Thursday, February 28, 2013

preschool visit: bear hugs

In a pinch, I've learned you can never go wrong with a bear theme; there are so many great books, flannel boards and crafts ideas, plus kids love bears.

Books Read:
Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See?- Martin
Three Bears- Barton (one of my all time favorite read aloud books)
In My Den- Gillingham

Flannel Board:

“Little Bear, Little Bear,
Are you hiding under there?”

I hid my little brown bear behind a felt shape and let the kids find him. Simple idea but the kids enjoy it.

As usual, the hit of the day was my Bear puppet. I’m not sure who likes this guy more - me or the kids! Mr Bear hides down in the tree trunk and we try to wake him up with the adorable song:

(tune Frere Jacque)
Where is bear? Where is bear?
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you this winter?
Very tired, thank you.
Go to sleep. Go to sleep.
(Have kids shout “WAKE UP BEAR” to do the song again.)

I found some bear clip art that I printed out on brightly colored card stock for the kids. We decorated them with crayons and stickers, and taped them to popsicle sticks to create cute bear puppets to take home.

preschool visit: birthdays are the best


There are so many wonderful picture books about birthdays! In fact, I was so inspired by all the great ideas that I found on this theme, I decided to break it into 

  • Balloons
  • Birthday Cakes  
  • Presents.

Today’s theme: Birthdays & Balloons!

Books Read:
Spot’s Birthday Party – Hill
Pop Went Another Balloon- Faulkner
Blue Balloon – Inkpen
If You Give a Pig a Party- Numeroff

Flannel Story: Balloon Song

Before reading Faulkner’s book, the kids and I did one of my favorite fingerplays: Blow the Balloon!

First I show the kids my magic (invisible!) balloon, maybe we pick a color for it. Then I’ll ask them, “Did you bring your balloons today? Let’s see them!” Usually the kids all take out their pretend balloons and we start to blow them up, singing:
“Blow the balloon – fffffff (make your hands get further apart on your balloon with each blow)
Blow the balloon –ffff
Blow, and blow and blow and blow and blow and blow!
CLAP! – where did my balloon go? (the kids love to yell out: you popped it!)

After this fun fingerplay, I brought out my pig hand puppet & told the children, “This is my friend Penelope Pig. She loves to blow up BIG balloons but she HATES when she pops them!”

This was the perfect intro for my flannel story “Balloon Song.” I have ten felt balloons in all different colors. You could pass them out so the kids bring them up to the flannel board but the children in this class were pretty young so I placed them on the board myself. We sang

“Piggy had a red balloon
She blew and blew all day
Her mother said you better stop!
OOOPS! (clap)
Too late, she popped it!

I sang it to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel.

I found this great flannel idea here:

The author of this blog also recommended leading into Pop Went Another Balloon right after Balloon Song because you can pull your felt balloons off the board as you read the story. What an amazing idea!

We had a cute balloon craft to end the program. I used some free balloon clip art, cut them out so the kids could decorate with crayons and stickers.  We tied strings on the end so they looked like real balloons!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

baby & me: things that go

Today’s baby theme was things that go: CARS and TRAINS!

Books Read:
Maisy’s Train- Lucy Cousins (used my awesome train whistle for the “toot toot” in this story)
Red Light Green Light – Anastasia Suen (sing the words to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star")

Flannel Board:

Here Comes the Choo Choo Train by Judy Sierra
Here comes the choo choo train
Chugging down the track
First comes the engine
The freight cars are in back
Now the bells are ringing
Now the whistle blows
What a lot of noise it makes
Everywhere it goes!

Then ask “what is missing from the train? The caboose!”

Other highlights included the Itsy Bitsy Spider (with spider finger puppet), Row Row Row Your Boat & You Are My Sunshine. Despite a crowded room and a more active group than usual, the babies loved both books and the flannel board. Afterward, one adult told me she was a preschool teacher and my program was wonderful so that was nice!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

preschool program: penguins

Today's theme was PENGUINS and SNOW!

Books Read:
Snow Bugs- David Carter
Penguins, Penguins Everywhere – Bob Barner
Oh- Kevin Henkes
If You Were a Penguin- Wendell & Florence Minor
Soup for One- Ethan Long

Other Possibilities:
Polar Bear Polar Bear, What Do You Hear- Martin/Carle
Mice On Ice- Emberley
I Like It When – Mary Murphy

Flannel Story:

“Five Little Penguins Standing Still” from


Hand puppet song:
Penguin, Penguin, Flap your little wings!
Penguin, Penguin, Flap your little wings!
Eating fish, you swim all day!
You can’t fly but that’s okay!
Penguin, Penguin, Flap your little wings!

Peter and Paul fingerplay:
Two little penguins sitting on the ice
One bows once, the other bows twice
Waddle away penguins! Waddle away!
Come back penguins! Time to play!

If you'd like to make the adorable felt penguin finger puppets pictured above, I found a wonderful website with step by step instructions and templates here:

We made penguin puppets from craft foam with cotton ball bellies (adapted from

9 kids attended, great group!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

toddler time: crazy about cars

Our toddler theme today was CARS!

Books to Read:
Brownie and Pearl Go for a Spin by Cynthia Rylant (I’m a big fan of Brownie & Pearl!)
In the Driver’s Seat by Max Haynes
Red Light, Green Light by Anastasia Suen
My Car by Byron Barton

Cute "Car Related" Fingerplays:
I’m Driving in My Car (Drive with pretend steering wheel)
Old MacDonald Had a Car
Twinkle, Twinkle Traffic Light

Flannel Story:

Lots of Cars
There are lots of cars driving down the street
(Hands on steering wheel, turning back and forth)
Tell me what color car do you see?
(Place a felt car on the board)
“I see a red car.”
Big cars, Little Cars,
(Spread arms for big, bring hands close for little)
Beep, beep, beep(Hand taps nose three times)
(Repeat until all cars are on the board)


Wheels on the Car
We gave the children cars cut from cardstock and two wheels each.  Use paper fasteners to create cars with moveable wheels.  We decorated our cars with crayons & star stickers!
Nice template at:

Friday, February 15, 2013

baby & me: look of love

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays so I was happy to get the chance to plan a Baby program all about love, kisses and hugs!

Books to Read:
Smile by Roberta Grobel Intrater (Babypages series is great for lapsit programs)
Peek A Love by Salina Yoon (love her!)
Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli
A Kiss Like This by Mary Murphy

Finger puppets:
"Two Little Love Birds"

2 little love birds sitting in a tree

One names Doug, one named Dee
Fly away Doug, fly away Dee
Come back Doug, come back Dee!

Red Heart, red heart what do you see?
I see a green heart looking at me!

Great turnout today: 8 babies and 12 adults
Really nice group, very fun program!

new stuff!

Like most people, I LOVE new stuff, so i was thrilled when my branch got a mini-makeover earlier this month with fresh paint, new carpet/tile and completely different furniture. Some of my favorite additions:

Our new "Kids Korner!"
Everyone LOVES the brightly colored, puffy kid sized chairs.

My new Eric Carle carpet!
The babies at my Baby & Me program yesterday were amazed by the gorgeous animals; everyone kept bending over to touch them, it was adorable to watch. The kids at Toddler Time today had a simliar reaction. I love it!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

first post!

I've been trying to think of something clever to write for my posting "debut" & to be honest, its been a lot of pressure! So here it is: I am a librarian and I love lists. For over 17 years, I've done all kinds of programs for children and this seems to be the best way to keep track of it all. So I'm giving this blog stuff a try and we'll see how it goes!