News from Youth Services Category: Family Friday

Netflix Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices

Netflix has created a collection of twelve 5-minute episodes of celebrities reading children’s books. The featured books are by Black authors and they highlight the Black experience. The videos are available for free without a subscription on the Netflix Jr. YouTube. Here is the Netflix Bookmarks playlist.

Visit the Netflix Bookmarks website for links to additional resources, such as books and activities focused on concepts of identity, respect, justice, and action. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) helped develop resources for this project, including the Supporting Diverse Communities Toolkit, #LookToLibraries, and ALSC booklists. 

For more Black stories to share with your family, check out this post from our Staff Picks for Kids blog. 

El Día de los Muertos/ Day of the Dead

hanging dia de los muertos craft

El Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated primarily in Mexico and Latin America, though there are versions in places like Ireland, India, and the Philippines. Día de los Muertos can take place over several days, with families and friends getting together to celebrate their loved ones who have died.

Traditionally, you decorate the grave of your loved one, and build them an ofrenda, or altar. This will have things like photos of them, and the things that they liked in life. It is believed that these loved ones come back to visit us on Día de los Muertos, so you also make it easier for them to find their way back, with strong smelling cempazúchitl, or marigold flowers, and luminarias. You’ll also see skeletons, many with colorful decorations, and some made out of sugar! Skeletons are usually doing things that people did in their lifetime, to remind us that death is a part of the journey, and not to take it too seriously.

Now that you know a bit about the holiday, here are two crafts you can do to celebrate!

Our version of a luminaria involves the following supplies:

  • a jar (ours is plastic, but you could also use glass)
  • a battery-operated candle
  • thin paper, like tracing paper or vellum paper
  • Markers (permanent or washable)

Measure out paper to fit inside the jar. On the paper, you can draw something. Use your creativity here; it could be skulls, skeletons, flowers, or whatever you would like. Once you are done decorating the paper, it can go into your jar. Turn on the candle, drop it into the jar, and then you are done!

paper wolf craft

Pedro Linares, a Mexican sculptor, was the creator of alebrijes, which you can see during Día de los Muertos and in movies like Coco. They are animals but with fantastical elements that you can’t see in real life. He was inspired to create these after getting sick and having a dream about a land with creatures like a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head.

To make your own alebrije, here is what you will need:

  • Colored cardstock + Pattern
  • Glue
  • Markers, colored pencils, crayons
  • Scissors
paper wolf craft
paper wolf craft

Print out the pattern and trace it onto your cardstock paper. First, fold your paper on a diagonal. (You can also do a different animal, just make sure to trace it on a fold so it will have two sides.)

Cut through both sides of paper, leaving the sides connected along the fold. Next, cut out the tail and fold it in half.

Next, decorate your animal. You can also cut out other decorations for your animal, like wings, horns, or whatever you’d like.

Family Friday: Podcast for Curious Minds

Radiolab, one of the most beloved podcasts in the world, has collected their most family-friendly content in the podcast Radiolab for Kids. From “What do dogs see when they look at the rainbow?” to “Do animals laugh?” the topics are all about curiosity. Radiolab for Kids is sure to delight and engage the most curious minds.

Start with one of these episodes!


Octomom A mile under the ocean, we get to watch an octopus perform an act of heart and determination.

Poop Train Ever wonder what happens to your poop after you flush? So did we, but we weren’t quite prepared for where it would take us. 


Animal Minds Communicating across species — from bringing pets to church, to a rescued whale that may have found a way to say thanks.

Goo and You When producer Molly Webster peers inside a pupa, she witnesses some of the most complex biology happening on earth…and catches sight of an ancient question of change.

Family Friday: Virtual Vacations

One small comfort to being stuck at home is that locations all around the world are opening their doors, virtually, to visitors for free. Whether you want to check out an art collection, a battlefield, or a beautiful place, they are accessible to you through the Internet.   

One of Google’s resources is The Hidden World of the National Parks. You can visit five different parks and explore what makes those parks special, as well as areas that most visitors don’t get to see, with the help of a park ranger. A visit to Kenai Fjords in Alaska allows you to climb down into a crevasse, kayak through the icy water, and see how the glaciers are melting. Dry Tortugas Park in Florida has a sunken ship and beautiful coral reefs you can explore. Also included are Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, volcanoes in Hawai’i, and Bryce Canyon in Utah. Don’t miss this chance to go on a once in a lifetime adventure, all from the comfort of your home!

Look for the Virtual Field Trips section on our Activities from Home page for more places to explore online.

Family Friday: Cook Together

family preparing food in the kitchen

Cooking together as a family can be a learning and a bonding experience. Kids can practice following directions, the math of measuring, and the science of combining ingredients, all while learning about their family’s heritage or food from other cultures.

Gather your ingredients and get ready to add your special seasoning to your favorite dish. Need ideas? Check out a cookbook, website (such as RaddishKids), or the recipe database AtoZWorld Food.


Cook something together to earn the Family Time badge in the Summer Reading program. Just mark the activity in your Beanstack account!

Not registered for Summer Reading? Get started here!

For more information, visit our website. Questions? Call 847/253-5675 or email