Toddlers: Snow

Today’s storytime was wishful thinking… It is actually warmer than yesterday when the preschoolers explored the snow storytime! These poor toddlers. Winter is late in coming here in Southcentral Alaska and the toddlers aren’t snow experienced enough to know what fun lies ahead. We faked it and talked more about cold weather and rain than snow. But, really when is the snow coming? After all, we don’t live in Seattle…

Welcome: 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?

Fingerplay: 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 in to bed.

Winter Hokey Pokey
You put your mittens in, you take your mittens out. (hands in circle)
You put your mittens in, and shake them all about.
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around,
That’s what it’s all about!
…boots (foot in circle), hat (head in circle), coat (whole self)…

Fingerplay: Mitten Weather
Thumbs in the thumb place, (thumbs out)
Fingers all together.  (fingers up all together with thumbs hidden)
This is the song we sing in mitten weather.

Book: Jingle Jingle by Nicola Smee (Boxer Books, 2008)
Smee’s two books featuring horse, cat, dog, pig and duck are toddler pleasers. This one’s cover is deceiving. It is not a Christmas book, but includes some great sound effects and snow.

Movement: Bubbles! (we pretended the bubbles were snowflakes and rain drops)
1 little 2 little 3 little bubbles
4 little, 5 little, 6 little bubbles
7 little 8 little, 9 little bubbles
10 little bubbles go pop, pop, pop.

Flannelboard: I Made a Little Snowman (adapted)
I made a friendly snowman,
I made him big and round.
I made him from a snowball,
I rolled upon the ground.
He has two eyes, a nose, a mouth,
A lovely scarf of red.
He even has some buttons,
And a hat upon his head.

20131114-153754.jpgI have 15-25 toddlers each week these days and I let whoever wants to help me tell flannelboard stories hold felt pieces. The toddlers who helped today insisted that the snowballs sit next to each other at the beginning and then they were moved on top of one another to build the snowman. This is how it ended up. Nice job, don’t you think?

This week, several kids did help or watch, but the other kids couldn’t see or lost interest and wandered off.To bring everyone back to the group, I passed out the rhythm sticks I had on hand. I made them out of dowels so they are lightweight, replacements are easy to make, and they are fairly indestructible.

Action Song: Clickety Clack (with rhythm sticks)
Clickety, Clickety Clack
Clickety, Clickety Clack
Click Clack, Click Clack
Clickety Clickety Clack.

Action Song: Snow (or rain) is Falling (with rhythm sticks)
Snow is falling, falling down; Snow is falling hit the ground. (Move sticks up and down, tapping a simple beat)
Flurries, flurries (repeat with a slow beat, slowly said)
Snowing, snowing (repeat with a faster beat)
Blizzard (Repeat, tapping loudly and with a very fast beat. I like to get kids tapping on the floor for this one.)

Action Song: Ring Around the Rosie (group forms a circle)
Ring (or skip or hop, etc.) around the rosie (move as a group to the left or right)
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down! (squat down on ground)

The cows are in the meadow (slap hands on floor while staying down on the ground)
Eating buttercups
Thunder, lightning,
We all jump up! (jump up)

Goodbye: Tickle the Clouds
Tickle the Clouds.  Tickle Your Toes.
Turn Around,
And Tickle Your Nose! Reach down low. Reach up High.
Storytime’s over, wave goodbye!

Play: Stacking Blocks like Mega Bloks: First Builders

Preschool: Rhythm and Sounds

This week’s story hour was all about rhythm! I regularly talk with families about the role music, and singing, can play in literacy- it helps kids hear the rhythm (cadence) in language and slows down are speaking so they hear more sounds.  And it’s fun to sing, dance and make music! So, I am a big fan of books that incorporate fun sounds and rhythm into the story. A couple of kids are particularly big fans of any music or sound activities we do, so this story time theme is dedicated to them!

Rhythm books

We started story time at each location with Storytime Katie’s version of Rafi’s Shake Your Sillies Out using shakers. I was inspired after arranging an upcoming summer visit to our library by the musician Andy Mason, who also does a great version. We shook, jumped, stretched, clapped, and stretched some more to get rid of the late January blahs. These kids love to sing, wiggle, and dance! Since only a few kids had arrived at this point I then read Giraffes Can’t Dance to give the others a chance to arrive and get settled.

From there we moved on to more music and movement!  In one of the outreach programs we use a room with a linoleum floor (vs. the carpeted floor at the library) so the sounds we created were fun and different.  We used the the rhythm sticks I made out of dowels to make quite a ruckus banging on the floor, metal chair legs, mats, other rhythm sticks, shakers, books, you name it! After the free form music making we made sounds together with this song I found at Read Sing Play. I read a suggestion somewhere along the way that is helpful with the rhythm sticks- have the kids rest the sticks on their shoulders between trying out the sticks on their own and playing this song. It is a great tool for focusing the kids’ attention.

This is the way we tap our sticks, tap our sticks, tap our sticks
This is the way we tap our sticks so early in the morning!
This is the way we rub our sticks, rub our sticks, rub our sticks
This is the way we rub our sticks so early in the morning!
This is the way we tap our knees, tap our knees, tap our knees
This is the way we tap our knees so early in the morning!

And I added:
This is the way we bang on the floor, bang on the floor, bang on the floor
This is the way we bang on the floor so early in the morning.

The additional verse lets us do what we really want to do, bang on the floor, in addition to making the softer sounds called for in the earlier verses.

We have also used this rhyme with the sticks. It’s a favorite in snow country.

Snow is falling, falling down; Snow is falling hit the ground. (Move hands down, wiggling fingers like snowflakes)
Flurries, flurries (slow beat, slowly said)
Snowing, snowing (faster)
Blizzard (Loud and very fast)
Perpetual School

I continued on with books and read This Jazz Man, Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes, and Dancing Feet. With each page, we were predicting, counting, identifying colors, interpreting illustrations, naming animals, and learning about jazz and music. The great questions kept on coming!BINGO

Just before we moved on to the craft for this week, I brought out the flannel board. The kids got quiet as soon as they saw the blank, black rectangle appear. I placed five felt letters on the board, spelling BINGO, and kids immediately began to identify letters. “The letter this week must be B!” a little one proclaimed. I got this idea from the Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy site.

After pointing out each letter as I said it’s name, it was time for a song. Most kids know the BINGO song, so they caught on quickly. As each letter is “removed” in the song’s lyrics, the felt letter is turned over. Instead of clapping, in this version we barked in place of the turned over letter. ( didn’t get a chance to put a dog image on the back as was recommended, but that would be cute.)

The song with the BINGO letters worked very well and I found that more kids, particularly the youngest ones, were able to keep the rhythm going when they barked vs. clapping. It can be tough without well-developed fine motor skills. By the time we got to barking for “N,” there were smiles all around and everyone had it figured out.

To round out the morning, we created fun music makers for the budding performers to take home. These were constructed by 2-5 year olds, so they are simple and can be made with limited adult support. My sample is so boring compared with the kids’ which were featured multicolored rays of streamers, an abundance of giraffe and elephant stickers, and crayon colored patterns!  The story time’s grand finale was an orchestra of paper plate shakers!Shaker

This craft was made with materials I already had at the library:

1 paper plate folded
dried rice, beans, or grain to go inside once the plate is folded
staples and glue to make a tight seal around the edge
crayons or markers for coloring the plate
stickers for decorating the sides
dots of glue on one edge for the paper streamers

Do you know of another easy to make instrument for story time? Let me know!