hippity hoppity

Easter’s on its way

Sorta.

Once again, a loose take on a holiday theme. This time, Bunnies for Easter. This is my second year doing a bunny/Easter theme and this year, much like last, I kept it pretty bunny-centric without mentioning Easter much. I was hoping to do “Boy and his Bunny” again but couldn’t get my hands on it so I picked some new ones.

The first book I read was Muncha, Muncha, Muncha by Candace Fleming. ah, yes, I love these books. I considered doing “Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, hide but decided against it as it was more wintery themed so I’ll save it for another time. both of those books are great reads and excellent for reading out loud. The kids had fun trying to figure out how the bunnies would get around each obstacle.

After our book we did our first action rhyme. Bunnies lend themselves very well to movement activities so we moved around a lot as opposed to doing flannel activities. I’ve seen about 32786545 versions of the following rhyme with different animals and creatures doing different actions and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of them.

Bunny, Bunny

Bunny, bunny, hop real low
Bunny, bunny, say hello
Bunny, bunny, hop up high
Bunny, bunny, touch the sky
Bunny, bunny, wiggle your nose
Bunny, bunny, stomp your toes
Bunny, bunny, hop around
Bunny, bunny, please sit down

My second book was  The Little Rabbit who liked to say Moo by Jonathan Allen. This book read very interactively as all the kids wanted to make the animal noises which was great. I always love being able to give them free reign to make a bunch of noise. I like the illustrations in this book, and the concept behind it, but I will admit that I get a tad bit bored reading it. It feels quite repetitive to me, and maybe the kids don’t mind or enjoy it, but I do worry that they’ll also find it boring when each page is “What noise do you make?”

wait…. who am I kidding, what kid doesn’t want to scream “quack quack quack!!” at the top of their lungs in a library. 😛

On to our next active rhyme. The original for this can be found here and I tweaked the version below just a tad.

 

Little Bunny’s Ears

Little bunny’s ears are flop flop floppy,
(Place hands by ears and flop)

Little bunny’s feet are hop hop hoppy.
(hop)

His fur is soft,
(stroke arm)

And nose is fluffy,
(touch nose)

His tail is short and powder-puffy! (wiggle hands behind back)

We did this rhyme a few times in a row. I usually try to go through it once quite slowly to introduce them to the rhymes and the actions and then we’ll do it again and then almost always they ask to do it faster, then faster, then super-uper-duper fast which usually ends with me trying to do it as fast as humanly possible and then just flailing my arms and making funny noises because that’s always good for a laugh.

Our final book was Piggy Bunny by Rachel Vail which I LOVED. the illustrations were adorable, the story had some cute jokes (even if the kids didn’t quite get it), and honestly, it sent a really awesome message of “be yourself” without being too cheesy. If nothing else I think the kids enjoyed it because how silly is it to see a pig dressed as a bunny? (hint, it’s puh-retty silly).

In my first session on Monday I think I actually also read “Hey Rabbit” but I can’t clearly remember since I’m writing this up so far after. Either way, it’s on my outline notes so maybe I was just thinking about it? oh well. bunny
Our craft this year was a bunny ear headband craft. SUPER simple and yet SUPER adorable! I LOVED seeing all the little bunnies hopping around the storytime room and kid’s area after. Parents were snapping pictures left and right, just too fun. I *did* have some pictures of my set up but my phone was stolen and I sadly lost all my stuff. 😦  Here’s an excellent example I just pulled from online. Other versions I’ve seen have had fancy paper used for the accent color on the ears, that would be lots of fun too and you could do all sorts of neat things like polka dots or stripes, but I just used our plentiful stash of construction paper in white and brown with pink for inside the ears. They were equally as cute. 😉

 

Hoppy Easter!

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Love is in the air

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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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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!

 

 

😉

Happy birthday, USA!

 

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America just celebrated it’s birthday! It’s 238 years old!

As far as nations go, we’re still a wee thing, but to kids, that’s like, FOREVER! I was a bit hesitant to do a fourth of July theme for storytime because we have such a diverse group of patrons that come to storytime and I was worried that they wouldn’t be as interested but then after looking through lists of good fourth of July books and seeing lots of them that weren’t just “hooray for USA”  I stopped and thought, uhm, hello, you have a diverse group of patrons, what a great time to use some really diverse books and take advantage of that unique situation!

Unfortunately I was only able to get my hands on one about a young Chinese girl and her family living in america and how they celebrate, it’s called “Apple Pie, 4th of July” by Janet S Wong. While the book doesn’t delve too deep into cultural differences, it does touch on it; I loved the line where the girl complains that nobody wants Chinese food on 4th of July and her father says “Fireworks are Chinese.” as he hands her a pan of sweet and sour pork. I thought it was a cute story and I really liked the illustration style.

We also read “Fourth of July Mice” by Bethany Roberts, “Hats off for the Fourth of July” by Harriet Ziefert and “Red, White,and  BOOM!” by Lee Wardlaw. All of those titles have pretty good rhythm to them though there were some bits where the rhythm changes and it tripped me up a little while reading out loud, but it just keeps me on my toes.
Fourth of July Mice is full of good noise words and lots of repetition and super cute mice while Red White and Boom has great rhymes and I felt allowed for me to ask lots of types of questions; anything from “What are they eating at their picnic?” to at the very end when I asked them to put their memory to the test and try to remember all the places we visited on our busy fourth of July (beach, park, and parade) . Our version of Hats off for the Fourth of July is a “big book” version so it was fun to see lots of big images and it also has a lot of great guessing prompts; “What do you think comes next?” “Have you seen horses in a parade?”

 

We  also did a quick and dirty flannel activity where I threw together a super basic felt birthday cake and 10 birthday candles and we talked about the US having a birthday and then did the birthday flannel board. The rhyme I used was “Ten little candles” and I found it hereI did modify it a tiny bit because I didn’t like one of the words so I changed it to “blow blow blow”. I told the kids that we were going to not just practice our counting, but we were going to count…ready? BACKWARDS! and THEN I made it super crazy because we weren’t just going to count backwards, we were going to count backwards by TWOS. let me tell you, it’s harder than you think! Luckily, I’ve got a smart bunch of kids and we had no trouble. 😉

Here’s my version of the rhyme:

Ten Little Candles

10 little candles on a chocolate cake
BLOW BLOW BLOW!  Now there are 8

8 little candles on candlesticks
BLOW BLOW BLOW!  Now there are 6

6 birthday candles and not one more
BLOW BLOW BLOW!  Now there are 4

4 birthday candles red, white and blue
BLOW BLOW BLOW!  Now there are 2

2 little candles standing one by one
BLOW BLOW BLOW! Now there are none

Here is my SUPER basic birthday cake and candles. I will probably go back and add more details later.

Here is my SUPER basic birthday cake and candles. I will probably go back and add more details later.

This was lots of fun because it was an active rhyme, a flannel, and excellent counting practice; even the kids that aren’t super fond of counting had fun!

For getting our sillies out and moving around, I planned to make fireworks inside! I grabbed our scarves, and we have some neat ribbon bracelets as well so I had everybody pick a scarf or a bracelet and we threw them in the air like fireworks. We practiced using our right hands and our left hands, we made fast fireworks and slow fireworks and also just did some silly stuff, it was lots of fun!

Unfortunately I was quite stumped when it came to a craft because we have been running low-ish on craft supplies and I haven’t gotten around to placing a big restock order and I’ve been trying to kind of use up some random supplies we have laying around so for this week we made “parade wavers”  hah.

For some reason (probably masks?) we have a bunch of paper plates with the middles cut out so I grabbed those and some red white and blue crayons and markers and put those out with some red and blue foam stickers and yarn pieces and had them get creative and then glued them to big popsicle sticks.  It wasn’t my most inspired craft, but it was last minute and easy and I really like giving the kids the chance to just kinda go crazy. There was very little structure to this craft which allowed them to go as big or as basic as they wanted. 🙂

 

Next week is another regular storytime and I REALLY want to do a hat storytime, but there’s a flannel board I want to do with it and I don’t have the supplies to make it yet so I keep having to put it off so I think I might have to do something beachy or summery this week and then the week after is another StoryTech which I’m excited for.

 

4th-july-cake

Funny Bunny Storytime

Little Peter Cottontail, Hopping down the cotton trail, Hippety hoppity Easter’s on it’s way!

Easter is right around the corner so it’s a great time to do an “Easter” themed storytime. As I’ve said before, I try to steer clear of getting too immersed in most holidays because of religious or cultural reasons, but that being said, I do think it’s good to acknowledge the holiday and maybe expose people to it who may have not heard of said holiday before. Yay learning!

With Easter, I’ve decided to focus on, what else, BUNNIES! I love bunnies and have had them as pets for many many years; you can see a picture of me and my current bunny, Ginger, on my About Me page. 🙂

 

I changed the format up a bit for this storytime, I have had crafts that I’ve done that I thought would have been cute for them to have during storytime, but it’s been too difficult for me to figure out how to make that work, but today while I was setting up, a co-worker said something to me about doing the craft first and I thought “you know, that might actually work for this particular craft!” So, I tried it! I had them come in as usual and we all sat down and chatted for a bit but then I told them that we were going to go make something that we could use during storytime, they seemed pretty thrilled about that. We made Bunny Noses!

 

bunny nose

 

I had them make their noses and then I passed out our egg shakers; I talked about Easter eggs and how the Easter bunny hides eggs, and then we practiced hopping around the room with our eggs in one hand and noses in the other using this rhyme:

 

Hip hip hippety hop Hippety hippety hop
We’ll hop and hop around the room
Until it’s time to STOP!

Hip hip hippety hop Hippety hippety hop
hippetyhippetyhippetyhippety
Hippety hippety hop
We’ll hop and hop around the room
Until it’s time to STOP!

It’s a pretty fun rhyme because you can improvise however you want; it can be as long or as short as you want and all you have to do is ad a few hippity hops here and there or change up the order before you shout STOP! It reminds me of a combination of Simon says and red light green light. You basically say random versions of hop or hippity hop and the kids jump around like goofballs and then freeze when you say stop. Not only is it a fun way to transition from one activity to the next, but it helps get out some pent up energy,and also helps kids to learn. I also thought that this would be a fun little game to play either at the end or if the kids seemed a bit wiggly during the stories but luckily, we didn’t need to use it. There are lots of books and website that talk about the concept of play to learn, one site I enjoy is Help My Kid LearnI stumbled across it while looking for reading related activities that are both fun and educational and have found a wealth of information there. “One of the ways children learn is through play. A child who is playing is refining learning skills that continue to develop during childhood and beyond.

“Pretend play” is important for developing your child’s language skills. Children make up their own games, but playing games with others helps their concentration and social skills. Play can also help to show what children know and understand.”

So hopping around like bunnies isn’t just fun, it’s helping them develop their listening skills, balance and motor skills, as well as social skills, but it also super fun, I mean, do we really need an excuses to make noise and look even more adorable? NOPE.  🙂

After we got our hops out, I had them hop the eggs back to the bucket and we sat down for our first story. I started both sessions off with “Looking for Easter” by Dori Chaconas. I loved this book because not only does it have super adorable illustrations, but it’s an excellent non-religious Easter story that still has a great message and ending.

Speaking of great messages and endings, one of the other books I read was a great take on the classic story “Little Bunny Foo Foo: Told and Sung by the Good Fairy” by Paul Brett Johnson. I wasn’t actually too thrilled about the illustration style, personally, but it’s a great book; very colorful and eye catching and I like the way it was written.  The kids really liked seeing the trouble that Little Bunny Foo Foo kept getting into and laughed surprisingly hard at the end….even though I’m pretty sure they’re too young to catch the pun. 😉

We also practiced our counting with “10 Easter Egg Hunters: a Holiday Counting Book” by Janet Schulman which was fun but kind of difficult to read because it’s small and hard to see for a large group and it’s also super tempting for the kids to run up and point out where the eggs are on each page. I did have trouble with that in both of my sessions, but all in all, worth it since the kids really liked it.

And last, but not least, we read“A Boy and his Bunny” by Sean BryanSUCH a cute book. The only thing I don’t like about it is the pacing. The story wants to be read quickly, but then you don’t have a chance to show the kids the pictures for very long but if you take the time to do so, you kind of lose the rhythm of the story. It has a companion book as well that I was almost tempted to read with it, but alligators don’t have much to do with Easter, so I passed. 😛

Aside from the 4 books we read, we put out bunny noses to good use with a couple other rhymes. I saw a super cute rhyme online that I thought would be fun for the kids to act out, but it was only one stanza:

Funny little bunny
Sat on a stump
Flicked his floppy little ears
And then he gave a jump!

So I took that and ran with it and made up a few more actions that bunnies do and then also used it as a way to let the kids suggest different activities with some fill in the blank verses.

Funny little bunny
Sat on a stump
Twitched his little nose
And then he gave a jump!

Funny little bunny
Sat on a stump
Wiggled his fluffy tail And then he gave a jump!

Funny little bunny
Sat on a stump
Stomped his great big feet And then he gave a jump!

Funny little bunny
Sat on a stump
(encourage kids to shout out jump)
And then he gave a jump!

 I think that my groups really like being able to make up parts to the rhymes and activities more than just listening to them and doing the actions as they hear them. Half the time it ends up being a yelling mess of suggested actions, but that’s ok, it’s still fun. I also like to make up super random or weird actions because the kids think it’s hilarious. For example, in this rhyme we hopped, and twitched, and wiggled as bunnies are wont to do, but then I also had them swim and skip and do other things that bunnies totally don’t do, or that kids don’t think bunnies do (I’ve seen some bunnies do some pretty silly things) and those always get some good giggles in response.

Not only did I change things up a bit with the craft, but I also catered my welcome and closing rhymes to the theme. I like to do that sometimes just to mix things up, though I do also like having a constant in my storytimes so I don’t change it with every theme.

For this week I modified some rhymes I saw online to fit what I needed. My welcome rhyme was:

Bunny Bunny

Bunny Bunny, hop real low
Bunny Bunny, say hello
Bunny Bunny, hope up high
Bunny Bunny, touch the sky
Bunny Bunny, wiggle your nose
Bunny Bunny, stomp your toes
Bunny Bunny, hop around
Bunny Bunny, please sit down.

And for my goodbye rhyme I used:

I saw a Little Rabbit

I saw a little rabbit go hop hop hop
I saw his great big ears go flop flop flop
I saw his little nose go twitch twitch twitch
I saw his furry paw for itch itch itch
I wished the little rabbit would sit and stay
but that little rabbit had to hop away.

I ended up giving out all 4 of my books this week so I think that’s a good sign that they liked them and I saw lots of hopping with whiskers and cute little noses after as well so I’m counting this one as a success.

 

Now, next week. I’m thinking I still want to stick with spring-ish themes for a while because mother nature still seems to be confused as to what season it is, but after doing bunnies/easter, rain/weather, and flowers, I have some ideas brewing, but I’m not entirely sure where else to take it.
Guess it will be another surprise!

 

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