Sunday, February 23, 2014

Storytime - Alphabet


Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
LMNO Peas by Keith Baker
Alligator Alphabet by Stella Blackstone

Other Books To Share:

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming
Apple Pie ABC by Alison Murray
The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

I read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as a prop story. I just used some lowercase magnetic letters and one of my magnetic dry-erase boards. (By the way, can I just rave for a minute about this board? It's 3 in 1: felt board, dry-erase board, and magnetic! It was definitely worth the investment.) I made my coconut tree out of construction paper and laminated it for longevity.


"Sit Down ABC"

A is for alligator - Chomp, Chomp, Chomp! (open and close arms in front of you like alligator jaws)
B is for bouncing - Bop Bop Bop! (hop around)
C is for circles around and around! (turn in a circle)
D is for dizzy when we all sit down! (sit down)

"The Alphabet Song" (w/ magnetic letters - point to each letter as you sing)

A B C D E F G,
H I J K L M N O P.
Q R S T U V,
W X Y Z.
Now I know my ABCs,
Next time won't you sing with me!

"Apples and Bananas"

I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas.
I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas.

I like to ate...ayples and banaynays
I like to eet...eeples and baneenees
I like to ite...iples and baninis
I like to ote...oples and banonos
I like to ute...uples and banunus

"Alphabet Beat"

First clap your hands.
Then stomp your feet.
Everybody do the alphabet beat.
Apple, Apple, Apple - a - a - a,
Apple, Apple, Apple - a - a - a,

Wave your arms high.
Swing your arms low.
The alphabet beat is the way to go.
Blue, Blue, Blue - b - b - b
Blue, Blue, Blue - b - b - b

Move to the left.
Move to the right.
The alphabet beat is way out of sight.
Car, Car, Car - c - c - c
Car, Car, Car - c - c - c

Shout it out loud
Whisper down low.
Just onje more alphabet beat to go!
Dog, Dog, Dog - d - d - d
Dog, Dog, Dog - d - d - d

Now give a high five to a nearby friend.
The alphabet beat has come to the end!

Craft: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Trees

You will need:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Brown construction paper cut to wrap around the rolls
  • Palm leaves cut out of green construction paper
  • Foam alphabet letters
  • Glue sticks
1. Glue the brown construction paper to the toilet paper roll.
2. Add foam letters to tree "trunk" and "leaves".
3. Attached leaves to one end of the toilet paper roll.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Whose Storytime Is It Anyway?: Improvising

We've all been there. We have a perfectly planned storytime script all planned out. We've carefully and diligently chosen our books/songs/fingerplays/flannels/etc. and now we're ready to start the show.


...It seems as if our storytime attendees have other plans. No matter how much you shake your sillies out, open and shut them, or criss-cross applesauce, nothing seems to keep them focused. So really there's only one option left - improvise!

Now, I was born a perfectionist and one of the things that I've had to learn in my 4 years of doing storytimes is to not take it personally if a book/song/rhyme doesn't work out. I shouldn't be afraid to stop what I'm currently doing and switch gears. For instance, it's perfectly fine to skip to the end of a picture book or stop reading entirely and move on. I sometimes feel like my storytime toddlers have a hive mind. Some days they are all really engaged in my storytime and other days I wonder if there's a full moon out or something!

That said, I've also learned some ways to prepare myself to improvise in storytime should the need arise. Here are my tips for success:

1. Have a CD of favorite storytime songs on hand. Choose some crowd-pleasing favorite songs and burn them to a CD, such as "Shake Your Sillies Out" by Raffi or "Tooty-Ta" by Dr. Jean. If your storytime kiddos are getting the wiggles, just pop the CD in and dance them out!

2. Try to have more books on hand than you need. I especially do this for storytimes where I know I'll have kids of various ages. That way, I can read the crowd and if it seems like they are more focused I can choose a longer book. By the same token, if I'm losing the group I can choose a shorter book to read instead.

3. Have some good focusing rhymes/games in your back pocket. I discovered a great book by Jean Feldman called Transition Tips and Tricks for Teachers. Though it's geared toward teachers, I found it to be very useful for a public children's librarian as well. She has some great ideas on how to grab the attention back to you, such as Freddie Flea. A song cube can also work wonders. And I always have my Magic Listening Dust Box on hand just in case.


4. Don't be afraid to break out some props. It's amazing what something as simple as using bean bags/shakers/scarves in storytime can accomplish. If your little ones still have lots of sillies in them, pass out some props, throw on a good song, and dance away! This sort of activity is not only fun, but it teaches kids all about movement and rhythm which is great for improving those motor skills.

What do you do to improvise in your storytime?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Storytime - Valentine's Day


Guess How Much I Love You: The Pop-Up Edition by Sam McBratney
How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

Other Books to Share:

Guess Who? A Fold-Out Valentine's Adventure by Lola M. Schaefer
Who Loves the Little Lamb? by Lezlie Evans
The I Love You Book by Todd Parr
The Perfect Hug by Joanna Walsh
The Biggest Kiss by Joanna Walsh


"Five Happy Valentines" (w/ flannel)

Five happy valentines from the dollar store
I gave one to my mommy, and now there are four.
Four happy valentines, lovely ones to see
I gave one to my brother, and now there are three.
Three happy valentines red, yellow, and blue
I gave one to my daddy, and now there are two.
Two happy valentines, my do we have fun
I gave one to my sister, and now I have one.
One happy valentine, the story's almost done
I gave it to the baby, and now there are none!

I did not make this adorable flannel.


"I Put My Hands Together"

I put my hands together
This is how I start
I curl my fingers right around
And I can make a heart!

"I'm a Little Valentine"
(To the tune: I'm a Little Teapot)

I'm a little valentine,
Red and white
With ribbons and lace
I'm a beautiful sight
I can say "I Love You"
On Valentine's Day
Just put me in an envelope
And give me away!

"H-E-A-R-T" (use w/ cut out letters)

There is a shape and it means love
And heart is its name-o!
And heart is its name-o!

"Five Little Hearts"

Five little hearts
All in a row
The first one said, “I love you so”
The second one said, “Will you be my valentine?”
The third one said, “I will, if you’ll be mine.”
The fourth one said, “I’ll always be your friend.”
The fifth one said, “We’ll all be friends until the very end.”

Craft: Heart Wreath

I cut out some Ellison hearts in different colors. I also cut out the middles of full sized paper plates. The kids could decorate their hearts any way they like then use a glue stick to attach them to the paper plate wreath. Then the parents and I helped to punch a hole in the top and string a piece of yarn through.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Storytime - Messy

This week, we got our hands dirty in storytime and talked about being messy!

The Plan:


I Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont - I love this book. It teaches kids about different parts of the body and has a great rhythm. I purchased some large kid's paint brushes and had the kids "paint" themselves as I read the book. It was great fun!

Mouse Mess by Linnea Riley

Other books you could use:

Mucky Duck by Sally Grindley
Muddypaws by Moira Butterfield
Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
Not Me! by Nicola Killen
Big Smelly Bear by Britta Teckentrup


"Five Pigs So Squeaky Clean" (w/ flannel)

"This is the Way"
(To the tune: "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush)

This is the way we wash our hands (rub hands together)
Wash our hands, wash our hands
This is the way we wash our hands
So early in the morning!

Continue with other body parts (arms, belly, legs, teeth, etc...)

Craft: I Ain't Gonna Paint No More body painting

I found a body outline on Google Images and printed it out onto regular paper. Then, I purchased Crayola's No Drip Paint Brush Pens so that the kids could experience using watercolors without all of the mess. Just in case though, I had some smocks on-hand. Can I just say that this product is genius? There was virtually no mess involved and the little mess there was, was easily cleaned up with a wet sponge or baby wipe.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Namaste: Yoga Storytime

Photo by papermoons
I've been seeing several inquiries around the web lately about Yoga storytime. I decided to share my outline that I created last spring. I held three 30 minute sessions over the course of 1 day. The first two sessions were geared toward ages 4 to 5 and the last session was geared toward ages 6 to 7. My co-worker presented this with me. It worked out nicely because one of us could lead the class and demonstrate the poses, while the other person could walk around and help the kids with their poses.

Now I semi-regularly take yoga at a studio so most of these poses and the format were pretty familiar to me. However, even if you haven't done a yoga pose in your entire life, you can still lead this program! The books YogaKids by Marsha Wenig, Yoga Games for Children by Danielle Bersma, and Storytime Yoga by Sydney Solis are all great resources.

Note: You can format/change up this program any way you like. This is just what I did and what worked for me!

Yoga Storytime Outline
(Play Yoga:II CD in the background)

·         Welcome – Talk about why we do yoga: to help relax, to help us grow stronger, to help us become more flexible, and to help us think better (better breathing = more oxygen to brain = better thinking); talk about the word Namaste (Sanskrit for “I see and honor the light within you.” It’s a good way to greet or say goodbye to someone in yoga class.)

·         Namaste w/ clapping – Say each child’s name twice w/ clap and tap, then put hands at heart center and bow and say “Namaste” (Remind the kids that it’s okay to fall or to not be able to do something – just quietly try again)

·         Warm-Up – Sit up tall (zip your zipper/happy body sad body)
  •  Neck: look left/right; up/down; side to side; rotate
  •  Shoulders: lift up and down (breathe in and out); then around
  • Legs: Apple butter rub-spread on legs and reach to toes  
  • Hands and Feet: Wave hello

·         Kneeling Poses
  • Cat/cow (meow and moo/breathe in and out)
  • Downward Facing Dog – wag tail; hold up each leg; bark!
  • Cobra – wiggle and hiss
  • End up in down dog

·         Standing and Balancing
  • Walk both hands to frog crouch; tickle toes; then up over head to tickle ceiling
  • Straighten keens to bend over to touch your toes; hang like a rag doll
  • Stretch up to the sun; arch back; reach to pick apples; make a rainbow in the air with arms - end in Mountain pose
  • Tree pose

·         Yoga Game – Animal Charades (4’s & 5’s); Pass the object (we used a red gym ball) with feet (6’s & 7’s)

·         Book You Are a Lion! by Taeeun Yoo


·         Quiet Time (w/ CD “Yoga Zone” Track #1 or #2) 
  • Have the children lay flat on their backs with their eyes closes
  • Turn out lights and play music
  • Read pg. 108 from YogaKids by Marsha Wenig
  • After the kids sit back up, roll a ball to each child and say "Namaste" then they roll it back to you and say the same

·         Closing Affirmation
  •  Stay seated with hands in heart position

I am smart (touch folded hands to forehead)
I am loved (touch hands to heart position)
I am wonderful (arms open up wide)