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:

Animal Opposites by Petr Horáček. Photo Credit:

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:

My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann. Photo Credit:

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!”
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.


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



Preschool: Tigers

This is the easiest preschool storytime I have even put together! The books are all fabulous and the kids loved the program. This storytime incorporated science, math, and early literacy skills, with the art of story supported by beautiful illustrations.

new sit mats

As families arrived, kids picked out one of our new sit mats for themselves and then joined me for singing and movement guided by our Rhyme Cube. I love these new mats which were paid for with an early literacy grant from the Alaska State Library!

big catsBook: Everything Big Cats (National Geographic, 2011)

I used this non-fiction title to introduce the storytime theme, Tigers. We spent several minutes looking at high quality photographs of tigers and talking about what a tiger looks like, what distinguishes a tiger from other big cats like lions, where tigers live, and what they eat.

Action Song: Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree (with sign language)
Five little monkeys swinging in a tree
Teasing Mister Tiger “can’t catch me!”
Along came the tiger, slowly as can be
And…POUNCE! (hands with fingers extended away from your body like claws)
Four little monkeys….. (last verse is done with signs only)
Now there are no little monkeys swinging in a tree
(three, two, one…)
Song Credit: Perry Public Library

The sign language version of this song was modified from Marge Loch-Wouters‘ crocodile version of the Five Little Monkeys song.

To see images of the tiger-related signs go to: (tiger) Life Print and (roar) Handspeak

Action Song: Are you Ready for a Story
If you’re ready for a story, clap your hands
If you’re ready for a story, clap your hands
If you’re ready for a story, If you’re ready for a story,
If you’re ready for a story, clap your hands.
… sit down please (with penny whistle)

When I sing the second verse with the penny whistle, I play down the scale when I ask them to sit down and play up the scale to have them stand back up. The kids quickly associate the change in sound with the appropriate action.

mr.-tiger-jacket-from-FB-pageBook: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013)

A well-paced story about being yourself, this story is a great read-aloud. Mr. Tiger, frustrated with the normalcy offered by the tame city life he knows, discovers his wild side and learns to be himself. His friends who once promoted the sterile, domesticated lifestyle Mr. Tiger rebels against, accept his individuality and even reveal their own. The illustrations compliment the simple text creating a tale suited for storytimes about tigers, individuality, and friends. (Also available as an E-book.)

Book: Oh, No! written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Oh No!Rohmann (Schwartz & Wade, 2012)

Another fabulous book by Fleming, Oh No! offers kids the opportunity to predict the story’s elements, repeat the story’s refrain (Oh no!) and imagine their own ending. The tale is one about a deep hole in the jungle and all of the animals who fall into it, one at a time, trying to rescue the animals who have already fallen in. The climax of the story occurs when tiger comes to “help,” only to be bumped into the hole by the earth-shaking steps of an elephant who rescues all of the other animals at the same time. Just when the story appears to be over, a turn of the last page reveals the tiger’s paws appearing out of the hole on the inside back cover. It provided a great opportunity to ask kids “what happened to the tiger?” (Also available as an E-book.)

Action Chant: Down In The Jungle
(clap hands on knees and clap them together
to set the rhythm of the chant.)
Down in the jungle with the beat in your feet, Think of an animal that you’d like to meet. That you’d like to meet!
(have child name a jungle animal)
A tiger, A tiger , I want to see a tiger! ROAR!
Song Credit: Perry Public Library

tinylittleflytigerBook: Tiny Little Fly by Michael Rosen and Kevin Waldron (Candlewick Press, 2010)

Rosen’s gift for writing picture books is demonstrated, yet again, in this story about a sly little fly that is able to escape the swatting of a tiger, the rolling mass of a hippo, and the tramping of an elephant. This is a fun story to read aloud because of the sound words, repeated text, and accompanying illustrations.

Along with the other books I read today, Tiny Little Fly‘s artwork is noteworthy. Waldron’s illustrations are sophisticated but child friendly. The nature-inspired hues on an off-white background provide a good context for the story. Waldron adds to Rosen’s story with the placement of the animals throughout the book. The book design includes a partial view of each animal as the story progresses which invites kids to interact by guessing what animal comes next in the sequence.


Tigers provide a subtle way to talk about patterns which was the focus of the craft/activity portion of this storytime. Drawing attention to something as simple as the orange and black pattern of a tiger helps kids recognize patterns, important for both language and math literacy.


Storytime and the following activity, both take place in our children’s library. Before each storytime, I set up the large table seen here with all of the materials kids and their caregivers will need for the activity.  This week, I put small signs and labels by the needed materials to make it easy to choose the materials for the two activities I provided today. The signs also demonstrate to parents one way to create a text-rich environment for their kids.

Creating a tiger mask was the first activity. Before this week’s storytime, I cut out the center of each of the paper plates and hot glued the plates on to wooden craft sticks. I also prepped some of the materials they used to decorate the masks, as noted below. Today kids used the supplies to assemble the mask.


Tiger Mask

Materials (for each mask):

  • paper plate (with center cut out)
  • large
  • craft stick (one end hot glued to bottom of paper plate to serves as mask handle)
  • one black strip approx. 8 1/2″ x 2″ (kids cut into eight pieces to create striped pattern on mask)
  • one orange strip approx. 8 1/2″ x 2″ (kids cut into eight pieces to create striped pattern on mask)
  • 2 circles cut from white paper
  • 2 googly eyes
  • black paper for whiskers and ears (cut by kids and parents)
  • white paper for teeth (cut by kids and parents)
  • glue
  • scissors


The second activity was a simple pattern project. Kids, particularly the younger ones, ripped strips of black paper and glued them on the orange paper to create a pattern.

Materials (for each pattern project):

  • 1 orange piece of orange construction paper
  • piece of black construction paper approx. 4″ x 10″
  • glue

Image credits:
Everything Big Cats Geo Librarian
Mr Tiger Goes Wild Peter Brown
Oh No! Amazon
Tiny Little Fly Michael Rosen