Parent Play & Learn: Make a Wish

May there always be…wishes!

For the month of May, Jim Gill—an award-winning children’s musician—is collecting wishes from children around the country which he will share while performing his song “May There Always Be Sunshine” on his YouTube channel.

To participate in this special opportunity, start by talking with your child about their favorite things. What people, places, activities, and objects do they love? What makes those things special? Then, invite them to select their favorite thing to complete the sentence “May there always be….” Have your child write (or help them write) their sentence on a piece of paper, and encourage them to draw a picture about it.

View the explanation of the activity on Jim Gill’s YouTube channel.

Find the complete instructions under the News section of Jim Gill’s website.

Early Literacy Connection

Serve-and-return or back-and-forth conversations with children are brain-building activities. While you talk to them, they are exercising their listening and comprehension skills, and when they talk to you, they are building their capacity for expressive vocabulary. Early writing strengthens fine-motor skills, letter knowledge, and helps children understand that print on a page is associated with spoken language.

We’d love to see your wishes! Email your photos to Youth Services and we may feature them on our Community Photo gallery.

Scavenger Hunt: Characters

Scavenger Hunt @ Home: Book, Movie, and TV Characters

Hello, library families! Are you searching for fun family activities to do at home, especially as the weather turns cooler and rainier this week? Try this fun indoor scavenger hunt! I’ve included prompts for talking, playing, and writing for various ages, just as I do in the Play and Learn at the library in order to bring a bit of the library home to you. Have fun! We’d love to see a picture of you and your character treasures, so be sure to email us with how your scavenger hunt @ home went.

For this scavenger hunt, I searched all over my house for objects relating to 1) book characters and, 2) movie and television characters. Maybe you could try that, too? Or go on an “I Spy” scavenger hunt with the pictures below.

Scavenger Hunt 1: Book Characters

• How many objects relating to book characters did you find at your home? Make a list!

• Tell the story about where a favorite object came from


• How many objects relating to book characters do you see here? Count them up!

• Which book character is your favorite?

• Do you see the gold ring? Do you know who it belongs to?


Scavenger Hunt 2: Movie and Television Characters

• How many objects relating to movie/television characters did you find at your home? Make a list!

• Use the objects and your imagination to act out a new scene or write a piece of fanfiction.


• How many objects relating to movie and television characters do you see here?

• Which movie or television character is your favorite?

• That is a very special dolphin in the picture! Do you know her name?

Preschool STEM: Block Center

MATH is this week’s feature for our Preschool STEM virtual series. Children learn best through play and preschool math can be as easy as building a toy train. Try out this “math lesson” with your little ones!

Build & Measure Block Center: Activity & Conversation Starters


  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Building materials, such as Legos, Duplos, toy blocks, or even cereal boxes or empty pop cans!

1. Can you name the numerals on the rulers?

2. Build a tower with your building materials. How high is it?

3. Is a tower built with Lego Duplos or wood blocks more stable? How can you make it more sturdy?
This is engineering!

4. Build a long train by laying items end to end. Measure how long it is. How many pieces did you use?

Share a picture of your towers! Email us at or share via Facebook. 

Click here for printable instructions! (PDF)

Try-It Tray: Take-Away Game

This Try-It Tray is an easy, adaptable, fun game that’s perfect for kids of any age. Use those random knickknacks, tiny toys, or art supplies to create a new game! Play it to pass the time or keep score to select a victor, it’s completely up to you.

Take-Away Game

1. Put 10 to 20 objects in the middle of a table.
Objects might include small toys or items from a kitchen, desk, or purse.

2. All players but one close their eyes.

3. The player with eyes open selects one object and hides it under the table.

4. The player that first guesses which object is missing gets to remove the next object.

We’d love to see your game! What objects did you use? Did you add other rules? Email your stories and photos to and we may feature them on our Community Photo gallery. 

LEGO Challenge: Blind Build

As we’re sheltering at home, some activities may start to get old. But, using our imaginations and LEGOs to create structures, creatures, and inventions is not one of them. With that in mind, it’s time for another LEGO challenge!

LEGO Blind Build Challenge

How to play:

1. Create two identical piles of bricks.

2. Sit back to back with your partner.

3. Choose one partner to go first. This person will build a creation and describe it as they go. The other partner will try to build along.

4. Can you make an identical creation without looking?

Try this game with your friend through video chat or over the phone.

No LEGOs? No problem! Use any materials you have. This challenge is perfect for making a silly drawing with paper and pencil.

Have your own challenge to throw down? Email us and we may just feature it in future weeks.

As always, we’d love to see your photos! Email photos of your completed challenge to Your picture may be featured right here on our Kids website.

Pssst: Did you know that you can check out movies and TV shows with your EC Library card on Hoopla? Lego fans may enjoy the Lego Ninjago TV show, available at the time of this post on Hoopla.

Parent Play & Learn: Art & Play

There’s been a lot of talk about masks lately. While these masks won’t help you at the grocery store, they will certainly elicit smiles and giggles from you and your kiddos.

Making masks is a creative, process-based art activity that is joyful for adults and children of all ages. As you talk with your child about the process (make observations and ask open-ended questions) and play with them using your completed masks, you are strengthening your relationship and helping them develop creative thinking and language skills that will serve them well into their future.

Simply pull together any supplies you might have to spare around the house, like cardboard, junk mail, glue or tape, coloring or drawing utensils, etc. to make your masks.

For inspiration, check out these simple, yet incredible masks from:

We’d love to see your masks! Email your photos to and we may feature them on our Community Photo gallery.

Preschool STEM: Volcano

SCIENCE is back this week for Preschool STEM. Today’s volcano experiment is an attention grabber with kids and an excellent example of chemical reactions.

Volcanos: Activity & Conversation Starters

1. Fill a small plastic cup 2/3 full with water (we’re adding math!). Place the cup in a bowl or on a cookie tray to catch the eruption.

2. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda.

3. Do you want your volcano to erupt with more foam? Add 1 teaspoon of dish soap.

4. Do you want colored lava? Add a small squirt of washable paint.

5. Stir.

6. Pour in vinegar and watch the reaction. What do you observe (see, hear, smell)?

7. Optional: Build a volcano with Legos or Duplos!

What’s Happening?

You’re watching a chemical reaction! When an acid (the vinegar) and a base (the baking soda) mix they form a gas called carbon dioxide.

Share a picture of your volcano experiment! Email us at or share via Facebook. 

Click here for printable instructions! (PDF)

Riddle: Crossing the River

Kids, do you love a good riddle? If you do, we challenge you to solve our Crossing the River riddle! While we provide our answer below, we’d love to hear your solutions. Email us at to share your solutions and photos!

Riddle: Crossing the River

You have a dinosaur, a pack of fruit snacks, and a goat.

You must cross the Chippewa River, but you can bring only one at a time.

If you leave the dinosaur with the goat, the dinosaur will eat the goat.

If you leave the goat with the fruit snacks, the goat will eat the fruit snacks.

How do you get all three across the river safely?

Printable color copy here (PDF)

For the riddle’s solution, click here for a video or click here for text.

Try-It Tray: Paper Towns

Are you running low on craft supplies? Worry not! This edition of our Try-It Tray uses only a few household art supplies and your imagination.

Paper Towns

This is an easy, open-ended activity that I think kids might really enjoy, because the idea came from my 11-year-old daughter Maddie!


  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Pencils or markers

I gave Maddie some colorful paper scraps to help us both get through an afternoon of virtual meetings, and two days later she had an entire paper town! I find it perfectly charming, as do the small animal figures that Maddie uses to play act within her creation. Do you see them in the library? It’s a bit like a homemade dollhouse, isn’t it? Fun!

I love the way she labeled places and objects, which is such a great literacy exercise. I also think it gives her comfort to bring the outside in. She is missing her favorite Eau Claire destinations, and it helps her to hold them near and imagine a positive future.


We’d love to see your paper towns! Email your photos to and we may feature them on our Community Photo gallery. 

LEGO Challenge: Colors

It’s time for a LEGO Building Challenge! Give the challenge below a go and let us know how it went.

LEGO Color Challenge

Create a design using blocks of only ONE color. No LEGOs? No problem! Use any materials you have to complete the challenge.

For more Lego inspiration, check out the Brick Books series, available at the time of this post on Hoopla, with your EC Library card.

Have your own challenge to throw down? Email us and we may just feature it in future weeks.

As always, we’d love to see your photos! Email photos of your completed challenge to Your photo may be featured right here on our Kids website.