Saturday, October 25, 2014

Animals at Night Storytime

There are a lot of great picture books about nocturnal animals that lend themselves well to storytime (and to a Bedtime Storytime in particular!), so I had a tough time choosing books this week!  In the end, because I did 3 flannel boards, we only ended up having time for two books, but the three that I had ready were:

To introduce the storytime theme for the week, I used the Mystery Book filled with pictures of nocturnal animals, and had the children try to guess what all of the animals had in common.  Luckily, in all of my storytimes, I had an older child who was quick to guess that they were all animals who slept during the day and stayed awake at night!

Song: Flutter, Flutter Little Bat Credit: Library Palooza
Flutter, flutter little bat, How I wonder where you’re at
Up above the midnight sky, Peeking down with black eyes
Flutter, flutter little bat How I wonder where you’re at

Fingerplay: Two Little Hoot Owls
Two little hoot owls, sitting on a hill
One named Jack and the other named Jill
Fly away Jack! Fly away Jill!
Come back, Jack! Come back, Jill!

Song: I’m a Little Firefly (I’m a Little Teapot) Credit: Preschool Education
I’m a little firefly, Look at me!
I’m as happy as I can be.
See my light flicker and shine so bright
Now watch me fly into the night!

One little bat was trying to behave.
He hung upside down from his feet in a cave.
Another bat flew in, and said, "How do you do?"
The 2nd joined the first, and then there were 2!
2 little bats were trying to behave.
They hung upside down from their feet in a cave.
To help pass the time, they sang "Do re me"
Another bat joined the song, and then there were 3.
3 little bats were trying to behave
They hung upside down from their feet in a cave
From their cave perch, they looked down at the floor,
A new bat joined the game, and then there were 4.
4 little bats were trying to behave.
They hung upside down from their feet in a cave.
One little bat zoomed inside and did a dive.

He stayed to take a rest, and with him there were 5.

Feltboard: There’s something in the nighttime (Modified from There’s something in my garden)
There’s something in the nighttime that I can’t really see.
There’s something in the nighttime, now what can it be?
Whoo, Whoo. Hear it’s funny sound? Whoo, Whoo. An Owl is what I found!
(Continue with other animals, I used an Owl, a cat, a mouse, and a skunk ‘Smell that funny smell? Sniff, sniff, A skunk! You sure can tell!’)

Five Wise Owls
One wise owl sitting in a tree
Hooted to another, "Come sit with me."
Two wise owls sitting in a tree
Hooted to one more, "Come let's be three!"
Three wise owls sitting in a tree
Hooted to a fourth, "Come quietly."
Four wise owls sitting in a tree
Hooted to a fifth, "Join our family."
Five wise owls sang "Whooo, whooo, whooo!"
And before you knew it, away they all flew!

For our craft this week, I used leftover Oriental Trading Company crafts from a few years ago.  Of course, in typical form, this meant that most of the pieces weren't self-adhesive any more.  But we used glue sticks and it all worked out.  I get really frustrated that the self-adhesive glue doesn't last more than maybe a year at most though!  Oh well.

All in all, this was a great storytime theme with a lot of different songs, fingerplays, flannelboards, and stories to choose from.  The kids were very receptive to the theme as well, and gave lots of great ideas about what nocturnal animals do at night while we are sleeping!  Baby Bat's Lullaby ended up just being too boring, even as a "quiet" book to begin with, and I only read it during one storytime.  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Mystery Book

I've been debating posting about this for a while, and then just decided, what the heck.  Every librarian has his or her own unique way of introducing the theme of storytime for the day.  My co-worker who left for a different position made this big "Mystery Book" as her prop for introducing the theme, and she had to leave it here when she left.  I wanted to share the idea because the children LOVE it, and it creates a bit of suspense and anticipation about the theme.

My co-worker used one of the GIANT boxes of Whitman's Chocolates as the "book," and she covered it with contact paper and lettering cut out on the Ellison machine.  If I were going to start from scratch I would design it to be more attractive (in particular, to children), but it serves its purpose and the kids really do love it.

So at the beginning of every storytime, we say this little rhyme:
Reading is great, let's take a look,
(make a book with your hands, then make binoculars with your hands)
what's inside the Mystery Book? (shrug shoulders in question)

Then the theme of the day is revealed with pictures and then storytime begins with great excitement!

Fire Engines & Fire Fighters Storytime

National Fire Prevention week is Oct. 5-11th this year, so it fit right into my fall storytime session and I did a storytime all about fire trucks and fire engines.  This was a BIG hit with my younger kids, and I had told them all the previous week that they could bring in fire truck toys to show-and-tell if they liked.  Many of them remembered and it added lots of excitement to the theme!  I think next year I *might* try to incorporate a real fire fighter into storytime, as it turns out that the father of one of my little girls in storytime is a fire fighter!  That would be a lot of fun.

There are many great fire engine/fighter books to choose from, but this week I shared:

I'm Brave is a brand new book from Kate and Jim McMullan, and while I am a big fan of their previous picture books and have used them in storytime, admittedly I'm Brave did not work so well as a read-aloud.  It's too wordy, in my opinion, with lots of tools mentioned and I ended up skipping over large chunks of the words because kids weren't paying attention and I was losing the group's interest.  It is a cute book, but not a good choice for storytime.  Lesson learned!  Dot the Fire Dog, on the other hand, was a wonderful story and the kids loved that she saved the kitten in the end. 

Action Rhyme: Fireman, Fireman, Turn Around
Fireman, fireman, turn around. Fireman, fireman, touch the ground
Fireman, fireman, drive the truck. Fireman, fireman, don’t get stuck!
Fireman, fireman, hurry to the fire. Fireman, fireman, spray the water higher.
Fireman, fireman, give a shout. Fireman, fireman, you put the fire out! Hooray!

Song: The Wheels on the Fire Truck
The wheels on the fire truck go round and round, round and round, round and round.
The wheels on the fire truck go round and round, all the way to the fire.
The siren on the fire truck goes wheeoo, wheeoo, wheeoo.
The siren on the fire truck goes wheeoo, all the way to the fire.
The Dalmatian on the fire truck goes woof, woof, woof; woof, woof, woof; woof, woof, woof.
The Dalmatian on the fire truck goes woof, woof, woof, all the way to the fire.
The ladder on the truck goes up and up; up and up; up and up,
The ladder on the truck goes up and up, all the way to the fire.
The hose on the truck goes spray, spray, spray; spray, spray, spray; spray, spray, spray.
The hose on the truck goes spray, spray, spray putting out the fire.
As the kids, what else could we sing about?

Fingerplay: 5 Brave Firefighters
5 brave firefighters waiting by the pole. Ring, ring, ring goes the bell (ring a bell) And down one goes!
4 brave firefighters waiting by the pole.  Ring, ring, ring goes the bell, and down goes one!
3 brave firefighters waiting by the pole.  Ring, ring, ring goes the bell, and down goes one!
2 brave firefighters waiting by the pole.  Ring, ring, ring goes the bell, and down goes one!
1 brave firefighter waiting by the pole.  Ring, ring, ring goes the bell, and down goes one!
No brave firefighters waiting by the pole. The fire is out and that is all!

Song: Little Firefighter credit:

I'm a little firefighter on the go
Here is my helmet, here is my hose
When I see a fire hear me shout
Turn on the water and put the fire out!

The felt board activity that I used this week was a HUGE hit.  The colors of the trucks are a bit muted in my picture, but the children really loved participating in this activity.  I had somewhat low attendance this week, so for all of my storytimes, every child got at least 2 fire trucks of different colors, so they could come up to the board twice.  

Feltboard: Fire! Fire! Emergency! credit:
Fire! Fire! Emergency! Someone is in trouble.
Calling all *blue firetrucks. Come on the double!
(repeat until all the children have added their firetruck to the board)
Spray the water,now the fire is out!
"Everyone is safe!" We all shout.

We also did actions to the song Drive the Firetruck from the Songs for Wiggleworms CD, which was a lot of fun.

For the craft this week, I found this great jointed puppet craft, and it was really enjoyed by the kids!

Falling for Fall Storytime

Fall is in full swing here in Northeast Ohio, so it was appropriate to do a fall storytime last week!

Books I shared:

I used 2 similar felt boards this week using a felt tree that I made 2 falls ago.  I don't love the tree (it could be a LOT more aesthetically pleasing) but it serves its purpose.  One of these sessions I'll buy more brown felt and make a new tree!

Feltboard: “Five Little Leaves”
Five little leaves on the tree next door, one fell off and then there were four.
Four little leaves all over the tree, one fell off and then there were three.
Three little leaves where the wind blew, one fell off and then there were two.
Two little leaves sitting in the sun, one fell off and then there was one.
One little leaf in the tree all alone, the wind blew and blew now there are none!
Feltboard: 5 Little Acorns (use squirrel puppet or stuffed animal if we have one!)
Down around the corner by the big oak tree
Sat five little acorns looking so yummy
Along came a squirrel with a big bushy tail.
He took one acorn and ran off down the trail.

Fingerplay: “Pumpkin, Pumpkin”
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground (touch the ground)
How’d you get so big and round? (make a big circle)
Once you were a seed so small (pinch fingers together)
Now you are a great big ball (make a big circle overhead)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground (touch the ground)
How’d you get so big and round? (make a big circle)

Movement Song:   “Autumn Leaves”
Autumn leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down (flutter fingers down)
autumn leaves are falling down, we love autumn!
Take the rake and pile them up, pile them up, pile them up (pretend to rake leaves)
take the rake and pile them up, we love autumn.
Jump right in and toss those leaves, toss those leaves, toss those leaves (jump and pretend to toss)
jump right in and toss those leaves, we love autumn!

For my Music In Motion storytime, I brought out the parachute for the first time in storytime, and it was a HUGE hit!  We "popped popcorn" like you might buy in the fall at a pumpkin patch or fall festival.  I tossed in about a dozen cotton balls and when we shook the parachute, it really did look like popcorn popping!  Of course, then the kids wanted to run underneath the parachute, and I was nervous about them having head-on collisions, but it all went very smoothly and there was lots of giggling and requests afterwards to bring out the parachute again soon.  I don't know why it took me so long to use it as a storytime prop!  Great fun.

For our craft this week, I went with simplicity:  we glued leaves and apples onto a tree.  I cut the trees with our Ellison machine and used paper punches for the leaves and apples.  Easy peasy!

All in all, this was a great storytime!  We're Going on a Leaf Hunt was a wonderful read-aloud for storytime, and the kids loved the ending. Doing leaf rubbings as a craft would have also been perfect for this theme, but we don't have a lot of leaves on the ground just yet here, so I went with something that I could prep in advance.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Happy Birthday Storytime!

Today is, in fact, my actual birthday :-)  So, it seemed timely to do a Happy Birthday storytime this week and celebrate birthdays in general and how much fun they can be (especially when you're a little kid!).  I had a really great storytime planned this week (with a few variations for my Books at Bedtime and my Music in Motion), but for some unknown reason I had absolutely abysmal storytime attendance this week :-(  I don't know why my numbers were so low!! Last week started off pretty strong, but for some reason I went from having 12 kids at my Music in Motion storytime to only having three.  So, I was bummed, no doubt about it.  But I have to keep reminding myself that when it comes to storytime, there is only so much I can control.  We had an awesome time regardless, and I think it is a storytime worth sharing :-)

Books we read this week:

A Birthday for Cow is hilarious (TURNIP!! lol) but by far the favorite book of the week was The Birthday Box.  I love the hidden message there--that birthdays aren't really just about presents, but more about having fun and using your imagination with friends.  Monster Cake was just silly and gross and a hit particularly with my Preschool/Kindergarten group :-)

My favorite prop from this storytime was the Magic Envelope set that I used.  I've used the Magic Envelope once before (we made a puppy using all of the items that you might need if you got a new puppy: a leash, food, a dog house, a collar, etc.), and it was a big hit.  Then I sort of forgot about it and haven't used it since.  Part of the magic of the Magic Envelope is not over-using it as a prop so as to keep it fresh, so I won't be using it again this storytime session, even though it is so much fun!

I had few enough kids that I let them all help me.  I passed out our cake ingredients and had them add them one by one to the Magic Envelope.  Then, using my magic wand and some magic words from the audience, "Abra Cadabra, Happy birthday!" we transformed our ingredients into a birthday cake!  It was a huge hit and got lots of oohs and aahs. :-)  (If you don't know how the Magic Envelope works, you can read about it here, which is where I got the idea!

Fingerplay/Action Rhyme: “A Birthday”
Today is everyone’s birthday! Let’s make us a cake (form cake with hands)
Mix and stir, stir and mix (stir), then into the oven to bake (push hands out)
Here’s our cake so nice and round (make a circle), we frost it pink and white (spread frosting)
We put five candles on it (hold up hand) to make a birthday bright! Credit:
Addison Public Library

Feltboard: “Five Candles”
Five candles on a birthday cake, five, and not one more
Help me blow one candle out, and that leaves four!
(There for all to see / three; Standing straight and true / two; Helping us have fun / one; We know our task is almost done / none) Credit:
Addison Public Library
Fingerplay: “10 Little Candles”
10 little candles on a chocolate cake. Wh! Wh! Now there are 8! (bend 2 fingers down)
8 little candles on candle sticks. Wh! Wh! Now there are 6!
6 little candles and not one more. Wh! Wh! Now there are 4!
4 little candles, pink and blue. Wh! Wh! Now there are 2!
2 little candles standing one by one. Wh! Wh! Now there are none! Make a Wish!
Adapted from

And finally the craft, since no birthday storytime is complete without a cupcake!  I added a magnet to the back of mine so it can be displayed on a fridge.  The lighting in the storyroom makes this look pink and green, but it is white and green with sticky gems as "sprinkles."  It was a great craft!

All in all, this was a FANTASTIC storytime theme.  We also did the Hokey Pokey and in Music in Motion we played inflatable guitars and used shakey eggs to do the "Shaker Hop."  I had a blast and it was a great way to celebrate my birthday all week long!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Let's Go on a Safari!

I'm back!  It feels like it has been FOREVER since storytime, and in library time I suppose it has.  The break between summer reading and fall storytime is always a welcome respite for planning and organizing, but this summer was definitely a BIG change for me, going full-time the last few weeks.  I'm still adjusting to being at the library so much, but it's a good thing :-)
I started off storytime with a Safari theme this week!  My inspiration for the theme was Jan Peck's Way Far Away on a Wild Safari, which is a perfect book for storytime and was a big hit in all 3 of my storytimes this week.  For Music in Motion we read/sang If You're Happy and You Know It (Jungle Edition) and that was very fun.  I have fairly low storytime registration this session, but we also had major technical difficulties with our online registration system last week, which I think really affected attendance levels.  I'm hoping more kids sign up in a week or two!
This week we read (I added/subtracted one book depending on time and age of the kids):

Extension Activities:
Fingerplay:Monkey, Monkey In the Tree” credit:
Monkey, monkey, in a tree, (move arms at sides like a monkey)

I see you, and you see me, (point to self, then someone else)
Hang by your fingers, (crook fingers with elbows bent)
Hang by your toes, (point to toes)
But don’t fall down (clap hands together)
On your pretty little nose! (tap nose)
Movement Rhyme: “I’m a Giraffe” Credit: Perry Public Library
I’m a big tall giraffe stretching way up high (reach arms up)
A big tall giraffe, I almost reach the sky (stand on tiptoes)
I eat the leaves from the tallest tress (pretend to eat)
And when I run, I move with ease (pretend to run)
I’m a big tall giraffe stretching way up high (reach arms up)
Way…up…high! (reach on tiptoes)

Flannelboard:5 Little Lions credit:
ne little lion, roaring at the zoo, called for another: ROAR! Then there were two.
Two little lions, underneath a tree, called for another: ROAR! ROAR! Then there were three.
Three little lions, who heard a distant roar, called for another: ROAR! ROAR! ROAR! Then there were four.
Four little lions, happy and alive, called for another: ROAR! ROAR! ROAR! ROAR! Then there were five.
Five little lions, ROAR! ROAR! ROAR! ROAR! ROAR! Ran off to play and then there were no more.
Group Participation Activity:
“Safari Jar”
Decorate an oatmeal canister to look like the jungle. Pass out cards of various jungle animals to the children and sing this song: If you have a lion, a lion, a lion, if you have a lion, put him in the jungle!
If you have a crocodile, a crocodile, a crocodile, if you have a crocodile, put him in the jungle!
Etc. with other jungle/safari animals: hippo, monkey, giraffe, tiger, snake
And no safari is complete without binoculars!  We made toilet tube binoculars complete with a safari sticker on top.

Overall, this was a great storytime and a lot of fun!  We also danced to #10 on The Best of the Wiggles CD, The Monkey Dance.  A great time was had by all!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

BIG News!

So, I had plans to use some of the down time after Summer Reading finished up to go back and photograph and post all of my summer storytimes from Fizz, Boom, Read! But...our full-time Children's Librarian announced a few weeks ago that she had accepted a position at another library and was leaving.  That definitely threw a wrench in the rest of the summer!  I've been working at the library for a little over a year and a half and have just started my third (out of 13!) class for my MLIS at Kent State Univserity, so I wasn't planning on working full-time for several more years.  But, I couldn't let this gigantic opportunity go to someone else, so I decided to apply for the position.  Much to my absolutely surprise and elation, I earned the job and have been promoted to the full-time Children's Librarian!  I think I'm equal parts elated and terrified, lol.  I have so much left to learn and my kids are still quite young and the full-time schedule will mean missing out on a lot of time with them that I wasn't quite prepared to give up yet.  But, at the end of the day, this is my dream job and I'm thrilled to be doing it, even if it is a few years ahead of "schedule."  I am still working out the scheduling kinks between my home and work life, and figuring out how to manage grad school work as well.  In the meantime we are interviewing to try to find someone to take over my old part-time position before storytimes and programming start back up in less than two weeks, and doing a massive overhaul clean-out in the back workroom to get rid of all of the old things we don't use anymore and make some space for the new person.  It's been a hectic few weeks, to say the least!

My work schedule has changed pretty immensely, and the programming that I will be doing has also changed.  I'll be doing a Wednesday evening storytime called Books at Bedtime for families with children ages 18 months to 5 years old.  Thursday mornings I will be doing a 30 minute preschool/kindergarten storytime called Little Listeners for 3-5 year olds to attend without a caregiver, and then a 30 minute storytime called Music in Motion geared more towards movement activities and music within storytime, also with a craft.  In addition, I'll be taking over the N B Tween program on Tuesdays, a 45-minute program for 9-12 year olds geared towards crafts and games for the older school-aged set.  I'm probably the most excited about working with the tweens since my old position had me mostly planning programming for kids ages 8 and under.  I've got a lot of crafts and fun activities I'm keeping in mind for future sessions, but for now I'm pretty much executing the session that our former librarian planned out, since the abrupt schedule change didn't leave much time for planning and re-working the fall calendar.

This turned into a long-winded post!  At any rate, I'm extremely excited about my new full-time position and though I have a lot to learn, I know this is going to be a great fit for me.  Look forward to future storytime posts and programming ideas especially for tweens!

:-) Miss Barbara