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!