A Berry, Beary storytime

Bears are known berry fans. Some, like this fine bear below, like to sample. 520833238_5c977b90b1_m   Some are more aficionados as you can see demonstrated by this lovely bear… bear-berry1   And some would go to just about any length to get their cute little paws on some berries like this risk taker below. Careful Mr. Bear! Don’t fall! poster,375x360,ffffff


Since we ended our Spring storytime session with a bear theme, I thought it might be fun to sort of carry that over into the start of summer with another related theme, berries! I’ll be honest, I don’t expect anybody to have really remembered the theme from almost 3 weeks ago, let alone get the connection to this week, I just like to amuse myself with abstract continuity.  😀

It also gives me the chance to test the waters with bringing in a puppet / stuffed mascot. I wanted to use a stuffed bear in one of my flannel boards for some added fun.

oooh, maybe I could try to work bears into every storytime…. nah, that might be silly.

Anyhow, I actually have TWO whole flannel boards that I made for this theme, one of them is a play off the book Jamberry by Bruce Degen I got the idea from Jbrary when I was searching for ways to do Jamberry as a flannel since we (GASP) don’t own a copy here! Jbrary also makes an excellent point in that the book doesn’t have much of an actual story line so it ends up being great as a flannel activity.

You can see their video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFns_G4PrP0

I modified it slightly in that my berries will be going into a basket since I don’t think the boat makes much sense if you haven’t or aren’t reading the book and I changed the wording a tiny bit too.

As I spoke the lines I (and the kids) acted out the motions like they do in the Jbrary video which I thought was fun and makes it a bit of an active rhyme as well as a flannel board all while helping to develop gross motor skills and vocabulary with the motion and word associations. Yay, learning!



Under the bridge and over the dam, looking for berries, berries for jam. 1 berry, 2 berries, pick me some blueberries

Under the bridge and over the dam, looking for berries, berries for jam. 3 berries, 4 berries, pick me a strawberry

Under the bridge and over the dam, looking for berries, berries for jam. 5 berries, 6 berries, pick me some red cherries

Under the bridge and over the dam, looking for berries, berries for jam. 7 berries, 8 berries, pick me a blackberry

Under the bridge and over the dam, looking for berries, berries for jam. 9, berries, 10 berries, pick me a raspberry.

Under the bridge and over the dam, baskets of berries, berries for jam.


In addition to Jamberry the flannel, I’ll be doing  Five Ripe Strawberries and this is where Mr. Bear comes in handy. As I’m doing the counting and taking the berries off the board, I give them to Mr. Bear to eat. I make silly eating noises and the kids giggle, what’s not to like?

Five Ripe Strawberries

Five red strawberries, sweet to the core.
Bear came and ate one (om nom nom nom) and then there were four.

Four red strawberries, growing near a tree.
Bear ate another one (om nom nom nom) and then there were three.

Three red strawberries, for you and you and you.
Bear came and ate another (om nom nom nom) and then there were two.

Two red strawberries, sitting in the sun.
Bear ate the biggest one (om nom nom nom) and then there was one.

One red strawberry, where five had been before.
Bear ate the last of them (om nom nom nom) and then there were no more.

No more strawberries, whatever will bear do?
He’ll have to go berry picking with all of you!



I’ve found this or very similar rhymes on various sites though I changed the last line for my use. Aside from the two flannel activities, I also picked 3 books about berries. 2 of them are about blueberries; Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey and Blueberry Mouse by Alice Low, and then this mouthful of a title, The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood.

Blueberries for Sal is a classic that I remember reading when I was young which I was a tiny bit worried wouldn’t make for a great storytime read due to the small size, monochrome and detailed illustrations, and somewhat wordy text, but I figured if I read it first it might be ok. Both groups did very well with it. It doesn’t hurt to involve the kids every couple pages by asking them questions like “do you think Sal found her mother?” “How many blueberries are in her pail?” things like that.

Blueberry Mouse was a new one for me but I thought it was all around pretty cute; great rhyming and rhythm, cute illustrations and a fun guessing game at the end. “What kind of house do you think Blueberry Mouse will live in next?!”

After those two I ended with The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. I think this is such a fun and cute book. I love the relaxed tone and had comments from kids and parents alike about liking the book. There are actually very few words, maybe 5 or so a page in general but it’s a big book with bright and detailed illustrations.

I had a lot of fun with the two flannels and all three of the stories. Having more than one flannel gave me lots of room for improv. During one storytime, counting was a big thing so we counted the berries we picked for jam, then we counted how many of each color, then I brought out the strawberries from the other flannel and we counted ALL the berries, then the types and so on. You could also easily use them to play memory games by adding and taking away different ones and asking the kids to remember.

I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous going back into storytime after such a long break, I was worried I’d fallen out of sync with it but all was well.

Now, next storytime to conquer will be a StoryTech storytime! I’ll be busting out the apps and videos on our iPad and using them along with regular books to enhance our storytime in a new and hopefully exciting way!