Friday, July 11, 2014

Storytime: What's the Weather?

Our state participates in the Collaborative Summer Library Program, and this year's theme is Fizz, Boom, READ!  For my weekly storytimes, I've planned a a science-based theme each week.  This week was about weather.


It looked like spilt milk.Cloudy with a chance of meatballsSplit! Splat!The snowy day.Kite day : a Bear and Mole story

It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
Split! Splat! by Amy Gibson
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Kite Day by Will Hillenbrand


Rain is Falling Down

Rain is falling down, splash!
Rain is falling down, splash!
Pitter, patter, pitter, patter.
Rain is falling down, splash!
Sun is peaking out, peak-a-boo!
Sun is peaking out, peak-a-boo!
Peaking here, peaking there.
Sun is peaking out, peak-a-boo!
(Source: King County Library System)

Noisy Wind
(tune: "The Farmer in the Dell")

I like the noisy wind,
I like the noisy wind.
It roars and mutters,
(voice loud and then soft)
And shakes and shutters,
(use shaker eggs)
I like the noisy wind.
I like the noisy wind,
I like the noisy wind.
It flaps the flag,
(use scarves and flap your arms around)
And rustles my bag,
I like the noisy wind.
(Source: Preschool Education)

Five Umbrellas
(I used this as a flannel rhyme)

Five umbrellas stood by the back door.
The red one went outside, and then there were four.
Four umbrellas stood pretty as can be,
The blue one went outside, and then there were three.
Three umbrellas with nothing to do,
The green one went outside, and then there were two.
Two umbrellas watching for the sun,
The yellow one went out, and then there was one.
Just one umbrella stood alone in the hall,
The purple one went out, and that was all!
(Source: Harris County Public Library)


Shaving Cream (use Barbasol or other brand that isn't a gel-based shaving cream)
Food Coloring
Cold Water
Clear Plastic Cup

1.  Fill the clear plastic cup 3/4 of the way with cold water.
2.  Spray the shaving cream on top of the cold water.
3.  Squeeze several drops of food coloring on top of the shaving cream and observe what happens.

The shaving cream represents the cloud and the food coloring represents the rain.  As water droplets inside a cloud continue to grow, they become heavy and eventually turn into rain and fall to the ground.


Paper towel tubes
Construction paper or scrapbook paper
Glue sticks
Rubber bands
Dry rice
Dry beans
Aluminum foil

1.  Cover the paper towel tube with paper and glue in place.  If you are using construction paper, the kids can decorate the paper however they choose before gluing it onto the tube.
2.  Cut two squares out of the paper.  Cover one end of the tube with the paper square and rubber band it in place.
3.  Fill the tube with some rice, beans, and two crumpled up lengths of foil.
4.  Cover the other end of the tube with the second paper square and rubber band it tightly.
5.  Shake gently and hear the sounds of rain...or rock out to some music, as this craft makes an excellent music instrument!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Storytime: In My Garden

Spring is here - sunny skies, warm and windy air.  And rainy days, too.  But that makes the grass greener, the trees blossom, and flowers and plants grow.  This nice weather made me think of gardening.  Not that I have a green thumb.  Oh, no.  But, I like to eat the yummy vegetables and fruits that are in abundance this time of the year.  Thank you, regional farmer's market!  Thinking of gardening made me think of some great picture books on this very topic and a storytime was born.

Flower gardenI have a gardenPlanting a rainbowGrowing vegetable soupCarrot soupJo MacDonald had a gardenMuncha! Muncha! Muncha!And the good brown earthEddie's garden and how to make things growThe ugly vegetables

Books to Share With Toddlers:

Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
I Have a Garden by Bob Barner
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
Carrot Soup by John Segal

Books to Share With Preschoolers:

Jo MacDonald Had a Garden by Mary Quattlebaum
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming
And the Good Brown Earth by Kathy Henderson
Eddie's Garden and How to Make Things Grow by Sarah Garland
The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin

Finger Puppet Rhyme:  There's Something in my Garden
I purchased this finger puppet set from Artfelt.  I keep the puppets hidden as I say the rhyme and reveal it after the kids have guessed what it is.

There's something in my garden,
Now what can it be?
There's something in my garden,
That I can't really see.
Hear its funny sound...RIBBIT - RIBBIT - RIBBIT.
A frog is what I found!

There's something in my garden,
Now what can it be?
There's something in my garden,
That I can't really see.
Hear its funny sound...THUMP - THUMP - THUMP.
A rabbit is what I found!

There's something in my garden,
Now what can it be?
There's something in my garden,
That I can't really see.
Hear its funny sound...SQUEAK - SQUEAK - SQUEAK.
A mouse is what I found!

There's something in my garden,
Now what can it be?
There's something in my garden,
That I can't really see.
Hear its funny sound...CAW - CAW - CAW.
A crow is what I found!

Fingerplay:  Five Spring Flowers

Five spring flowers, all in a row.
The first one said, "We need rain to grow!"
The second one said, "Oh my, we need water!"
The third one said, "Yes, it is getting hotter."
The fourth one said, "I see clouds in the sky."
The fifth one said, "I wonder why?"
Then BOOM went the thunder,
And ZAP went the lightning!
That springtime storm was really frightening!
But the flowers weren't worried - no, no, no!
The rain helped them grow, grow, grow!

(Source: Harris County Public Library)

Rhyme:  Dig a Little Hole

Dig a little hole,           (pretend to dig)
Plant a little seed,        (pat a seed)
Pour a little water,       (pretend to water)
Dig a little weed,         (pretend to pull weeds)
Chase a little bug,       (shoo away with hands)
There he goes!            (wiggle fingers away)
Give a little sunshine,   (circle arms overhead)
Grow a little rose.       (pretend to hold flower)

(Source: Perry Public Library)

Craft:  Vase of Flowers
I'm sorry I don't have a picture of this craft; I didn't have time to make a sample craft before storytime.  But, this is very simple.  I had children (with the help of their grown-up) cut the shape of a vase out of patterned scrapbook paper.  They glued this onto a piece of construction paper.  Finally, using markers (or crayons) they drew flowers or plants or whatever they wanted to put in their "vase."  If you are feeling adventurous, you could even use washable paint and use their fingerprints to make the flowers.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Storytime: Bunnies, Eggs and Chicks!

Easter is coming up this Sunday.  Stores are inundated with chocolate rabbits, marshmallow Peeps, Easter eggs, and other pastel-colored decorations and candy.  Well, I just HAD to get into the Easter spirit, so I planned a storytime featuring bunnies, chickens and eggs.  If you're uncomfortable doing an Easter-themed storytime depending on your community, this would also work as a "Spring Things" storytime.  If you'd like any non-Easter book suggestions, please send me a comment.

Peek-a-boo bunnyWee little chickI hatched!Minerva Louise and the colorful eggsThe Easter Bunny's assistant


Peek-a-Boo Bunny by Holly Surplice
Wee Little Chick by Lauren Thompson


I Hatched! by Jill Esbaum
Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs by Janet Morgan Stoeke
The Easter Bunny's Assistant by Jan Thomas

FLANNEL RHYME:  Five Little Bunnies

One little bunny, wondering what to do,
Another bunny came along, then there were two.
Two little bunnies, hopping just like me,
Another bunny came along, then there were three.
Three little bunnies, jumping around outdoors,
Another bunny came along, then there were four.
Four little bunnies, so fluffy and alive,
Another bunny came along, then there were five.
Five little bunnies ready for some fun,
Hopped away in the warm, spring sun.

Source:  King County Library System

SONG:  "I Know a Chicken" by Laurie Berkner from the album Whaddaya Think of That?
I seem to play this song A LOT at storytime, but it's such fun and fits in with lots of themes.  You can't go wrong with a bunch of shaky eggs.

FINGERPLAY:  Ten Fluffy Chicks

Five eggs
     (hold up five fingers)
And five eggs
     (hold up five more fingers)
That makes ten
Sitting on top is the mother hen
     (lock fingers, knuckles up)
Crack, crack, crack, what do I see?
     (wiggle fingers apart)
Ten baby chicks as yellow as can be
     (hold up ten fingers)

Source:  Perry Public Library

FLANNEL RHYME:  Jelly Bean Countdown
Use five different colored jelly beans

Five little jelly beans, I wish I had more!  I'll eat the (color) one - now there are four!
Four little jelly beans, tasty as can be.  I'll eat the (color) one - now there are three!
Three little jelly beans, only a few.  I'll eat the (color) one - now there are two!
Two little jelly beans, eating them is fun.  I'll eat the (color) one - now there is one.
One little jelly bean, the one for me.  I'll eat the (color) one - I'm as happy as can be!

Source:  Perry Public Library

CRAFT:  Pom Pom Easter Egg Painting
I found this on Pinterest (where else?) and knew I had to try it with my toddlers.  This is great way for toddlers to paint.  Using clothespins, attach a pom pom to each one.  Holding this makeshift paint brush, kids dip their pom pom into different colors of washable paint and press it onto a coloring page of an egg.  Super easy and super fun!

SNACK:  Cupcakes
I don't normally have snacks at storytime, but for special occasions I'll break out my mixing bowl.  I made homemade yellow cupcakes with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting that I tinted light green.  Then I decorated them with bunny Peeps (attached with a toothpick) and jelly beans.  Adorable and quite yummy, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Storytime: Spring Has Sprung!

The official first day of Spring was last month, but you couldn't tell that from the lovely weather in Syracuse.  Snow in April, really?!  That didn't stop me from planning a spring-themed storytime.

Wake up, it's Spring!Mouse's first springIn like a lion, out like a lambAnd then it's springSpring is here


Wake Up, It's Spring! by Lisa Campbell Ernst
Mouse's First Spring by Lauren Thompson


In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb by Marion Dane Bauer
And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano
Spring is Here by Will Hillenbrand

FINGERPLAY: During the Spring

During the spring, it often showers.
     (flutter fingers down)
Or the sun shines for many hours.
     (form circle in the air with your arms)
Both are good for the flowers!
     (cup each hand and extend like a flower)

SOURCE: SurLaLune Storytime

FLANNEL RHYME:  Five Little Pigs in the Mud
Spring is all about mud, so this rhyme fits in perfectly.  Also, this can be used for bath time or farm animal themed storytimes.

Five little pigs rolled in the mud
     (hold up five fingers)
Squishy, squashy, felt so good.
     (roll hands)
The farmer took one piggy out,
"Oink, oink, oink," that pig did shout!

Continue with four, three, two, one...

No little pigs rolled in the mud.
They all looked so clean and good.
The farmer turned his back and then,
Those pigs rolled in the mud again!

RHYME SOURCE: King County Library System
FELT TEMPLATE: Storytime Katie

FINGERPLAY: Five Little Flowers

Five little flowers standing in the sun,
     (hold up five fingers)
See their heads all nodding, one by one.
     (bend fingers several times)
Down, down, down comes the gentle rain,
     (raise hands, wiggle fingers and lower hands)
And the five little flowers lift their heads up again!
     (hold up five fingers)

SOURCE: SurLaLune Storytime

CRAFT:  Fork Print Flowers

Pinterest to the rescue, again!  I found this idea here.  This was an easy and surprisingly non-messy craft that worked great with the toddlers and preschoolers.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Pancake Party

Funfetti Pancakes!
I held a Pancake Party this past Tuesday for ages 2 and up at our library.  Appropriately, it was the same day as Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day as it's more widely known).  The game plan was to have a storytime, craft, and then eat pancakes.  If you think making pancakes in the library sounds daunting, it really isn't.  As long as you have someone helping you with this program, it is completely doable, easy, and fun!  Here is what we did:

BOOK:  If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff

This is a perfect song for a pancake or food-themed storytime.  The song lyrics and pattern are in Ready-To-Go Storytimes: Fingerplays, Scripts, Patterns, Music, and More by Gail Benton.  The children LOVE to help me out by putting felt pieces on the board, so before I started this song, I asked if anyone wanted to be my helper.  Since this song has a lot of felt pieces, I had enough for everyone.  This is a great way to make flannel board songs or rhymes more interactive.  This can be sung to the tune of "Aiken Drum," but honestly, I can never remember that tune, so I just chant the rhyme.

BOOK:  Hey, Pancakes! by Tamson Weston; illustrated by Stephen Gammell

SONG:  "I Know a Chicken" by Laurie Berkner from the album Whaddaya Think of That? 
This goes along with the "breakfast" theme and my storytime kids love using the shaky eggs.

BOOK:  Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle

CRAFT:  Paper Pancakes
We cut out circles from brown construction paper, as well as bacon and eggs from felt scraps.  Children each got a paper plate and were encouraged to put on their plate the foods they'd like to eat for breakfast.  We had blue and red circle stickers to represents blueberries and raspberries, as well as yarn to mimic maple syrup.  This is an easy craft to do with toddlers as long as you have the pieces cut out ahead of time.

FOOD:  Pancakes
Making and serving pancakes in the library sounds crazy, right?  It's actually pretty easy, but you do need to plan ahead.  I brought some supplies from home and borrowed others from staff members.  One way to keep costs down is to purchase pancake mix that only requires water to mix-in.  Granted, the pancakes aren't as fluffy as the ones made with a mix that requires milk and eggs, but depending on your budget and how much help you'll have, sometimes the easy way is the best.  Here is what you'll need to make pancakes at the library:

1.  Pancake Mix (1 box was enough for 15 toddlers; for older children, purchase 2 boxes - they eat a lot!)
2.  Maple Syrup
3.  Butter
4.  Mix-ins (chocolate chips, blueberries, etc.)  I used rainbow sprinkles and make "funfetti" pancakes.
5.  Other toppings (bananas, strawberries, marshmallows, whipped cream, etc.)
6.  Orange Juice
7.  2 Electric griddles (brought from home and borrowed from staff)
8.  Non-stick cooking spray (brought from home)
9.  Mixing bowls (brought from home)
10.  Dry measuring cups (brought from home)
11.  Liquid measuring cups
12.  Whisks (brought from home)
13.  Spatulas (brought from home)
14.  Plates, cups, napkins, forks and knives

I mixed the pancake batter ahead of time.  I had one long table set up with the griddles, pancake mix, spray and spatulas.  We set up a second table with the tableware, toppings and juice.  I manned (guarded) the griddles and make various pancakes (funfetti and chocolate chip).  Once pancakes were cooked, we put them on a plate and transferred them to the second table so kids and parents could help themselves.  I kept cooking until all the batter was gone and everyone's tummy was happy and full!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Toddler Storytime: Happy Thanksgiving!

I had my last story time of the Fall session this week.  I usually take the month of December off from weekly story times (not that it's a vacation for me; I'll be working on projects that have been piling up) due to the busy holiday season.  Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I thought it was appropriate to end the Fall story times with a Thanksgiving theme.  Here is what I did:

DISCUSSION:  What Are You Thankful For?
The children in my toddler group are mostly 2-3 years old, so we had a quick discussion about things they are thankful for.  Trucks, toys, parents, cousins and families topped the list. :)

BOOK:  Splat Says Thank You! by Rob Scotton
Splat's best friend Seymour is sick and hasn't smiled in a while.  Splat decides to make Seymour a friendship book thanking him for all the wonderful things he has done for Splat, in hopes that it will make him smile.  This was a nice book to share after talking about things we are thankful for; the kids got to yell out "Thank you" each time Splat said something nice about his friend.

SONG:  "If You're Thankful and You Know It"
(tune: "If You're Happy and You Know It")

If you're thankful and you know it, clap your hands.
If you're thankful and you know it, clap your hands.
If you're thankful and you know it, and you really want to show it,
If you're thankful and you know it, clap your hands.

Continue with stomp your feet, shout "I am!", and do all three.

(Source: Sunflower Storytime)

FLANNEL SONG:  "Did You Ever Seen a Turkey?"
(tune:  "Did You Ever See a Lassie?")

Did you ever see a turkey, a turkey, a turkey,
Who struts around the farmyard with feathers so bright?
With red ones and orange ones and yellow ones and brown ones,
Did you ever see a turkey with feathers so bright?

Continue with pink ones and green ones and blue ones and purple ones
Continue with striped ones and spotted ones and glittery ones and a cow one

(Source:  Miss Sarah Storytime)

BOOK:  Run, Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr
Turkey does not like Thanksgiving.  He needs to get away from the farmer - fast!  He tries hiding in various places around the farm.  Kids love shouting out "Run, turkey, run!"  For the toddlers, I ask them where turkey is hiding and what kind of animal is he pretending to be.  This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving books and is great to share with preschoolers, too.

FLANNEL SONG:  "We Eat Turkey"
(tune:  "Frere Jacques")

We eat turkey, we eat turkey.
Oh so good, oh so good.
Always on Thanksgiving, always on Thanksgiving.
Yum, yum, yum!  Yum, yum, yum!

Continue with mashed potatoes, corn, squash, and pumpkin pie.

Dinner's over, dinner's over.
We are stuffed!  We are stuffed!
What a great Thanksgiving, what a great Thanksgiving.
Yum, yum, yum!  Yum, yum, yum!

(Source:  Storytime Secrets)

For this rhyme, I printed out clip art of each food item, cut them out, laminated them, and glued a piece of felt onto the back.  I also acted out the verses, pretending to eat the food and rubbing and patting my tummy.  Between verses, I asked what are some things we eat on Thanksgiving and a little boy kept telling me "stuffing" each time I asked!  I'll have to find clip art for that for next year, buddy, because that's my favorite food, too!

CRAFT:  Paper Scrap Turkeys
I found this craft idea on Pinterest.  This is very easy and a great way to use up construction paper scraps.  Ahead of time, I cut out turkey bodies from brown construction paper.  Using scissors with a scalloping edge, I cut out squares of construction paper.  All the toddlers had to do was glue their turkey onto a piece of construction paper and glue paper scraps around it to make feathers.  Their grownups could also make a beak and feet out of scrap paper, if they desired.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Toddler Storytime: Pets

This is a versatile theme for storytime, because there are so many picture books about animals.  The obvious choices are cats or dogs, but you could include books about fish, snakes, hamsters, and the list goes on!  Here is what I did:

BOOK:  What Pet to Get? by Emma Dodd
Jack would like a pet and his mother said yes, but what should they get?  Jack has several suggestions, from an elephant to a Tyranasaurus Rex, but mom explains why each of these animals would be impractical.  This is a funny book, and I love the illustrations.

RHYME:  I Went to the Pet Store
I used puppets and had the kids "guess" the animal based on the rhyme.  You could also make the animals out of felt and use on a flannelboard.

I went to the pet store and made a special wish.
The pet that I wanted was a very special (fish)!

I went to the pet store, I went there at a jog,
To get a pet with a wagging tail, it was a little (dog)!

I went to the pet store, it had become a habit.
The pet I wanted now was a soft, white, fluffy (rabbit)!

I went to the pet store, I'm sure this sounds absurd,
But the pet I wanted was a colorful flying (bird)!

I went to the pet store, it was no mistake.
What I really wanted now was a hissing green (snake)!

(Source: Storytime Magic by Kathy MacMillan.  Chicago: American Library Association, 2009)

SONG:  "The Goldfish" by Laurie Berkner (from The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band)
This interactive song is so much fun!  Kids get to act out swimming like fish and other activities like riding a bike and taking a nap.  My toddler group loves to play with the musical instruments, so I usually put a bunch out when we dance to songs.

BOOK:  A Kitten Tale by Eric Rohmann
Four kittens have never seen winter or snow, and three of them are worried they won't like it, but their sibling can't wait to experience it.  The kittens watch out the window as the seasons change and snow finally arrives.  The three kittens watch as the fourth kitten has so much fun in the snow that they all decide to go out and enjoy it.  This is a really cute story.

FLANNEL STORY:  Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
A child writes to the zoo asking for a pet.  The zoo sends a different animal, but there is something wrong with each one, so it gets sent back, until the perfect one arrives.  The template for this story is available at Kizclub.  I didn't have time to make it out of felt, so I printed out the images, laminated them, cut them out, and attached a magnet to each piece.  Voila!  Instant story on a board.

FLANNEL STORY:  Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
This is a great story to share because it incorporates colors, counting and a dog!  I did make this out of felt and it was very easy because there aren't a lot of pieces.  The template is from Storytime Magic by Kathy MacMillan and is available online.

CRAFT:  Tabby Cat
I found this craft idea from The Mailbox, a magazine for teachers our library subscribes to.  They have some easy and fun ideas for things to do in the classroom.  This was a great craft for toddlers because it didn't involve a lot of steps, just folding paper, tearing paper, gluing and coloring.