy during his quest for a name and a planet to call his own. Imagine his surprise when he discovers planets already orbiting him. (recommended for ages 6-12 accompanied by an adult)

Attack of the Space Pirates PosterAttack of the Space Pirates Tuesdays, July 5 - August 23, 3:00 p.m. Hidden somewhere in the vast reaches of space is an alien technology so powerful that it threatens the very galaxy itself. A gang of rogue pirates will stop at nothing to find that technology and unleash its awesome power against the rest of the universe. Now, only one valiant ship stands between the pirates and their total domination of space. It's a race against time for the Starship Intrepid as it seeks to find the alien technology first while defending itself against the attack of the space pirates! (recommended for ages 8-12 accompanied by an adult)
Rockin' Rocket Ride Wednesdays, July 6 - August 24, 2:00 p.m. Put on your space suit and blast off into outer space! Catchy songs teach us about the planets and moon rocks. We'll also discover what stars are in tonight's sky.
(Recommended for ages 3-8 accompanied by an adult)
Sky Lights Wednesdays, July 6 - August 24, 3:00 p.m. A laser and video concert featuring songs by Mr. RAY (Kalien the Alien, ROY G BIV) and Jane Murphy (Moon Rock Rock, Is Anybody Else Out There?) as well as favorites like "ABC" by the Jackson 5 and Disney's "When You Wish Upon a Star." (Recommended for ages 4-8 accompanied by an adult)
SETI Poster SETI - The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Thursdays, July 7 - August 25, 2:00 p.m. The prospect that we may not be alone in the universe is taken as a fact by the movies, writers, and a great many scientists. As yet, we have no hard evidence of another living thing outside Planet Earth. S.E.T.I. - the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence - is a show that explores all sides of this topic, from the planets we are finding around other stars, to the feasibility of travelling to the stars, and what liens might actually be like, to the possibility that UFO's have been visiting, and the various methods that scientists are using to get in touch. Will we make contact in our lifetimes? This stunning immersive show guides you through the myriad of ideas to a surprising conclusion. (recommended for ages 10 and older accompanied by an adult)
Laser Light Thursdays, July 7 - August 25, 3:00 p.m. Music plays while lasers draw pictures on the dome overhead. Features songs like "Fireflies," "OMG," and "Tik Tok."

Thanks as always to www.njartsmaven.com and warren.macaronikid.com for some of these listings. Looking for more ideas? Check out the “events” listings in the “useful links for families” on the right side of our blog including njkidsonline, and njfamilyevents.

Let Your Fingers Do (More) Walking:

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Here’s an inspiring article from Macaroni Kid.
Start Your Own "Reading Streak"

By: Danielle Moore
Once in a while, I pick up a book at the library that really makes me realize I need to improve an aspect of my parenting.  This was definitely the case after I read Alice Ozma’s, “The Reading Promise.”  My husband and I used to diligently read to our children nightly, but the habit fell by the wayside as they got older.  Reading together had been replaced by late evening bike rides, games of chess, family movie time, or even just letting the kids read quietly to themselves. 

Alice Ozma reminds us of the importance of reading with our children.  At the age of 9, the author’s school librarian father made a promise to read to his daughter every day for 100 days.  After achieving that goal and celebrating, the duo continues to read together for 3,218 days until Alice leaves for college.  Her book is a fascinating story of reading together interwoven with stories of her life.

After reading the book, my family decided to take the author’s challenge to start our own “Reading Streak.”  We found a wall calendar to designate for keeping track of days and started immediately.  With the promise of a treat if we read together 100 consecutive days, the kids are quick to remind us that we must read every day.  A missed day means we have to start over again.  The benefits of reading to the kids daily were immediately apparent.  Even in this fast paced world, children need us to give them our complete attention and to answer their questions without glancing at the email.  It is amazing the discussions that result from reading to our kids.  The biggest benefit was improved behavior in our 7 year old.  We didn’t realize how much he needed positive attention.

If you are a bit overwhelmed at the thought of finding enough reading material, here are a few places to start:
1.  Your local children's' librarian.  There is no need to rush out and buy books.  The librarians are very happy to get your started and send you home with a stack of age appropriate books from the local public library.
2.  Consult books such as Jim Trelease’s “The Read-Aloud Handbook.”  Many libraries have online systems which allow the users to reserve books.  If you choose this option, your local library can have your stack of books waiting for you on a designated shelf.
3.  Refer to “The Core Knowledge Series” books which publish a title for each grade.  The books suggest areas your child should be covering in his or her education.  You can always sneak in some books to reinforce school subjects and your kids won’t suspect a thing if you find the right books.
4.  Consult online lists for reading suggestions.  Caldecott winners are almost always good choices or here is a list compiled by Read Aloud America.  The Classical Christian Education Support Loop has a wonderful list of 1000 books that includes many of the classics.
Are you ready to start a “Reading Streak” with your family?  We are over half way through our first streak and I hope this is a tradition that will continue for many years.   

As the summer nights grow shorter, you might consider a nighttime hike. Check out this article from  Wonderopolis.org (a site that has lots of fascinating questions and their answers!)

Why Would You Hike At Night?
frog at night_shutterstock_38819872
Have you ever wondered…
  • Why would you hike at night?
  • What does nocturnal mean?
  • Why do some animals only come out at night?
Click here to find out.
Other recent questions:

Why Is the Sky Blue?

How Do Hurricanes Get Their Names?

How Does an Eraser Work?

This is a great site for encouraging children’s curiosity and developing reading, science, social studies and vocabulary skills in a fun engaging way.  (And, for those kids in our summer reading skills, this reading counts toward your minutes!!)

Don’t want to miss any of the Daily Wonders?  You can subscribe via email or RSS.

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