Toddler: Jump!

We explored animals that jump this week. It was a great opportunity to mix and match some seemingly unrelated books and lots of movement. Here’s what we did!

Early Literacy Tip of the Day:
When you read to your child, run your finger under the printed words to help her/him know that it is the text you are reading, not the pictures. This helps kids know text has meaning.
For more easy to use tips like this one, check out the The Early Literacy Kit by Saroj Ghoting (Every Child Ready to Read) and Betsy Diamant-Cohen (Mother Goose on the Loose), both of whom I finally met in person at the #alsc2014 conference.

Welcome Song: The More We Get (Read) Together
(I start singing this as I pass out the day’s information sheets)
The more we get together
together, together
The more we get together
the happier we’ll be!
For your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends,
The more we get together the happier we’ll be.

The more we read together, together, together
The more we read together
the happier we’ll be.
We’ll read big books and small books (with hand motion)
and short books and tall books
The more we read together the happier we’ll be.
Credit: Jbrary

I just came across a version of the first verse with sign language which I’ll be using next week. Check out Holly Jin’s video (Skokie Public Library)!

Fingerplay: Open Shut Them

Movement: Monkey See, Monkey Do (I used this last week and repeated it to make a connection between storytimes and include an opportunity to talk about the importance of repetition.)
Monkey see, monkey do
Little monkey in the zoo
Monkey, monkey, in the tree
Can you jump around like me?
(…swing your tail…clap your hands…nod your head…sit down…)

One little one pointed out that we don’t have tails as we swung our pretend tails which gave us a chance to talk about similarities and differences!

Book: Pouch by David Ezra Stein (this is a book many families receive as participants in the local Imagination Library program so it is well-loved by little ones.)

Pouch by David Ezra Credit:

Pouch by David Ezra Stein Credit:

Movement: Jumping and Counting by Jim Gill (Irrational Anthem album)

Fingerplay: Two Little Frogs (using thumbs as frogs)
Two little frogs sitting on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
“Jump,” said Jack. “Jump,” said Jill.
And they both jumped down the great big hill. (“jump” thumbs down towards floor)
Come back, Jack. Come back, Jill.
And the both jumped up the great big hill. (“jump” thumbs up towards ceiling)
Credit:Storytime Katie

Book: The Croakey Poakey! by Ethan Long

This book works well with kids that need to move as they listen. It has a funny and unexpected ending!

Croakey Pokey by Ethan Long Credit:

Croakey Pokey by Ethan Long Credit:

Movement: Bubbles!

Movement: Jump Around the Rosie (adapted)
Jump around the rosie
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!

The cows are in the meadow
Eating buttercups
Thunder, lightning,
We all jump up!
(repeat in other direction)

Goodbye Rhyme: Wave Hi, Wave low


Toddlers: Spring Cleaning

This toddler storytime is based on the preschool storytime I did the day before. It worked well, with some adaptations, for this age group as well. Head over to the preschool storytime version for complete details.

Welcome Song

Action Rhyme: Itsy Bitsy Spider
The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout.
Down came the rain
and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun
and dried up all the rain
and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.

Book: Mrs. Wishy Washy’s Farm by Joy Cowley

Dance Break: I Took a Bath in A Washing Machine by Jim Gill

Fingerplay: Elephant in the Bathtub
One elephant in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock (Clap twice)
Splash, Splash, (Slap knees twice)
Come on in! (Motion with both hands to come in)
(Repeat up to ‘Five’)

Five elephants in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock,
Splash, Splash,
They all fell in!
Credit: Sur La Lune Fairy Tales

Movement: Number Hokey Pokey
You put one finger in.
You put one finger out.
You put one finger in and you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself about.
That’s how we count to one.
(2, 3, 4, and 5)

I’m not sure where I found this version of the hokey pokey, but it’s a simple alternative.

Goodbye Rhyme

Play Activity: Kid Wash!
Credit: Susan Dailey

I let kids crawl through the kid wash as many times as they wanted. Needless to say it, it was a popular!

Kid Wash Exit

Kid Wash Exit: Kids crawled through the streamers at the end to simulate drying.

Kid Wash entrance

Kid Wash Entrance: Kids enter here and crawl through boxes. A parent held the stop sign and used it to direct kid traffic through the wash.

Kid Wash Side View

Kid Wash Side View: I used the chairs to help hold up the box tunnel. I blew bubbles on kids as they crawled through the open space between the boxes.


Preschool: Spring Cleaning

A couple of months ago I read about the idea of a “kid wash” in one of the discussions on the Storytime Underground Facebook page and knew it would be a great addition to the storytime I was planning this Spring around Mo Willems’ new book, The Pigeon Needs a Bath. And that is how a storytime is born, my friends! A great activity and a witty book were combined with a few other elements to fill in the gaps and another week of fun and literacy building was had.

I finally got a moment to collect my thoughts so here’s what we did.

Song Cube

Book: Time for a Bath by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011).

Steve Jenkins is one of my favorite author/illustrators and his books are popular with not only preschoolers, but much older kids and adults as well. This book introduces kids to how a variety of animals bathe, some of which are quite surprising! Instead of reading the whole book to the group, ahead of time I picked out a few animals whose bathing habits would surprise the storytime crowd and stimulate discussion. Also check out their other related books: Time to Eat and Time to Sleep.

Book: The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems (Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group, 2014)

Wh doesn’t love the pigeon? This book is a nice addition to Willems’ collection of pigeon stories, complete with spot on expressions that are perfect for initiating a conversation about a book’s illustrations and what they contribute to a story. I only wish I owned a copy of this story in big book format because one of the spreads includes many small images in comic-style panels which are hard for a group to see in the smaller format. How ’bout it Mo? Hyperion? Is a big book in the works?

Movement/Dance Break: I Took a Bath in a Washing Machine by Jim Gill
All this talk about bathing left us itching for some dancing! I brought out the scarves to use as wash cloths as we danced to Jim’s popular song.

Song: If You’re Ready for a Story
To help us get settled back down for the last story, we started this action song standing. By the final verse everyone was seated back on their mats and ready for one more read.

Book: Mrs. Wishy Washy’s Farm by Joy Cowley and Elizabeth Fuller (Philomel Books, 2003)

This delightful story is a fun read because of its rhyming text and high quality illustrations. It could be used in a farm storytime as well this one. The only trouble I have with this book (besides it being out of print!) is the page where it talks about the animal jail which is actually the animal shelter, although jail rhymes much better. I like to think that our shelter is less jail, and more temporary home. I talk about this page a bit when we get to it so kids understand what the author is talking about.

Before the day’s activities, we sang one more song just for fun!
Action Song: 5 Elephants in the Bath
One elephant in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock                     Clap twice
Splash, Splash,                   Slap knees twice
Come on in!                        Motion with both hands to come in
(Repeat up to ‘Five’)
Five elephants in the bathtub
Going for a swim.
Knock, Knock,
Splash, Splash,
They all fell in!
Credit: Sur La Lune Fairy Tales

We had two activities today. The first was the kid wash and the second was a simple art activity designed to ease the line that formed around the kid wash. Both worked well.

Kid Wash Entrance


Kid Wash Exit

Kid Wash Exit

Kid Wash Side View

Kid Wash Side View

Kid Wash
I grabbed a couple of large cardboard boxes that came through the library a few weeks ago and stored them for the kid wash. For storytime, I opened them up to form tunnels and used tape to secure the flaps. I did not connect the two tunnels because when the wash was set up, I wanted a gap in which I could blow bubbles on the kids to simulate the wash of a car wash. I used two chairs to keep the tunnels from falling over- the other side was pushed up against some of our picture book bins. I taped streamers over the opening of the tunnel that was going to be the exit, reminiscent of the drying that happens when you drive out of an automatic car wash. I also made a stop sign that a caregiver held at the entrance to help control kid traffic and not crowd the inside of the wash. It was a great literacy tool as well. I stood half way down the wash and blew bubbles as kids came through. Even the most hesitant kids eventually made their way through the wash and many kids made several passes.

Part of the fun of this activity was that I had the parts staged, but not set up during storytime. (Storytime takes place in our children’s library and the only place to put the kid wash was in the space where we sit for storytime.) While I set up, I had the kids close their eyes for a surprise after the story portion. Most kids actually kept them closed until I said I was ready. No one expected a kid wash, so there was no secret to give away. It worked like a charm!

Credit: Susan Dailey

Bathtub ArtBathtub Craft
This simple craft involved a bathtub image, a poem about bathing, and stamping. I photocopied the poem into the middle of the tub image and gave each child one page. They cut out the tub and glued it on to a piece of construction paper (color of their choice). Then they used Do a Dot art markers to create colored bubbles around the bath. These markers are easy to use and satisfying for both preschoolers and toddlers, offering an alternative tool for painting.
Credit:  Read it Again Mom

Toddler: Movement

With the all of the unseasonably rainy weather, I knew the toddlers would be ready to move this week, even more than usual. So, along with a fun book about warm climate animals,  I picked out some of my favorite action rhymes and songs that might even help us break a sweat! That’s my New year’s resolution for story time… to get parents so involved they perspire with a smile! Here’s to 2014!

Welcome Song: Hello Everybody
(clap hands on lap and then together, clap twice on the word “you”)
Hello everybody, how are you?
Hello everybody, how are you?
It’s such a lovely day, I’m so glad you came to play,
Hello everybody, how are you?

Action Rhyme: Dance Your Fingers Up
Dance your fingers up,
Dance your fingers down.
Dance your fingers in and out
And all around the town.
Dance them on your shoulders,
Dance them on your head.
Dance them on your tummy
Then tuck them into bed.

Song: It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More (we want snow!)
It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more, (wiggle fingers down like rain)
It ain’t gonna rain no more, (waggle finger and shake head as if saying “no”)
Oh no, it’s up to my toe! (point to toe)
But, it ain’t gonna rain no more. (wiggle fingers down like rain)

It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more,
It ain’t gonna rain no more.
Oh gee, it’s up to my knee! (point to knee)
But, it ain’t gonna rain no more.

It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more,
It ain’t gonna rain no more.
Oh my, it’s up to my thigh! (flatten hand to cheek and then point to thigh)
But, it ain’t gonna rain no more.

It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more,
It ain’t gonna rain no more.
Oh fiddle, it’s up to my middle! (point to belly button/waist area)
But, it ain’t gonna rain no more.

It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more,
It ain’t gonna rain no more.
Oh dread, it’s up to my head! (place hand on top of head)
I’m just gonna swim on home… (make swimming motion)
Credit: Jbrary

Song: I’m Hopping Like a Bunny
(using penny whistle)
I’m hopping like a bunny, I’m hopping all around (hop)
Hopping like a bunny and now I’m falling down (play penny whistle down scale as you fall to floor)

(play penny whistle up the scale as you stand up, teaching kids what to listen for and the actions to follow when they hear the corresponding penny whistle sounds)

I’m stomping like a elephant, I’m stomping all around (stomp feet)
Stomping like a elephant and now I’m falling down

I’m swimming like a fishy, I’m swimming all around (make sign for fish)
Swimming like a fishy and now I’m falling down

I’m walking like an tiger, I’m walking all around (walk on all fours)
Walking like an tiger and now I’m falling down

I’m flitting like a fly, I’m flitting all around (flap hands at sides quickly)
Flitting like a fly and now I’m falling down
Credit: Nancy Stewart
We changed the animals in Nancy’s song to match the animals found in the book we read later during storytime. If you don’t want to sing the song a cappella, you can sing along with Nancy via the recorded version on her website.

Song: If You’re Ready for a Story (we sing of version of this song before each week’s book to help families transition from songs to the 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 (accompanied by penny whistle)

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

This book has brilliant illustrations, a sneaky little fly to follow through the story, and excellent action words to describe the large predators’ efforts to eat the fly. The fly outwits them all and flits away, of course.

One little, two little, three little bubbles,
four little, five little, six little bubbles.
Seven little, eight little, nine little bubbles.
Ten little bubbles go pop, pop, pop!

We then spend 4-5 minutes blowing and popping bubbles and talking about our bodies, what bubbles look like, etc.

Movement: Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill played via phone/wireless speakers, using Sound Cloud app

Action Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It

(clap hands, wiggle your knees, spin around, do all three)

Goodbye: Wave Hi, Wave Low
I think it’s time, we’ve gotta go
Wave your elbows, wave your toes
Wave your tongue, wave your nose
Wave your knees, ave your lips
Blow me a kiss with your finger tips
Wave your ears, wave your hair,
Wave your belly and derriere.
Wave your chin, wave your eye
Wave a hand, and say goodbye!
Credit: Rob Reid

Early Literacy Tip:
Think about ways to make text and literacy visible to your child so s/he can take text for granted! Place a basket of books out for your child’s easy access, read in front of your child, or write so your child can see.
Credit: Raising Readers

Preschool: Making Something Out of Nothing

I just returned from a vacation and haven’t held a story time in three weeks, so I was happy to see so many familiar smiles this morning! Over fifty people came to shake off the winter doldrums brought on by the unseasonably warm and rainy weather (not much cold and snow here in Alaska!). I was ready for them! As one mom said who joined story time at the tail-end, “it looks like there’s a party in here!” And boy was there! I had the massive clean up to prove it.

With the holidays behind us, many families are like mine and Treasure Art Box have piles of cardboard boxes and paper at home waiting to be taken for recycling.  Unsurprisingly, that “trash” is often fodder for hours of child play, especially during the winter when kids have so much energy but the daylight and weather keep us inside. In fact, my art box, filled with bits and pieces, was created when my kids were wee-ones and I realized what we could do with little treasures and odds and ends. I’m sure your home or library has something similar!

It was time to share the treasure art box fun with library families. Thus, the “Making Something Out of Nothing” storytime was born. (This is a picture of my library art box. See the post-storytime version at the end of this post!)

To begin story time, we got warmed up by sharing lots of personal stories about the holidays and then we rolled the rhyme cube. We had time for two kids to roll the cube today and we sang “Open Shut Them” and “The Hokey Pokey” (using both arms and both elbows).

We then sang a very active song by Nancy Stewart which I recently heard about in a conversation about music in storytime on the Storytime Underground Facebook page. To set the stage you have to imagine several kids standing remarkably still, eyes focused on the shiny, never before seen penny whistle in my hand (a must). I began singing and acting out the lyrics while the kids followed along. Then we got to the part about falling down. I played the penny whistle down the scale as I pulled the whistle’s handle down and fell to the floor. The kids quickly got the gist of the song and were laid out all over the floor, giggling. They were all ready to jump back up when I played the whistle back up the scale and then we acted out the next animal in the lyrics. Kids coming in late were amazed and rushed over to see what all of the fun was about.

The song can be played online via a mobile device like a phone and speakers or sung a capella. Nancy’s voice is lovely, but I opted to sing it on my own which allowed for us to pause between verses as needed and to smoothly add other animals and actions at the end of the song.

Action Song: I’m Hopping Like a Bunny
I’m hopping like a bunny, I’m hopping all around
Hopping like a bunny and now I’m falling down

I’m stomping like a dinosaur, I’m stomping all around
Stomping like a dinosaur and now I’m falling down

I’m swimming like a fishy, I’m swimming all around
Swimming like a fishy and now I’m falling down

I’m walking like an elephant, I’m walking all around
Walking like an elephant and now I’m falling down

I’m flitting like a butterfly, I’m flitting all around
Flitting like a butterfly and now I’m falling down
Credit: Nancy Stewart
We added: a bee (buzzing), a giraffe (walking), a monkey (climbing), and a bird (flapping)

Song: 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 (accompanied by penny whistle)

i_stinkBook: I Stink! by Kate & Jim McMullan (Joann Cotler Books, 2002)

I read this book first for a few reasons. It’s longer than the others, the authors have many fans at our library, it’s bright artwork is eye-catching, and its garbage truck star draws in the transportation-lovers in the group.  After reading about what happens to trash during the night on the streets of a city like New York, we talked about today’s storytime theme and what else you can do with trash.

Joseph-Had-a-Little-Overcoat-imageBook: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback (Viking, 1999)

This book provided a great example of how something that is old and worn can be repurposed into something wonderful. Again, it has bright images so it’s an attention-grabber.  The repetitive elements of the text help kids anticipate the story, but what Joseph creates out of the worn clothing keeps them guessing. Each page contains a small cut out that allows the next item of clothing to lay over the previous as you turn the page.

Time for… dancing!

First, we stretched our limbs and did some forward bends to get our bodies ready for dancing. (This is a subtle way to get kids ready for the weekly yoga I plan to incorporate into storytime beginning in February.)

Recorded Song: Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill

I played this song via Sound Cloud where you’ll find digital versions of Gill’s songs that you can play on your phone or mobile device and some portable speakers via the Sound Cloud app (iOS and Google Play). It was my first time using Sound Cloud, but I plan to check it out more and see what storytime treasures I can find!

(At this point I can see my coworkers at the circulation desk laughing through the glass windows that separate the storytime fun from the quietness of the rest of the library.)

The kids loved the dance break and were ready for the final story.

Nowhere_Cover_SmallBook: The Nowhere Box by Sam Zuppardi (Candlewick, 2013)

This book was a nice lead into the craft portion of our morning. Many kids can relate to the troublesome, but lovable younger siblings George must contend with. More than a few probably went home to find an appliance box to temporarily escape to where they could image a “nowhere” to explore on their own.  After all, whether old or young, everyone needs some alone time so they can go back to enjoying games with their beloved siblings.

Activity: Egg Carton Owl

Before craft time began, I described the project they could work on and then told them about my art box. I showed them what was inside and told them they could use whatever they wanted out of the box to make something in addition to or instead of the owl. In a mad scramble, the kids immediately dug into the box and pulled out treasures! I know kids have great imaginations, but that was fun to see!Post Storytime Art Box

Here are some kids digging into what’s left for odds and ends to finish off their projects which included a dog frisbee (decorated old CD), a hat (square-shaped bubble packaging) and jewelry (old ribbon rings, bits of paper, and old electronic pieces).  As it refills, I’ll definitely bring out my art box again for open-ended play.

I found this adorable craft online, but the link to the instructions on Small Magazine was broken. The image gave me enough to recreate the owl though, so I’ll describe what I did here.

Egg Carton Owl

Materials (for each owl):

top of dozen size, paper egg carton cut in half (use cartons with tops that are flat, without holes, like this one)egg carton

Egg compartment portion cut so that there are two compartments connected with high point (for nose) attached (like this one)

Owl eyesA variety of feathers

Googly eyes

glue (tacky is best)

markers (for decorating the nose or body of the owl)

After cutting the top of the egg carton in half, for each owl body I cut two feet out of the rounded edge, then cut out sections next to the feet to create the wing effect, and then rounded the top of the owl which originally was the middle of the carton lid. I decided cutting out the bodies and eyes was too much for kids and parents to manage during storytime, so I prepped the projects this far. The gluing and decorating was obviously left to the families which they enjoyed.

Photo Credits:
I Stink!
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
The Nowhere Box