Picking back up…

We had a rather long break from storytime, and I’ve had an even longer break from blogging. But now we’re both back!
I’m currently in the midst of week two back on the storytime train and it’s been crazy! My first week back we had almost 50 for my Monday night session and around 70 for my Thursday morning session…week two has so far only increased with around 60 for my Monday night and around 60 again for Thursday morning! I wish I had a more accurate count, but our clicker broke a while back and we’ve yet to get a replacement and there’s no way I can count, greet, ring the storytime bell, and hold the door all at once so I’ll have to just keep guestimating. hah

My first week back I did apples!

Gif-Apple

FOREVER APPLE

I’ll be honest….the books I read weren’t my absolute favorite, but even though I started planning these way in advance, I just couldn’t get my hands on too many apple books! They weren’t bad, just maybe not something I’d pick again.

41398-Emma-Stone-shrug-gif-cK4y

I read The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall which I quite like. I think the illustrations are cute and the book talks about the changing of the seasons in relation to an apple tree so it’s a perfect story for transitioning to Autumn. this was my favorite of the three and the kids seemed to enjoy it as well.

After our first book I passed out the egg shakers and did our first active rhyme: Five Red Apples which you’ll find all over in storytime-internet-land. I’ve modified it to fit my usage more comfortably (as per usual. hah)

Five Red Apples

Five red apples growing on a tree (place apples on flannel board)
Some for you and some for me. (point out then point to self)
Let’s shake and wiggle the tree just so (Shake shakers/scarves/wiggle body around)
And 1 red apple will fall below (Remove 1 apple from board. Hands fall or have the kids fall down)

Four red apples growing on a tree (place apples on flannel board)
Some for you and some for me. (point out then point to self)
Let’s shake and wiggle the tree just so (Shake shakers/scarves/wiggle body around)
And 1 red apple will fall below (Remove 1 apple from board. Hands fall or have the kids fall down)

I continue each verse counting down to none and usually end with something like

No red apples hanging on the tree
None for you and none for me
What should we do with a tree so bare? 
Let’s pick more apples from over there! 

or

No red apples hanging on the tree
our basket’s full for you and me
What should we do with apples piled high 
Let’s go inside and bake a pie!

This worked great with my first session but then we encountered and issue with my second session in that I ran out of shakers and had to resort to bean bags for the extra empty hands. Unfortunately we had a lot of too little littles in preschool storytime for this session who had a difficult time with understanding the concept of one per person or egg or beanbag, not both. This is not surprising, but it did derail us for a hot minute there. Oh well! After we finally had ourselves sorted, the rhyme went great and we then moved on to our second book. Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins… which I continually slip up and call “Ten RAD Apples” haha

Speaking of Rad Apples...

Speaking of Rad Apples…

I’m actually not really a fan of this book; the illustration style, uh, weirds me out. Sorry! 😦
However, I thought the concept looked fun to read with the kids and the interactive bit about guessing which animal comes next and having them make the noise is always good. I’ll admit, about 1/2 way through I was wishing I’d picked a different book; I apparently have a “Yippee, fiddle-dee-fee!” limit, and it’s not 10. oops.

After book 2 we went on to our next rhyme, another five little rhyme that is all over the place, in many incarnations and that I’ve used for apples, cookies, uh, maybe even donuts, basically anything round!

Five little apples sitting in a bowl (hold arms in bowl shape)
One fell out and started to roll (roll fists)
It bumped the table and hit my feet (pat legs then touch feet)
How many apples left to eat? 

Each time I do a round we try to go faster and faster until we all basically erupt into giggles. I didn’t actually get to do this rhyme with my Thursday session as they were quite rowdy already and there were 582604756 of them so we hurried through to craft time.

Our third and final book was the classic Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell. I wish this book were physically larger because it’s so cute but quite small. It’s a quick read and at the end I love to chat about the different costumes with the kids.

For our craft, we made apple pies! I used our die cut to cut out different shades of green and red apples and then had a volunteer cut a million strips of brown paper. We then glued the apples and strips (crust) onto paper plates. had I thought ahead, I would have brought in spice shakers to sprinkle cinnamon on so they’d smell like apple pie. Next time!

As usual, I brought back our Sign Language word and today it was, you guessed it, Apple

Apple

Apple

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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! 😀

Money smarts

This week was Money Smart Week and we held special Money Smart themed storytimes for our Preschool crowd. We were generously provided with many many copies of The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money to give out to attendees. We also had some pretty great MoonJar Money boxes to give out or do during craft time. I did still provide my own craft though which was a super cute papercraft piggy bank. (I’ll be honest, I found it online and edited it to fit my needs. p.s. the page isn’t in English.)

piggy bank 1

 

As for the craft, though it was super adorable and I had lots of comments on how cute and fun it was, I also noticed that many of the ESL families had trouble understanding the concept of it. I remember doing similar projects to this growing up, even things like paper dolls, so I never even considered that this might be a strange craft to people who haven’t grown up in america. Anybody else have similar experiences with a craft or activity that you assumed was relatively common knowledge only to find out that familiarity with it might be entirely dependent upon your country or even state of origin!?

Anyhow, we read 3 books and did some rhymes.

The first book I read was Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells. I made this an interactive book by also creating flannel pieces to go with the story. I made money that matched the money in the story to help them visualize as we went along. If I read this book again in the future, I might add other flannel pieces like a music box or the bluebird earrings. I think it’s a cute book and enjoyed reading it.

bunny money

 

After our first book with did a flannel rhyme.

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

 

I had fun with this flannel and the kids interacted by telling me which cookie they wanted to buy next which gives them an opportunity to practice colors, shapes, or using other descriptive words. I also had fun making the flannel, who doesn’t like sparkly cookies?!

om nom glitter cookies

om nom glitter cookies

As you can see, my cookies were all round and featured different color and shaped frosting and glitter “sprinkles” but I would like to make  a few more cookies in different shapes, and maybe even doughnuts as those would also fit well with the rhyme.

 

Our second book was Caterina and the Lemonade Stand by Erin Eitter Kono. I thought this book was quite unique in terms of illustrations. it was very collage-y and kinda busy, but also had very pretty and soft illustrations. the story is a cute story about a little bird who wants to buy a scooter but needs to raise money so she does so by creating a very unique lemonade stand.

Our final book was You can’t buy a dinosaur with a dime by Harriet Ziefert. I quite liked the rhythm of this story, but it did have some somewhat strange bits thrown in about the money spent and such that didn’t fit the rhythm and felt cumbersome when reading out loud though I could see it working quite well for a one on one read. We talked about how many dinosaurs he had, what kind, what colors, what they’d buy with their money, good stuff.

 

Overall, I liked this theme, but if I do it again next year, there are a few things I’d tweak a bit.

Have any of you ever done a Money Smart or other money themed Storytime? Did you have anything that stood out as a huge win or huge fail?

 

Love is in the air

1295466799599190482heartstrings

 

Love is in the air!

For Valentine’s Day, and many other holiday themes, I like to keep things pretty generic as far as the book that I read go. I usually will engage the kids by asking if anybody celebrated any holidays recently and then chat about their answers before starting the books, but I don’t really, or try not to, read too many holiday specific titles. For Valentine’s Day I chose 3 books about love.

My first book was “Henry in Love” by Peter McCarty I LOVE the illustrations in this! they were simple and the colors are rather muted, but they stand out well on the page and are simply adorable. The text is a bit long so I don’t know that it would work with younger kids, but having it as the first book worked well for my preschoolers. I will admit that I did find a few of the transitions (or lack there of) a bit abrupt or awkward, but that may have just been me.

After our first book, I went right into our second title, “How do I Love You” by Leslie Kimmelman unfortunately our copy is a bit…well loved, but the illustrations are bold and fun and the text has great flow and rhymes. This book is actually in our concept collection as it teaches basic counting skills, but it worked very well for storytime.

After we made it through 2 books, we did our first active rhyme. Actually, I guess I’d call this more of an interactive flannel board. This is yet ANOTHER version of what I like to call a hide-away flannel. I’ve seen a few of these floating around the storytime blogosphere and my preschoolers love it. I’ve done a hat themed one, a lovebug themed one, a school themed one, and I think maybe even one more that has slipped my mind currently. Either way, it’s a great way to refocus any extra enthusiastic kiddos, or kill some extra time if your books go faster than planned or whatever. I also just love how much fun we all have.

For this theme we did “Lovebug” which I originally found on Deb’s Design blog

Lovebug, lovebug, oh so smart
Are you under the ______ heart?

Each time you say the rhyme, the kids get to yell out the color you’ve picked. I find it’s easiest if I explain the game then ask them which color we should pick first, then, we do the rhyme and that way they all know what color to call out in the rhyme. After we finish the rhyme, we remove that color item and see if the object is hidden under and we guessed correctly or if we have to pick a new color. We usually play 2 or 3 rounds of this depending on how quickly they find the item. I always try to trick them a little bit by pretending there’s no hidden item or picking the wrong colors or something. They always find it silly and love to correct me. 😛

After a few rousing rounds of that, we read our final book, “A Kiss like this” by Mary Murphy which is super cute. We read this as an interactive book where I asked them how they thought each animal would kiss. For giraffe I got lots of tall kisses and for the mice I saw lots of teeny tiny kisses, and for fish, fishy faced kisses! 😀

Aside from the 3 books and the hide-away flannel, I also did my valentine card rhyme on the flannel board. I think I’ll need to make new cards next year because I made them from paper last year and they were a bit rough looking after being stored for a year. hah

I originally found the rhyme on Storytime Katie’s blog and made the cards myself.

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 held each card up as we counted and then open them when we got to the second line and had them call out the animal they saw. (I’ll try to get pictures and upload them later)

For our craft, we made silly love bug headbands. I cut long strips of construction paper and then cut out a bunch of construction paper hearts and put those out with some googly eyes and glue sticks and let them go to town.
It’s always fun to watch them make something they can wear after storytime. hah

So next week I’ll finally get to that Dino storytime that has gotten bumped back a few times. RAWR!

 

 

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Lemons are not red….

THEY’RE YELLOW! duh.

It’s not easy to fool my storytimers, they are bunches of smart.

This week’s storytime was all about colors! I’ve done a color storytime before, in fact, it was my very first storytime theme!
I did change this one up a bit, but it also shared some of the same things.

I opened our storytime with the usual welcome rhyme and then we chatted a bit about colors. The kids were oddly fascinated with the sweater I was wearing today (it’s totally a grandpa sweater and I love it) and I happened to be wearing some brightly colored pants as well so we talked about all the colors I was wearing and then I had them guess what our theme might be. They caught on quick and guessed colors! 😀 It was an excellent though unplanned segue into storytime. 🙂

The first book I read was called and to name but just a few: red yellow green blue by Laurie Rosenwald. It’s a pretty interesting and fun read, a bit different than typical picture books in that it doesn’t have a consistent flow to the rhythm of the words and doesn’t always rhyme, but sometimes it does! It’s also laid out in more of a collage than a picture with words, it’s full of fun textures and a mixture of photos and drawings. I liked it.

We did have a wiggly bunch for both of my sessions. wiggly in different ways though. On Monday the kids were all about music and when we were gonna listen to it, it seems that there was a boombox left out after a previous storytime and they saw it which got them pretty amped up and it was sometimes difficult to rope their attention back in to the books and rhymes. On Thursday though, we had a big group and they were just full of energy and super proud of their color recognition skills. Both groups happily shouted out the colors on the pages as I was reading so this book required some stops and pauses before we could get through it. hah

After that book, we did our first active rhyme.

If You are wearing

If you are wearing  green, jump like you’re on a trampoline
If you are wearing  blue, put your hands on your shoes
If you are wearing  red, put your hands up on your head
If you are wearing  pink, let’s see you try to wink
If you are wearing  black, stand up and quack quack quack
If you are wearing  yellow, wiggle like a bowl of jell-o

In my Monday session we only had 5 kids so it was kinda hard to do this rhyme since a lot of the colors weren’t represented so we did it twice, the first time we followed the directions, the second time we all did everything, even if we weren’t wearing the color mentioned. We’re little rebels. On Thursday though, we had a good size crowd so it was easy to do this rhyme and the kids were all super excited when they realized they were wearing the color called. After getting some wiggles out, we moved on to our next book; Lemons are not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. I saw this book listed in a lot of different color themed storytime blogs so I figured I’d give it a go. the kids liked it and, as always, they enjoy being interactive and helping to read the book with me. It was a bit hard to stay on track with actually reading the book word for word, page by page though since they were all excitedly shouting out their guesses as soon as they thought of it so I pretty much just ad libbed. After that book, we did a flannel board, yay! I didn’t make this flannel board because we already had some pretty awesome HUGE felt crayons in almost every color imaginable so I just used those. Here’s the rhyme:

I Have a Crayon

I have a crayon, I’ll give it to you.
Here is my crayon, my crayon of blue.

I have a crayon, a lovely little fellow.
Here is my crayon, my crayon of yellow.

I have a crayon, it’s here on my head.
Here is my crayon, my crayon of red.

I have a crayon, we can draw a circle.
Here is my crayon, my crayon of purple.

I have a crayon, what do I see?
Here is my crayon, an orange one for me.

I have a crayon, the best ever seen.
Here is my crayon, my crayon of green

Credit: Anne’s Library Life

I TOTALLY biffed that flannel on my Monday session. My crayons were out of order (oops) and I recited the rhymes wrong and had to make them up halfway through when I realized I wasn’t reading the page properly. hah. oh well. it was still fun. On Thursday, though, I nailed it. The kids were WAY too good at guessing though and I didn’t always have time to get through the entire rhyme before they knew what color was next. haha

Then, During my Thursday session, I got out the color scarves and we passed them out and played with them. It wasn’t structured or anything, it was just a fun way to bring more color in to the storytime. In my first color storytime I passed out our ribbon bracelets and then after playing, I let the kids hang on to them until the end of storytime, I did the same this time with the scarves and both times it worked pretty well. I didn’t do the scarves on Monday though since we were already having a bit of a rough time getting through storytime and I decided to cut that part.

We finished our storytimes with our last two books; Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh and Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson. Bear Sees Colors was a new one for me, but I quite like it! good rhymes and flow and the illustrations are very cute and fun! Mouse Paint is of course an old favorite and staple. I used our big book copy both nights and because it’s not only a pretty basic story line but also because I think I’ve read it about 85743 times, I mostly just recite it and ad-lib my way through with lots of dancing and stomping and mixing along the way. It’s probably one of the very few stories I could do entirely from memory in classic storytelling manner. I don’t think I’ll ever NOT love doing that book.

We ended both sessions with our usual craft. This was another SUPER basic craft. I printed out rainbow coloring pages and then put out crayons and foam shape stickers and let them color and sticker their way into a rainbow.

I really wanna plan some more creative crafts that aren’t just printed paper whatevers, but I haven’t been coming up with good stuff that match my themes. I DO have a nifty Dinosaur theme in the works and I have (finally) started on my hat flannel board I’ve been wanting to make so those two themes will hopefully lend themselves to more exciting crafts. Then again, the kids always have fun and I often see the parents doing their own crafts too so I guess there aren’t any complaints.

Oh! speaking of feedback, I had done a couple ASL words with a few recent storytimes and during my Monday session this week I had one of the parents tell me how much they enjoyed that and hoped I’d continue. I do love the idea and often try to incorporate it when I can so hopefully I can find some good words for dinos or hats.  😉

Until next time!

 

 

                                                                              *chomp chomp chomp*

Talkin’ Turkey

So Thanksgiving was last week and because we were closed one of the days I do my storytime, I decided to save the turkey stuff for this week.

I focused only on turkeys, not thanksgiving, because:
1. it’s often hard to get my hands on 3 or 4 good read-out-loud books themed for some of the more minor holidays and if I do, I feel bad about taking them out of circ during their prime time.
2. my crowd for my storytimes are often rather culturally diverse and not always celebrating traditional American holidays so I try to go pretty broad with the themes around then.

The books I read were all only about turkeys, not thanksgiving, and were good! I liked them all, some more than others.

10 Turkeys in the Road by Brenda Reeves Sturgis
I’m a Turkey by Jim Arnosky
Gobble Gobble by Cathryn Falwell

I was a bit worried about 10 Turkeys in the Road with my preschool crowd because they sometimes get kinda bored with counting and the book is super repetitive, but they LOVED it! they counted down from 10 with me and shouted out the numbers after each page, it was awesomely interactive for both my Monday night and Thursday morning crews.

Things got a bit outta hand during my Monday session when reading Gobble Gobble though because at one point one of the older kids who was quite talkative noticed and shared with the group that there was a deer on every page and as soon as she did, the kids all shouted out that they found the deer each time I turned the page, haha, oops. I managed to turn it into a goofy bit at the end though when I asked them to find the last deer and then I kept pointing to other random things on the pages and they laughed and giggled “no, you’re silly” until I found the deer. heh. The book went much more smoothly at my Thursday session though.

I thought I’m a Turkey was a fun read, and the kids seemed to enjoy it during both sessions but didn’t have much of a reaction either way.

One thing that both groups LOVED was a shaker rhyme I made up. I like using the shakers, but often run out of ideas on how to use them because I feel like I, and probably the kids as well, get bored with the typical shaker songs so I try to get creative with how I use them. For this theme I wanted to use our egg shakers and somehow incorporate the turkey theme. I didn’t end up getting as elaborate as I’d have liked, but I did manage to wright up a pretty good activity.

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
Fast like this! 

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
Slow like this! 

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
Up like this! 

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
Down like this! 

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
Around like this! 

I know a turkey and he shakes like this (clap shakers together)
Gobble gobble gobble (shake shakers up and down)
On the ground like this! 

This is a great way to teach opposites and can very easily be modified and added to. I like to end all my shaker activities and as many fingerplays as I can with allowing the kids to make their own suggestions as to how we should shake, or gobble, or whatever. For this one we shook our turkey eggs on our heads, our knees, behind our backs, and more!

The other activity I did was a Turkey version of two little black birds. I made some simple felt turkey finger puppets and used them for the rhyme. I asked the kids to play along by bringing out their turkey hands. I had them hold their thumbs in front of their fingers as if counting to 4 and we talked about how the thumb looks like the neck/head of the turkey, and our four fingers looked like the big feathery tail. The rhyme went like so:

 

Two little turkeys sitting on a hill
One named Jack, the other named Jill.
Gobble away, Jack
Gobble away, Jill
Gobble back, Jack
Gobble back, Jill

Two little turkeys looking at the clouds
One gobbled quiet, the other gobbled LOUD.
Gobble away, quiet
Gobble away, LOUD
Gobble back, quiet
Gobble back, LOUD

Two little turkeys waiting for the snow
One gobbled fast, the other gobbled slow.
Gobble away, fast
Gobble away, slow
Gobble back, fast
Gobble back, slow

This is ALWAYS a crowd favorite. This time, most of the kids just wanted to gobble back and away faster and faster and faster which always ends up with them doing less of the gobbling and more giggling. 🙂

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We’re back on storytime break for now, but we’ve got a really fun program coming up in just over a week called Winter Wonderland and I hope to get some good pictures and updates to post about!

until next time!

 

 

😉

Mittens in the Mitten

It’s certainly becoming mitten weather in the Mitten State, what better time to do a mitten storytime?

We got a good dusting of snow recently and I wanted to incorporate that into a storytime theme,  but it’s still mid November so I didn’t want to do anything too wintery and that’s when I decided upon mittens! They’re worn in cold weather and are great for making snowballs! 😉

The books I read were:

One Mitten by Kristine O’Connell George

The Missing Mitten Mystery by Steven Kellogg

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Three Little Kittens by Paul Galdone

 

Ok, I didn’t actually read the last book because for both of my sessions this week, we had a super small turnout of around 10-15 as opposed to our typical 40-50  and the groups were quite subdued. I had to really work to get them to interact at times. It always nice when they all sit quietly while we read, but it rough when you’re trying to do rhymes and fingerplays and you’ve got a tiny group of sleepy eyed kids just staring back. hah. This weather sure has calmed them down.

I did one rhyme (I only did it with one group because the other group was so tough to get to interact) and one flannel board. With the flannel board I actually got a pretty good response and ended up milking it as long as I could by asking them lots of questions about the pieces and really having them think about lots of the details. I found a rhyme online about ten mittens and I used some mini clothespins that we had in the craft room and some yarn and printed out / laminated some mitten clipart and made myself a little mini clothesline for my mittens!

 

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Ten warm mittens

Ten warm mittens, hanging on the line,
One blows away and then there are nine
Nine warm mittens, one without a mate,
A squirrel carries one away and that leaves eight.
Eight warm mittens, just eight not eleven,
One gets buried in the snow and that leaves seven.
Seven warm mittens, which one do you pick?
I’ll pick the red one and that leaves six.
Six warm mittens, put one on to try.
Then you take it from the line and that leaves five.
Five warm mittens, we had ten before!
A fluffy bunny needs one and that leaves four!  
Four warm mittens, two for you and two for me,
I lost one on the ski slope and that leaves three.
Three warm mittens, looking very new,
One falls into the mud and that leaves two.
Two warm mittens, drying in the sun,
A bird comes down and snatches it and that leaves one.
One warm mitten, what good is one?
A little mouse can have a bed, and that leaves none!

 

Originally when I put the mittens on the board, they were in random order, all mixed up, then we did the rhyme and I took them down, one by one. Then, I put one of each pair up with an empty clothespin between them and I asked the kids to help me match my mittens. I had them help by calling out the number of the matching mitten to the one I held up. For example, I held up a blue mitten and the matching mitten was the 3rd mitten on the board so my mitten matched mitten #3. it was kinda tricky, but they caught on pretty fast and it’s excellent practice for counting, matching, and comparing! Yay! Secret math! I made sure to have some mittens that were similar but not the same so that we could discuss. “The blue mitten with zig zag stripes does NOT match the red mitten with zig zag stripes, but what is similar about them? The red mitten with zig zag stripes does NOT match the plain red mitten, but what is similar about them?” Activities like that are always good for building their language skills. THEN, we went a whole step further (which was probably a bit beyond their skill level still, but not too far) since we had the mittens matched up, we counted by TWOS! They’re a smart bunch.

 

The other rhyme I had prepared but only used for one session was a basic fingerplay. I actually had trouble remembering BOTH my rhymes this week, maybe my brain is slowing with the cold weather, but even with a few round of practice, I had to read my sheet much more than normal. boo.

Mitten Finger play
by Lucia Kemp Henry

Here is a mitten, (hold up one hand)
A snug, fuzzy one- (rub palms together)
With a place for my fingers (wiggle 4 fingers)
And a place for my thumb (wiggle thumb)
Here are two mittens, (hold up two hands)
A colorful sight. (hands back and forth)
One for the left hand (hold up left hand)
One for the right. (hold up right hand)
Here are OUR mittens, (hold up two hands)
As soft as can be (stroke the back of one hand)
A warm pair for you (point to the neighbor)
And a warm pair for me (point to yourself)

 

For our craft, I did a very simple design a mitten craft. I printed mitten outlines on colored cardstock and gave them crayons and foam stickers and let them go to town. Again, very open ended craft that gives them the freedom to do whatever they want but is also very simple and easy to prepare for staff, always good.

I enjoyed this theme and wish the crowds were a bit bigger because I always like to feel like I got my money’s worth out of a theme. 😛

 

Soon I’ll be posting about an underwater storytime we did with a craft that I loved but worried would be too much for the kids. Stay tuned!