Tuesday, May 27, 2014

toddler time: a perfect picnic!

Our theme for Toddler Time today was PICNICS! 

Mystery Box: When we opened the yellow box, we found NOTHING! But Mr Frog told me to check the big basket and there we found…a picnic basket! (Really just an empty tissue box covered with paper)

We sang and clapped to:

Going on a picnic, gonna pack a lunch

Going on a picnic, I wonder what we’ll munch? (found this cute idea at the amazing Sunflower Storytime blog)

There was lots of yummy food (from sweetclipart.com) to eat in our basket: a sandwich! Who likes sandwiches? A pretzel – who likes pretzels? Now I’m thirsty, how about some lemonade? And a watermelon – who likes that? A cupcake – does anybody like those? Oh wait, here’s a strawberry! Oh no, there’s something on it, can you see what it is? Bugs? Yes, there are ants on my strawberry! Looks like a bunch of ants crashed our picnic. There are tons of ants in our basket. Would anyone like to hold one? 

I passed out ants and we sang:

Hold your ants up high
Hold your ants down low
Hold your ant & turn around

Hold your ants up high
Hold your ants down low
Put your ant on the ground

Books We Read:

Mouse’s First Summer- Thompson
The Watermelon Seed- Pizzoli
Bunny’s Garden

Flannel Story: See picnic story above

Puppet: The Watermelon Seed

I used my crocodile puppet (from Aurora, purchased on amazon.com) to tell this story. It is tricky to turn the pages while holding the puppet so he would pop up once in a while! 

I used a pom pom for the seed like suggested here. I was nervous because it didn’t always work during my practice runs but I think it went ok. Some people were laughing so that was good.

I found this wonderful idea on a great blog: Storytime with Miss Tara and she explains it much better than I ever could.

Craft: Watermelon Person

I found this cute idea here and fell in love! so I pre-cut the pieces from green and red construction paper. I cut strips for the arms and legs & handed out sticky eyes. I originally planned to use black glitter for the seeds but there was just too many people so i let them draw the seeds in crayon instead. No one seemed to mind!

This was my biggest toddler time ever with 25 kids. I usually prepare 24 crafts and have a couple left over but today I was short one so I had to run to my office & cut one on the fly. Thankfully, it was an easy fix. With the Memorial Day holiday, I wasn’t sure how many people to expect. This was a fun theme and I was happy with most of my choices. The craft turned out really adorable.

Friday, May 23, 2014

baby & me: if the shoe fits...

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a shoe. Are you wearing SHOES today? 

Oh, I think someone is hiding in this shoe! It’s a mouse. Let’s play peekaboo with Mousie.

Where is Mousie? PeekaBOO! 
Where is Mousie? PeekaBOO! 
Where is Mousie? PeekaBOO! 
Peekaboo to Mousie!

Books We Read: 
One Two Buckle My Shoe- Cabrera
Shoe Baby- Dunbar

Flannel Story: Little Lou

I made 4 felt shoes and a little felt dog that I call Lou. I hide Lou behind one of the shoes & we look for him.

Little Lou, Little Lou
Are you hiding under this yellow shoe?

Puppet: Folkmanis Mouse in a Shoe (see above)

I found this on ebay a couple of weeks ago & knew it was perfect for my shoe related books & programs.

Another large group today but the rearrangement of the furniture helped. One poor mother came in late with two crying kids which did NOT help. I liked the puppet and flannel board for this theme but wasn’t crazy about the books I had. Need better shoe books!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

toddler time: down on the farm

Our theme for Toddler Time today was FARM ANIMALS! 

Mystery Box: When we opened the yellow box, we found a whole bunch of animals – a pig, a cow, a duck & a chicken. Where do they all live? In a barn on a farm!

We handed out farm animal puppets to all the kids and sang this song:

Put your animal UP, put your animal DOWN
Hold your animal and turn around!
Put your animal UP, put your animal  DOWN
Put your animal down on the ground

Then I brought my barn out and we sang for the farm animals:

When cows get up in the morning, they always say good day!
When cows get up in the morning, they always say good day!
Moo moo moo moo that is what they say.
They say Moo moo moo moo, that is what they say.
(repeat for other animals)

Books We Read:

I Spy on the Farm – Gibbs (PERFECT for this age group)
Maisy at the Farm - Cousins

Flannel Story: “Brown Bear” Farm Animal Version:

I sang this as I placed the clipart animals on the flannel board (tune: Twinkle Twinkle)

Pink pig, pink pig, what do you see? I see a white duck looking at me!
White duck, white duck, what do you see? I see a brown horse looking at me!
Brown horse, brown horse, what do you see? I see a fluffy sheep looking at me!
Fluffy sheep, fluffy sheep, what do you see? I see a orange cat looking at me!
Orange cat, orange cat, what do you see? I see a spotted cow looking at me!
Spotted cow, spotted cow,  what do you see? I see a red hen looking at me!
Red hen, red hen, what do you see? I see a a lot of kids looking at me!

Puppet: Old MacDonald Had a Farm

For more info, check out my post here

Craft: Make Your Own Animal Barn!

I folded the extra large sheets of red construction paper so they would open up like a barn. I glued on barn doors but its not a necessity. I printed some farm animals onto white paper (here is the link to the one that I used). First, everyone colored their animals. Then they cut them out & glued them into the barns. 

This craft was a great success! I saw many kids opening & closing their barns and singing farm songs. SO easy too! 

baby & me: wild about animals!

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

Books We Read: 
Hello Baby- Fox (I liked this one!)
You Are My Baby:Safari – Siminovich (hard to hold & turn pages)

Flannel Story: Where Is Lion?

I hid a little felt lion behind a tree and we sang:
Where is Lion? Where is Lion?
Here I am! Here I am!
Hiding behind green tree, hiding behind green tree
Look and see! Look and see!
(tune: Are You Sleeping)

Puppet: We’re Going to the Zoo (see this post)

I brought out my jungle finger puppet set and we sang:
We’re going to the zoo, we’re going to the zoo
I think we’ll see a lion there, we’re going to the zoo!
(Tune: Farmer in the Dell)

We had a TON of people for today’s program, so many babies! One caregiver told me he didn’t think there were this many babies in the whole neighborhood. There was some talking and it annoyed me, but when I sang, most people sang along. Time to switch up the room arrangement for bigger groups like I did last spring!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

preschool fun: shapes!

Today our theme was SHAPES.

Books We Read:
Peek in My Pocket- Carter
Mouse Shapes- Walsh
Shape of My Heart- Sperring
Lots of Dots - Frazier
It Looked Like Spilt Milk- Shaw

Flannel Story: The Shape Story

I found this cute story on Little Story Bug’s youtube channel. Miss Tracey has soo many great videos posted! Check it out here.

Craft: Shape necklace

I found these cute foam beads in a cabinet a few weeks ago. So perfect for today’s theme! Kids really enjoyed placing the colorful shapes onto their strings (with a little help from mom!)

Much of my program took place during a little boy's temper tantrum so it was not an easy morning. I felt so badly for the parent; it was distracting. The craft was probably the best part of the program but my favorite books were Peek in My Pocket (a last minute addition!) and Lots of Dots. Shape of My Heart was super fun and the kids really enjoyed the illustrations.

While we were working on the shape necklaces, one little boy and his mom discussed the colors of each shape as they strung their pieces onto the string and I heard him say the star was “green like Miss Amy’s eyes!” So cute!

Friday, May 9, 2014

toddler time: driving in my car!

Our theme for Toddler Time today was CARS! 

Mystery Box: When we opened the yellow box, we found a red car. Who is driving the car? Would YOU like to drive a car?

We handed out paper plate steering wheels to everyone and sang this song:

I’m driving in my car, I’m driving in my car
Beep beep, toot toot! I’m driving in my car!
(I’m driving very fast… & I’m driving very slow…)

Books We Read:
My Car- Barton (after this one we had to sing the Wheels on the Bus)
Red Light, Green Light - Suen (sing to tune of Twinkle, Twinkle)
Toot Toot Beep Beep- Garcia (ran out of time)

Flannel Story: Red Car, Red Car, What Do You See?

As I placed different colored cars on the flannel board, we said this rhyme in the style of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See.

Puppet: Twinkle, Twinkle, Traffic Light (see first photo)

Twinkle, twinkle traffic light
on the corner burning bright.
Red means STOP
Green means GO
Yellow means go very slow.
Twinkle, twinkle traffic light
on the corner burning bright.

We flashed our fingers as we sang this song (also to the tune Twinkle Twinkle)

Craft: Car Puppets

I printed these cute car templates onto car stock and we decorated them with crayons & stickers. Then we cut them out & put them on craft sticks.Very cute! I found the printable here.

Another great group today! the room was full but not crowded and I loved the books and activities for our theme.

baby & me: sheep

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

Books We Read: 
Hello Day- Lobel (not sure why but this one never fails me!)
I Heard a Little Baa- McLeod (i love this but it was my third book and we know how that usually goes)
Noodle Loves the Farm- Billet (short & sweet)

Flannel Story: Mary Had a Little Lamb

We sang the first lines of this classic song but switched it up with different color sheep: red as a rose, green as grass, blue as the sea/sky, black as the night

Puppet: Baa Baa Black Sheep

I found this cute reversible puppet on ebay a few weeks ago. You just run it inside out to change from a black sheep into a white one! We sang this song twice, once for the black sheep and once for the white sheep.

It was a damp, rainy spring day and I had no idea what size crowd to expect this morning. We began with a normal size group and then about 10 minutes in, it was like the baby train made a stop as more and more people wandered into the story room! In the end, we had a huge group but a nice program with minimal chaos.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

toddler time: perfect pets!

Our theme for Toddler Time today was PETS, especially DOGS! 

Mystery Box: When we opened the yellow box, we found a cute little puppy. 

What does a dog say?

We sang:

Dogs in the Dirt
Ten little doggies went out one day (10 fingers up)
To dig in the dirt and play, play, play.(Pretend to dig.) 
Five were spotted, and five were not,(Show one hand at a time.) 
and at dinner time they ate a lot!(Pretend to eat.)
(credit: Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare)

We handed out paper puppies to everyone and sang our next song:

Put your puppies up, put your puppies down.
Hold your puppy & turn around.
Put your puppy up, put your puppy down.
Put your puppy on the ground.

Books We Read:

Who Am I: Pets (DK) (great for this age group)
Five Little Puppies Jumping on the Bed- Kerr (everyone joined in YAY!)
Kitty’s Cuddles- Cabrera (read this one fast skipping most of the words because it was our third book & I was afraid that I was on the brink of losing them!)

More Perfect Pet Stories:
I Spy Pets- Gibbs
Dog’s Colorful Day- Dodd
Cat’s Colors- Cabrera

Flannel Story: Doggy, Doggy, Who Has Your Bone?

I saw this flannel board idea on a great blog & you can find it here.

First, I put up several laminated clipart pets (purchased on etsy). I hid a bone behind the cat. 

One by one we went thru each animal asking:
Doggy Doggy who has your bone?
Did someone take it from your home?
Guess who! 
Was it YOU, Mouse?

We looked behind Mouse and all the other pets until we found the bone under Kitty.

Puppet: If You’re a Puppy & You Know It

I pulled a bunch of pet puppets and we sang this to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It. I like to mix in animal sounds and motions.

If You’re a Puppy & You Know It, Say Woof  Woof!
If You’re a Puppy & You Know It, Say Woof  Woof!
If You’re a Puppy & You Know It, and you really want to show it
If You’re a Puppy & You Know It, Say Woof  Woof!

(kitty-meow, hamster- run in place, rabbit- hop, fish-blub blub, mouse – squeak)

Craft: Cat & Dog Puppets

I found these cute clipart/colring images somewhere so we printed them, colored them, cut them out & taped them onto popsicle sticks.

Great class today with over 20 toddlers attending. One little girl's mom told me after class that her daughter said she liked my pink pants! I heard that another little one who has been coming to my classes since she was a baby calls all her teachers Miss Amy! These kids are just too cute!

Friday, May 2, 2014

baby & me: birdies

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found two felt birds. What color are our birds? What does a bird say? 

Books We Read: 
In My Nest- Gillingham/Siminovich
Early Bird- Yuly
Big and Small- Teckentrup

Flannel Story: Pink Bird, Pink Bird, What Do You See?

Based on the Carle/Martin book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, only with felt birds to place on the flannel board. Worked great!

Puppet: Three Little Birds (from Jane Marino’s Babies in the Library book)

I used my Folkmanis Bird Nest puppet (see middle pic) for this sweet rhyme.

Another great group today, 12 baby girls and one little boy! I heard a couple of them say my name today - so awesome!