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.

Activities:

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.

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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.

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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

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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

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.

Bubbles!
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