Around the country kids are getting ready to head back to school, or maybe, are already back to the books. Here in North Carolina, it's still summer -- at least according to my outdoor thermometer currently reading 97° & that's without the humidity. We decided we needed to have one more final splash of summer. We dove into a few new books & made waves with a cool pool craft. Below are the two books we read & a little sneak peek of each:
On a hot day, people come from all over the city to spend the day at the pool in this joyful picture book that's a love song to summer, the city, community, and staying cool! Today is a pool day in the city! The sun is shining, so what are you waiting for? Friends and family. Kids and grandparents. Big bodies and small bodies. Everybody is welcome at our pool!
Our Pool by Lucy Ruth Cummins was our August MOSS Kids Book Club pick
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A splashy story celebrating a fun-filled day at a public pool. Splash, dash! It's time for a pool bash! Grab your swimsuits, inner tubes, noodles, and floats, and jump, belly flop, or dive into this wet and wild ode to swimming pool fun. A perfect read to end the summer.
End pages inspired our craft, with our little friends we created.
Little construction paper people not included.
*Note: if you want to purchase these books (or any books), please consider using our links. MOSS Kids makes a small commission off of your purchase allowing us to buy brand new diverse & inclusive books for our underserved communities.
let's paint with pool noodles!
This craft is a personal favorite of mine, maybe because I spent some time crafting solo with a cup of tea & my Noah Kahan playlist. But it is quite simple to do with kids too & easily modified for developmental levels or based on what you would like to work on with your kids (patterns, fine motor skills, visual motor skills, bilateral coordination). You do *not* need to make this craft to the extent that I did; when my headphones are in, I use art as a meditation/my self-care. These do not need to be Pinstagram perfect, so try to acknowledge that thought & let it go.
Blue (light or typical) construction paper as your background pool
Blue paints for your pool swirls
Pieces of pool noodle (a couple inches of noodle to use as a stamp)
Bright paints to make your floaties
Thin cardboard (ex. cereal box) if you want to stamp & make moveable
Construction paper to make people, again if you want to extra like me
Scissors if you plan on working on this skill
1. Paint your pool background. Here is where you can start your modifications based on developmental level or what you are trying to work on. With my *almost* 3yo, he chose to use the smaller paintbrush & make swirls with the light blue paint on the blue construction paper. With my 5yo, we worked on creating a pattern. He utilized the bigger paintbrush & my small rectangles (one stroke of the brush) to create a pattern on the blue construction paper using 3 different colored blue paints. Or you could just allow the child to directly move on to step 3 & just stamp the paper creating their own art with just the pool noodle stamps.
2. Allow to dry. Lately, I have taken a tip from our favorite artist Suzy Ultman & used a hair dryer to quickly dry our projects so (1) we aren't waiting all day to continue creating & (2) if at a secondary location, we don't have to wait for paint to dry.
Clearly these are done by an adult but honestly, my children's look fairly similar.
3. Now allow your child to decide whether you want to make movable floaties or stamp directly on the pool background. My toddler chose to stamp directly so we put a bright, vibrant paint onto a paper plate or extra paper & dipped our pool noodle piece into the paint. Make sure the bottom is completely covered. Stamp noodle onto pool background, pressing down for a few seconds, & slowly pulling up. Bam -- pool float floating in a pool. If you would rather create movable floats, like my 5yo & me, stamp your pool noodle piece onto a separate piece of construction paper or thin cardboard *think cereal box.* This adds a few extra steps working on fine motor skills, visual motor skills & bilateral coordination while cutting.
4. Hit the painted pool floats with the hair dryer. Only takes a few seconds. Now if you stamped on a separate paper, cut out your floats.
5. Here is where you can make little construction paper people too. My 5yo & I had fun drawing people & making them hair & outfits -- again, this is *extra* you do not need to do this part.
I genuinely think we had more fun playing with the movable pieces within the stories & on our homemade pool than we did making them but alas, fun was had by all who participated.
our summer, book version
We have had a great summer: we filled the flag & donated over 100 LGBTQIA+ books at our local Pride event, we helped launch the Wilson County Public Library summer reading program, we celebrated at the first Tarboro-Edgecombe Juneteenth festival, we launched 6(!) Little Free Libraries -- one in NY & five in NC -- here's our newest one, we went to space with Slumberkins, we had 3 incredible book club months (Weather Together, Sari-Sari Summers & Our Pool), we went to the National Book Festival & we launched our gofundme to help community-fund a building to create a children's free public library & youth community center in our rural NC underserved town.
Phew, no wonder we're tired. But we aren't slowing down.
Next week our first kid is heading to school. We've been preparing him (& honestly ourselves) with this book list. We revamped our monthly, nationwide MOSS Kids Book Club to include more book clubs and it's all FREE. We're *hoping* to add two more local book clubs (Pinetops & Rocky Mount) in addition to our ones in Wilson & Tarboro. We have more story time events coming to Raleigh. And that's just the beginning. We're working hard to bring diverse and inclusive books to all kids -- it's slow moving, but we're doing it. We aren't giving up in face of adversity. We can't. This work is too important; mirrors, windows, & sliding glass doors are too important.
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