Friday, June 15, 2018

toddler time: props for BUTTERFLY theme

Today, we featured a Butterfly Toddler Time and I made a couple of exciting  new additions to my previous programs.

At the Dollar store, i found this super cute butterfly headband!! i love to wear fun hats at my programs.

then, i made these cute red paper caterpillars to hand out to all the kids. i found these in the teacher section at the dollar store also! just added sticky eyes and a smiley mouth before the program.

finally, i found a cute Butterfly Colors Song on Youtube so i printed clipart props to go with each verse of the song.

of course we had to make plastic bag/tissue paper butterflies for our craft. love this theme!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

toddler time: city slickers

this was a rough week for me. i have been drowning in both summer reading and end of the year class visits. on thursday afternoon, i found myself without any plans for toddler time the next day & panic set in as i scrambled to choose themes, pull books, prepare a craft, etc.

so, clearly the smart thing would have been to find a previously used theme that i hadn't done in a while and use it again. that would have been too easy, i can never do easy.

luckily, a couple of weeks ago, i'd stumbled upon a fun Laurie Berkner song about elevators so i decided to plan a CITY theme around it. 

then Jbrary's City Kids blog post gave me a ton of other amazing ideas!

i even found not just one, but two super quick crafts that were great for my theme. 

and once everything fell into place, it turned out to be one of my favorite programs ever, mostly thanks to Laurie and Jbrary!

Mystery Box: Inside our mystery box, we found a book about NYC!  That’s where you live! It looks very colorful!

We read the story...

Books We Read:
New York: A Book of Colors (Hello World)- Evanson
My Little Cities: New York- Adams (focuses on opposites)

I'm saving the Wheels At Work book for an upcoming truck themed program but it also would be great for a city or things that go theme.

Flannel Board: One Little House

I just printed some simple clipart houses for the fun fingerplay that I found on jbrary and it was perfect! We said it a second time using our fingers & hands instead of the flannel board.

One little house all alone it stood
Then another was built
There grows the neighborhood!

Repeat for 2,3,4 little houses then...

Five little houses
All together they stood

On a beautiful street in a happy neighborhood.

the craziest thing happened during session #1 when I realized that I had stupidly left my clipart houses sitting neatly on my desk in my office. I tried to resign myself to the fact that I had no choice but to skip my flannel board segment but it was a huge disappointment. 

fortunately, I took a risk and decided to make an emergency dash to my office. I asked everyone to sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider while I left the room for a minute. I started the song for them then ran as fast as my heels would let me. I was worried it might break the flow of the program but it really didn’t so I was glad I didn’t have to skip my flannel board. It all worked out!

Prop Song: Waiting for the Elevator by Laurie Berkner

First, we sang The Elevator Song like JBRARY. Very fun! the toddlers loved the up & down part so we did it twice.

Oh the city is great and the city is grand
There's a whole lot of people
on a little piece of land
And we live way up on the 57th floor
and this is what we do when we go out the door.
We take the elevator up and the elevator down,
take the elevator up, take the elevator down
Take the elevator up and the elevator down
and we turn around.

Then I told them that I had another elevator song, who wanted to go for a ride with me?

I made very simple props to go with the AMAZING song!

I printed large numbers in circles for my elevator buttons to go with each floor we would visit in the song. 

I printed a pic of each animal in the song too. 

I would alternate my floor number with the correct animal pic and flip thru the pages kind of like i was reading them my own homemade book. Hope this is making sense, kinda hard to explain. 

As we sang each verse I would hang up the pic of the animal so we could refer back to it whenever it was mentioned later during the song. Everyone loved it of course bc Laurie Berkner is the BEST!!! Many of the parents asked me for her name so they could find her songs at home.

Craft #1: Statue of Liberty printable

As I worked on this theme I had no idea what kind of craft I was going to come up with but this one saved the day, especially since I was really crunched for time. I printed them, then let the kids & parents color & cut. it was fun to see Lady Liberty in all different colors!

Craft #2: Taxi puppets

Also printed taxis on yellow cardstock for kids to color & cut.

I put out popsicle sticks so they could make puppets if they wanted. I think everyone appreciated the element of choice today!

We actually had two perfectly sized groups and plenty of craft materials to go around. Loved this theme! Turned out to be a great day! 

one of my grandmothers told me that her grandson mentioned me constantly on their recent trip to Miami & whenever they asked if he wanted to go to the beach or aquarium, he would reply "go to library, see Amy" -- too cute!

Friday, June 1, 2018

toddler time: prop song for BALLOON theme

today, we had a wonderful program all about BALLOONS!

inside my mystery box, i found three balloons. i actually pulled out the blue one first & blew it up, then we sang this song:

Oh I wish i was a bouncy blue balloon! (clap clap)
Oh I wish i was a bouncy blue balloon! (clap clap)
i would float up in the air
then i'd POP without a care!
Oh I wish i was a bouncy blue balloon! (clap clap)

when i pulled out the next balloon, i asked everyone to guess what color it was, then I'd repeat the song with the new color. it was awesome!

my first group barely made it thru the Faulkner book, which usually works great for me. maybe too long? with a HUGE group for my second session, i skipped it completely and only read the Yonezu book which everyone LOVED!!!!! no time for the rabbit one today but i think its a good choice for this theme.

i found an amazing song for my balloon prop song!! It's Maple Leaf Learning's Balloon Song. after waaayyy too much time deliberating the best & easiest way to make my balloons, i decided to cut them from construction paper, then laminate for durability. i tried to find clipart ones but couldn't find exactly what i had in mind. anyway, i hot glued clothespins to the backs to make my balloons easier to hold. 

this simple song was a highlight of the program!! just pulled them from my basket box one at a time as we sang the song.

toddler time: prop song for FRUIT theme

at last week's Toddler Time, we read Eric Carle's  The Very Hungry Caterpillar, made paper loop caterpillars and played VHC hide & seek with felt fruits on the flannel board. 

I really wanted to add one more fun song & luckily, I stumbled onto Laurie Berkner's Fruit Salad Salsa. i knew that with the right fruit clipart, it would be a really fun prop song!

I found mangoes, papayas, pineapples, oranges, apples and bananas, mostly on etsy. i laminated my fruit & attached it to popsicle sticks to make puppets for this adorable song. 

don't forget a maraca! i was actually considering giving all the kids maracas too, but with two huge groups it would have been complete chaos. with a smaller group, i think it would be fun!

it was AMAZING!!!

to listen to Laurie, click HERE


Friday, May 18, 2018

toddler time: a shape in my pocket!

Mystery Box: Today we found something sticking out of our polkadot box! The lid is popping off! It’s Peekaboo Octopus!

Octopus has lots of legs and also POCKETS! Let’s look inside his pockets & see what’s there.

Prop Song: There’s Something in My Pocket

Modified from Jean Warren. She calls it the "Surprise Apron" Song. I don't have one of those so i used the octopus instead!

After we found a circle, a triangle and a square, we matched each shape to the correct box...

...and checked out the other items inside!

I love these boxes from Lakeshore Learning! Our CIRCLE box contained a cookie & a wheel! Our TRIANGLE box held a watermelon slice as well as a slice of pizza. The SQUARE one had a present and a waffle inside. I was nervous this activity might be too long for their attention spans but I’m really happy that I gave it a try because I think it really helped to show the kids “real life” shapes.

Prop Song #2: Hold Your Shapes

At this point, I handed out clip art shapes to each child asking, “what shape do you have?” Then, we sang:

Hold your circles high
Triangles touch the ground
Put your squares on your head
Let’s all spin around!

Put your circle on your shoulder
Square jump up & down
If you have a triangle
Wave it all around!

The tune I used is The Farmer in the Dell. Most of the kids just did the whole song no matter what shape they held but it was very fun! My adorable clipart shapes were purchased on ETSY.

Books We Read:
Peek in My Pocket- Carter (sooo cute, really held their attention!)

Flannel Board: Shape Monster

Shape Monster is so hungry! Good thing he brought his lunch today!

Do you think Shape Monster eats pizza???? NOOOOO!
Do you think he likes cookies? NOOOOOOOOOO!
Do you think he eats SHAPES????? YESSS!
Let’s see what he brought for lunch today! 
Do you think we’ll find shapes in his lunch box? 

Shape Monster, Shape Monster
How about a triangle for your lunch??

I used these Target felt shapes that I LOVE! We repeated the rhyme for each shape as I placed it on the board. When all the shapes were on the board, I showed them the empty lunch box & said...

Shape Monster, Shape Monster
Hope you enjoyed your yummy shaped lunch!

How many shapes did the Shape Monster eat today? We counted them up together.

Craft: Shape Necklaces

I purchased yarn laces & foam beads; one bag of beads was enough for both sessions today so it wasn’t too expensive in the end. I was able to give everyone a pretty decent amount of beads, too.

I also printed some shapes on white paper for kids to color, trace, practice scissor skills or make into popsicle stick Shape Puppets.

A wonderful theme today! Everything went really well! Session #1 was decent sized, about 18 kids. Session #2 was huge so we skipped the Hold Your Shapes part bc I was afraid that a.) I might run out of shapes and b.) handing out shapes might end with total chaos. As Pete the Cat always says, it’s all good!

Friday, May 11, 2018

toddler time: marvelous moms 2

Mystery Box: Today we found 5 little monkeys in our polkadot box! 

I put them on my hand then we counted them together. I handed out monkey popsicle stick puppets for all the kids and we did “Hold Your Monkey Up High”

Before we started Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed,  I told everyone that someone we really need is missing for this story: MAMA MONKEY!

I made my monkey puppet a little headband this morning using some elastic & a plastic flower – so cute!

Puppet Song: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

At the end, I asked how many monkeys were left? None!

“Thank goodness!” said the Mama Monkey. “Now I can go to bed!”

Books We Read:
Little White Fish - Guido van Genechten

The Little White Fish books are so awesome! this one is perfect for today's theme and its the perfect length for toddlers. the color & animal identification on each page makes the story super interactive.

Flannel Board: Five Little Flower Baskets

I adapted this rhyme from one we did a couple years ago. Then, I used kid's names and gave the baskets to their moms. Today, i decided to use puppets and to be a little more inclusive, we gave them to special ladies instead.

5 flower baskets sitting on the floor
Hedgehog gave one to his grandma
Now there are 4

4 flower baskets pretty as can be
Elephant gave one to his aunt
Now there are 3

3 flower baskets of purple, red & blue
Penguin gave one to his babysitter
Now there are 2

2 flower baskets bright as the sun
Hamster gave one to his neighbor
Now there is 1

One flower basket a very special one
Baby Bird gave it to his mom
Now there are NONE!

Craft #1: Mother’s Day Flower Seed Packets

I printed seed packet templates from TPT on pretty paper for the kids to color. After the grown ups tape it up, I add a spoonful of seeds so they can plant them at home.

Craft #2: We also made pretty flowers using green straws and colorful cardstock! Found the idea & free template HERE.

Both sessions really excellent and normal sized YAY! I liked most everything about this program! I heard some of the parents comment how cute the crafts were so that was nice.

Friday, May 4, 2018

toddler time: don't count your buttons!

Mystery Box: Today, we found PETE THE CAT in our polkadot box! Can you say hello to Pete?

i love love love this puppet! actually i love anything Pete related! i have been a huge fan ever since I Love My White Shoes.

Pete the Cat Puppet Song: 

Who do we love? Pete the cat, Pete the cat, Pete the cat!
Who do we love? Pete the cat

Check out Pete's shirt! what color is it? YELLOW!!

Pete the cat wears a yellow shirt, yellow shirt, yellow shirt
Pete the cat wears a yellow shirt 

What does Pete have on his feet? Shoes! What colors are they?

Pete the cat wears two cool shoes, two cool shoes, two cool shoes
Pete the cat wears two cool shoes 

What are these things on Pete's shirt? Buttons! Who else has buttons today? Let's count them together!

Pete the Cat has 4 little buttons, 4 little buttons, 4 little buttons
Pete the Cat has 4 little buttons 

Guess what! Pete actually has one more button! would you like to see it? His belly button!!!! 

i lifted Pete's shirt to show his little white belly button and many of the kids lifted their own shirts & dresses to show me theirs! it was hilarious!

Books We Read:
Pete the Cat & His Four Groovy Buttons - Litwin

Prop Song: Hold Your Button Up!

Of course, this morning i suddenly decided that i needed paper buttons to hand out at the program so i printed & cut 60 paper buttons. if that wasn't enough last minute work, i thought wouldn't it be great if i used a hole punch to make real button holes so there i am, 20 minutes before class, hole punching away! am i the only person to come up with these awesome last minute ideas? i cannot be the only one who does this. i feel like a crazy person sometimes! but it was great handing them out to the kids! then i'd hold up each color & ask who has a pink button? whose is red? etc. 


Flannel Board: Pete’s Missing Buttons

Pete is so sad! He cannot find any of his groovy buttons. Maybe one of his friends found a button! Can you help me look?

Pete lost all his buttons! Where can they be?
Does Elmo have a button?
Let’s look & see!
(REVEAL! Repeat with the other characters until all the buttons are found & count them up.)

i used real plastic buttons with sticky velcro dots on the back so they are a little small but the kids didn't care one bit. the kids loved finding out what color button was under each of Pete's "friends."

Craft: Pete the Cat Paper Plate Craft

I printed & pre-cut paper Petes for everyone to color. then we glued them onto mini paper plates. We had some adorable button stickers so we decorated our plates with those, then attached a white ribbon for easy hanging.

My first session was a little wild at first but pretty great. the second one was completely mobbed! Some of the moms asked if I needed a drink afterward, it was that crazy!! 

Luckily, today’s theme was super fun, everyone loved Pete the Cat! I loved my puppet song! And the flannel board game was awesome! Craft was fun too. A fun day but hopefully things are a little bit calmer next week. Considering changing to a ticketed system to keep the number of kids to a reasonable number.