Saturday, December 19, 2015

class visits: Dewey -- a game of numbers!

This month, a local school set up library visits for all of their fourth grade classes to learn about the Dewey Decimal System. 

Sounds like a real snooze fest, right? So, I really needed a fun, simple game that would keep their attention.

After a lot of web surfing, I created my own display with printouts about the ten classification groups. 


I also filled a big milk crate with TONS of non-fiction books. 

At the beginning of the class, as an ice breaker, I asked for one volunteer to take a guess how many books are in my crate. 

Then, I announced that I was looking for one book (maybe one on penguins? fairies? anything works really) & how long did they think it would take to look thru the 82 books in the crate to find it for me? The answer: a loooooong time. Correct!! 

Now, what if you had to look thru not one crate, but TEN? how about FIFTY crates? what about a whole room full of book crates? would you want to look for books in the library like that? No way! 

So, we talk a little about non-fiction/fiction, Dewey and spine labels, then go over my display board. Finally, it's game time!

I found these assignment cards that I edited a little bit and printed out. The kids volunteered to pick one out of my hat and answer what Dewey Number (by hundred, so - 100's, 500's, 900's, etc.)  we would go to to complete the "assignment". 

The other classmates vote whether our volunteer is correct with a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down", then we open a card to reveal the actual dewey number for the assignment. A couple of times, a student was really struggling so I let them bring up a friend to help.

As a bonus, we put each call number in correct shelving order as we go along.

Every volunteer gets a cool color-changing pencil just for participating!

I have to say, this was a super fun game. All the kids wanted to volunteer and the voting part keeps them engaged even when it's not their turn. I received a lot of compliments and positive feedback from the teachers. Many of the parents even commented on how much fun the kids were having -- in the library of all places! SHOCKING!!

Friday, December 18, 2015

toddler time: MORE gingerbread fun

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a gingerbread house! But where is the gingerbread man who lives here?

I sang:

Where is My Gingerbread Man?
(to the tune of "Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?")
Oh where, oh where is my Gingerbread Man?
Oh where, oh where can he be?
He popped out of the oven and ran out the door.
Oh where, oh where can he be?

Maybe he’s behind this little door? 
We check but he’s not there!

Do you think he’s INSIDE the house? Should we check? 
Let’s count 1,2,3 – there he is!

I passed out gingerbread boys and girls to all the kids & we did our weekly rhyme.

Put your gingerbread man UP, put your gingerbread man DOWN
Hold your gingerbread man and turn around!
Put your gingerbread man  UP, put your gingerbread man DOWN
Put your gingerbread man down on the ground.

Books We Read: 
Maisy Makes Gingerbread- Cousins

Flannel Board Story: 5 Little Gingerbread Men In a Row

I thought up a twist on this well known rhyme yesterday. For more on this flannel story, click HERE

Puppet Song: The Gingerbread Man 

Do you know what this gingerbread boy likes to do? Run!!!!

The Gingerbread Man(tune of "The Wheels on the Bus")
The Gingerbread Man runs through the town,
Through the town, through the town.
The Gingerbread Man goes through the town,
Singing, "Catch me if you can!"

He ran away from a cow,
From a cow, from a cow.
He ran away from a cow,
Singing, "Catch me if you can!"

Repeat with Pig and Dog puppets. Then, the final verse:

The Gingerbread Man ran back home,
Ran back home, ran back home.
The Gingerbread Man ran back home
where he was safe and warm.

I tucked my Gingerbread Man puppet into his house & we said goodbye to him. Then, I invited the kids to put their gingerbread boys and girls in the gingerbread house that I made by attaching clipart to a box. 

The green door opens to let the ginger people in!

Holiday Song: Jingle Bells and Stop

I brought out my new tambourines from Lakeshore Learning. We sang this adorable song that people were posting about on the Storytime Underground FB page this week.

"Jingle Bells and Stop " is by Miss Carole and you can hear the tune here.

We jingled high, low, fast and slow to this tune and it was so fun! Then, everyone joined in for "Jingle Bells."

Craft: Rocking Gingerbread Men

I printed a gingerbread man for the kids to color onto white cardstock. They folded a paper plate in half and glued him on so he could rock back and forth. We decorated the plates with gingerbread foamie stickers from Oriental Trading Co. 

You could also hang a ribbon on this gingerbread man and hang him up somewhere if you like.

A fun class and I actually loved everything about it!! A great way to end 2015. See you next year!

flannel friday: 5 Little Gingerbread Men

I found this cute fingerplay HERE.

I decided to switch it up just a little bit, so I told the kids that I had a friend who LOVED to eat gingerbread men and pulled out my dog puppet.

Five little gingerbread men in a row (Hold up five fingers, waving back & forth)
Dog wants to eat one! 
No, no, no! (shake finger at Dog puppet))
But they look so sweet from head to toe (touch head then toes)
Crunch, munch...uh oh! (slap thighs on crunch, clap hands on munch, then Dog eats a gingerbread man right off the flannel board!!)

We repeated this until all the gingerbread men were gone and each time, I pretended to get mad at Dog. 

Then, I told the kids, "Dog's tummy is so full now, he has to go take a nap. Bye, Dog!"

For more on my gingerbread themed toddler program, click here.
Happy Holidays and thanks for reading!

Friday, December 11, 2015

flannel friday: do you want to feed a reindeer?

At my toddler program today, our theme was reindeer! I thought it might be fun for the kids to feed one!

I found this idea and even some adorable printable food here

My reindeer is just a small brown shipping box with a face, antlers and nose cut from foam sheets. The eyes are felt. You could make a red nosed reindeer too if you prefer! I did have to back the antlers with cardboard so they wouldn't be floppy.

The face is only glued down on the top so we can lift the bottom part and feed the reindeer.

When I passed out the reindeer food, I mentioned there were numbers and letters on it, what do you have? I figured it wouldn't hurt to sneak in a tiny bit of letter/number recognition! It was cool to hear the parents and kids discuss this as I moved around the room to each child.

All the kids fed their reindeer food to my reindeer friend who was super hungry today! For more on my reindeer themed program, check out my post HERE.

thanks for reading and happy holidays to all!

toddler time: running with reindeer

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

Reindeer have two antlers. (I brought my antler headband to wear so that was pretty fun!)

What do reindeer like to eat?

I brought out a basket of laminated reindeer food: cabbage and carrots.

(I passed out reindeer food to all the kids & we did our weekly rhyme.)

There are numbers and letters on our reindeer food, what do you have? 

(I figured it wouldn't hurt to sneak in a tiny bit of letter/number recognition! It was cool to hear the parents and kids discuss this!)

Put your reindeer food UP, put your reindeer food DOWN
Hold your reindeer food and turn around!
Put your reindeer food UP, put your reindeer food DOWN
Put your reindeer food down on the ground.

All the kids fed their reindeer food to my reindeer friend who was super hungry today!

I found this idea and the printable food here
For more on how I made my reindeer, see my Flannel Friday post.

Books We Read: 
Reindeer Are Better Than People- cute!
Bob- Boynton (fun to read aloud and not too Christmas-y)

Flannel Board Story: 5 Little Reindeer

5 little reindeer playing in the snow.
The first one said "Let's go, go, go!"
The second one said, "I see snowflakes in the air!"
The third one said, "But we don't care!"
The fourth one said, "Isn't winter time fun?"
The fifth one said, "Let's run and run and run!"
and oooooooh went the wind!
and OUT (CLAP) went the light
And the 5 little reindeer ran out of sight!

Craft: Reindeer finger puppets

A simple craft this week, just a printable on white cardstock to be colored and cut.

Both sessions today were super easy!! Great groups! In order to be inclusive, I usually try to stay away from really Christmas-y themes at the holidays and stick with more neutral stuff. None of my books, songs or stories today mentioned a specific holiday or a certain reindeer named Rudolph. Some illustrations included a candy cane or two, and a little bit of red and green, but that felt pretty non-religious to me. Who doesn't love Sven? A fun day!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

baby & me: party time

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a balloon!  What color is our balloon?

After I blew up the balloon, i explained that sometimes we see balloons at PARTIES so I brought my party hat!!

Books We Read: 
Hi Blueberry- Saltzberg
Baby Party- O'Connell (Another winner from the author of Baby Parade. LOVED this! Lots of clapping! Good for shape theme too!)
Where Is Baby's Birthday Present- Katz

Flannel Story: Party Mouse, Party Mouse, Are You In the Yellow House?

Can we find a cute mouse wearing a party hat in one of these four houses?

Puppet Rhyme: Jingle Mouse

I wrapped my white mouse puppet up in a green scarf so she could play peekaboo with us.

Where is Mouse? Peeka BOO!
Where is Mouse? Peeka BOO!
Where is Mouse? Peeka BOO!
Peekaboo to Mouse!

Mouse is wearing some bells on her neck for our other song (which I found on Facebook this week!):

I heard a little jingle
Right inside my house
It sounded like the jingle of a little jingle mouse!!
She jingled to the ceiling
She jingled to the floor
She jingled til she fell asleep and she began to snore.

(credit: 101 Rhythm Instrument Activities for Young Children)

Good night Jingle Mouse!

A great morning with about 15 babies. My Easy Grip Tambourines arrived from Lakeshore Learning last week, just in time for some festive bell songs so we had a break from the shaker eggs today. With our adorable tambourines, we sang “We shake our bells together, we shake our bells together, we shake our bells together because its fun to do!” LOVED it!!!

Friday, December 4, 2015

flannel friday: the itsy bitsy monkey

The itsy bitsy monkey climbed up the coconut tree.
Down came a coconut and hit him on the knee -- OWWW!
Out came a lion shaking his mighty mane
& the itsy bitsy monkey went up the tree again.

this flannel board was inspired by a cute video that I fell in love with on youtube. Check it out HERE

Can't wait to use this one at my Baby & Me program, maybe with Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett & Karen Katz's Roar, Roar, Baby.

toddler time: get on your feet!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a shoe! What color is our shoe? 

Oh no, there's something in my shoe! It's a mouse!!! 

Do you wear shoes on your FEET? Do you wear socks on your feet?
I passed out little felt socks to all the kids & we did our weekly rhyme.

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

Books We Read:
Whose Feet- Rowe (love it!)

Fantastic Feet Song: Everyone Knows I Love My Toes 

by Jbrary (cute video here)

Everybody knows I love my toes.
Everybody knows I love my toes.
I love my shoulders, my knees, my elbows, and my nose.
But everybody knows I love my toes.

We also did foot/tush AND shoe/you -- 2nd and 3rd verses courtesy of Miss Meg!

Flannel Board Story: Matching Socks Game

No special rhyme today, I just pulled the socks out of my mini washing machine and we made matches. Then we counted how many pairs we had on the felt board. Really kept their attention. Parents LOVED the tiny washing machine too! Many of the kids brought their felt socks to the board and we put them all up.

Puppet Story: I Went Walking

I did a "live" version of this book & pulled toys out of my basket one at a time.

I went walking.
what did you see?
I saw a pink pig following me!

Repeat with whatever puppets or stuffed animals you have on hand. 
We did: yellow duck, black cat, red dog and green frog. 
To finish, we counted the animals together.

Craft: Little Feet on paper plates

We traced the kids’ feet on half sheets of construction paper, then cut them out and glued them to a plate with this sweet poem. Parents seemed skeptical at first but loved the poem part. 

No one wanted to take off shoes so the feet were much bigger than I expected & had to bring out bigger plates LOL!

Nice groups today, good sizes but not too much! Everyone loved the new toys from Lakeshore. Great theme! 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

baby & me: be there or be SQUARE

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box today, we found a waffle, a little present and a green square!  All of these things are SQUARE. Let's put them in my purple box - 1,2,3.

Books We Read: 
Squares- Yonezu
Birthday Box- Patricelli
Meow and the Big Brown Box- Braun

Flannel Story: Baby Fox, Baby Fox, Are You In the Purple Box?

Mama Fox is missing her baby! Is he in this big box?

Baby Fox, Baby Fox, Are You In the Purple Box?
No, just a blue box.

Baby Fox, Baby Fox, Are You In the Blue Box?
No, just a black box.

Repeat until you find him in the yellow box.

Puppet Rhyme: Three Pink Pigs

My friend Rebecca told me about this cute puppet made by Folkmanis and I tracked one down on ebay.

Who is hiding in this little brown box? it looks kind of like a house. 
Oh no, there are three pigs in here!

Where are the piggies? Peeka BOO!
Where are the piggies? Peeka BOO!
Where are the piggies? Peeka BOO!
Peeka BOO to the piggies!

Then I sang this one:

3 small pigs, 3 small pigs
see how they wiggle, see  how they wiggle!
they eat and they eat and they all day
they oink and they oink and it's all they say
they play in the mud but it's all ok
for three small pigs!
(I made this up to sing to the tune of 3 Blind Mice)

We had an amazing delivery of brand new toys from Lakeshore Learning this week and I was so excited about this program. Some of the little ones were on the wild side and it was really difficult to get thru the class. I never have this happen with the babies, usually, it's the parents at Baby & Me, LOL! Hoping next week is better. Gave everyone a pass this week, but will have to address this next session if it continues and the parents do not.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

turkey day 2015

this afternoon, kids at my library will be making this adorable clothespin turkey as a drop in craft. Just color, cut and assemble! The legs are glued to two clothespins to make him stand up. so easy (and inexpensive too!)

I found this awesome template at Spring Time Treats. They also offer another version with blank feathers so you can write what you are thankful for.

This year, I am grateful for so many things!! For printable crafts like Mr. Turkey here, as well as my awesome family (cats included even tho they drive me crazy), my great job & wonderful co-workers, and my adorable new home. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 20, 2015

time for turkeys

this week, I've been recycling my favorite Thanksgiving books, flannel boards and songs from previous years. 

i figure why reinvent the wheel every year? plus, I really like the stuff I've used in the past.

Here is our craft for today's Toddler Time and I love it!

I cut small paper plates into halves for the kids to decorate with crayon and feathers. We also pre-cut the turkey bodies to be glued onto the paper plate part. Finally, tape on some pipe cleaner legs and you have a really cute turkey! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

toddler time: going hungry

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a very special storytime guest: the Very Hungry Caterpillar! 

I LOVE this puppet!
Many of the kids yelled unexpected things when I opened the yellow box & revealed the caterpillar puppet, like an apple (red kinda makes sense) and a bunny (antennas?)

We sang:

I’m the hungry caterpillar just for you (munch munch)
I’m the hungry caterpillar just for you (munch munch)
I ate too much food, now I have to build a cocoon
I’m the hungry caterpillar just for you (munch munch)
(tune: If You’re Happy…)

This caterpillar is very hungry for food today. Would you like a piece of caterpillar food to hold?

I passed out paper food to all the kids & we did our weekly rhyme.

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

Later in the program, I asked all the kids to bring their foods up & place them in the basket so out caterpillar could eat them later.

Books We Read: 
The Very Hungry Caterpillar- Carle (read 1st)
Who’s Hungry- Hacochen (so cute!! 1st session only)

Puppet/Flannel Board Story: Fruits are Very Good for Me

Fruits are Very Good for Me, Ee i ee i oh!
And so I eat them happily, Ee i ee i oh!
With a pear here and a pear there
Here a pear, there a pear, everywhere a pear
Fruits are Very Good for Me, Ee i ee i oh!
(Tune: The Farmer in the Dell)

Repeated with other fruits!

Craft: Paper Loop Caterpillars

I found this terrific craft idea here.

Take three strips of green paper and tape each one end to end, to make three green circles or loops. 

Next, color a caterpillar face. 

Then, just tape the three loops together and attach the caterpillar head. So easy!

close up view

So the first session was on the small side with about 14 kids. 

Everything went great except I totally forgot the tune for my first caterpillar song -- ugh, so embarrassing. 

The second session was mobbed, some adults talking but not as bad as last week. I think I need a wireless mic. 

This craft was so cute, probably my favorite part of the program! 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

baby & me: crazy for cats

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found three little kittens!  A kitten says MEOW!

Books We Read: 
Hello Kitty New York- (LOVED this one! we waved at each page)
Kitty’s Cuddles- Cabrera (so bright and colorful, this really held their attention today and all the adults loved the sweet ending)

Flannel Story: 10 Little Kitties

I just love this adorable kitty cat clipart that I found on Etsy last week and it was purr-fect for my flannel board song.  

We sang: 
1 little 2 little 3 little kitties
4 little, 5 little 6 little kitties
7 little 8 little 9 little kitties
10 little kitties say MEOW

9 little 8 little 7 little kitties
6 little 5 little 4 little kitties
3 little 2 little 1 little kitty
No little kitties today!

Puppet Rhyme: Peekaboo to Kitty

I wrapped my cat puppet up in a purple scarf so she could play peekaboo with us. Trying to alternate peekaboo with a puppet or myself every week now.

Where is Kitty? Peeka BOO!
Where is Kitty? Peeka BOO!
Where is Kitty? Peeka BOO!
Peekaboo to Kitty

About 17 babies and caregivers attending on a gray and rainy Thursday. We even had a few new faces! Great theme and a fun morning.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

toddler time: into the woods

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found autumn leaves! Where do leaves come from? The TREES!

I passed out paper leaves to all the kids & we did our weekly rhyme.

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

We also sang:

Leaves are twirling, leaves are twirling,
All around, all around!
falling very softly, very very softly
To the ground, to the ground
(tune: Frere Jacques)

Books We Read:
Hoot Hoot - Braun 
In a Dark Dark Wood- a "home made book" based on the amazing idea found HERE.

Puppet Story: 2 Little Hedgehogs

2 little hedgehogs sitting on a wall
One named BIG, the other named small
Run away BIG, run away small
Come back BIG, come back small

Felt Story: The Animals in the Woods (tune: Wheels on the Bus)

The animals in the woods sleep & play,
Sleep & play, sleep & play
The animals in the woods sleep & play,
All night & day

Other possible verses:
The owl in the woods says Hooo Hooo Hooo…all night long.
The squirrel in the woods digs for acorns…all day long.
The bear in the woods says grr grr grr…all day long
The deer in the woods eats some grass…all day long
The raccoon in the woods wears a mask…all day long
The fox in the woods swishes his tail…all day long
The hedgehog in the woods takes a nap…all day long

The animals in the woods sleep & play,
Sleep & play, sleep & play
The animals in the woods sleep & play,
All night & day

Craft: Forest animal puppets on popsicle sticks. 

I bought these digital stamps on Etsy, printed on white cardstock and cut them out. Needed an easy craft this week!

Both sessions were on the chatty (and dare I say, a little bit grumpy?) side this week. Although we read only one book and our flannel board & puppet songs were great, I could not keep everyone's attention, even after I stopped several times & asked for quiet. Just one of those weeks, I guess. 

I was so excited about my DIY book, but I decided to save it for upcoming preschool visits instead. Hoping things are better next week!