Friday, July 31, 2015

toddler time: mother goose and other rhymes

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

We passed out scarves to all the kids and did our weekly rhyme:

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

Books We Read: 
Big Fat Hen- Baker
Teddy Bear Teddy Bear-Scott
Old Mother Hubbard- Cabrera

Scarf Song: Little Bo Peep
From Jbrary

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep (hide scarf behind your back)
And doesn't know where to find them
Leave them alone and they'll come home (bring scarf back out)
wagging their tails behind them (shake scarf)

Flannel Story: Humpty Dumpty  

I placed the items on the felt board one at a time as I said the words:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall (Start with HD, add wall)
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall (remove HD)
And all the king's horses (show puppet or felt horse)
And all the king's men (show soldier)
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
Because Humpty was an egg! (show reverse or yolk side of HD)

I think my felt figures are from one of Judy Sierra's books.

Craft: Stand Up Humpty Dumpty

see photo at the top of post for finished product!

I found this pattern at the awesome website I printed the walls on red & blue cardstock but the Humpties were white cardstock so they could be colored by the children. We taped up the walls kind of like a tube so Humpty could rest on top like he’s sitting. Just like the rhyme, which the families can now recreate at home together!!

Another double header today with two sessions. Still working out great!! About 16 kids per program. This theme went pretty well and I loved the craft! Lots of great books to choose from, too.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

baby & me: do you hear what I hear?

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a shaker egg, a train whistle and some jingle bells! These three things all make NOISE!

Books We Read: 
What Does Baby Say- Katz (awesome and fun!)
Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada- Fallon (wanted to give this a try but might be better one on one than in a group. Everyone joined in on the sounds tho and the end is cute)

Flannel Story: Let’s Make a Noise

I still love this flannel rhyme from Storytime Secrets. See my post here for the link.

Puppet Song: I brought out three puppets and we sang:

The owls in the nest say TWEET TWEET TWEET
The owls in the nest say TWEET TWEET TWEET
All day long!

(also did the birds in the nest & the frog in the pond)

A nice sized group today, a little chatting but not too bad!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

stuffed animal sleepover @the library (2015)

Each summer, I both look forward to this super fun program and dread it at the same time (just a teeny tiny little bit -- mostly because of all the advance prep required.) With all the other programs, visits, library work, etc., it can feel like a lot. BUT every year, after the program is over, all I can say is: it is soooo worth it!

So, before the program, I try to be sure to...
-choose some bedtime themed picture books, flannel stories & crafts
-prepare stuffed animal name tags
-advertise the program & register kids (duh)
-print the pages I will give the kids after I attach photos of their stuffed friends
-plan out what kind of poses I will use for the photos & gather any props I need

Sometimes this can feel a little overwhelming!

I set the program time for 6:30 pm so I have plenty of time for setting things up AFTER everyone leaves, which works out great! Everyone started arriving in their pjs, stuffed animals in hand. As usual, we began with some great stories:

Bedtime for Chickies - Trasler (so cute!!!)
Nighty Night Little Green Monster- Emberley (very fun!)
Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears? - Coyle (was hoping this would be the perfect combo of our super hero and teddy bear themes but some of the kids seemed kind of bored. might be better with two readers?)
Touch the Brightest Star- Matheson (another interactive title from the author of Tap the Magic Tree. WONDERFUL for bedtime, the kids LOVED it!!! May become an annual part of this program.)

I also sang along to Ellwand's Ten in the Bed. I usually find that throwing in a sing along title can really bring back the kids' attention after a few non-singing picture books. I passed out card stock teddy bears to each child and we rolled our hands & bears when we sang "Roll over! Roll over!" After the book, I invited the kids to bring their bears up to me one color at a time and we tucked them under a scarf and said good night to "all the red (blue, purple, etc...) teddy bears."

Now for the crafts! First, each child made a name tag for their stuffed friend so we'd know who was who AND who belonged to who. I also printed some doorknob hangers for kids to color & cut. 

My favorite craft of the night was stuffed animal capes. I really wanted to give this a try but I needed capes that were quick, easy and inexpensive. Every child got a sheet of felt (unless their stuffie was very small-- then we just cut the sheet in half.) I gave everyone foam stickers to decorate the capes while i punched 2 holes in the top corners of each one. we tied a ribbon thru each hole and tied the ribbons together around the neck of the animal. it was super easy and looked amazing!!!

While everyone was finishing up, I read Bed Bugs by David Carter. Then, we tucked all the stuffies under my blanket and sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" together. 

Some kids did not want to leave their animals overnight which is perfectly understandable. The ones who stayed had a fun filled night of music and mayhem in the library! I posed everyone in a few shots & uploaded the pics to I picked them up the next morning on my way to work and popped them into the booklets that I previously printed out. I set everyone up in the program room with a few small prizes and they are ready for pick up right now!

So, another fun program all over until next summer. My favorite parts were the felt cape craft and Touch the Brightest Star book. And once again, it really was all worth it!

P.S. getting great feedback today from all the families picking up stuffed animals! one mom told me that last night her daughter actually thanked her for registering them for the program (-:

Friday, July 24, 2015

toddler time: beach party!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a green sand bucket with a starfish and a seashell in it. Where do we find these things? At the BEACH!

We passed out paper shells & starfish to all the kids and did our weekly rhyme:

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

Books We Read: 
Llama, Llama, Sand and Sun- Dewdney
Arf Arf: Can You Say It Too?- Braun

Scarf Song/Fingerplay:

The waves at the beach go up & down, up & down, up & down,
the waves at the beach go up & down, all day long.

The crabs on the beach go snap, snap, snap..
The clams at the beach will open and shut…
The sand on the beach goes swish, swish, swish..

from: Jbrary
(tune: The Wheels on the Bus)

Prop Song: We're Going to the Beach (Tune: Farmer in the Dell)

I brought out my big blue beach bag and we sang for each item as I pulled it from the bag. I found this cute idea on a recent Flannel Friday post!

We're going to the beach, We're going to the beach.
I think we'll need some flip-flops there!
We're going to the beach.
(sunglasses, beach towel, floppy hat, sunscreen, sand bucket)

Flannel Story: 5 Little Starfish  (adapted from Five Little Seashells @Anne's Library Life)

I used a blue scarf to be my "waves"!!

5 little starfish lying on the shore,
Crash went the waves and then there were 4.

4 little starfish down by the sea,
Crash went the waves! then there were 3.

3 little starfish, so pretty & new,
Crash went the waves! then there were 2.

2 little starfish, sitting in the sun,
Crash went the waves!  Then there was 1.

1 little starfish, left all alone,
I picked it up & i took it right home!

Craft: Cardstock Sand Buckets

I found the idea and pattern here . I cut the pieces from colorful cardstock so the kids could color it. Then we attached the pipe cleaner handle and voila! I also let the kids glue their shell or starfish onto their bucket.

Our second double session week was wonderful! Everyone loved today's craft. The theme was super fun with great books and I loved the prop song and flannel board too!! 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

baby & me: what is round?

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a beach ball and a red balloon – they are both ROUND!

Books We Read: 
Where Is Baby’s Beach Ball- Katz (cute!)
Circles- Yonezu (just love this author!!)
Little Roar's Round Balloon- Lodge (great for shapes)

Flannel Story: Pretty Balloons (from Sunflower Storytime)

(Tune “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star)

Pretty balloons in the air,
Lots of colors we see there.
Red, and yellow, green and blue
Can you see the colors too?
Pretty balloons in the air,
Lots of colors we see there.

Puppet Song: Peekaboo Hedgehog & Roly Poly

Hedgehog was nervous so he rolled himself up into a tiny ball!! He came out when we sang Peekaboo and Roley Poley though! See my previous post here!

A fun class today and I loved the versatile round shape theme! We had about 20 babies which is a perfect number crowd wise. Great day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

preschool program: i need a hero!

Today’s theme was SUPER HEROES! I always like to mention Summer Reading before my programs and using this year's summer reading theme for today's program is a fun and easy way to get kids excited about signing up.

Books We Read:
Super Heroes: Busy Bodies 
Supertruck- Savage
Fire Fighter Piggy Wiggy- Christyan 
Super Duck- Alborough
Super Chicken- Purcell
Superhero Me- Katz
How to be a Superhero- Fliess
Kiki's Blankie-Bynum

We had a real mix of ages at our program today but luckily, i pulled a wide range of books from baby through school age stuff so I'd have something for everyone. Summer programs are kind of unpredictable like that here.

Flannel Story: Six Little Superheroes (adapted from What Happens In Storytime

I brought out my homemade puppet, Mean Max, to be the villain in this one-- see my post here for more on him. 

My adorable heroes are printed clipart illustrations from Etsy.

6 little superheroes ready to fly
Here comes Mean Max! HEY! Stop that guy!
This superhero can save the day.
Off she/he flies - up, up, and away!

Count down from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 

Craft: Paper Bag Super Hero Puppets

I found this idea here while searching for summer reading ideas a while back. I printed gold paper capes for the kids to decorate. I cut construction paper masks in bright colors to tape onto the puppet “face.”

A very small group this morning has me rethinking preschool programming here. As much as I hate to admit it, I am beginning to think it's time to take a break from this age group to focus on my more popular programming. It would be one less thing on my "to do" list each month. Most of our preschoolers enroll in Universal PreK Programs during the school year so we rarely get high attendance at this monthly class. I already have sessions scheduled thru the fall tho, so I have some time to mull it over.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

toddler time: fabulous fruit

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found an apple, a banana & an orange! 

What do we do with these things – do we wear them on our heads? NOOOO! Do we eat them up? These foods are FRUITS!

We passed out paper fruits (clipart printed from the internet) to all the kids and did our weekly rhyme. 

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

Later in the program, I brought out my friend Mr Bear (just a box with a bear face!) and everyone fed him their fruit card. He was super hungry! 

I shamelessly copied Mr Bear and also the flannel board idea below from Sunflower Storytime!! And someday I vow to copy the adorable bear finger puppets she made too!!!

Books We Read: 
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear- Wood (a little tiny bit long for my guys but so fun!!!)
Guess What: Fruit- Yonezu (AMAZING!! Everyone just loved how the fruit turned out to be an animal instead!)

Puppet Rhyme: I brought out my Bear in a Tree Stump Puppet. He was sleeping of course so we had to wake him up by shouting “WAKE UP BEAR!” a couple of times. Then, he helped us with our strawberry themed flannel board…

Flannel Story: Five Red Strawberries (courtesy of Sunflower Storytime)

Five red strawberries, sweet to the core.
Bear came and ate one (nom nom) and then there were four.
Four red strawberries, growing near a tree.
Bear ate another one (nom nom) and then there were three.
Three red strawberries, for you and you and you.
Bear came and ate another (nom nom) and then there were two.
Two red strawberries, sitting in the sun.
Bear ate the biggest one (nom nom) and then there was one.
One red strawberry, where five had been before.
Bear ate the last of them (nom nom) and then there were no more.
No more strawberries, whatever will bear do?
He’ll have to go berry picking with all of you!

Craft: Construction paper Strawberries

The pattern is from 

I cut the red berry shapes and green stems. The kids glued them, added wiggle eyes and pipe cleaner appendages to make a little strawberry person!! I am just in LOVE with this little guy! A last minute idea, I was cutting the pieces 10 minutes before class (sigh!)

So today was our first double session with Toddler Time at 10:15 & 11:15 and I have to say it was amazing! Between 14-17 kids showed up at each session and it was soooo wonderful to have space for everyone to sit and lots of room at the craft tables and enough toys for everyone!!! I didn't have to shout over chatters and no one was sitting in the back of the room. I should have done this loooong ago! Everyone cleaned up @11am so I could reset for the later session. The mothers were so appreciative. I heard two mommies say this felt like a vacation and it truly did! Very happy with today's Toddler Time!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

toddler time: way up in the sky (OR put a bird on it!)

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found Hello Kitty in an airplane! 

What does an airplane do? It flies thru the sky!

We passed out airplanes to all the kids and did our weekly rhyme:

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

Books We Read: 
Maisy’s Plane- Cousins
Let’s Say Hi to Friends Who Fly- Willems
Higher, Higher- Patricelli

Flannel Story: A Game of Nests

I showed the kids five different colored nests made of felt and five clip art birds for a little matching game.

First, I held up the blue bird and said:
Little Blue Bird, you've flown so far and now its time to rest.
Fly back and sleep in your BLUE nest!

Is this the blue nest? Is this one blue...
until all the birds are in the correct place.
I found this great idea here!

Puppet Rhyme:

2 little bluebirds sitting on a hill or in a cloud -- we did both!

Craft: Construction paper Birdies

Kids had a great time gluing wings, feathers and eyes on the birds that I'd pre-cut for today's program.

So, confession time: this program did not turn out as planned. a TON TON TON of people showed up, many left when they saw the room was completely full which makes me sad. So at the beginning of class, I announced that next week, we would have two sessions instead to accommodate the large group. I hope the change isn't too confusing but it will probably take some time for people to adjust.

To get thru this session, I eliminated the handing out of airplanes and sent people upstairs to the main floor for the craft to make more room for playtime. Seemed to work ok but its just too hard to do a program with that many people in our relatively small program space. Fingers crossed, next week will be better!

Friday, July 10, 2015

baby & me: more monkeys!

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

Books We Read: 
Monkey & Me- Gravett
Mommy, Carry Me Please- Cabrera
Do Monkeys Tweet- Walsh

Flannel Story: Mama Monkey

I hid Baby Monkey behind one of our colorful felt shapes. We said:

Mama Monkey, Mama Monkey, look and see!
Your baby is hiding! Where can he be?
Is he under the blue square?

Keep looking until you find him!

Puppet Song: Monkey in a Barrel

This puppet is so cute and I think I’ve been neglecting him lately!! We sang Peekaboo Monkey.

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

We also tried two new Jbrary rhymes today! We did “We Wiggle and Wiggle and Stop” at the beginning of our class and the Beyonce inspired “All the Little Babies” toward the end of class with scarves. Both went over really well! I was nervous to try the Beyonce one because I felt a little silly but the scarves helped and it was very fun! 

We had a big group but not as huge as last week and things seemed pretty good aside from a couple of cryers and one runner. 

Today was my birthday so my co-workers came in and had everyone sing happy birthday to me, it was so sweet! A couple of moms asked me why I had to work on my birthday and I could have used a vacation day but I honestly didn’t want to miss my baby program!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

baby & me: a 4th of july celebration!

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

What colors can we see? I see RED, WHITE & BLUE!

Here is something else that is red, white & blue: our flag!

What is red? 
What is white?
What is blue? what is blue?
What has many stars? 
What has lots of stripes?
It’s our flag! It’s our flag!
(tune: Are You Sleeping?)

Books We Read: 
Baby Parade- O’Connell (I used this once a loooong time ago & truly forgot how much I loved it. We wave to the baby on each page and its very fun!)

I wanted a book about the colors in our theme this week but I was short on time as usual! I found a post about July 4th storytime photo card ideas here @ Mel’s Desk and decided to make my own little cards/mini book. I just printed my images onto card stock. It was kind of like making a flannel board without any felt or small pieces.

On each page, I named the featured color and we named the items that were pictured there. 

After we discussed red, white and blue, we named some things that were all three colors, including the flag. 

My homemade mini book really worked well for me today and I would try it again someday!

Flannel Story: Fireworks, Fireworks (tune: Twinkle Twinkle)

I found this cute song here but there are lots of great patriotic songs, fingerplays and flannel board ideas for this theme out there!

Fireworks, fireworks fill the sky
Shining on the fourth of July.
See them shoot up, see them flare!
See them light up everywhere.
Fireworks, fireworks fill the sky,
Shining on the Fourth of July.

I used glue and glitter on black felt to make some fireworks. They kind of look like spiders! Anyway, I placed them on the board as I sang this song, saving the red, white and blue one for the big finish!!

We had a ton of babies today and for the first time ever, I skipped the hello song! I just could not imagine singing to everyone in the room so we began with “hello bubble” instead. I hate that I did this. I’m having a difficult time adjusting to the large class size and feeling slightly overwhelmed. Once I make a little "no chatting" announcement and I get the class started, everything is great though. Most parents were really cooperative and the talking was not too bad. 

Another fun theme! Lots of the kids were wearing patriotic colors and seeing fireworks and parades this week so it was really good timing!