Saturday, February 22, 2014

Let's Dance Storytime

This week's storytime theme was really fun: Dance!  And boy did we ever! Young Family Storytime usually involves a lot of music and movement, but this week's theme made it especially fun.

Books I shared:

Songs:  My groups REALLY enjoyed dancing to Jim Gill's Silly Dance Contest with the colored scarves. It is a fantastic song to dance to with young children and the FREEZE is so much fun!
We also did the Hokey Pokey, which is always a big hit.
Fingerplay: “Dance Your Fingers Up”
Dance your fingers up, dance your fingers down.
Dance your fingers to the side, dance them all around.
Dance them on your shoulders, dance them on you head.
Dance them on your tummy, then put them all to bed!
For my feltboard this week I had so much fun making this Helloy Kitty ballerinas! I used white felt and traced them with a permanent marker, then used fabric paint to fill in the details. The little girls in my storytimes this week really loved them, so they were worth the effort!

5 Little Ballerinas” (source:
5 little ballerinas dancing across the floor,
One twirled away and then there were 4.
4 little ballerinas stretched tall like a tree,
One leaped away and then there were 3.
3 little ballerinas, one in a tutu so blue,
She danced away and then there were 2.
2 little ballerinas having lots of fun,
One twirled away and then there was 1.
1 little ballerina dancing all alone,
She danced away and then there were none.
For our craft, we made dancing wands using large crafts sticks, 2 stars (cut using the Ellison, I love ours so much!), some crepe paper and some jewels to decorate. I added the word "Dance!" to every wand beforehand. They were a lot of fun!

A Valentine's Storytime

I'm posting a little delayed, but we had a great Valentine's week at the library! I really enjoy Valentine's Day--as a kid I always thought it was the best holiday. I even got a few sweet surprises from kids in my storytimes, so it was extra special this year and really made me smile!

Books I shared this week:


Fingerplay:Little Heart”
I have a little heart, (place hand over heart)
And it goes thump, thump, thump (pat chest three times)
It keeps right on beating, when I jump, jump, jump (jump three times)
I get a special feeling, when I look at you. (point to child)
It makes me want to give you a hug or two! (hug yourself)
Fingerplay: “Heart”
I put my hands together, This is how I start
I curve my fingers right around, And I can make a heart!

I had a few adorable feltboards made for Valentine's Day, and I wasn't sure how many I would be able to squeeze in. I ended up sharing "6 Little Valentine's" and "The Valentine Tree" but I wanted to share them all.  I made the envelopes from felt and then used cardstock pictures with the words for each valentine printed on the back.
Feltboard: Six Little Valentines (from
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 Blue jay, This one said, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

 I really love this poem about The Valentine Tree!(source: I had another lace valentine that didn't survive the busy hands of a 3 year old :-) I will need to make another at some point! My Valentines aren't nearly as beautiful as the ones in the inspiration link, but they worked just fine!

This week we danced to Sharon, Lois & Bram's Skinnamarinky Dinky Dink, I Love You. I had made hearts attached to straws for us to use as dancing props, and we did the actions to the song and sang along.

And our craft for the week, this adorable "Love Puppy Puppet" made from hearts.
The kids did a great job gluing all of the hearts on!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Elephant & Piggie Party!

On Saturday, Februray 8th, I hosted an Elephant & Piggie party celebrating Mo Willems' beloved characters Gerald and Piggie.  Registration was full with a waiting list, so I expected good attendance and I got it! 19 kids partied it up piggie-style with me in the Story Room and we had a blast. I did have an issue with behavioral problems with one child, but there always seems to be that one kid trying to rain on the parade. Overall, we had a fantastic time and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
The Plan:
The program was 45 minutes long, so I had a lot planned. We started off reading:
Next, we all decided who our favorite character was and then chose a blue party hat for Gerald or a red party hat for Piggie (I also had silver for the kids who couldn't pick a favorite!). This came in handy later for teams as I divded all the Gerald fans into one team and the Piggie fans and undecided fans into another team and I had two nearly even teams. For our first game we did a relay race based on the book:
Each team had a nest that I made from a paper bag with a shakey egg inside of it. The first person in line had to balance the nest and egg on her head, walk to the end of the room and then back without the next falling off. I gave kids 3 tries and if they still couldn't make it, we went to the next person in line. Gerald's team won!
Next we stayed in our teams and each team chose a member to get "elephanted" or "piggified." I handed out a roll of blue crepe paper to Gerald's team and pink crepe paper to Piggie's team and they raced to mummify their volunteer the fastest. Piggie's team won!
Then we moved on to our craft. We made a reversible Piggie and Gerald puppet. One side was Piggie and the other side was Gerald.

After our craft, we played a book cover matching game up on the flannel board. I made a set of cards with velcro on each sides and the kids took turns trying to make matches. I used 10 different Elephant & Piggie book covers so we had 20 cards.
Finally, last but not least, cupcakes! I made little toppers for each cupcake that turned out pretty cute :-)
And we sang Happy Pig Day! before we ate our cupcakes! Overall the program was a great success! I hoarded all of our Mo Willems books the week before the program and put them out on display and every book got checked out--always a sign of a successful author program.

Tropical Vacation Storytime

This week in storytime, we took a tropical vacation! I had really high hopes for this storytime: it's the middle of the session and typically attendence is good. But the weather and low temperatures made for an abyssmal week attendance-wise. For the first time ever I had ZERO people show up for my Wednesday morning 10 AM storytime, and I usually have around 30 attend. But the roads were terrible, and I can understand not wanting to go out in bad weather!
We had fun regardless (even if I do have a ton of leftover crafts!), and it was fun to do a non-traditional storytime theme, especially in the dead of winter! We talked a lot about going on vacation, riding on airplanes, going to the beach, etc. This week's books that we read were:
For my extension activities I did a "5 Little Seashells" story tube (I don't know why these pictures are turned sideways, they aren't on my computer and I can't seem to be able to flip them in blogspot, sorry!). For my story tubes I always have 5 little somethings, and then count down and flip the card as they go away. We also did a big wave motion with our arm to wash the seashells away.

“5 Little Seashells”
Five little seashells washed up on the shore. Along came a wave and then there were four.
Four little seashells as happy as can be. Along came a wave and then there were three.
Three little seashells all shiny and new. Along came a wave and then there were two.
Two little seashells lying in the sun. Along came a wave and then there was one.
One little seashell left all alone, put it in your pocket and take it home!
I also did this flannel board:
“5 Little Ice Cream Cones” (sing to 5 Little Ducks)
5 little ice cream cones standing in a row. (hold out 5 fingers)
Each with sprinkles & a waffle cone. (Make a cone with one hand and a fist for the scoop with the other)
Out came the sun and it shone all day, (make a circle with your arms to be the sun)
and one little ice cream cone melted away. (melt to the ground!)

Additional songs/action rhymes/fingerplays included:
Dancing to The Wiggles “Wake Up Jeff” #5 Having Fun at the Beach and doing the actions along with the song.
Action Rhyme: “Airplane”
The airplane has great big wings (arms outstretched like wings)
It’s propeller spins around and sings, “Vvvvvvvv!” (make one arm spin in front like a propeller)
The airplane goes up, (make arms go up)
the airplane goes down, (make arms go down)
the airplane flies high all over the town! (pretend to fly and spin around in a circle)

Action Rhyme:  Swimming
Swimming in the water cool and bright (pretend to swim)
I kick my feet with all my might! (kick feet)
And when I’m tired I turn and float (spin and hold arms out)
Pretending that I’m a boat! (rock hands)
I like to hold my breath and dive (take a breath and bend down)
I swim beneath the water and count to five (count to five) Wow! What a dive!

This week's craft was a fun and colorful lei necklace made with flowers from the Ellison die machine and large green paper "beads" that I made with construction paper so they would be easy to string on with little fingers.

 All in all a fun storytime, but I must admit I am looking forward to Valentine's Day next week and hopefully some better attendance! It is always more fun with an actual group!


Monday, February 3, 2014

You, Me & Origami

For my December school-age program, I decided to test my origami skills and designed a program called "You, Me & Origami!" for children grades K-3rd. The program ran from 11AM-12 PM on December 28th and I had 18 attend and and two call in sick that morning (always a bummer but what can you do?). Overall the program was a great success! I was a bit worried as I had 9 kindergartners in the mix and I wasn't sure how they would be able to follow the folding instructions, but we went slowly and it all worked out. I think there were several keys to the success of the program:

1. I started off reading Yoko's Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells. This gave the children time to get settled into their seats, forced a bit of quiet while they listened and gave me a chance at the end to explain why origami can be so simple and yet beautiful and meaningful at the same time. Plus, reinforcing reading in my programs is always a win!

2. I arranged the seats in a big U with me in the middle. This was a real key to success because I could check to make sure no one was getting left behind in the fold (pun intended;-). For the younger ones who did need help, I enlisted an older child to their right or left, or went around myself making sure we were all on the same page (there I go again with the puns!).

3. Plenty of paper. I cannot state this enough: you need PLENTY OF PAPER to do an origami program. There will be mis-folds and mistakes and children will want to start over. We ended up making 4 figures each but I gave each child 10 pieces of paper in various colors and it worked out perfectly. If there was leftover paper, I gave them the option of taking it home to make more figures, or leaving it for me to do another program with in the future.

4. K.I.S.S. Yes, the good old Keep It Simple Stupid. No, I'm not calling anyone stupid ;-) When it comes to beginner's origami, simple is really the way to go. For my program I made many different figures to show the children as examples, but when it came to the teaching and what we actually made in the class, I had 5 figures planned but posted that we would make 3 on the flyer. We actually ended up making 4 different figures: a heart, a panda, a cat and a dog. I printed simple, easy-to-follow instructions for each child and we went step-by-step together. It worked well: the children who were a bit faster had plenty of time to color their figures (crayons were also out on the table) and the children who needed more guidance got extra help from neighbors or myself.

In the end I had several children ask if I would do another origami program to teach more animal figures, so that was great to hear. It was a very fun program and I highly recommend folding up some fun at your local library!

Here is the event featured in the News Herald:


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cookies & Canvas

For my January school-age program, I brainstormed a bit and decided to launch a new program at the library that, if successful, I would like to be a recurring program. At this point I have the next Cookies & Canvas program scheduled for Saturday, March 21st, and it is already full (20 students) with a waiting list, so that is great news! My first Cookies & Canvas program was held on Saturday, January 11th, and was a great success with 100% attendance! I decided that I would bake chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies (the kids did NOT care for the snickerdoodles though, so I think I will stick with chocolate chip only next time!) and the children would eat their cookies while I talked about the artist for the first 10 minutes of the 45 minute program. I had painting paper mounted onto construction paper, and on the back I had a handout about the artist. After the cookies, the children had 35 minutes to re-create the painting with their own colors, style, etc., while we listened to some light classical music.

For January's Cookies & Canvas I chose famous Russian visual artist and the father of abstract art, Wassily Kandinsky. We talked about Kandinsky's transition from traditional landscape painting into abstract paintings and how many attribute him to painting the first abstract paintings of modern art. I chose to have the children re-create his famous painting "Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles" because it fit into the skill level of my grade range (K-3rd) and allowed for some lesson on technique, brush strokes and color mixing.

Overall the program was very successful and I am already excited about the next Cookies & Canvas! January's program was featured in the Cleveland News Herald Neighborhood News section, with pictures of some of my amazing students.