Archive for May, 2011

School’s Out for Summer (Almost!)

The school year is rapidly coming to a close for Savannah students.  Many private school students are already out for summer, and have embarked on their vacation adventures  be it summer camp, playing at the pool, or cozying up with a nice book for summer reading fun. Many schools require a minimum number of books read during the summer from an already produced list. The 2011 reading list for Savannah Chatham Public School System has not yet been released, however here’s the 2010 list by grade level.  

Keep a few things in mind when choosing books for your child’s summer reading: 

  1. their current reading level,
  2. their interests, and
  3. the school or county recommended reading list for their grade level.


Each year, Live Oak Public Libraries have summer reading programs which encourage community children and youth to enjoy their summer vacation with a good book. These exciting reading programs include special performances, puppet shows, and other educational activities all throughout the summer. In addition, summer reading logs are provided to everyone who’d like to participate.  Some libraries even offer special prizes and incentives for a certain number of hours spent reading (or being read to).   This year’s Live Oak Public Library Summer Reading  program theme is One World, Many Stories


One of the best ways to keep your child reading is to find a particular series or genre he or she likes.  When I was a kid, I was really into learning about the Titanic, and probably checked out every book in my local library about ship wrecks!

Geek the Library is one of my favorite pro-literacy marketing campaigns that has come out of the Public Library System. It’s a series of promotional videos encouraging kids from 1 – 99 to read based on what their interests are. Coastal Heritage Society has had two employees featured in this national campaign. One is called I geek trains and the other is called I geek history. Click on the names and watch them both!


Give me a B give me an O give me an OKS!

This time, I want to share with you not only some of my favorite books, but some favorites as chosen by students and teachers, sponsored by the International Reading Association  and The Children’s Book Council.

For your convenience, the Children’s Choices 2011 Reading List is available to you here, and is a printable pdf!  Go through it with your family, and please tell me, which are your favorites?  There’s some on here that are new to me, and I’m excited to try them out for Storytime! 


Thanks to my friend and Toddler Art class mom, Tara Kelsey, I’ve been informed that one of my all-time favorite children’s book authors will be in town next month!  Yes, Mo Willems, author of Piggie and Elephant books, Knuffle Bunny, the Pigeon series and more, will be in Savannah at E. Shaver Book Store on June 22 from 3:30 to 5:30!  Stop by to meet him in person and get your favorite Willems’ books signed!



Help your child mark his or her place in summer reading with this homemade bookmark!

You will need:

    • White cardstock
    • Foam shaving cream
    • Food coloring or liquid watercolor
    • Fork
    • Cardboard squares (about 2 square inches)
    • Paper towels
    • Aluminum pan (these are so useful for so many art activities!


    Before you start, cover your art table with newspaper.  This isn’t an entirely messy activity, but it makes clean up a snap! Then, follow these steps:
  1. Help your child cut white cardstock paper into rectangular strips.
  2. Squirt out about a handful of shave cream into aluminum pan. 
  3. Now, squirt food coloring in different spots right on top of the shave cream. 
  4. Take your fork, and let your child swirl around the colors in the shave cream.  It’s also fun to use fingers!
  5. Take your cardboard square and dip lightly into shave cream.  Using it like a “razor,” scrape food coloring/shave cream mixture onto your white cardstock.  It should have a streaky, marble effect. 
  6. Pat it dry, wiping the excess with a paper towel.
  7. Viola!  A color swirl creation!  Allow to dry and happy reading! 


Reading Express is this weekend! Hope to see y’all there! Click here for more information.


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It’s Friday

Happy Friday y’all! I have some really fun projects for you this week in our Home Connections section, relating to the fabulous amphibious world that is coastal Georgia. What better projects to welcome in the end of the school year and start of summer? 

 Take advantage of the beautiful weather – and hopefully your Coastal Heritage Society membership (if it’s up-to-date) – and swing by Old Fort Jackson this weekend to enjoy the beautiful views of the Fort and Savannah River. See if you can spot the ‘family’ of American Bald Eagles that live in the trees surrounding the left side of the Fort! If you’re lucky, you may also see dolphins… Cannon firings will be at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Swing by Georgia State Railroad Museum for a train ride, in our open-air car! Our crew makes the train go just fast enough to be exciting and feel a breeze, but never scary for young children. Don’t forget about Reading Express coming up on Saturday May 28th, 10 a.m. to 11:30 More information will be sent out later today in the Family Happenings Newsletter, also powered by Coastal Heritage Society…

Home Connections

Have a hopping good time with these frog-themed songs, games, and activities, using materials found at home!

Peeps and Ribbits

Southern Spring Peeper

Did you know that not all frogs ribbit?  Teach your children about froggie differences and syllable counting all in one fast and fun game.  The Southern Spring Peeper frog (found in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia), makes a single “peep”, whereas the Leopard Frog makes a two-syllable “ribbit.” 

Say these aloud and clap your hands along with the syllables.  Aren’t you glad we have more words than just ribbit or peep?  Clap syllables to other words.

Sing this ditty to further a lesson on syllables:

Southern Leopard Frog

Bibbity bobbity bumble bee
Will you say your name for me?
(Child says name):  “Rebecca”
Say it!
Re-bec-ca (emphasize each syllable)
Clap it!
Re-bec-ca (clap each syllable)
Snap it!  (practice snapping with your little one)
Re-bec-ca (snap each syllable)

Hungry, Hungry Frogs

Frogs love to eat flies and other bugs commonly found here in beautiful Savannah! I found this fun game-project, in a recent issue of one of my favorite crafty magazine, Family Fun.  Great craft fun that can definitely help with basic math skills. Please note that this project calls for the use of MAGNETS, which can be dangerous for very young children if swallowed. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Parent supervision is highly recommended. For a direct link to this project, click HERE!

 Paper Plate Frog Puppet

This froggie puppet can be a great storytime companion!

You will need:

  • A paper plate
  • Green paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Red construction paper
  • Green construction paper
  • Buttons
  • Glue

1) Paint plate green.  Allow to dry.
2) Fold plate in half
3) Cut out legs for your frog from the green construction paper (doesn’t have to be perfect—allow your child to do this with little help).
4) Glue legs (and arms, if you like) to your frog.
5) Cut out a red tongue.
6) Glue button eyes on the top of your frog.
7)  Flap the paper plate frog to make him talk or tell you a story.

Weekend Wackiness

Kids of all ages love water – maybe even more than frogs! So, in the spirit of kicking off summer fun, this is just a quick reminder that today is the 25th Annual Tybee Beach Bum Parade, starting at 6:00 p.m.! Clicke HERE for more information. Just remember to pack a snack as kids will definitely work up an appetite!


Miss Rebecca Recommends

Frog and Toad Are Friends is a true modern day classic.  Written in 1970 by Arnold Lobel, this book is written in small chapters and tells the story of two slightly different creatures who become the best of friends.  The stories are short, simple, and sweet.  Beginning readers will find themselves successful in sounding out words and eventually reading these stories aloud.  Recommended for ages 4-8.

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Take the leap!

Dear Friends,

Georgia Green Tree Frog

 I am excited to invite you and your family, your neighbors, coworkers and friends, to take the leap with the Coastal Heritage Society team as we begin the next exciting leg of the journey towards Savannah Children’s Museum’s (SCM) completion!
Today we are thrilled to reveal SCM’s mascot, the Georgia Green Tree Frog – commonly referred to as the American Green Tree Frog (Hyla Cinerea). These vivacious little frogs are visually lovely, brave explorers of their habitats, loud and musical, and vital to our ecosystems – a metaphor for the young children in our community.
Found all over Georgia, this amazing little leaper makes its home throughout several other states in the deep South from Maryland to Texas (see map of its territory).

American Green Tree Frog Territory

In addition, out of 85 different amphibians that make their home in the beautiful state of Georgia, the American Green Tree Frog was designated the official state amphibian in 2005.

You may have noticed the name of our blog has changed to News from the Pond. Same great blog, with even more news of what to do with your children at Coastal Heritage Society sites as well as around Savannah! This is one of many small and large steps we will be taking over the next few months in anticipation of the opening of Exploration Station, the outdoor interactive exhibit area at Savannah Children’s Museum! Stay tuned as we prepare to unveil our logo and new fundraising website!
As children -and frogs – add so much wonder and music to our lives, we hope you enjoy the rest of this post, guest-written by a favorite member of the Savannah community, Ms. Amy from Ms. Amy’s School of Music! Miss Rebecca will be back next week (:

big hugs,

Patricia Knight
Mama to Catie and Bella &
Director of Marketing, Coastal Heritage Society

Sing out loud with Ms. Amy

When I lead a toddlers music class, I see a circle of smiling faces and the neck of my guitar bouncing up and down while we all sing The Wheels on the Bus together.

Bright springtime colors and sun shine through the windows while Claire asks me to sing Baa Baa Black sheep…again!  Parents who expose their child to music see, as I do every day, the many benefits.  Motor skills improve; independence and a sense of accomplishment are seen in their smiles.  The exploration of sounds –good or bad, loud or soft, are encouraged.  I see children playing and singing with one another while their creativity is soaring.  Parents and children enjoy meeting and socializing with each other. We are a musical community with our roots in the youngest, most honest, and most creative minds.

You don’t have to consider yourself “musical” to create and explore sound with your child. Just keep in mind the different ways you can do the same thing!  For example:

Sing Mary Had A Little Lamb. Now sing it again – this time softer and with a country twang… Or, sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with a jazzy snap accompaniment.  The possibilities are endless and so much fun – you may even surprise yourself by improvising the words to a familiar tune. Take a little ditty like Hot Cross Buns but change the words to Lets Eat Lunch or Brush Your Teeth! Go for it and make music a part of your everyday!

Ms. Amy Recommends

The Animal Boogie by Debbie Harter

A great book to sing along to and make all the movements!  Shake like a bear, leap like a leopard, swing like a monkey, and more!

Enjoy this musical adventure now, by clicking here:

The Animal Boogie on YouTube

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A Tribute to Moms

Miss Rebecca and her mom at Savannah Santa Train

Mother’s Day is here, and I must say—I’m incredibly thankful for my supportive and loving mother.  I must admit though, I’ve probably given her a hard time over the years, especially in my undergraduate studies when I was majoring in Child Development and subtly critiqued her child-raising practices.  So not OK!  My mother did an amazing job, and although she didn’t attend college classes on the subject of parenting and child psychology, she certainly had the instincts and know-how to be a remarkable mom and role model!

Though I’m not yet a mom, I do have a deep admiration for the love, sweat, and tears moms everywhere put into raising their children. I have an idea about the kind of mother I’d like to be:  organized, ready with plenty of open-ended activity ideas, healthy eating all the time, the list goes on.

Yet I wonder if this is realistic.  I know myself—I’m somewhat of an obsessive planner in my day-to-day life.  I make lists, I plan for events far in advance, making details to a T, yet I somehow doubt life with children will be anywhere near as manageable.   I recently came across a hilarious blogpost entitled “Never Would I Ever”.  Blog-writer of Trials in Toddlerhood remembers back to pre-parenthood, recalling things she said she’d never do as a mother.  Read on for some laughs and comment to me—what did you say you’d never do, but now find yourself doing as a parent?

Miss Rebecca Recommends


When I was in high school, I was introduced to the awesome game “Never Have I Ever…”. If you’ve never played, basically someone says something they’ve never done and if you have done it, you take a drink. Well, this is the parent version. These are things I swore I’d never do before having kids, but now do. If you do them too, take a drink of your morning coffee with me!

Kiki Knight: Enjoying ice-cream on Tybee with my girls last night instead of posting the blog 😉

(OR an afternoon mimosa as this blog is not being posted by Miss Rebecca, but by  her colleague, Miss Kiki, Marketing Director and professional mommy. . . I promised Miss Rebecca I’d post ‘this week’ but as usual, I’m on ‘mommy time’ as I’m sure most of you are too! So Thank you Rebecca for this hilarious choice for a post and I’m looking forward to hearing from all my mommy-colleagues out there 😉

Happy (surviving motherhood) Day! And thank you for creating so  many memories with your children at Coastal Heritage Society sites. Looking forward to wishing you a happy mother’s day from Exploration Station at Savannah Children’s Museum in 2012!

1. Have a house that looks like Toys R Us.
Totally guilty here. Here is my awesome justification-if I have to eat plastic kitchen food and put diapers on Elmo all day, I’d rather do it in the living room where at least I can sit on my couch or grab a snack. However, no matter the justification, I always have second thoughts about that position when I trip over a plastic pineapple at 3 AM when I am going to get the baby.

2. Jabber incessantly about my kids.
Ever see the movie Mean Girls where Lindsay Lohan’s character talks about word vomit? When you don’t mean to keep talking but the words keep coming up? Yeah, that’s me. My conversations all begin normally, and when I talk to people without kids I always try to censor what I say because I do realize that they don’t care that New Baby slept for 4 hours IN HER BED last night or that Captain Destructo calls Minnie Mouse “Missy Mouse.” But yet, it keeps coming up. This is also related to Facebook posts, where I’m sure 99% of what I post is kid related.

3. Wipe my kid’s nose on my shirt.
Totally guilty here. I also use my shirt to wipe up New Baby’s spit up when I can’t find a burp rag, and also do the spit-on-my-hand, wipe-the-face thing when we are out and Captain Destructo’s face is dirty. Yeah, I’m totally gross.

4. Let my kid eat junk.
How hard is it to give your kids a piece of fruit, pre-children me asked? Turns out, sometimes giving them a cookie is way easier. Yes, my (mostly) breastfed, homemade organic baby food eating toddler now knows that the grocery store is where we get a cookie, Starbucks is where we get a cake pop (try these by the way! Sooo yummy!), and the only reason to sit on the potty is to get a Hershey’s kiss. Yay, me.

5. Look like a mom.
Not that I was super fashionable before, but I had my standards. As it turns out, a newborn and a 2 year old aren’t the best shopping companions, and since I’m at Target 5 days a week anyway, I’m buying my clothes there. Also, my body is, umm…less then ideal at the moment. Therefore you will see me in giant mom jeans and a T shirt that is baggy enough to cover my muffin top. I am wearing New Baby in a Moby wrap and hoping people look at her more than me a lot lately.

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