STEAM-y Storytime 3: Dinosaurs

Dinosaur-Roar-1024  More than sixty people showed up today. We had a lot of fun! Dinosaur storytime is such a crowd-pleaser with the preschool set.

This storytime is similar to one I posted earlier this year.  The Dig Into Reading theme and my STEAM-y storytime summer schedule both called for more dinos, so I reused the storytime plan with some additions.

We read three great dinosaur books this week:Goldilocks and the 3 dinos

Dinosaur Roar! written by Paul Stickland and illustrated by Henrietta Stickland (Dutton Children’s Books, 1994)

Dinosaur Bones by Bob Barner (Chronicle Books, 2001)

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems (Balzer & Bray, 2012)

In between books, we talked about dinosaur skeletons, paleontologists, what dinosaurs ate, how we know Photo Jun 11, 1 59 00 PMabout dinosaurs, their size, and their habitat. I brought out a couple of dinosaur skeleton figures from this year’s cool summer program prizes as we talked. (I created digital images of dinosaur skeletons using these same figures and turned them into flashcards for the dinosaur dig activity station so kids could identify the dinosaurs they dug up by matching it with the card that had the same image and the dinosaur’s name.)

T-rex and Nancy PearlAt the last minute, my Nancy Pearl action figure came to the rescue! Along with my T-rex puppet, I used her to compare the sizes of people and some dinosaurs. T-rex broke one of her arms off at one point during a fierce storytime battle, but a brave preschooler attached her limbs back on and she is back at work championing all things library. Phew!

We also sang a couple of songs!

Feltboard: Dinosaur Song
(I change the color order based on how I place the dinosaurs on the board. We talk about the different dinosaur names and match the sets of three before we sing.)

1 red, 1 blue, 1 orange dinosaur,
1 green, 1 yellow, 1 white dinosaur,
1 pink, brown, 1 purple dinosaur,
9 little dinosaurs roar!dino felt board
Credit: SurLaLune

Action Song: Dino-Pokey
(Tune: “The Hokey Pokey”)

You put your claws in,
You take your claws out,
You put your claws in,
And you scratch ’em all about.
You do the dino pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about!
Credit: SurLaLune

Dinosaur Activity Stations:

Photo Feb 21, 11 44 55 PMDino fossil dough

We made dinosaur fossils out of salt dough. I quickly made the recipe before work at home and brought in the large bowl of dough to storytime. I gave each little one a ball of dough to flatten and use to make impressions of toy dinosaur feet and anything else they could find that would make an interesting pattern. Many kids played at this station for quite awhile. Each child then took their shaped fossil home in a small baggie with easy baking instructions.

Dinosaur DigDinosaur Dig

I filled four dish tubs with local beach sand and then the teen storytime volunteer and I buried dinosaurs in each tub. Kids used brushes and spoons to gently move the sand and small rocks around to uncover the dinosaurs. The flashcards I created (mentioned above) were used to match the figures with a labeled card so the explorers could learn the name of the dinosaur they discovered in the sand. The distinct shapes of each skeleton made for great conversation during the matching.

Dinosaur Noodle Skeleton

Dino Noodle Skeleton imageThe younger kids in particular liked this activity. I provided a T-Rex skeleton template (from Busy Bee Kids Crafts) which kids glued onto a piece of black cardstock. The kids and parents then glued noodles (penne) along the lines of the template to create a skeleton. The little ones worked diligently to get all of the noodles lined up. I provided both small and regular size penne.

Photo credit: Busy Bee Kid Crafts

Summer Reading Program 2013: part 2

Phew! Planning season seems to have come and gone while I wasn’t looking. School is finished in just two weeks and the summer reading program begins right after Memorial Day. I have the STEAM-y Storytime line-up ready to go and posted for all to see. While some of the multiple stations that I am cooking up for each week are still in the works, I thought I’d share the themes. Maybe you even have a suggestion or two! I’ll post the details as we do the programs.

Our library offers two storytimes each week, year round. I plan and lead both of them most of the time (we have two community members who visit for the preschool storytime also).  One is a preschool storytime and the other is a mostly toddler group. For the summer, we’ll be focusing on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) in the preschool program. Since we are using the Dig Into Reading theme, many of the storytime themes fit nicely. I even have a teen volunteer this year excited to help with the storytime activities. The preschoolers will love him!

This summer’s storytime themes:

Things That Go! I have used a vehicle related theme for storytime before, but not for awhile. It is a hit with everyone! There are lots of great books to read on vehicles, bikes, and anything that moves. We’ll make cars for a race track, have a car matching station, and make paper airplanes.

This one will go nicely with the Heavy Equipment Show and Tell we have planned for the beginning of the summer program. We’ll be closing off the side street near the library so four construction vehicles can park where families can get a closer look. A new excavator owned by the city a nd a dump truck will be among the vehicles on display. We’ll hand out cards with stats for each vehicle to provide a kind of self-guided tour since we’ll only have a couple of staff and volunteers on hand. It will also be a great time to sign up families who haven’t had a chance to get involved.

Under the Sea, Matey! We are a coastal community so an ocean theme, with a few pirates thrown in, is a perfect fit. We’ll include a sink or float experiment station among other fun activities. This is a great time to share Mango Languages, a digital language learning tool, with families since our library provides free access to the site and app. Mango offers pirate in their list of languages to learn and it is a kid favorite.

We All Dig Dinosaurs! What schedule of storytimes would be complete without dinosaurs? I purchased some small plastic dinosaur skeletons for reading prizes this year as well as a handful to use in an excavation station. We also took the opportunity to dig up some new-to-us dino books for the collection. What do you have planned?

Plants: How Does Your Garden Grow? In June, we’ll still be planting here and the greening of Alaska will be just getting underway.  Gardens are a big part of many families’ summertime  activities, so we’ll celebrate at storytime with matching games and fruit and vegetable crafts.

Let’s Mix It Up With Colors! I’ve been looking forward to using some of the great suggestions from Amy Koester’s Color Science for Preschoolers ALSC blog post. I thought I would add it to the schedule and get kids mixing, painting, and experimenting!

Independence Day! Preschool storytime will happen on July 3rd this year, so we’ll be celebrating the national holiday a day early. Last Fall, I heard about a great picture book ideal for sharing at storytime, and I’ll use it this year. The title? Betsy Ross by Becky White and Megan Lloyd (Holiday House, 2011). Activities for this one are still being cultured in the petri dish of storytime planning….

Digging Up Trouble With Trickster Tales Trickster tales are some of my favorite books to read aloud. When done respectfully, the stories shared from other cultures can be a great teaching opportunity. Alaska has many such tales and we’ll be including some of them in this storytime. Activities still in the works, so stay tuned!

Creepy Crawly Bugs! Local naturalists will be bringing local downed Spruce logs for scientific exploration during this storytime.  We’ll investigate, deconstruct, and identify the creepy crawlies inside. Bringing the outdoors in will be a blast!

Under Construction! We sponsor a LEGO® contest every summer, and this year will be no different. We’ll even bring LEGO®s to storytime to let kids build towers, castles, bridges, and more while they also build their literacy skills! It is amazing what narrative skills and vocabulary can be developed while playing with these building blocks.

What’s Under Our Feet? Rocks and Caves Several years ago, I stumbled on a great layers earthearth activity in a Montessori book. (I’m still looking for that book….) It is a play doh model of the Earth and all of its layers wrapped inside. Once the ball is made with the layers inside, the ball is cut down the middle and each layer is visible. My kids loved it and I know my young friends at the library will too!



Last week was was all about dinosaurs at storytime.dino felt board

Looking for books about dinosaurs was incredibly easy! If your patrons are anything like ours, you have some young paleontologists in the mix and that insures lots of dinosaur picture books and information books.

I like to start storytime by introducing the theme and an accompanying letter. My storytimes are pretty intimate and I know most of the 10-20 kids that come each week so then the kids and I talk about what they know about the theme (or other random topics on their mind). For example, this week we chatted about dinosaurs, fossils and the letter D. It gets kids warmed up so they aren’t so shy during the stories and activities. As we talk, kids share more and more details and even slip in a few a conversation-inspired stories of their own. Families tend to trickle in at the beginning of storytime, so this warm-up also gives everyone a chance to get settled before I really get started.

Since dinosaurs come in all shapes and sizes, we started with this well-received, action rhyme:

This is big big big (Hold arms out to side)
This is small small small (Cup hands together)
This is short short short (Hold hands with palms facing each other)
This is tall tall tall (Reach one hand above head)
This is fast fast fast (Circle fists quickly)
This is slow slow slow (Circle fists slowly)
This is yes yes yes (Nod)
This is no no no (Shake head)

Credit: Mel’s Desk


Continuing on with the opposites, I started with the book Dinosaurs Roar by Paul and Henrietta Stickland. It’s a book that makes for lots of conversation and can involve very active reading. Roaring, pretending to be big or small, stomping, and imitating fierce and meek are all possible during this seemingly short book.dinosaur-bones

Next we got to focus on why we know about dinosaurs and the concept of extinct which a surprising number of 5 and 6 year olds knew quite a bit about. We felt our arms for our own bones and I showed them the “fossil” we were going to make after stories. We then read Dinosaur Bones by Bob Barner, a book we have in our collection as a kit.

Before continuing on with another story, it was time for the flannel board dinosaurs! We used these dinosaurs to remember our colors, count to nine, and see if we could identify the the three types of dinosaurs. Great job, all around!

Colorful Dinosaurs…
(One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians)
Have felt dinosaurs of the various colors to put on flannel board as you sing.
1 red
1 blue
1 green dinosaur
1 orange
1 yellow
1 white dinosaur
1 pink
1 brown
1 black dinosaur
9 dinosaurs in all!

Credit: Nuttin’ But Preschool

Goldilocks and the 3 dinosWe were having so much fun, that we only had time for one more story before it was time to create!

Mo Willems’ latest Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs is, of course, funny. For kids to really appreciate this one though, they need to be familiar with the Goldilocks and the Three Bears tale, so we spent some time talking about that story first. Then we worked through the story, parents snickering all the way, and looked for some of the funny little Mo Willems gifts found on each page. (Can you find the pigeon?) Goldilocks is appropriately brave and defiant and even demonstrates her reading skills towards the end of the story. The dinosaurs are not very good at catching a “chocolate-filled-little-girl-bonbon” and alas they must endure the consequences at the end. Before or after reading the story, it’s worth spending some time on the alternative titles inside the front and back covers!

shape o saurusShape-o-saurus

To reinforce our shape awareness, we made a shape-o-saurus inspired by No Time For Flashcards! The kids were able to identify the rectangles, triangles, and circle from our shape games in earlier weeks. A couple were even able to see that the semi-circle was a capital letter D asleep on its side! To help the younger kids place the shapes on the shapeosaurus, I had parents draw the shape with glue. It made for great team work.

Dinosaur Salt Dough Fossilsdino salt dough fossil

What happens when you give kids a handful of salt dough and a toy dinosaur? Some of them make fossils! This part of the storytime involved making pretend fossils by pressing the feet of toy dinosaurs into the dough and then the parents baked the dough at home to finish it off. I gave each child a bag with the final instructions for their new fossil. The dough takes paint well, so the craft could be extended for an at-home project.

Some parents took dough and some some chose not to, but kids had a great time squishing the playdough-like material and making patterns with the handles of scissors, tops of markers, keys, etc. A couple of younger ones sampled the dough, but no worries! The simple salt dough is made of flour, salt and water which I combined at home (about 10 minutes of prep time) and then brought to story time.

Since I used this program only in my outreach efforts this week, I plan to do a dinosaur themed storytime at the library this summer with some different stations, as part of the Dig Into Reading summer program. During June and July, I’ll be taking a cue from Amy Koester’s ALSC blog post and hosting science based programs during storytime. I’ll be adding a twist to the acronym and consider them STEAM-y (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART, and Math)* storytimes for preschoolers.

What ideas do you have planned for Dig Into Reading?

*Alaska’s Senator Mark Begich is also a big supporter of combining STEM and Art.