Saturday, August 17, 2013

Preschool Story Time - Wheels on the (School) Bus!

It's almost back to school here in Ohio, and it is my last story time before that happens!  Ill be losing all of the summer visitors, folks moving, and kids starting preschool or kindergarten next week.  It makes me sad to think some of my favorites will be leaving me, but hopeful that great new families will discover us soon.  I will miss them so much!

In the spirit of new beginnings, it was a chance to do a back to school theme.  There are so many back to school books.  I did a record FIVE of them today!

The Plan of What We Did: 

I'm Your Bus by Marilyn Singer

This is a great pick for new preschoolers or kindergarteners.  The text is simple and rhythmic.  Normally I would do a longer book first, but the pages are big and bold and really capture the attention of the kids.  

Pete the Cat - Rockin' in My School Shoes - by Eric Litwin

Pete the Cat ALWAYS does well in story time!  If you have never done one of Eric Litwin's books, please give them a try.  You can find great resources on Pete's website to print too! I go onto the website and listen to the songs (which are very easy to pick up) and read/sing this book to my kids.  By the first page they are 'reading' and singing with me.  

Lately I have been working on my "Versatile Pete" flannel boards.  There are an abundance of sites that use Pete in some form in felt.  Story Time Katie, MissMaryLiberry, Pinterest, Ebay among others are where I got the idea to make Versatile Pete for our library, so we can ALL use it.  You can see here in this photo, most of the pieces would work for I Love My White Shoes.  Take away the shoes and add the coat for 4 Groovy Buttons.  Take away the coat, add red shoes from the other set, add the guitar and you have Rockin' in My School Shoes.  I got the template for Pete and his coat at Making learning fun ( and did the rest by hand.

Look more closely to see how I make the guitar work.   
This Pete has an upper torso overlay, which you can probably see in this closer photo.  It's from his neck to the guitar, with the arms and guitar attached to it.  It serves a dual purpose.  Pete can play his guitar and look like he is standing on his hind paws, and the guitar covers his belly button used in the Groovy Buttons book. Rockin' Pete wasn't quite ready, because I hadn't added a backpack or accessories, but I used him to sit on my flannel board while I read the story.   Pete and his guitar also show up in a later book, by the way!

At this point, we were ready for HALFTIME!  I know, it was a rather early halftime, but I had so much I wanted to do after halftime, I thought I would get it out of the way!  That never happens!  I am usually exhausted by halftime!  (See my Preschool Story Time Tab for more about my Halftime)

I pulled out a couple of rhymes at this point for the kids.  One was called the Safety Poem which I found on I used the opportunity to talk about street safety.  I also used hand motions with this poem.

Safety Poem
Stop, Look, and Listen
Before you cross the street.
Use your eyes, Use your ears,
and THEN you use your feet!

The second finger play I found at DLTK Crafts. 

Back to School
Two little houses all closed up tight.  (make fists)
Open up the window and let in some light (open fists)
Ten little finger people tall and straight (show ten fingers)
Ready for school at half past eight! (Walk with fingers)

Then we got back to the business of reading and singing!

I'm Not Ready - Jonathan Allen

While not a bus book, Jonathan Allen's books are ALWAYS another hit in Story Time, and this one works with the back to school theme.  Lots of kids were laughing at this book. You have to use voices though!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books - Lucille Colandro

This is the first of the "Old Lady" books that I didn't do in Flannel.  I had spent so much time recently on other projects, and wasn't sure I would use this book, so flannels never happened.  This would be a very easy one to do in flannel however, so I might get back to it.  Meanwhile, my kids love the Old Lady books.  I usually do one a month SOMEhow.  The kids think it is funny to see what she swallows and how wrong the whole idea of swallowing insane things is! As a side note, some of Colandro's books don't read as smoothly as the original tune (this is one), as she really tries to make the right items fit into the formula.  You might get to the end and really can't sing it anymore.  Keep in mind that the kids are just enjoying the Old Lady swallowing crazy things, and are waiting to see the punch line at the end....just go with it.

Pete the Cat- The Wheels on the Bus - James Dean

Talk about a wildcard book PLUS one!!!  This was our fifth book of the day!  This one is brand new!  It just came out in June of 2013.  Now, how can you NOT do this song in story time for a back to school theme?  Pete was still on my flannel board when we rocked out to Wheels on the Bus, Pete the Cat style.  I sang it A Cappella which is my normal.  Lots of fun additions in this book.  The kids really enjoyed it.  Even with five books, the kids on the carpet (babies and toddlers excluded!) sat intently the entire time. 

Our hand stamp was a school bus, of course, and this was our craft:

This is simply die cut busses on blue paper, decorated any way they would like.  Again, in the summer, we tend to do crafts that the kids can grab and go because our numbers are normally up.  I do have supplies on hand for those who would like to stay.  I also provide paper and crayons for free expression.  My bulletin board is now a gallery which I provide for any child who draws me a picture.  They can keep it on my board for one month of story times.

Finally, check this out!  One of my preschooler's mom's made me this WONDERFUL scarf to go with my glasses, and my story time theme!  It is a bus scarf!  She is the best!


  1. I love your Pete the Cat overlay. That is a great way to do it!

    1. Thank you! I like to make flannels I can use in multiple story times!