5 Little Halibut

Sharks, Halibut, and the Zen of Toddler Storytime

Many of my Small Fry storytime littles are not so little anymore. The ratio of babies to toddlers has shifted. They are all growing into wonderful kiddos who are curious, active, social, and very emotional. It makes for crazy storytimes on occasion, as you can imagine. To keep the show moving forward, I make sure the atmosphere is as stress-free as possible. Many of these parents are first timers and watching your child snatch all of the felt pieces off the board or running and screaming through the middle of the circle can cause anxiety. I try to model “It’s gonna be ok everyone. We got this!”

Even with 40-60 people in the room, we try to make a circle. This contains the wanderers and helps the adults connect with other parents and caregivers. I sit on the floor and stand during storytime so the circle helps insure that everyone can see and makes it easier to pass out shakers, scarves, and other materials. If the crowd is big I may walk around the circle with the book to help include everyone.

Here’s what I shared this week. Just imagine squeals, a few cries, clapping, a kiddo laying on the floor kicking his legs up and down, other kids standing right in front of the book mesmerized, other kids taking off and putting the felt pieces on the board, etc. It’s all good. Kids and their adults are participating: signing (and singing) along with the songs, moving their fingers to the counting songs, talking about the pictures in the book, and inviting me to read more with them by bringing me other books to read.

Welcome Song: The More We Get Together (with ASL signs for ‘more’, ‘we’, ‘together’, ‘friends’, ‘read’, ‘big’, ‘little’, ‘short’ and ‘tall’)

Fingerplay: Open, Shut Them

Four Little Sausages felt piecesFeltboard Rhyme: Four Little Sausages
Four little sausages frying in a pan,
The grease got hot and one went BAM!
Three little sausages frying in a pan,
The grease got hot and one went BAM!
Two little sausages frying in a pan,
The grease got hot and one went BAM!
One little sausage frying in a pan,
The grease got hot and it went BAM!
No little sausages frying in a pan.The grease got hot and the pan went BAM!
Source: Jbrary (Flannel Friday)
Toddler Early Literacy Tip: Sounding out and pointing to words in your family’s environment show kids that text has meaning!

Song: Octopus aka Slippery Fish (with signs for ‘fish’, ‘octopus’, ‘shark’, and ‘whale’)
Slippery fish, slippery fish, sliding through the water,
Slippery fish, slippery fish, Gulp, Gulp, Gulp!
Oh, no! It’s been eaten by an …

Octopus, octopus, squiggling in the water
Octopus, octopus, Gulp, Gulp, Gulp!
Oh, no! It’s been eaten by a …

Tuna fish, tuna fish, flashing in the water,
Tuna fish, tuna fish, Gulp, Gulp, Gulp!
Oh, no! It’s been eaten by a …

Great white shark, great white shark, lurking in the water,
Great white shark, great white shark, Gulp, Gulp, Gulp!
Oh, no! It’s been eaten by a …

Humongous whale, humongous whale, spouting in the water,

Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt

Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt

Humongous whale, humongous whale,
Gulp! … Gulp! … Gulp! … BURP!
(Cover your mouth.) Excuse me!
Credit: Charlotte Diamond
Check out the Jbrarians performing the song!
Science Tip: this song teaches about the food web!

Book: Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt (D. Fickling Books, 2002)

Song: Bubbles!

Play: Bubbles!
We always blow and pop bubbles after we read. It brings the group back together and gives everyone a movement break.

Feltboard Rhyme: 5 Little Halibut (with felt halibut and shark puppet)
There were five little halibut swimming in the sea,
Teasing Mr. Shark “Oh, you can’t catch me, you can’t catch me!”
Along comes Mr. Shark as quiet as can be, and snatched 1 halibut right out of the sea!
… 4, 3, 2, 1
(Inspired by: There Were Five Little Fish)
Toddler Tip: When kids learn to wait until I invite them to grab felt pieces off of the board during the song, they are practicing self-regulation. It takes time so we’ll keep practicing! When I want the felt pieces to stay on the board, I tell families “It’s my turn!” Then I invite (and thank) kids to remove or add felt pieces depending on the activity.

Closing Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!
If you’re happy and you know then your face will surely show it,
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!
…stomp your feet
…wave your hands in the air

Sago Mini Ocean SwimmerDigital Media Advisory and Access:
Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer
by Sago Sago

(iPad and iPhone)
After storytime I introduced families to the featured app on the mounted iPad in our children’s library. Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer is a great example of an app that can support the learning of young children. It has no bells, coins, etc. to distract or confuse children, just open-ended play with creatures under the sea!  I love the gently action of the app and the cause and effect experience kids can have exploring the animated sea. The app is wordless, so our dual language families can tell stories and talk together about the app’s animals and objects in their home language and English.

Toddler Storytime: Animal Heroes

Monty's Magnificent Mane by Gemma O'Neill (Photo source: Amazon.com)

Monty’s Magnificent Mane by Gemma O’Neill (Photo Source: Amazon.com)

To continue this week’s storytime theme, I read a book about animal heroes to the toddlers and babies (and caregivers). I held on to Monty’s Magnificent Mane by Gemma O’Neill (Candlewick, 2015) after the the family storytime and read it again today. Not all books about heroes resonate with this younger audience, but this one did. I think part of its appeal is the artwork, which is beautiful, colorful and nicely expresses the text of the story about friendship and courage in a very whimsical way. Using mixed media and collage, O’Neill produces a crocodile, for example, just scary enough to create a mood without being the stuff nightmares are made of. This double page spread offers an interesting perspective:

Monty's Magnificent Mane: at the watering hole (Photo source: Candlewick.com)

Monty’s Magnificent Mane: at the watering hole (Photo Source: Candlewick.com)

The book’s text also played nicely with the early literacy tip of the week because words like magnificent, mane and meerkat are fabulous words not often included in day to day conversation.

Weekly Early Literacy Tip:
Having a rich vocabulary will help growing readers decode words and to understand what they will read. Reading books helps grow young children’s vocabulary because books often include words we don’t use in everyday conversation. If you come across a word that is new to your child explain it. When talking with your little one, use the real names of things. Avoid replacing unfamiliar words with familiar ones.

Several of the songs and rhymes I chose are familiar and work well with the diverse group I often have. Babies to toddlers can join in. I chose a couple songs about opposites to go along with the large and small opposite represented by the lion and meerkats in today’s story.

Welcome: The More We Get (Read) Together (with ASL)

Action Song: Dance Your Fingers
Dance your fingers up, up high
Dance your fingers down, down low.
Dance your fingers side to side and dance them all around.
Dance them on your shoulders.
Dance them on your head.
Dance them on your tummy,
And put them all to bed!

Action Rhyme: I am Big
I am big, big, big (stretch hands far to sides)
I am small, small, small (crouch down)
I am short, short, short (stay low)
I am tall, tall, tall (reach for the sky)
I am fast, fast, fast (roll hands or march quickly)
I am slow, slow, slow (roll hands or march slowly)
I say yes, yes, yes (nod head)
And sometimes no, no, no (shake head)

After our story (or stories depending on the length and audience attention span), we always pop and play with bubbles. Bubbles is often a little one’s first library word!

Bubbles!

Action Song: Going to Kentucky (with shakers)
We’re going to Kentucky.
We’re going to the fair,
to see the senorita with the flowers in her hair.
Oh, shake it, shake it, shake it.
Shake it all you can.
Shake it like a milkshake,
and do the best you can.
Rhumba to the bottom,
and rhumba to the top.
Turn around and turn around until I holler stop!

Closing (Action) Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It (with shakers)
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake.
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake.
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it.
If you’re happy and you know it give a shake.

If you’re happy and you know it give a clap.
(Clap shaker against palm.)

If you’re happy and you know it give a tap.
(Tap shaker on the floor.)

If you’re happy and you know it do all three.
(Shake, shake, clap, clap, tap, tap)

Stuffed Animal Sleepover

Way back in the Spring, a young patron asked when we were going to host another stuffed animal sleepover. I was glad to get a request for a program that we’ve done before and it was fun. To be honest though, I haven’t made the stuffed animal sleepover an annual event because, frankly, the first one I hosted was a logistical nightmare. I didn’t think I had another sleepover in me.

At the event two years ago, we had zillions of stuffed animals to photograph and thus a zillion photos to print and sort for stuffed animal owners to pick up the next morning along with other goodies. Add a few technological challenges to the mix (this always happens, I should learn) and I sprouted a few new grey hairs I didn’t need. But, I hate to resist programs that are requested by library fans, so I added it to the summer schedule and sat down to figure out how I could make the program easier but still fun. Some call this program assessment. It’s important.

I looked over my notes and knew I absolutely needed a few elements:

  • stories to read aloud
  • opportunities for kids to tell me and the other event-goers about their stuffed friends
  • craft(s)
  • snacks
  • some way to show kids what their stuffed animals did after the library closed (this is the key to the whole event after all)

The last piece was the hardest, because really, this event is a storytime for kids ages 9 and under and I can plan those pretty easily. After the previous sleepover event, as I mentioned above, we printed out pictures of groups of stuffed animals and had them available at storytime the next morning along with replica library cards for each stuffed animal. Printing the pictures was overwhelming and keeping track of which animal belonged to whom was tricky. This year I vowed to post the images on the library’s Flickr page and post a link on our other social media pages. No printing meant no big hassle in my eyes.

Then I had second thoughts. After talking over the plan with my library’s director, a previous children’s librarian, I just couldn’t give up providing pictures for each child. I had to find a way. This time around the whole event was much easier and the giggles and conversation fueled me through the after hours tasks. Here’s what I did:

Storytime
This was one of the best storytimes I’ve hosted in awhile. Reading the stories turned into the ultimate conversation and even the kids I’ve never met or seen before were comfortable and actively engaged. We joked about how storytime wasn’t usually at night (“It is at my house!”), bantered back and forth about funny bedtime routines, sang favorite songs, and introduced our stuffed buddies to each other. Everyone had such a warm and fuzzy feeling all through the event!Stuffed Animal Sleepover

Books
Llama, Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney (Viking, 2005)
A rhyming tale about love and why kids really need to go to sleep- so parents can get some things done!
Knuffle Bunny: a Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems (Hyperion Books for Children, 2004)
An emotionally charged Willems-special that is inspires kids to talk about their special buddies and how important they are to them.
Time to Sleep, Sheep the Sheep by Mo Willems (Balzer & Bray, 2010)
A fun, quick story that gave us the opportunity to talk about nocturnal animals and inject a little bit of science into the evening. We also talked about why we sleep, no matter when we sleep.
How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (Blue Sky Press, 2000)
A few of the younger kids were getting wiggly even though they wanted to keep reading. This book is perfect for capturing their attention and keeping them involved in the storytime.

Songs
Fingerplay: Five Little Monkeys Jumping in the Bed (with finger puppets)

Action Song: Teddy, Teddy Bear Turn Around
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, reach up high,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the sky,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, bend down low,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch your toes,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, go to bed,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, rest your head,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn out the lights,
Teddy bear, teddy bear, say “good night”.
Credit: KCLS Wiki

Activities
Unlike other storytimes where I invite families to pick and choose from multiple activities, at the sleepover I asked families to make sure they completed each craft, especially if their stuffed buddies were staying the night (this was optional). Some of the activities were just fun and others were designed to help me keep track of which animal was which come picture time.

Eye Mask
I got this idea from Librerin. I had a bunch of foam sheets leftover from a previous craft, so a coworker helped me cut out small, medium and large eye masks that we had set out on tables in the kids library. Kids picked out a favorite color and size and then wrote their stuffed friend’s name on it. Decorations were available as were pieces of ribbon to tie the mask on to the faces of their buddies. The stuffed buddies that stayed the night wore their eye masks and the names helped me remember who was who. (Meet Dina the dinosaur, my T Rex.)

Materials: pre-cut masks, ribbon, sharpies (for writing names on the foam)

Dina with Eye Mask

My Name is…
The second activity gave kids the chance to share about their buddy. If I was going to get any of these crazy animals to sleep I definitely needed to know their favorite bedtime snack, book and song! I also provided a space for them to draw a picture of their buddy and of course a place to write their buddy’s name. This completed form was later placed under the corresponding stuffed buddy to be a pretend “pillow” and helped me keep the animals organized. It was returned to the child after being modified (see below). Credit: Jen in the Library

Materials: foam, markers, crayons, pencils

My Name is

Bedtime Mobile
I found this mobile idea at Sturdy for Common Things and was able to piece together materials from items at the library. I cut out spirals and stars from cardstock and provided more ribbon and tools for decoration so each child could make it their own.

Materials: cut out spiral on blue cardstock (1 per child), pre-cut stars on yellow card stock (We estimated about 5 or 6 per mobile. We don’t have die cutter so we did this by hand.), ribbon, scissors, tape, stapler, foam stickers, markers, crayons

IMG_0615

Bedtime Mobile Stars

Bedtime Mobile

Snack station
We provided animal crackers for the hungry crafters at a table that also held little reminder sheets about when to pick up the stuffed animals.Sleepover reminder

Closing
After the young crafters were finished, we all gathered around the sleepover blanket. We finished the night with bedtime song- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star sung and signed.  I taught everyone the signs we were going to use in the song and then we sang it together multiple times. Many of the kids quickly picked up the signs for the tried and true favorite tune. To see the signs for this timeless song go here.

Stuffed Animals Tucked in

The fun really gets started…

After families left, my kids (great library volunteers) helped me set up the stuffed animals in different scenarios that I had planned out. We worked our way around the blanket and took pictures of the animals in small groups. This kept everyone straight and made sure we included all of the animals.

My son and I took pictures that we made into a slideshow (below) to post on the library’s social media sites and then printed out paper copies for each child to pick up the next morning. The pictures were printed on regular paper and glued to one side of a 1/2 sheet of cardstock. The “My Name is” form was glued to the other side. Animals and photo cards were returned to the children’s library and arranged sleepover style for families to pick up in the morning. I asked families to return to the library after 11am the following day so the morning wasn’t so stressful, a change from the previous event. Last time kids picked up their stuffed animals at a regularly scheduled storytime thenext morning which was a bit much back to back and did not allow for technical difficulties.

Kids were thrilled to show up and see the results of the night. Each wondered if the animals really did stay up all night. I’ll never tell.

Toddler: Friends (Valentine’s Day)

These toddlers were ready to move today! And not just move, but run around in circles! We kept it moving, and all of the adults seemed ready for the unstructured, post-storytime play and socialize time. We must have worn them out because thekids played so intently and quietly you could actually hear the adults’ voices over their usually loud antics. Go figure!

Welcome Song: Hello Everybody

Song: The More We Get Together
Oh, the more we get together,
Together, together,
Oh, the more we get together,
The happier we’ll be.

For your friends are my friends,
And my friends are your friends.
Oh, the more we get together,
The happier we’ll be!

Pepo and LoloBook: Pepo and Lolo are Friends
by Ana Martin Larranaga

I don’t usually read two books during the this half hour storytime, but this one is sweet and quick. The kids easily connected with the pig and chick and all of their antics. We even had a conversation about other books that feature friends and a pig. What’s your favorite?

Toddler Yoga Break: Tall as a Tree

 Song: If You’re Ready for a Story
…blow me a kiss!
and
…sit down please

Owen K HenkesBook: Owen
by Kevin Henkes

My son’s name is Owen and I first read this book when it was gifted to us years ago. I love Owen’s confidence and his parents’ creativity and love. The repeated text keeps the story centered and kids can relate, often too easily, to Owen’s blanket love.

Movement: Bubbles

Heart FeltSong: Hearts and Kisses (with ASL sign for heart and kiss)
1 little, 2 little, 3 little hearts
4 little, 5 little, 6 little hearts
7 little, 8 little, 9 little hearts
10 little hearts and a kiss, muuah!
Credit: Jbrary (and Sur La Lune Storytime)

Song: Skidamarink
Skidamarink a dinka dink. (Put right elbow in left hand and wiggle  fingers)
Skidamarink a doo. (Put left elbow in right hand and wiggle fingers)
I love you. (Point to eyes, hug yourself, and point to others)
I love you in the morning. (Make a big circle over head  like the sun)
And in the afternoon. (Hold arms in circle out in front of you)
I love you in the evening. (Move arms in circle down)
And underneath the moon. (Release arms and make another big circle over head)
Skidamarink a dinka dink. (Repeat actions)
Skidamarink a doo.
I love you. (with ASL sign)

Goodbye Rhyme: Wave Hi, Wave Low

Preschool: Friends (Valentine’s Day)

This week’s storytimes are all about friends and Valentine’s Day! I thought I’d post after today’s storytime so you could see what I’m up to the rest of this week. Please chime in if you have any suggestions for the program I’ll be working off of for the rest of the week.

Today marks the second week of our new storytime day and I wasn’t sure how many to expect. (We now offer preschool storytime two days a week through May when we will resume the one preschool program per week schedule during the summer.) I began the program with a mom and daughter, but just before I started reading the first story a preschool group arrived along with another family. We ended up with 17.  It was a great mix of enthusiastic kids and caregivers!

This was the first time the mother and daughter had been to storytime, so as we got to know each other we played with the rhyme cube- a great early literacy tool which introduces the idea of symbols, allows us to practice great songs, increases participation each time kids get to roll the cube and pick the song we sing, and builds learning confidence as kids become familiar with the songs and recognizing the pictures and text. It is also a useful conversation starter for preschoolers and caregivers.

Heart FeltBefore we read our first book about friends, we sang! I placed red and pink hearts in a pattern on the felt board the first time I sang the song. The second time, I pointed to the heart as we sang and counted while kids and caregivers counted on their fingers. We used the sign for heart and kiss (thanks for the timely Valentine’s Day videos, Jbrary!) in the song. One little girl immediately chimed in that the sign for kiss is also the sign for “more” in a lot of households! Way to go kids and parents!

Song: Hearts and Kisses (with ASL sign for heart and kiss)
1 little, 2 little, 3 little hearts
4 little, 5 little, 6 little hearts
7 little, 8 little, 9 little hearts
10 little hearts and a kiss, muuah! (We also blew kisses at the end so we could catch each others’ and save them for Friday.)
Credit: Jbrary

Book: Pepo and Lolo are Friends by Ana Martín Larrañaga (Candlewick Press, 2004)Pepo and Lolo
Pepo and Lolo is a simple book that works well as an introduction to the Friends theme. Tt became a conversation piece today. We talked about other friend books featuring pigs and discussed how to figure out which animal was Pepo and which was Lolo using clues in the illustrations and text.

Song: The More We Get Together
Oh, the more we get together,
Together, together,
Oh, the more we get together,
The happier we’ll be.
For your friends are my friends,
And my friends are your friends.
Oh, the more we get together,
The happier we’ll be!
Credit: Sur La Lune Storytime

YouWillBeMyFriendBook: You Will be my Friend! by Peter Brown (Little, Brown, 2011)
I’m a Peter Brown fan and this book does not disappoint. It is a funny, well illustrated story about Lucy, the enthusiastic bear and her search for a new friend. Her enthusiasm does not go over well with the wide variety of animals she tries to convince to be her friend (some not typically found in bear country). Eventually she gives up in frustration and decides to be herself, even if that is a lonely self. The story ends well though with a flamingo saving the day. I have several favorite pages, but one is certainly the one with a flock of flamingos all wearing sunglasses except the one who later befriends Lucy.

Song: If You’re Ready for a Story

If you’re ready for a story, blow me a kiss!
If you’re ready for a story, blow me a kiss!
If you’re ready for a story, If you’re ready for a story,
If you’re ready for a story, blow me a kiss!
… sit down please

Book: Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell (Little, Brown, 2007)Polar-Bear-Hug
Valentine’s Day is about sharing our love and so is Hug Time. The book takes us on a global journey as kitten works on his “Hug-To-Do-List.” His adventure finishes up at the Arctic Circle, an appropriate end point for an Alaskan storytime, where he meets a friendly polar bear as pictured here.

Song: Skidamarink
Skidamarink a dinka dink. (Put right elbow in  left hand and wiggle  fingers)
Skidamarink a doo. (Put left elbow in right hand and wiggle fingers)
I love you. (Point to eyes, hug yourself, and point to others)
Skidamarink a dinka dink. (Repeat actions)
Skidamarink a doo.
I love you. (with ASL sign)

I love you in the morning. (Make a big circle over head  like the sun)
And in the afternoon. (Hold arms in circle out in front of you)
I love you in the evening. (Move arms in circle down)
And underneath the moon. (Release arms and make another big circle over head)

Skidamarink a dinka dink.
Skidamarink a doo.
I love you. (with ASL sign)

20140211-130051.jpg

Activities:
It’s not often that I’ll post a selfie here- in fact this may be the last time- but I followed Rebecca’s lead (Sturdy for Common Things) and thought you needed to see the craft fun we had. A photo of just the hat and glasses sans a face and head, doesn’t do them justice.

Heart glasses
20140211-130117.jpgThese glasses are super simple to make, I had all of the supplies on hand, and the kids were so proud to wear them! My coworkers thought it was Elton John day at the library and I didn’t tell them. Hmmm… I just might have to make them all a pair of heart glasses for Valentine’s Day! I found these glasses at Sturdy for Common Things. If you step by step directions, visit Rebecca’s site.

Materials:

  • 2 full length pipe cleaners (shaped into hearts)
  • 1 pipe cleaner cut in half (to form the arms- one end of each twisted around the side of a heart)
  • 1 piece of pipe cleaner approx. 1″ long (twisted around the hearts to connect them together)

Valentine Hat
Most kids made both crafts so they left the library ready for a party. One boy decided his and mine were alien Valentine hats. After making what we thought were alien sounds we moved on to Valentine robots. I imagine there will be some kings and queens with Valentine crowns before the day is done also.
I placed a variety of materials out, along with the essential hat pieces, and let the kids and caregivers make hats however they wanted. This mostly open-ended activity is a hit at my library and the k20140211-130107.jpgids make some cool creations.

To create the hat, bend the strip of posterboard creating a band and staple the two ends together. Staple the two pipe cleaners on either side of the band, pointing up. Bend the top of the pipe cleaner over slightly to give more area for attaching a sticker. Decorate the band!

Materials:

  • Strip of white posterboard 2″ wide (for kids the paper can be approx. 22″ long)
  • 1 pipe cleaner cut in half for antennae
  • lots of Valentine stickers, hearts, feathers, etc.
  • crayons and markers
  • craft glue for feathers and anything that isn’t a sticker
  • stapler to staple antennae (Kaboodle directions call for hot glue, but the stapler works fine. I used heart stickers to cover the staple.)

Credit: Kaboodle via Sunflower Storytime

Image Credits:
Pepo and Lolo are Friends Amazon
You Will be my Friend Junior Library Guild
Hug Time 32 Pages