Wednesday, December 13, 2017

babies & brew #3 family literacy workshop

for our third session, we offered two learning activity stations:

Station #1: Gingerbread Puzzle Station

I found these adorable printables online so this was super easy to prep! i taped half of each gingerbread man to the table and kids matched them up to earn a sticker!

Station #2: Big Bubbles

I bought this fun set from Lakeshore Learning. The kids and parents LOVED the bubble making tools. this was fun because I could use it to interact the babies while the adults chatted. it was a little messy but really not as bad as i expected. this would be fun to use again as an outdoor activity someday.

Of course, we offered our usual coffee & refreshments! Today's group was much smaller due to BITTER cold weather. i was actually thrilled that anyone was willing to brave the weather on this brutal day! and the attendees really enjoyed themselves so... a great day!

Friday, December 8, 2017

toddler time: sleepy bears

Mystery Box: Inside our polka dotted box, we found a little black bear! Would you like to pet my friend Mr Bear?

Puppet Song: The Bear Went Over the Mountain

I love the book by Trapani but I knew my toddlers would never sit still for a book that long so I modified it and brought out some props. I pulled each item out of the mystery box as we mentioned it in the song.

The bear went over the mountain
The bear went over the mountain
The bear went over the mountain
To SEE what he could SEE! (point to eyes)

So what did he SEE? What did he SEE?

The bear saw a snowman
The bear saw a snowman
The bear saw a snowman!
That is what he SAW!!!

So the bear went back over the mountain…. To HEAR what he could HEAR!
So what did he HEAR? What did he HEAR? (point to ears)
The bear HEARD a bird chirp…that is what he HEARD! 
(my bird puppet really makes a chirping noise which is super cute!)

So the bear went back over the mountain…. To FEEL what he could FEEL!
So what did he FEEL? What did he FEEL? (hold out hands)
The bear FELT the warm sun…that is what he FELT!

So the bear went back over the mountain…. To SMELL what he could SMELL!
So what did he SMELL? What did he SMELL? (point to nose)
The bear SMELLED a flower…that is what he SMELLED!

So the bear went back over the mountain…. To TASTE what he could TASTE!
So what did he EAT? What did he EAT?
The bear TASTED raspberries, the bear tasted blackberries, the bear tasted strawberries…that is what he ATE!

Now the bear was so sleepy, the bear was so sleepy, the bear was so sleepy…
He fell fast asleep ZZZZZZZZZ!
Good night Bear!!

Books We Read:
In My Den

Flannel Board: Sleepy Bear
(tune: Are You Sleeping)

I have a cave to show you today but where is the bear? i lifted first layer to reveal Bear sleeping inside cave.

Bear is sleeping, Bear is sleeping
In his cave, in his cave.
Wonder when he’ll wake up, wonder when he’ll wake up 
In the spring, in the spring.

Then I flipped the cave over to reveal a cave in spring time. 

Is Bear still sleeping in there? No, he is awake now!!

Time to wake up, time to wake up
Sleepy bear, sleepy bear!
It is spring time, it is spring time.
Wake up now, wake up now!

Craft: Paper Plate Bear Caves

I cut large paper plates in half and printed bear coloring pics. Kids colored their bears, glued them to the paper plate “caves” and decorated with colorful foam leaf stickers. 

I also passed out copies of the Bear is Sleeping song to sing at home and large popsicle sticks to make their bear caves easier to hold, like a puppet.

Two smaller groups this week again but its kind of a nice change of pace! Much less chatting! 

I loved the craft and flannel board song. The reversible felt bears caves were more work than I usually do but I think this is something I can re-use every year so its worth it. The Bear/Mountain prop song was good but kind of long so I’m glad it was the first thing we did and our other story was very short. A fun day!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

baby & me: night owls II

Mystery Box: Inside our mystery box, we found a tree! Who is hiding in our tree today? It’s Owl! What does an owl say?

Puppet Song: Little Owl
Tune:  “This Old Man”

Little Owl, in the tree,
He is winking down at me.
With a wink, wink, wink, wink,
All through the night,
Little Owl is quite a sight!

Little Owl, in the tree,
He is hooting down at me.
With a hoot, hoot, hoot, hoot,
All through the night,
Little Owl is quite a sight!
                        Jean Warren

Books We Read: 
Peekaboo Bedtime- Isadora
Twinkle Twinkle Little Baby
Goodnight Owl

Flannel Board: Where Is Owl?

Our owl is sleeping in one of these trees, let’s find him!

Tune: Frere Jacques

Where is Owl? Where is Owl?
Here I am! Here I am!
Sleepiing in the green tree, sleeping in the green tre
Look and see, look and see!

Other Awesome Owl Songs:
(Also from the link to Jean Warren above)

Tune:  “Skip to My Lou”

Owl in the oak tree – big and strong.
Owl in the oak tree – sings his song.
Owl in the oak tree – all night long.
“Who, who, who” – come sing along.
“Who, who, who” – me and you.
“Who, who, who” – what will we do?
“Who, who, who” –all night through.
Singing our song – who, who, who!
                                    Jean Warren

Gray owl, gray owl out at night.
Gray owl flying out of sight.
Gray owl hunting for a bite.
Gray owl hooting with delight!
                                    Jean Warren

We had another perfectly sized group today with about 18 babies. Great theme!

Friday, December 1, 2017

toddler time: fun with foxes!

Mystery Box: Inside our polka dotted box, we found a FOX!!!! Would you like to pet my friend Foxy?

Our groups were on the smaller side so it was nice to be able to give the kids a closer look & a chance to feel Foxy's soft fur.

Puppet Song: Foxy, Foxy

I was agonizing over the opening song all week then came up with this right before my class! I sang it to the tune of Brown Squirrel, Brown Squirrel:

Foxy, Foxy, swish your furry tail!
Foxy, Foxy, swish your furry tail!
With pointy ears & a cute black nose,
You’re fast & sneaky wherever you go!
Foxy, Foxy swish your furry tail!

Next, I passed out orange cardstock foxes (adorable template from Sunflower Storytime) and we did:

Hold your fox up!
Hold your fox down.
Hold your fox & turn around.
Hold your fox up!
Hold your fox down.
Put your fox on the ground.

We gave the foxes to our grown up (if we wanted!) for the rest of the program.

Books We Read:
The Little Fox Who Lost His Tail- Robaard
What Does the Fox Say- Ylvis

Flannel Board: Is Foxy in the Box?

Mama Fox is looking for her baby Foxy. Is he hiding in one of these boxes?

(Tune: Farmer in the Dell)

Is Foxy in the box? Is Foxy in the box?
Is Foxy in the LITTLE box
Is Foxy in the box?
Let's check! 1 -2-3...Nope, no fox in that one.

(repeat with a BIGGER box and a GREAT BIG box)

there's Foxy, in the big red box!

Mama Fox was sooo happy to find her baby!

Craft: Paper Plate Foxes

Found this idea HERE. it seemed easier to skip the tissue paper part, both for me (avoided all that cutting of tissue into squares!) and for the little ones (all that time gluing the tissue onto the plates takes time & their attention spans are so short) so it was a win-win to me! if i had an older group, i would definitely use the tissue paper tho.

I just bought large orange paper plates from Amazon & cut them into a triangle-ish shape. Kids attached pre-cut ears, eyes & noses! 

We also colored our cardstock foxes and taped them to popsicle sticks to make puppets.

Two smaller groups today, about 15 kids each. The books were so-so for me, even the song one which i thought they would really like. i did not read/sing that whole book, just the first two verses. i shook a little tambourine when i sang the silly fox noises. the craft, puppet song & flannel board worked great tho. a fun day!

Monday, November 27, 2017

DINOvember is dynamite!

late last month, i started reading about DINOvember in other libraries; i really wanted to try it but my month was already PACKED with other programs. plus it was practically November already so there was really no time to do it. 



Luckily, i never listen to that little voice in my head that says, "just wait til next year!" i decided i absolutely had to do DINOvember right NOW!

I created a little book display, nothing too work intensive because of my time constraints. this inflatable dinosaur from Amazon was eye catching AND easy to order with amazon prime!

I made up a Dinosaur Scavenger Hunt with a secret message! And I printed cute dinos to color. We needed a super cheap prize for participants and dinosaur tattoos were a no brainer.

I planned Dinosaur themed programs for my Toddlers and Babies. All of my preschool class visits got dino themed sessions this month and one class even created a beautiful dinosaur art gallery here in the library! 

My favorite is the red one in the top row, second from the right. You probably can't see it but the artist told me that her dino is wearing high heels! Actually, they are all pretty awesome; some are rainbow colored, others have spikes!

My parent workshop this month also featured dinosaur themed early learning activities!

You might think after all these dinosaur filled days that I might be super sick of looking at dinos! but to be honest, I'm already looking forward to bringing out my puppets, books, displays, etc. again next DINOvember!

babies & brew #2 family literacy workshop

Last month, we held our first session of Babies & Brew: Playtime for Them, Coffee for You! It was extremely successful, better than i ever dreamed possible. while my previous (& mostly very low attended) monthly parent workshops had been mostly lecture style presentations, this was simply an unstructured playtime for the little ones while the parents snacked & socialized. 

I also added a different sensory or early learning activity, something created with easy to find, household type items so they could be replicated at home by the caregivers. 

now came the big question: caregivers showed up in October but would they return for MORE Babies & Brew in November?

the answer was YES! over 20 caregivers attended today's Dinosaur themed workshop. I followed basically the same formula as last month so i set up toys in the children's area. Coffee, donuts and other snacks were available in the middle of the room. Two activity stations were set up in the adult area (since we are closed to the public on monday mornings, we get the whole first floor to ourselves!)

Station #1: Dinosaur Color Sorting 

I heard many of the parents discussing color & size with their little ones at this table! I bought little silver pails in the Dollar section at Target for sorting into. our dinos are just foam stickers, so very affordable. next time, i would like to invest in nice plastic dinosaur counters from Lakeshore Learning. 

After they were finished sorting, kids could get a dino sticker from the green dinosaur's mouth!

Station #2: Dinosaur Play Doh

one of my favorite moms told me that her son had never used play doh before because of the messy factor so it was the perfect library activity! i bought these little dinosaur figures on amazon super cheap and they were perfect for making dino tracks & fossils in the playdoh.

I found the Dino-Sort idea HERE and the play doh one HERE but there are TONS of great ideas for dinosaur activities all over pinterest. that's actually how i ended up with TWO stations this month instead of one like i had last time. i could not choose just one, LOL!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

baby & me: time for turkeys

Mystery Box: Inside our mystery box, we found a turkey! what does a turkey say? gobble gobble!

Puppet Song: Hello Mr Turkey, How Are You

Hello Mr Turkey, How are you?
Hello Mr Turkey, How are you?
with a gobble gobble gobble
& a wobble wobble wobble
Hello Mr Turkey, How are you?
(tune: If You're Happy)

Books We Read:
Where Is Baby’s Turkey- Katz
You Are My Little Pumpkin Pie- Sklansky

Flannel Board: Where Is Turkey?

Our turkey is hiding in one of these barns, let’s find him!

Tune: Frere Jacques
Where is Turkey? Where is Turkey?
Here I am! Here I am!
Hiding in the green barn, hiding in the green barn
Look and see, look and see!

Repeat until you find that turkey!

A really nice, mellow day today with a smaller group than usual with about 20 babies attending. I loved the flannel song & the Katz book which were new additions to this year's pre-Turkey Day Baby & Me session. a wonderful morning!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

american girl doll (& friends) tea party 2

Today, we had a special celebration to welcome our new American Girl Doll to our library. 

Many years ago, we were gifted with Felicity. She currently resides in a special display case with some of my most favorite book characters. 

I thought it would be fun to keep the new doll's identity a secret until we unwrapped the box at today's event!

While all the participants were settling in, we took a moment to introduce ourselves & our dolls. All kinds of dolls were welcome at this event!

We started our program with an American Girl Doll Flannel Story. First, I passed out six fake AGD gift cards that I printed & laminated; they looked almost real!

I asked for 6 volunteers to help me & each one chose a gift card. I also asked them who takes them doll shopping.

6 pretty dolls in a big doll shop
Sitting on a shelf in a bright pink box
Along comes (child’s Name)
and her Mom (or Dad or grandma, etc) says ok!
So she picks a doll and takes her away.

You can take the gift card & let the volunteer choose a box. Lift the lid to see which doll is in the box.
“She picked Samantha!”

Repeat until all the dolls are revealed. i wish i had enough dolls so that all 20 girls could participate. i was planning to repeat the story again if there was enough interest but everyone seemed ready to move on.

Next, we unwrapped our new doll to see who would be joining Felicity in the display case: it’s Tenney!

I picked Tenney because Felicity is kind of an old fashioned doll so I wanted a doll that was more modern this time. Also, I asked my 7 yr old niece who she would pick & she liked Tenney. I love her freckles and her denim vest. She is just adorable!

Next, since i had everyone's atttention, I took a minute to explain our craft project: felt doll ponchos. They are so easy, no sewing required. 

I made these at our last American Girl Doll Party and you can find the instructions HERE. Her directions are much better than mine!

start with a sheet of felt

cut a strip off to make it more of a square shape

fold into a triangle and make a 2" long cut in the middle

cut to the left & right of your cut to make an X
Then you can add a button or other embellishment for decoration. You can also fringe your edges if you like. (if you want to fringe the leftover felt strip, it can be a cute scarf for a small animal!)

Everyone was so excited about using the extra felt strips for pet scarves!!

We moved from seats on the rug to tables for refreshments. I passed out activity sheets & crayons to entertain everyone while cookies & punch were passed around. We had some younger siblings and little girls attending so I thought if they weren't interested in the poncho craft, they might like the quizzes, word search & coloring sheets in the activity packs.

Once the tables had been cleared, I passed out felt for the ponchos. I had both self-adhesive embellishments & buttons for decoration. As everyone was finishing their crafts, we could read from the Tenny book, use my cool AGD box photo prop & maybe take a group photo of the dolls.

photo prop made by a very talented coworker!

As guests were leaving the party, they received a treat bag filled with pencils, a notebook & a lollipop, as well as copies of donated AGD books!!!

This was an amazing event, despite some really rainy and cold November weather. all twenty people on our sign up sheet showed up, which rarely ever happens! Everyone LOVED the program and i heard some parents say that we should charge for events like this. This is the second time I've held an AGD party and while it does require a bit of prep -- especially if you decorate the room with balloons, table runners, etc. but it is totally worth it! A really special event.