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The Coolest Recipes to Beat the Summer Heat

Submitted by Edmonton Public Library

Written by Caroline Land

Weather forecasters are predicting a hot summer in Edmonton. Looking for ways to beat the heat? Check out EPL's collection of cookbooks for desserts that can help keep you cool all summer long. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! These are perennial favourites and go down easy on hot summer days:

Icebox Desserts Go beyond ice cream with these ideas for cool parfaits, mousses, puddings, and more. I bet your grandparents' iceboxes never looked like this!


People's Pops Think that popsicles are just for kids? Think again! Check out some of New York City's hottest pops in this book from Brooklyn's People's Pops.


Pops! Do you like your pops chocolatey? Maybe fruit-flavoured pops are more your thing. Pops! promises icy treats for everyone, no matter what your taste preferences are.


Paletas Add a Mexican twist to your popsicles and treats with this book of recipes for paletas and other icy delights.


The Vegan Scoop Looking for a vegan alternative to ice cream? Try The Vegan Scoop for some ideas!


After you've eaten your ice cream and you need a break from the sun, drop by any of our air conditioned locations to check out even more books and cool off for even for longer!

For the full article and more information about EPL, please visit:

Top 5 Ways to Cheer Up the Lonely Days - Edmonton Public Library

Written by Hilary Kirkpatrick, EPL Outreach Worker

As a social worker for the Edmonton Public Library, I know the importance of community building and making connections for those who are feeling lonely. Having a supportive network of people and meaningful connections can give us the boost we need to feel better about ourselves and have a positive outlook on life. At EPL, there are programs specifically designed to meet the needs and interests of all EPL customers, which help bring people in the community together.

Here are the top 5 ways to utilize your local library to help alleviate loneliness:

1.     EPL Book Clubs – Book clubs offer a space where you can meet new people with similar interests (hello, fellow avid readers!) and discuss the means and motives of your favourite literary characters. Friendships are sure to blossom over a cup of tea and a wonderful book! 

2.       Baby Lap Time and Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn Programs – New parents are at times isolated by the needs of their new little family member, and early literacy programs can provide the opportunity to make a connection for parents while babies learn through play, song and story. These interactive, free, drop-in programs are a great opportunity to connect with other new parents and give your little one a head-start.

3.       Makerspace Programs – Did you know that expressing yourself creatively in a way that is meaningful to you can help you combat loneliness? EPL Makerspace programs offers sound-booths to record a song, binding and printing services for your writing, or the opportunity to create a mini-movie with the green screen! Make friends and enjoy a fun project all at the same time!

4.       Adult Programs – Find ways to socialize based on what interest you such as learning a new hobby at the library: sewing class, adult colouring, film series, traditional arts and crafts, and more! Hobbies are a great way to meet new people, and to help yourself get out of the house. If you are feeling left out of the community because of a language barrier, EPL can help you improve your English conversations skills. We host conversation circles for English language learners that are set at your pace.

5.       Assistive Services - If you are experiencing a significant barrier or are physically unable to leave your home or a have disability, EPL provides home service where you live, whether that's an extended care facility, a seniors' lodge or your own home. We also offer specialized computers and assistive technology. If you are far away from family across the world, EPL staff can show you how to use email and Skype with your far away family members!

With EPL, connection is always possible. Let’s work together to combat loneliness and connect with our community and loved ones. A step towards visiting your local public library is a step towards ending loneliness!

What Teens Can Do To Keep Busy This Summer

by Bronwyn Hartman - Edmonton Public Library


1. Make something great: Our Makerspace has everything teens need for their next creation, including 3D printers, sound booths, a vinyl cutter and more. Encourage teens to drop by the library and get creative!

2. Find the next great read: Teens can check out our Staff Picks, talk to staff for recommendations, access eBooks and magazines through our digital collection, or just come and browse our teen section. They can also participate in one of our Summer Starts Here events happening at branches throughout the city.

3. Get in the game: Teens have a love for gaming and can join us for our many gaming programs: Minecraft, retro gaming and even old-school board games!

4. Learn something new: Our non-fiction collection and online resources have everything teens need to learn something new - from a new language, to photo editing, to digital design and more.

5. Come and hang out: On hot summer days the library is an even a cooler place to hang out! With study spaces, meeting rooms, computers and more, teens can come and lounge in an air conditioned space with us at any of our branches.

Be in the know with EPL! Sign up for EPL eNewsletter to learn more about programs and events for teens and the whole family!


For more information about Edmonton Public Library and their awesome programs, visit:

What is sensory play and why is it important?

May 26th, 2015

By Val Johnstone

Sensory play is important because it is what kids naturally are drawn to.  When kids engage in messy sensory play, their senses are stimulated.  When their senses are stimulated, they are learning.  Kids learn best by doing.  Sensory play is completely child directed and it has no final product.  Sensory play encourages creativity and imagination.  

When children spend time engaged in sensory play, mixing and pouring, scooping and digging, they are indeed "playing" and having fun but these activities help them develop cognitively, physically, linguistically, socially, emotionally, creatively and physically.  By picking up a grain of rice or a bean from a bin, they are working on their fine motor skills, but they are also learning about shape and space of objects.  When they mix in a bin of goop (my favourite) or water they learn about density of liquids.  When objects in a sensory bin are different colours, shapes and sizes, their brains learn to distinguish between these things and as they sort out like objects they learn about sorting and classifying.  Things such as these are a part of the mathematical side of their brains and skills which we as parents and educators want kids to be learning from such an early age.

Sensory play allows children the freedom to explore using their creativity for endless possibilities.  One of the easiest and manageable ways to contain sensory play is in a sensory bin.

What is a sensory bin?

A sensory bin is a container which engages your senses. It can contain anything, most often textures which encourage creative play.  Items in a bin can be dry ingredients (rice, pasta, coffee, flour, beans) or wet (clean mud, goop, water beads).  Often there is a combination of ingredients which create an altogether new texture or material.

Sensory bins engage all your senses.  Textures can stimulate exploration with appeal to your feeling senses.  Colourful bins and the variety of colour appeal to children's visual sense.  When items such as beans and rice are scooped and played with they are audibly appealing.  Some bins because of the ingredients can have a scent and stimulate the sense of smell. 

Sensory bins encourage children to explore in different ways using different senses. Sensory play expands a child's experience and helps to develop their brain in new ways.  Sensory bins help children to become more creative.  They can pour and scoop, mix and get messy. 

While there is an incredible amount of fun and discovery that happens in sensory bin play, there is also a great deal of learning which can help develop skills such as:

 Fine motor skills (picking up objects)

  • Counting
  • Patterning
  • Sorting and Classifying
  • Matching
  • Transferring
  • Specific skill recognition

Children often find certain bins incredibly soothing and are drawn to some more than others.  Bins have been known to prevent meltdowns and can redirect energy in a positive way.  Pouring and scooping is not only entertaining for most little ones, it is also soothing.  Children who have a short attention span have been known to attend for an extraordinary amount of time playing in a sensory bin.

For those who may be hesitant to start but want to try sensory messy activities at home, here are a few tips:

  • Start small - create one bin at a time.  Rice or beans are an easy place to start.
  • Tell yourself that this kind of mess is okay.  Lay out a blanket on your kitchen floor and let them discover.
  • Use this creative sensory play as an opportunity to teach boundaries.  For example you can say to your kids, " I would like you to keep the rice in the bin. If a little spills out, that is okay.  If a lot spills out or you dump it out, I will have to put it away".  
  • Introduce sensory play on a day you know you will clean the floor.  If the weather is summer-like, take it outside.  Then there is not such a worry about things all over your floor.
  • Encourage your child to discover, play, imagine and create.  Try to find out which texture they most like; dry (such as beans, rice, popcorn kernels, coffee beans), goopy/messy (goop, clean mud, pudding), or wet (water, water beads, snow).
  • Get together with other friends and try a sensory playdate!

Val is a mom of two lovely young and active children. As a Special Education teacher for the last 16 years she has vast experience teaching children and encouraging them to explore their creative expression. She enjoys getting messy with kids immensely in all kinds of sensory and imaginative ways. It is a privilege for her to encourage others to find the creative spirit within themselves with her local business Born 2 Create. Check out the great camps they have coming up this summer here.  

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