Archives for September 2015

KC Wolf is Coming to Corinth with a Brand New Kid’s Book!

Hello, wee little CHIEFS fans! We’ve got a new book we can’t wait to show you…

KC Chiefs Kids BookBig News! The Learning Tree is kicking off the introduction of Kansas City Chiefs ABC’s and 123’s kids book with a visit from KC Wolf on Saturday October 3rd at 11:00am at our Corinth Store.

Bring your little fans, dressed in Chiefs RED to meet KC Wolf. We’ll cheer for the Chiefs and read from their brand new book, Kansas City Chiefs ABC’s and 123’s!

KC Wolf, the Kansas City Chief’s mascot, guides readers through a sturdy board book full of colorful characters, fun football words and an interactive push button playing Chiefs cheers.

Get your copy signed by KC Wolf during the fun, free event!

The Scissor Magician- Clay Rice

November Event Preview:

The Scissor Magician, Clay Rice

Clay Rice, Silhouette Artist is coming to The Learning Tree in November!We are pleased to announce The Learning Tree will welcome internationally acclaimed, multi-award winning, silhouette artist and children’s author, Clay Rice for two days in November.

Friday, Nov. 6th at Park Place

Saturday, Nov. 7th at Corinth Square

Clay will share his award winning books in a special, musical Storytime, and be available for silhouette portrait appointments on both days.

With a few snips of Clay’s magic scissors, a silhouette becomes a timeless memory. Framed, a silhouette of your child becomes a treasured gift.

A Silhouette by Clay Rice is a Timeless Keepsake

Clay is a charming, gifted artist. We met Clay on our summer visit to South Carolina for the Astra Toy Market and have carried his books in the stores for years. He creates keepsake silhouettes, writes beautiful children’s books, tells stories, sings and plays guitar- talk about talent! We were so pleased when he found an open date for a trip to Kansas City to share his artistry.

Read more about Clay here.

Clay estimates that in his nearly 33 year career, he has cut almost one million silhouettes!

In fact, he is currently on his  “One Millionth Silhouette Tour”  anticipating cutting that millionth any day, with lots of fanfare and prizes going to the lucky subject!  This rare artform is a Rice family tradition spanning three generations and two artists.

The Stick by Clay RiceClay is the recipient of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and the IPPY Award for Children’s Book of the Year.

His latest book, The Stick, tells the story of a young boy who finds a stick on the ground. After reading the inspiring words carved into it, his life begins to change as he fulfills lifelong dreams and discovers the truth about giving.

Clay Rice combines great talent with soul and passion. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to meet this legendary artist, author and storyteller.

Book your silhouette portrait appointment by calling 913 385-1234 or stop by our Corinth location. [Read more…]

Dino O’Dell is a hit with Learning Tree Fans!

Kids Loved Dino O'Dell's performance at The Learning Tree in Corinth SquareWow! What a crowd we had for our friend, KC children’s entertainer, Dino O’Dell. We started off the week with a crowd of over 100 packed in the store. Kiddos, moms and dads, and grandparents were jumpin’ and jivin’. Dino invited everybody to participate as he read his new book Zar and the Broken Spaceship. Kids pushed imaginary buttons with their fingers , elbows, toes, and bottoms to help Zar fix his spaceship.

If you missed Dino last Monday, don’t despair! He’s coming back to The Learning Tree in Park Place this Tuesday, September 29th at 10:30. If you enjoyed him on Monday, come back for more. We’re always happy to see our friends happy and clapping to Dino’s tunes.

Dino O’Dell is coming to The Learning Tree Stores in September!

Early Learning through Books, Dino O’Dell Knows!

Dino O'Dell performs free at The Learning Tree stores.

Dino O’Dell is a favorite Kansas City children’s performer with a background in education and drama. Chances are you might have seen him perform at your local library or maybe he has even visited your child’s school. I was impressed by a simple quote he uses to describe what his goals are as he creates music, sing-a-longs and stories.

“We learn best when we are engaged and we are engaged best when the medium is interactive.” – Dino O’Dell

Dino O’Dell is including both of The Learning Tree stores in his stops around town to share his  newest children’s book project titled Zar and the Broken Spaceship.


Monday Sept. 21, 10:30am Corinth Square Storytime and Sing-a-long with Dino O’Dell,

Tuesday Sept. 29, 10:30am Park Place Special Storytime and Sing-a-long with Dino O’Dell.

Dino knows the rhythms of his catchy, repeating story, with the modern Hokey Pokey actions, will pull kids right in.  What seems like a simple children’s book, provides learning about language patterns, and opportunity for predicting and coordinating body movements from written commands.  All kinds of learning is happening!

New research unveiling the benefits of early exposure to books is constantly being published in the fields of education, psychology, sociology and pediatrics. In 2014,

Frontiers, an open-access, academic network publisher, introduced the following topic:

An Open Book: What and How Young Children Learn From Picture and Storybooks.

A worldwide invitation was issued for submission of articles that uncover how and what, pre-reading children learn from books. Twenty-two articles were collected and published with the intent of providing a body of information for educators, researchers and parents interested in children’s learning. The articles cover a wide range of sub-topics including the value of book illustrations, children’s books as a resource for culturally appropriate emotions, and teaching math with children’s literature.

Books can be part of all kinds of learning and influence behavior in surprising ways. One article titled Let’s look at leeks! Picture books increase toddlers’ willingness to look at, taste and consume unfamiliar vegetables (Heath, Houston-Price and Kennedy, 2014) made a surprising connection between book exposure and eating habits. Shared storybook reading is part of bedtime routine for many families.  A study conducted by Williams and Horst (2014) indicates it may have more value than previously recognized.

Research indicated that reading immediately before a period of sleep facilitates preschool children’s word learning. And more good news, the same is true in studies conducted with older children and adults! Sharing books is an enjoyable adult-child activity. Books are wonderful tools for learning and teaching. They can celebrate milestones- losing a first tooth, starting kindergarten or the arrival of a new sibling. Books can support difficult conversations surrounding divorce, illness or loss.

Our knowledgeable Learning Tree staff and exceptional Book Manager, Beth Roberts, are always happy to make book recommendations and welcome your requests. You may reach us at 913-385-1234.

Sunday September 13th is Grandparents Day

In honor of Grandparents Day this Sunday, Sept. 13th…

Come see us this Sunday, show us a photo of your grandkids and we’ll give you a 10% discount on your entire purchase. Or, better yet, bring your grandchildren in to see us!

AND we found a great resource for you from

Make Some Memories: 100 Free Things to Do with Your Grandchildren

Grandparents, through the years we have developed a special relationship with many of you at The Learning Tree. It’s our goal to help you enjoy the process of expressing your love and caring through gift giving. But, you don’t just shop with us, you keep us up to date on who has lost a tooth, who you’re going to visit, and who’s been making mischief. We know lots of your grandkids, and feel like we even know the grandchildren we haven’t met!

What we’ve found is that often grandparents are looking for a toy or activity they can share with their grandchildren to enhance the time they spend with each other.  Remembering my grandmother, I think about the cake tin filled with fabric scraps, buttons and thread she gave me. I sat for hours with her and my great-grandmother. They showed me how to thread a needle, how to make stitches and how to sew on buttons. Memories are made of the things that we do with the people we love.

When tested a sweepstakes to win $5,000 for a grandchild’s education as an incentive to sign up for their free weekly email, a download on their website titled “100 Free Things to Do with Your Grandchildren” outperformed the sweepstakes.  Grandparents want the opportunity for time to play, to discover, to teach, to create, and to nurture their grandchildren.

We looked over that list of 100 and found some great ideas for projects and games. Take a look yourself and maybe have some fun with #9, tips on how to make a soda bottle bowling alley, or #77, how to make a time capsule with your granddaughter, or use the recipe for #57 to make a batch of colored clay for the whole gang.

Make some memories!

Click here for the printable list

* is a website sponsored by the American Grandparents Association. The AGA “connects and nurtures Families, taking care of the needs unique to America’s 70 million grandparents.”