Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas Story & Craft Program

I am the BIGGEST Pete the Cat fan and I have to admit that I was so happy when he won the title “Most Favorite Storybook Character”  here at our library a few weeks ago. Pete beat out some tough competition by fellow candidates Llama Llama and the Pigeon and squeaked out a win by only 20 votes. 

Luckily, I had already been planning a Pete themed holiday craft so it all worked out purr-fectly!

We read Pete the Cat Saves Christmas to kick off the program, followed by a flannel story starring Gingerbread Pete.

I fell in love with this blogger's Ginger Pete post (read it HERE) and while I completely copied her adorable felt Pete, I adapted her story just a tiny bit:

Who likes gingerbread cookies?  Me too!
Well, I was making some gingerbread cookies the other day when I decided that I needed to make a cookie version of one of my favorite book characters: Pete the Cat! 

So, I rolled out the gingerbread, cut the shape, and added some peppermint sticks for the whiskers.  Then, I gave him a candy cane and a lollipop to hold! But, he was missing something: he needed some delicious candy gumdrop buttons!  

1, 2, 3, 4 buttons for Pete!

Ginger Pete loved his new gumdrop buttons so much that he started singing:

My buttons, my buttons,
I love my gumdrop buttons!
But, those buttons looked so tasty.  And, I really love ate one! 

Did Ginger Pete cry?  Goodness no!  
Gumdrop buttons come & gumdrop buttons go
Ginger Pete still had 3 gumdrop buttons.  But, I was still kind of hungry and those buttons look SOOOO tasty, I ate one more. 

Did Ginger Pete cry?  Goodness no!  
Gumdrop buttons come & gumdrop buttons go
So, now Ginger Pete had 2 gumdrop buttons.  But, I was a little bit hungry and red gumdrops are my favorite, I ate one more. 

Did Ginger Pete cry?  Goodness no!  
Gumdrop buttons come & gumdrop buttons go
So, now Ginger Pete had 1 gumdrop button.  He looks kind of silly with just one button, so I might as well eat that one too!

Did Ginger Pete cry? YES!!!

Ginger Pete cried:
My buttons, my buttons,
You ate ALL my gumdrop buttons!

Poor Ginger Pete seemed really sad.  I felt a little bad about eating all of his yummy buttons, so I went shopping to find some nice new buttons for Ginger Pete.  

How about chocolate chip buttons? No, I love those so I'd probably eat them.
Smarties? Mini-marshmallows? No, I better get something I won't want to eat --like REAL buttons! So I found Pete some brand new colorful, shiny buttons that weren't made of candy!

Pete's new buttons made him so happy he sang a NEW song:
My buttons, my buttons, You can't eat these shiny buttons!
My buttons, my buttons, You can't eat these shiny buttons!

Next up: a game! Pete the Cat’s Missing Presents Match Up

a few of the missing presents were hiding on the emergency exit door

Colorful presents had been hidden around the program room. I explained to the kids that Santa’s elves misplaced a bunch of presents that Pete needs to deliver. The kids each picked a card with a picture of one missing present and had to find it some place in the program room. 

When they brought Pete the right present and dropped it in Santa's chimney, they got to choose a special holiday flavored lollipop from Pete’s mouth!

Finally, our craft: Pete the Cat Headbands with removable Santa hats

The Pete headbands were a cute craft from OTC. I made my own Santa hats from craft foam sheets. I liked the idea of having removable hats so the headbands could be used all year round, not just for Christmastime. So, the Santa hats slip on to the headband and rest there. The red foam of the hat and the white foam of the hat kind of make a sandwich with Pete's head in the middle. The white part is stapled to the red part only at the top to create a sort of "slot". Sorry, it's so hard to explain!!! The kids glued a cotton ball to their hat.

I also printed a Santa Pete coloring sheet that I found online for each child.

So this turned out to be a super fun program and I really enjoyed planning everything! I LOVED reading Pete the Cat Saves Christmas and the Ginger Pete flannel story was awesome too. The kids really liked searching for their missing presents and the craft came out sooo cute! It made me so happy to see the little ones wearing their Pete hats. A really nice holiday program that really put me in the Christmas spirit!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

toddler time: potato time!

Mystery Box: Inside our mystery box, we found Mr Potato Head! And Mrs. Potato Head!

These are small ones, and here is a BIG ONE! 

But where is his face????!! It’s missing!

Prop Song: Mr. Potato Head, What Do You Need?
by Shawn Wolf from Read, Rhyme and Sing

Mr. Potato Head, how will you see?
I'll give you some eyes so you can see me.

Mr. Potato Head, how will you smell?
I'll give you a nose so you can smell well.

Mr. Potato Head, how will you hear?
I'll give you some ears so you'll know when I'm near!

Mr. Potato Head, how will you taste?
I'll give you a mouth so you can eat cake.

(If you take off his hat for this rhyme, this can be your last verse:
Mr. Potato Head, your head is so bare!
We’ll give you a hat to put right there!)

Books We Read: 
Potato Joe- Baker

Flannel Story: Hide and Seek with Mr Potato Head 

Mr Potato Head is playing hide and seek!
Is he hiding in the RED house?  Let’s take a peek!

Repeat this rhyme until you find him!

Craft: Mr Potato Head Puppets (see photo above)

I printed a Mr Potato Head coloring page on card stock so the kids could color them and attach popsicle sticks to make a fun puppet! Who doesn't LOVE Mr Potato Head? 

Another staff member covered this program for me while I was out for a medical procedure but I was told that the program went great. Still kinda bummed that I missed this one because it was so cute!

Friday, December 2, 2016

toddler time: bedtime revisited

Today's Toddler Time was basically a repeat of our program from 2014

Once again, our puppet version of Laurie Berkner's song Good Night was the highlight!!! 

This year, I found even more wonderful books for our bedtime theme! We read Time for Bed, Nori and it was adorable!!! We also read the always fun Tuck Me In.

And I made cute little sleeping bags to go with our puppet animal craft! 

I had a bunch of colorful scrapbook paper tucked away and I cannot think of a better use for it. I pre-folded the paper so they just had to tape up the sides.

Another fun morning! Our early session was very full with about 25 kids and the second session was much smaller with about 16 toddlers. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

baby & me: spots and stripes

Mystery Box: Inside our mystery box, we found a ladybug, a giraffe and a leopard! These three animals all have SPOTS!

Puppet Song: Spots, Spots, Spots by Jbrary

Spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots
A leopard has lots of spots
What a lot of spots he got
A tiger's stripes are always nice
But a leopard has lots of spots
Spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots, spots

You can repeat with Ladybug & Bee

and Giraffe & Zebra

Books We Read: 
Animal Spots and Stripes- Teckentrup
Do Pigs Have Stripes? - Walsh

Flannel Story: Hide and Seek with Bee and Ladybug 

Ladybug and Bee are playing hide and seek!
Is someone hiding under the green leaf?  Let’s take a peek!

Check underneath all flowers and leaves until you find them!

A nice group of about 19 babies today! A few new faces too!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

parachute playtime

this month, I decided to try something completely new here: our first ever parachute program! 

after reading so much about this type of class at other libraries, i was curious to see how it would go.

first, i did a lot of online research for ideas. Some my favorite ideas came from these pages:

So Tomorrow: Parachute Playtime

So Tomorrow: Parachute Playtime Round Two
So Tomorrow: Sleeping Bunnies on the Parachute

Libraryland: Parachute Games

Libraryland: Parachute Games 2013 edition
Libraryland: Parachute Games 2015 edition

then, after many MANY hours spent carefully choosing songs and collecting props, this was my final playlist:

Intro Song: Shake My Sillies Out (Just me, no music)
Ring Around the Rosie
If You're Happy and You Know It (shake the chute, shake it high, shake it low, pass the chute) 
Moving in a Circle (song by MR ERIC)

BOOK BREAK: Row Row Row Your Boat (BOOK by Jane Cabrera)
Alabama, Mississippi (song by JIM GILL)
Five Little Monkeys (song by VANESSA TRIEN) -- with monkey puppets
Old MacDonald (song by MR ERIC) -- with cow, dog and chicken puppets

BOOK BREAK: Monsters Love Colors (BOOK by Mike Austin)
The Wheels on the Bus (song by MR ERIC)
Popcorn (song by THE BARENAKED LADIES) -- with mini beach balls
Sleeping Bunnies (song by KATHY REID NAIMAN) -- with small stuffed bunnies
Fireworks (song by KATY PERRY) -- with colorful foam balls and brightly colored sheets of copy paper that the kids balled up right before the song
Closing Song: The Wheels on the Bus (song by by MR ERIC)

luckily, i recently purchased a bluetooth player from Lakeshore Learning that sounds amazing and works pretty well with my phone. I limited this program to kids ages 3-6 which worked well but next time I might adjust it to age 7 since it appeals to such a wide range. We had about 12 kids attend which is amazing considering that it was nasty and raining outside. The program went about 35-40 minutes and everyone seemed to love it! One mom who stopped by the next day told me that her daughter was still talking about it!!

of course, as with any new program, i found a few improvements that i could make:
  • my small parachute really wasn't big enough to hold the props, they kept flying off. my program room is not large so i have to do some measuring to find one that is the right size for the space.
  • kids need rules before any shaking happens. i thought kids would be shy for some reason but a couple didn't listen to the music or instruction at all; they just wanted to shake the parachute as hard and fast as they possibly could. next time, i would set a few ground rules FIRST about listening.
  • recruit another staff member or specific parental/older sibling assistance from someone you can depend on because its hard to dj, handle props and keep everything on the parachute by yourself
  • i might try making the paper fireworks at the beginning of the program and stashing them in a bucket so they are ready for the closing songs. maybe even tell the kids it will be used for a special surprise at the end or something!
It was great to take a break and sit on the chute with a book a couple of times. Really any interactive stories or books about colors would be wonderful and i loved the Monster book that was recommended by another blogger. 

the kids loved the bunny song, we repeated it like three times. my favorite song was the firework song and also the popcorn one because it was so fun to bounce things really fast. For the Firework song, we started with just balls of paper on the chute. Then I stopped the song for a moment to regroup and we added colorful foam balls to the paper and continued the music. Finally, you could add ALL other props - beach balls, bunnies, monkeys, etc. - for a gigantic fireworks finale!!!!!

i'd planned to end with the Katy Perry song but it was great to calm things down a little bit with a listening song and the Mr Eric version was super fun and very upbeat.

i will definitely be looking for a few more parachute ideas to try with my next program. this is definitely something i will offer again!

baby & me: quiet & loud

Mystery Box: Inside our mystery box, we found two birds! What does a bird say? TWEET TWEET!

Puppet Song:
Two little birdies sitting on a cloud
One named Quiet, the other named LOUD!
Fly away Quiet.
Fly away LOUD!
Come back Quiet.
Come back LOUD!

Books We Read:
Baby Goes Beep- O'Connell
Quiet and Loud- Patricelli

Flannel Story: The Baby in the Cradle

The baby in the cradle goes ROCK ROCK ROCK!
The clock on the desk goes TICK TICK TOCK!
The rain on the window goes TAP TAP TAP!
& when the sun comes up we CLAP CLAP CLAP!

A great group of about 24 babies today!

Friday, October 28, 2016

toddler time: the pumpkins are here!

I felt like today's costume was perfect for my theme LOLOL!

Mystery Box: Inside our polka dotted box, we found a PUMPKIN!

Puppet Song #1:
Does our pumpkin look happy? Yes, he does!

If you’re happy & you know it clap your hands….

How about this pumpkin, does he look happy….or grumpy?

If you’re grumpy & you know it, stomp your feet…

How does this pumpkin look?

Repeat for sad (rub your eyes!), surprised (say “Oh my!”) and silly (wiggle around)

Passed out orange paper pumpkins to everyone for:

The Pumpkins Are Here Song
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 low, the pumpkins are high

The pumpkins, the pumpkins are all say goodbye!

Books We Read: 
Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin- Hill
Boo- Tiger Tales

Flannel Board:  Hide and Seek Pumpkin

My friend Little Pumpkin is playing hide and seek! Let’s find him!

Hey Little Pumpkin, playing hide and seek!
Are you hiding in the green barn? Let’s take a peek!

It’s an owl. What does an owl say?

Let’s look in the purple barn!

Hey Little Pumpkin, playing hide and seek!
Are you hiding in the purple barn? Let’s take a peek!

It’s a cat! What does a cat say?

Hey Little Pumpkin, playing hide and seek!
Are you hiding in the orange barn? Let’s take a peek!

There is Little Pumpkin!

Puppet Song #2: Old MacDonald had a Spooky Farm

I made a spooky purple barn using an old tissue box! The door opens so I can push a puppet out. These puppets were purchased from OTC to hand out to all the kids as they left our classes today.

Old MacDonald had a spooky farm
Ee i ee i BOO!
And on that farm he had a spider!!
Ee i ee i BOO!
With a creep creep here and a creep creep there
Here a creep, there a creep, everywhere a creep creep
Old MacDonald had a spooky farm
Ee i ee i BOO

Repeat with Bat/flap and cat/meow

Image result for thumbprint pumpkin OTC
purchased from OTC on sale earlier this fall

Craft #1: Thumbprint Pumpkin Patch craft from OTC

I pre-assembled most of this in advance to make it easier for the caregivers. Kids dipped their thumbs on orange ink pads to make the pumpkins!


Craft #2: Jack O Lantern Face Printable

I printed this template on bright orange cardstock from HERE. I gave everyone sticker eyes and crayons to decorate their jack o lanterns.

We had two large groups today with a total of 42 kids! Everyone loved the Oriental Trading craft. I usually cannot afford craft kits for groups this large but these were on sale and definitely worth the money! The face craft went great with our theme and the children had fun decorating them with the stickers. It mostly bought me a little extra time to get the thumbprint craft going!

All in all, a wonderful day! I was never a huge Halloween person growing up but it is such a fun time of year to celebrate at the library. Definitely a lot of work! I love seeing the kids so excited about the holiday and everyone seems to be in good spirits. 

Celebrating a successful holiday week with a nice three day weekend for myself! Looking forward to a nice, relaxing day at home on Halloween handing out candy to neighborhood kids with my cats.

Dressed as Minnie Mouse for Baby & Me, this is probably my favorite costume of 2016! I made the skirt myself from a Youtube video LOL!!

halloween party 2016

I was soooo excited about this year's No Tricks, Just Treats Halloween party! 

I loved my costume! 

I picked out some fun stories...

set up for Halloween Bingo,

Halloween Bingo Game
from  OTC

a Spooky Spider Ring Toss,

and a Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin Game.

For the past few years, we've skipped pre-registration for this event and usually had about 20-25 kids in attendance. I had enough crafts for 36 children and 24 bingo cards so I thought we were fine. 

I was shocked to find a room full of kids in costumes fifteen minutes before the program start time but I didn't panic yet. I handed out around 30 pumpkin "tickets" and the kids were still filing in.

I went to the program room to add some extra chairs at the tables & figure out how many people I could squeeze in. Meanwhile, upstairs the kids were STILL POURING in to the Library. 

Now, I have to admit that I started to panic a little. How could I turn away so many excited children all dressed up in crazy costumes without breaking their little hearts? I knew it was impossible so I quickly decided to move the children's room furniture aside and read to the group on the main floor, the only place large enough for this crazy crowd. The children sat on the floor, the adults sat in chairs and leaned against the shelves along the perimeter while I climbed onto one of the tables and sat cross legged to read.

After the stories, we split into two groups; kids with pumpkin tickets went down to the program room for bingo while everybody else made halloween crowns and played the other games. After three rounds of bingo, we swapped floors.

Thank goodness for my co-workers; everyone dropped everything to pitch in with furniture moving, announcement making, & crowd control. I could not have done this party without them. Somehow, everything worked out and all our party goers had a great time. 

I was a little sad that I didn't get to interact with everyone like I usually do when the group is normal sized, yet I also felt extremely grateful and happy that I had ordered tons of extra crafts and prizes this year. 

Color Your Own Halloween Crowns
also from OTC

Deluxe Halloween Treasure Chest Toy Assortment

But to be honest, I think I will be having nightmares about this party for a while!

Monday, October 17, 2016

toddler time: fun in the forest

Mystery Box: Inside our polka dotted box, we found a TREE! Who is hiding in our tree today?

If you’re ever in the forest, the forest, the forest
If you’re ever in the forest, you might hear an OWL!

What does an owl say? WHOOOOOO!

She sits in her tree and hoots at me
If you’re ever in the forest, you might see an OWL!

Here’s another tree:

If you’re ever in the forest, the forest, the forest
If you’re ever in the forest, you might hear a BEAR!

What does a bear say? GRRRRR!

He growls in his tree and waves at me
If you’re ever in the forest, you might see a BEAR!

And here is our last tree:

If you’re ever in the forest, the forest, the forest
If you’re ever in the forest, you might hear some BIRDS!

What does a BIRD say? TWEET! These are woodpeckers so they also PECK!

They peck in their tree and sing to me
If you’re ever in the forest, you might see some BIRDS!

I based this song one one I found HERE.

Books We Read: 
Who’s in the Forest- Gershator (very cute!)
Peck Peck Peck- Cousins (handed out paper woodpecker puppets but still too long for my toddlers)

Flannel Board:  Five Little Owls (with my felt tree puppet)

5 little owls sitting in the tree
1 flew away!
How many do you see?

(Count down to 4,3,2,1,0)

Craft: Paper Towel Tube Trees

I cut green poster board tree tops for the kids to color. I passed out owl stickers from the dollar store to decorate. I cut the paper towel tubes in half then the adults made a cut on each side to insert the tree tops. They came out GREAT!

We had over 45 kids today for Toddler Time. The first session was huge! I passed out woodpecker puppets to use during Peck Peck Peck but no one was paying attention by then so I skipped it for the second group and went right to the craft after the Banana Song. The puppet song was a hit! The kids loved the craft.