Preschool: Rabbits

Hoppy Easter! It’s time for the annual rabbit storytime!

This year I focused more on the actual animal instead of the mythical Easter Bunny which worked well. I also added an early literacy injected egg hunt to the preschool program.

Welcome: Song Cube (We usually sing two or three of these songs as families enter and get settled.)

Instead of moving right into reading books and singing together, it was time for our egg hunt. The kids had already noticed the brightly colored eggs hidden throughout the children’s library where we hold storytime.Hiding Eggs

I explained that each egg, there were twenty-six, had a different felt letter inside. As a team, we needed to find the eggs, open them, pull out the letter inside, and then bring it back to the storytime space so we could match it to the same letter on the feltboard. I asked the older kids to help younger ones and I explained that we could match the letters by their shape and color (as you can see below, the felt letter pairs were the same color and I used random colors to help differentiate the letters from each other). In hind sight, I should have cut the letters out of felt colors that created a pattern. Next time!

Alphabet Easter Egg Hunt

After we found all of the eggs, we sang the Alphabet Song forward and backwards while I pointed to the individual letters.

Next I brought out my larger bunny puppet to introduce storytime. Rabbit, aka Foo Foo, helps with storytime do’s and don’ts and was the star of the compare game. To talk about rabbits, and snowshoe hares which live here in Alaska, I asked kids to look at the bunny puppet and then at me. The object of the game is to figure out what is the same and what is different. I started everyone off by talking our legs- the rabbit has four and I have two, plus two arms. We observed the puppet and the kids yelled out similarities and differences including our ears, our eyes, rabbit’s tail and fur, how rabbit gets around, etc. We also talked about why rabbits might have particular features that are different from mine.

After the game I taught everyone a quick finger play that is easy to learn and repeat at home.

Fingerplay: The Rabbit
I saw a little rabbit come
Hop, hop, hop!
I saw his two long ears go
flop, flop, flop!
I saw his little nose go
Twink, twink, twink!
I saw his little eyes go
Wink, wink, wink!
I said “little rabbit, won’t you stay?”
Then he looked at me
And hopped away.
Credit: Artfelt (for link to free pdf of rhymes)

In anticipation of our first book, we acted out an opposite rhyme. I always ask kids to stand up for this one to help them move a bit before our first story.

Action Rhyme: This is Big

Animal Opposites by Petr Horáček. Photo Credit: www.walker.co.uk

Animal Opposites by Petr Horáček. Photo Credit: http://www.walker.co.uk

Book: Animal Opposites (Candlewick Press, 2013)
There are a lot of books featuring animal opposites, but this one by Petr Horáček is my favorite. It’s a pop up book, which I love for its interactivity, but it is also special for other reasons. The opposites are spot on, the animals are very realistic and each pair offers lots of opportunities for conversation. The grand finale, a very large fold out elephant, is an excellent touch.

Song: If You’re Ready for a Story
…bend and stretch
…hop two times
…sit down please

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann. Photo Credit: http://www.ericrohmann.com

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann. Photo Credit: http://www.ericrohmann.com

Book: My Friend Rabbit (Roaring Brook Press, 2002)
Eric Rothmann’s tale of mouse and rabbit is a great companion to the Animal Opposites book we explored first. Some of the animals appear in both books, including the white goose, and the kids can see rabbit lifting the heavy hippo reinforcing what heavy means. With minimal text, the illustrations in this fun read aloud must speak loudly, and they do. Rabbit, the troublemaker and problem solver, has an idea for getting mouse’s plane unstuck and kids liked to anticipate what’s going to happen next and predict rabbit’s innovative solution.

Song: Little Bunny Foo Foo
Little bunny Foo Foo
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping ’em on the head
And down came the Good Fairy
And she said
“Little bunny Foo Foo
I don’t like you’re attitude
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping ’em on the head”

I’ll give you 2 chances.
Then I’ll turn you into a goon!
The next day…
(Repeat two more verses with 2 and 1 chances_
2. “I gave you two chances.
Now I’ll turn you into a goon!”
(POOF!)
And the moral of the story is:
Hare today, goon tomorrow!
Credit: Scout Songs

I use my rabbit puppet, a mouse puppet and my bubble wand for this one. I show the kids the hand motions for the song before we start so they can sing along with me. I also sometimes just let the fairy godmother give the bunny just two chances, instead of three, if kids are getting restless. How does she turn the bunny into a goon? By blowing bubbles over him as he sits on the floor! I ask the kids to protect Foo Foo by popping all of the bubbles before they land on him.

20140418-115338.jpg

Craft time!
Because of the activities we did today, I offered a simple craft. I have used this one before. I prepped the pink strips that kids and adults could cut into ears and provided green squares for the hand shaped grass. Kids cut, stapled, and glued to produce the bunny hiding in the grass.

Rabbit Hiding in the Grass Craft

 

Bunnies

Hop! HoEaster Eggsp! Hop! Watching children hop around the children’s library looking for Easter eggs is hysterical! I love to get kids moving during storytime.

You guessed it. We had an Easter egg hunt this week in anticipation of the upcoming holiday.

Before children arrived, I hid colored plastic eggs filled with stickers in easy-to-find and hard-to-find nooks and crannies. (At the outreach program I also added goldfish crackers since clean-up is easier there.)  Kids immediately saw the eggs, but we were able to convince them to sit down for storytime anyway. The anticipation grew and grew and grew throughout the stories and songs included this week. Kids were spotting eggs and proclaiming “I see one!” at every opportunity.

20130403-125559.jpgWith some help from my rabbit puppet, I began storytime with the finger rhyme:

The Rabbit
I saw a little rabbit come
Hop, hop, hop!
I saw his two long ears go
flop, flop, flop!
I saw his little nose go
Twink, twink, twink!
I saw his little eyes go
Wink, wink, wink!
I said “little rabbit, won’t you stay?”
Then he looked at me
And hopped away.
Credit: Artfelt (for link to free pdf of rhymes)

The first story I read was Jan Brett’s The Easter Egg filled with elaborate eggs, kind bunnies, and detailed illustrations on each page in classic Brett style.easter_egg_brett

I followed up with The Black Rabbit by Phillipa Leathers a sweet little tale about a bunny afraid of his shadow (the black rabbit) who just won’t quit following him.  The rabbit tries to shake the stalking black bunny through the early pages until that black shadow eventually scares off a predatory wolf just in the nick of time. The kids easily understood that the black rabbit was a shadow so the story was less scary than it could have been.the black rabbit

Next up was Little Bunny Foo Foo with the help of my magic wand. I modify some of the words as I go if there are any scared faces in the crowd and I explain that a goon is a useless monster that can’t do anything (including scare little children) to diffuse initial fears.

Little Bunny Foo Foo
Little bunny Foo Foo
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping ’em on the head
And down came the Good Fairy
And she said
“Little bunny Foo Foo
I don’t like you’re attitude
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping ’em on the head”

I’ll give you 3 chances.
Then I’ll turn you into a goon!
The next day…
(Repeat two more verses with 2 and 1 chances_
3. “I gave you two chances.
Now I’ll turn you into a goon!”
(POOF!)
And the moral of the story is:
Hare today, goon tomorrow!
Credit: Scout Songs

Our last book was Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This is a fun story both if you read all of the text or if you improvise. I did both depending on the general age and interest of the group.  As you can see, it’s tricky to decide if the image is a duck or a rabbit!duck rabbit  One of the pages features a scene which relates nicely to the craft we did- a rabbit hiding in the grass. But, before craft time, it was time to be bunnies and hop around.  The last song for storytime was:

If You’re Hoppy and You Know It
If you’re hoppy and you know it, hop around.
If you’re hoppy and you know it, hop around.
If you’re hoppy and you know it, then your face will surely show it,
If you’re hoppy and you know it, hop around.
…swish your tail
…flop your ears
…wiggle your nose

20130403-125524.jpgCraft

At this point the kids were up and ready to grab for the first egg they saw. To slow the older kids down, I told them this egg hunt was special because they had to jump like bunnies to find eggs and once they found one they could then help someone else find an egg (I had just enough). Off they hopped and the adults couldn’t help but laugh.

I then met the families at the craft table to help them sort out the easy bunny in the grass project I found at Busy Bee Kids Crafts.

The materials needed:

1 paper plate
2 strips of colored card stock, approximately 3 inches wide
three pieces of green construction paper big enough to trace a hand
2 eyes
scissors
stapler
glue (for eyes)

Bunny EarsAt the last minute, I decided I needed bunny ears for storytime. I made these right before everyone arrived and then cut some extra strips for anyone who might want a matching set. Almost every one of the 25 kids walked out with bunny ears. Simple and fun! All you need is one sheet of pink construction paper (cut into four strips), a pair of scissors and a stapler. Staple two strips together to make a band that fits around your head and then 20130403-125534.jpgcut the other two in the shape of ears to staple on the band. Some little ones colored their ears to make them extra special.

This marked the last week of storytime on the road, a three month pilot project which allowed me to visit rural community meeting places and a school approximately twenty-five miles from our library. The grant funded storytimes were definitely successful and we hope to continue them again in the future when funds allow.

Thanks to a visit from a local public radio reporter, the program received some great publicity. The radio story and the beautiful photos were heartwarming. I highly recommend letting local news media know about your outreach projects. It’s a great opportunity for advocacy!

 

Here is the slideshow from the reporter’s visit: