Tuesday, July 30, 2013

stuffed animal sleepover @ the library

One of my favorite programs that I plan here is the Stuffed Animal Sleepover. We host one every year, usually in the summer. It is a bit more labor intensive than most of our other programs and I can feel kind of rushed (STRESSED!!!) because of the short time frame. This year I was extremely organized for once and everything went really smoothly. The kids and parents really enjoy it and that makes all the hard work worthwhile.

We usually sign up around twenty children and recommend ages 4 & older. We tell them to wear their pjs and bring a stuffed animal to leave in the library for a slumber party. I always have a few extra in case someone forgets. 

We start out reading some fun bedtime books, then we do a craft and say our goodbyes. After the kids are gone, I take pictures of the animals doing silly things like having pizza, playing games, making craft projects, etc., as well as a photo of the entire group together. I only have about 20 minutes so I have to be lightning fast. After work, I upload the pics to our local CVS & pick them up first thing in the morning so that I can make little keepsakes for each child to take home.

Books We Read:
Bed Bugs- Carter
Papa Please Get the Moon for Me- Eric Carle
The Stuffed Animals Get Ready for Bed- Alison Inches (To make this one more interactive for my young listeners, I printed clipart pics of all the animals in the book. I told the kids to listen for their animals and bring them up to me so we could tuck them in to sleep (under brightly colored felt sheets. It worked great! I found this idea on one of the best blogs ever: Thrive After Three)

Songs We Sang:

The Bear Song (tune: Row Row Row Your Boat)
Hug, hug, hug your bear
Squeeze him very tight
Hold him high
Help him fly
Then hug with all your might!

I added this second verse myself:
Kiss kiss kiss your bear
Kiss your bear good night
Kiss him once
Kiss him twice
Then we say good night!

We made stars and moon doorknob hangers decorated with sparkly star stickers, kind of like the one here.

As children finished up their craft and filled out their nametags, we read Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown to the stuffed animals. Then, we kissed them good night!

The next morning all the animals were sitting at the craft tables patiently waiting to be picked up by their families, along with a few goodies like notepads, playing cards, free cookie coupons from Panera and photos of the slumber party. It was a great program and I'm already looking forward to next summer!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

toddler time: monkey see

MONKEYS were the theme for today’s toddler program.

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a monkey puppet. What does a monkey say? What do monkeys LOVE to eat? I handed out paper bananas in various colors for the toddlers to hold.

Books We Read:
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed- Eileen Christelowe
Monkey See, Look at Me- Lorena Siminovich
Noodle Loves the Zoo
If You’re Happy and You Know It- David Carter

More Great Monkey Related Books:
Banana - Ed Vere
Two Little Monkeys- Mem Fox
Count the Monkeys - Mac Barnett

Flannel Story: Counting Bananas

I love my new monkey in a barrel puppet! I plan to use him for Baby & Me too!

5 yellow bananas, and not one more.
The monkey ate one, & then there were 4
4 yellow bananas, so yummy to see.
The monkey ate one, & then there were 3
3 yellow bananas, & he knew what to do.
The monkey ate one, & then there were 2
2 yellow bananas, hanging in the sun.
The monkey ate one, & then there as 1
1 yellow banana, well for goodness sake.
The monkey ate that one, & he got a tummyache
Now there are no little bananas hanging on the tree
Monkey, your tummy wouldn’t hurt if you shared them with me!

I made monkey stick puppets for this rhyme:

I printed these from clipart on my color printer.

Two little monkeys swinging in a tree
One named Lou, one named Lee
Swing away Lou, Swing away Lee
Swing back Lou, Swing back Lee!

Other Monkey Rhymes:

Five Little Monkeys Sitting In a Tree
5 little monkeys sitting in a tree,
Teasing Mr. Crocodile: “can’t catch me!”
Along comes Mr. Crocodile, quiet as can be.
4 little monkeys . . .
3 little monkeys . . .
2 little monkeys . . .
1 little monkey . . .
no little monkeys sitting in a tree.
away Swims Mr. Crocodile, full as can be.

“I’m a Little Monkey” (tune: “I’m a little Teapot”)
I’m a little monkey, small and brown.
I can reach up and then touch the ground.
I can swing my tail and turn around.
I can jump up and then sit down.

Color Monkeys (tune: Frere Jacques) Great for finger puppets!
I’m a red monkey, I’m a red monkey.
look and see, look and see.
If you have a red banana, if you have a red banana,
Please bring it to me, please bring it to me.
Repeat with other colors, inviting children to place their bananas on the flannelboard when their colors are called

Colorful monkeys with pipe cleaner arms & legs

Paper bananas & today's monkey craft.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

baby & me: hold your horses

Our theme for today’s baby program was HORSES & FARMS

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a horse puppet. What does a horse say?

Books We Read:
Farm – James Brown (We sang Old Mac Donald to four animals in this book)
Giddy Up! Let’s Ride- Flora MacDonell

Flannel Story: I Gave My Horse an Apple

I gave my horse an apple
And he gave me a NEIGH!
I gave my horse a carrot &
He turned his head this way.
I gave my horse some sugar
And he gave me a smile
And took me for a ride that lasted half a mile!

I found this cute felt story on a great blog called In the Children's Room.

Puppet:  Barnyard Friends

We sang “When Cows Get up in the Morning” for three of the little puppets in this set. I also used my horse puppet to play peek-a-boo with the babies.

Where is Horse? Peek a BOO!
Where is Horse? Peek a BOO!
Where is Horse? Peek a BOO!
Peek a boo to Horsie!
(tune: Skip to My Lou)

We had a great group of babies today! One of the moms stopped on her way in to tell me how much I was missed while I was on vacation earlier this month. So nice to hear!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

elephant & piggie party

Yesterday, we threw an awesome party for Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie characters! Everyone had a lot of fun and I can't wait to do it again someday. I've been a huge fan of Mo Willems for a long time; his books are almost always hilarious and extremely kid friendly. 

The most difficult part about planning this party was choosing from all the great Elephant & Piggie books. We read four:

We Are In a Book

Watch Me Throw the Ball

There Is a Bird on Your Head

and my personal favorite, Should I Share My Ice Cream!

My co-worker Linda and I read each story together with me taking the elephant lines and her reading the piggie lines. I even made animal headbands for us to wear during our "performance". I also brought in a bird nest for my head. Luckily, it stayed on and the kids laughed in all the right places.

After the reading, we had games, crafts and refreshments. I put out mini beach balls and a big red tub so the kids could see how far they could throw the balls, just like in the story. I also made some bird nests from paper lunch bags filled with plastic eggs so they could try walking with a bird nest on their heads. We had an Elephant & Piggie coloring sheet printed on cardstock so they could color, cut and tape on popsicle sticks to create their very own stick puppets.

And since it is July, we just had to serve some ice cream of course! We had a nice crowd for our program and some kids even brought their own stuffed versions of Elephant & Piggie. Maybe someday Linda & I can take our show on the road!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

toddler time: lions

Today’s toddler theme was LIONS!

Lion puppets, books and crafts!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a lion finger puppet

Books We Read:
Do Lions Live on Lily Pads- Melanie Walsh
One Yellow Lion - Matthew Van Fleet
We’re Going on a Lion Hunt- Margery Cuyler
Says Who- David Carter

Flannel Story: Deep in the Jungle

Deep in the Jungle
What did I hear?
Five ferocious lions
Roaring loud and clear
ROAR said the lions
SCAT said I
And one ferocious lion ran away
Good bye!

My lions are clip art that I printed in various sizes and laminated.

Puppet: We used our lion stick puppets for:

Rhyme #1
Lions UP, Lions DOWN
Hold your lion and turn around!
Lions UP, Lions DOWN
Put your lions on the ground.

Rhyme #2
(tune: Frere Jacques)
I’m a lion, I’m a lion
Yes I am! Yes I am!
Listen to me talk now, Listen to me talk now
I’m a lion! I’m a lion!

We made cute lion paper bag puppets today! I found the template here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

baby & me: here are a few of my favorite things...

Our baby theme for today was Miss Amy’s Favorite Things

I was running short on time this morning so I pulled some of my most favorite, "no fail" books and rhymes.

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found two pretty bluebirds! What does a bird say? Tweet Tweet!

I cut my birdies from blue foam sheets and put them on popsicle sticks. We used them for the rhyme below.

Books We Read:
Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? – Karen Katz (We have a larger board book version, very colorful! We all point to the body parts as we read this book))
Moo Baa La La La- Boynton (Extra fun because the parents joined in with the animal sounds!)
Smile – Intrater (You can never go wrong with cute photos of adorable babies, plus the short text is great for this age group.)

Flannel Story: Popcorn!

I found this flannel idea at Mel’s Desk – thanks, Mel!!! This flannel board is so cute!

Next time, I will have the parents join in more because I think the babies would enjoy a nice loud POP! Maybe I’ll use my drum.

Five little kernels sitting in the pot
All of the sudden, one went POP!
(count down to 4,3,2,1)

Puppet: Two Little Bluebirds
Two little bluebirds sitting on a cloud
One named Quiet, one named Loud
Fly away Quiet, Fly away Loud
Come back Quiet, Come back Loud!

We had a fun group today with about 16 babies and 17 adults. I missed my babies last week when I was on vacation and the previous week for the July 4th holiday, so it was wonderful to see everyone.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

preschool fun: fruity fun

CROCODILES & FRUITS were the themes of our preschool program today.

Books We Read:
Whose Nose- Rowe
The Watermelon Seed- Pizzoli
Land Ahoy, Mr Croc- Lodge
Go Go Grapes-Sayre
Do Crocs Kiss?- Yoon

Also Read:
Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus - Dean (LOVE this new book!)

Flannel Story: Yummy Watermelon 

A fun counting flannel that goes from one to ten.
(for more info, click here)

Fruit Songs and Rhymes:

Strawberries, Bananas, Watermelon Too! 
(Sing to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”)
Strawberries, bananas, watermelon too; 
Good for me and good for you! 
They are tasty; they are sweet. 
All are such a yummy treat. 
Strawberries, bananas, watermelon too; 
Good for me and good for you!

Two Big Lemons
(Sung to: This Old Man) 
Way up high, in a tree (hold hands up as high as possible)Two big lemons smiled at me 
(put hand on cheeks smile)So I shook that tree with all my power; (Pretend to shake a tree)
Down came the lemons, whoa, they were SOUR!! (make sour face)


I found these adorable crocodile puppets on author Jeanette Rowe's website (click here) and they were super easy to make. I printed the templates on green cardstock, we cut them out in advance and the kids just decorated and attached the popsicle sticks.

toddler time: going to the zoo

ZOO ANIMALS were the theme for this week's toddler program.

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a giraffe!

Books We Read:
Dear Zoo- Campbell
Safari Animals- Taback
Zookeeper Sue- Demarest
From Head to Toe- Carle

Flannel Story: We’re Going to the Zoo

We sang this song and put the matching clip art animal onto the flannel board at the appropriate time:

We’re going to the Zoo, We’re going to the Zoo
I think we’ll see a (lion, tiger, monkey, penguin, etc) there
We’re going to the zoo!

Most of these animals are from the wonderful free site sweetclipart.com

We made these adorable yellow giraffe puppet crafts today.

toddler time: fishy fun

Well, I'm officially back from a wonderful vacation to Colorado so catching up on a few of last week's programs. 

FISH were the theme for today’s toddler program.

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a fish puppet!

Books We Read:
Fish, Swish! Splash, Dash! – MacDonald
Hooray for Fish- Cousins
Fish Eyes- Ehlert

Flannel Story: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish


I made fish stick puppets for all the toddlers today and we did two fun rhymes with them:

Rhyme #1:
Fish up, fish down
Hold your fish and turn around
Fish up, Fish down
Put your fishie on the ground

Rhyme #2:
Two little fishies sitting in a bowl
One named Jane, one named Joel
Swim away Jane, Swim away Joel
Come back Jane, comeback Joel!


Fish bowls (cut from blue construction paper) filled with colorful paper fish