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.
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!
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
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
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.
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.