Friday, January 30, 2015

toddler time: polar bear fun

Today, our toddler themes were all POLAR BEARS and WINTER!

So Monday was supposed to be our Frozen Festival but we had to postpone due to bad weather conditions. I think Elsa is sending the snow to us especially for the program! The community room was decorated so beautifully by my coworkers, with snowflakes, streamers and white lights and I didn't want to take it down, so I tried to pick a theme that kind of went along with the decor!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a polar bear! He’s riding on a red sled!

Puppet Song: I found this rhyme on Jbrary and its perfect for today's theme! I printed the polar bear and laminated him to make my own puppet.

Bumping up and down in my little red sled
Bumping up and down in my little red sled
Bumping up and down in my little red sled
Wont you be my darling?

Snow's coming down on my little red sled…
Waving to my friends on my little red sled…

We passed out polar bears to everyone & sang:

Hold your polar bears UP!
Hold your polar bears DOWN!

Hold your polar bears and turn AROUND!

Hold your polar bears UP!
Hold your polar bears DOWN!

Put your polar bear on the GROUND!

Books We Read: 
Hush Little Polar Bear- Mack (I must confess to paperclipping a few of the pages to shorten this story a tiny bit but it worked very well for me)
Hello Winter- (Hello Kitty) We waved to each page in this one to make it a little more interactive
Ten on the Sled- Norman (Ran out of time!)

Flannel Board: Marco the Polar Bear

See my post here for more about Marco!

Polar Bear Paper Plates

I used small plates for this one. I cut round circles for white ears, small black circle noses and paper eyes. I drew mouths on the plates right before the program. Passing out all the pieces takes a while so I told the kids to color their plates while we handed everything out. This project came out super cute!

We had a full house today with about 22 kids and it was a great morning! I loved the craft and the kids were mesmerized by the Marco flannel story.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

baby & me: hide & seek

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

Puppet Song: I just made this up to go with the animals I used in today's flannel story.

The tune is the Wheels on the Bus.

The monkey in the tree goes oooo oooo ee ee! Ooo ooo eee eee! Ooo ooo ee ee!
The monkey in the tree goes oooo oooo ee ee all day long!

Mr Frog joined in and we sang a verse for him:

The frog in the pond goes hop hop hop, hop hop hop, hop hop hop
The frog in the pond goes hop hop hop all day long!

Books We Read:
Who’s Hiding- Braun (love the large simple illustrations in this small board book!)
Where’s Ellie- Yoon (also great, would love a lap size edition!!)
Surprise - Slegers (no time today)

Flannel Story: Hide & Seek with Monkey & Frog

I made some furniture for my felt board and I hid felt monkeys & frogs underneath.

Monkey & Frog are playing hide and seek
Who’s hiding under the bed? Lets take a peek!

Lift furniture to reveal a monkey or a frog! 

I bought these in a little pack at Michaels. They have adhesive backs so I put some felt there to make them stick to the felt board. I hid 3 monkeys and 3 frogs and then alternated them when we pulled up the furniture pieces.

We had about a dozen babies today, which is pretty good considering the freezing weather we've had this week. 

This theme was just ok for me; the books and flannel might have been too alike because it felt like we spent the whole class looking under things! The babies didn't seem to mind at all but I was wishing for a little more variety. At least the puppet song was unrelated! Next time, I would mix things up a little with maybe a frog or monkey book to go with the Braun book.

Friday, January 23, 2015

toddler time: what a zoo!

Today, our toddler theme was all about the ZOO!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a bunch of animals: a lion, a tiger, a bear, a penguin & a zebra! Where can we visit animals like these? At the Zoo!

I came to the zoo to see lions, elephants, tigers, and bears!
I came to the zoo to see zebras. I love all the animals there!
Lions, tigers, elephants, zebras, and bears, and bears!
Lions, tigers, elephants, zebras, and bears!
Credit: Mel’s Desk

I switched out elephant with penguins to match my puppets, which I got at the dollar store. Its really a bulletin board border that I cut up!

We passed out animals to everyone & sang the song again.

Books We Read: 
Zookeeper Sue- Demarest (Really held their attention)
Chomp- Brown (they loved this one, esp. the last page)
1,2,at the Zoo- DeCicco
Dear Zoo- Carter (this was the 3rd book but they were loving it!)

Puppet Song:

With a little tape, and paper, I quickly transformed my barn into a ZOO! I have a bunch of animal hand puppets that fit our Zoo theme so we sang a zoo song with them as they popped their heads out of the zoo.

Tune: She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain)
You can hear the lions roaring at the zoo, ROAR ROAR!
You can hear the lions roaring at the zoo, ROAR ROAR!
You can hear the lions roaring, you can hear the lions roaring,
You can hear the lions roaring at the zoo, ROAR ROAR!
(Snakes hissing, bears growling, wolves howling, frogs croaking, zebras braying)
credit: Perpetual Preschool

More Great Zoo Related Songs:

The Animals at the Zoo
Sung to: "The Wheels on the Bus"

The lions at the zoo go roar, roar, roar,
Roar, roar, roar,
Roar, roar, roar,
The lions at the zoo go roar, roar, roar,
All day long!

The snakes at the zoo go hiss, hiss, hiss,
Hiss, hiss, hiss,
Hiss, hiss, hiss,
The snakes at the zoo go hiss, hiss, hiss,
All day long!

The monkeys at the zoo go oooh, oooh, oooh,
Oooh, oooh, oooh,
Oooh, oooh, oooh,
The monkeys at the zoo go oooh, oooh, oooh,
All day long!

If I Were
Sung to: " The Mulberry Bush"

Oh, if I were a tiny snake,
A tiny snake, a tiny snake.
Oh, if I were a tiny snake,
I'd slither around the zoo.

Oh, if I were an elephant,
an elephant, an elephant.
Oh, if I were an elephant,
I'd march around the zoo.

Oh, if I were a kangaroo,
A kangaroo, a kangaroo.
Oh, if I were a kangaroo,
I'd hop around the zoo.

I printed a coloring sheet with several animals on it. The kids colored them, then we cut them out and glued them into their construction paper zoo.

SO this was a super fun theme for me because I really love animals. Surprisingly, my favorite things from today were the books for once! They were perfect and kept everyone's attention. The craft seemed a little work intensive. I'd done a similar one for barns/farms a few months back but this seemed more time consuming somehow. Also, the Mystery Box puppets and songs were wonderful! All in all, a great program with about 20 kids attending!

baby & me: baby, it's cold outside

It has been the CRAZIEST week ever for me! The entire staff & I have been working on the upcoming Frozen Festival so I needed something quick & easy for Baby & Me. 

It's been a while since we had a winter theme and I have lots of great flannels and props so Winter it was! For more details on songs used here, just check this baby & me post from last January.

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a beautiful snowflake. We sang “Have You Ever Seen a Snowflake” and everyone joined in!!

Books We Read: 
Baby Loves Winter- Katz
Welcome Winter- Little Scholastic
Hello Winter- Hello Kitty

Flannel Story: Snowball, Snowball

Very cute!

Puppet Song: One Red Mitten

One of my favorites! So fun to do with the babies.

We had a ton of babies today and what a great group!! Only read one book but we did lots of other songs so it was ok. I love being able to pull songs, felt boards, etc. from my previous programs. This blog is really making my life so much easier.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

sesame street storytime

I'm happy to report that the characters of Sesame Street are as popular as ever here at my branch! Both sessions of our special Elmo & Cookie Monster themed storytime were well attended, with 15 kids in the AM session and 13 attending the PM one. Not bad for a cold winter day.

I began both programs by pulling out some pretend cookies and asking "who loves cookies on Sesame Street?" Everyone knew the answer to that! "And what is the name of Cookie Monster's friend who is RED?" Elmo is like a rock star to these kids!

I pulled out my puppets and we started reading the stories I'd selected. They all worked fabulously! Elmo Loves You is short with rhyming text. Monsters on the Bus is so fun to sing. I had the best time ever reading The Monster at the End of This Book, even tho one attendee was pretty spooked by it. 

And Elmo's Alphabet Soup was a great lead in to today's Cookie Monster Game. Everyone came up to feed him a cookie then we went thru some other props to see if they might be good things for him to eat. Like apples? bananas? feathers? crayons? lollipops? broccoli? how about a beach ball?

We also did a Hide and Seek Flannel Board, followed by puppet crafts. The kids' puppets came out soo cute! Plus, since I'd done the cutting in advance, all they had to do was glue the face parts on.

See my Flannel Friday post here for more info!

A great program and a fun (but exhausting) day! 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

toddler time: slow as a snail

Today, our toddler theme was all about SNAILS and being SLOW!

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

We passed out scarves to everyone & sang:

One bright scarf waiting for the wind to blow
Wiggle it high
Wiggle it low
Shake it fast
Shake it slow
Put it behind your back
Where did it go?

Here it is!!

We did it twice because they loved it so much! I use this at Baby & Me sometimes but for a long time it was my “go to” scarf rhyme immediately following the Wheels on the Bus. Lately, I do Popcorn Kernels or This is the Way We Wash.

We also tried a new song I found online that used our Slow/Fast theme:

Tune: Row Row Row Your Boat!

Wave wave wave your scarf as slowly as you can
Wave wave wave your scarf as quickly as you can

Swing your arms, Stomp your feet, & Nod your head are also fun!

Books We Read:
Fast and Slow- Teckentrup (this board book is on the small side and I added some words myself like, “The fire engine is FAST, the tractor is SLOW.” I hoped people would join in with me on the repetitive text but no one really did. The kids liked the book though so that’s good!)
Slow Snail- Murphy (also worked great)
Slowly Slowly Slowly Said the Sloth – Carle (ran out of time for this one)

Puppet Song:

Everyone loves when I pull out the puppets!! I brought out Snail and Mouse for this easy rhyme.

Flannel Board: This Little Snail

I found this cute rhyme at one of my most favorite blogs: Fun with Friends at Storytime. She created the prettiest felt snails!! I decided to be lazy and use clipart ones but someday maybe I can make nicer ones.

This Little Snail
This little snail peeked in the door,
This little snail slid across the floor.
This little snail came out to play,
This little snail slid slowly away.
This little snail said, "Dear me, dinner is over and now it's time for tea!".

I found this cute craft idea at another amazing blog called Storytime Katie in her post called Fast & Slow. She uses paper plates -- so smart! I cut snail bodies and shells from construction paper and we used crayons and tissue paper squares to decorate. Very fun!

We had a TON of people for today’s class, I think the 40 degree weather made everyone want to get out of the house! I had no craft supplies left so I think it was almost 30 people!! Everyone was extremely well behaved and the program was wonderful!! SO nice to see lots of familiar faces after the holidays too. A great morning!

Friday, January 16, 2015

baby & me: it's all happening at the zoo

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

Puppet Song: We’re Going to the Zoo

I love this set of safari animals by Folkmanis. I pull them out one at a time for this song.

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!

Books We Read:
Roar Roar Baby- Katz
Noodle Loves the Zoo- Billet

Flannel Story: Zoo Animal Version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear

I have some laminated clip art animals that I printed from so I put them up on the board as we said…

“Elephant, elephant, what do you see? I see a penguin looking at me!”

So easy and you can use it with whatever animals you have around. 

This rhyme is sooooo adaptable – it's amazing! I use it for insects, transportation, practically any theme will work! LOVE IT!

Puppet Song: We’re Going to the Zoo

cute finger puppet set

I love this set of African wild life animals by Folkmanis. I pull them out on my little bag one at a time for this song.

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!

Another great group today with about 15 babies so it was a perfect size. A couple of new faces which is good because many of my regulars are starting to graduate to Toddler Time. Its been a while since I did this theme with the babies and I found so many great books to use!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

toddler time: more favorites!

And the greatest hits keep on coming...

Today was another cold morning but WITH SNOW  --  even worse for attendance than yesterday's single digit temps. I had planned a cute Wake Up/Sun themed program but it wasn't quite ready and I figured why rush? I threw together a few of my favorite toddler books, a puppet craft and whatever else caught my eye!

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

I got a set of these a few months ago and for some reason, I always forget about them. Since they haven’t gotten a lot of use yet, the toddlers thought they were awesome!! They are pretty cool!

We passed out bean bags to everyone & did our usual rhyme:

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

The kids are getting the hang of this since we do it every week!

We also tried a great new song I learned on Jbrary recently. I just used bean bags instead of puppets and it was tons of fun. I can see this one becoming part of my regular rotation.

Put your puppet on your heart,
On your heart.
Put your puppet on your heart,
On your heart.
Put your puppet on your heart,
What a lovely way to start!
Put your puppet on your heart,
On your heart.

Put your puppet on your knee…
You’ll both be filled with glee…
Put your puppet on your toes…
Now move it to your nose…
Put your puppet on your head…
Put your puppet straight to bed…
Give your puppet a big hug…

Books We Read:
Go Away Big Green Monster- Emberley
Ten in the Bed- Elwand
Charlie Chicken- Denchfield

The kids were enthralled by today’s book selections, which I explained were some of my most favorites!!

The Elwand book is a little lengthy/repetitive for my toddlers -- I am sometimes tempted to countdown from five instead of ten -- but they were paying close attention today. After that selection, one of my regulars yelled, “Read another one, Miss Amy!!” So cute!

Puppet Song:

This bear in a tree stump puppet (see first pic above) really is one of my favorite props ever. We sang “Where Is Bear?” but he kept falling asleep so we had to yell “WAKE UP BEAR” several times.

Flannel Board: 5 Little Kernels in the Pot

This was a last minute pull, just in case I had time for something quick at the end, but they really liked it! I went right into it after the Banana Song so I mentioned that I like bananas but I also love popcorn! Not a lie (-:

I found this a while back on Flannel Friday at Mel's Desk --  thanks for the great template!!

from sad little kernels...

to fluffy delicious popcorn!!

I have some leftover Ellison die cut puppets from long ago. The kids just colored them while I cut round noses from adhesive foam sheets. Very easy!

A terrific group today, so many familiar faces and I knew most kids by name. They were really into the stories so it was super fun for me. It felt odd to be “theme-less” but I think its good to experiment with that once in a while. A great day!

Friday, January 9, 2015

baby & me: baby favorites

So its our first real week back after the holidays, the weather is BITTER cold here and I wasn't sure if any babies would come to the Library today so I decided to pull out some of my "Greatest Hits."

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

This is so pretty and COMPLETELY unrelated to any of our books/rhymes/etc., but I’ve been dying to somehow sneak it into a program!

Books We Read: 
Hello Day- Lobel
Are You a Cow- Boynton
Babies on the Bus – Katz

Flannel Story: Brown Bear, Brown Bear

I purchased this felt set on amazon over the summer. Based on one of my #1 Most Favorite books EVER, the babies seemed mesmerized by these colorful felt pieces. Another great but different way to use this amazing story. I just said the words to the story as I went thru the pieces, placing them on my little lap board one at a time.

Puppet Song:

I had these cat puppets handy so I decided to go with them for "Where Is Big/Little Cat?"

I have to admit it was kind of liberating to forget about choosing a baby theme for today and just use what appealed to me at that moment!!! It is definitely something I will try to do more often. The felt board was my favorite part of the session.

We had 7 babies today despite the frigid weather and it was a pleasant change of pace. Based on last year's stats, I expect the crowds to be small like this for the next few weeks and that's perfectly fine with me. Change is good! Its a great time for me to try out new songs and rhymes and switch things up a bit until the spring.

flannel friday: Five Little Olafs

I'm so excited about the "Frozen Festival" we are planning for my library later this month with stories, games, crafts and lots of fun! We're encouraging kids to dress in costume if they want and we'll be playing the Sing Along DVD on our brand new flat screen TV! We are hoping for a nice day and about 35 kids. 

The entire staff is pitching in with decorations. We'll have stories, games, a photo area and the dvd showing in the lower level, along with four craft stations scattered throughout the main floor of the branch. I am so grateful to my team members for helping me make this program extra special!

I needed a quick and easy song for my flannel board, something to change up the pace after a few Frozen picture books. I decided to adapt one of my favorite winter felt songs: Five Little Snowmen. I originally found this flannel idea on Miss Tracey's Little Story Bug website and for my "Frozen" twist, all I have to do is substitute "Olafs" for the word "snowmen".

The tune is "Up on the Rooftop"

5 little Olafs made of snow
5 little Olafs in a row
Out came the sun and it shone all day
And one little Olaf (shake bells & remove one Olaf) melted away...

(Count down to zero Olafs)

No little Olafs made of snow
No little Olafs in a row
Down went the sun at the end of the day
And all five Olafs returned to play!

(Put all Olafs back on felt board)

I printed my Olafs on the color printer and laminated them so this flannel board was super easy! 

This week, Flannel Friday is hosted by Lisa at Libraryland. Thanks for reading (-:

Friday, January 2, 2015

toddler time: a whale of a (toddler) time

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found book! Its called Baby Beluga by Raffi. Baby Beluga is a whale --  really big animal that lives in the sea. Would you like a baby whale to hold during our song?

We passed out paper whales to everyone & sang:

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

Okay, now we’re ready for our first book, Baby Beluga!

Books We Read: 
Baby Beluga- Raffi
Whaley Whale – Rascka
I Spy Under the Sea- Gibbs

Felt Story: Five Baby Whales

I found this flannel idea here but since my whales were not really giant, I switched to "baby" whales instead!

Five giant whales, swimming on the ocean floor,

One went to blow (OR off to play) and then there were four.

Four giant whales, swimming in the sea,

One saw a shark and then there were three.

Three giant whales, swimming the ocean blue,

One dived to the bottom and then there were two.

Two giant whales, swimming just for fun,

One got tired so then there was just one.

One giant whale, swimming all alone,

He was very lonely, so he went home.


puppet version with a popsicle stick or...

I adapted this cute whale puppet idea from one that I saw online. First, I printed some clip art whales onto white cardstock for kids to color. I also cut blue construction paper waves for the whale to pop in and out of. The waves are folded in half kind of like a pocket with a small slit at the fold for the popsicle stick. I also taped the sides. You could also just glue the whale under the waves for a more "peekaboo" type craft and skip the popsicle stick part all together.

check out the peekaboo version!

Since this was our first program after the holidays and so close to New Years, I wasn't sure what size group to expect. We had about 16 kids which is perfect! My favorite part of the program was the felt board. I wished I'd found a bigger copy of the Raffi book because many kids weren't paying it any attention which surprised me a little. It was still a nice morning though!

flannel friday: welcome to sesame street!

Like many people my age, I grew up on Sesame Street!! It was my favorite show and I loved ALL the characters. Later this month, I will be hosting a Sesame Street themed program for preschoolers at my branch and I'm really excited about it!

I've been working on a flannel board that I like to call "Where's Elmo?" and it's similar to "Little Mouse, Little Mouse, Are You In the ____ House?" In fact, I'm using the houses that I made for that flannel board so it saves me a little work!  

one of the first flannel boards I ever made!

I found some cute Sesame clipart on the internet but I also considered buying stickers to scan, enlarge and print. Or you can purchase clipart on Etsy. 

Instead of hiding the little mouse, I will hide a character behind each felt house and say the rhyme below. I have a color spinner so I may use that to choose a color or ask a child to pick one.

Elmo's playing hide and seek!
Is he behind the orange house?
Let's take a peek...

close up view...

another close up!

I found some great books to use with my program:

The Elmo collection includes a great story called The Monsters on the Bus which is variation of "The Wheels on The Bus" so we can all sing along to that one!

We will also make these adorable puppets! 

Cookie Monster & Elmo!

All you need is construction paper and popsicle sticks. if anyone would like the template I used, please email me at & I'd be happy to send it to you!

Happy New Year to all & thanks for reading!!