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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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!

 

 

 

Insert clever night animal blog title here.

night_eyes

 

Ya, much like the title of this blog, this storytime, to me, at least, felt a little… flat.

I had wanted to do an owl storytime originally but as I was pulling books for it, I found myself unimpressed with many of the titles I managed to get my hands on. I did end up with one that I liked though “I’m Not Scared!” by Jonathan Allen  which is about an owl who takes his stuffed toy for a walk in the woods at night. This author has a handful of super cute Owl books but only this one really fit with the theme of night time. Aside from that title, I also read “Bats Around the Clock” by Kathi Applet. I LOVED this book! it has excellent rhythm, rhymes, and energy and even though the kids didn’t get any of the references to stars of a bygone era, I and I think a few parents, were quite amused. The book is actually written to help kids learn to tell time, but I thought it fit well with our theme.

I also read a book with very interesting and striking illustrations called  “Nightsong” by Ari Berk . In this book we follow a young bat as he ventures out on his own into the dark. They allude to how bats use sound to see at night and I touched on the topic but I didn’t have the time, nor did I think the kids had the attention span to be able to go into great detail about it; neat concept though none-the-less.

The “Night in the Country” by Cynthia Rylant  was also a cute and gentle read.The illustrations are pretty and the story talks about different noises you hear in the country at night. some animal noises, some not; I liked it.

The kids seemed to enjoy the stories I picked and sat quietly for them. I also did a couple different night animal noise active rhymes and flannel board. The rhyme I did was one I’d seen online and doctored up a tiny bit to flow better for me.

 

Wide Eyed Owl

 

There’s a wide-eyed owl (circle your eyes with your hands)
With a pointed nose (make a beak with your fingers)
Two pointed ears (make ears with your fingers)
And claws for toes (wiggle your “claws”)

He lives in the trees (point way up)
When he looks at you (point to children)
He flaps his wings (flap your wings)
And says, “Whoo! Whoo!” (say “whoo”)

That’s the wide-eyed owl (circle your eyes with your hands)
With a pointed nose (make a beak with your fingers)
Two pointed ears (make ears with your fingers)
And claws for toes (wiggle your “claws”)

Credit: Wilmette Public Library

 

We did the rhyme a couple times but it didn’t catch on too well aside from the part where they got to hoot like an owl, they excelled at that aspect and it was somewhat difficult to reign them back in. haha

I also did a counting flannel board with cute little owls with googly eyes.

These aren’t them, but look how cute they are! I just might have to remake mine to look more like this. 🙂

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Five Hooting Owls

Five hooting owls sitting in a tree
One flew away, how many do you see?
one, two, three, four!

Four hooting owls sitting in a tree
One flew away, how many do you see?
one, two, three!


Three hooting owls sitting in a tree
One flew away, how many do you see?
one, two!


Two hooting owls sitting in a tree
One flew away, how many do you see?
one!


One hooting owl sitting in a tree
They flew away, how many do you see?
None!


No more owls sitting in the tree
Now those branches are as empty as can be!

I think if I did the theme over again, I’d pick a wider range of animals to cover but it could have been worse, I suppose.

Next week I’ll have a co-worker filling in for me during my Thursday storytime as I’ll be out of town at a conference and I have a couple special guests visiting for my monday storytime that I’ll tell you all about.

Until then, I’ll be back next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel!  (sorta)  😉

 

clip-art-bats-200902

 

Puppies! Puppies! Puppies!

This week’s storytime theme is a favorite of mine!

Cute-Puppies-puppies-16094619-1280-800PUPPIES! 

Look at those snuggly little faces! Awww…

Ok, So, if you ask me, drafting up a storytime on a topic you love is almost as hard, if not harder than doing one on a topic you aren’t super into. I think I ended up with enough material to do two, maybe even three storytimes!

Aside from my standard “Welcome Welcome” and “Goodbye Goodbye” rhymes, I have another rhyme, (at least) three books, and two sing-along songs. I have to decide which ones to keep and which to save for next time. One of the songs is BINGO because, let’s be honest, it’s kind of required, right? I found a nice youtube video for this one that I’m going to play so we can sing along. I like the idea of the video because it’s a bit more interactive than just singing and clapping along, AND it is a big help for me in keeping track of my spot. (how many claps? what are letters?)

Here’s the video I plan to use:


I picked this one because the song didn’t go too quickly, and the animation is nice and simple so it’s easy for the kids to keep up. I like how it spells out BINGO in nice big, bright, letters and then adds in a little picture of hands clapping when you get to those parts.
There was one other video that I thought about using because I really liked how the singer explained what was coming next for each verse, but it’s a pretty long song and the animation is quite busy so I worried that the kids would lose interest.
If you’re interested, here’s the other video:

Here is the other song:

The Paws on the Dog
(to the tune of wheels on the bus)

The paws on the dog go trot, trot, trot.
Trot, trot, trot, trot, trot, trot.
The paws on the dog go trot, trot, trot.
All through the town.

The ears on the dog go flop, flop, flop
Flop, flop, flop, flop, flop, flop
The ears on the dog go flop, flop, flop
All through the town

The nose on the dog goes sniff, sniff, sniff
Sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff
The nose on the dog goes sniff, sniff, sniff
All through the town

The tongue on the dog goes lick, lick, lick
Lick, lick, lick, lick, lick, lick

The tongue on the dog goes lick, lick, lick
All through the town

The tail on the dog goes wag, wag, wag
Wag, wag, wag, wag, wag, wag

The tail on the dog goes wag, wag, wag
All through the town

The dogs on a walk go woof, woof, woof
Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof
The dogs on a walk go woof, woof, woof
All through the town.

I took this song from here but changed the last bit.

Here is the other rhyme I’m using:

Some Dogs

Some dogs bark
Some dogs growl
Some dogs yip
And some dogs howl

Some can sit
And some can shake

Some roll over
Some swim in the lake

Some are big
Some are small
Some are short
And some are tall

Some run fast
Some run slow

Some ears stand up
Some ears hang low

This rhyme is another Frakensteined creation of mine; I found the first 3 or 4 lines on a handful of websites, but that was all there was, a 3 or 4 line rhyme. I liked it, but felt it could, and should be much longer! Each line has an action, or something you can replicate which is entertaining and good for getting out some energy. We also learn some opposites with things like fast and slow, up (high) and low, short and tall, big and small. This is a great exercise in learning word relation for the kids. I also like the onomatopoeia in the first stanza. Don’t just say “yip” YIP! 🙂

I also considered doing an easy craft, but I didn’t think of it with enough time to actually prepare. I thought making paper plate puppy masks, or using construction paper to make puppy ear headbands would be easy but still fun. I guess I’ll have to save those for another storytime.

The books I’ve chosen are “Harry the Dirty Dog” by Gene Zion, “Bark, George” by Jules Feiffer, and “Puppies, Puppies, Everywhere!” by Cat Urbigkit.
Those are actually ordered by most to fewest words. Not only does it help to pick books with a variety of lengths depending on the time you might have due to all sorts of variables, but it also helps if you are planning say a preschool storytime, but have kids that show up that are much younger or older and have different attention spans.
Luckily, my library hosts a wide range of storytimes with events planned for babies, all the way to preschool, and then even a family storytime, but, if I learned anything from my first Monday night storytime it was that putting an age group on an event doesn’t always mean that will be the age of everybody at said event.

For example, I do a preschool storytime twice a week, Monday and Thursday. For some reason, my Monday group skews wildly towards toddler age with only a couple preschool age children, but my Thursday group has been pretty steadily preschool age. I’m learning to plan accordingly and try to pick books and activities that are either versatile enough for a wide age range, or easily modified on the fly to fit that range.

Tonight, we did have a handful of younger kids that found some left behind egg shakers and decided it was play time, but after we settled that, I was able to get through all 3 books, 2 songs (even though the video for bingo didn’t play, we still sang) and an active rhyme. We also talked about dogs and puppies that we have as pets  and they even told me how a big dog says hello (WOOF) or a little dog says hello (YIP)
We did lots of moving around, got all our puppy wiggles out, and made LOTS of noise!

The kids were enthralled with Harry the Dirty Dog and giggled adorably all the way through Bark, George. Puppies, Puppies, Everywhere! wasn’t as big of a hit, but they still seemed to enjoy it, and it’s a quick read and I like that it has photographs of actual dogs so the kids are able to see that instead of just drawings or cartoons.

After we said goodbye, almost all the parents came up and thanked me and told me how much fun their child had. Awesome! 😀

I can’t wait to see how Thursday turns out!

UPDATE
————————————————————————————–

The Thursday morning rendition of Puppy storytime wasn’t nearly as busy or high energy as I had expected. It was still an excellent session, lots of sharing about our puppies or puppy toys we have, and they were excellent listeners for the stories, but they didn’t seem to be quite as in to the songs and rhymes as Monday’s group. I DID get the BINGO video to work this time and they were ENTHRALLED with it. All eyes on the screen, singing and clapping along quietly, it was very cute. 🙂

We did the same 3 books, in the same order, and they really seemed to enjoy “Bark, George”; in fact, on of the parents came up and asked to take it home after because her kids seemed to like it so much.

I enjoy that story more and more each time I read it. I found myself making goofy and confused / surprised faces after each incorrect noise and they all laughed and rolled their eyes as they heard all the funny noises come out of George or saw my reactions. “No, DUCKS say quack!” they’d cry; duh, George, sheesh. 😉

We did the “Paws on the Dog” twice because they seemed to be quite set on learning the actions and they had it down after one go round.

Again, we wiggled like puppies and barked and yipped; we had a few VERY enthusiastic barkers,  hopefully they all got their barks out before the car ride home. (sorry mom. )

I quite enjoyed this themes and can’t wait to do it again, maybe I’ll even craft up a stuffed George and all the creatures he swallowed (a la there was an old lady)

Since we had a request in the first session for MOAR FLANNEL BOARDS and Monsters, next week I’m aiming to do another exciting storytime “first” for me and maybe break out some crafts. Monster Mask, anybody?

Peeking Monster

Bonus! Here’s Betty White reading “Harry the Dirty Dog”. I was quite tempted to just play this video and call it a day. 😉 Yay, Betty!