Friday, October 30, 2015

toddler time: pumpkins, pumpkins, everywhere!

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

I passed out paper pumpkins to all the kids & we did this song instead of our weekly rhyme:

The pumpkins are here. The pumpkins are there.
The pumpkins, the pumpkins are everywhere.

The pumpkins are up. The pumpkins are down.
The pumpkins, the pumpkins are all around.

The pumpkins are in. The pumpkins are out.
The pumpkins, the pumpkins are all about.

The pumpkins are low. The pumpkins are high.
The pumpkins, the pumpkins all say,  "Goodbye!"

Books We Read: 
It's Pumpkin Day Mouse- Numeroff
Llama, Llama, Trick or Treat - Dewdney (short & sweet)

Puppet Story: Pumpkin Stew

everyone wants to help make pumpkin stew!

I found this fantastic idea on a Jbrary blog post that linked me to Sturdy for Common Things. I love this! I used puppets to bring all the ingredients and asked everyone to join in the chanting and stirring of "Pumpkin stew, pumpkin stew! Let's cook up some pumpkin stew!"

i think i'll pass!

Felt Story: I found this cute pumpkin flannel board here. (Due to time, I only used it with a local preschool visit. Saving it for next year!)

Five Giant Pumpkins
Five giant pumpkins sitting on the floor
One became a pumpkin pie, and then there were four.

Four giant pumpkins, orange as they can be,
One became a jack o' lantern, and then there were three.

Three giant pumpkins, enormous, it's true,
One became a carriage for Cinderella, and then there were two.

Two giant pumpkins underneath the sun,
One got first prize at the fair, and then there was one.

One giant pumpkin sitting all alone.
I picked one up, and carried it home.

Perfect Pumpkin Song:

Feelings Jack O Lanterns (with printable puppets from one of my all time most favorite blogs: Sunflower Storytime)
(Tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it, then you’ll really want to show it.
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

If you’re grumpy and you know it, stomp your feet,
If you’re silly and you know it, wiggle around,
If you’re sad and you know it, rub your eyes (“boo hoo”),
If you’re surprised and you know it, say “Oh my!"

Craft: Paper Plate Pumpkin Masks 

I was super excited about this art project that I found on Pinterest  -- a great photo op, too. I cut the middles out of 50 paper plates. I also cut cardboard pumpkin stems in advance.

First, I passed out half sheets of green paper so parents could trace the toddlers’ hands and cut them out for the pumpkin leaf.

Then, they glued smallish pieces of orange streamers to their plates. They taped the stems and leaves on the top, and jumbo popsicle sticks on the bottom for handles.

This project seemed like a lot of work for the parents. It seemed to take a while. Next time, I might pre-cut the leaves to eliminate that whole step. Also, the toddlers didn’t seem to like holding the masks up to their faces. Hmmm…

It was a strange morning here. We had a lot of kids but many of my “regulars” were missing. During the second session, one little boy would not stop fussing and he was right by my table. I had to stop & wait for quiet a couple of times because I couldn’t hear anything. Finally, I had to ask his mom to take him out to the hall & come back when he was ready. I felt terrible doing this but I have to think about the other children who are trying to listen. Many of our attendees seemed a little grumpier than usual today, maybe too much holiday excitement?

Anyway, the craft was just ok for me. The Pumpkin Day book was cute, but I kinda prefer Pumpkin Faces. I do like the page with the sad pumpkin though. 

The Pumpkin Stew story was soooo fun! My favorite part was probably singing If You’re Happy and You Know It with the pumpkin puppets; that was amazing!!!! I was nervous to do the “Surprised” puppet, but it was the best one for sure! A good reminder to take a chance & try something new once in a while!

Today's costume! Of course, we had to sing the Jbrary banana song

Bananas Unite!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

baby & me: a good day for ghosts

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a cute little ghost!  What does a ghost say? BOO!

Books We Read: 
Where Is Baby's Pumpkin- Katz
The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin- Fry

Flannel Story: This Little Ghost

I found this idea on a super cute youtube video!


This little ghost went trick or treating!
But this little ghost stayed home.
This little ghost ate candy apples!
But this little ghost had none.
And this little ghost cried BOO BOO BOO all the way home!

then we counted up all the ghosts on the board.

Puppet Rhyme: Two Little Ghosties

Two Little Ghosties
2 little ghosties looking at you
One named Woo, one named Boo!
Fly away Woo, fly away Boo!
Fly back Woo, fly back Boo!
From Loons and Quines

We also sang this cute song with our ghost puppets:

The ghosties are here. The ghosties are there.
The ghosties, the ghosties are everywhere.

The ghosties are up. The ghosties are down.
The ghosties, the ghosties are all around.

The ghosties are in. The ghosties are out.
The ghosties, the ghosties are all about.

The ghosties are low. The ghosties are high.
The ghosties, the ghosties all say,  "Goodbye!"

We had another nice sized group today with about 16 babies, including a monkey, Bat Girl, and even a biker baby! I dressed as a bunny rabbit this year for baby & me!

no tricks, just treats 2015

It's so hard to believe that it’s time again for our annual Halloween Party --already!! Once again, I managed to schedule our program for the worst weather day of the entire month as the remnants of Hurricane Patricia brought rain and gloomy weather to the east coast; a perfect day for a spooky party! Not so great for attendance but we still had a room of about 17 kids ready for stories and BINGO.

Books We Read:
We’re Going On a Ghost Hunt
Ghosts in the House
Ten Orange Pumpkins
Pumpkin Trouble


Puppet Story: The Chocolate Chip Ghost (the adorable stick puppets were printed from the awesome, amazing, how-could-I-ever-survive-without-this-blog: Sunflower Storytime )


Mini Craft: Pet Ghosts (inspired by recent posts on the Storytime Underground Facebook Page)

I was looking for a quick craft activity, preferably something cheap and candy related for this program and I found the PERFECT idea on facebook. We had a bunch of white boxes in storage so all I needed were ghosts and labels.

After the stories, I announced that I had a pet ghost named Cloudy who loved tootsie rolls and let them peek in his box. 

Then, we sat at tables and made pet ghosts for everyone. We decorated our boxes with stickers and crayon. We gave our pets some orange tissue paper to lie on and a couple of candies to snack on.

cotton ball + wiggle eyes = cutest ghost ever!

Games We Played:

After our stories & songs, we played Halloween BINGO! 

Winners came up to our "Poke a Pumpkin" board to choose their mystery prize!! Luckily, we had enough pumpkins for everyone to get a chance.

another idea I stole from Facebook! we just hotglued plastic cups to our board, then filled each one with a prize and covered it with tissue paper.

It turned out to be a really fun afternoon! My favorite parts were the Chocolate Chip Ghost Story, the Pumpkin Poking and the mini craft. And of course, the BINGO!

Friday, October 23, 2015

toddler time: monster mayhem

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

Session #1 found a purple monster reading a book, while the second group discovered a well-known red monster named Elmo, LOL! I was feeling indecisive today so I decided to use both!

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

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

Marvelous Monster Movement:
Monster, Monster, turn around!
Monster, Monster, touch the ground!
Monster, Monster, reach up high!
Monster, Monster, point at the sky!
Monster, Monster, touch your nose!
Monster, Monster, touch your toes!
Monster, Monster, touch your knees!
Monster, Monster, clap your hands please!

Books We Read:
Go Away Big Green Monster- Emberley ( a classic!!)
Monster, Monster- Walsh (1st session only)
The Monsters on the Bus- Sesame Street

Felt Story: Monster on My Sandwich

So, I had a great flannel board all set for this week and then, I saw THIS and I had to have it!! It is so awesome!!! 

I printed a sandwich, an apple, a banana and an ice cream cone on my color printer but anything would work. And, I found a cute monster, too! 

I put all the pieces in my lunch bag and in the middle of the program announced that I was getting soooo hungry! 

As soon as I pulled out my lunch bag,the room turned totally silent. You could’ve heard a pin drop! I think the kids really believed I was going to start eating right there. Either that or they were completely dazzled by my awesome lunch bag!

Anyway, I pulled out my laminated food one at a time and put it up on the board. I left the monster in the lunch bag until I was ready for him each time.

Now it's almost time for lunch, but….
UH OH!!!!
there's a monster on my sandwich!
(C’mon, help me scare him away...)
Monster, YOU GET OFF!
[shake fist dramatically each time]
Monster, YOU GET OFF!
Monster, YOU GET OFF!
Get off of my sandwich.
(tune: BINGO)

I removed the monster each time and explained/complained how now I couldn't eat that food after a monster touched it!

It's almost time for lunch, but there's a monster on my apple...

After we finished all my foods, I packed them all back up in my lunch bag and told everyone since I had nothing left to eat, I was going to McDonalds LOL! Soooo fun!

Craft: Monster Puppets

I found this monster online. We colored cardstock copies in all colors and put rainbow dot stickers on him. Then, we taped him to a jumbo popsicle stick.

A fantastic day with 25 kids the early session and 21 in the second one. I loved the Monsters on the Bus and so did the kids! The flannel board had to be the biggest hit of the day though!

One woman was a speech therapist and she told me that my program was perfect for the age group and that I was a genius for not forcing the kids to stay seated for my class. I said “Why would I fight them that way? They are toddlers and I know they are listening to me.” It sure was a nice compliment! Wish every program went this smoothly...

Looking forward to dressing up for Halloween next week, especially for Toddler Time!

flannel friday: this little ghost

I found the cutest little rhyme on youtube this week as I was looking for ideas for my halloween programs! This is a twist on "This Little Piggy Went to Market" and I can't wait to use it at Baby & Me next week.

This little ghost went trick or treating!
But this little ghost stayed home.
This little ghost ate candy apples!
But this little ghost had none.
And this little ghost cried BOO BOO BOO all the way home!

I really love my job this time of year!! Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

preschool visit for October

It was all about autumn, black cats and halloween for today's preschool visit!

Books We Read:

Also Read:
Tickle Monster - Manceau
That Pup - George

Other Cute Cat Related Titles:
Feathers for Lunch- Ehlert
There are Cats in This Book- Schwarz
Cookie's Week- Ward
Katy Cat and Beaky Boo- Cousins

Flannel Story: 6 Little Kittens

I borrowed this cute idea from the Storytime Lady but switched to the number six. I did hide Pete the Cat under the last blanket. The kids at this school have been reading all about him lately so they recognized him immediately! Loved it!

Scarf Songs: The Wheels on the Bus with Pete the Cat (LOVE this version!!!)

We also did "Rain on the Grass" (cute Jbrary video here!) and "Popcorn Kernels" (and here!)

Craft: Pete the Cat Paper Plates

This project was so easy! I just printed my Petes (found here) and cut them out before the class. The kids loved coloring their Pete the Cats! We glued them to small paper plates and taped a ribbon on the back for hanging! 

Monday, October 19, 2015

toddler time: the cat's Meeow

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

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

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

Books We Read: 
The Wheels on the Bus- Pete the Cat version
I Love My White Shoes- Dean/Litwin (1st session only)
Meeow and the Big Brown Box- Braun

Cute Cat Fingerplay:

I'm a Little Kitty Cat (from Jbrary of course!)

I'm a little kitty cat
Nice and sweet
Here are my whiskers
and here are my feet
When I go out hunting, mice beware
Or you might just have a scare!

Felt Story: Hide and Seek with Meeow 

(I shamelessly copied this from some recent flannel friday posts by Mel’s Desk! It was sooo adorable I could not resist. I made 6 objects for hiding AND Meow and his four friends. It was very fun and so easy to follow her example. I plan to use this felt set with toddlers and babies too!)

Craft: Meeow Paper Bag Puppets

I took the pattern I used for my felt board Meeow and enlarged it a bit. I cut the face shapes from black construction paper so the kids could just glue them on. I also made paper eyes, as well as noses and mouths cut from adhesive pink foam sheets. This craft turned out amazing. 

When I passed out materials to the kids at craft time, I started with the brown lunch bags first. I told the kids to decorate them while I passed out the other stuff; this bought me time AND let them make their puppets kind of "personalized" and much more colorful.

A great day with 20 kids the early session and 16 in the second one.

Friday, October 16, 2015

baby & me: goodnight baby!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a sparkly star!  (I made this from felt and glitter and use it every session for "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.") We see stars in the sky at NIGHT.

Books We Read: 
Peekaboo Bedtime- Isadora (LOVE this one! We said Hello to each colorful page)
Wild! Bedtime- Dicmas (this is such a cute series with larger sizes than most board books. may be better one on one, just ok for me)

Flannel Story: 4 Little Babies Asleep in Their Beds

See my previous post here, now with NEW and IMPROVED babies!!! I found this clipart on Etsy and used it for displays and flyers too, so it was a great purchase.

Puppet Rhyme: Bear in a Tree Stump Puppet

One of my most favorite puppets & great for the Sleeping/Night time theme. See my post here.

A nice crowd today with about 18 babies and caregivers and a fun program!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Flannel Friday: 5 Little Rocking Horses

Our Toddler Time theme this week was HORSES, which happens to be one of my favorites. After a story or two, we sing "Old MacDonald" with my animal puppets and make an adorable rocking horse paper plate craft. 

I thought it would be fun to have a flannel board about rocking horses, so last week I came up with this twist on "Five Little Cookies at the Bake Shop."

I found this cute clip art on Etsy which features six horses and I like to use numbers besides five occasionally, so it worked out great!

6 little rocking horses at the toy store. (show 6 fingers)
They rocked and they rocked and they rocked some more (rock side to side or wave hands)
Along came puppet/child's name with a dollar to pay.
He/she bought one and took it away!

Here is our craft:

I found this idea on Artsy Craft Mom. The rocking horse came from here

I print and pre-cut a rocking horse on cardstock for each child. They just color them and attach them to a folded paper plate with a glue stick. The ones the kids make always look better than mine!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

on your mark, get set, GLOW!

After reading about some awesome programs at other libraries, I decided to plan my own "lights out", glow in the dark story & craft program. 

The Inspiration:
Steal This Story Time: Glow in the Dark
Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends

I'll start off with...THE GOOD:

The Books:
Night Light: Blechman (fun to guess)
The Very Lonely Firefly- Carle (everyone loved when we shut out the lights for the final page)
The Game of Light - Tullet (great with a flashlight)
Duck's Not Afraid of the Dark - Long (got some laughs)

The Craft:

I found this idea on Pinterest for Glow in the Dark Fireflies.

We bought glow in the dark plastic eggs from OTC. They did glow nicely for a while after lots of exposure to the sun. Unfortunately, the days before my program were pretty cloudy. So, I purchased teeny tiny glow sticks to put inside the eggs to make absolutely sure that they would glow at my program. They worked great!

I cut fabric wings and we attached them with Glue Dots. We decorated with pipe cleaner legs & antennae, and tiny sticky wiggle eyes.

Everyone LOVED the craft!

my firefly in the dark

Now, THE BAD: only 2 kids attended. TWO!!! I felt like crying.

Image result for crying meme
Exactly how I felt after this program!

7 pm may be too late for a children's program. Although I've offered evening programs successfully in the past, next time I'd probably try to start things at 6:30 instead, due to low attendance and comments from some parents. 

I like to offer evening programs occasionally since so many parents work during the day and even more importantly, I wanted it to be dark for this program. Maybe I'll try it again in the summer time!

And finally, THE UGLY: glowing is more difficult than it looks!

I found sooo many great tips about glow in the dark parties on Pinterest but the ones I tried were a huge disappointment. 

For example: glowing balloons & glowing eyes

Glow sticks put into neon balloons, blown up and tied. Maybe put in the pool??:
My balloons didn't look like this at all!
I used white balloons but they didn't glow one bit.

glow in the dark eyes from toilet paper rolls  glow sticks - (16 Easy But Awesome Homemade Halloween Decorations):
My glow sticks were not bright enough 
to create anything resembling this effect.

So, my decoration ideas turned out just awful! Luckily, I had some glow in the dark bracelets from Pier 1 to pass out that glowed great!

On the bright side, my attendees and their caregivers had a great time. They made several fireflies to take home which was nice. 

Hoping my October programs will be more successful!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

baby & me: singing a song

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a pink harmonica!  A harmonica plays music! 

I do not really know how to play the harmonica but I played a few notes for them so they could hear what it sounds like. Then we started today's program which was all about SONGS.

Books We Read: 
If You’re Happy and You Know It- Carter
Row, Row, Row Your Boat- Ellwand

Flannel Story: Brown Bear, Brown Bear

I explained that our felt story came from a very well known book they probably already knew and we were going to sing it to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

I bought this cute felt set last year from

Puppet Rhyme: Itsy Bitsy Spider

We sang the Itsy Bitsy Spider (AND the big enormous spider version too!) It's great how everyone loves this song so they all join in!

Around 12 babies and caregivers braved the nasty weather this cold, rainy morning! It was a nice group and I loved the theme. There were lots of great singing books to choose from and it was so awesome when the parents all sang along; my babies always LOVE this!! So fun (-: