C is for Colleen and that’s good enough for me.

Ok, I lied, C is for Cookie is how Cookie Monster sings it, but I always liked changing it to my name because I thought it was pretty cool.

funny-gif-Cookie-Monster-surprised

 

I was on vacation for last weeks Thursday session and this week’s Monday session so there was some mixin’ up going on. Right before I left we were approached by some people involved in a “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” production who wanted to come in and do a storytime but I wasn’t sure which session they’d attend so it was a little up in the air theme wise this week. They ended up coming and doing the Monday session so their theme was cookies that evening where my co-worker then did rhymes and songs about cookies before they made a paper plate mouse craft to go with “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”. When I came in on Thursday I didn’t have a set plan for theme but then I heard that we had been generously given 4 tickets to the production to give away so I figured I should do something at least mildly cookie related. I ended up going with a theme of The Letter “C”.

I read the books:

The Police Cloud” by Christoph Niemann 

Cat Tale” by Michael Hall

and, of course, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff

The Letter C puzzle flannel which I shamelessly stole from Storytime Katie is what I used to kick off our storytime. I told the kids that I forgot what my theme was for storytime and though I brought a puzzle to remind me, the pieces were all jumbled and I’d need their help to figure it out. Each piece had something that began with the letter C on it which I held up and had them tell me what it was. My puzzle contained

cookies
caterpillar
cat
cow
cupcake
crayons
candy cane

 

c puzzle

I put them up on the board somewhat in the shape of the letter, but not too close so it wouldn’t give it away and then I had them help me move them to their proper places. I was silly about it by putting them in the wrong spots and upside down and it all got some good laughs. I was actually quite surprised at just how well they did. I had a huge group, over 70, so I obviously couldn’t have them come up and help physically so I was worried that it wouldn’t go well with them just vocally helping me but it did! I wish I could have made the puzzle a bit bigger so it’d be easier to see, but unfortunately our printer won’t print on very large paper.  :/

As soon as the puzzle was together they IMMEDIATELY got what I was going for and we figured out what our storytime was about, yay!

I then told them with my hands that we’d be reading a

BOOK

about The Letter “C”

The first book was we did was The Police Cloud. It was a cute book and turned out to be a great book for me to ask the kids questions after and sometimes during and the kids even asked me a few without having me solicit them to! One girl asked how the cloud put the fire out, so we went back and looked at that page and talked about the picture and came up with a few possible scenarios as to how it may have happened. It was a simple story but turned out to be quite engaging.

Between my first and second book I did down around the corner at the bakery shop which I also did during my Money Smart Storytime but it’s fun and the kids like it so why not put it to good use.

Down around the corner at the Bakery Shop

Down around the corner at the Bakery Shop
(tap hands on knees in rhythm or move arms down and over with “down around the corner”)

Were 5 little cookies with sprinkles on top
(hold up 5 fingers then “sprinkle fingers”)

Along came someone with a nickel to pay
(hold up nickel flannel piece and replace cookie on board with nickel)

They bought a little cookie and ate it right away
(pretend to eat cookie)

CONTINUE WITH 4, 3, 2, AND 1

Down around the corner at the Bakery Shop
(tap hands on knees in rhythm or move arms down and over with “down around the corner”)

Were no little cookies with sprinkles on top
(hold arms up and shake head no)

Along came someone with a nickel to pay
But they had to come back another day

 

After our first rhyme, I read our next book, in fact, kids started calling out “Read another book!” after we finished our rhyme. haha. Though I do plan an outline for each storytime so I’m not fumbling around deciding if I should read a book or do a flannel in the middle of the storytime, I do often try to include the kids in the decision making as much as I can so if I know that I can easily switch a book for a flannel or if I have 2 books that would each work equally as well order wise I’ll often ask which they prefer. This time I didn’t even have to. Up next was Cat Tale and let me tell you, I fell in love with that book. it’s such a fun and silly read! The illustrations are big and bold and the words and the way it was written just crack me up. I was a tad bit worried that I’d have trouble reading it as it can get quite twisty at times, but no problem at all! I do think that it’s one of those books that you really have to get into if you want it to come across well, if you just sit there and read the words on the page, it loses the silliness.

I also used the Cat Tale book to ask lots of memory and observational questions, mostly about color since there were so many big blocks of it. “Can you tell me something that you saw that was blue?”  I obviously had certain things in my head that I figured they’d say, but they always surprised me by remembering random or little things that were whatever color. Kids are impressive!

After that it was on to our next active rhyme. I told them that one of my favorite fruits were cherries and then we talked about what color sherries were. I asked them if they’d ever seen purple cherries, or green cherries, or blue cherries which they all giggled no to but then I tried to trick them and asked if they’d ever seen yellow cherries, most of them giggled again and said no, but one kid yelled “YES! I HAVE!” haha. Then I said we were going to pretend to pick some cherries by doing a rhyme; Four Red Cherries. I found it here and changed it a bit and added a couple verses to make it a bit longer for the older kids. The kids helped me out by performing the actions as we said them and counting on their fingers. When we finished one kid asked what we should do with all the cherries and one kid suggested we throw them in the trash but then another shouted “I’ll eat them!” 😛

Four Red Cherries

Four red cherries on the tree,
Two for you and two for me.
So WIGGLE that tree and watch them fall.
One, two, three, four -that is all.

Four red cherries on the tree,
Two for you and two for me.
So CLAP at that tree and watch them fall.
One, two, three, four -that is all.

Four red cherries on the tree,
Two for you and two for me.
So BLOW on that tree and watch them fall.
One, two, three, four -that is all.

OH! I JUST NOW remembered that I had intended to do the other cookie rhyme I really like but totally forgot. bummer. Oh well, here it is in case anybody wants to use it.

Five Big Cookies

Five big cookies sitting in the bowl. (hold up five fingers)
One fell out and started to roll. (roll hands)
It bounced off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies now sitting in the bowl? 1-2-3-4 (Count fingers)
Four big cookies sitting in the bowl. (hold up four fingers)
One fell out and started to roll. (roll hands)
It bounced off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies sitting in the bowl? 1-2-3 (Count fingers)
Three, big cookies sitting in the bowl. (hold up three fingers)
One fell out and started to roll. (roll hands)
It bounced off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies sitting in the bowl? 1-2 (Count fingers)
Two, big cookies sitting in the bowl (hold up two fingers)
One fell out and started to roll. (roll hands)
It bounced off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies sitting in the bowl? 1-2-3 (Count fingers)
One big cookie sitting in the bowl. (hold up one fingers)
It fell out and started to roll. (roll hands)
It bounced off the table and hit my toe (clap once, and touch toes )
How many cookies sitting in the bowl? (Hold up one fingers)
No big cookies sitting in the bowl
They all fell out and started to roll (roll hands)
They bounced off the table and they hit my toes (clap once, and touch toes )
So don’t put those cookies back in the bowl (shake finger no) 

Original credit for this goes here, but I changed it up a bit for me.

Now, I quite like the “if you give a…” books so I had fun reading that one, but they aren’t really new and exciting books, but that’s ok!  While I do try to incorporate new and different books into my storytimes, it’s good to bring out an old favorite every once in a while. After we finished reading, I announced that we’d be giving out the tickets and then we headed back to the craft room for our craft. I had intended to do paper plate cookies with chocolate chips, but I couldn’t find the left over chocolate chips so I had to improvise and use sequins instead. It turned out just as fun though. I provided a paper plate, crayons, glue and sequins and let the kids each “bake” their own cookie.

I felt really good about this session even though it was rather last minute. hah. Sometimes you just have those sessions that even though it feels super planned and great, it doesn’t go well, and sometimes you really luck out and go in pretty blind and flustered and things just go fabulously. 🙂

We’re now on a storytime break as we gear up for summer reading. I’ve got lots of fun stuff planned though so stay tuned! 😀

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ROAR ROAR, DINOSAUR!

BYR94301B_z

Poor dino storytime kept getting bumped for other themes thanks to weather and being out sick but I finally did it! I was really excited to do dinosaurs because they’re fun! I mean, Who doesn’t like dinosaurs?! I had originally planned on doing a dinosaur paper bag puppet as our craft, but a co-worker had just finished another program where they used sandpaper to do cave wall paintings and they had some extra so I changed my storytime a bit to be dinosaurs and cavemen so that we could do cave paintings as a craft.

the books I read were “Dinosaur Zoom!” by Penny Dale , “The Somethingosaur” by Tony Milton, and “This Orq. (he cave boy)” by David Elliot and the BIG BOOK version of “Dinosaur, Dinosaur by Byron Barton.

I really liked “The Somethingosaur” I thought it was a really cute book and liked the rhythm it had to it. “Dinosaur Zoom!” has a lot of great noise and action words to it, but I found the actual text to be rather basic and not terribly entertaining, but the kids seemed to like it. As for “This Orq” I found it to be quite cute and funny when I read it the first time, but I don’t think the kids connected with it was much as I thought they would. I thought they’d find the fact that it’s written to be read as if a caveman were speaking with that classic broken language you find in caveman cartoons and such. “This Orq, he live in cave, he carry club, he cave boy.” “This Woma, Woma wolly mammoth. Orq love Woma.” but this didn’t elicit as many giggles as I’d hoped. Oh well.

Aside from the books, we did an interactive flannel

Five Enormous Dinosaurs

Five enormous dinosaurs, letting out a roar
One danced away and then there were four

dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance ROAR!

Four enormous dinosaurs crashing down a tree
One skipped away and then there were three

Skip, skip, skip, skip, skip, skip ROAR!

Three enormous dinosaurs eating yummy stew
One twirled away and then there were two

Twirl, twirl, twirl, twirl, twirl, twirl ROAR!

Two enormous dinosaurs resting in the sun
One shook away and then there was one

Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake ROAR!

One enormous dinosaur left all alone
It wiggled away and then there were none

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle ROAR!

After each dinosaur whatevered away we all acted it out and then roared before starting the next stanza. I loved this rhyme and might incorporate it into more storytimes instead of just the normal “5 little _____” rhymes. I think the interaction makes it much more entertaining.

I’ve also sometimes taught and used American Sign Language words that fit our theme. I love the cheerful images and resources from this website: Baby Sign Language. They’re bright and simple and easy to understand and I’ve even had parents request it or ask if I’ll be doing more when I don’t use them. I think they are quite fun and often try to pick words that not only go with the theme but that might also look a little funny or are fun motions to make because the kids always enjoy that.

Here are the two words I used for my Dinosaur theme:

big ASL dinosaur ASL

Can you guess what they mean?

I ask my storytime kids that and they always have entertaining guesses and this week for the first movement I got an excellent answer that had me giggling.  Most kids answered with rainbow for the movement we made but one kid yelled out “IMAGINATION!”

Ha!

Anyhow, the first word is “Big” big ASL

 

The second word means “Dinosaur” dinosaur ASL

 

We learned about Big Dinosaurs during our storytime.

Dinosaur-Loveee-3-cassiluvsbrndon-25306039-900-900

May the Fourth Be With You!

Today is May the Fourth, better known as Intergalactic Star Wars Day!

Last year we did a May the Fourth program but this year I opted to skip it and focus more on SWRD in October….however…. I got a few sad queries about if we were doing May the Fourth and why not so I decided on a whim to do a pop-up program. Luckily I was working all weekend and was able to prepare and set things up before I left Sunday evening so it’d be ready Monday morning before I came in. I did a very passive program of activity sheets and a droid craft that I put out on our play tables and just left for most of the afternoon. I plan to clean it up after storytime tonight.

Here’s a peek!

droid craft full of pompoms and do-dads

droid craft full of pompoms and do-dads

craft stations

craft stations

greeting patrons in our lobby

greeting patrons in our lobby

quick and dirty book display

quick and dirty book display

reference mascot, Chapter the Raptor sporting his lightsaber

reference mascot, Chapter the Raptor, sporting his lightsaber

look at how tiny and cute it is! hahah

look at how tiny and cute it is! haha

May the Fourth be with you!

May the Fourth be with you!

Messy messy, gross gross gross

This storytime these was all about getting dirty and cleaning up. (and then sometimes getting dirty all over again)

I only went with 3 books to read this time even though I usually do 4 because of the many books I found that I enjoyed, the ones I liked the most were kind of long so I stuck to fewer titles. I read in this order

Smelly Bill, Love Stinks by Daniel Postgate

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion

Pete the Cat, I Love my white Shoes by Eric Litwin

I also taught them the ASL signs for the words Messy and Gross

 

MESSY                                                         GROSS

 messygross

 

Smelly Bill was cute and I liked the rhythm the story had to it, but I did find myself having some trouble reading it aloud even though I practiced; my tongue was twisted a few times. It was worth it though because it’s a very emotive story and has lots of fun illustrations. The story also has questions written right in so it’s great for interacting and strengthening those memories and observational skills!

After reading Smelly Bill, I asked the kids if they could think of another animal that sometimes rolls around in the muck and gets smelly and stinky. Both sessions, Monday and Thursday, stared back at me blankly…so I oinked. Monday’s group continued staring, but Thursday’s group all shouted PIGS! excitedly. I think Monday nights group were just a sleepy bunch this week. haha.

Once we had figured out they were pigs, I did a 5 little muddy pigs rhyme that I saw a few different places and modified just a tad to fit better for me.


Five Little Pigs

Five little pigs rolling in the mud (roll hands)
Squishy, squashy, squishy, squashy, feels so good. (make squishy hands)
The farmer came and took one little pig out.
‘Oink, Oink, oink,’ the pig did shout! (turn pig over to clean side)

 

Harry the Dirty Dog made its second appearance in storytime as I read it last year for my puppies storytime theme. I think Harry the Dirty Dog is just such a cute story though. It’s simple, the illustrations are both detailed and basic at the same time with not too many colors going on, I like it.

After Harry, we pretended to get muddy and dirty like he did and did a mud cake action rhyme! I saw this rhyme online as more of a song but because I’m the worst and refuse to sing in my storytimes (stage fright, sorry, kiddos.) I changed it up a bit and made it an active rhyme type fingerplay thing-a-ma-jig.  I made up a couple verses like on your head, on your knees, so on, but then asked the kids where else you could make a mud cake and then when we finished we tried to remember all the places we put mud and laughed at how messy we got  and I used the signs for messy and gross to remind them.

Here’s how I did my rhyme:

 

Make a Mud Cake

Make a mud cake in the mud mud mud
(pat hands together)

Digging, scooping, patting it’s just so fun!
(pretend to dig)

Make a mud cake on your head head head
(pat hands together)

Digging, scooping, patting it’s just so fun!
(pretend to dig)

Make a mud cake on your knees knees knees
(pat hands together)

Digging, scooping, patting it’s just so fun!
(pretend to dig)

 

After that we finished up our storytime with our last book, Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes. Again, Monday night, pretty quiet. I did get a few of them to guess a bit about what color his shoes turned, how the song might change, and things like that, but not much else. Thursday morning, however, was ALL about Pete. Who can blame them? This was my first time reading a Pete story for storytime; I had kinda been holding off and waiting for the “perfect” time, but heck, this was just great. I even did (kinda) sing I mean, it’s less singing and more chanting but whatever. With my Thursday crew I could have probably gotten away with not even opening my mouth on those pages because they were super into singing with me, yay!

I really dug this storytime even though I felt a bit frazzled while putting it together. As I was planning it, I didn’t feel like things were meshing well enough but I was wrong, I think it went really well. There were a couple other books and rhymes I had in my back pocket but didn’t use that I’ll list below, maybe I’ll use them if I do this theme again in the future.

Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman I loved this book but it oddly felt both too long and too simple. I would probably read it for this theme in the future if the other books I use are shorter in order to balance that one. I like the illustration style a lot though so I thought I’d mention it.

I also had another active rhyme up my sleeve that I didn’t use. I had envisioned getting out the scarves and doing it with that but I think I just had too many things going on already so I opted to leave it out. I’m really glad I did because it would NOT have flown with my Monday crew that week. In fact, even the muddy pig flannel barely went over, they were just very neutral all around. hah.

I saw this online someplace but can’t remember where, I’ll link to it if I recall where I found it, or if somebody out there knows, pass it along! 🙂

After my Bath

After my bath…I try, try, try
To rub myself till I’m dry, dry, dry
(pretend to rub body with a towel)

Hands to dry and fingers and toes (point to body parts)

Two wet legs and one shiny nose (point to body parts)

Just think how much less time it would take
If I were a dog and could shake, shake, shake!
(shake whole body)

So instead of pretending and just pointing, I had planned to use the scarves like towels and act it all out. I thought it’d be super cute and fun and adding a physical element like a shaker or a scarf to the rhymes not only makes them a whole new level of fun but it helps cement the concepts they’re learning by adding those extra crossovers in the brain as I’ve touched on before. (yay, science!)

I still have a few weeks of themes to finish writing up that are still in my drafts folder but I figured I’d get this one out as it had just finished and was feeling it. Next week is Mother’s Day so I’m looking for ward to that! 😀