Two New Permanent StoryWalks®!

The library’s Youth Services team is delighted to announce the installation of two all-new, permanent StoryWalks® in Eau Claire. The walks were created in partnership with the City of Eau Claire’s Parks & Forestry Division and made possible through a COVID Recovery Grant from United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley.

StoryWalks® combine literacy with physical activity, placing large, colorful book pages at regular intervals along a walking route, encouraging users to walk (or run or skip or hop) as they read the book and/or enjoy the pictures.

Andy Neborak, Executive Director of the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley, says, “We’re honored to support this project. The StoryWalk® project advances the development and learning of children and also supports the mental and physical well-being of these children and their families. These were all primary goals of our recovery grant process. After a long year, people are eager to get outside and enjoy a wonderful Wisconsin summer.”

Open now, locals will find the walks in Owen Park and Carson Park. The Carson Park walk is located around the main playground. The Owen Park walk can be found along the Chippewa Valley State Trail, starting near the playground. Each park features a different story, which will be switched out on a regular basis.

Extra, extra! The library’s popular BookBike and Dabble Box team will be visiting the StoryWalks® this summer so you can check out books, sign up for a library card, register for the Summer Library Program, grab a take and make bag, ask reference questions, and more. Beginning June 1, the BookBike and the Dabble Box will be in Owen Park on Mondays, 9 a.m.–noon; and in Carson Park on Wednesdays, 9 a.m.–noon, weather permitting. Learn more about the BookBike here.

Try it out with your littles! Take a pic of your family enjoying the StoryWalks® and tag @ecpubliclibrary on social media or email it to Youth Services (listed below). We may feature your photo on our website and social media pages.

Contact Youth Services at 715-839-5007 or to learn more. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. Storywalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.

Meet the Parenting Collection

Parents and caregivers, let me introduce you to Youth Services’ parenting collection!

Launched at the end of 2019, this collection contains materials for both children and adults on a range of family topics. You’ll find picture books for children about welcoming a new baby, potty training, adoption, divorce, and managing emotions. You’ll also find informational books for parents and caregivers of children ages 0-8 that focus on four main categories:

Click on the links above to see book suggestions in each of those categories.

Browse the whole parenting collection online or in person. Find our library hours here.

Building Brains by Playing with Your Children

Parents, did you realize that children develop essential skills that help them learn how to read long before formal reading instruction begins? These are called early literacy skills, and they include vocabulary, print motivation, phonological awareness, print awareness, letter knowledge, and narrative skills.

How do children gain these skills, exactly? The answer is simple. Through everyday nurturing interactions with you! When you talk, read, sing, and play with your children, you are helping them build these foundational skills, and you’re strengthening your bond with your child in the process. Win, win!

*This is the fourth post in a series of blogs about utilizing the early literacy practices (talk, read, sing, play) to foster your child’s development. This entry focuses on the practice of playing.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.” –Fred Rogers

Research has consistently shown the positive impacts of play on child development. Through play, children practice and develop social skills, language skills, cognitive skills, and motor skills.

Play takes many forms and evolves throughout a child’s early years. Exploring their surroundings, building with blocks, creating art or music, dancing, and pretending are just a handful of the myriad ways in which young children play.

If you’re like the average parent, time and energy are precious commodities. Rest assured that setting aside just a few minutes a day to play with your child will strengthen your relationship and yield benefits that extend far beyond the years they’re interested in pretending you’re a dinosaur.

Make the most of playtime with these tips:

  • Let your child take the lead.
  • Make observations (“You built a structure with 7 blocks.”).
  • Ask open-ended questions (“What are you making?”).
  • Pose challenges (“I wonder what would happen if…”).
  • Focus your praise on their effort, rather than the outcome. This is key to developing a growth mindset.
  • Set up invitations to play by arranging a few enticing materials in a play space for your child to discover.
  • Add variety. Take it outside, add movement, create art, make a sensory bin, read a book and pretend to be the characters afterward, etc.

Want some fresh ideas for playful activities to enjoy with your young child? Check out this list of books from our parenting collection that will inspire YOU to ask your child, “Wanna play with me?”

Storytime OnDemand with Miss Kelly

It is fun to tell a story, but did you know that you can tell a picture, too? Join Ms. Kelly for Monkey’s Picture, a silly story about a monkey who makes a gift for his mama.

The Animal Antics full storytime line-up includes:

  • Monkey’s Picture
  • Roly Poly
  • Put Your Hands Up High
  • Tiny Tim
  • Going to Kentucky

When you are done quacking like a duck and swimming like a turtle, be sure to check out our other Storytime OnDemand and Fingerplay Fun videos!

Check Out STEAM Resources on Hoopla

If you’re looking for some fun and interactive experiments to introduce, expand, or enhance your kids’ knowledge in the areas of STEAM (or if you’re simply looking for a fun afternoon project!), check out the links below for a wide variety of STEAM-related e-books through Hoopla.  There are activity books for young children through teen to support Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. E-materials may be checked out from Hoopla with your Eau Claire library card.

Quick Links

Easy DIY Paper Butterflies

Fold a paper butterfly!

To make this very easy, very fun project you just need one or two pieces of paper, scissors, and something to tie the middle with like string or a bread tie.

Hang these colorful butterflies in a window, or tie them to a gift. Let your imagination fly free!

See this video for full instructions:


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Dance Party with Freegal!

There is nothing quite like dancing and singing with your little ones.

If you are anything like me, you are always on the hunt for fun, appropriate, kid friendly tunes. The L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library is here to help with your music needs! If you want free unlimited music streaming and free downloads of music/music videos you can keep, then you want to try Freegal. Eau Claire cardholders receive five downloads per week.

There are so many apps these days that it can get confusing to wade through them all. One of the best things about Freegal is how easy it is to set up and use.

How to Get Started

Download the Freegal App (from Google Play or Apple Store) or go to the Freegal website.

Mobile Device

  • Enter your zip code, city or county and select “continue.”
  • Select “L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library.”
  • Enter your library card number and last name.


  • Click the “Log In” button on the top right portion of your screen.
  • Enter your library card number, last name, and email address.

For Everyone: Find Music

  • Use the search menu to look up artists you enjoy. To limit your search to children’s music, use the “browse” feature. Limit your search to “genre” and select “childrens.”

Download, stream, and enjoy the music!


Fold an Origami Friend

This very easy, very fun project requires nothing more than a piece of paper, something to write with, and your imagination. A few folds, some quick drawing, and you’ll have your own movable character. You can even make this project using paper from your recycling bin. (Hooray for reusing!) If you decide to go this route, you’ll want to look for square or rectangle shaped paper, ideally blank on one side. So, go grab your materials, and then check out the video to see how it’s done. Have fun!

Materials needed:
1 sheet of paper that is square shaped, or can be turned into a square
1 writing utensil
1 pair of scissors (optional)


Game Time!

My family loves games.  Board games, card games, yard games, escape rooms…  If you have a new game, we’re probably game to try it!  One of my favorites growing up was a game that I called “One Word at a Time.”  No game pieces are needed which makes it perfect to play on a whim.  (It also means there are no pieces to misplace!)  If you or your family are looking for an activity, give this one a try!  It goes like this…

One Word at a Time:

Each player takes a turn at coming up with a prompt, such as, “What would you do if you saw a real dinosaur playing at the park?” or “You found a hidden treasure chest full of gold coins!  What will you do with it?”  All players answer the prompt with a collective response, each giving only one word at a time.  For example, I might begin with the word “I.”  The player to my right might respond “would.”  The following string of responses might look something like: “do” “jumping” “jacks” “and” “follow” “the” “suspicious” “trail” “of” etc.  Try adding words the other players won’t expect!  Each player responds with one word at a time until the question has been answered…OR add a conjunction word to keep the story going.

Need more prompt ideas to get started?  Try some of these:

    • “A talking gerbil just passed by and told me the strangest story.  He said…”
    • “You were just asked to invent the next best-selling game.  What is it and how do you play it?”
    • “If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops I would…”
    • “What would you do if you caught Goldilocks sitting in YOUR chair?”

Have fun!!

Stitch a bookmark in March!

Spring Break will look different this year not only because of the ongoing pandemic, but also because the library is on the move! To prepare for a temporary closure, Youth Services is offering several different craft/activity bags for pickup in March, while supplies last. They could be just the thing to keep your kiddos busy while you wait for the library to resume services in our new temporary location.

For the last few years I have offered some sort of stitching or needlework project during Spring Break. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback on these projects from families who tell me that their child had not ever tried needlework before. I really love plastic canvas for first-time stitchers because the needle is blunt, the holes are large and easy to see and count, and you can have a finished piece quickly. Plastic canvas also offers a lot of opportunities for creativity in making cool 2-d or even 3-d items.

Plastic Canvas Bookmark craft bags are available now, while supplies last. Everything you need to make the project is included in the kit, including an awesome metal yarn needle that you can save and use on future plastic canvas projects. A step-by-step instruction sheet is included in the kit, and a video tutorial is also available on the library’s YouTube channel.

Request a craft bag here

Plastic Canvas Bookmark instruction sheet

Video tutorial: