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First Fridays: 4.1.22

April 2022 – Month of the Young Child

This month our recommendations are focused on children! The Week of the Young Child has been celebrated in April since 1971 to highlight the importance of children’s early years in development and learning. As a society and as communities across northern Wisconsin and beyond, it is our duty to provide children with safety, nutrition, caring relationships, and education to set them up for success in their school years and beyond! Young children of today grow into tomorrow’s caring neighbors, patient teachers, resourceful service people, engaged advocates and more. Our First Friday recommendations are sprinkled with different experiences and important topics for adults and children alike to be inspired to make Wisconsin, no matter what we look like or how young we are, a place where all of us can thrive.

Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer Recommended for ages baby – 3 years.

This fun, inclusive board book celebrates the one thing that makes every family a family . . . and that’s LOVE.


Love is baking a special cake. Love is lending a helping hand. Love is reading one more book. In this exuberant board book, many different families are shown in happy activity, from an early-morning wake-up to a kiss before bed. Whether a child has two moms, two dads, one parent, or one of each, this simple preschool read-aloud demonstrates that what’s most important in each family’s life is the love the family members share.

Boxitects by Kim Smith Recommended for ages 4-7

A STEAM-centered, adorably illustrated picture book about Meg, a brilliant and creative boxitect who creates extraordinary things out of ordinary cardboard boxes.


Meg is a brilliant and creative boxitect. She loves impressing her teacher and classmates with what she makes out of boxes. But there’s a new kid at Maker School: Simone. Simone is good at everything, and worst of all, she’s a boxitect too. When the annual Maker Match is held, Meg and Simone are paired as a team but can’t seem to stop arguing. When their extraordinary project turns into a huge disaster, they must find a way to join creative forces, lift each other up, and work together.

The Don’t Worry Book by Todd Parr Recommended for ages 3-6 years

From bestselling and beloved author Todd Parr, a new book that reassures kids everywhere that even when things are scary or confusing, there’s always something comforting around the corner.


Todd Parr brings his trademark bright colors and bold lines to his new book about things that might make kids worry–from loud news, to loud neighbors, or a big day at school. With his signature humor and instantly recognizable style, Todd speaks out to kids who are feeling the weight of their world, offering solutions and comfort, as well as giggles.

What Happened to You by James Catchpole Recommended for ages baby-5


Imagine you were asked the same question again and again throughout your life . . .

Imagine if it was a question that didn’t bring about the happiest of memories . . .


This is the experience of one-legged Joe, a child who just wants to have fun in the playground . . .

Constantly seen first for his disability, Joe is fed up of only ever being asked about his leg. All he wants to do is play Pirates.


But as usual, one after the other, all the children ask him the same question they always ask, “What happened to you?”


Understandably Joe gets increasingly angry!


Until finally the penny drops and the children realize that it’s a question Joe just doesn’t want to answer . . . and that Joe is playing a rather good game . . . one that they can join in with if they can stop fixating on his missing leg . . .


Because children are children, after all.


Based on experiences the disabled author had as a young child, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? genuinely reflects a disabled child’s perspective for both disabled & able-bodied readers.

Inside Out (Movie, 2015) available on Disney+ (streaming) and more. Recommended for ages 8 and up. 

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

Ask the Story Bots (TV Show, 2016-2019) available on Netflix. Recommended for ages 3-8. 

Five inquisitive little creatures track down the answers to kids’ biggest questions, like how night happens or why we need to brush our teeth.

Turning Red (Movie, 2022) available on Disney+ (streaming). Recommended for ages 10 and up. 

Mei Lee is a 13-year-old girl who is torn between being her mother’s obedient daughter and the chaos of her youth. As if that were not enough, when she gets too excited, she turns into a big red panda. This coming-of-age tale includes themes of adolescence and puberty.

Word Party (TV Show 2016-2021) available on Netflix. Recommended for ages 2-5. 

Meet Bailey, Franny, Kip and Lulu. They’re adorable baby animals, and they want you to join the party and help them learn! The Jim Henson Company created this show that helps toddlers learn social skills and increase their vocabulary.

Plant seeds together and watch them grow! You can start seeds in small containers and transition them outside as the snow melts and the weather warms up! Maybe some flower seeds to gift for spring and summer holidays like mother’s day, memorial day, and father’s day, or perhaps easy fruits and veggies like tomatoes, peppers, and beans to enjoy later! Funshine Blog recommends counting out seeds together, talking about what to expect as plants grow, growing the child’s curiosity by making predictions, and spending time caring for the plants with water and attention!

  • Make a meal together! 
    1. 3-5 years old: Young children can be involved with washing their hands well before cooking, washing fruits and vegetables, wiping off the countertop, and setting the table
    2. 6-7 years old: Children this age have the fine motor skills to break eggs, de-seed peppers, and snap green beans. 
    3. 8-9 years old: By this age, children can open cans with a can opener, check the meat temperature with a thermometer, and much more!
    4. 10-12 years old: Most children are able to work independently in the kitchen with adult supervision! They can follow a recipe, including reading each step in order and measuring ingredients accurately. More tasks they could do include: chopping vegetables, boiling pasta, simmering food on a stovetop, and baking in the oven.

Have fun together! You could use your imagination and the child’s imagination to try lots of things with items you already have around! Dress up, build a blanket fort, play school, or have a dance party! I Spy, Simon Says, and Hide and Seek can work too! These activities can be great to get everyone from ages 1 to 100 involved!

Kaleigh Nelles is a member of the Progress North Community Contributor Team

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