Friday, December 19, 2014

toddler time: mouse tales

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a red box! What’s in our little box? MICE!
What color are our mice? White! 

I walked around and let everyone touch or inspect the mice.

We passed out paper mice to everyone & sang:

Hold your mouse up, hold your mouse down
Hold your mouse & turn around
Hold your mouse up, hold your mouse down
Put your mouse on the ground.

Books We Read: 
Sheila Rae’s Peppermint Stick- Henkes
Lunch- Fleming

Prop Story: Hickory Dickory Dock

I made some adorable clipart mouse puppets using MS Word. I love how you can edit the art however you like! I was able to change their fur and boot colors to create some variety and increase visual interest.

I was also happy for another chance to use my clock prop!! And most of the rhyme was so familiar, many of the adults joined right in! This is one of the first fingerplays I learned when I started as a children's librarian so for once, no cheat sheet stashed behind the flannel board was necessary!

Hickory, dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
The mouse ran down
Hickory, dickory dock

Hickory, dickory dock
ANOTHER mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck 2 (clap 1,2)
The mouse said “BOOO!”
Hickory, dickory dock

Hickory, dickory dock
The third mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck 3 (clap 1 2 3)
The mouse said “wheeeee!”
Hickory, dickory dock

Hickory, dickory dock
The last mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck 4 (clap 1 2 3 4)
The mouse said “No More!”
Hickory, dickory dock


I originally wanted to do paper plate mice but I was crunched for time and worried about passing out lots of supplies like pom pom noses, yarn for tails, wiggle eyes, paper ears, etc. with a possibly large group. 

So I found a cute mouse to color. THE DAY BEFORE of course! I hate waiting until the day before, but it happens for the best sometimes!! Anyways, I scanned it and flipped the image so our craft could be two sided and I printed on cardstock (two mice to a page or 4 half mice)

The kids colored the mouse, the moms cut it out and folded it in half. I passed out ½ pipe cleaners in all sorts of colors for the tail, which was glued in the middle of the fold like a sandwich. I also gave out small pieces of red ribbon to make a hanger. Very cute and easy too!

I basically built today’s program around the Henke’s peppermint book which I LOVE! It might have been a little sophisticated for the little ones but I tried to make it fun for all with an extra animated reading. My favorite program elements were the prop rhyme and the craft. The Folkmanis Mice in a Box puppet was awesome though!!! We had a surprisingly large group but things went great! A little loud but not too bad, and many adults complimented me at the end. 

And now I get a nice little break until January 2! 

Although (of course) my mind is already working on toddler ideas for next month….

baby & me: happy holidays!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found some bells! Perfect for our first book, please sing along with me, you know the song!

Dashing through the snow...

Books We Read: 
Jingle Bells- (an amazing, last minute pick from the sale rack at B & N but I loved having everyone sing along. Not too Christmas-y but still festive!!)
With Love From Maisy- Cousins

The other books would have been great too!

Flannel Story: Five Little Presents

I borrowed this from Storytime Secrets  and Library Village but I changed a couple of words/gifts around to make it slightly less Christmas-y.

Five little presents on a snowy floor,
Someone got a teddy bear! Now there are four.

Four little presents - what will they be?
Someone got a new book! Now there are three.

Three little presents - each brand-new.
Someone got ice skates! Now there are two.

Two little presents - what a lot of fun!
Someone got a a new drum! Now there is one.

One little present, the last gift of all,
Someone got mittens! And snow begins to fall.

Five little presents were opened with great cheer,
Have a happy holiday and a great new year!

Fun Holiday Song:

I found this awesome song for babies on Jbrary and So Tomorrow  and since the tune is We Wish You a Merry Christmas, it seemed perfect for the holidays! It was awesome and everyone loved it. 

Let's All Do a Little Clapping
Let's all do a little clapping
Let's all do a little clapping
Let's all do a little clapping
And bring a little cheer.

We also did some kicking, some stretching and some waving.

For toddlers, you could try: stomping, jumping, stretching, dancing, etc.

We had another great class today with lots of babies! I'm never sure how many to expect this time of year. Things were slightly more chaotic/noisy than I usually like, but I think people were just happy and talkative so I skipped a couple of rhymes to start playtime a few minutes early. Fun class!

Friday, December 12, 2014

toddler time: reach for the moon & catch a star

Today, our toddler theme was the MOON and STARS!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a moon and a star! 

We passed out colorful foam stars to everyone & sang:

Hold your star up, hold your star down
Hold your star & turn around
Hold your star up, hold your star down
Put your star on the ground.

Books We Read: 
What the Moon Sees- Tafuri
Goodnight Moon 123- Brown
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star- Cabrera (sang just a few pages of this one, they got restless fast!)

Flannel Story: Five Little Stars and the Moon Too

I found this fun flannel board idea on Read Rabbit Read.

Five little stars shine and shine some more,
One fell to the earth and then there were four.
Four little stars, happy as can be,
One fell to the earth and then there were three.
Three little stars in a sky so blue,
One fell to the earth and then there were two.
Two little stars, having lots of fun,
One fell to the earth and then there was one.
One little star left all alone,
That one fell to earth and then there were none.
The moon came out- what a pretty sight!
He waved to the stars and he said goodnight.

Of course I brought out my moon puppet at the end of the rhyme. I also brought out our xylophone toy and when each star fell from the sky, I played a few notes. It seemed to really keep their attention! A great last minute idea!!

Puppet Song: Hey Diddle Diddle

I put my clip art for this rhyme onto popsicle sticks and held them up one at a time as I said the rhyme. I don’t do a lot with nursery rhymes but this one really held their attention.

Hey Diddle Diddle
The cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon
The little dog laughed to see such a sight
And the dish ran away with the spoon!

Craft: Moon Art

First, I printed some moon faces onto yellow paper and I cut some blue circles. The kids colored the moons with crayons then we glued the moons to the blue circles. 

We decorated our artwork with star stickers and glued the whole thing to a mini paper plate to make it more sturdy. We also taped blue ribbons on the back to make them easier to hang.

A lovely class today with lots of toddlers but this group was very attentive and on the quiet side at first. I was very happy with my book and song selections and the craft was great. We don't have stickers that often so it always feels special when I pass them out! Another fun morning! I love my job (-:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

baby & me: give me a hand (or a foot or a belly, etc.!)

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a pig! What does a pig say? Do you have any piggies? Your toes are your piggies!

Puppet Rhyme: This Little Piggy

I found this clipart on sale at so I made it into little stick puppets for this well known nursery rhyme that is just perfect for toes.

This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed home
This little piggy ate roast beef
This little piggy had none
And this little piggy cried wee wee wee 
all the way home.

Books We Read: 
Where Is Baby’s Yummy Tummy? - Katz
Here Are My Hands- Martin
Whose Toes are Those?- Asim

Flannel Story: Hands Are Clapping

I’ve been searching for a good flannel board about body parts and I finally found this one on Mel’s Desk. I also found a Jbrary video for it on youtube. 

I just printed some clipart pictures for each verse. Its nice because everyone can do the motions as well as sing along because the lyrics are super easy.

Hands are clapping, clap clap clap
Hands are clapping, clap clap clap
Hands are clapping, clap clap clap
Clap your hands, my darling!

Repeat with:
Feet are kicking, 
Arms are stretching, 

Eyes are hiding, Peek a boo!
Eyes are hiding, Peek a boo!
Eyes are hiding, Peek a boo!
Peek a boo my darling!

We had a wonderful class today, great attendance too!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

gingerbread storytime & craft party

Each year, I try to feature a different holiday book-related theme for my December craft program. So far, we've done The Polar Express, & How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Future ideas I'm considering are The Mitten and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (or maybe just reindeer in general). 

For 2014, I chose a gingerbread theme.

Books We Read:

There are sooo MANY versions and variations of the Gingerbread Man -- you can take your pick! I decided to sneak a non-gingerbread cookie story or two in as well!

The Gingerbread Man - Beatrice Rodriguez (my personal favorite!)
The Gingerbread Family - Maccarone (short & sweet)
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies- Yolen (great!)

Other Good Choices:
The Gingerbread Baby - Jan Brett 
The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers- Ernst

Felt Board Story:

I took the story of the Three Little Pigs and substituted cookies for the pigs! So I needed three gingerbread cookies, three candy or dessert related houses, and one BIG BAD WOLF! 

I made the houses from clipart backgrounds. The cookies are purchased from Etsy, as well as my adorable wolf puppet. I like him because he's not too scary looking for the little ones.

So I begin with the story of three little cookies who were made by a baker but they looked so delicious that everyone wanted to eat them up and they had to escape. 

They build their own houses: one of gumballs, one of peppermint sticks, and one of fruitcake. The big bad wolf comes huffing and puffing (ask the kids to assist with that part!) to each home but he cannot destroy the third cookie's house because fruitcake lasts forever! LOVE it!

I found this idea on a wonderful blog: Rain Makes Applesauce. For another blogger's take on it and a video, check out StrongStart's great post Three Little Gingerkids.

Craft #1/Game: Design your own bowtie for the Gingerbread Man. Each child has the chance to play "Pin the Bowtie on the Gingerbread Man" and win their choice a candy cane OR a smencil. After over 15 years in this job, I made a rule that everyone wins because if they don't, everyone cheats!!! 

before bowties...

& after bowties!

I found this FREE printable gingerbread man online at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Craft #2: We made these cute stand up gingerbread men from OTC. He's made of fun foam and all the pieces are adhesive so no gluey mess!

Snack: Gingerbread Cookies and Caprisuns

December weather is never my friend. The day of our program was very cold with a nor'easter on the way for the following day. We had 16 kids attend and everyone was so nice and in the holiday spirit! I even had 4 teen boys assisting me with passing out craft supplies and snacks - shocking! I loved the felt board story the best but the craft and game were fun too. A great afternoon!

Friday, December 5, 2014

toddler time: a walk in the clouds

Today, our toddler theme was CLOUDS!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a cloud with raindrops!

We passed out white cardstock clouds  to everyone & sang:

Hold your cloud up, hold your cloud down
Hold your cloud & turn around
Hold your cloud up, hold your cloud down
Put your cloud on the ground.

Books We Read:
Little Cloud- Carle
Maisy’s Wonderful Weather Book- Cousins
It Looked Like Spilt Milk- Shaw

Flannel Story: Five Little Clouds

I found this idea on Abby the Librarian’s blog and I just love it!

I like to begin with the clouds face down on the board and flip them over as they “speak” their line until all five clouds are face up.

Five little clouds, so white and plain.
The first one said, "I want to make it rain!"
The second one said, "Where are we?" 
The third one said, "In the sky, don't you see?" 
The fourth one said, "Let's go, go, go." 
The fifth one said, "Look out below!"
Then out came the stars, out came the moon, 
And the clouds rolled away
1-2-3-4-5 (remove clouds as you count)
but they'll be back soon!


So easy! We took the clip art clouds passed out earlier and decorated them with crayon and cotton balls. We taped some light blue ribbon on the back for a hanger. I heard some parents say they would hang their clouds on their Christmas trees. Everyone loved it!

A medium sized crowd today, a little chatty but things were okay. The Maisy book and the flannel board worked great and the craft was cute.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

baby & me: night owls

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a little owl! What does an owl say? Hoot Hoot!

Books We Read: 
Goodnight Owl-  Dwell Studio
Beddy Bye Baby- Katz
Goodnight Me- Daddo

Flannel Story: Where Is Owl?

I brought out my trusty tree felt set. I hid a cute little owl behind one tree and we looked for her.

(tune: Frere Jacques)
Where is owl? Where is Owl?
Here I am, here I am!
Hiding behind yellow tree, hiding behind yellow tree
Look and see! Look and see!

After we found the owl, I asked what she was doing in the tree? Looks like she is sleeping in there!

I think I got this flannel idea from Miss Tracy at Little Storybug a while back. It’s so fun & you can hide virtually anything behind the trees. I have a lion, an elephant, & a bird so far. 

Puppet Songs: 

The Owl in the Tree (tune: The Wheels on the Bus)

The owl in the tree says Hoot Hoot Hoot, 
Hoot Hoot Hoot, 
Hoot Hoot, Hoot,
The owl in the tree says Hoot Hoot Hoot,
All night long!

Then I brought out the little owl from the yellow box and we sang Two Fuzzy Owls (variation of the Blackbird song!)

2 fuzzy owls sitting in a tree
One named Dan, the other named Dee
Fly away Dan, fly away Dee
Come back Dan! Come back Dee!

But what if our owls were at the mall?

2 fuzzy owls shopping at the mall
One named BIG, the other named Small.
Fly away BIG! Fly away Small!
Come back BIG! Come back Small!

We had another wonderful group today with lots of familiar faces. Many of my babies will be toddlers soon!!! It's been amazing watching them grow from tiny babies in their mom’s laps to walkers. One little girl was even helping me pass out the shaky eggs today. I just love this age group and the parents are so nice. Great day!

Friday, November 21, 2014

toddler time: time for turkeys

Today, our toddler theme was TURKEYS!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found five feathers! What colors are they? Red, yellow, green, purple and blue!

We passed out felt feathers  to everyone & sang:

Hold your feather up, hold your feather down
Hold your feather & turn around
Hold your feather up, hold your feather down
Put your feather on the ground.

Books We Read: 
Thank You Thanksgiving- Milgrim
Ten Fat Turkeys - Johnston
Yummy, Yucky – Patricelli

Flannel Story: Red Feather, Red Feather, What Do You See

This idea came from a youtube video! Thanks Shelby!

Let’s put some feathers on Mr Turkey!

Red feather, red feather, what do you see?
I see a white feather looking at me!

Go thru all your colors until:

Gray feather, gray feather, what do you see? 
I see a turkey looking at me!

Would you like to put your feathers on Mr Turkey?

Last week, I noticed some of the kids trying to put things on my big black felt board so I decided to try it out. It was total chaos!! Maybe too many kids?

Puppet Song: I discovered this song on the facebook group Storytime Underground and I love it!

You can watch it here:
Bianca Merkley singing Turkey Dance Song

Of course, I don't play guitar but it was still fun! Some of the kids were dancing along and loving it! If you can sing "Skip to My Lou", you can do it!

I have a turkey big and fat
He flaps his wings and walks like that
I have turkey big and fat
This is how he dances

Turkey in the red --  Wobble wobble wobble
Turkey in the red---  gobble gobble gobble
Turkey in the red --- Wobble wobble wobble
this is how he dances!

Repeat for orange, yellow, green, blue, purple...

Turkey in the rainbow -- Wobble wobble wobble
Turkey in the rainbow---  gobble gobble gobble
Turkey in the rainbow -- Wobble wobble wobble
this is how he dances
this is how he dances


This turkey craft came from a post on Flannel Friday at Fun with Friends at Storytime. I loved the idea of allowing the kids to choose their own feathers so I cut out a whole bunch in many different colors. They colored their turkey bodies and most kids glued on 4-5 feathers. Of course, some toddlers took more like 10 feathers (LOL!!) and I loved how each turkey was different and amazing in its own way.

Today was pretty wild! We had a TON of kids. The turkey craft was great! It was nice having everything cut out already. Happy turkey day!!

baby & me: feeling thankful

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a turkey! What does a turkey say? Gobble Gobble!

Puppet Song: Hello Mr Turkey

Tune: If You’re Happy

Hello Mr Turkey, how are you? (clap clap)
Hello Mr Turkey, how are you? (clap clap)
With a wobble wobble wobble and a gobble gobble gobble
Hello Mr Turkey, how are you? (clap clap)

Books We Read:
Five Silly Turkeys – Yoon
Everyone Eats
You are My Little Pumpkin Pie - Slansky

Flannel Story: I am Thankful

I made this felt board last year so it was great to re-use it! Click here to see that post. The song is so easy and perfect for this holiday.

We had a wonderful group today with about 15 babies, which is just perfect for the size of our program room. Mostly everyone was singing and participating & that makes the class really fun for me. Another great day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

preschool fun: as yellow as the sun

Today’s theme was the COLOR YELLOW!

This is the third program in my COLORS series for preschoolers. (See this October post for ORANGE and September one for RED.)

Books We Read:
10 Little Rubber Ducks- Carle (the longest so i read this one first)
Press Here -Tullet (my first time using this one with preschoolers, but i still prefer reading it to school age kids)
Daisy's Hide and Seek- Simmons (cute!)
Five Little Chicks- Tafuri (not my fave for this author, many of her other books are so lovely)
Charlie Chick - Denchfield (love it!! One of my all time favorites for all ages)
Banana- Veres (not my favorite. maybe I don't read it well)

You Are My Sunshine - Church (short but so sweet; i used my sun puppet)

Flannel Story: 5 Little Lemons

This was a last minute decision and i'm so happy because I'm totally crazy about these lemons! I found this one here at the Storytime Lady.

5 little lemons sitting in a bowl (hold up 5 fingers)
One fell out and started to roll (roll hands)
It bumped (clap) the table and hit my toe (point to foot)
How many lemons left in the bowl?

Repeat 4,3,2,1

Puppet Song: 5 Little Ducks (with Puppet Mitt)

This mitt has been here for many years and I don't use it much but the kids today really loved it.

Five Little Ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away.
Mother Duck said, "Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack," but only four little ducks came back.
Four little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away
Mother Duck said, "Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack," but only three little ducks came back.
(Repeat counting down to "but no little ducks came back.")
Sad mother duck went out one day, over the hills and far away
Mother Duck said, "Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack," and five little ducks came back

(credit: KCLS

Good Songs and Fingerplays for Yellow:

We did--
Where Is the Beehive?
Mister Sun
Bananas Unite

Craft: Duck puppets

I found some a duck pattern online and cut out the parts using yellow & orange construction paper. We decorated our ducks with yellow feathers and wiggle eyes and taped a stick on the back.

A nice class today with about 8 kids! It was brutally cold so I was afraid no one would come, as usual. My favorite parts were the Duck Puppet mitt and the lemon flannel board. I was happy with the craft project also!

Friday, November 14, 2014

toddler time: fireflies at night

Our theme for Toddler Time today was FIREFLIES.

Mystery Box: When we opened the yellow box, we found a firefly. Can you see his light blinking?

I love this Folkmanis Firefly puppet that really blinks!

Then, I sang:

I'm a little firefly, look at me!
I'm as happy as I can be
See my light flicker and shine so bright
Watch me fly into the night

We passed out paper fireflies to the kids and sang this adorable song:

Firefly Fly (tune: "Three Blind Mice" by Miss Meredith.)
Fly, fly, fly,
Fireflies fly.
Fly over here.
Fly over there.
They fly up high, and they fly down low.
Around and around and around they go.
They fly fast, and they   f-l-y    s-l-o-w.
Fireflies fly.

Books We Read:
The Very Lonely Firefly- Carle ( I like this sparkly sticker version because the pages are pretty big! Most of the kids were paying attention and the adults liked it too!)
Its a Firefly Night- Ochiltree
Ten Flashing Fireflies- Sturges

Felt Board: 5 Little Fireflies 

There was some really awesome felt boards on fireflies on the web but I was a little pressed for time. This was something I printed so it was quick to make and also "short & sweet" for the toddlers. I noticed some of the kids trying to stick their paper fireflies on to the flannel board like mine!!

Five Little Fireflies from Once Upon a (Story)Time
One little firefly shines very bright
Two little fireflies show their lights
Three little fireflies glimmer and glow
Four little fireflies watch them go!
Five little fireflies fly in the night
Blink! Blink! Blink! Blink!(open and close fingers)

My! What a sight!

Puppet Song: The Insects Outside (tune: The Wheels on the Bus)

There are lots of great verses but we just did bees, grasshoppers and fireflies today.

The Insects Outside (Tune: The Wheels on the Bus)
The fireflies at night go blink, blink, blink
Blink, blink, blink, blink, blink, blink
The fireflies at night go blink, blink, blink
blink blink blink!

The bees in the flowers go buzz, buzz, buzz
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz
The bees in the flowers go buzz, buzz, buzz
buzz buzz buzz!

The grasshopper in the grass goes jump jump jump
jump jump jump, jump jump jump
The grasshopper in the grass goes jump jump jump
jump jump jump!

Other verses: 
caterpillars/on the leaves/munch
spiders/in the bush/ spin their webs
worms/in the ground/ wiggle and squirm
--Credit: Child Care Lounge

Craft: Firefly Puppets

I found this adorable firefly template here.

I cut out firefly bodies from colorful construction paper and I cut the wings from sparkly gold poster board. 

I also purchased Glow in the Dark Glitter to decorate the firefly body but it was kind of hard to see it. It's by Martha Stewart so I thought it would be amazing but you couldn't see it well on the construction paper. 

Still a cute craft tho! You could add pipe cleaner antennas too.

A fun program today with about 15 kids attending. Only read the one book but made up for it with songs and puppets that worked great for this age group. I loved the firefly songs, and my flannel board which I printed onto bright yellow/green cardstock. The craft was really cute too!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

baby & me: fun on the farm

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a pink pig! What does a pig say?

Pigs live in a barn like this on a farm! Do you know the song Old MacDonald...

Product Details

Puppet Song: Old MacDonald Had a Farm (with Barn Prop)

I love singing this song with babies because all the parents know it so everyone sings along!

Books We Read: 
Went Walking - Williams (LOVE this one for babies!! It has colors, farm animal noises, & a rhyming, repetitive text – it's perfect!)
Hello, Day!- Lobel (another great choice)
Noodle Loves the Farm (so cute but small)- Billet

Flannel Story: Hello Farm

This is great for a farm or hello themed program and works well for babies and toddlers also. 

I have three red barns on the felt board & each one has a farm animal hiding behind it. See this previous farm themed post for more info AND a link to the printable from Sunflower Storytime:

Today was a fun class! Not too huge but not too small either. One boy got upset in the middle of the program which was distracting but we handed out shakey eggs and that distracted him for a little while. I only read one book because of that, but I snuck in an extra scarf song to make up for it. Nice class!