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! 😀

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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Snow snow snow

So last week we had an impromptu break from some of our storytimes due to being closed for that little blizzard that visited the Midwest; thanks, Linus. Because we were closed during the time I’d normally do my Monday session, but not for my Thursday session, I decided to switch out the theme. I hate working hard on planning a theme and craft and sometimes writing up my own rhymes and such to only do it one day, ya know? 😛

Anyhow, so instead of doing Dinosaurs (hence that little chompy dude at the end of my last post) I did ….

wait for it…

SNOW!

Surprise, right? hah

The books I read were:

Snow by Steve Sanfield
Danny’s First Snow by Leonid Gore 
Winter is for Snow by Robert Neubecker

I wasn’t in love with the Sanfield book, but it worked well, the other two though, I quite liked. Danny’s First Snow has adorable, soft illustrations and is imaginative and fun. They talk about seeing animals in the snow and I liked that though the shapes were recognizable, they weren’t too obvious so it was fun for the kids to figure it out. Winter is for Snow was also a fun read. The story follows a brother and sister who have two very different views of snow and winter. One voice is grumpy and pouty while the other reads wonderfully cheerful and excited. It also has a nice little message about trying new things. The brother is convinced that winter is terrible and cold and no fun and wants to stay inside, but the sister knows better; she knows that winters is great for sledding and snowballs and all sorts of fun stuff. Eventually the brother caves and tries it and…has fun! *gasp*

One of the action rhymes I did was a short little rhyme about sledding

Sledding Fun

Climb, climb, climb – up the hill of snow. (mimic climbing)
Jump on our sleds (jump!)
Down we go! Weeee! (pretend to slide)

We did several rounds of this and before each round we decided how we were going to sled down the hill; sometimes we went down slowly, sometimes super fast (usually super fast), sometimes backwards or on our bellies like penguins. It was really fun and a good way to burn off some energy if you have a rowdy group.

I also did I’m a little snowman which I got from a preschool express page that has bunches of great snow rhymes and songs.

I’m a Little Snowman
Tune: “I’m A Little Teapot”

I’m a little snowman
Short and fat,
Here are my buttons,
Here is my hat.
When the sun comes out,
I run away
Before I slowly
Melt away!

Since we had a smaller crowd and it was only one session, I broke out something extra awesome for our craft, MARSHMALLOWS!
We has some left over marshmallows from a previous event so I figured I’d put them to use and we made marshmallow snowmen which the kids loved. Unfortunately I didn’t get and good pictures, but here’s a great example.

I was a tiny bit worried that the kids would try to just eat all the marshmallows, but before we moved to the craft room, I had them pinky promise that they wouldn’t eat the craft. This brought lots of giggles from the crowd, why would one EAT a CRAFT? I have to say, I did not see one single kid eat one single marshmallow! they were so great! I mean, there was nothing really wrong with the marshmallow, I was just a little worried because I had put them out on the craft tables in out usual craft trays which often house crayons and stickers and glue sticks and are touched by lots of little fingers so they aren’t exactly something I’d eat off of.

Overall, it was a pretty good storytime and an excellent craft.

Dinosaurs will have to wait a bit longer because next week is all sorts of mushy but I promise I’ll eventually get to those big lizards.

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*

Animal House

This storytime was all about animals. I didn’t get too specific or differentiate between farm or wild or jungle or anything, just animals. I’ve done specific animal storytimes before like a dog storytime or cats, or night animals, and I’ve done an Animal StoryTech before but never just plain old normal animal storytime.

Now normally I try to pick books for my storytime that are new or different because I don’t want them to be bored with the selection since they’ve read that title 8527485 times at home and or in school, but this week I did pick a book that is quite well known. I actually came across a few books that I thought were quite interactive and because of that I thought that it’d be fun to have them help me read the more well known book.

The first book I read was called No Sleep for the Sheep by Karen Beaumont. I quite liked this book and thought it was just the right amount of silliness, rhymes, noises, and repetition. I also liked the fact that you could kind of improvise. for example, as new animals join the sheep it has a line that says “soon the ____ and the sheep, they fell fast asleep” But instead of just reading the two animals, I repeated and had the kids help me list off all the animals to that point. it was a bit of a challenge, but loads of fun! This book might just be one of my new favorites; I could see it working well for a noise or sound themed storytime as well. Both my Monday night and Thursday morning groups giggled and enjoyed it. 🙂

After that book I had three animal themed active rhymes. On both Monday and Thursday, I let the kids help me pick which order I do them in. I listed off the three I brought and let them vote. Now, this can be a very dangerous road to go down if you have a more…enthusiastic crowd that day, but I braved it and it turned out ok.  Here are the three active rhymes I had in tow:


5 little Ducks

5 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 4 little ducks came wandering back.

4 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 3 little ducks came wandering back.

3 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 2 little ducks came wandering back.

2 little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But only 1 little duck came wandering back.

1 little duck went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
But no little ducks came wandering back.

No little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away,
Mama duck called quack quack quack,
And 5 little ducks came wandering back.


Five little kittens

Five little kittens standing in a row
(hold up 5 fingers)
They nod their heads up and down, like so
(bend fingers)
They run to the left, they run to the right
(run fingers to the left and then to the right)
They stand up and stretch in the bright sunlight
(stretch fingers out tall)
Along comes a dog looking for some fun
(hold up opposite hand like a puppet)
With a WOOF! and MEOW! See those little kittens run
(bark with dog hand, wiggle kitten hand, then wiggle hand behind back)


There was a little Turtle

There was a little turtle. (make fingers for small)
He lived in a box. (draw out box shape with fingers)
He swam in a puddle. (pretend to swim)
He climbed on the rocks. (pretend to climb)

He snapped at a mosquito. (use hand to pretend to snap like a turtle mouth)
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito. (grab air with hand)
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn’t catch me. (wave finger no)


With the Kitten rhyme, I actually did 10 little kittens and had them hold up both hands (personal preference) and with the Turtle rhyme, I had them name a random animal and I changed the line from “He snapped at/caught the minnow” to the animal they suggested. This made for great fun a squeals of laughter because we repeated this twice in a row and they picked cow and cat and each time I got to the part with those animals they laughed hysterically and shouted about how a turtle can’t catch a cow or a cat, they’re way too big and fast! (obviously)

The second book I read was Barnyard Song by Rhonda Gowler Greene I quite liked this book as well! Much like the first book, it could easily be used in a noise or sound themed storytime as well as a storytime about being sick. The animals make all sorts of silly noises when they get sick but then everything rights itself again after the farmer makes them some good soup (vegetable, I’m sure). The kids in both sessions of course thought it hilarious to hear me “moo choo!” and “cough-a-doodle-doo” and all sorts of snorts and whistles. After this book we did a second active rhyme.

The third book we read was the classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin. We didn’t just read the normal version though, we read the BIG BOOK version

brown bear

These things are seriously the size of a small child, they’re great! 😀 This is the book that we all read aloud together and they LOVED being able to do that! Again, after this book, we did our third and final active rhyme.

In my Monday session I then went right in to our fourth and last book but in my thursday session I ALMOST skipped it because they were quite rowdy and I wasn’t sure they could handle another, but then I remembered that it’s a SUPER interactive book. Well, I don’t know if it’s really supposed to be, but that’s how I read it. If I hadn’t read it the way I did, I think it would have been too awkward for a storytime book.

My fourth and final book was Wiggle Waggle by Johnathan London. I read this book less like the book itself and instead I read the first page as an introduction and then simply turned the pages and had the kids act it out. The book is all about how animals walk or move, and instead of just turning pages and reading “How does the kitten walk? Pish-Posh” (…uh, what?) I would turn the page and say “How does the _____ walk?!” and the kids would show me while I made up my own noises. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the sounds / descriptors used for the animal walks in this book were…awkward, so I used my own at times. I actually really liked that book because while it’s reading, and the kids are still seeing the words and letters and pictures, they’re also playing and acting and putting 2 and 2 or 3 and 3 together and that kind of multi-sense connection building really cements things and helps them retain much more information than me just saying “the cat walks like this”.

After we finished all our books and rhymes, I released the little animals into the craft room for our craft. On Monday I managed to get my segue out and teach them 3 words in ASL: Lion, Tiger, and Bear.

oh-my-takei

 

In my Thursday session, there was no chance and I simply had to un-cage them so they could run wild.

The reason for my ASL segue is that we were making Lion, Tiger (ok, a cat) or Bear masks!

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I couldn’t find a tiger, ok?

 

These were SUPER basic, just printed on regular paper and I put out scissors, crayons, hole punches and string. the kids went nuts!

 

I haven’t quite gotten next week’s theme nailed down (I keep not getting around to making the flannel I want to use) but either way, I’m SURE I’ll figure something fun out. 🙂

I’m back!

So we took quite a bit of a storytime break over the holiday season and then I managed to lose my voice a day before we started back up again and was out for an extra week! Boo! But it’s back now. ( well, mostly,I’m still working on hitting some of those high notes on my drives in to work.)

In other news, I’m excited to say that though I’ve been in library work for over 10 years, I’ve hit a new and exciting milestone; it’s officially been 1 whole year of storytimes for me! I was TERRIFIED to start doing storytimes, hello panic attacks, and even though I still get nervous before each one, they’ve become such a rewarding and exciting part of my job. (cheesy? oh well!)

confetti

YAY!

This week’s storytime was all about things that go. Transportation, motors, bikes, cars, horses, you name it!

The books I chose were:

Wake up engines by Denise Dowling Mortensen
Bunnies on the Go, Getting from Place to Place by Rick Walton
The Little School Bus by Margery Cuyler
Good Night Engine by Denise Dowling Mortensen

I read them in that order, the two middle ones were relatively interchangeable, though the school bus one was shorter and easier to skip if the kids were feeling extra antsy, and the two end cap books were perfect for introducing and then wrapping up our theme.

Wake up and Good Night Engines both read more like poems than a story but are fun and filled with excellent image evoking words and lots of onomatopoeia which is always fun for the kids and it gave me lots of chances to have them help me make noise.

I loved Bunnies on the Go because it was a guessing game! each page features a short stanza about the bunnies going somewhere in some mode of transportation and then gives you a hint to the next mode of transportation they use. The last word of each stanza is on the next page and shows a picture of it. I liked the flow, and the kids got to practice rhyming and sounding out words to guess. If you’re really good and look close enough, you’ll find that the answer is actually shown in each illustration. Some of the rhymes are pretty easy, but some are pretty tough! It’s super interactive and a great confidence boost when they make their guesses and also does a pretty good job of touching on common core standards in foundational reading skills. Also, bunnies. 🙂

I admit, I have mixed feelings about I’m a little school bus. The illustrations are super cute, and I like the kinda cheeky writing style (Bus driver Bob needs his coffee!) but I found myself getting kinda tongue tied with some of the rhymes and though the repetition of “I’m a little school bus…..” on each page is good, I felt it was a bit longer than it needed to be maybe? I’m not sure. The kids seemed to like it though so yay! Oh! and it KILLED my hands to hold it up and read it, the pages are more like a board book and the spine wasn’t cracked or anything so it was hard to hold open, so beware! haha.

Aside from the four books we read (and we did get through all 4 books in both sessions!) I did a few extension activities.

On Monday night we had a small crowd that seemed kinda sleepy so I tried really hard to get them to interact more by drawing out the activities a bit more. My Thursday morning crew was big, bright eyed, and bushy tailed though so they certainly didn’t need quite as much encouragement in the interaction department. hah.

I love the idea of teaching sign language words that relate to our theme to the attendees and I found this awesome rhyme activity on the Sunflower Storytime blog.

RHYME – Helicopter; Sign Language Rhyme
Sign “Helicopter” as you say this rhyme:  Right thumb in palm of Left hand. Left hand fingers spread and shake. 

Helicopter goes up
Helicopter goes down
Helicopter turns, turns all around

Helicopter goes left
Helicopter goes right
Helicopter goes up, up, and out of sight (hands behind back)

Watch a video clip of the sign here.

We had a blast flying out helicopters all over the place!

I also did a firetruck activity on Monday night, though we skipped it on Thursday because it is a kinda rowdy activity and we were already reaching maximum rowdiness. All we did was basically pretend we were driving a firetruck!

Oh no! somebody called for a firetruck! Hurry, start the engine! (VROOM VROOM) I then had them bounce up and down in their seats and pretend to steer as I narrated different actions.

We’re coming to an intersection, ring the bell and run the siren! (ding ding ding! weeeooo weeeooo!)
Turn the corner! (lean to the left)
Turn again (lean to the right)
We’re here! Climb the ladder!
Spray the hose!
Phew! fire’s out, good job!
Now back to the station. Everything in reverse!
Roll up the hose (roll our fist over one another)
Down the ladder.
In the truck.
Turn right (lean to the right)
Turn left (lean to the left)
We’re coming to an intersection, make sure to stop! (beep beep)
And back into the station.

you can obviously narrate this however works best for you. It’s a great storytelling tool though, you can have the kids help narrate by having them suggest different actions, or you can do the narrating and let them use their imaginations!

The other activity we did involved egg shakers, yay! I had them all grab a shaker and I pulled out 3 foam circles in red, green, and yellow. We talked about how lots of vehicles see those colors when they’re on the road and asked them if they knew what each one meant. Of COURSE they did because kids are smart and awesome. I then explained that they were gonna shake the shakers based on what color sign I held up. When it was green, we shook FAST. Yellow, shake sloooowwww, and red means FREEZE! lots of fun and giggles with this one, obviously. It was a very silly time and we all loved it. I then had them drive their shakers back home to the bin and we sat down for our last story before our craft. Luckily Goodnight Engines features trains pretty heavily which was a good segue into our craft; Name Trains!

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choo choo!

 

For this super easy craft I put out large pieces of construction paper in a few colors, paper with a train engine printed, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, and little squares of different colors construction paper. This craft, though basic, helps strengthen fine motor skills, spelling, and counting! It also helps meet some of the common core standards for language arts presentation of knowledge and ideas with early literacy. Kids got to color and then cut out their engines, then counted out the letters in their name for the train cars, then practiced spelling and writing by putting a letter on each car, and then create a scene for their train. Again, pretty simple sounding, but lots of little things for them to do and they churned out some pretty amazing trains! WAY better than my example. I also got some pretty good feedback from the parents about liking this craft which is always good. 🙂

 

It felt good to get back in the saddle and I’m ready for more!