Sunday, October 27, 2013

Preschool Story Time - Monster Playdate

I have toyed with this theme for some time.  Ever since last November when I made a little one cry with my troll voice in Three Billy Goats Gruff, I have been afraid to do anything remotely scary.  I think I finally found the right combination of books, songs, and finger plays that will delight the preschool set without making them uneasy.

The Monster's Monster by Patric McDonnell
Grump, Gloom and Doom, and Gripe build their own monster - but will he be what they expect?  This is a rather sweet book and great to show that monsters aren't all what they are made out to be.

Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer
What's there to do with a girl monster who doesn't quite fit in with the monster crowd?  Should she change to be more like her class to gain acceptance?  This is a story that says it's OK to be you!

After Halftime, we settled back down with a flannel board/finger play!

When I do these "5 Littles", I do them twice.  Once on fingers with hand movements, and once on the feltboard with felt pieces.  Where applicable, I give the kids some means to take the rhyme home to do with a parent- either putting it on my parent newsletter or finding a reproducible that has the figures to cut out and play with.

5 Little Monsters sleeping in my bed.
One crawled out from under the spread.
I called out to mama and my mama said:
'No more monsters sleeping in your bed!'

Continue with 4,3,2,1 and
No more monsters sleeping in my bed
None crawled out from under the spread
I called out to mama and my mama said:
"No more monsters, now go to bed!"

For more on my flannel board (and to find my template/coloring page) which was featured on a recent Flannel Friday post, and a link to this rhyme and more monster rhymes, Click HERE

There Was an Old Monster by Rebecca and Ed Emberly
A take on There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, this book is a great book to sing to!  I already do every possible version of the "Old Lady" in my story time, so the kids were excited to see what this old monster would be swallowing.  Make sure you practice a couple of times first, however, because the song takes a little detour from the traditional tune.  The ending will surprise everyone!

The Baby That Roared by Simon Puttock
Mr and Mrs Deer have a new baby!  But they can't seem to get the baby to settle down.  Who should they call to help?  This book had the kids laughing.  They really enjoyed it and I enjoyed watching them slowly 'getting' it.

And as a bonus and to close our session, we used Rebecca Emberly's book 'If You're a Monster and You Know It' as a fun movement song.  I made sure to have plenty of copies on hand to go home with the kids, but we just sang and danced this song A-Capella. 

And now for my craft!  Inspired by this blog called Alphamom, but using card stock instead of foam, I cut a pair of 'feet' for the kids to decorate with yarn (for hairy feet), markers and jewels (for a pedi).  They can be worn over the shoes or socks as monster feet!!  I used one card per foot for my demonstration, but for the kids I was able to use one card for both feet.

This was the biggest hit with all of the kids!  Make sure to have extra on hand.  The moms are sure to want extras for their kids at  home.  I was cleaned out!

Thanks for stopping by!  Monster Theme was a big hit with the kids because they learned that monsters didn't have to be scary - sometimes they were silly and fun!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Flannel Friday - 5 Little Monsters Sleeping in My Bed!

For my preschool story time this month, I decided on a not-so-scary monster theme.  Thanks to finding several sweet poems on Guybrarian's Blog, I was inspired to make these cute monsters:

5 Little Monsters Sleeping in My Bed!

5 little monsters sleeping in my bed.
One crawled out from under the spread.
I called out to Mama and my Mama said:
"No more Monsters Sleeping in your bed!"

Continue with 4,3,2,1, and

No more Monsters sleeping in my bed
None crawled out from under the spread
I called out to Mama and my Mama said:
"No more Monsters, now go to bed!!"

If you would like to see how I used this in Story Time - I have a Blog post about it!  Click HERE for more.

I made a template so the kids could take it home, color it, and retell the poem.  You can use my template below if you would like (but please only for personal use and credit this blog is all I ask in return), but they were just so easy to do by looking at samples of monster clip art.  Really, I just made the sausage looking one on paper and decided it was the right size, and drew out the rest, then drew them on felt with puffy paint and adding features later. There is NO right or wrong with drawing monsters, so GO FOR IT!  The bed is strips of brown with two knobs, and the blanket is a white blob to fit.  Easy peasy!

Thanks to Katie from for hosting Flannel Friday this week!  To learn more about Flannel Friday, Click HERE.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Preschool Story Time - Going Batty!

There are so many great theme possibilities in October.  Bats are one of those curious animals that kids hardly ever see or learn about, but are fun to see.

The Bat in the Boot - by Annie Cannon
Based on a true story, this book reveals some interesting facts about bats and how mom bats care for their young.  I do not love the illustrations, but it sparked a discussion about how the mommy bat takes care of her babies.  Many kids had cowboy boots on too - so that was fun to talk about.

Bat Jamboree - by Kathi Applet
Counting by bats has never been so fun!  Shake it!

We paused to do this 5 little bat song (to the tune of 6 little ducks) from which was a big hit with the kids and the moms.  We performed it with fingers so they could learn it and use the song at home, and when we got to 5 little bats came back, I let some of them put the bats back on the board.

5 little bats went on a flight
by the light of the moon one night
Mama bat said squeek squeek squeek squack
But only 4 little bats came back!

Continue with 4,3,2,1,none (and the 5 little bats come back)

**See more about my Halloween Felt Sets from a recent Flannel Friday Post.

Daft bat by Jeanne Willis
Take a look at the world as a bat sees it, and bats wont look so daft after all!  This one may have gotten away from the little ones.  It was funny for the moms and older kids, but some of  the three and four year olds didn't seem to get it.

5 Little Bats Flying in the Night - by Steve Metzer
Very short and sweet and a good closer to our bat story time!

Here is our craft this week! We had our volunteers paint 40 toilet paper rolls and cut out wings.  Fold the top of the roll to make ears, add eyes and feet and voila!  My craft sample is prepared pretty basically because I want the kids to express themselves, so we had other materials set out so the children could add any embellishments to the bats that they would like.

Seems like October is busier than ever.  It's a good thing that themes come naturally this month.  Next up is Monsters!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Toddler Story Time - Happy Birthday!

My birthday was this past weekend so I couldn't think of anything better than to celebrate with a birthday story time!

Books I read...

If You Give a Pig a Party By Laura Numeroff

Love these books!  If you give a pig a party, be prepared to buy more than just balloons!  The noise level in the room was a bit high during this story, so I hurried up through part of it.  But, many of kids enjoyed this silly tale.

Brownie and Pearl Step Out By Cynthia Rylant

This is the second time I have used this series of books during story time.  The illustrations are super cute and the stories are just the right length.  Brownie overcomes her shyness to have a great time at a party (Thanks to the help of her cat Pearl!). 

Where is Baby's Birthday Cake?  By Karen Katz

Thank goodness I picked a board book to end this story time!  We partied right up to the third book.  A longer book would not have worked.  I even had a special helper lift the flaps in the book for me! 

How it went...

The action rhyme A Birthday started this party off right.  (Thanks to Storytime Katie!  There are so many wonderful ideas on her blog!).  This great rhyme had us baking our birthday cake! 
A Birthday
Today is everyone's birthday
Let's make us a cake  (form cake with hands)
Mix and stir, stir and mix  (stir)
Then into the oven to bake  (push hands out)
Here's our cake so nice and round  (make a circle)
We frost it green and white  (spread frosting)
We put five candles on it  (hold up hand)
To make a birthday bright!

Another great birthday action rhyme is Make a Wish.  (Thanks Upper Arlington Public Library!)  This rhyme was nice and short for toddlers.  We did it a couple times.  I love to repeat the shorter rhymes.  They are able to be much more successful the second (or third) time.  And they really enjoyed blowing out their "candles"!
Make a Wish
Big birthday cake  (make huge circle with arms)
Ice cream in a dish  (cup hands)
Here are the candles  (wiggle fingers on one hand)
Now make a wish!  (blow and make fingers into a fist)

It was Mouse's birthday during Flannel Time this week.  What does a mouse want for her birthday?  Why cheese of course!  Check out the complete flannel story here!  
The last action rhyme of the morning was Five Birthday Candles.  (A birthday high five to Perry Public Library for another great idea!)  The little ones were already familiar with blowing out pretend candles so this went really well. 
Five Birthday Candles
Five birthday candles  (hold up five fingers)
Wish there were more
Blow one out  (blow quickly)
Then there are four
Four birthday candles
Pretty as can be
Blow one out  (blow quickly)
Then there are three
Three birthday candles
Mother bought them new
Blow one out  (blow quickly)
Then there are two
Two birthday candles
Birthday cakes are fun
Blow one out  (blow quickly)
Then there was one
One birthday candle
A birthday wish in fun
Blow it out  (blow slowly)
Then there are none
We finished story time with a lively rendition of If You're Happy and You Know It.  We went through a few different verses and blew out our "candles" one more time just for fun. 

This group was full of birthday energy! Maybe it was from blowing out so many candles?   It got a little loud here and there, but it is so much fun watching them enjoying themselves! 

Flannel Friday - Happy Birthday Mouse

This week's Flannel Friday was inspired by my recent birthday.  And I thought it would be fun to include my puppet Mouse in the celebration!  But, what does a mouse want for her birthday?  Cheese!

It's Mouse's birthday and her friends have brought her three presents!  Mouse really hopes she gets a wedge of cheese! 

Mouse's friends give her the first present.  "I wonder what's inside," thinks Mouse.  Hmmm..  This present is shaped like a triangle!  A wedge of cheese is shaped like a triangle.  Mouse is so excited!  She opens the present and it's...
A Birthday Hat!

Mouse's friends give her the second present.  "I wonder what's inside," thinks Mouse.  Hmmm..  This present is yellow!  A wedge of cheese is yellow.  Mouse is so excited!  She opens the present and it's...
A Yellow Balloon!
Mouse's friends give her the third present.  "I wonder what's inside," thinks Mouse.  Hmmm..  This present is shaped like a triangle, is yellow, and Mouse thinks she smells something a little bit smelly (Or delicious if you are a mouse!)!  A wedge of cheese is shaped like a triangle, is yellow, and a little bit smelly.  Mouse is so excited!  She opens the present and it's...
A Wedge of Cheese!
Just what Mouse wanted!  Happy Birthday Mouse!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Flannel Friday - Maisy, the Weather-Mouse

This summer I came across the book Maisy Goes Swimming by Lucy Cousins:

It's kind of an odd little book where you undress Maisy from her warm clothes and put on her bathing suit so she can go swimming.  I decided not to use it because it kind of weirded me out, but it gave me an idea.  What if I made a game out of dressing Maisy in weather-appropriate clothing?

This flannel doubles for winter and summer!  You would just ask the children which item is better for Maisy to wear.

Here's what I came up with:

Does Maisy need her bathing suit or her snow suit?

Should Maisy wear her sunglasses or her warm woolly hat?

Does Maisy want to cool off with an ice cream cone or warm up with some hot chocolate?

Will Maisy play with her beach ball or go sledding?

Here is Maisy all ready for Winter!

And here she is all ready for Summer!

I drew all of these items by hand, and outlined them with black fabric paint.

I could see this set being used in many ways - maybe you could make several Halloween costumes for Maisy and let the kids dress her up.  Once you've made the base, you could keep adding to her wardrobe as you come up with new ideas. 

I will definitely be using Maisy this coming winter!  This will make a nice game to play during story time!  Happy Flannel Friday!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bookworms Book Club - We Are in a Book!

Guess what? We, here at Library Village, actually do other programming besides story times!!

I started a book club for children in Kindergarten through 2nd grade last winter, and it has been a hit!  We are called the "Bookworms," and we've read some really fun stories such as:

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Hi! Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold

Some parents think I'm crazy when I hand them a picture book or beginning reader for the book club because they think the books are too easy.  I think it's important to note that I'm not trying to challenge their reading.  Instead, I'm teaching them how to be in a book club.  This means how to have a group discussion, where everyone gets a turn to talk, and how to analyze a book and find the right words to discuss it.  In this way, the children are building vocabulary and comprehension skills, as well as social skills.  We are also celebrating the joys of reading!

We took the summer off, so September was our first meeting for the school year.

September's Book: We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems
Gerald the Elephant and his best friend Piggie have many zany adventures together in this series.  In We Are in a Book!, they realize that a reader is reading them!  Can they make the reader say anything they want? And what happens when the book comes to an end??

Miss Kristie made us these fabulous name tags: 

We always start out reading the book aloud, story time style.  Since the children have already read it, this is a great way to have some discussion about the book as we read.  We talk about what we see in the artwork, what the characters' intentions are, why they have certain reactions, etc.  My goal is to go beyond reading comprehension, guiding the children in how to analyze a book and it's author.

I ask a lot of open-ended questions, asking about favorite characters, favorite parts of the story, and what they thought the author was trying to convey.  I don't want it to feel like school; just like a fun and relaxed conversation.

Here's one thing I thought was great, and showed how much they were thinking: the Elephant &Piggie Party Kit  (from Mo Willems' website) stated that Elephant is the serious one, and Piggie is the silly one.  When I asked the kids who they thought was the serious one, they all said Piggie!  I think this makes a lot of sense because to a young child, Piggie's dry sense of humor comes off quite serious, while Elephant's over-the-top reactions come off quite silly.

Next we did an Elephant & Piggie Mad Lib from the Party Kit.  I was afraid they wouldn't know what Mad Libs are or understand how to do it, but they did a great job!  We went around the group and every child gave a word, and then I read the story - it was hilarious!  We did it twice!

I had more activities planned, but we had such a great discussion that we were running out of time!  We moved on to the craft, paper bag puppets, which I found at Three Little Birds.  There wasn't a template, so I printed out her samples and recreated them.  Ours turned out pretty cute, and the kids had fun recreating the story with their puppets!

While they crafted, I couldn't resist showing them this awesome Elephant & Piggie Dance Game.  They thought it was hilarious!

How it went:

I was so pleased to have 9 children attend this book club!  They were very enthusiastic and had a great time.  I was worried they were too young for the Mad Libs, but they loved it, and I was worried they were too old for the paper bag puppets, but they loved those, too!  These kids always surprise me with how bright and creative they are! 

Can't wait til our October meeting!  We'll be reading The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Preschool Story Time - Pumpkin Patch

Themes abound in October.  This time I tackle pumpkins - fun stuff!  This was one where the kids absolutely surprised me with their interest level in some of the informational books over the picture books.

Delicious by Helen Cooper
All duck wants is pumpkin soup but there are none in the pumpkin patch!  How can his friends help him get a full belly?

Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller
How could I possibly describe my love for this new book!  Ok, it's not a pumpkin but its a beautifully done story of a girl and her love for the squash she picked out at the farmer's market and named Berniece.  This opened a discussion about how squash and pumpkins were similar.  I even brought in my own butternut squash to show.  The kids were fascinated!  Our Squash chat filled up quite some time!

Today's finger play was 5 Little Pumpkins:
Five Little Pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, "Oh my!  It's getting late!"
The second one said "There's a frost in the air."
The third one said "But we don't care."
The fourth one said "Let's run and run and run."
The fifth one said "I'm ready for some fun!"
Then oooooo went the wind and OUT went the light
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.

See my craft below that goes with this poem.

The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis
A funny rhyming story about an oversize pumpkin that escapes from it's field.  The family tries to corral it while dreaming of their granny's baked goods.

Pumpkin Circle by George Levinson
My non-fiction pick was really to show the life cycle of the pumpkin in pictures.  This book went over really well!  The kids enjoyed seeing what the pumpkins look like as a small tender plant all of the way through to pumpkin patch.  It was also a great Every Child Ready to Read lesson on informational books, and how they can be used to expand vocabulary and gain general knowledge.

Boo To You! by Lois Ehlert
I wasn't going to do this book but the kids all wanted one more.  It's short and has great illustrations, using pumpkin seeds and other gourds in the artwork so it was great for the topic. Maybe better for toddlers but we had just a few more minutes to share more great picture books!

My craft today was an extension to the "5 Little Pumpkins" finger play we did earlier.  The gate is just strips of brown paper.  The pumpkins were created by dipping pumpkin shaped sponges into orange paint and stamping them onto the paper.  Their finger print made the stem.  They could then color the rest of their picture if they chose.  I made little copies of the 5 little pumpkin poem for them to apply and recite at home.  I am not sure exactly where I found the poem, but it is from one of the many teacher resource websites online.

Because of limited space at the craft tables, and the messier craft this week, I decided to pull out duplos for free play, and I also made these "Mr. Pumpkin Head" felts for free exploration while the kids waited for a spot at the craft to open up.

Pumpkins don't make the most exciting theme, but the kids were really interested in learning about how they grow and what they look like before they see them at the store.  I will definitely be bringing in more 'show and tell' to story time.  YAY for non-fiction books!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Flannel Friday - Halloween Surprise!

Everyone at the library loves a great Halloween Story Time!  I have two flannel boards to share today!  To see the story time post that uses these flannel boards, click HERE.

I wrote a BRAND NEW POEM, and designed brand new felts based on my experience with my son at a young age, who was very afraid of anyone in costume.  I thought there may be other preschool children who also need a reminder that 'it's just a costume' at this time of year.

That's a Costume - by Miss Sue

Over there I see a ghost!  My, oh my, a scary ghost!!

Mom says "No, it’s all OK.  That’s a costume! Take it away-

And you’ll see it’s your good friend sheep!

Out on Halloween night!

When you get to the part of the poem that says "Take it away", you remove the costume to reveal the cute recognizable animal underneath!  I chose animals so the children could shout out what the animal is at the reveal (if it were felts of children, the kids wouldn't know what to say).  I hope to get the kids to chant along with me.

Repeat the poem 4 more times, inserting these characters and animals into the rhyme:

Bat - Cat
Vampire - Pig
Monster - Cow
Skeleton - Dog

Here are close ups of each of the animals and their costumes:

The artwork is my daughter, Sarah's.  She is a great partner.  My job is to try to make the felts look like her adorable drawings. (I tried!)  The poem is mine.  If you would like to use it, please do so for personal use only and credit this blog.

Also here are my BATS!  This month I'll doing a bat themed story time, but these could be used at Halloween too.  And they are so cute!  The bats are hand drawn from a coloring page.

The idea is to use these felts with this poem from I think it would work really well sung to the tune of the Six Little Ducks!

5 Little Bats(to the tune of 6 little ducks)

5 little bats went on a flight
by the light of the moon one night
Mama bat said squeak squeak squeak swack!
but only 4 little bats came back.

Repeat for 4,3,2,1

No little bats went on a flight
by the light of the moon one night
Mama bat said squeak squeak squeak swack!
and 5 little bats came flying back!

Thanks for visiting our blog.  Also thanks to Kay for hosting this week's Flannel Friday!  You can find her blog at: