Thursday, July 31, 2014

baby & me: dog days

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

Books We Read: 
Doggy Kisses 1 2 3- Parr (LOVE these illustrations! Read up to #6 then I stopped before I lost their attention forever)
Where Is Baby’s Puppy- Katz (Nice one)
Do Your Ears Hang Low- Church (No time for this one today; two books is usually enough for this group and the third one is like a back up just in case we have time to fill.)

Flannel Story: 10 Little Doggies

I used the artwork from the Parr book to make doggies for this song:

One little, two little, three little doggies
Four little, five little, six little doggies
Seven little, eight little, nine little doggies
Ten little doggies say woof woof woof!

Then you can count back down as you remove the doggies from the board.

Nine little, eight little, seven little...

Puppet Song: All the Little Dogs

I used dog, cat & mouse puppets for this song:

(tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb)
All the little dogs say woof woof woof
Woof woof woof
Woof woof woof
All the little dogs say woof woof woof
Woof woof all day long.
(repeat for cat & mouse)

Wonderful class today, TONS of people but everyone seemed to love this theme so there was lots of singing & participation. Until right before the end of the class when it felt like all the parents started chatting all at once & no one felt like joining in on "Twinkle Twinkle" or "Goodbye Bubble." Right up to the last two songs, things were great tho so I'll focus on that! Maybe wrap up a little bit earlier next time.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

stuffed animal sleepover @ the library 7-28-14

This is always one of my most favorite programs of the year and I try to schedule it once every summer. We usually get a pretty good turn out and I try to make little improvements and changes each year. This time, I moved the program from 7 pm to 6:30, and it really gave me some much needed extra prep time after the program to take photos with the toys. I loved being able to relax and take my time, instead of rushing around like a crazy person since my library closes at 8 pm. 

First, we read some fun bedtime stories:

One Ted Falls Out of Bed- Donaldson
Kiss Kiss Good Night- Nesbitt
Yeti, Turn Out the Light- Long (the kids thought this one was hilarious!)
Chengdu Could Not, Would Not Fall Asleep- Saltzberg (everyone loved Chengdu; the illustrations are sooo cute!)

We read The Stuffed Animals Get Ready for Bed with fun clipart props that I printed and laminated, just like last year.

Then, it was time for crafts! First up was sleep masks for the stuffed animals. I found this adorable idea here a week or so before our program, and I was totally inspired by LibrErin's amazing photos! I had mostly assembled the masks myself in advance so the kids could just decorate. Since these were going to be their “nametags” for the event, it was super important that everyone write their name on one side of the mask and the name of their stuffed friend on the other side.

My stuffed friend with his fancy new sleep mask!

I made these in four sizes (S, M, L & XL) to accommodate a variety of toys.

Our next craft was "Pajama Buddies" that I printed from this site: Free Kids Crafts.

They have so many options, including color or black and white printables. I printed a variety of animals (as well as pjs on a variety of colored card stock) so all they had to do was decorate, cut and paste. Very cute and so easy!

As everyone was finishing their crafts, we started bringing the stuffed animals to the story rug, where we wrapped each one in a colored scarf and sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” all together. Then, we kissed the animals good night & left the room. 

That's when I start working my magic, photographing the animals in fun poses & groups so the kids can see what they were up to after the library lights went out!

It is good to have some extra stuffed animals on hand for kids who forgot or changed their minds about leaving their favorite friend for the night. I always tell kids and parents that its okay to change your mind & a couple younger participants usually do. I would hate to think that someone would be unhappy later that night & missing their special toy so its perfectly understandable.

Then next day, the kids came back to pick up their stuffed animals and found some cute surprises waiting for them, like cookie coupons, magnifying glasses, fish tattoos & a fun photo "keepsake"!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

toddler time: row, row, row your boat!

Our theme for Toddler Time today was BOATS.

Mystery Box: When we opened the yellow box, we found a boat, which is perfect because I also brought my sailor hat!

We passed out colorful cardstock boats to all the kids and sang:

Put your boat up high
Put your boat down low
Hold your boat & turn around
Put your boat up high
Put your boat down low
Put your boat on the ground.

We also used our boats for this song:

Riding around in my little pink boat
Riding around in my little pink boat
Riding around in my little pink boat

Books We Read:
Boat Works- Slaughter (I thought my kids would enjoy the big fold out pages but no one seemed very interested??!!)
Row Row Row Your Boat – Ellwand (this version has cute teddy bear illustrations but I also love Jane Cabrera’s new take)
Boats- Barton 

Felt Board: Five Sailboats

Version #1 (
Five little sailboats bright and shiny clean/ one tipped over, it was green
Four little sailboats with all sails spread/ one sailed into a storm, it was red
Three little sailboats what a beautiful sight/ one bumped into a whale, it was white
Two little sailboats coming close for a view/ one smashed into the rocks, it was blue
One little sailboat now a lonely fellow/ he sailed home, he was yellow

Version #2 (

(tune: Five Little Ducks)

Five sailboats went out one day
Over the waves and far away
With the wind, they begin to rock
One sailboat returns to the dock

Four sailboats...

Puppets: Row Row Row Puppet Version

I planned to do this continuation after I finished reading the Ellwand book but things were just too wild and I decided to start the craft/playtime part of the program instead. This was the song I would have used with a variety of hand puppets:

Row row row your boat
Row it all around!
If you see a ________ there
Make a _______ sound!

My puppets included a lion, a pig, a dog and a cat.

Craft #1: Sailor Bears

I wanted to give them something to color while I passed out the other craft materials so everyone got a bear with a white sailor hat to glue on his head. I just used clipart from the web for this. 

Craft #2: Pool Noodle Boats

I was so excited about this craft! I got a few pool noodles from the dollar store and sliced them up with a butter knife. I used my pointy scissors to make a hole for a straw. I cut triangles from foam sheets and hole punched them so we could attach a straw. SO perfect for the bath tub or pool!

Many of our regular kids did not attend today and many children seemed like they’d all eaten a ton of sugary food on their way to the library. There was a lot of running, crying and screaming. No one really stayed for playtime and everyone cleared out like 15 minutes earlier than usual. I think everyone enjoyed the crafts though.

Friday, July 25, 2014

baby & me: peekaboo you!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found my Folkmanis Monkey in a Barrel puppet so we played PEEKABOO with him!

Where is Monkey? Peekaboo!
Where is Monkey? Peekaboo!
Where is Monkey? Peekaboo!
Peekaboo to Monkey!
(tune: Skip to My Lou)

Books We Read: 
Peekaboo Blueberry- Saltzberg
Peekaboo Baby- Miller
Peek-a-Moo- Cimarusti

Flannel Story: Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

I hid a little felt bear behind one of four colorful blankets. We sang, “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Are you hiding under there?” until we found our bear.

Puppet: See Monkey in a Barrel song above.

Great turnout today, lots of babies! One of my moms told me that the "Oh, I Wish I Was a Little Bar of Soap" song that we sing every week is the only thing that calms her baby down when she is fussy. Her whole family sings it and they even made up additional verses! Thanks to Jbrary for this wonderful song; it makes me so happy to know that my Baby class is having a positive impact.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

the mad hatter's Alice in Wonderland tea party

Our library's summer reading theme is "Reading is a Wonderland" so I decided to plan a special tea party program this month. 

One of our student volunteers is a dancer and her school had just done an Alice themed dance so they offered to perform it at our tea party. The first song was called "Welcome to the Tea Party" so we kicked things off with a very special dance performance!

Next up was storytime! I found three cute tea party themed books: Molly Idle's Tea Rex, Ruby's Tea for Two by Rosemary Wells, and Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman. 

Then, we moved from the storytime carpet to the tables for refreshments. We served a variety of individually wrapped cakes and bottles of water with tags that read "Drink Me!" 

We had two crafts: for older children, we had accordion hats with feathers and foamies AND a rabbit/hat puppet craft for our younger guests.

Accordion hats from OTC, t puppet craft & tea party tickets

Feathers & foamies from OTC

We also offered a photo booth with Alice related props and a game of "Pin the Nose On the Cheshire Cat".

Everyone who tried our game won a smencil! 

Photo Props (purchased on Etsy, then printed, laminated, & attached to wooden dowels from Amazon.

Our photo area

Our tea party program was a great success. Everyone had a wonderful time and we got lots of positive feedback from the parents. 

My favorite things were: the accordion hats (adorable!), the Cheshire Cat game (so fun!) and most of all, the dancers! Their costumes and makeup were great & they acted very professional. Alice even stayed for the entire program & took lots of pics with the kids. 

An amazing day! Thanks to my entire team for pitching in to help me pull this off. I could not do this stuff without them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

toddler time: fabulous frogs

Our theme for Toddler Time today was FROGS.

Mystery Box: When we opened the yellow box, we found a frog puppet. What color is a frog? What does a frog say?

We passed out paper frogs to all the kids and sang:

Hold your frog up high
Hold your frog down low
Hold your frog & turn around
Hold your frog up high
Hold your frog down low
Put your frog on the ground.

We also used our frog puppets for this song:

Froggy’s hopping on my toes, on my toes, on my toes
Froggy’s hopping on my toes 
Ribbit Ribbit Ribbit!
(tune: London Bridge is Falling Down)

Books We Read:
Who Can Jump- Braun (lift the flap but kind of small?)
Jump- Fischer (interactive and fun to sing)
Icky Sticky Frog- Bentley/Yoon (great with funny sound effects like SLURP and WHOOP!)
The Croaky Pokey- Long (so cute but we ran out of time!)
The Noisy Counting Book -Schade (love this one & saving it for next time!)

Prop Story: I See Six Green Frogs (tune: Happy Birthday)

This one is so easy! I use a long brown wrapping paper roll for my log and velcro'd the frogs to it. We count the frogs 1 thru 6 then sing:

I see 6 green frogs
I see 6 green frogs
I see 6 green frogs
But one hopped away!
Bye bye frog!

Count ‘em up and sing it again until all the frogs have left the log.

Puppets: 2 Little Froggies

I used my Mr Frog puppet along with another frog puppet & I velcroed a pink bow to her head to make her more girly!

2 little froggies sitting on a hill
One named Jack, one named Jill
Hop away Jack, Hop away Jill
Hop back Jack, Hop back Jill

Craft #1: Party blower Frogs

Lots of cute ideas and good templates for this craft available on the web! Here's a good one at Making Learning Fun!

Craft #2: Pompom Frogs

I found this idea here. These frogs are so cute and all you need are green foam sheets, sticky eyes and pompoms for the body. Unfortunately, we had so many people that I could hardly get thru one craft today. Saving this one for our next frog program.

Lots of kids today and it was a bit hard to get their attention. They LOVED the prop story! The Icky Sticky Frog book and the craft were great too. FUN theme!

Friday, July 18, 2014

baby & me: it's my party!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a BALLOON, which was great for our BIRTHDAY/PARTY theme today! What color is our balloon? Pink! Let's blow up our balloon!

Books We Read: 
Hi Blueberry- Saltzber
Where Is Baby’s Birthday Cake- Katz
I Love Birthdays – Walker

Cute Birthday Rhyme:

Big birthday cake 
(make huge circle with arms)

Ice cream in a dish
(cup hands)

Here are the candles
(wiggle hands on one hand)

Now make a wish!
(blow and make fingers into a fist)


Flannel Story: Birthday Mouse (variation on Little Mouse)

I love my “Little Mouse, Little Mouse” felt board so I just switched it up a little for today’s BIRTHDAY theme.

We said: Birthday Mouse, Birthday Mouse, are you in the yellow house? 
We finally found our mouse, who was wearing a very cute party hat!

Puppet: Mice in a Red Box puppet (Folkmanis)

Folkmanis Mice in Box Puppet

My red box is a present
But it isn’t what you think
There are three little friends inside
With noses that are pink

Can you guess what they are?
They are three white mice
With their long white tails
Don’t they look nice?

But they like their home 
As you can see
they’re going back in
So say good bye in 1 2 3 

Lots of babies for today's class & the room seemed a little noisy at times but things went pretty well! This was a fun theme.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

preschool fun: feelings

Today our preschool theme was FEELINGS.

Books We Read:
Grumpy Bird- Tankard (I read this one 1st because it’s the longest)
Feelings - Balouch
How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad- Yolen
Feelings Book- Parr
I Say You Say: Feelings - Carpenter (love this series)
If You’re Happy & You Know It- Cabrera

Flannel Story: Feelings Flannel Board 

I was a little nervous about making my own felt faces but now I'm in love with them! I found this flannel board idea here and it was awesome! I did switch out SILLY and add in SAD. Maybe next time, I’d add silly back in if I can make a good silly felt face.

I would place the face on the board first & ask the kids what they thought the face was feeling. Then I’d put up the matching word. We sang this to the tune of BINGO and everyone clapped along.

When I'm feeling full of joy,
I am feeling happy!
I am feeling happy!

When I'm feeling mad and mean,
I am feeling angry!
I am feeling angry!

When I feel like I could cry,
I am feeling sad!
I am feeling sad!

When it's time to go to bed,
I am feeling tired.
I am feeling tired!

Craft: Feeling Stick Puppets

We made these cute puppets with a happy side & a sad side. I found my faces here

This was a fun theme, one that I've never tried before. I love that I've been doing this job for over 15 years but I'm still learning new things and improving my storytime skills! My favorite parts were the flannel board and the Cabrera book. The craft was easy to prepare and the kids seemed to really like it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

toddler time: crazy for cookies!

Today's toddler theme was COOKIES! 

(I did another cookie themed toddler program in April 2013 so this is the new improved version!)

Mystery Box: When we opened the yellow box, we found a cookie! Who likes cookies?

We passed out paper cookies to all the kids and sang:
Hold your cookie up high
Hold your cookie down low
Hold your cookie & turn around
Hold your cookie up high
Hold your cookie down low
Put your cookie on the ground.

Books Read:
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies- Yolen
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie- Laura Numeroff
The Duckling Gets a Cookie – Mo Willems
Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar- Christine Schneider

Flannel Board: Five Little Cookies at the Bakery Shop

5 little cookies at the bakery shop
Shining bright with sugar on top
Along came a tiger with a nickel to pay
He buys one and takes it away!

(Repeat with:
 4 cookies & a rabbit
3 cookies & an elephant
2 cookies & a turtle
1 cookie & a kangaroo)

I found this cute idea here!

I made a Cookie Monster box like the one that I saw a while back on Flannel Friday. Towards the end of the program, we told the kids that Cookie Monster was very hungry so if they would like, they could feed him their paper cookies. They loved it!

Craft: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie paper bag puppets

I found this adorable idea along with a great template on Libraryland! Just print, cut and paste!

baby & me: in the garden

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a SNAIL, which was perfect for today's GARDEN theme.

Books We Read: 
Slow Snail- Murphy
I Have a Garden- Barner
In My Garden- Schumaker

Flannel Story: Little Snail

I found a flannel board like this on etsy, loved the idea and decided it was simple enough to make it myself. 

I hid a clipart snail behind one of four felt pails and asked, “Little Snail, Little Snail, are you under the pink pail?” Repeat until you find him!

Puppet: Mr Snail & Mr Mouse

Found this puppet idea here & since I already have a mouse puppet, all I needed for this cute rhyme was a snail!

Here are the words:

Slowly, slowly, very slowly creeps the garden snail. (walk fingers up arm)
Slowly, slowly, very slowly up the wooden rail.
Quickly, quickly, very quickly runs the little mouse. (run fingers around child's belly)
Quickly, quickly, very quickly round about the house. (slip fingers under child's arm and tickle)

We did this rhyme once with the puppets and then ran through it again as a fingerplay/tickle rhyme.

Once again, no one came to the 10 am baby storytime session and I’m ready to call off this experiment. At least I can honestly say that we tried & it didn’t work. Our group has been perfectly sized lately anyway! This was a fun theme, especially the puppet rhyme!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

alice in wonderland craft

Our Summer Reading theme this year is "Reading Is A Wonderland!" The staff created some beautiful artwork to display around our branch including a Cheshire Cat sitting in a tree, the Mad Hatter, and Alice herself, of course!

I wanted to schedule some Wonderland-related programs and crafts for kids and first up is a Paper Pocket Watch. It was kind of difficult to find ideas that would appeal to both boys and girls that were fairly inexpensive and easy to execute. Luckily, I found this adorable pocket watch craft idea here.

First, I found a good shape that I could use for the watch and copied it onto yellow cardstock. Next I found some watch clipart for the face of the watch. I also cut plain white circles so the kids could draw their own artwork that we could place in the other half of the watch when opened. We encouraged them to decorate their watches any way they wanted and provided adhesive foam letters in case they wanted to put their initials on the front.

Supplies for today's craft

Our finished product!

About 14 kids attended our program and we had a great time!