Saturday, January 25, 2014

O is for Octagons...and other shapes!

Although many preschool children don't know "octagon" it's a great new word to teach them and then use as a springboard into other shapes!

I made up this little rhyme about octagons
(tune: Are you sleeping?)

Octagon, octagon
Has eight sides, has eight sides
A stop sign is an octagon, a stop sign is an octagon
It has eight sides, it has eight sides.

Books about shapes

Written by Karen Sagel; illustrated by Steve Wilson

Written by N.N. Charles; illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon


Where are the shapes?
(tune: Where is Thumpkin?)

Where is triangle, where is triangle?
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you today, sir?  Very well I thank you.
Run away.  Run away.

Continue using different shapes.  

I put magnets on the back of my shapes after adding google eyes and a smile.  Each shape was a different color.  I purposely turned the triangle 90 degrees, so we could talk about them both being triangles, though they don't look exactly alike.

Shape Hokey Pokey

I had a "packet" of four shapes for each child.  After passing them out I had the children lay the shapes on the floor by their feet.  Then we sang the song.

You put your circle in, you put your circle out
You put your circle in, and you shake it all about
You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourselves around.
That's what it's all about!

Shapes we used:  circle (purple), triangle (yellow), square (red), and octagon (white).  The colors helped the children select the correct shape for the game.

Jack Be Nimble
Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candlestick.

What else did Jack jump over?  Our play with words didn't work really well with this rhyme...just didn't sound very good, but it was still fun.  Answers included: log, flag pole, trampoline, dump truck

Enrichment Activities
  • Shape Poster (from Oriental Trading Company...donated to the library from a patron)

  • Shape picture  I had a variety of colorful shapes cut out and the children selected what they wanted to glue onto a page.

  • String wooden beads

  • Memory Game

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

P is for Penguins!

Outreach Storytime in January to Kindercare and Welcome School


Playful Penguins  by Tony Mitton; illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees

My Life in the Wild:  Penguin  by Meredith Costain; illustrated by Gary Hanna

Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere!  by Bob Barner

At Welcome School I read the following one instead:

Baby Penguins Everywhere  by Melissa Guion


1 Little Penguin
(tune: 5 little ducks)
One little penguin in the snow
Waddles fast and waddles slow
Flaps and wings and calls, "Come on,
Join me for some winter fun!"

5 Little Penguins
(tune:  5 little monkeys jumping on the bed)

5 little penguins playing on the hill
One fell down and bumped his bill
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
"No more penguins playing on the hill!"

Reading is Fun!

Last week Mrs. B and I were able to visit a Head Start parent meeting to share the importance (and fun) of reading aloud and sharing language experiences with children.

In attendance were two teachers, eight parents, and sixteen children.  We had a great time singing, dancing, sharing books, and talking with them!

Songs (Mrs. B plays guitar!):
If You're Happy and You Know It!

ABC Song

Hokey Pokey (I learned a great tip from Mrs. B--don't worry about right and left--just do hand, foot...perfect for preschool children)  I have always shied away from this song because of the left/right, now I can use it in MY stortytimes! :)

Silly Dance Song

And my personal favorite:  Put Your Finger On

Put your finger on, put your finger on
Put your finger on your.....(knee)
Put your finger on, put your finger on
Put your finger on your....(knee)
And turn around, clap, clap
Turn around, clap, clap
Turn around, clap, clap
Turn around, clap, clap.

Repeat 3 or 4 times with other body parts.  We always end on belly button!

Books I shared:

Don't Wake Up the Bear by Marjorie Dennis Murray

Who Has These Feet?  by Laura Hulbert; illustrated by Erik Brooks

N is for Nest...and other places animals live!

A fun storytime about places animals live...starting off with nests!  We found out that birds aren't the only animals that make nests--alligators, dinosaurs, chimpanzees, and some rodents also build nests!


Silly Little Goose  by Nancy Tafuri

Whose House?   by Barbara Seuling


Where's Little Bird? (chant)

Little bird, little bird fly away!
What color nest are you in today?

Here is a picture of the colored nests I copied, laminated, and put magnets on the back of.  I had a little red bird that hid behind one of the nests.  When we did the large group activity I hid the bird, asked children to name a color nest and I pulled it off.  During our Enrichment activity time I let the children hide the bird and take off the nests.

There was an Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she didn't know what to do.
She gave them all broth without any bread
Then kissed them all soundly and put them to bed.

What other kind of house did the old live in?  Answers included: nest, barn, water

A House

    Here is a nest for a robin.
      (cup hands)
    Here is a hive for a bee.
      (make fist with one hand, wrap other hand around it)
    Here is a hole for a bunny
      (make circle with thumb and index finger)
    And here is a house for me.
      (put arms above head with fingers touching at an angle)

Enrichment Activities
  • Sewing Cards

  • Puppets

  • Draw line to match animal to its "house"
  • ABC dot-to-dot (nest)
  • Find the Bird!  The children had so much fun with this activity!

Friday, January 10, 2014

M is for ME...and things I like!

A storytime all about me...well, not ME exactly.  A storytime celebrating each of us individually...and being happy with who we are, what we like,  and the talents and personalities we have that make us each unique!

I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont; illustrated by David Catrow

Things I Like  by Anthony Browne


Mirror, Mirror 
Pass a handheld mirror around as we repeat the poem a few times. 

I look in the mirror and who do I see?
A very wonderful, special me!
With pretty eyes all shiny and bright,
My smile shows my teeth, all pearly white.
It certainly is great to be

The very wonderful, special me! 
(Ann M. O’Connell in Totline’s Our Selves: Activities for Helping Young Children Learn and Care About Themselves and Others, 1992)

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes

Jack and Jill
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.

What's another reason Jack and Jill went up the hill?

I have something in my pocket
I have something in my pocket
It belongs across my face.
I keep it very close at hand
In a most convenient place.
I bet you couldn't guess it
If you guessed a long, long while
So I’ll take it out and put it on,

It’s a great big happy SMILE!
(from The complete Daily curriculum for Early Childhood, Revised (2011), Pam Schiller and Pat Phipps, p. 308.)

Enrichment Activities


All about Me Poster to color (left over from Dream Big summer reading program)

If I wrote a book it would be about...Clifford
If I could have any pet I'd have a...big red dog


Hiding under the table and doing a puzzle!
Here is my new storytime bag I received from my daughter for Christmas!  You can't ask for a better bag for a children's librarian!

Every Child Ready to Read: Playing

On Tuesday I presented an hour long workshop at Parent Connections focusing on play...and how play supports the development of early literacy skills.

Here are some of the information I shared with the --- parents who attended:

You may ask yourself, “How does playing help children get ready to read?”  The answer—in a lot of ways.  Today we will be talking about play and how it supports early literacy skills that help children read and become successful students.

Much research has been done in regarding to children and play.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but I want you to understand that the things we’re discussing today are based on research. 

Play for children is not just being left alone with toys.  Parents and caregivers are key in establishing meaningful and rich play that supports early literacy skills.

For this presentation play is NOT any kind of interaction with electronic devices:  TVs, DVDs, video games, computer games, iPads and other hand-held devices.  Research has shown that children need to be limited in the amount of screen time they have, for a variety of reasons…one of which is literacy development. 

“Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content. It is important for kids to spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play.
Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.”

The library has many resources about quality play for children including these books:

·         Unplugged Play
·         Playing Together
·         Baby Smarts

These will give you additional ideas of play activities to do with your child and play experiences for your child to engage in on their own or with other children. 
  • Play with parent/adults
  • Play with peers
  • Play alone

High quality play—raising the level of play
Play that encourages language—talking, telling, explaining, negotiating, questioning, repeating…

Developing oral language skills has direct correlation to learning the written word.  The more words a child knows, the ability to rhyme, the ability to retell a story, identifying differences, and so forth all build a foundation for reading.          

Dramatic/pretend play is high level of play that supports the development of oral language—which supports written language.

Toys that encourage pretend play: dolls and stuffed animals, doctor kit, kitchen items, “tools”, doll house, puppets, dress-up, boxes, blocks, playdough

·        Using props imaginatively—boxes, blocks—as props to encourage more language (this is my phone, etc.)
                                Don’t always use realistic props
                                Use combination of realistic, symbolic, and unstructured props

·         Learning Symbolic Representation
                                Using objects that represent other objects (play dough for food, etc.)

Expanding Play Themes
                Introduce children to new settings and experiences
                                Field trips—out in the world!
Bakery, pizzeria, library, grocery store, bank, restaurant, zoo, farm, farmers market, forest, fire/police station, museum (not too long!), construction site

TALK while on the trip; ask questions; when you get home talk about these trips—what did they like? Questions so they can explain experience in their own words. Create play items around the experience

                                Carefully selected video clips (construction workers, spaceship, ocean, etc)

Parent’s role is to now help establish a way for children to “play” out the experience.  Children will need some support and encouragement to try something new.  Give children cookie cutters, cookie tray, pot holders, spatula, bowl, spoon, etc. so they can pretend bakery.  Offer paper and pens so children can make a menu for a restaurant.  Give them access to items they may not know about or have ready access to.  Often parents can get the kids started and then back away.  Adult interaction is important and good, but playing alone and just with peers is also important!  When playing with children don’t dominate the play—if child gets in a rut introduce a new element.  Encourage

Play around books
An additional way to add literacy into play!!

Sharing Books—similar story with different illustrations—act out stories (make own props, puppets, etc.), experiences related to book

Example:  Little Red Hen (language—same story with different characters/illustrations and slightly different words)

                Talk about the different animals in each story
                Play with wheat (sensory table), plant wheat
                Grind wheat
                Make bread (watch yeast)—kneading, watch rise, bake, cut, eat!
                Retell story—with props, stick puppets, etc.

Example:  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
                Magnetic letters (on cookie sheet, fridge, etc.)
                Matching capital and lower case

                Write letters
                Re-read the book to self

Example:  I Love Bugs

                Connect with non-fiction book(s)
                Bug Counters—don’t have—cut out pictures to sort
                Magnifying glass – if they get tired of bugs, look at other things!
Example:  Mouse Paint
                Eye dropper/food coloring water
                Paint in Ziploc