Friday, July 29, 2016

flannel friday: Looking for Pete the Cat

I was planning to share my favorite Pete the Cat story with my toddlers this week (I Love My White Shoes) so I modeled this flannel board on Little Mouse, Little Mouse, Are You in the Yellow House? 

first, I hid Pete (just printed on card stock using my color printer) behind one of the felt shoes. 

We counted the shoes and named the colors together. then we looked under each one for Pete.

Pete is hiding behind one of these shoes! will you guys help me find him?

Hey, Pete the Cat! 
Where are you?
Are you hiding under this groovy blue shoe?

Let's see -- 1,2,3!!!!

Repeat til Pete is found. He was hiding behind the purple shoe today!

For more info about this week's Pete the Cat themed toddler program, check out my post HERE.

thanks for reading!

toddler time: pete the cat

Mystery Box: Inside our polka dotted box, we found a cat – it’s Pete the Cat! What color are Pete’s shoes? One red and one blue!

Books We Read: 
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes - Litwin/Dean(one of my most favorite books!)
Pete the Cat: Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star

Flannel Board:  Looking for Pete the Cat

I hid a laminated paper Pete behind a felt shoe. 
We counted the shoes and named the colors. then we looked under each one to find Pete.

Pete is hiding behind one of these shoes! will you help me find him?

Hey, Pete the Cat! 
Where are you?
Are you hiding under this groovy blue shoe?

repeat til Pete is found. He was hiding behind the purple shoe today!

Puppet Song: Zoom Zoom Zoom, We’re Going to the Moon (from Jbrary)

I brought out my puppets and we did the moon, the sun and the stars. 

I passed out yellow paper stars to all the kids. 

Hold your stars up, hold your stars down
Hold your stars and turn around
Hold your stars up
Hold your stars down
Put your stars on the ground

Then, I told the kids that Pete the Cat also loves stars! We looked at the cover of the Twinkle Twinkle book with moon and stars, then we sang just the last few pages together (just the verse everyone knows.)

Craft: Kids colored white cardstock sneakers and taped Pete the Cat on the back so it looked like he was peeking out of the shoe! I printed the Pete heads and the cardstock sneakers from clipart I found on the internet. I put a star sticker on each shoe.

The AC here is still out but we had a fun program anyway. A rainy day but we had two nice groups of about 17 kids each. I LOVE this theme! great morning despite feeling pretty sweaty.

baby & me: fish tales

Mystery Box: Inside our mystery box, we found a FISH! 

Puppet Song: Goldfish Song

This is how a goldfish swims
Back and forth, back and forth
This is how a goldfish swims
Back & forth in the water!

This is how he nibbles his food
Nibbles his food, nibbles his food
This is how he nibbles his food
When Goldfish is hungry

This is how he jumps up high
Jumps up high, jumps up high
This is how he jumps up high
When Goldfish is playful

Books We Read: 
Little White Fish is Happy- van Genechten

Flannel Story: White Fish, White Fish, What Do You See?
(tune: Twinkle Twinkle)

We added felt fish to the flannel board one by one:

White fish, white fish, what do you see?
I see a black fish looking at me!

Black fish, black fish what do you see?
I see a green fish….

We ended with ”…I see lots of pretty fish, that’s what I see!”

We had a big group today, a little noisy at times but mostly participating. The air conditioning in the branch was not working so thank goodness for our little window unit but I was really sweaty by the middle of the program so I skipped a couple of things and went to playtime a little bit early. Still a nice morning and a fun theme!

Monday, July 25, 2016

library dance parties for librarians who hate to dance

confession: i am a really bad dancer. 
seriously awful.
like Elaine on Seinfeld bad. 
always have been. 
it might be genetic.

note: this is NOT my motto

however, I really, really, REALLY wanted to try planning a dance party at my library, so i decided to give it a whirl anyway. I think it's good to try things outside of your comfort zone every once in a while. 

plus, I wanted to buy fun stuff for it. okay, okay! this was my main reason, i'm not afraid to admit it. i LOVE new props for storytime.

but as the date of our super duper dance party crept closer and closer, i grew more and more nervous. i tried not to let my anxiety show. i was really in a state of complete denial. what dance party?

the weekend before the party, my husband gently asked me, "so, are you actually going to dance at your dance party?" of course, i was. 

then, i started to sweat. thanks, honey!

the date finally arrived yesterday and it was actually a lot of fun so i wanted to share some of my thoughts here on my blog.

things to do before the dance party:

#1. find some staff members who love to dance (unlike yourself!): CHECK! 

luckily, i have the BEST boss ever and she is an amazing dancer. she was probably the one person who was even more excited about this program than I was. 
also, this way I got to be the DJ (mostly!)

#2. buy lots of cool props...

...because if people are distracted, they may not notice your awful dancing skills at first. RIGHT?!!!

we bought: an amazing disco light (from amazon) that synced to the beat of the music. the kids were totally blown away when they walked into our auditorium and saw the amazing light show!

we also bought tons of inflatable guitars and cute mini maracas to hand out. Very popular with the kids! we had colorful scarves already so those did not need to be purchased. 

I considered buying a bubble machine but worried about slippery tile floors so i stuck with my trusty, low tech  Bubble Spinner.

Glow in the dark bracelets, necklaces and/or sticks are also highly recommended. they looked so cool in the dark with the disco light!

giveaways: we grabbed a few library tees rolled up to pass around like hot potato which was super fun. Kind of like musical chairs -- but with less chance of tripping and hurting ourselves, lol!

also important: bottles of water -- for everyone!! you will be a sweaty mess at the end, i guarantee it!

#3. a playlist of awesome dance songs

our party was for all ages and focused on current/past hit songs. 

the crowd was much younger than I expected but some favorite songs were: Uptown Funk, Shut Up and Dance, & Shake It Off. We played What Do You Mean and Happy for the games of hot potato, which also gave everyone a chance to sit and relax for a few minutes. 

we tried YMCA, Electric Slide, Dollar Wine, & Cha Cha Slide which were super fun. some of the kids were a little young to keep up with these choreographed dances but we had fun anyway! next time, I would make up some super easy steps for the popular songs. Freeze dances were great.

#4. be prepared for ANYTHING! 

i was hoping at least some of the parents would join in the fun but they mostly sat in their chairs --  BOOOOOO! 

it was hard to wrangle the little ones into a circle or get everyone doing the same thing without the parental participation. maybe turning on the lights for our games of hot potato would help?

also, some children got pretty upset when they didn't win the tee shirt. 

the kids seemed to really need direction and wanted to follow the steps my boss was doing. we had planned to alternate some free dance songs into our playlist but everyone seemed a little lost without a leader showing them what to do.

i planned to do Splish Splash with bubbles, then end the program with Shout. No one knew Splish Splash at all and when Shout started, everyone was tired and the parents just refused to participate. so, learn from my mistakes and don't go on too long! 

we tried playing a couple of requests toward the end, but I feel like we had lost momentum at that point. bottom line: don't be afraid to skip something or change your plans during the party. you probably wouldn't continue with a book that no one was paying attention to during storytime; a dance party is no different.

All things considered, this was a super fun program and I will definitely try it again, possibly as part of our upcoming Noon Year's Eve Party for kids.

In the future, I would like to offer "Parachute Playtime" and "Movement & Music" programs with instruments and rhythm sticks for preschoolers. 

At my next dance party, i would consider limiting the age group to 3-5 yr olds, adding additional directed dance songs and calling it a Preschool Dance Party. The "all ages" part was fun though so I'm not sure about that yet.

Maybe, after a lot of practice and a few more dance parties under my belt, I'll be a librarian who loves to dance, too! we'll have to wait & see about that one...

Friday, July 22, 2016

toddler time: from caterpillar to butterfly!

Mystery Box: Inside our polka dotted box, we found a caterpillar! What color is our caterpillar? Green!

Puppet Song: I'm a Caterpillar (tune: Skip To My Lou) 

I'm a caterpillar, wiggle with me,
I'm a caterpillar, wiggle with me,
I'm a caterpillar, wiggle with me,
What'll I be, my darlin'?

Spin a cocoon just like me
Spin a cocoon just like me
Spin a cocoon just like me
What'll I be my darlin'?

wrap caterpillar in a scarf!

I'm in my cocoon, sleep like me
I'm in my cocoon, sleep like me
I'm in my cocoon, sleep like me
What'll I be my darlin'?

Now I'm a butterfly, fly with me
Now I'm a butterfly, fly with me
Now I'm a butterfly, fly with me
Come fly with me, my darlin!

Pass out caterpillars to all the kids.

Hold your caterpillars up
Hold your caterpillars down
Hold your caterpillars and turn around
Hold your caterpillars up
Hold your caterpillars down
Put your caterpillars on the the ground!

What's on the other side of your caterpillar, can you turn it over? A butterfly!
We repeated with the butterfly side up instead:

Hold your butterfly up....

Books We Read:
Caterpillar's Wish- Murphy (held their attention=great!)

Flannel Board:  Five Little Caterpillars

I tweaked this a little but I borrowed this idea from HERE.

My cute clip art caterpillars (from etsy) have butterflies on the reverse side!

5 caterpillars spun cocoons (spin hands like 'the wheels on the bus')
Hoping they'd be butterflies soon. (Cross your fingers)
With a little bit of magic (Wiggle fingers in the air)
And some warm sunshine, (show sun puppet)
Clap, clap, clap for a butterfly! (encourage clapping then flip the caterpillar over)

Craft: Kids colored their caterpillar/butterflies and taped them to a popsicle sticks to make a puppet.

We also made plastic bag butterflies, one of my favorite crafts! 

Two great groups today!  (25 kids for early class, 18 kids for second one) The flannel board was so fun and everyone LOVED the plastic bag butterflies. my favorite part came during the first session when I turned the caterpillar puppet into a butterfly and the adults all started clapping!!! Lots of hugs today and a wonderful theme. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

baby & me: it must be summer!

Mystery Box: Inside our mystery box, we found a SUN! What color is the sun? Yellow!

Song: Bright Sun
(tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

Bright sun shining down, 
shining down the ground.
What a lovely face you have
Yellow big and round!

I added this second verse myself:
Bright sun shining high
Way up in the sky
Keep us warm all summer long
Never say goodbye.

Books We Read: 
Baby Loves Summer- Katz
Seashore Baby

Flannel Story: We’re Going to the Beach

See my previous post here.

Prop Song: Zoom Zoom Zoom (from Jbrary)

I have a prop for each verse so we sang Moon, Star and Sun verses.

I thought this one went great with today's sun/summer theme. Everyone loves it!

Another great turn out today with about 22 babies. We had lots of participation so it was a pretty fun morning. Great theme with lots of fun books to choose from.

Friday, July 15, 2016

toddler time: keep on trucking!

Mystery Box: Inside our polka dotted box, we found a truck! What color is our truck? Red!

puppet by Folkmanis purchased on ebay

The wheels on the truck go round and round….all day long
The animals on the truck go up and down….
The pig on the truck says Oink Oink Oink…
The rooster on the trucks says cockadoodledoo….
The horn on the truck goes beep beep beep….all day long!

Books We Read: 
I Love Trucks- Sturges
Little Blue Truck Beep Along Book- Schertle ( I love books about Little Blue Truck but they are a little too long for my toddlers, EXCEPT this sing along one. I used it with hand puppets for each verse)

Mr Frog missed the photo

Flannel Board Song:  There Were Five in the Truck

There were 5 in the truck
And the little hen clucked:
So they all moved over
And one fell out!

Repeat with 4,3,2.

There was ONE in the truck
And the little hen clucked:

Craft: Session #1 - Ice Cream Trucks

I printed this coloring page two trucks to a sheet and pre-cut them. Kids colored and decorated with ice cream stickers that I made using clipart printed on avery labels with my color printer. 

I knew I did not have enough stickers for both sessions so...

Craft: Session #2 - Little Blue Puppets

I found a cute coloring page for Little Blue Truck with frog at the wheel. I printed them two to a sheet and pre-cut them. I considered using blue paint and cotton ball/clothespin paintbrushes to decorate but it was a large group and the paint can get so messy...

so we colored our trucks with crayons instead. Then we attached wiggle eyes and popsicle sticks.

Both crafts were very popular and this theme was awesome! I loved my flannel board and singing the Little Blue Truck book with puppets was fun. My favorite part was probably singing The Wheels on the Truck with my red truck puppet though; the kids just LOVE that puppet so much. 

Much better this week with a lot less adult chatter! Still thinking about taping up some rules though...

flannel friday: wagon friends

At last week's Baby & Me program about toys, we sang "Bouncing Up & Down in My Little Red Wagon".

“Who’s sitting in our red wagon today? 

A Pig! What does a Pig say?”

Then we sang:
Bouncing up & down in my little red wagon
Bouncing up & down in my little red wagon
Bouncing up & down in my little red wagon
OINK OINK OINK OINK OINK! (instead of our usual "...having so much fun!")

We also sang verses for Dog in the orange wagon (woof woof woof woof woof woof) & Cat in her green wagon (meow meow meow meow meow!) I can't wait to sing it again with other animals.

I used this adorable clipart on Etsy: 

Animals In Wagons Digital Clip Art for Scrapbooking Card Making Cupcake Toppers Paper Crafts

...but you could also make your own wagons from felt, then use any flannel board animals you choose, like this:

thanks for reading!

Friday, July 8, 2016

toddler time: fishy fun with Nemo & Dory

Mystery Box: Inside our polka dotted box, we found two fishies: Nemo and Dory!

This isn’t the best rhyme but no one seemed to notice!

Two little fishies swimming in the sea
One named Nemo, one named Dory
Swim away Nemo, Swim away Dory
Come back Nemo, Come back Dory!

Books We Read: 
Hooray for Fish- Cousins
Come Swim with Me- Disney (everyone loved this)
I Spy Under the Sea- Gibbs (worked great for me! Ignored the counting/number part of the book but when I flipped the page to reveal the animal, I waved and we all greeted each one, "Hi Dolphin!", "Hi, Clownfish!")

Flannel Board:  Hide and Seek with Nemo and Dory

Nemo and Dory are playing hide and seek!
Is a fish hiding under the pink shell?
Let’s take a peek!

Repeat until you find both fishies! 

Scarf Song: The Fish in the Sea (Jbrary)

You can watch the video HERE.

The fish in the sea
Go swish, swish, swish,(wave scarf side to side)
swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish
The fish in the sea go swish, swish, swish
All day long.

Dolphins in the sea Swim round and round 

The sand in the sea Drifts down, down, down 

The waves on the sea Go up and down

Craft: Dory Fish/collage puppet

I searched everywhere for a quick, easy, age-appropriate Dory craft and decided on some kind of coloring activity. A couple of days later, I found these blue fish in the teacher section at Dollar Tree and I knew they were absolutely perfect for Dory! We decorated with tissue paper and taped on popsicle sticks. 

We had two large groups today and it was crazy. Lots of new faces which I love to see, but the newcomers don't know the routine yet. so they talk while I'm reading and dump bowls full of tissue paper squares all over the floor without bothering to pick them up. They give me dirty looks when I ask them to stop chatting. Lots of wild kids today for some reason. I know this was a good program so I'm not blaming myself for once. The kids LOVED seeing Dory & Nemo. The books and flannel board worked great! The scarf song was a hit and the craft was adorable. But the parents would not stop talking. It was a hard day.

flannel friday: hide & seek with Dory and Nemo

one of my favorite program themes for summertime is fish. last month, my niece had a Dory themed birthday party and I thought it was a perfect idea for my toddler class so I made this flannel board:

I cut the shells from felt but Dory and Nemo are just clipart. We say:

Dory and Nemo are playing hide & seek!
Is there a fish behind the blue shell?
Let's take a peek!

Then, we repeat it until both fish have been found!

For our craft, I found blue paper fish cutouts in the teacher supply section at Dollar Tree that make perfect Dory's! So inexpensive too! We decorated ours with tissue paper squares and taped a popsicle stick on the back to make a fish puppet.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

baby & me: let's play!

Mystery Box: Inside our mystery box, we found a yellow scarf! What do we do with a scarf? PLAY peekaboo!

Prop Song: This Is How We Play 

I thought up this little twist on a scarf song that we sometimes sing called "This is the Way We Wash."

This is how we play PEEKABOO,
This is how we play PEEKABOO
So early in the morning

In my box, I also have a ball!

This is how we toss a ball, toss a ball….

And here is my drum!

This is how we play the drum, play the drum….

And don't forget about Mr. Bear...

This is how we hug a friend, hug a friend...

Books We Read: 
Tap Tap: Guess the Toy (What’s that Noise) - Cocoretto
Wild Playtime- Dicmas

Flannel Story: Wagon Friends

I found this cute clip art to go with the song “Bouncing Up and Down in My Little Red Wagon.”

I asked “Who’s sitting in our red wagon? A Pig! What does a Pig say?”

Then we sang:
Bouncing up & down in my little red wagon
Bouncing up & down in my little red wagon
Bouncing up & down in my little red wagon

We also sang verses for Kitty and Doggie. So fun!

A great sized group of about 17 babies today with a bunch of new faces. I was a little nervous about today's theme but everything went really well. The books were fun and the flannel board was awesome.