Monday, March 27, 2017

early literacy parent workshop idea: born to read library baby shower!

I put together a fun early literacy program this week for new and expectant parents! 

I decorated our program room for a real baby shower with cute duck decorations from Oriental Trading!

We offered cute mini cupcakes and other light refreshments for our guests!

I set up my book table with some of my favorite titles for babies, including:

  • anything by Karen Katz
  • books to sing, like Jane Cabrera and Sandra Boynton's picture books
  • Bill Martin & Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear series, which are also singable!
  • book with photos of babies are so appealing to little ones!
  • books with sounds, like farm animals, vehicles, etc are fun for infants and adults.
  • books focusing on parts of the body encourage muscle development if you point to the body parts together, like "Touch Your Nose!"
  • anything by Leslie Patricelli 
We went over a tip sheet I found HERE at Reading Rockets with lots of great advice about reading to babies. You can print it in English or Spanish. I also shared some of my "secret weapons for baby storytime", like playing peekaboo with scarves & blowing bubbles! 

of course, we all know that NO shower is complete without a few games, so I printed two quizzes for our participants: one on Nursery Rhymes and the other about Classic Storybook characters. 

I almost purchased clipboards so my parents-to-be would have something to write on as they completed their quizzes but they were kind of expensive! luckily, i remembered that we have plenty of books here (LOL!) so all i really needed were some large clips to make my own "Book Clipboards." You could even use books that are great for reading to infants or ones with "BABY" in the title!

for game prizes, i found some adorable baby rattles on amazon that were extremely affordable and i tried to make them look festive!

all participants received these adorable Early Literacy Kits with a tip sheet, growth chart, sippy cup, mini beach ball and two free books! I also gave out copies of the Baby & Me Rhyme/Song Sheet that I use for my weekly lapsit programs.

i was honestly a little disappointed with the attendance of this program, but none of my parent workshops have attracted large numbers of people. I've tried evening programs, as well as morning and saturday classes but i guess people are just busy. The five people who attended really enjoyed our library baby shower and most of the materials purchased were saved to be reused so i will definitely give this one another shot next year!

toddler time: hats off!

As we were about to wave hello to Mr Frog and start our first song, I noticed something different today about my faithful sidekick: 

Mr Frog, why are you sitting in a HAT?

Hey, let’s start off with a silly hat song today! 

On my head, I wear my hat
It is such a silly hat
that my head will wiggle waggle to and fro
Where else can my silly hat go?
from Jbrary
(tune: This Old Man) Place hat on elbows, knees, feet and sing it again!

purchased from Dollar Tree!

Mystery Box: Inside our polka dotted box, we found party HATS! Who would like a hat to wear? 

Do we wear hats on our feet? NO! 
On our knees? NO!!
On our elbows? NO!!!
On our heads? YES!

Books We Read: 
Who's Under That Hat- Carter
Whose Hat - Miller

Flannel Board #1:  Hats of Every Color

See my previous post here!

Flannel Board #2: Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Hiding Under This Hat?

My friend Kitty Cat is hiding under one of these hats! Let’s find him.

Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are you hiding under this PIRATE hat?

Repeat for construction hat, warm winter hat and colorful rainbow party hat.

Puppet Song: Pig on Her Head

I am just the BIGGEST, HUGE-EST, #1 Fan of Laurie Berkner!

Honestly, I find most kid's music is incredibly annoying to me but I think she is AMAZING! 

I played this song and pulled out puppets for each verse. 

here are my puppets squished into a box in correct order so i can pull them out super fast as Laurie sings!

a better puppet photo!

Most of the kids were staring at me completely silent for the entire song as I placed each puppet on my head. I must have looked really ridiculous!

I have to admit, the verses are fast so I practiced a few times and it's kind of exhausting but SO FUN! I wish you could buy the headbands like Laurie wears in her video but the puppets are a decent substitute!

Craft: Cardstock Hats

I purchased these hats @oriental trading. Kids could color them, decorate with little star stickers and hook them in back to make a super cute hat! So easy!

Two large sized groups for a total of about 40 kids today! Very fun class and a great day!

Friday, March 17, 2017

toddler time: fun with frogs

Mystery Box: Inside our polka dotted box, we found a fish, a scarf, an apple, some broccoli, a ball and a maraca!

What is the same about all of these things? They are GREEN!

Who is wearing green today?

You know who else is green? Mr. Frog! He has a song for you today!

Mr Frog looks sleepy! He wore special green ribbons around his neck for St Patty's day!

Puppet Song:
Frog Is Hopping
(tune: Wheels on the Bus)

Frog is hopping on my toes (Hey where are your toes?)
On my toes, on my toes
Frog is hopping on my toes
Ribbit ribbit ribbit!

Also did knee, shoulder, & head

Books We Read:
Big Frog Can't Fit in - Willems (the gigantic pop up frog really grabbed their attention)
Icky Sticky Frog- Bentley (1st session only and went well)
Go Away Big Green Monster- Emberley (2nd session only- fewer kids, was afraid Icky Sticky was too long)

Flannel Board:  I See 6 Green Frogs

This is my "Go To" for frog themes. The frogs are sitting on the log with their little bow ties and the adults are always surprised when I pull out the" log" instead of the usual flannel board.

Craft: Frog Puppets

I found this idea at with video instructions here. It was super easy & quick to prepare. Cut green ovals for the heads. I drew smiles on them with my black sharpie. I printed eyes for parents to cut. I made little red tongues for the kids to glue on the frogs then we attached popsicle sticks. This craft was so cute, I really loved it!

We had a very full early session and a small second session on this cold March morning. Hoping for better weather soon!

Friday, March 10, 2017

leprechaun fun party & kids craft

Books We Read:
The Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover- Colandro
The Night Before St Patricks Day- Wing 
Green- Seeger

Flannel Story: Leprechaun, Leprechaun, What Do You See?
Check out this adorable felt story HERE.

Crafts: We made Rainbow/Shamrock Pinwheels and "Find Your Leprechaun Name" Crafts today from Oriental Trading. My pinwheel is missing its handle because one kit was "straw-less" so i had to give mine away. It was a great craft though!

Lucky Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt: Found this idea HERE with a free printable!

I hid leprechaun related items around the room. If the kids found each item on their checklist, they got a lucky bracelet and/or some Pot of Gold candy (from Oriental Trading, of course!)

I gave them some hints before we started:
Something Green could be a balloon, a butterfly or an owl
Something Irish was the flag
Leprechaun food was Lucky Charms cereal, of course!!

We had a great turn out for the program! The crafts and the scavenger hunt were the best part.

toddler time: lovable lions!

Mystery Box: Inside our yellow box, we found a lion puppet! Everyone wanted to touch his soft, fluffy mane!

Puppet Song: I’m a Lion (tune: 3 Blind Mice)

I’m a lion! I’m a lion!
Hear me ROAR! Hear me ROAR!
I love to sleep out in the sun
And chase other animals just for fun
In all the jungle I’m NUMBER ONE
I’m a lion!

Can you roar like a lion? ROAR!!!!

Books We Read:
Roar! A Noisy Counting Book- Edwards ( I skipped some of the text but some of the kids still weren't interested. Some liked it though!)
Roar! Roar! Can You Say It Too?- Braun (lots of jungle animals in this lift the flap book)
Also try:
Do Lions Live on Lily Pads- Melanie Walsh
One Yellow Lion - Matthew Van Fleet
We’re Going on a Lion Hunt- Margery Cuyler
Says Who- David Carter

Flannel Story: Deep in the Jungle

Deep in the Jungle
What did I hear?
Five ferocious lions
Roaring loud and clear
ROAR said the lions
SCAT said I
And one ferocious lion ran away
Good bye!

My lions are clip art that I printed in various sizes and laminated.

Craft:  Lion Faces
We made these adorable lions from

I printed lions faces and pre-cut them. I also cut big orange circles for the manes. Kids colored and glued. I passed out scissors in case anyone wanted to practice their cutting skills by fringing their lion's mane! These came out super cute!!

We had some snow today so only a small morning class with about 10 kids. No one showed for session #2. I was planning a Hats storytime theme but had tons of crafts prepped so I decided to save it for another week and re-run this theme instead. It was really fun and I gave out bags of animal crackers to the hearty souls who came out in the snow for Toddler Time.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

baby & me: a splash of color!

Mystery Box: Inside our mystery box, we found four crayons! 

Prop Song: Do You Know What COLOR This Is?

Tune: Do You Know the Muffin Man
Do you know what color this is
What color this is, what color this is?
Do you know what color this is?
It is RED (or blue or yellow or green)

We sang this for each COLOR.

Books We Read: 
Lionel and Molly: Colors- Lake
New York: A Book of Colors- by Hello World

Flannel Board: Colorful Dinosaurs

This rhyme was inspired by a little Scholastic glove puppet book that I saw on ebay recently!

Red dinosaur stomps on the ground
Orange dinosaur looks all around
Yellow dinosaur loves to fly
Green dinosaur stretches to the sky
Blue dinosaur waves hello
Look! It’s a dinosaur rainbow!!

Today’s class was kind of smaller than usual with about 14 babies but it worked out okay because I got to bring out the parachute! Usually I’m afraid it is too crowded. We sang “These Are Colors Over You” which was perfect for today’s color theme and “Shake the Parachute.” Neither of my books seemed to keep their attention for some reason but it was a fun class.

Monday, March 6, 2017

toddler time: penguin party

I used most of the same elements from my previous penguin post but there were a few changes that I want to remember for next time!

Mystery Box: Folkmanis Penguin puppet

Puppet Song:

Penguin, Penguin, Flap your little wings!
Penguin, Penguin, Flap your little wings!
Eating fish, you swim all day!
You can’t fly but that’s okay!
Penguin, Penguin, Flap your little wings!

Books Read:
Penguins Penguins Everywhere- Barner
I Am Small- Dodd 

Right before I read the Dodd book aloud, I asked everyone to repeat the title with me "I Am Small!" Then, whenever that line was repeated in the story, everyone joined in to say it together. It made the story much more interactive!

Flannel Board:  Five Little Penguins Standing Still

I love this song and this year's edition was even better! As I removed the penguins from my felt board, I placed them on my small blue flannel board to make this cute scene to show everyone at the end of the song!

...One little penguin standing still
One little penguin slides down the hill
where did he go?
with all the other penguins playing in the snow!

What did the penguins make? a snowman!

Craft: Penguins from

These guys were a little more difficult than our usual crafts but just so cute! I prepped for 40 penguins and it was a lot of cutting (bodies, feet, noses, mouths, bellies, wings! used reinforcement stickers for eyes!) 

Then, over 30 children showed up for our first session and I knew there was not enough penguin pieces left for the 11:15 group. Luckily some of my fabulous coworkers cut more bellies and bodies for me but the second session penguins were a little more "streamlined."  (No wings or feet but still adorable!)

Great theme!! Loved my flannel board and puppet song!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

baby & me: playful pandas

All the recent news coverage of Bao Bao's trip to China inspired today's lapsit program!

Mystery Box: Inside our mystery box, we found a PANDA peeking out of a piece of bamboo!
Puppet Song #1: Panda Bears Are Black & White
Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb
Panda Bears are black & white, black & white, black & white
Panda Bears are black & white
They eat bamboo in China

Puppet Song #2: Panda Peekaboo

Where is Panda? Peek a BOO!
Where is Panda? Peek a BOO!
Where is Panda? Peek a BOO!
Peekaboo to Panda!

Books We Read:
Panda Bear Panda Bear, What Do You See- Martin /Carle
Busy Pandas- Schindel (wish this one was a little bigger but worked ok)

Flannel Board: Panda Bear, Panda Bear, Are You Hiding Under There?

Baby Panda is hiding from his mama under one of these shapes! Let’s try to find him!
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, are you hiding under there?
Is Baby Panda under the red circle? 
Keep looking until you find him!

Great class today! Lots of participation! About 16 babies today including a few very tiny ones. My new panda puppet is just too cute.