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