Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Books from 2015! Storytime

Since attendance is always low the week between Christmas and New Year's I decided to do a very low prep storytime--gather up some of the new/newish books to read and share some all old songs and favorite rhymes.

It was hard to pick just 3 picture books published in 2015 since there are hundreds to choose from!  I ended up only reading 2 books.


Spy Guy: The Not-So-Secret Agent
by Jessica Young; illustrated by Charles Santoso

Hungry Roscoe
by David J. Plant


ABC Song
Jingle Bells

Play and Learn

New Year Parachute
We had enough people attend to do this activity at one of my two storytimes.
Parachute with balloons and streamers that went flying when we did the parachute.  It was very fun!

New Year's Eve Noise Makers
Basic noise maker--paper plate folded in half with beads inside, stapled and decorated



Gingerbread/Cookie Storytime

I was assigned three preschool storytimes at three different libraries this month, so I took the same theme to each one...Gingerbread.  But I just could not find a 2nd gingerbread book I really loved, so I expanded the theme to Gingerbread & Cookies.  Unfortunately one of the preschool storytimes had zero attend (don't remember the last time that's happened!) but it had snowed the night before and it was still snowing.

The Gingerbread Boy
by Paul Galdone

Mr. Cookie Baker
by Monica Wellington


Down around the corner in the bakery shop
Were five yummy cookies with frosting on top
Along comes a _____________ (animal puppet) with a dollar to pay

He/she buys the _______________ (color) and takes it away.

Yummy Gingerbread
5 yummy gingerbread sitting on a plate
The 1st one said, “Boy we smell so great!”
The 2nd one said, “There’s a chill in the air”
The 3rd one said, “I see hungry children everywhere!”
The 4th one said “I think we better run!”
The 5th one said “Here the children come!”
Then the children each grabbed one with a
Munch! Crunch! Munch! Crunch! Munch!
The 5 yummy gingerbread all turned into LUNCH!

Five Little Gingerbread Men
5 little gingerbread men lying on a tray
1 jumped up and ran away
Shouting “Catch me, catch me, catch me if you can…
I’m really quick I’m the gingerbread man!”

No more gingerbread men lying on a tray.
They all jumped up and ran away.
Oh, how I wish they had stayed with me to play
Next time I’ll eat them before they run away.

Play and Learn

Lacing Gingerbread Man


Felt "gingerbread children" to dress


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Busy Bag Parent Workshops

In November the Early Learning Team presented a parent workshops about Busy Bags.  I headed up the program.  The hardest part was choosing which of all the awesome Busy Bags to do.  Of course we had to keep in mind the cost of supplies and the ease/amount of time it would take to create We presented the program at four different libraries.  Three awesome turn-outs; one not very well attended but those that were there had a great time.

We also provided a quarter sheet with instructions on how to use the bag and what the child learns while playing with it.

Here are the Busy Bags the parents/grandparents made to take home:


Templates from

How to use this bag:
Child will match the 7 tangram to the puzzle.
Additional ways to use the bag:
Children can free-play with the tangram pieces to create their own designs.
Playing with your child you can name different shapes and talk about their characteristics.
This activity helps your child:
    Develop problem solving skills
    Identify and name shapes and their characteristics

Pom-Pom Fun
Caterpillar Template from Powerful Mothering

How to use this bag:
Child will pick up one pom-pom at a time and push it into the hole in the container lid.
Child will place the correct number of pom-poms on the number caterpillars.
Additional ways to use the bag:
Using the pom-poms children can sort by color or size; count; make a pattern—either by color or size.
This activity helps your child:
·        Develop fine motor skills
·        Practice sorting, color names, counting, size, and patterning
·        Numeracy and number recognition
         Develop patience and problem

Numbers Clothes Pins
Template from 1+1+1=1

How to use this bag:
Child will clip the corresponding number of clothes pin to the number cards.
Additional ways to use the bag:
Count the animals on each card with your child.  Talk about the name and shape of each number.
Put the number cards in order.
This activity helps your child:
·        Recognize numerals
·        Name numbers
·        Understand one-to-one correspondence
·        Counting
·        Develop fine motor skills
         Problem solving skills

      Crazy Straws
How to use this bag:
Child will thread felt shapes onto the crazy straw.
Additional ways to use the bag:
While playing with your child you may talk about the different colors.  You can also count how many fit on the straw. 
Challenge your child to make a pattern with the color pieces of felt on the straw.
This activity helps your child to:
·        Develop fine motor skills
         Practice counting, color names, patterns, and sequence

Mix and Match Animals
Template from Itsy Bitsy Fun

How to use this bag:
Child will use pieces to create animals.
Additional ways to use the bag:
Create a new creature by combining different animals.
Ask your child to tell you about their creature.  Where does it live? What does it eat? What would you call your new creature?
This activity helps your child:
·         Creativity
·         Play with words and sounds
·         Narrative skills

·         Problem solving 

Pipe Cleaner Shapes

How to use this bag:
Child will manipulate pipe cleaners to create the same shape as on the card.
Additional ways to use the bag:
Children can free-play with pipe cleaners.  What can they make?
Playing with your child you can name the different shapes and talk about their characteristics.
This activity helps your child:
·        Develop fine motor skills
·        Develop problem solving skills

·        Identify and name shapes and their characteristics

Here are some bags we had made samples of, but did not make at the workshop.  We had them available for children to play with and parents to look at for ideas for additional Busy Bags they can make at home.

Pipe Cleaners and Pony Beads

Colored Paper Clips to Sort onto Colored Paper

"Recipe Card" from Second Story Window

Craft Sticks with Velcro on ends

Stringing Pool Noodles (counting and pattering)
Brown Bear Lacing
Template from Preschool Inspirations

Student Art Work

I am so excited to work with a local school to display children's art work!

This art is from 2nd graders at a local S.T.E.A.M. Magnet School.

The theme is "We Do Art 'Til the Cows Come Home!"

I had told the art teacher we could display 30 pieces...but she gave me about 50, so we didn't have room to post them all (we squeezed up 32).  I feel really bad about that!  I hope it won't hurt any child's feelings that their cow isn't up at the library!

Outreach Storytimes--Gingerbread

I was able to visit two childcare center this month and present a Gingerbread/Cookie Storytime!

The Gingerbread Boy
by Paul Galdone
Depending on the age of the group I  skipped the threshers or the threshers and mowers so the book wasn't too long.

And one of the following:

Ginger Bear
by Mini Grey

Mr. Cookie Baker
by Monica Wellington


Down around the corner in the bakery shop
Were five yummy cookies with frosting on top
Along comes a _____________ (animal puppet) with a dollar to pay

He/she buys the _______________ (color) and takes it away.

Gingerbread Man Song 
(tune: The Muffin Man)

Oh, do you know the Gingerbread Man,
The Gingerbread Man, the Gingerbread Man?
Oh, do you know the Gingerbread Man,
Who ran and ran and ran?

He said, "Catch me if you can,
If you can, if you can."
He said, "Catch me if you can,"
Then ran and ran and ran.

I can run like the Gingerbread Man.
The Gingerbread Man, the Gingerbread Man.
I can run like the Gingerbread Man,
Now catch me if you can.

Baby Storytime--Christmas

Yesterday the meeting I was assigned to go to was cancelled because of the I got to do one more baby storytime this year!  Hooray!  It was a small crowd because of the weather, but still so much fun!

Since I didn't know I would be doing storytime until the morning of I didn't have books collected for "Shared Reading" so we read two books aloud.


Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands
Good Morning to You
Little Bear
Jingle Bells
Mix and Stir
Pop Goes the Weasel
Pease Porridge Hot
Acka Backa Soda Cracker
Tickle the Clouds

Read Aloud Books

Where is Baby's Christmas Present
by Karen Katz

The Snowman Shuffle
by Christianne C. Jones
Illustrated by Emma Randall

Play and Learn
Several babies had fun crawling through the tunnel!  The look of pride and excitement on their faces (and their parents' faces) is priceless!!

One little boy in particular  loves when I bring out the little buckets so he can carry them around, fill them up, empty them, and fill them up again!

One of my oldest (19 months) was very helpful getting the toys out and putting things away!  He remembers the little kitchenette where the toys are kept before play and learn and went straight back there when I announced we'd play.  After we cleaned up I usually just put the toys on the table to sanitize, but my little guy "knew" they went back into the kitchenette so we put them in there!

I absolutely love working with my babies and their parents!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Make Books Come Alive!

An internal blog post

With the Christmas season upon us I pulled out my Christmas picture book stash.  Among the books is “The Polar Express”.  This book always reminds me of my children’s lit class back in college (this was long before the movie!).   My professor stressed creating experiences for children when we share books with them because many children have not, nor may not ever have the opportunity to experience things in books.  So when we read “The Polar Express” we set our classroom chairs up to look like a train, we drank hot chocolate, and we held and listened to Santa’s bell.

The book becomes much more meaningful when the children have a multi-sensory experience in connection with the book.  What experiences can we simulate in storytime that capture the essence of the book(s) we are reading? 

Think the 5 Senses—hearing, tasting, seeing, touching, and smelling. 
  • Bring ice for the children to touch during a penguin storyitme
  • Play theme-related music for the children to listen to (think “Hoe-Down” during a horse or cowboy theme)
  • Bring ginger and other spices for the children to smell when you read “The Gingerbread Man”
  • Create a cutout or outline of a life size T-Rex footprint and let the children compare their feet size to that of a dinosaur.
  • Of course, tasting may not be feasible at library storytimes, but you can offer recipes that can be made at home with parents.

Look at your books/theme ideas you have for storytime and think about experiences the children may not be familiar with.  Brainstorm ways you can bring those experiences into storytime through seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, or tasting.

December Book Club

Here are the books we book talked to each other!  I love having others to talk to about the books  I love reading!

The Rest of Us Just Live Here
by Patrick Ness

Circus Mirandus
by Cassie Beasley

Finding Gossamyr
by David A. Rodriguez

Ink and Bone
by Rachel Caine

Out of the Easy
by Ruta Sepetys

The three books I shared:

The Doldrums
by Nicholas Gannon
I really enjoyed this book, until the end when I realized this is the first book in a new series.  I hate when I read a book and I don't know it's in a series!  I don't know if I like it enough to re-read it when the 2nd one comes it.

by Gordon Korman
Another book that I found out at the end is the first of a new series!  However, this one was action packed with a bit of mystery so I will definitely be reading (or listening to) the next one in the series.

by Katherine Applegate
I got through this quick book in one evening.  Insight into the emotional struggles a young boy faces when his family becomes homeless for a second time.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Back to the Basics for Babies

With Christmas just around the corner I've been thinking about the babies in my Baby Storytime and wondered what they might be getting for Christmas.  There are so many "educational" toys being produced and marketed to parents.  Many light up and make sounds.  But are these the best toys for babies?

Maybe to select the best toys  for babies we need to go "Back to the Basics".  And many of these basics start with the letter B (which I thought was cute!)  And the great thing is that these B "toys" are very inexpensive (or free), can keep the child occupied for long periods of time, and babies learn so much from playing with and exploring these "toys".

Back to the Basics for Babies
(all items are from Lakeshore Learning unless noted)

Board Books

Image result for lakeshore sensory balls


Bath/water Toys
**some items in this set are a choking hazard, however, many are suitable for babies


Made of cloth. Bags are similar to the bucket babies can put things in and then take things out!

Similar to buckets and bags babies love to put things into a box and then take things out again!

We use Gymboree Bubbles at storytime

Most of these "B" toys can be found at discount stores, such as Wal-mart. They do not need to come from expensive, educational stores.

It's a Wrap--Baby Storytime

December 11  This is my last baby storytime of the year (because of meetings and holidays) so I planned a special Play and Learn for the babies!  It was very fun!


Read Aloud Book

Counting Christmas
Karen Katz

Shared Reading

A variety of board books by Karen Katz including:

Counting Kisses

How Does Baby Feel?

Play and Learn

Wrapping Paper and Boxes!

I got four boxes from our recycling and taped them back together and bought two Dollar Store rolls of wrapping paper.  It was so much fun to watch the babies pull out the paper, crumple it up, tear it, etc. and to climb into the boxes.

After 5 minutes or so I brought out our "regular" toys, but many babies continued playing with the paper and boxes.

Spots and Dots Storytime

I did this storytime for toddlers and all ages storytime in November.

Hernietta got into the fun!


by Catherine Rayner

Lots of Dots
by Craig Frazier

Animal Spots and Stripes
Britta Teakentrup

Songs/Rhymes/Flannel Board

I'm a Little Monster
(from Storytime ABC's)
Pass out a variety of color felt dots to all the children. 
Place the monster on the board (without any spots)

Use this rhyme to call children up to put their dots on the monster

I'm a little monster friendly and bright.
I won't give anyone a fright.
I love polka dots but I have none.
So step right up and give me red ones.

I'm a little monster friendly and bright.
I won't give anyone a fright.
I love polka dots but I only have some.
So step right up and give me orange ones.

I'm a little monster friendly and bright.
I won't give anyone a fright.
I love polka dots and I have lots.

Thank you for my colorful spots.

Are You Sleeping?
(This is one of my new "go-to" songs!)
We used animals that have spots and dots!

Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Little ladybug? Little ladybug?
Wake up little ladybug!
Wake up little ladybug!
Fly, fly, fly! Fly, fly, fly!


Little Ladybug
Ladybug has 1 back spot
1 black spot, 1 black spot
Ladybug has 1 black spot
Pretty Ladybug!

Continue adding dots until you reach 4 or 6.

Play and Learn

Dot Collage


Crazy Straw Circles

Pom-pom cookie colors