Tag Archives: theme

Eeeek! A Mouse Storytime

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I like mice in storytime. I love mice in storytime. I have a mouse (Folkmanis) in storytime. I don’t want them in my cupboards.

I think mice
Are rather nice.
Their tails are long,
Their faces small,
They haven’t any
Chins at all.
Their ears are pink,
Their teeth are white.
They run about the house at night
They nibble things they shouldn’t touch,
And no one seems to like them much
But I think mice are nice.
— Rose Fyleman

Books:

Mice (Fyleman)

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This book is a combination of Fyleman’s poem (see above) and Lois Ehlert’s brilliant collage illustrations. I mean, take a look at those precious teeth and their little yarn appendages! The black page backgrounds really allow the mice to pop right off the page. This short book is suitable for Toddlers and Preschoolers and I usually present it right after reciting the poem so the kids get the repetition and the visual cues.

 

Mouse Count (Walsh)

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Another short text book good for both Toddlers and Preschoolers. The mice are out playing when a snake spies them. He captures them one by one and puts them in a jar. But the snake’s greed is his undoing and when he goes back for just one more mouse, the mice band together and make their escape. Although the snake has the potential to be scary, the fact that the mice outwit him saves the day. Walsh’s illustrations are charming, as always. The kids can practice counting as the mice go in and out of the jar.

 

Lunch (Fleming)

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I love this book. The pictures are great and the test is simple enough that you can make it fit any audience. You can read it straight through just noticing the illustrations or you can stretch it with lots dialogic interaction.

I have a beautiful flannel recreation of this book that I love to use. I mentioned it in more detail in Food Storytime. Giving the kids another avenue to enjoy the book makes new connections in the brain.

Denise Fleming's Lunch!

Denise Fleming’s Lunch!

 

Mouse Mess (Riley)

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This rhyming text takes you through a mouse’s nighttime adventure in one family’s kitchen. Once the family goes up the stairs, Mouse gets the run of the kitchen opening pickles and crackers and spilling milk and jam. The kids get the biggest laugh when the mouse soaks in a bubbly bath in a tea cup. Well, you would too if you had peanut butter and jam between your toes!

The illustrations are big and bright. I especially like the jar of olives. This title is good for Toddlers and Preschoolers and fits themes about mice, food, and making messes!

 

Whose Mouse are You? (Kraus)

This sweet little mouse is facing some hard truths – his mother is inside the cat, his father is caught in a trap, his sister is far from home, and he doesn’t even have a brother! But when the narrator asks, “What will you do?” the little mouse takes matters into his own hands. As he rescues his parents and brings his family back together, he wishes for a baby brother. Preschoolers will especially relate to the message of empowerment. That little mouse saved everyone!

Read this book for mice and family.

 

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear (Wood)

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Although you never actually see the bear in this story – most kids think you do. I go into more detail in my Can you bear it?  Bear Storytime post but basically this story is charming and funny and gives you the opportunity to say, “THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR” loudly because it is in caps.

 

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Standing

Boing! Boing! Squeak!
by Jack Prelutsky- New Kid on the Block

Boing! Boing! Squeak! Boing! Boing! Squeak!
A bouncing mouse is in my house,
It’s been there for a week.
It bounced from out of nowhere,
Then quickly settled in.
I’m grateful that it came alone,
I’ve heard it has a twin.
It bounces in the kitchen,
It bounces in the den,
It bounces through the living room —
Look! There it goes again.

Boing! Boing! Squeak! Boing! Boing! Squeak!
A bouncing mouse is in my house,
It’s been there for a week.
It bounces on the sofa,
On the table and the bed,
Up the stairs and on the chairs
And even on my head.
That mouse continues bouncing,
Every minute of the day,
It bounces, bounces, bounces,
But it doesn’t bounce away.

Boing! Boing! Squeak! Boing! Boing! Squeak!
A bouncing mouse is in my house,
it’s been there for a week.

Have the kids bounce with you on boing! boing! or recite the poem with a mouse puppet. If you are using this one at Baby Time, bounce the baby and give a little squeeze on “Squeak!”

Songs

10 Little Mice

1 little, 2 little, 3 little mice
4 little, 5 little, 6 little mice
7 little, 8 little, 9 little mice, 10 little mice go squeak squeak squeak!

Fingerplays

Pussycat Pussycat

Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under a chair.

Recite this one with a cat puppet and be sure to look under your chair like you are worried about that mouse!

Craft

Hickory Dickory Dock

This craft is a little more ambitious. You start with  paper plates, minute hands, hour hands, fasteners, triangles, circles, and yarn cut to size. If you are working with littles, someone will probably need to help write the numbers on the clock. The kids will be able to glue the ears and the tiny nose on the mouse triangle themselves. They will also enjoy putting the thread through the holes in the plate and gluing the mouse’s tail. But the real fun comes after it is all pieced together. Place the clock around the neck and have it hang down on the chest (much like Flavor Flav) then use the mouse to climb up and run down the clock as each hour strikes.

hickory dickory dock

If you are feeling it is too much, just make the little triangle mice with long yarn tails. The kids can keep them in their pockets and have a friend along for the ride all day.

These are the bits of fabulous that I picked for the theme this time

 

Toddler lineup:

Poem
Mice (Fyleman)
stretch
ABCs song
Mouse Mess (Riley)
10 Little Mice
The Little Mouse, the Red, Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear (Wood)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:
Poem
The Little Mouse, the Red, Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear (Wood)
stretch
ABCs
Lunch (Fleming)
Lunch flannel
Whose Mouse are You? (Kraus)
10 Little Mice
Mouse Mess (Riley)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

 

The mascot visit is a part of every storytime I do.

chick

This is Chick and he has been with me since 1998. He makes every storytime special. Kids love him – and so do I.

Can you bear it? Bear Storytime

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The idea of bears is everywhere: Smokey the Bear, Yogi Bear, the Chicago Bears, and most people have a Teddy Bear connection from their youth (whether a beloved toy or the bitterness of being deprived of having one) but how many of us have seen a bear in the wild? Bears in zoos, yes. Bear in your backyard – much less frequent. I did cross paths (a very very wide path) with a bear at Old Faithful Lodge when I worked in Yellowstone in the late 80s and I was quick enough to get my camera out but he ended up being a speck in the landscape in my photo.

I certainly don’t want to come face to face with a real bear but I have a special place in my storytime heart for Bear Storytime. It was the first formal topic I presented and performed. It is a wonderful time to have kids bring their bears (or other special friends) to visit storytime and as long as they are the stuffed kind – we can all play together.

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy, was he?

Books:

It’s the Bear (Alborough)
Where’s My Teddy? (Alborough)
My Friend Bear (Alborough)

   

This is such a great set of stories. All three feature Eddie, his teddy, an enormous bear, and his enormous teddy. The stories progress through Eddie and the Bear meeting by accident and scaring the bejeebers out of each other, Eddie and the Bear having a near miss of each other at a picnic, and Eddie and the Bear finally really connecting. My favorite is It’s the Bear (the second in the series) because the humor and slapstick are unbeatable but they are all charming. I read this to Preschoolers for the funny stuff and use the title for programs on Bears, Friends, Rhyming, and Favorites. The text is rhyming and the pictures are cute but your delivery will really sell these stories. Go for it!

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR (Wood)

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Whenever I introduce this book, my voice always gets louder when I say, “THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR” because it is in caps on the cover. I tell the kids that I have to say it that way BECAUSE it is in all capitals. It’s the rule. I think they might believe me. I might just believe me.

This story is slight on text but it is all important as you warn the precious mouse about THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR (ok, I’ll stop), and dissuade him from attempting to hide the strawberry.  That bear will find it no matter where it is hidden, who is guarding it, or – my favorite – how it is disguised. The pictures are rich and entertaining – very Don Wood – and this book comes across really well in big book form, if you have it. I use this title for Mice, Bears, and Food.

As a fun addition, although you never actually see the bear in this story – the kids will probably tell you otherwise.

Old Bear (Henkes)

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While he is hibernating, Old Bear dreams of being a cub again and exploring the world during Spring, Summer, and Fall. He dreams of giant flowers, a daisy sun, blueberry rainstorms, and butterfly leaves. When he wakes up, he discovers that Spring has come for real. Less of a story and more of a piece of art – this is a lovely esoteric offering for an attentive audience. This title is good for Bears, Seasons, and Colors.

Bear Has a Story to Tell (Stead)

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Before settling down to hibernate, Bear wants to tell a story to his friends. Sadly, they are all busy with their winter prep to be able to listen. After the seasons turn and his hibernation ends, Bear tries to start his story again, but has forgotten it. His friends try to jog his memory and the story ends with Bear sitting on the log, beginning his story once more. A gentle circular story good for the Preschool crowd who can appreciate the changing season and Bear’s acts of kindness toward his smaller friends. This title is good for Bears, Friends, Animals, and Stories.

Bear Snores On (Wilson)

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A modern classic! While the wind blusters about outside and smaller animals creep into the cave, Bear Snores On. The story builds quickly as each animal adds more snacks to an impromptu picnic with Bear sleeping nearby but crescendos as a pepper seed gets caught in his snore and the bear. wakes. up! At first he seems angry, he stomps and snarls but then his grousing turns into blubbering and he complains that he wasn’t in on the fun. His friends are quick to remedy that by making more snacks and brewing more tea. It is a party to beat all. But as the storm dies down and the sun comes up, Bear finds himself, once again, in a surprising situation.

The cadence of this book is spot on and the pictures are warm and cozy despite the howling winds just outside the cave. I read this to Toddlers and Preschoolers for Bears, Animals, Winter, and Food. There are several more in the series: Bear’s New Friend, Bear Feels Scared, Bear Says Thanks…they go on. 🙂

The Bear Who Shared (Rayner)

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Norris, Tulip and Violet are all waiting for the last plorringe to fall from the tree. The raccoon and the mouse impatiently inspect that fruit by sniffing, listening to, and hugging it but when at last it falls, Norris the bear catches it. Because he is a wise bear, he shares it with Violet and Tulip and they all become friends.

A lovely story with beautiful watercolor illustrations that bring a sweetness to the characters. The kids will ask if plorringes really exist – and I almost believe that they do. Use this with Preschoolers for Bears, Food, Friends, and the Senses.

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Fingerplays

Teddies in the Bed

There were 5 in the bed and the little one said, “I’m crowded, roll over.” (show 5 fingers, nudge elbows to each side)
So they all rolled over and 1 fell out.  (roll hands, show 1 finger)

There were 4 in the bed…
3,2
There was 1 in the bed and the little one said, “I’m lonely.” (make sad face) So they all climbed back into bed! 

(update: 2/8/15) You can also do this as a flannel. Knocking the bears onto the floor always elicits giggles.

Teddys in the bed   teddys out of bed

Flannel Play

Hide and Seek: Bear and the chair

Little Bear, Little Bear
Are you behind the _____ chair?

I have the kids cover their eyes and count to 7 with me. Some of them will cheat and you can gently remind them to cover up. While they are counting, move the bear around the flannel board, in and out of behind chairs. I always have my hand at the end of touching one of the chairs (not the correct one) as they are finishing counting and opening their eyes. Invariably, they all think the bear is behind that one.

We go through the motions of guessing the chairs – I never start with the right one. Sometimes I have them raise their hands to vote on which chair it is – gently chiding them if they vote more than once.

We go through all of this at least 3 times. The second time, I usually hide him in the same place as the first. They definitely don’t think I would pick the same place twice – to which I usually respond, “Have you NOT met me? Don’t you know I’m sneaky?”

This game can be a laugh riot with Preschoolers. To use it with Toddlers, I would have much less banter and also let part of the bear be seen from behind the chair.

Other variations include Duck/Truck, Snake/Rake, Mouse/House, Snail/Pail, and Frog/Log.

bear and chair

Songs

The Bear Went Over the Mountain

The bear went over the mountain(x3)
to see what he could see (x3)
The bear went over the mountain (x3)
to see what he could see

and what did he see?
The other side of the mountain (x3)
was all that he could see!

I slap my thighs alternately while singing this song. Then I stop and ask the kids, “and what did he see?” I start slapping again to finish up the song.

Put Your Teddy Bear….
(tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)

Put your teddy bear on your head, on your head (x2)
Swing your bear around and jump up and down
Put your teddy bear on your head, on your head

Put your teddy bear on your tummy, on your tummy (x2)
Swing your bear around and jump up and down
Put your teddy bear on your tummy, on your tummy

on your knee…
on your toe…
on your bum…

We stand up to do this song and dance and the kids usually think the tummy is the funniest…UNTIL we do the bum. Then it turns into a giggle-fest. And of course, have everyone dance with the teddies (or other friends) they brought along.

Craft

Teddy Bear Ears

I cut headbands for the kids – usually out of old book covers. But eventually, we will run out of those, so you can use long strips of construction paper. Prepare circles in brown, black, and white. Cut them in half (to look like bear ears!) and then each kid gets a headband and two ears. I let them color them and glue them on to the headbands – which can be colored, too!

Have the caregivers fit the headbands to the kids’ heads and staple or tape them. Be sure to staple them so the prongs are facing out. Save those precious skulls from scrapes.

Making any sort of costume or mask really promotes creative play with the kiddos. Have them growl and lumber around the room. Have them pretend to reach into a tree for honey or strip some bamboo to eat.

Jennwa had a nice picture of how these usually turn out.

These are the bits of fabulous that I picked for the theme this time

Toddler lineup:

Poem
Bear Snores On (Wilson)
stretch
ABCs song
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR (Wood)
The Bear Went Over the Mountain
Teddies in the Bed
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:

Poem
The Bear Who Shared (Rayner)
stretch
ABCs
Teddies in the Bed
It’s the Bear (Alborough)
Hide and Seek: Bear and the chair
Bear Snores On (Wilson)
Put Your Teddy Bear….
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR (Wood)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Things that go…and go…and go!

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Oh, the things that go. There are many and they go far. One of the best parts of this theme is asking the kids to talk about the things that they know that go! How did they get to storytime? Yes, strollers and feet count as going things. Did anyone come by boat? by helicopter? by train? You may think you know the answers – but there is always room for a surprise, right?

My little tricycle has wheels so fine
One in front and two behind
I steer it left, I steer it right
Then I go so fast I’m outta sight!

Books:

Toot Toot Beep Beep (Garcia)

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I really like this book for both Toddler and Preschool. It is simple and quick but has some intriguing aspects. Firstly, all of the vehicles are different. From the red jeep to the pink limousine, there are many colors to practice. Then, each vehicle has a different sound. Once they all start making their sounds at the same time – fun! Lastly, there is a tiny one page mystery  at the end when it is suddenly quiet. Where did they all go?

The pictures are charming and the interaction is fun.

Digger Dog (Bee)

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I like this book because the machines keep getting bigger! Unfortunately, this means that you have to keep a vigilant eye on the fold out pages and have book tape at the ready. My Preschoolers were intrigued by the ground being so hard and Dog needing more power. Everyone got a good gasp and laugh at the end reveal.

Truck Jam (Stickland)

Despite the brevity of this pop up book, it always elicit gasps from the audience. Stickland’s trucks are big and bold and are doing interesting things. My library doesn’t buy pop-ups (although my former did and they lasted surprisingly well) so this is my personal copy. Technically it is my son’s – but yeah, no, it’s mine.

I share this with Toddlers and Preschoolers and always have parents who want to take it home. (They end up taking pictures of it when they find out it is my personal copy.)

Diggers Go (Light)

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One of the best experiences I’ve had with join-in read alouds! Each page of this oversize board book has a picture of a construction machine and then spells out the crazy-town sound it makes. I mean, who knew that the excavator goes, “chumma chumma hufft hufft FALUMP?!”

The letters are big enough that parents can see and read along. Once they got the hang of it, all of the adults in the room were making the noises the first time with me and then we would do it again so all the kids could join in. It was a hilarious/wonderful cycle of weird noises and laughter. Magical.

That’s How! (Niemann)

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I read this funny picture book to Preschoolers because they see the absurdity in it. Each time the girl asks the boy how something works he gives an imaginative explanation of the inner workings (my favorite is probably the hungry monkeys running toward the soup pot on a conveyor belt). She takes his word and is sufficiently awed but when he doesn’t have a quick answer to offer – she comes up with her own impressive explanation.

This title opens up lots of discussion about mechanics and silliness.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (Willems)

Most everyone I meet has heard of this book but there are still a few folks out there that have not seen a youth librarian read it. This is your chance to bring a modern classic to life! Encourage your audience to continuously say, “no!” to the pigeon and you will be off to a good start.

Show these parents and kids how to get the most out of this book – and let the hilarity ensue!

The Construction Crew (Meltzer)

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I read this to Toddlers and Preschoolers (with a slight abridgment for the younger crowd). This is a good middle of the program book that encourages the kids to chime in if they know the machine. The rhyme is ok – not to much of a stretch but the pictures are bright and colorful and keep the kids’ attention. I really like that the construction crew is diverse and that it all ends with a family getting a new home.

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Standing

Green means Go!

Green means go!
Go go go! (move feet quickly, pump arms like running in place)
Yellow means Slow!
Slow slow slow (speak slower and move in slow motion)
and Red… means… Stop! (freeze)

Go go go!
Slow slow slow….
Stop!

I repeat this several times. It is an easy rhyme to remember and the motions are easy enough for everyone (including parents) to catch on quickly. Going fast and then slow and then freezing helps with gross motor skills. This is also a good reminder to parents to drive safely! 😉
Flannel Play

Four Little Rockets

Four little rockets winking at me.
One shot off and then there were three!
Three little rockets with nothing to do.
One shot off, and then there were two!
Two little rockets afraid of the sun.
One shot off, and then there was one!
One little rocket alone is no fun.
It shot off, and then there was none!

I make a big deal of the ships rumbling and shaking and blasting off from the flannel board. By the last two, the kids are making the noises with me. I originally saw this on Storytime Katie’s post. I found the ship by searching google “rocket ship clipart” and then printed them on cardstock and laminated them for sturdiness.  A square or two of velcro on the back and voila!

rockets

(update 2/5/15)

Another fun flannel is a variation of Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I call it

Red Car, Red Car

Red Car, Red Car what do you see?
I see a blue car driving with me.
Red Car, Red Car what do you see?
I see a red train chugging with me.

white plane … flying
blue boat … floating
yellow bus … riding
stoplight … blinking at me

red car red car

I put the lens cap in the picture for scale – you do not need to create one for the flannel 🙂 . The red car is regular die cut size but everything else is much bigger. Little eyes need big things to see across the room. Upscale!

Songs

Little Red Caboose

Little red caboose chug, chug, chug
Little red caboose chug, chug, chug
Little red caboose behind the train, train, train, train.
Smokestack on his back, back, back, back
Comin’ down the track, track, track, track
Little red caboose behind the train
woooo! woooo!

I’ve known this song since I was a little girl. I actually had the 45. You can hear the melody here – I usually only sing the first verse. If you are feeling energetic, sing this one while you march around the room!

red caboose

Bumpin’ Downtown (original tune with Raffi)

Bumpin’ downtown in my little red wagon (x3)
bump bump bump bump bump

Flyin’ along in my little blue airplane (x3)
down down down down down – bump.

Spend the first half of the song bumping and the second half with your arms out – flying. If you sing this with your baby time, enjoy the magic of all those flying babies in the audience. It really is a happy happy sight.

bumpin downtown

Zoom, Zoom Zoom!

Zoom zoom zoom
We’re going to the moon! (x2) (clap hands in an upward motion – see Jbrary video below)
If you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship! (climb hands up ladder)
Zoom zoom zoom
We’re going to the moon! (clap hands again)

in 5,4,3,2,1 Blast Off!! (show finger countdown, arms in the air for blast off)

I first heard this on Jbrary and I use it almost every week – the kids love it so much.

You can also change up the lyrics to
Far far far we’re going to the stars!
Fun fun fun we’re going to the sun!
Cool cool cool we’re going off to school!
More more more we’re going to the store!
etc.
Props

I love this train whistle that I got at the NC Transportation Museum (obviously). You can find them in just about any toy store and I recommend getting one. The whistle sound is lovely and the kids will have a blast following you around the room making a train.

train whistle

Craft

Spaceships and Aliens

I used the spaceship die cut in lots of different colors and had the kids glue them on to half sheets of black construction paper. I set out all of my colored and white chalk and told the kids to draw aliens, astronauts, stars, planets, whatever they wanted! Of course theirs were much better than mine. I like the open-ended possibilities of the craft and I really like what the kids end up doing with the chalk. They enjoy using it because the texture is different than crayons or markers and it is the best kind of messy – it washes right off.

The glue stick and the chalk help work the fine motor skills.

alien

These are the bits of fabulous that I picked for the theme this time

Toddler lineup:

Poem
Toot Toot Beep Beep (Garcia)
stretch
Wheels on the Bus
The Construction Crew (Meltzer)
Green Means Go!
Four Rocket Ships flannel
Truck Jam (Stickland)
Zoom Zoom Zoom
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:
Poem
Digger Dog (Bee)
stretch
Wheels on the Bus
That’s How (Niemann)
Train whistle
Green Means Go!
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (Willems)
Four Rocket Ships flannel
Toot Toot Beep Beep (Garcia)
Bumpin Downtown song
Truck Jam (Stickland)
Zoom Zoom Zoom (extended version!)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Hop To! Frog Storytime

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Frogs actually use their eyeballs to help swallow their food. While they appear to be blinking at you while they eat, they are actually sinking their eyeballs into their skull to push food down their throat. That’s pretty gross. And cool. Just don’t make me pick one up…*shudder*

I saw a little frog
He was cuter than can be.
He was sitting on a log
and I’m sure he croaked at me!

Books:

Ribbit! (Folgueira)

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One day all of the frogs in the pond are confused and distressed to discover a pig sitting in the middle of the pond saying, “Ribbit!” over and over. What the what? This is a really cute book about frogs, pigs, animals in general, friendship and even language! I read this to Preschoolers for the length and also the level of humor.

 

Too Many Frogs (Asher)

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This is a funny story about company, sharing, visiting, manners and storytime! So very meta, right? Rabbit is just about to sit down to read a story when Frog makes himself right at home. And this happens a few nights in a row with Frog making himself more and more comfortable as the evenings pass. Finally, Rabbit can’t take it anymore and he declines the visitor (who has brought his entire family this time). Rabbit sits down to enjoy his alone time but then no one is more surprised by his discovery that evening than Rabbit himself.

The story is awesome and the illustrations (by Austin local, Keith Graves) are excellent. I read this to Preschoolers for the length and humor.

 

Hop Jump (Walsh)

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When Betsy notices the leaves and how they float and twist and turn – she tries out those moves herself. When other frogs make a stink, she moves on without confrontation. As other frogs begin to copy her movements and then want to banish non-twisters, Betsy makes room for everyone. Betsy is a tolerant rational frog. Yay! We love that about her. I’ve been reading this book to Toddler and Preschoolers since I started this gig and it works every time. The illustrations are wonderful, the text is not over-taxing, and the message is great.

 

The Croaky Pokey (Long)

You better be well rested and ready to move when you put this one into the rotation! It is everything the Hokey Pokey can be but with frogs, birds, gators, and a surprise at the end. I read/dance this one with Preschoolers since they understand the humor and the mishaps along the way.

 

Can You Make a Scary Face? (Thomas)

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Oh, Jan Thomas – how I do love your books. This little bug makes you stand up, sit down, stand up and then pantomime having a bug on you. The kids will follow along and even make the scary face that is requested – but be careful! Don’t be TOO scary!

This title is great for Preschoolers that are in the groove and will play along with you. Oh, and there is a frog.

 

Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Cowley)

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It’s always great to throw a little non-fiction into the mix of storytime and it’s even better if you can use one full of Nic Bishop’s photos. A-mazing. The kids will learn a little about the sleeping, eating, and climbing habits of the little tree frog and see some other wildlife as well. Both Toddlers and Preschoolers love this one.

 

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Flannel Play

The Big Wide-Mouthed Frog (Martin Larranaga)

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This is one of the best books but it is so tiny! So I made it into a flannel story and am inordinately proud of the animals (especially the emu, may I just say?). It is the basic big mouthed frog story where he meets other animals and interviews them about who they are and what they eat. He then informs them that he is a wide-mouthed frog and he eats flies. It all goes well until he meets a crocodile….

I wrote about this flannel in the Going Crazy! Wild Animal Storytime and apparently I was just as enamored of the emu at that point. 🙂

big mouthed frog

Five Green and Speckled Frogs

Five Green and speckled frogs
Sittin’ on a hollow log
Eating the most delicious bugs (yum yum)
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Now there are four green speckled frogs. (galumph galumph)

Have everyone rub their tummies on the “yum yum” and join in with frog sounds at the end (ribbit, barump, galumph, peep, etc.) and you all count down until there are none left.

I made this flannel long ago with the die cut machine and googly eyes. It is one of my very favorites.

speckled frogs

Songs

Barump Went the Little Green Frog One Day

Barump went the little green frog one day
Barump went the little green frog
Barump went the little green frog one day
and his eyes went gak gak goo!

But we know frogs go
(clap) ladeedadeeda (jazz hands)(X3)
We know frogs go
(clap) ladeedadeeda (jazz hands)
They don’t go gak gak goo!

This song is sort of mash up of a few different versions. I saw Miss Nina sing this and liked her action on the “barump” and the second half of the song especially. Although I do prefer jazz hands instead of the rolling. I’d also heard the “gak gak goo” from a colleague years ago. So clearly, you can use any nonsense words you like and change up the motions – but whatever you choose, just sing this song with the kids – they will love it.

Craft

Frog in a pond

The idea for this craft came out of desperation, an excess of blue paper, and some bug die cuts. I was so tired of other frog crafts I’d done and this just presented itself. Basically, it is the die cut of the frog glued on to blue paper, bug die cuts (or stamps) placed around the frog, and a red curly ribbon for a tongue. Once the glue dries, you can stretch the tongue to catch all of the bugs on the paper.

This activity allows for glue stick practice and pinching practice with the ribbon. Both of those actions work the fine motor skills.

frog pond

 

These are the bits of fabulous that I picked for the theme this time

Toddler lineup:
Poem
Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Cowley)
stretch
ABCs song
5 Green and Speckled Frogs
Hop Jump (Walsh)
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:
Poem
Too Many Frogs (Asher)
stretch
ABCs
5 Green and Speckled Frogs
Ribbit! (Folgueira)
Barump Went the Little Green Frog One Day
Hop Jump (Walsh)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Little Monsters: Their very own storytime

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Stomping, growling, gnashing, and twitching! And that is just from the adult patrons in the public library!! Ha! just kidding. But seriously, is there anything better than monsters? Little guys love monsters. Maybe it is the idea of being a little bit scared, or of overcoming/controlling something much bigger than they are. Or maybe they just like pretending to be the bigger stompier thing that gets to be (relatively) loud in the library. Whatever the reason – your little monsters are sure to love a monster theme. So, let’s get stompin’!

We’re off to meet some monsters
But don’t be scared away!
They’re made of springs and fluff and things
And they just want to play!

Snappy Little Monsters Pop Up (Steer)

Books:

There’s Something in My Attic (Mayer)

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I have a version of this in a collection of Mayer called There’s Something There! Three Bedtime Classics.  This first tale is very empowering for Preschoolers since the heroine goes on an adventure to capture the monster herself. She succeeds but he slips away before her parents can get out of bed. She is not deterred and makes a plan to try again tomorrow. The monster is completely cute (if not gigantic) and is a lover of toys. Her toys specifically. I get the impression that he is a large toddler.

I read this to both Toddler and Preschool crowds. Everyone seems to get a kick out of her red cowboy books. Ah, Texas.

 

Little Monsters (Pienkowski)

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This is a very short pop-up book with only 5 monsters. The pop-ups are both clever and a little gross so the kids and parents enjoy them. A terrific space-filler-program-move-along-er.

 

Leonardo the Terrible Monster (Willems)

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Our pal Mo Willems has given us this not terrible book for storytime that is all things. It is funny, sweet, unexpected, and (huzzah!) large enough to be seen across the room. The line that gets the biggest laugh – “scare the tuna salad out of someone!”

I read this to Preschoolers for the play on words, the age of Sam, and the laughs on the bird poop reference. Awesome.

 

If You’re a Monster and You Know It (Emberley)

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While the bright bold illustrations pop off the dark background up close, I find them harder to read across a crowd in storytime. Of course this title lends itself perfectly to standing up and singing it loud! The kids will have so much fun – it’s as if they are illustrating the book with themselves.

For Toddlers, I generally abridge the song slightly due to attention span. Claws, feet, roar and tail are usually the biggest crowd pleasers. Be prepared for lots of noise from your little monsters.

 

Go Away Big Green Monster (Emberley)

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Emberley proves his genius once again with colorful cutouts on black pages with simple descriptive text. Together we build a monster and then declare our bravery and dismantle that same monster piece by piece making him “Go away!” (until we want to do it all over again!) One of my favorite books to read at bedtime – it is completely clever and empowering at the same time.

I use this for monsters, bedtime, and colors. See the Props section below to get a glimpse of a great puppet that tells this same story.

 

Jumpy Jack and Googily (Rosoff)

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Jumpy Jack is a sweet snail that lets his imagination get away from him while he asks his friend, Googily, to check places for a monster with thin feet, two fingers on each hand, and a bowler hat. Googily is supportive and reassuring while checking behind trees and through mail slots. I read this to the Preschool crowd due to length and also because they are just beginning to catch on to clever plot lines like this one. They will laugh at the twist ending, too.

 

Frank Was a Monster Who  Wanted to Dance (Graves)

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This one is a hit every time. The story is just silly/gross enough and the pictures are fantastic. I read this to Preschool and up for the creep potential and the loss of limbs. The book itself is slightly small but my colleagues in Austin Public’s Literature LIVE! will show you how to make a Frank of your own in The Making of a Monster. That’s pretty complicated, really, so just ask the kids to scoot closer to get a good look!

 

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Standing

Pretend to be a monster!

This theme is a great excuse just to get the kids up and start them moving. Have them show their claws, their terrible teeth, their long twitchy tails – and have them stomp around the room in a monster parade around their parents. Then break into If You’re a Monster and You Know It (see song below).

Flannel Play

5 Little Monsters

Five little monsters running across the floor
One fell down and that left four.
Four little monsteres climbing up a tree
One slid down and that left three.
Three little monsters wondering what to do
One got bored and that left two.
Two little monsters laying in the sun
One fell asleep and that left one.
One little monster sitting all alone
He got lonely so he went home

Yes, there are six monsters in this picture but that is just so I can have an extra or mix up the colors once in a while. The monsters all have different expressions so we can talk about emotions and different shapes on their chests so we can talk about shapes. I don’t mention all of that stuff at once but it is nice to have some crossover for other themes.

little monsters

Props

Go Away, Big Green Monster! puppet

This is a great Storytelling Puppet from Lakeshore Learning. It comes with the sequence of the story on a small card you can keep on your lap – if you are afraid you might forget. The kids love it. I read the book right after using this puppet. Double the fun!

big green monster

Songs

If You’re a Monster and You Know It (abridged from Emberley’s book above)

If you’re a monster and you know it clap your claws! (x2)
If you’re a monster and you know it and you really want to show it
If you’re a monster and you know it clap your claws!

…stomp your feet!
…give a roar!
…twitch your tail!

 

Craft

Shape Monsters!

Found these cute little shape monsters at Fun Family Crafts. Each Preschooler chose a colorful piece of paper and some shapes. We had plenty of triangles, circles, and squares to choose from. I also had my summer teen volunteer (thanks, Evelyn!) cut lots and lots of smaller white circles and white triangles for eyes and teeth. The kids loved counting how many teeth their monster had.

This craft is great for color and shape recognition, glue stick skills (fine motor!), and counting.

monsters

 

Lots of fun and compliments from parents and monsters alike on this theme. It’s not just for Halloween season, either!

 

These are the bits of fabulous that I picked for the theme this time

Toddler lineup:

Poem
There’s Something in My Attic (Mayer)
stretch
Go Away Big Green Monster puppet
Go Away Big Green Monster (Emberley)
5 Little Monsters flannel
If You’re a Monster and You Know It song
Little Monsters (Pienkowski)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:
Poem
Jumpy Jack and Googily (author)
stretch
There’s Something in My Attic (Mayer)
Go Away Big Green Monster puppet
Go Away Big Green Monster (Emberley)
5 Little Monsters
Leonardo the Terrible Monster (Willems)
If You’re a Monster and You Know It song
Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance(Graves)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Take an umbrella….Weather Storytime

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We did a play in high school a million years ago called The Curious Savage by John Patrick. There was one particular line that stuck with me: “People say I love you all the time – when they say, ‘take an umbrella, it’s raining,’ or ‘hurry back,’ or even ‘watch out, you’ll break your neck.’ There are hundreds of ways of wording it – you just have to listen for it, my dear.”  Friends and I started signing our notes to each other, “Take an umbrella, it’s raining….”

Just a sweet memory that makes me think of old friends.

ANYWAY – some of my other favorite memories center around weather! Playing in the rain, sledding on a snowy hillside, swimming on a bright sunny day, going to the annual Kite Festival – so let’s read some stories about it!

My Umbrella
Rain on the rooftops,
Rain on the trees,
Rain on the green grass
But not on me!

Books:

The Big Storm: A Very Soggy Counting Book (Tafuri)

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I read this one for Toddlers and Preschoolers. It does a nice job of counting up to and down from 10 while telling about a storm building. The animals are recognizable and everyone laughs when the skunk shows up. I read it with some drama during the storm and speed after the surprise and it really works.

The Snowy Day (Keats)

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A classic. I’ve loved this book since I was small – and I always set it in Chicago in my head (even though I’ve read that it was based on NYC). My Texas Preschoolers aren’t too familiar with snow so everything in the book is fascinating. I once had a little girl come up to touch the end papers to see if they were cold. The Caldecott winning collage art is beyond charming. Keats received lots of criticism for not addressing Peter’s race in the story but it is such a sweet depiction of a curious little boy – the humanness of the character trumps all description.

In the Rain with Baby Duck (Hest)

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This title is a little longer so I read it to the Preschool crowd. It is fun to grouch and grumble like Baby Duck as she and her parents walk through the rain. I pair this with the umbrella craft so kids can relate back to the story.

Red Rubber Boot Day (Ray)

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So many inside activities are listed in this story – but when the child really wants to enjoy the rainy day — outside is the place to be! The illustrations are vibrant and charming.  I read this to Toddlers and Preschoolers.

Rain Rain Go Away (Archambault)

The original Mother Goose rhyme of Rain, rain, go away, Come again another day; Little Johnny wants to play. Has been adapted to include a frog in this offering from John Archambault. I read this in big book form and the Toddlers and Preschoolers really liked the frog. I do have a bit of an issue with a frog that wants it to stop raining so he can play…..um, they live in water. Whatever, it was pretty cute.

No Two Alike (Baker)

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I mostly love this book for all of the snow that makes an appearance! It covers everything in the forest. The rhyming text is simple and so it is easy to modulate the speed and force. I read this to the Preschool crowd and they, too, were in love with the snow covered forest. The two birds are also adorable as you can see from the cover.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider (Siomades)

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This is the traditional song with vibrant illustrations. A very quick read for Toddlers and Preschoolers. I sing the song immediately after reading this.

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Standing

Rain Is Falling Down (Tune: Farmer in the Dell)

The rain is falling down, (flutter fingers down)
SPLASH (clap once loudly)
The rain is falling down, (flutter fingers down)
SPLASH (clap once loudly)
Pitter patter pitter patter (tap legs softly)
The rain is falling down, (flutter fingers down)
SPLASH (clap once loudly)

The snow is falling down, (flutter fingers down)
Whoosh (swoosh hands side to side)
The snow is falling down, (flutter fingers down)
Whoosh (swoosh hands side to side)
softly softly very softly (fingers to lips)
The snow is falling down, (flutter fingers down)
Whoosh (swoosh hands side to side)

I borrowed this first verse from King County Library System and adapted the second on my own.

Songs

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

It’s raining, it’s pouring
the old man is snoring.
He went to bed
and bumped his head
and couldn’t get up in the morning.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

The itsy bitsy spider
went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out!
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
and the itsy bitsy spider
went up the spout again!

This one is great for fine motor skills and then we mix it up and do The Great Big Spider (use entire hands for spider), The Very Quiet Spider (whisper or just mouth the song), and The Very Fast Spider (move super fast) with the Preschoolers. Giggles all around.

Fingerplays

Making it rain

Today we are going to work together to make it rain!
First we rub our fingers together. I think I hear the rain starting!
Then we lightly clap our hands. It’s falling harder now.
Lets rub our hands on our thighs. That’s a steady rainstorm.
Now pat your thighs. It’s raining really hard now!
Now stomp your feet, too! Oh, it’s so loud!
(then go backwards through the motions to make the storm stop)

Craft

Umbrella with raindrops

We made this super cute umbrella surrounded by raindrops that I found on Brooks Childcare by searching “umbrella craft” on Google . It took a bit of prep work from my summer teen volunteer but the kids had fun with the glue sticks and crayons. Having pieces of yarn for the kids to glue, really works the fine motor skills by making little fingers pinch something thin.

umbrella with rain

 

Rainbow collage

Another craft option is the old tissue paper squares glued on paper. This one is more about celebrating the colors themselves, recognizing the shape of a rainbow, and using the fine motor skills to pinch and place the squares than it is about getting the colors in any order. Let the creativity flow!

rainbow

Making memories in storytime – every week.

 

These are the bits of fabulous that I picked for the theme this time

Toddler lineup:

Poem
The Big Storm (Tafuri)
stretch
ABCs song
Rain is Falling Down song
Rain Rain Go Away (Archambault)
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
No Two Alike (Baker)
Zoom Zoom Zoom
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:
Poem
In the Rain with Baby Duck (Hest)
stretch
ABCs
Rain is Falling Down Song
The Snowy Day (Keats)
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
The Big Storm (Tafuri)
Making rain
magic bag trick
Zoom Zoom Zoom
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Tweet! Storytime for the Birds

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Storytime is for the birds – because there are almost as many books, rhymes, and flannels to choose from as there are types of birds. I’ve even done a successful program on Owls only – but that is for another post.

If I were a bird, I’d sing a song
and fly about the whole day long
and when the night comes, I’d go to rest
way up high in my cozy nest. 

A Wise Old Owl

A wise old owl sat in an oak.
The more he heard,
The less he spoke.
The less he spoke,
The more he heard.
Why aren’t we all like that
Wise old bird?

Books:

Wow! Said the Owl (Hopgood)

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This book is great for storytime. A curious owl decides to stay up all day to see what day is like. She is super excited to be experiencing something new and it comes through the text. She revels in all of the colors that daylight brings. The pictures are bright and easy to see from far away, and kids will love helping identify the colors. We play the “Who is wearing (color) today?” game. They also enjoy that she gets to stay up past her bedtime! I read this title to Toddler and Preschoolers when I want a little participation from the audience. I use this book for Birds, Owls, Colors, and Bedtime.

Big Fat Hen (Baker)

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I love, love, love this book. The traditional rhyme makes it easy for the audience to chant along but then it extends! More and more hens! And these hens are some of the loveliest you have ever seen! I especially enjoy going from the page “all their eggs…” to the page “all their chicks!” and the kids giggle, too. I read this to Toddler and Preschoolers for Birds, Farms, Counting, and Nursery Rhymes.

I’m Not Cute! (Allen)

But he so is! This little owl does not like all of the attention he is getting from the other animals mostly because they keep telling him how cute he is. He demands that he is actually a strong, brave, “sleek hunting machine!” but no one seems to listen. Of course, Mamma Owl makes it all better by hearing what he is saying, allowing him to change his mind, and putting him down for a nap. What he really needed after all.  This book resonates with both kids and parents and I read it for Birds, Owls, and Forest Animals. There are more in the series: I’m not Santa! I’m not Ready! I’m not Scared! I’m not Sleepy! and I’m not Reading!

Birds (Henkes)

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Almost an introduction, almost a poem – this book is a sweet ode to birds.  I especially like the pages with the birds on the telephone wire and when the birds suddenly leave the big tree. I read this to Preschoolers because they will appreciate the subtleties of the pages. I’ve tried it with Toddlers but it is a little long and esoteric for that crowd.

 Froodle (Portis)

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NEW for 2014! This is a really funny book for the Preschool crowd but you have to practice it out-loud so you can differentiate between the bird voices and get the dialog just right. The idea is a great one and the kids and parents love the idea of breaking out of expected norms and being silly.

 Peck, Peck, Peck (Cousins)

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This clever book combines the funny of a woodpecker in the house, real holes in the book and Cousins signature illustration style to give you some laugh along moments. Oh, and the word “toilet.” Pure gold. Some of the Preschoolers were worried that the jellybeans had holes in them. They thought the family would be upset when they got home – more than the hole in the door? the shampoo? the underwear? – yep, the jellybeans.

It is also a very sweet Daddy and me type story with the baby woodpecker being of unmentioned gender.

 Owl Babies (Waddell)

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Classic. Wonderful. Sweet as all get out when the oldest owl baby, Sarah, suggests they all sit together on her branch. I read this to Toddlers and Preschoolers and get the same sense of awe when Mama Owl returns on silent wing and the same sense of “aww!” when Bill says his last line. Read this precious book.

The Baby BeeBee Bird (Redfield Massie)

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He’s cute but SO LOUD!!! The baby beebee bird is so excited to be new to the zoo that he just won’t stop singing ALL NIGHT LONG! He keeps all of the animals up so they hatch a plan. Be sure to practice reading this one aloud so you can get the animals thoughts and dialogue scattered in among the non-stop “beebeebobbibobbi”ing of the baby bird. This one is a workout but it is worth it for all the Preschool giggles!

I am a Penguin (Durrie)

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Another in the awesome I am a… series. Love the photographs and the early reader style sentences. I am also a fan of the extended facts included in the back of the book. I read this to Toddlers and Preschoolers and throw in as much extra info as they have time for.

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Prop

We found this little bird whistle at some earthy craft fair. It is made of clay and came from Peru. You can blow on the tail to make a weak whistle but the magic comes when you put a little water into the hole on its head. Then when you blow gently on the tail, the whistle starts to warble and tweet. It really does sound like a bird. Amazing. You can find your own by searching “clay bird water whistle” or even “ocarina bird whistle.”

Made in Peru

Made in Peru

Flannel Play

Five Hoot Owls

Five hoot owls sitting in a tree
One flew away! How many do you see?
One, two, three, four.

Four hoot owls sitting in a tree
One flew away! How many do you see?
One, two, three.

Three hoot owls…etc.

This one showed up in Flannel Friday from Sunflower Storytime and it is a big hit every time.

owls

Good Morning Mrs Hen

Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck,
“Good morning Mrs Hen.”
How many chickens have you got?
“Madam I’ve got ten”
“Four of them are yellow, and four of them are brown.
And two of them are speckled red,
The nicest in the town!”

I do this flannel with my hen puppet on my lap.

 10 chicks

Songs

Little Bird, Little Bird (by Elizabeth Mitchell)

Little bird, little bird,
Fly through my window,
Little bird, little bird,
Fly through my window,
Little bird, little bird
Fly through my window,
And find molasses candy.

Through my window,
My sugar lump,
Fly through my window,
My sugar lump,
And find molasses candy.

-Who knows a bird?
-Me! Chickadee!
-What’s a chickadee say?
-chchchchchch

Chickadee, chickadee,
Fly through my window,
Chickadee, chickadee,
Fly through my window,
Chickadee, chickadee,
Fly through my window,
And find molasses candy.

Through my window,
My sugar lump,
Fly through my window,
My sugar lump,
And find molasses candy.

-Who knows another bird?
(and repeat with other bird suggestions)

Go here for the tune on youtube. I printed the lyrics of the verse and refrain on larger paper and laminated it so I could put it on the flannel board while I sing this with the group. I also laminated 8 1/2 x 11 pictures of birds so I wouldn’t be dependent on my kids thinking up bird-types. Just my luck they would pick flamingo or ostrich. It is a long-ish song with a unique tune so singing it with a cd or simply more often in programs would make it more familiar.

Fingerplays

Two Little Blackbirds

Two little blackbirds
sitting on a hill
(hold hands, thumbs up, fist)
One named Jack (wiggle right thumb)
One named Jill (wiggle left thumb)
Fly away, Jack (right hand behind back)
Fly away, Jill (left hand behind back)
Come back, Jack (right hand to front)
Come back, Jill (left hand to front)

Once again we are working those fine motor skills – making a fist, wiggling the thumbs – and the gross motor skills – putting hands behind the back. Go motors!

The Bird

Here are the legs that walk along (index and middle finger “walk”)
Here is the beak that sings a song (open and shut fingers and thumb)
Here are the wings that flag and spread (spread palms)
And here is the bird above my head (hands linked at thumbs, above head)

Ten fluffy Chickens

5 eggs and 5 eggs (hold hands up)
That makes 10.
Sitting on top is Mother Hen (fold one hand over the other)
crackle crackle crackle (clap clap clap)
what do I see?
10 fluffy chicks! (hold hands up)
Yellow (or cute) as can be!
(wiggle fingers)

Two more fingerplays that earn the name and work those fine motor skills.

Craft

Birds in a Nest

I found this craft this summer on Very Little Bear and had my teen volunteer cut the paper plates in half, cut some yellow and blue ovals, cut small orange triangles for beaks, and cut some brown strips of construction paper. Each Preschooler got a half plate, 2 ovals, 1 beak and 1-2 strips. To work the fine motor skills, they tore the strips of paper into smaller pieces and used glue sticks to put everything together. They also got to pinch some sticky eyes off the sticker paper and place them on the birds.

birds in nest

 

It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds, it is fine plans that make fine bird storytimes.  -Aesop/thelibraryann mash-up

 

These are the bits of fabulous that I picked for the theme this time

Toddler lineup:

Poem
Birds (Henkes)
stretch
ABCs song
5 Hoot Owls
Wow! Said the Owl (Hopgood)
bird puppets visit
bird whistle
Zoom Zoom Zoom song
Ran Sam Sam song
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:
Poem
Froodle (Portis)
stretch
ABCs
5 Hoot Owls
Peck Peck Peck (Cousins)
bird puppets visit
bird whistle
Wow! Said the Owl (Hopgood)
Jenny Works with One Hammer song
I am a Penguin (Durrie)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Get dressed! Clothes Storytime

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What better topic for storytime than Clothes? Kids relate to it, parents relate to it, and who hasn’t seen a precious storytimer in an inventive and crazy outfit and known right away that they were in charge of their own outfits that morning?

Poem:

I’m glad I’m not a centipede
and I will tell you why.
I would have 100 feet
and 100 shoes to tie!

Books:

Whose Hat is That? (Bijsterbosch)

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New for 2014 – this book follows a hat that keeps getting blown by the wind onto different animals’ heads. Each animal claims it as their own and revels in how good it looks on them. The animals range from a cat to a polar bear and each animal appears on their own page – and then again on the next page as the hat blows away. It is difficult to modify this book for a shorter story so I read this to Preschoolers. A colleague decided to adapt it into a flannel story and it really does read well. This one fits for these themes: Animals, Animals Sounds, Clothes, Wind, and Hats!

Hooray for Hat (Won)

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Hooray for this book! Also new for 2014, it goes from animal to animal showing how to share the happiness that is hat! In the end, everyone pulls together to cheer up one more friend. This book is great for Wild Animals, Hats, Friends, and Moods. I read it towards the beginning for Toddlers since it travels through 6 different friends and in the middle for Preschoolers and have them march when the animals go visit.

Caps for Sale (Slobodkina)

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A classic, this title goes over best when I read it from our Big Book collection. Also, it’s pretty impressive to pronounce her name correctly: pronounced ess-FEER sloh-BOD-kee-nah. When the monkeys start to misbehave and talk back to the peddler, I pause after each infraction and share the “I can’t believe they DID that!” face with the kids. By the end, it is pure disbelief that they monkeys would/could be so rude and then the giggles take over. I read it for Toddler and Preschoolers. And anyone else who will sit still for it.

Ella Sarah Gets Dressed (Chodos-Irvine)

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Everyone in Ella Sarah’s family has opinions about what she should wear – but she is having none of it! The patterns of the house and clothes are wonderful from across the room and Ella Sarah’s emphatic responses keep the story moving. When her friends show up for a tea party, you can see why she was insistent on her ensemble.  I read this to Toddler and Preschoolers and am still searching for a pair of fluffy sheep pajamas in my size.

Too Purpley! (Reidy)

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This turns out to be almost the opposite of Ella Sarah Gets Dressed. Our protagonist tries on many many outfits and has specific reasons for disregarding them all. The scale is a little smaller than Ella Sarah so some of the pictures may be lost on a big crowd.  It is a good opportunity to have Preschoolers finish rhymes with you.

Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes (Litwin)

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Pete is pretty awesome – and I love groovin’ this song with the crowd (if you haven’t heard it: http://assetlibrary.supadu.com/images/ckfinder/687/images/Pete-the-Cat/audio/pete-the-cat.mp3 ). It is about the shoes but it is really about taking it easy, going with the flow, letting it slide. We all need to  do that, right? I read it to Toddlers and Preschoolers and use it for storytimes about Cats, Clothes, Colors, Shoes, and Singing.

Aliens Love Underpants (Freedman)

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Bloomers, panties, long-johns, and aliens! This book is all silliness and rhyming. The illustrations are bold and bright and show, of course, lots of underwear. Toddlers might sit still for it but underpants mean so much more to Preschoolers. They will appreciate the silly – and you will probably get some new potty stories. Woo!

Animal Pants (Moses and Boretzki)

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Another book about underpants! Warthogs, skunks, cats, and frogs – they are all featured in this silly book about animals and their underwear.  I save this one for a Preschool crowd that is hanging with me.

Old Hat New Hat (Berenstain)

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I wish this was in a bigger format. My copy is a beginning reader and so is on the small rectangular side. It remains great, however. The illustrations are bright and funny. They rhyme itself cruises right along. I speed up as the descriptions move along and can then come to a screeching halt for, “WAIT!” and of course, the joke at the end just tickles the kids. Due to size, I wouldn’t read this to a room of more than 30 people and Preschoolers will appreciate it more than Toddlers.

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Standing

Put Your Pants On (Tune: Mama’s Little Baby Loves Shortnin’ Bread)

Let’s all put our pants on, pants on, pants on,
Let’s all put our pants on, 1, 2, 3.

[Repeat with other articles of clothing (socks or tights, shoes, etc.)]

Now that you’re all dressed, all dressed, all dressed,
Now that you’re all dressed, let’s go out to play.

Borrowed it from: Storytime Hooligans
who adapted it from: King County Library System

Flannel Play

Snoozers (Boynton)

Chickens like pajamas with a hat to match
Piggies like pajamas with the feet attached.
Hippos wear pajamas just a little tight
Lions like pajamas that fit just right.
Rabbits like pajamas just a little loose
But you’ve got to have buttons if you’re a moose.

The book this rhyme is from is a board book and just too small to share with more than 3 people so I made enlarged copies of the animals onto cardstock, laminated them, and added velcro on the back to make the whole thing into a flannel board story. I go through it twice so they can really hear the rhymes. Kids laugh hardest at the hippo and the moose.

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Whose Shoes?

For this game, I have the kids guess who the shoes belong to. I put the pieces up one at a time and then we talk about what kind of shoes they are. My little Austinites seem to have the hardest time with the ice hockey skates – go figure.

These shoes are all clipart on cardstock. I laminated them for sturdiness and velcro on the back holds them on the flannel board.

shoes

UPDATE/ADDITION: This Sorting Socks Game just popped up in my feed from Miss Mary Liberry and I will be making it and using it next time I plan this storytime theme! It is so cute and what a great chance to get the kids up and involved. I’ll add my own pictures after I create the washing machine and socks. (10/10/14)

Craft

Flower/Straw Necklaces

We made flower necklaces today (and got the really cute idea from Homeschool Antics). I had a summer volunteer cut pieces of yarn and wrap tape on one end. I put out small die cut flowers and pieces of colored straws. The tape allows the kids to do the “sewing” and that really works the fine motor skills. Yea! Some of the parents were insistent on the child following a pattern – but most just let them get creative. Regardless, everyone left storytime looking fancy!

necklace

So, let’s get dressed!

This week’s line up:

Toddler lineup:

Poem
Caps For Sale (Slobodkina)
stretch
ABCs song
Snoozers flannel
Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes (Litwin)
Zoom Zoom Zoom song
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:
Poem
Aliens Love Underpants (Freedman)
stretch
ABCs
Snoozers flannel
Hooray for Hat (Won)
Whose Shoes? flannel
Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes (Litwin)
Ella Sarah Gets Dressed (Chotos-Irvine)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Going Crazy! Wild Animal Storytime

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Confession: Storytime Fail.

For the first few years of planning storytime, I would try to create a Toddler and Preschool storytime theme for snakes. I would find a handful of books, break out my 5 Little Snakes flannel, plan to sing I’m Being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor, and head into the program. And I was always disappointed at how it would come together – or how it really didn’t. I finally realized that I was trying too hard to make it happen. So, I put a post-it note on the topic page in my theme binder that said, “Dear Ann, Please don’t try to do a theme on snakes. It just never works. Plan for Wild Animals instead! Love, Ann.”

I have come across that note many times as I plan my season of storytimes and I thank PastAnn each time.

So here are the things I use for Wild Animals.

Poems:

The secret of the polar bear–
Is that he wears long underwear.
                –Gail Kredenser

The alligator chased his tail
Which hit him on the snout.
He nibbled, gobbled, swallowed it
And turned right inside-out!
                –Mary Macdonald

Books:

Tiny Little Fly (Rosen)

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This book is just about perfect for Wild Animal Storytime. Rosen’s narrative is clever in its rhymes and cadence. Waldron’s illustrations are large and interesting giving just enough clues in the pages before the reveal of the animal  that kids can guess who is next. The fly is a nimble escape artist – quickly flying away as each animal tramps, rolls, and swoops as they try to “catch that fly!”  I read this for Toddlers and Preschoolers – having the Toddlers point to their own body parts as the fly lands on the animals, taking more time to guess the animals with Preschoolers, and encouraging everyone to chant “catch that fly!” with me.

 I Am an Elephant (Carr)

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This non-fiction title is part of the AV(2) Media Enhanced series. The whole series focuses on animals. The Media Enhanced part is a URL with a book code to enter. Then you get interactive audios etc. But back to storytime. The books have great photos, there is one easy reader sentence per 2 page spread and it is full of interesting facts. The last pages provide more details – a great cheat for didactic reading or throwing in some “didyaknows.”  These books are short enough for Toddler Time and interesting enough for Preschool Time. A few of the other animals in the series are: dolphin, giant panda, gorilla, jaguar, tiger, and shark. I Am a Shark is the only one that might be a little scary. Lots-o-teeth!

From Head to Toe (Carle)

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Love me some Eric Carle! And this one is a great opportunity to stand up to read! Get the kids on their feet and have them do all of the movements from the book- yelling out “I can do it!” each time. I read this to all ages – and encourage parents and caregivers to play this game while waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic.

Big Little Monkey (Schaefer)

Big Little Monkey

Big Little Monkey wakes up earlier than his whole family and decides that he is old enough to go out on his own to play. He meets several jungle animals and tries to play with them but when he meets Mr. Boa and his tricky ways, Big Little Monkey knows he is big enough to know when to head home. Great saturated color and fun language make this good for storytime. It is a little longer and complicated with some movement phrases like bim-bala-bim so I read this one to preschoolers.

The Wheels on the Bus (Cabrera)

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Who doesn’t want a great excuse to sing Wheels on the Bus one more time? Cabrera’s colorful illustrations are easily seen from across the room and each page invites everyone to sing along, ” The lions on the bus go roar roar roar!” And along with the typical animals (zebras and monkeys) there are a few surprises (hyenas and bush babies)! The end pages include the simple melody just in case you forgot (yeah, right).

Through the Heart of the Jungle (Emmett)

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Emmett’s book is based on There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly but is all jungle animals! The illustrations are bright and beautiful. The descriptions of the animals are delicious “the toad with the big googly eye,” “the monkey that let out a shriek,” and “the snake that slithered and slunk” but there are several and (true to the rhyme) they are all repeated each verse so it does get a little long. That makes it better for older kids than the littles. An attentive Preschool crowd or school age would love it.

The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A Pop-Up Book (Faulkner)
The Big Wide-Mouthed Frog (Martin Larranaga)

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I love the story of the big wide-mouthed frog and both of these versions are lots of fun. The pop-ups in Faulkner’s book are big and fun – especially the last when he closes his mouth tightly. The frog visits a bird, a mouse and an alligator – ending with a big splash! Martin Larranaga’s version is full of Australian animals – making it a tad more interesting. How many emu’s are there in kids books?

The copy I have is on the small side so I actually made a flannel of the characters. The frog has an overlay so his mouth can be small at the end. I’m kind of ridiculously pleased with the emu.

big mouthed frog

The trick is to use a very wide mouth when reading as the frog and then a very very small mouth at the end. I just about sprain my jaw when I read these. It’s like these big mouth parts were written for me……hmmmmmm.

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Standing

In the Jungle

Giraffes are tall with necks so long (on tip toes, raise hands)
Elephants’ trunks are big and strong (hand and arm as trunk)
Zebras have stripes and gallop away (gallop in a cirlce)
While monkeys in the trees do sway (sway back and forth)
Old crocodile swims in a pool so deep (pretend to swim)
Or lies in the sun and goes to sleep. (close eyes, go to sleep)

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey, monkey in the tree
Can you ________ like me?
(jump around, swing your tail, scratch an itch, eat a banana…)

Flannel Play

Teasing Mr. Alligator

5 little monkeys
Swinging from a tree
Teasing Mr. Alligator
“You can’t catch me!”
Along comes Mr. Alligator
quiet as can be and
SNAPS that monkey out of that tree!
4,3,2,1

This one has the makings of storytime/flannel magic if you get quieter and quieter as Mr. Alligator closes in on those smart-alecky monkeys and then SNAP pretty quickly. It doesn’t even need to be that loud – it is startling and the kids loooooove it.

I made this one from clipart, cardstock, and the handy-dandy laminator. Add velcro on the back and it is ready for storytime!

teasing mr croc

Count the Tigers

One big tiger, standing on a tree
Two white tigers looking at me.
Three little tigers, I bet they are brothers.
Four big tigers each different than the other.
Count them all and that makes 10 –
Do you want to do it all over again?

I wrote this rhyme because I wanted to include tigers in my storytime but couldn’t find anything I liked. I found the photos online, printed them on cardstock, wrote the lines of rhyme on the back (as well as photo credits), and laminated them. The 5th page is the other 4 photos all together. I present it like flashcards from a sitting position. It is 5 cards but we count all the way to 10 for a bit of a change.

tigers

Five Little Snakes

Five little snakes
Hid under Mom’s chair
My brother grabbed the orange one
Leaving four there.

Four little snake
Swinging in a tree
The blue one slipped and fee
Leaving only three

Three little snakes
Wondered what to do
The red one took a nap
Leaving only two

Two little snakes
Basking in the sun
The purple one slithered off
Leaving only one

One little green snake
Lonely as could be
Went looking for some fun
And came and played with me!

snakes

Song

I Went to the Zoo (tune: My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean)
(Raise or lower your arms every time you mention an animal.)

I went to the zoo to see lions, (up)
Elephants, tigers, and bears. (down, up, down)
I went to the zoo to see zebras, (up)
I love all the animals there. (stay up!)

Lions, tigers, elephants, zebras, and bears and bears. (down, up, down, up, down, up)
Lions, tigers, elephants, zebras, and bears (down, up, down, up, down)

This song is awesome and the whole room will love it. If you practice – you’ll be able to do it faster and faster. Lots of laughing!!

Chant

Down in the Jungle
(clap hands on knees and clap them together to set the rhythm of the chant)

Down in the jungle with the beat in your feet
Think of an animal that you’d like to meet!
That you’d like to meet!
(Child calls out an animal)
A ____! A _____! You want to see a ______!
(Then all children imitate that animal)

Crafts

(update 2/5/15) A Zebra

I found an unstriped zebra in Google and cut a bunch of thin strips from black paper. I left the strips longer than the zebra on purpose. This allows the kids to tear the strips and develop their fine motor skills of pinching. They glue the strips onto the blank zebra thereby making stripes (and practicing more fine motor skills with all the gripping and pushing) and voila. The results are organic and interesting. Try it!

blank zebra      zebra

Snake Spiral

Our diecut machine does a great spiral so I prepared some from cardstock. The kids taped a piece of yarn to one end and colored the spiral. Then when they lifted it by the yarn, it spun out so very nicely! The coloring and taping work the fine motor skills, the walking while lifting the yarn – the gross motor skills.

spiral snake

So, I guess I did put a lot of snakes in there anyway. Maybe I could do a storytime just about snakes….

Dear FutureAnn,
Just say, “no.”
Also, drink more water. Because, water.
Love,
PastAnn

This week’s line up:

Toddler lineup:

Poem
Tiny Little Fly (Rosen)
stretch
ABCs song
Teasing Mr. Alligator flannel
From Head to Toe (Carle)
Five Little Snakes flannel
Zoom Zoom Zoom song
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:
Poem
Big Little Monkey (Schaefer)
stretch
ABCs
Teasing Mr. Alligator flannel
Tiny Little Fly (Rosen)
Count the Tigers
Wheels on the Bus (Cabrera) book/song
The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A Pop-Up Book (Faulkner)
I Went to the Zoo song
Five Little Snakes flannel
I am an Elephant (Carr)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

So Many Fish in the Sea – Ocean Storytime

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Fish/Ocean/Sea are all great themes to choose for storytime because they can be as specific or as broad as you like. There are lots of books that include ocean animals in and out of the water – so go for it!

A golden fish went swimming by.
He swam down low; he swam up high.
He wriggled his fins and shook his scales.
and swished his graceful golden tail.

Books:

Swimmy (Lionni)

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Swimmy is an awesome book about working together. It has its dark moments – mass pescacide at the very beginning and sweet revenge at the end – but in between there are lots of ocean animals and a self-confident mind set. I usually read this to preschoolers because of length and concepts.

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (Sherry)

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This book is hilarious on so many levels. The main character just keeps bragging about how big he is – until he meets someone SO much bigger. I read this with a lot of bravado mixed with matter-of-factness. He is bigger than all those other fish, after all. Be sure to read the back cover – the parents will laugh.

Hooray for Fish! (Cousins)

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I love this book for both Toddlers and Preschoolers. The colors are vibrant and the illustrations are whimsical and visible from far away. Toddlers are lured in by the Maisie-like colors and Preschoolers will like all of the silly creatures. Be sure to count the page that asks how many there might be before reading it aloud. I read that page and a tired Dad-voice piped up from the middle of the room, “24.” Clearly, he’d read it many many times.

I Spy Under the Sea (Gibbs)

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The parents and I talk through the animals in this book with Toddlers but Preschoolers can get it on their own. Gibbs does a nice job of playing I Spy with the kids – the animals are easy enough to guess and the artwork is beautiful. Kids get a peek at the animal he is describing through a hole in the center and each animal spread has varying numbers – so you can use it for counting, too. We’ve also enjoyed his I Spy on the Farm.

My Octopus Arms (Baker)

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This octopus talks with a crab about all the different things his arms can do and kids relate to that. They are learning to swing bats and stir pots and of course they all know the best thing about arms – hugging! The book is written in rhyme and there are several stanzas so if you feel the need to shorten it for any reason, it could easily be done. (That is a topic for another blog post.)

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish (Krosoczka)

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This title would be good for a young school-age read aloud as it deals with friendship and bullying behavior. The pictures are very colorful and easy to see but the content and the vocabulary are a bit advanced for the Preschool Storytime crowd. I do like how the friends work together to save Crab despite his earlier behavior.

Mister Seahorse (Carle)

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I read this book to Preschoolers because of length. The illustrations are beautiful and the kids find the clear but painted pages fascinating. I love that the story is all about fathers taking care of their babies. This one, too, would be an easy one to abridge if needed.

The interstitials (the space fillers):

Standing

This is a silly action rhyme to do with the kids and you get a few stretches and some movement in, too!

Have You Ever Been Fishing?

Have you ever been fishing
On a bright sunny day (cast fishing rod)
With all the little fishies
Swimmin’ up and down the bay (wiggle hands)
With your hands in your pockets
And your pockets in your pants (put hands in pockets)
and all the little fishies do the
Hootchy-Kootchy dance! (wiggle hips and do a dance)

Flannel Play

5 Little Fishes

5 little fishes swimming in the sea
First one said, “Come swim with me!”
Second one said, “This sea is deep”
Third one said, “I want to sleep”
Fourth one said, “Let’s dive and float”
Fifth one said, “I see a boat!”

The fishing boat comes
The line goes splash
And away those 5 little fishes dash

5 Little Fish

5 Little Jellyfish

5 little jellyfish swimming by the shore, the purple one got lost and that left 4.
4 little jellyfish swimming in the sea, the blue one swam far far away and that left 3.
3 little jellyfish in the ocean so blue, the pink one took a seahorse ride and that left 2.
2 little jellyfish swimming in the sun, the orange one took a dive and that left 1.
1 little jellyfish swimming all alone, it was time for him to go home and the left none.

I got these little guys from a Flannel Friday post and the ribbons really do make them the cutest things ever. I used eye stickers but googly eyes look terrific, too.

Jellyfish

5 Little Seahorses

5 little seahorses play on the ocean floor. One went to swim and that left 4.
4 little seahorses live in the sea. One went to be and that left 3.
3 little seahorses in the ocean blue. One went to play and that left 2.
2 little seahorses having some fun. One went home and that left 1.
1 little seahorse yes, just one. He swam away and that left none!

I found this in The GIANT Encyclopedia of Circle Time and Group Activities: For Children 3 to 6 (Charner) and used clip art on cardstock for the pieces.

5 Little Seahorses

Teasing Mr Shark

5 little fish swimming in the sea,
Teasing Mr. Shark, “You can’t catch me!”
Along come Mr. Shark as quiet as can be and
SNAPS that fish right out of the sea!
4,3,2,1

For the Toddlers, I usually have Mr. Shark sneeze and have all the fish be saved but Preschoolers get a little cautionary fish tale. 🙂

teasing mr shark

Songs

Row Row Row Your Boat

Row Row Row Your Boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily Merrily Merrily Merrily
Life is but a dream.

Alternate version:
Row Row Row Your Boat
Gently out to sea
If you see a great big shark
Don’t forget to scream – AHHHHHHHHHH!

(to the same tune)
Down down down we go
Into the deep blue sea
Deeper and deeper and deeper we go
What do you think we’ll see?

Use this last version to get them seated again and then dig into a bag of sea creature puppets, give clues to the animal, and let them guess what it is. For example: This animal has 8 legs…an octopus! This animal has a hard shell and moves sideways…a crab! etc.

Fingerplays

Out to Sea

A goldfish went out to sea sea sea (wiggle hand)
To see what she could see see see (hand to forehead to look far away)
But all that she could see see see (shrug shoulders and put hand to forehead to look far away)
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea (wiggle hand down low)

My Goldfish

My darling little goldfish (wiggle finger)
hasn’t any toes (point to toes)
He swims around without a sound (swim with finger)
and bumps his hungry nose (point to nose)
He can’t get out to play with me (point to self)
Nor I get in to him (point to kids)
Although I say, “Come out and play!” (come here motion with hand)
He says, “Come in and swim!” (paddle arms)

Crafts

Shark Head

Use large grey or blue rounded triangles for the head, a black half circle for the mouth and lots of little triangles for teeth and you have a pretty great shark head. The kids draw the eyes on. The sharks can be smiling or not.

The gluing and crayons work the fine motor skills. You can also encourage counting the teeth and using the head as a make-shift mask for imaginative play.

shark heads

Pet Goldfish

This craft is an easy way for kids to take home a pet! Well, sort of. You start with a hand drawn bowl copied on to colored paper. Then all you need are die cut fish or stickers. Stamps would work, too.  Let the kids decorate their fish and bowls in any way they want. No water to pour or spill.

They will be working their fine motor skills with the glue sticks and crayons.

fishbowl 2 fishbowl 1

Do you have any storytimes?

Go fish!

This week’s line up:

Toddler lineup:

Poem
Hooray for Fish! (Cousins)
stretch
ABCs song
5 Little Jellyfish flannel
I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (Sherry)
Row Row Row Your Boat song
Zoom Zoom Zoom song
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

Preschool lineup:
Poem
Mr. Seahorse (Carle)
stretch
ABCs
5 Little Jellyfish flannel
Hooray for Fish! (Cousins)
Row Row Row Your Boat song
Teasing Mr. Shark flannel
I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (Sherry)
Ran Sam Sam
Mascot visit
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear