Category Archives: Children / Teens

Summer Reading Challenge 2018: join in!

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge launches in our libraries tomorrow, Saturday 14 July. The challenge is fun, free and designed for all children whatever their reading ability and it’s been designed to help children to improve their reading skills and confidence during the long summer holidays.

Children can read whatever they like for the challenge – fact books, joke books,
picture books, audio books or you can download a book,  just as long as they are borrowed from the library.

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge is called Mischief Makers – Dennis the Menace, Gnasher and friends invite the children taking part to set off on a hunt for Beanotown’s famous buried treasure.

 

Each of our libraries will be holding special events for children of all ages, some of these are listed now on our website  Pop in to your local Westminster library to find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge and collect a special  events programme.

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Elephant of My Heart

Performed by the author, Jessica Clements

This interactive storytelling event relates the tale of a girl recovering in hospital who is visited by an elephant, the animal of her heart, in her quest to fly.

The elephant and a host of other animals are brought to life by Jessica with the aid of her wonderful puppets and costumes and by the audience themselves.

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Here’s what the audience at Queen’s Park Library thought:

“The performance was fun. Participation was helpful and also fun”.

“I think this story was very fun and funny”.

“Very good show. I and my kids enjoyed it lots”.

Boom! Free Comic Book Day arrives once again…

Free Comic Book Day is an international celebration of all things comics – taking place on the first Saturday in May – tomorrow – it is a day where new titles are released and shops offer a giveaway of free issues – our libraries are taking part, courtesy of those lovely folks at Forbidden Planet

The day is perfect for both collector fanatics and those who are picking up a comic for the first time.

We will also be hosting two special events on the day –

St John’s Wood Library make superhero masks and stick figures, 10.30am to 12pm . This free event is open to children of all ages.

Maida Vale Library – learn how to draw your own cartoon characters, 2.30pm to 4pm. Free event which is suitable for children aged 5 and over.

Queen’s Park Library – create your own mini comic, a superhero (or a super-villain!) and we’ll display the best, 2pm to 4.30pm. This free event is open to children of all ages.

Explore all this and more at one of our libraries and don’t forget to ask staff for your free comic book. We have three titles to give out, while stocks last – head on in before missing out. You’ll discover characters from the DC Universe including Superhero girls, Doctor Who, plus look out for the exclusive DC Nation!

Why not also check out the graphic novel selection? or the new release DVDs available while you are there and see what else your local Westminster  library has to offer?

Matthew

Soar through the air at Church Street this April!

At Church Street Library, we’re very lucky to have an apprentice, Alex, working with us on a new play-based project called PACS – Play at Church Street. This is a new project made up of fun activities for kids in the library.

As part of this, Alex has organised a Rocket League tournament next month. Over to Alex to tell us more…

On Saturday 14 April from 10am to 5pm, Church Street Library will host a Rocket League tournament that will be part of the London Games Festival Fringe. The Fringe is a series of events across London that will complement the main Festival, happening from 5 to 15 April. The library’s event is unique in that it’s the only tournament on the schedule, and the only one being hosted at a library.

Rocket League  is an exciting mix of football and cars, combining them to create a game with current global player-base of over 40 million players and rising. Just like football, two teams try to score more goals than their opponents; but the cars are able to soar through the air, drive on (and jump off) the arena walls, and boost to breakneck speeds, all trying to get that ball in the back of the net. It’s a lot of fun even for those who don’t usually like football!

The Church Street tournament will be a 2v2 team event for kids aged 9 to 16, and will be played on PlayStation 4 consoles. 16 places (8 teams) are available, and if you (or your kids) want to play then be sure to book today at the library front desk, by phone on 020 7641 6200, or by emailing churchstreetlibrary@westminster.gov.uk

We plan to do more PS4 events at Church Street over the coming months, so be sure to keep an eye out for those!

Alex, Church Street Library

The Westminster tooth fairy part 2

Last month, we blogged about a new campaign by our colleagues in Public Health to encourage children to look after their teeth. You can read more about the Westminster tooth  fairy here

Two of our libraries supported the campaign, which is aimed at children aged three to seven, with two fun filled information packed events.  With 35% of five year old children presenting with at least one decayed or missing tooth the need for more information for parents around simple preventative measures is evident.

The children watched a film about the Westminster tooth fairy (available at http://www.westminstertoothfairy.com) showing was supported by a carousel of activities delivered by the dental and oral health teams, colouring pictures of healthy snacks, dressing up as dentists and toothbrushes, and sticking sticky food on the teeth.

Hatty Skinner, our  Children’s Officer delivered an interactive story session at Pimlico Library to children from Pimlico Primary. Library staff, Eric Walker and Simon Williams did a riveting double act with the same Dinosaur Douglas story at Maida Vale Library for the Year 1s from Essendine Primary School.

The children enjoyed the events and we all learned some important facts about looking after our pearly whites.

And if you’d like to know more – check out the resources for parents and carers on the Westminster website.

Kate Gielgud, Health Information Officer

The Westminster tooth fairy

Our colleagues in Public Health recently launched a campaign to encourage children to look after their teeth with a video and a quiz, take a look at the Westminster tooth fairy

They also spoke to a local dentist –

How to keep your children’s teeth healthy – top tips from a local dentist

We sat down with Dr Emilie Szasz, dentist at South Kensington’s Imperial College Dental Surgery, to find out her top tips for keeping our children’s teeth healthy.

We all know that children need to go to the dentist, but how often?

Children should visit the dentist every 6-12 months unless their dentist finds that they consume a lot of sugar or have fillings or decay in which case they should go every 3 months. Never leave it more than 12 months as children develop decay faster than adults.

Children can be reluctant to brush their teeth twice a day, how can we change this?

The trick is to get them into the habit from very early on so it’s part of their routine. Children should brush without parental help until they’re 7. Make it fun; sing a song, use an app – there are plenty on the market – or time yourself for the recommended 2 minutes. And remember; don’t get your children to rinse their mouths after brushing as they’ll lose some of the protection that helps to strengthen their teeth.

So what food and drink should children avoid?

It won’t make you popular but sweets, processed foods and fizzy drinks should be avoided. Raisins are packed full of sugar and get stuck in teeth so should only be eaten at meal times. Fruit, veg and nuts are the snacks we should be handing our children.

Looking for more advice?

Watch the ‘Tale of Triumph over Terrible Teeth’ with your child to find out more and put your knowledge to the test at the Westminster tooth fairy webpage.

Never too young

You’re never too young to enjoy a good story, and at your local library children are welcome to join from birth. It’s absolutely free and for children there aren’t any fines for returning books late.

Did you know that all families with babies aged 0-12 months are eligible for a free Bookstart baby pack?  Each pack contains two books, a rhyme sheet and a booklet of tips and ideas for sharing stories with your child. Pop into your local library to pick yours up today.

If you’re interested in getting involved in your local reading community, check out the fun under-fives activities on offer at your local library.

And remember, we understand that children can be noisy (and sometimes messy!) so don’t worry too much about being quiet; we love to see young children enjoying our libraries and welcome their enthusiasm!

By taking out books and reading with your child every day you can help their physical, mental and emotional development as well as language and listening skills. Plus, you get to enjoy some fantastic stories!

“A love of reading is more important in academic achievement than a child’s social or economic background.” –Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ‘Reading for change’ 2001

Happy reading!

Harriet Skinner

Libraries Children’s Officer