SHOUT IT OUT!

Hello! We had a week off from storytime but now we are back! Since we had a bit of a break I thought it might be good to have a nice loud, interactive, energetic storytime so I picked  “Sound” as my theme.

wee ooh wee ooh wee ooh

wee ooh wee ooh wee ooh

You know, not all noises and sounds are loud, some are quiet. I found a really neat prezi while poking around online looking for inspiration which you can view hereI thought about playing it during storytime, but we just don’t have a great setup for media viewing/listening in the storytime room for large groups so I opted against it. During this storytime, my plan was to both read some stories with sounds that kids can help me make, but also do lots of less structured sound “activities”. I think that the books I picked really lend themselves to being read out loud and together which is exactly what I wanted to do. The books I chose were “Dog’s Noisy Day” by Emma Dodd, “Shout! Shout it out!” by Denise Flemming, and “Too Much Noise” by Ann McGovern.

I started off both sessions with a sound themed welcome rhyme:

Noises Noises

Quietly I look around;
I listen and I hear a sound.

Loudly Loudly clapping clapping;
Loudly Loudly tapping tapping.

Stamping stamping on the ground;
Such loud noises all around.

Now quietly I look around;
I listen but I hear no sounds.

Quiet, no more clapping clapping.
Quiet, no more tapping tapping.

No more stamping on the ground.
No more noises, no more sound.

I got the idea for this rhyme, and a couple lines, from here

After welcoming them, I started right in to the books. I did a very basic flannel board for “Too Much Noise” and put up pictures of each animal mentioned in the book, I had originally wanted to make a large house outline to put up on the board and then put the animals inside but wasn’t able to decide on how to go about doing it so I skipped it, maybe some other time. They still seemed to enjoy even the basic flannel so that’s good. The story repeats the list of animals and their noises a lot so as I was reading I would have the kids make the noises for me; it’s a great exercise in memory too because the list gets longer and longer but many of the kids would remember the next noise and start making it even before I said the next animal!

During my Monday evening session I had a rather large group so we made some pretty good noise, Thursday morning was a bit smaller and quieter, but still lots of fun! I was, of course, a bit nervous that I might be asking for trouble by asking them to make lots of noise and then also expect them to pay attention, but they were great! The end of the book was a great way to wrap things up and quiet them down again by lowering my voice and reading the last few lines rather quietly to both emphasize and demonstrate the story as well as signal to the kids that it’s time to be quiet again. For “Shout! Shout it out!” I asked the kids to help me read the book. I first talked quietly and whispered and asked them what kind of sound I was making, was it quiet or loud? Then I spoke very loudly and asked again if I was quiet or loud, they were very quick to recognize volumes so I then explained to them that I was going to need them to help me by using their LOUD voices to shout it out if they knew it as we read. I opened the book and we all began shouting and counting and reading out ABCs. I turned the pages slowly and asked them to guess what might be coming next. “What might be on the next page that we can shout about?” sometimes it was easy to guess because a few pages shared themes; cars, planes, buses, but sometimes it was hard when it jumped from animals to colors and so on. This book is not only great for making noise (LOTS of noise) but it’s an excellent tool to help them begin to recognize words and begin or enhance their reading skills.

My last book was “Dog’s Noisy Day” and I think it’s a super cute book. This was a much more passive story and the kids mostly sat quietly for this one though they did certainly help make animal noises for me. We encountered a lot of the same animals in this book as we did in the first book so we got to practice their noises again. One of the animals that makes an appearance in both books is a donkey; adorably, most kids had NO IDEA what noise a donkey makes and giggled hysterical when I taught them! 😀

After we finished our books, we practiced making more sound. I asked them how they could use their body to make sounds and they demonstrated with a cacophony of claps, and whistles, and yelps, and squeals. I told them that you can also use your body to interact with sound in another way and asked them what part of their body they use to hear those sounds we just made; I’ve got some smart cookies in both groups and they all knew that you listen with your ears. After we’d established that apparently well known fact 😉 I told them that sounds aren’t always loud and we talked about some of the sounds in the books and how most of them were LOUD but some were quiet and then I got out a few noisemakers and made a variety of sounds. Some sounds, such as shaking a bean bag, were quiet, but some sounds, like the tambourine, were loud! I handed out the noisemakers and we fine tuned our fine (and gross) motor skills by practicing quiet sounds. Making a quiet sound with something that’s designed to make lots of sound takes some skill in problem solving and concentration as well as creativity, but the kids were great at figuring out how to use the noisemakers to be quiet. Once we ran out of ways to be quiet, we burned off some energy and made lots of loud noise in as many silly ways as we could think up; noise on our toes, noise with our right hands, noise with our left hands, some behind our backs and we even shared noises and traded noisemakers so we all got the chance to make different sounds.

I loved this storytime and so did the kids; I even had a few parents comment about how much they enjoyed it and how different and entertaining it was. I thought I had heard some adult voices and hands making noise, and that confirmed it. 🙂

I ended storytime with my normal goodbye rhyme which the kids are basically pros at by this point and then I passed out a flyer announcing our new Family Pajama Storytime. Unfortunately it had the day of the week listed incorrectly and said that it was during one of my weekly sessions and even though we caught it pretty quickly, some slipped out before I could correct it so I think I’m gonna have to plan a sleep/bedtime theme just in case. 😉

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All you need is love…

row-of-hearts-1

As I’m sure you are aware, this week is Valentine’s Day; and to think I didn’t know what my theme would be. (duh) Love, love, love. Today I donned my heart and soul shirt, some sparkly shoes, and my red cardigan and prepared myself for a festive, love filled storytime.

This session started off, as usual, with our Welcome rhyme; lately, I’ve been trying to engage the kids a bit more during the rhyme by asking them what comes next, or doing it our of order and seeing if they can help me, but today I got myself so confused that we ended up skipping a few parts, oops! Hah It’s still cool to see that there are more and more kids that are remembering more and more of the rhyme; yay, learning!

After the rhyme, it was time to take our seats and read our stories. I like the idea of just promoting valentines day a celebration of love instead of specifically “valentines” so I picked two books about love and one about valentines day.

I started off both sessions with “Bear in Love” by Daniel Pinkwater, then moved on to “When a Dad Says ‘I Love You'” by Douglas WoodThen did a counting rhyme and finished off with “Louanne Pig in the Mysterious Valentine” by Nancy CarlsonI fell in love with “Bear in Love” as soon as I opened it. I wasn’t thrilled about performing all the singing parts, but the story is so cute and the illustrations are wonderful so it’s worth the silly singing. The kids were so proud of themselves for recognizing the long, pointy, orange things that  Bear found, (duh, Bear, carrots!) and had a lot of fun guessing what Bear would wake up and find each morning or who was leaving him these gifts.
The second story is also very sweet, I was a bit worried that some kids wouldn’t connect with it since it is a bit more “father / son” themed, but they seemed to like it and I heard many exclamations of “we play tickle monster!” or “I’d make two stops for cookies” and so on. 🙂
I think they had the most fun with the last book though. It’s a clever book in that it never really does give you the answer, directly, but I heard many gasps as I turned to the last page and they all noticed a pig with a curly tail and green pen. MYSTERIOUS! It’s so fun to watch them put the clues together and figure it out.

All three books lent themselves rather well to interacting with the kids during the story which is always good. They get to feel more involved and you can sneak in some learning while having a lot of fun.

The rhyme we did was a counting rhyme; I’m not usually thrilled with counting rhymes as they all seem to be too similar and get a bit redundant, but this one was fun! We counted forwards, and backwards, and even did some math with some adding and subtracting! Skills!

First, I had them get out their wiggly little counting fingers and get ready to put them to use. I held up six fingers and asked if anybody could tell me how many were were going to count to, of course they all shouted “SIX!” so we practiced; they’re excellent counters, then, I started the rhyme.

Six Little Valentines

Six little Valentines were sent to my house,
The first one said, “I love you, From Mouse.”
Five little Valentines in my mailbox,
The second one said, “Be mine, Love Fox.”
Four little Valentines full of love,
The third one said, “You are sweet, From Dove.”
Three little Valentines just for me,
The fourth one said, “Be my honey, Love Bee.”
Two little Valentine’s mailed with care,
The fifth one said, “Here’s a hug, From Bear.”
The last little Valentine, from my friend Jay,
This one said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

I took this right from Storytime Katie I didn’t do the flannel the same though, I made regular old valentines day cards and then put the phrases inside with a picture of each animal. I put them up on the flannel board as I read the rhyme, then opened them as I read the part about what they said / who they were from. After each addition to the board, I asked how many valentines I’d opened so far and how many I had left. The kids couldn’t see the cards that weren’t on the board so they had to use their powers of memory AND math to figure it out. They did REALLY well and I think some of the parents were even impressed with them. 🙂 After the rhyme finished, I read the Louanne book since the valentines all tied in to that story and then I asked them if they had anybody they’d like to give a valentine to. Most said things like grandma or papa or mom or dad and so on, but a few were really cute in their answers about certain best friends or siblings, one boy even said he wanted to make a card for his 86 year old neighbor. (cue collective awwwww). After they all got their answers out, we headed back to the craft room to make some cards!

I love watching how free and creative they are with their creations. Yes, my valentine cards were folded, typical cards, but lots of kids chose to fold it differently or not at all.  The craft gave them a chance to practice their writing of letters and words, as well as helped develop and perfect fine motor skills by holding crayons to write or glue sticks to glue. They’re having a ton of fun, but they’re also learning and growing. (sneaky!)

You could certainly feel the love in the room too what with all the sharing and helping I saw going on. You always want to try to have enough “stations” set up for crafts with all the different materials accessible from any part of the room so nobody has to go hunting around for whatever they need, but regardless of how close at hand the different size heart cutouts were, or glue sticks, or all the different color crayons,  kids were happy to ask nicely if they could borrow something or if the person nearest could help by passing them their needed item; I even saw some helping one another fold paper for their cards because some jobs are a bit too big for one set of little hands to handle. We counted little hearts on their cards, I asked them what letters they were writing and what colors they used and they were all thrilled to answer and show me each time they added something new “Look! Now I have 6 hearts on my card!”

This craft went over well with both the girls as well as the boys. I was a bit concerned that the boys would not be super thrilled with the girly frou-frou heart stuff, but I had blue, white, and purple paper for them to use if they didn’t want to use pink or red and most of the kids simply used whatever paper they liked best with little to no regard to “boy colors” or “girl colors” which is always nice to see. Some kids didn’t even use hearts and just opted to decorate with various foam stickers and crayons which is equally awesome. Yay, creativity! 😀

By the end of the craft, I watched many sweet little cards begin their journeys to their lucky recipients and I had also been lucky enough to have garnered quite the collection of adorable little cards. Now to find a place to put them all!

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Sorry, suitors, too slow.

In conclusion:

the-beatles-all-you-need-is-love

love is all, love is all

p.s. Happy 50th to those who reminded us that all you need is love, and love to the parents to made sure I knew that. 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

A Whole BOATLOAD of Tacos.

This week’s storytime theme:

food_glorious_food_by_cjmlgrto-d49b3q8

There are SO MANY awesome picture books about food that I had a terrible time narrowing it down. After stumbling across what are probably some of my new favorite books,  I knew that I couldn’t not do “Dragons Love Tacos” or “Secret Pizza Party” both by Adam Rubin. They are not only hilarious or wonderfully illustrated, but they’re written in a way that makes for a very natural flow when reading aloud. I wanted to do a flannel board for at least one of them, and I had hoped two, but I was obviously a bit too ambitious and ended up doing only a modified flannel board to go along with the reading of “Dragons Love Tacos”, but I liked it. (see below for photos)

The parents seemed to enjoy the books as well, which is always good; this author / illustrator duo write /draw  in a way that appeals not just to kids, but to anybody with even a mildly decent sense of humor.

Both of the stories have great narratives, but also encourage kids to use their memory and context clues to try to figure out what might happen next as well as give them a chance to talk about and share some of their favorite or least favorite foods which, as we’ve discussed before, builds confidence and camaraderie and as preschoolers, it’s the perfect age to do so.

After the first two books, we did an active rhyme that, I think, is a fun little twist on the typical “Five Little _____” rhymes. This rhyme has a lot of good actions that go along with it; counting, rolling their arms / hands, and at one point they even have to clap then point in one swift action. It’s great practice for coordination, and they were pros.


Five big cookies

Five big cookies sitting in the bowl. (hold up five fingers then make arms into a circle for the bowl)
One fell out and started to roll. (Fold up one finger, and roll hands)
It fell off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies sitting in the bowl? 1-2-3-4 (Count fingers)
Four big cookies sitting in the bowl. (hold up four fingers)

Continue to count down until there are no cookies left.

I found the original version in various blogs and, once again, tweaked it a bit to my taste. The kids seemed to have a pretty good time rolling their arms and hands fast and slow and were were excellent clappers and pointers. A lot of times with these “5 Little” rhymes, I’ll do it once as “5 little” and then ask if they can do “10 little” or higher, but today I didn’t since we had some longer books and this rhyme was a bit more involved and longer than the usual ones, but they kept suggesting we do 10 or 50! I chuckled and said that there weren’t any more cookies in the bowl, but that I had stashed some in the cupboard for later. One kid then mumbled “That guy has got to keep better track of his cookies” which got a good laugh out of me.

After the rhyme, we did one last book. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” by Judi BarrettIt’s a bit of a longer book, and the illustrations, while detailed, are not very vibrant and somewhat hard to see for large groups so I wasn’t sure how well it would go over. I warned them before I started that it was kind of long but they all wanted to hear it so we went ahead. Lots of parts garner responses of “EW!” or “YUCK!” and some even get kids to speak up saying “I love ___” or “That sounds good!” which is always fun, but it made for an even LONGER read!

After we finished, I could tell we had run over our usual time and some of the kids had gotten a bit antsy and left but the group that stayed, which was most of them, were still quite interested in telling me all about their favorite foods or what they really hate to eat. Sadly, I had to cut them all a bit short since we were quite past our stop time so we said our goodbyes and they all filed out of the room.

I  really enjoyed this storytime and I’m excited to see what my Thursday session has in store for me!

UPDATE
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Whoo boy, Thursday’s session was a real busy one! There were around 40 people in attendance and they had SO much to share about food they loved! For some reason, this group seemed to want to be much more interactive wwith the stories and books and frequently shouted out things they noticed on the pages or came up to point out the weird pictures during “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”  I decided to switch the order up a bit and do that one first since it’s a bit longer and hoped that would make it easier to pay attention when it was at the beginning of storytime, but different days, different crowds. They still seemed to quite enjoy it, even if they were wriggly.  After that book, I jumped right into “5 Big Cookies” this group LOVED it. They giggled and laughed and rolled like mad!

After burning off some energy, I got back to the books. They were much quieter and more focused for the last two books which is nice because instead of having to make sure everybody can see and hear, it gives me a chance to interact more directly with them; ask the questions about what they see and hear or if they can use context clues in the story to guess what happens next. It’s great practice for them, and always fun to hear the responses.

The Taco Flannel went over quite well and when we were done reading the books and I started asking them about their favorite foods, one kid said “I like the taco board” and pointed to the flannel, so, I pulled it back out and we played a memory game!

I put the check mark and the “no” sign back up on the board and I asked them if they could name something RED that dragons like on their tacos, then something RED that dragons DO NOT like on their tacos and so on until we had put all the ingredients and salsa back up on the board.

I love being able to interact with the kids instead of just expecting them to sit down, be quiet, and listen. I think it makes storytime more fun, less stressful and more free-flowing, and it’s excellent for them.

Here are the things I made for the “Dragons Love Tacos” Flannel board. As I said earlier, I was overly ambitious with the idea and lacked both time and patience to pull it off and had to resort to making things on the computer with clipart and paint and printing them out, but I think it still worked quite well. The kids loved it. 

Great Big Tacos and tiny little baby tacos

Great Big Tacos
and tiny little baby tacos

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These are totally ok for dragons tacos

These are totally ok for dragons tacos

Dragons DO NOT like spicy salsa

Dragons DO NOT like spicy salsa

Buckets of tacos

Buckets of tacos

Pantloads of tacos

Pantloads of tacos

BOATLOADS of tacos

BOATLOADS of tacos

you need approximately this amount of tacos to host a proper Dragon Taco Party.

you need approximately this amount of tacos to host a proper Dragon Taco Party.

I’ll be honest, I have NO IDEA what I want to do for the next theme so it’ll be a surprise to us both when I post next week!

Any suggestions?!  😉

Seeing Shadows at Storytime!

With Groundhog day behind us, and 6 more weeks of winter ahead of us (sorry, spoilers) I present to you a 3 Story Act (or is it 3 act story?) By a co-worker of mine, Bethany, who was kind enough to guest blog about a recent program she hosted at the library.

Her program did a wonderful job of integrating the Common Core Standards of Speaking and Listening comprehension and collaboration by giving them a chance to “evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.” as well as Common Core Standards of Speaking and Listening presentation of knowledge and ideas 

Here’s what she had to say.

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I adore making silhouettes. It is an art form that combines simplicity with sophistication, depending on the intricacy of the detail you choose to incorporate into the paper cutouts. There is something marvelously intriguing about the mystery of a shadow. Looking at something’s silhouette, you cannot quite tell who it is or make out all the details of that figure’s appearance, so you just look at the outline and fill in the gaps with your imagination.

I had to find a way to make silhouettes part of a craft and/or storytelling activity for children. So when the chance came for me to plan my first ever youth services program (WOOHOO!), I was thinking about doing some sort of program for a holiday, and BAM—I realized that Groundhog Day fell on a weekend (the library’s busiest time) this year, and would provide the perfect context for planning a program about SHADOWS.

I decided to present a “Shadow Puppet Theater” by telling children some stories about groundhogs, using a cast of black paper silhouette characters I made. I made my puppet theater itself out of a big cardboard box. Cut out the bottom and lay it on its side. Make the screen by covering the opening with a large piece of white paper. Leave two of the boxes flaps open on the side to create “curtains” for the stage. I covered the flaps with sparkly gold material, and draped a sheer red scarf over the “screen” for a stage curtain. I set a small battery operated lantern inside the theater behind the screen to provide the illumination for the props. I taped a line of black construction paper at the bottom of the white paper to hide my hands from view as I operated the characters. I also taped a few wintry trees to the white paper for a stock background for my stories, which all had a similar setting. You can only hold onto so many characters on sticks at once, so choose simple stories that do not require many actions or characters or scenery needing to be used at once. I memorized three stories to tell: Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox by Susan Blackaby, Groundhog Stays Up Late by Margery Cuyler, and Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts. I also set up a bunch of groundhog storybooks for parents and kids to check out in case they wanted more. It is my personal philosophy to tie every library program I do back to reading and promoting the library collection.

The coolest thing about this program was that it gave kids the chance to both listen to stories and to create their own. We talked about what Groundhog Day was, and then they all sat in the dark and watched me perform the stories. I think the unusual mode of storytelling was what captured and held their attention! Even though I actually forgot to ever lift the sheer red curtain off the white screen, no one noticed. In the dark, the light still shone through the screen and enabled everyone to see the characters, and one parent even commented later that the curtain created a neat illusory effect in the theater. Note to self here: in future, if you mess up any part of a performance, don’t make a big deal out of it. Act natural and run with it, even if you have to go in a different direction than planned. Many times people only catch on to a mistake if you draw attention to it!

Kids love making shadow puppets with their hands, and that kind of storytelling provides a great way for them to practice fingerplay and other hand movement coordination. That could be another programming option I use in future. But this time, having kids make shadow puppet silhouettes out of black construction paper gave them a chance to get crafty. The supplies for this craft are simple, but the fine motor skills involved help them practice some detail-oriented skills like tracing and cutting out shapes. I provided a few cardstock animal/object templates (the dinosaur proved to be a kid favorite) for tracing, but also encouraged kids to draw their own silhouette characters. Once they cut out their silhouettes, all the kids had to do was tape them to a craft stick and head for the shadow puppet theater to test out their creations.

I think the kids had even more fun with the craft part of the program because it let them be in charge of performing. They loved taking turns using the puppet theater to show off their cutouts and many of them even started telling their own stories, either mumbling to themselves or talking to the onlookers. Some kids even collaborated with each other. It feels great to be able to say that my first program turned out to be a wonderful way to combine watching and listening, creating and participating, storytelling and crafting for children.

~Bethany Boutin Youth Services Library Intern

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I helped out with the program (sorta) so I was able to sneak in some pictures as she performed; It was really cool! The pictures don’t do it justice, and there was a good crowd in attendance, but not too big, which was good considering it wouldn’t have been easy for them all to see. From what I could gather, it went over fabulously and the kids really got into it both during, and after when they were able to go perform with their newly created silhouette characters!

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Bethany Boutin performing Double Trouble Groundhog Day by Bethany Roberts.

Time to make our own!

Time to make our own!

all you need are some good shapes...

all you need are some good shapes…

black paper, white crayons, scissors, and sticks to attach the cutouts to.

black paper, white crayons, scissors, and sticks to attach the cutouts to.

AHHH! MONSTERS!

As promised last week, This week’s theme is:

MONSTERS!

I was really looking forward to this one, but also a bit worried; this was my first time doing a craft with storytime so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I planned for a slightly shorter storytime followed by crafting craziness and hoped it would work well.

For this storytime I made another flannel board (I kinda love making them) and I am again, quite proud of how it turned out. It’s a lot less detailed than Rainbow fish, but still pretty cool. We did “Go Away, Big Green Monster” by Ed Emberly . It’s a great read aloud book for a crowd, or for one on one, and it translates perfectly to flannel boards.

pieces of a big green monster

Pieces of a big green monster

big green monster looking kind of scared

Big Green Monster looking kind of scared

GO AWAY, BIG GREEN MONSTER!

GO AWAY, BIG GREEN MONSTER!

The flannel board was a huge hit again and they all had fun guessing what bits of the big green monster were going to go away next and yelled “GO AWAY NOSE” and “GO AWAY EYES”. It’s always fun when we get to one of the last parts and they think the mouth goes away next, but instead, the face goes away! (WHAT?!) so then there are just two, big, yellow eyes and a big, red mouth with chompy teeth sitting on the flannel board and the kids all thought it was pretty funny to see that.

This was the kids' favorite part to see; just some eyes and some teeth, pretty silly

This was the kids’ favorite part to see; just some eyes and some teeth, pretty silly.

It was also a big hit for me. Flannel face for EVERYTHING!

It was also a big hit for me.
Flannel face for EVERYTHING!

Hours of amusement.  Honestly.

Hours of amusement.
Honestly.

I also had a couple other books lined up in case they were feeling extra bookish, and turns out, they were! In both sessions we read all three books, did the monster dance, AND made monster masks! Whew! I even had one boy in my Thursday session ask, after three books, if there were more books!

After the big green monster it was time for “Go to Bed, Monster!” by Natasha Wing. I LOVED reading this book! You get to say a bunch of silly, growly words as the monster, and you get to get all huffy and do some eye rolling as Lucy. It’s a cute story, and the kids were HOOKED. I looked around and they were all glued to the book, silent and still. I ended the book and they all just sort of sat there, looking sleepy, which was perfect because my plan was to read that book, then talk about waking up and doing some dancing. Next up was the “Monster Stomp”

“Monster Dance”

If you want to be a monster, here’s your chance.
‘Cause everybody’s doing the monster dance.

You just stomp your feet and wave your arms around. (Stomp, wave arms.)
Stretch ‘em up high, (Stretch arms.) then put them on the ground. ( hands on the floor.)
Now you’re doing the monster stomp. (Stomp feet.)
That’s right!
Now You’re doing the monster stomp. (Stomp feet.)

If you want to be a monster, here’s your chance.
‘Cause everybody’s doing the monster dance.
Show off your teeth then chomp them down (chomp teeth)
Then roar real loud and spin around (roar and spin)
Now you’re doing the monster stomp. (Stomp feet.)
That’s right!
Now You’re doing the monster stomp. (Stomp feet.)

If you want to be a monster, here’s your chance.
‘Cause everybody’s doing the monster dance.

This was cute to watch, and the parents seemed to get a good chuckle out of it as well, no doubt some of it at my expense, but that’s fine. (hey, I don’t spin as well as I used to )

After roaring, and spinning, and chomping, we read one more book: “Monster Hug” by David Stein. I like the illustrations in the book, but it is kind of quick and might have a difficult time holding their attention if they aren’t feeling it, my groups both did ok though.

After the books and monster stomping, it was time to go crazy and make some sweet monster masks!

The premise for this was quite basic; I put out paper plates and large popsicle sticks / tongue depressors and a few different crafty supplies (crayons, markers, foam shape stickers, pipe cleaners, and pom poms) I gave them glue and told them to go wild!

It might just look like lots of fun, and it totally is, but it’s also a wonderful way to learn!
Not only are crafts often awesome sensory play, but you can often integrate many of the common core standards as well. for example, while the children were creating, I walked around and talked with many of them about what shapes they were putting on their monster if they were using the foam stickers, or if their monster was two or three dimensional; dimensions are still a concept that is typically beyond their learning level and comprehension as far as preschool goes, but not by too much and some children will pick up on it. Talking about  shapes and dimensions introduces Geometry which is part of the common core standards. You are also giving them the chance to exercise their language skills by asking them to talk about their monster and how they’ve decided to decorate it, this covers most of the Anchor Standards of Speaking and Listening’s  Comprehension and Collaboration as well as Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas.

RAWR!

RAWR!

Ooohhh, scary!

Ooohhh, scary!

Not only did the kids have a riot making the masks, but lots of parents talked to me about the craft, why we do them, and how much they liked it. This gave me a great opportunity to tell them why I chose the crafts and books and inform them that not only are they fun activities, but they are interactive, not just as far as common core standards go, but also present the kids with a chance to practice social skills with other people their age or adults. It’s a great way to build relationships and strengthen self confidence.

And, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want an excuse to have some fun crafting?

As Much as I’d love to do another craft next week, I think I should mix it up a bit and try something else. Maybe TWO flannel board stories?!

Then again, I don’t know, that sounds like a lot of work, and working hard always makes me pretty hungry.

download

om nom nom nom

makes for an excellent Rabbit of Caerbannog sweater.

Turns out, it also makes for an excellent Rabbit of Caerbannog sweater.