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 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)
Book: 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.
Book: 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.
Book: 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!
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.
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 compartment portion cut so that there are two compartments connected with high point (for nose) attached (like this one)
A variety of feathers
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.
I Stink! www.bloomingtobirth.org
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat www.childrensbookalmanac.com
The Nowhere Box www.samzuppardi.com