Preschool: Friends (Valentine’s Day)

This week’s storytimes are all about friends and Valentine’s Day! I thought I’d post after today’s storytime so you could see what I’m up to the rest of this week. Please chime in if you have any suggestions for the program I’ll be working off of for the rest of the week.

Today marks the second week of our new storytime day and I wasn’t sure how many to expect. (We now offer preschool storytime two days a week through May when we will resume the one preschool program per week schedule during the summer.) I began the program with a mom and daughter, but just before I started reading the first story a preschool group arrived along with another family. We ended up with 17.  It was a great mix of enthusiastic kids and caregivers!

This was the first time the mother and daughter had been to storytime, so as we got to know each other we played with the rhyme cube- a great early literacy tool which introduces the idea of symbols, allows us to practice great songs, increases participation each time kids get to roll the cube and pick the song we sing, and builds learning confidence as kids become familiar with the songs and recognizing the pictures and text. It is also a useful conversation starter for preschoolers and caregivers.

Heart FeltBefore we read our first book about friends, we sang! I placed red and pink hearts in a pattern on the felt board the first time I sang the song. The second time, I pointed to the heart as we sang and counted while kids and caregivers counted on their fingers. We used the sign for heart and kiss (thanks for the timely Valentine’s Day videos, Jbrary!) in the song. One little girl immediately chimed in that the sign for kiss is also the sign for “more” in a lot of households! Way to go kids and parents!

Song: Hearts and Kisses (with ASL sign for heart and kiss)
1 little, 2 little, 3 little hearts
4 little, 5 little, 6 little hearts
7 little, 8 little, 9 little hearts
10 little hearts and a kiss, muuah! (We also blew kisses at the end so we could catch each others’ and save them for Friday.)
Credit: Jbrary

Book: Pepo and Lolo are Friends by Ana Martín Larrañaga (Candlewick Press, 2004)Pepo and Lolo
Pepo and Lolo is a simple book that works well as an introduction to the Friends theme. Tt became a conversation piece today. We talked about other friend books featuring pigs and discussed how to figure out which animal was Pepo and which was Lolo using clues in the illustrations and text.

Song: The More We Get Together
Oh, the more we get together,
Together, together,
Oh, the more we get together,
The happier we’ll be.
For your friends are my friends,
And my friends are your friends.
Oh, the more we get together,
The happier we’ll be!
Credit: Sur La Lune Storytime

YouWillBeMyFriendBook: You Will be my Friend! by Peter Brown (Little, Brown, 2011)
I’m a Peter Brown fan and this book does not disappoint. It is a funny, well illustrated story about Lucy, the enthusiastic bear and her search for a new friend. Her enthusiasm does not go over well with the wide variety of animals she tries to convince to be her friend (some not typically found in bear country). Eventually she gives up in frustration and decides to be herself, even if that is a lonely self. The story ends well though with a flamingo saving the day. I have several favorite pages, but one is certainly the one with a flock of flamingos all wearing sunglasses except the one who later befriends Lucy.

Song: If You’re Ready for a Story

If you’re ready for a story, blow me a kiss!
If you’re ready for a story, blow me a kiss!
If you’re ready for a story, If you’re ready for a story,
If you’re ready for a story, blow me a kiss!
… sit down please

Book: Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell (Little, Brown, 2007)Polar-Bear-Hug
Valentine’s Day is about sharing our love and so is Hug Time. The book takes us on a global journey as kitten works on his “Hug-To-Do-List.” His adventure finishes up at the Arctic Circle, an appropriate end point for an Alaskan storytime, where he meets a friendly polar bear as pictured here.

Song: Skidamarink
Skidamarink a dinka dink. (Put right elbow in  left hand and wiggle  fingers)
Skidamarink a doo. (Put left elbow in right hand and wiggle fingers)
I love you. (Point to eyes, hug yourself, and point to others)
Skidamarink a dinka dink. (Repeat actions)
Skidamarink a doo.
I love you. (with ASL sign)

I love you in the morning. (Make a big circle over head  like the sun)
And in the afternoon. (Hold arms in circle out in front of you)
I love you in the evening. (Move arms in circle down)
And underneath the moon. (Release arms and make another big circle over head)

Skidamarink a dinka dink.
Skidamarink a doo.
I love you. (with ASL sign)


It’s not often that I’ll post a selfie here- in fact this may be the last time- but I followed Rebecca’s lead (Sturdy for Common Things) and thought you needed to see the craft fun we had. A photo of just the hat and glasses sans a face and head, doesn’t do them justice.

Heart glasses
20140211-130117.jpgThese glasses are super simple to make, I had all of the supplies on hand, and the kids were so proud to wear them! My coworkers thought it was Elton John day at the library and I didn’t tell them. Hmmm… I just might have to make them all a pair of heart glasses for Valentine’s Day! I found these glasses at Sturdy for Common Things. If you step by step directions, visit Rebecca’s site.


  • 2 full length pipe cleaners (shaped into hearts)
  • 1 pipe cleaner cut in half (to form the arms- one end of each twisted around the side of a heart)
  • 1 piece of pipe cleaner approx. 1″ long (twisted around the hearts to connect them together)

Valentine Hat
Most kids made both crafts so they left the library ready for a party. One boy decided his and mine were alien Valentine hats. After making what we thought were alien sounds we moved on to Valentine robots. I imagine there will be some kings and queens with Valentine crowns before the day is done also.
I placed a variety of materials out, along with the essential hat pieces, and let the kids and caregivers make hats however they wanted. This mostly open-ended activity is a hit at my library and the k20140211-130107.jpgids make some cool creations.

To create the hat, bend the strip of posterboard creating a band and staple the two ends together. Staple the two pipe cleaners on either side of the band, pointing up. Bend the top of the pipe cleaner over slightly to give more area for attaching a sticker. Decorate the band!


  • Strip of white posterboard 2″ wide (for kids the paper can be approx. 22″ long)
  • 1 pipe cleaner cut in half for antennae
  • lots of Valentine stickers, hearts, feathers, etc.
  • crayons and markers
  • craft glue for feathers and anything that isn’t a sticker
  • stapler to staple antennae (Kaboodle directions call for hot glue, but the stapler works fine. I used heart stickers to cover the staple.)

Credit: Kaboodle via Sunflower Storytime

Image Credits:
Pepo and Lolo are Friends Amazon
You Will be my Friend Junior Library Guild
Hug Time 32 Pages

Toddlers: Opposites

This storytime is a modified version of the preschool storytime I did on the same theme.

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 Song: Open, Shut Them
(follow actions)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Lay them in your lap
Creep them, creep them up to your chin
Open your mouth wide, but don’t put your fingers in!
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a big clap
Open, shut them
Lay them in your lap.

Action Rhyme: Once There Was a Snowman
Once there was a snowman, a snowman, a snowman
Once there was a snowman tall, tall, tall
In the sun he melted, he melted, he melted
In the sun he melted small, small, small.
But, (repeat)
Credit: Jbrary

Action Rhyme: Eyes open, Eyes closed
Wiggle your fingers, Wiggle your nose
Thumbs up, Thumbs down
Make a smile, Make a frown
Wiggle, clap, Wiggle, snap
Let your hands fly right to your lap.

Book: Itty Bitty by Cece Ball (Candlewick Press, 2009).ittybittycover

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!

Feltboard: Five Clean and Dirty Pigs
Five pigs so squeaky clean
Cleanest you’ve ever seen
Wanted to go outside and play
Oink! Oink!
One jumped into the mud
Landed with a big THUD! (make a big clap to some sound effect, if you want)
Then there were four clean squeaky pigs.
(repeat counting down)
One pig so squeaky clean
Cleanest you’ve ever seen
Wanted to go outside and play
Oink! Oink!
He jumped into the mud
Landed with a THUD
Then there were no more clean squeaky pigs

Action Song (with movement scarves): “Boogie Woogie Hand Jive” (Kids on the Move, 2000) by Merry Music Maker
We danced while the music played on my phone connected to a bluetooth speaker. With the toddlers I only used one song before our closing activity.

Closing Song: Ring Around the Rosie
Ring (or skip or hop, etc.) 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!

Preschool: Pigs

Oink! Oink!

I’ve been anxious to do this pig themed story time for awhile to see how all of the pieces would fit together. It all worked well for the most part. With four different story times this week, I was able to modify individual elements and the flexibility was perfect for the different audiences.  Here’s what I did:

pig booksOnce kids were settled, we talked about real pigs, both domesticated and wild, thanks to Tulip, the pig puppet, and the book Farm Animals Pigs, part of a series for younger readers that includes books about llamas, goats etc. It is a very approachable nonfiction title that helped us discover the names of mama pigs (sows), piglets, and daddy pigs (boars), fun facts about pig behavior and anatomy, and most importantly, why they like mud. In every group of kids, at least one or two asked me to read the whole book, so it’s highly recommended!

After our discussion I taught them the action rhyme To Market, To Market from SurLaLune giving everyone a chance to move around before we settled into some stories. I found the best way to teach this one to a group who hasn’t heard the rhyme before is to go through the whole thing once, emphasizing the rhyming words and accompanying actions (clapping and hopping), and then repeat it slowly with the kids. If they are willing a quicker version may be in order!

And then it was time for stories. To be honest, this story time was really about The Three Little Pigs, not just pigs. It’s a good story for both kids and parents, who will find it easy to retell by memory because of its sequence and malleability, if that can be applied to stories.  I read aloud Paul Galdone’s version, one of many classic tales he retold and illustrated before his death in 1986. This version includes the death of two pigs and the wolf, but the details aren’t gory.  I picked Galdone’s traditional retelling over the many modern variations because I have found preschool age kids don’t really get books like Emily Gravett’s Wolf Won’t Bite! (which I read afterwards in a couple of story times), Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, David Wiesner’s The Three Pigs, or even The Three Little Javelinas without a good understanding of the original. After this week, story time kids will appreciate these great stories!

Between books, I used the flannel board, my pig puppet, and the rhyme This Little Piggie Went to Market by Mother Goose to tell the story of Tulip, the pig. Building on our pig discussion, the story goes something like this:pig felts and puppet

Tulip, a farm pig (sow), had five piglets and lived in a barn. These piglets were acting wild, but not feral. These pigs ran around and made a huge mess so Tulip sent them out into the barnyard while she cleaned up the pen. The piglets went outside and wondered what to do. The first piglet decided to go find his friends at the market, the second piglet (piggie) thought it wasn’t safe to go without Mama, so he stayed home. The third piglet was hungry and needed a snack so she ate some roast beef, while the fourth piglet had none.  The fifth piglet got scared outside and wanted his mama, so he ran, wee wee wee, all the way home.

We repeated the story with our fingers (using the traditional rhyme). This went well in most of the story times since parents quickly caught on to what I was doing and the kids were entranced by the lovely and soft Tulip and the felt piglets. With the kindergarteners, who speak English as a second language, this story wasn’t familiar, but they loved the pigs anyway!

In each story time I read one of the other pictured pig books. I tried reading  a couple of different pig books, Olivia and the Fairy Princesses and Pig in a Barrow, in the first story time of the week, but they were not hits so I traded them in.  I’ve decided that Ian Falconer’s Olivia books are great for reading with one or two children, but they don’t work for me during story time.  If you’ve had better success, let me know!

pig activitiesAfter the books, I brought out The Three Little Pigs story basket, an idea I got from Sun Hats & Wellie Boots. What fun! We retold the story using rafia, large Popsicle sticks, Legos, for the three different houses and a set of Three Little Pigs finger puppets. After we worked on it together, and added different endings or events, I gave kids the chance to continue playing with the basket, make paper puppets to take home, or play with Legos. When I pulled out Legos for the basket, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to let kids use the rest of my stash!

pig paper puppetsThe puppet templates came from Making Learning Fun. The pig is on page 1 of the templates and the wolf is on page 2.

All of these activities help strengthen kids’ storytelling skills, language development, social skills, and comprehension while having fun!