Saturday, February 28, 2015

Preschool Story Time - Easter Bunnies

It's hard to imagine that Spring will come, but it will.  We have had two very cold winters in a row here in Ohio and as I type this, the snow is softly falling.  But I wanted to make sure I blogged my Easter story time for all those who are preparing for Easter in their communities.  I have to be fair and state that this Easter story time does not have very much to do with religion, and that is so it can be inclusive. You will see a lot of bunnies, chocolate, and bonnets, (as anyone would see in the stores) but I stayed away from any religious overtones.

Max Counts His Chicks - Rosemary Wells
A counting book, and a book with a moral all rolled into one!  How would you feel if Ruby kept finding all of the chickens?  Have fun counting up to 10 and back again!

Jelly Bean Countdown- Poem and Felt

So I found this great lesson plan on 123 Learn Curriculum (Click HERE for the entire lesson and templates).  It suggested I use real jelly beans or flannel ones.  I chose flannel simply because some kids have allergies to the dyes in jelly beans and I thought this way there would be no hurt feelings.

5 little jelly beans
I wish I had more!
I'll eat the (color) one
Now there are four!
4 little jelly beans
Tasty as can be
I'll eat the (color) one
Now there are 3!
3 little jelly beans
Only a few.
I'll eat the (color) one
Now there are 2.
2 little jelly beans
Eating them is fun
I'll eat the (color) one
Now there is one.
1 little jelly bean
The last one for me
I'll eat the (color) one
I'm as happy as can be!

Easter Parade - Berlin
Most of you may never had an Easter Bonnet, or walked in an Easter Parade.  It seems like its a pastime of yore.  I had an Easter Bonnet as a child though, and I remember learning and singing this song every year.  If you know the song, why not teach it to another generation?  I promise you that you will get a lot of blank stares, but the grandmas in the room will think it's great.  So go ahead!  Just make sure you know how to pronounce rotogravure before you get to that part of the song!

Easter Parade:
In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.  I’ll be all in clover, and when the look you over, Ill be the proudest fella in the Easter Parade.
On the avenue, 5th Avenue, the photographer will snap us, and you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.  Oh I could write a sonnet, about your Easter Bonnet, and of the girl I’m taking to the Easter Parade.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Chick - Lucille Colandro
Because I really enjoy all of the "Old Lady" books, I especially like to sing and immortalize these books in felt.  The kids love the silliness and love to let me know when she is eating something that is ridiculous.  Here is my felt set.  I like to let the kids put the items in or near the basket.  The artwork  is directly out of the book.

Time for a DANCE!   Here is The Bunny Pokey
You put your bunny ears in, you put your bunny ears out, you put your bunny ears in and you  shake them all about.  You do the bunny pokey and you hop, hop up and down.  That’s what it’s all about!
Continue with:
Bunny paws
Bunny nose
Bunny Tail
Whole Bunny

Easter Bunny's Assistant - Jan Thomas
This book cracks me up!  I love all of Jan Thomas' books.  You will learn which of your kiddos have that preschool-humor down as the skunk...well, skunks up the place when he gets SO EXCITED!!  Use your big voices for this hilarious book!

STEM activity - Shaker Eggs
This was GREAT fun.  What happens when I put beans in the eggs and shake them up?  What if I put in pennies.  Does it sound the same?  How about rice or marbles or feathers?  We tried a few things to see what they would sound like, then I let the kids fill eggs with what they wanted.  Together we used the shaker eggs to shake our sillies out in song and dance.

Since doing this particular story time, I have done more with bunnies.  Actually, I have done another Easter story time too.  Click HERE for more resources for Easter.  The felt set above is simply a fun bunny story that has the kids saying "OH NO NOT AGAIN!" It is called Too Many Bunnies by Matt Novak and you can CLICK HERE for more on this felt set....including the entire story in case you don't have the book on hand.

Craft - Bunny Collage
Look at how cute!!  These bunnies are made by swirling a little white paint with a Q-Tip, and then using Q-tips for ears.  Simple and fun for the kids!

I hope this helps while putting together some of your trickier holiday story time themes!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Preschool and Toddler Dance Party!

The Library Village decided to dance away our winter blues recently with a Preschool and Toddler Dance Party!  Forty little ones joined us for an hour of dancing and fun!  Can someone say bubble machine?  Oh yes.  We had one of those too. 

We decided to use all prerecorded music for our dance party.  This way we could burn all of the songs to one cd and not have to fumble around between songs.  (By the way, this worked great because we were able to keep the little ones attention throughout the entire program)  We also knew we wanted to use instruments and other fun props so we grouped songs based on the prop with a sprinkling of free dancing in between.  This really helped keep the program moving and allowed us the opportunity to pass out and collect the various props. 

The dance party was divided into two sections, each thirty minutes long.  The first thirty minutes we all danced together to our playlist.  The kids loved all the songs (with the exception of The Fox song.. What!?)  And the ending?  It was magical.  We watched all the little ones sing their hearts out to Let It Go while throwing their scarves into the air.  Wow. 

After all that dancing, we slowed it down for the second half.  We supplied a small snack and juice box to our tiny dancers and offered them the opportunity to make a craft.  We chose paper cup maracas.  They were super simple to make.  Take two paper cups (we had different colored paper cups), fill with some macaroni, and tape together with decorative duct tape.  We also had stickers to add more pizzazz.  Remember I mentioned a bubble machine?  It was the hit of the party!  Poor Miss Kristen was surrounded by little ones, holding the bubble machine, until the cd finally ended.

After it was all over, we really couldn't think of how it could've gone any better!  And that is an awesome feeling to have after a program! We are already planning another for in the summer! 

The Playlist:

Clap Your Hands - cd: They Might Be Giants - No!
Shake Your Sillies Out - cd: Raffi - More Singable songs
The Milkshake Song - cd: Songs for Wiggleworms (shakers)
Sugar Ant - cd: Caspar Babypants - Hot Dog! (shakers)
The Freeze - cd: Greg and Steve - Kids in Motion
Bean Bag Rock - cd: Bean Bag Activities and Coordination Skills (bean bags)
Hot Dog! - cd: They Might Be Giants - Here Come the 123s (bean bags)
The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?) - cd: Ylvis
We are the Dinosaurs - cd: The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band (marching)
List of Dances - cd: Jim Gill Makes It Noisy in Boise, Idaho
Thanks A Lot - cd: Raffi - baby Beluga (rainbow scarves)
Let It Go - cd: Frozen Deluxe Edition Soundtrack (rainbow scarves)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Baby Story Time - Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day was all about hugs and kisses at Baby Story Time! Spending the morning with these little sweeties is the best Valentine's Day gift of them all!

OPENING SONG: "The Hello Song" *

GREETING SONG: "Hello" (Name Song) *

WAKE-UP RHYME: "Up, Up, Up!"
Up, up, up in the sky likes this!
     (lift baby up)
Down, down, down for a great big kiss!
     (lower baby and give a kiss)
Up likes this,
     (lift once more)
Down for a kiss,
     (down once more)
You're my special baby!
     (give baby a big hug!)

1st Book: Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli
I love the silly baby who stars in all of Patricelli's board books - in this one he gives all different kinds of hugs and kisses.
FLANNEL BOARD SONG: "Five Little Valentines" (Sung to the tune of "Five Little Ducks")
(I adapted this from a song I found on Mel's Desk about five little cookies.)
Down around the corner at the Valentine shop
Were five little hearts with polka dots.
Along came Mommy with a nickel to pay
And she bought a Valentine and took it away.
 (Remove one heart from board, count how many are left, and keep counting down!)
LAP BOUNCE RHYME: "Acka Backa" (from Baby Rhyming Time by Linda Ernst)
Acka backa soda cracker, acka backa boo!
     (bounce baby)
Acka backa soda cracker, I love you!
     (bounce baby, then give a hug)

Acka backa soda cracker, acka backa boo!
     (bounce baby)
Acka backa soda cracker, UP goes you!
     (bounce baby, then lift in the air)

Acka backa soda cracker, acka backa boo!
     (bounce baby)
Acka backa soda cracker, I love you!
     (bounce baby, then give a hug)
2nd Book: I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rosetti-Shustak
This sweet and simple book reminds us of all the ways we love our little ones!
One I love you, two I love you, three I love you so!
     (Bounce baby)
Four I love you, five I love you, rock you to and fro!
     (Rock baby side to side)
Six I love you, seven I love you, eight you love me too!
     (Bounce baby)
Nine I love you, ten I love you, my bouncing buckaroo!
     (bounce really quickly!)
ACTION SONG: "Baby Hop" (to the tune of "The Bunny Hop" from the cd Diaper Gym)
(This song is a little corny but oh so cute! It's also really easy to follow the directions!)
Snuggle up together, baby's in your lap,
Snuggle up together, and clap, clap, clap.
Snuggle up together, don't you nap!
Snuggle up together, and tap, tap, tap.
You're working out together, baby don't stop,
You're working out together, so hop, hop, hop.
Snuggle up together, baby's in your lap,
Snuggle up together, and clap, clap, clap.
Snuggle up together, don't you nap!
Snuggle up together, and tap, tap, tap.
Now our song is over, get ready to stop.
Now our song is over, so hop, hop, hop!

3rd Book: Kisses by Barney Saltzberg

You can play the recording of the author singing this sweet lullaby, or just listen to it a few times and sing it yourself! This book has pull-out surprises on every page - it's a favorite of mine!
CLOSING SONG: "If You're Happy and You Know It" *
GOODBYE SONG: "Babies, Bye-Bye" *

CLOSING RHYME: "Thank You" *

*Check out my Baby Story Time page for the words to all of my weekly songs and rhymes.

We kept it simple this week without any instruments, but such a sweet and cuddly story time it was! Hope you had a Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Preschool Story Time - Classic Tales & Storytelling Techniques

Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and Fables are fantastic fodder for story time from preschool through early school age kids.  This is because they have been told, retold, modified and embellished for generations.  Most kids know the big ones - Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, and maybe even Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  They have their own ideas of how they 'should' be told and are quite outspoken if you do not tell it the way they are used to.  For me, that makes it fun!  There are so many fractured fairy tales now that one could do an entire lesson on them.  My "In the Bag" story time for school age visitors is on fractured fairy tales and the kids love it.  For this edition, I took classic folk tales and told them using three different techniques for story telling.  This took more planning than most story times, but it was worth the effort!

** Note that for this story time, I had loads of different versions of these books on display for check out.  There are so many different versions, so I suggest you finding your favorites - whether told by using the picture book, in felt, or by heart - because your love of what you are doing is what will shine through.

The Three Little Pigs - Told as a felt story.
One of my first and most favorite sets, I believe this is one that every story teller needs to have in their collection.  Click HERE for more on this felt set.
This was great fun to tell with felt.  Now, a little disclaimer that I had decided that 'no one in Miss Sue's story times dies'....after I had one little heckler telling me that I wasn't telling the story right.  So in the end, my wolf just ran away screaming with the pigs safely giggling at home.  A couple parents appreciated the comical ending, but it was really funny to see how far that little heckler would take her opinions on how the story should go!

Action Rhyme - Everyone stand up for squats!!  OK, I am kidding, but we did do this chant a few times going faster and faster and faster - what a workout!

The Grand Old Duke of York
The Grand old duke of York (march)
Had ten thousand men. (show 10 fingers)
He marched them up the hill (march)
And he marched them down again.
And when they’re up, they’re up. (Stand Up on tiptoe)
And when they’re down, they’re down. (crouch way down)
When they are only half way up,  (crouch) they’re neither up (stand) nor down! (sit)

The Little Red Hen - Told via picture book.
I do love the story of the Little Red Hen!  The thing about these classic tales is, once you start telling them, you can almost hear your own mom or dad and how they read it to you.  It all comes back to you, and it did for me as I read "Not I!!"  After the first round of the animals turning down the Red Hen, the kids had caught on and shouted "Not I!" with me.  So fun!

Nursery Rhymes work well in this kind of story time.  Some people don't like them.  I do for a couple of reasons.  One is they are familiar and repetitive.  Children are learning language through patterns at this age and latch on to nursery rhymes for this reason.  Another reason is that preschoolers are learning unfamiliar words through rhyme.  They are opening up their vocabularies. You are introducing words they may not get in normal conversation and that is a very good thing.   Finally preschoolers are developing their little egos are feel very proud and excited when they recognize a rhyme and can repeat it back.  They think "whoa!  I got this!" and that is a cool thing to see on their faces.

With that in mind, here are some of Library Village's resources for Nursery Rhymes.
Our FELT sets are HERE for the SHEEP Rhymes, and HERE for Kristie's HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE set.  Then you can click HERE for a bunch of blog posts on various uses for Nursery Rhymes.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff - Told orally, using large cutouts
This was where the bulk of my prep-time went.  I created a bulletin board behind me to look just like the illustrations in this book.  I had the fields, the goats, the bridge and the troll in larger-than-life format behind me as I proceeded through story time.  For our finale, I pulled out all of my best story telling techniques and told this story off-book.  This was one of my own kids' favorites, so after reading it so many times to them I had it down.

Another disclaimer - I think I must be really good at troll voices, because I scared the pants off some of the more sensitive kids.  I toned it down and kept the troll hidden for a lot of the story.  I also stopped and whispered to the little fella "I'll tell you a secret - the goats win in the end!"  Lesson learned as I think this one in full voice might be better for the older preschool crowd, or at least to get to know my audience better before pulling out the scarier stories!

Here is what my bulletin board and story time area looked like that day:
You can see my 3 Little Pigs felt set, my Good Morning Weather felts (which later became my Weather Bear), and the bulletin board.  The Troll is hiding in my bin.  On my cart, I had my Big Fat Hen puppet for more nursery rhyme run.

And here is a closeup of the 3 Goats.  The artwork is right out of the book.

Craft - 3 Billy Goats Gruff puppets
If you may have noticed, I am a huge fan of story re-telling. I give out a parent newsletter with our rhymes and books, I have many books on display, and many of the crafts I select are designed so the child can go home and retell the story to their siblings or stuffed animals.  We do a lot of puppets in story time - here is my goat puppet!  Simply a white bag, goat head cut outs, snipped yarn, and markers make this craft.

No matter how you tell stories - through felt sets, via picture book, orally, with puppets, or through song, story times need to come from the heart...YOUR HEART.  I enjoy telling stories through lots of techniques, and I hope my love of story telling shines through to my preschool kids and their families.  I hope you enjoyed this story time.  This was the one my boss attended for my performance review and I am happy to report that she was as pleased with the results as I was.  Thanks for stopping by!!