Storytime Essentials: Five Most Beloved Purchased Puppets/Sets

Photo booth style!

1. Folkmanis Grizzly Bear Cub
They don’t make my bear cub anymore, but they do have another bear available. (I think mine looks more friendly in the face.) This is a perennial favorite for the “Sleepy Bear” rhyme, singing “Grr Grr Went the Big Brown Bear”, hidden behind the flannelboard to eat strawberries and to chase the kids on a bear hunt.

2. Merry Makers Scaredy Squirrel
Scaredy Squirrel has a big place in my heart. “Scaredy Squirrel” the book was the very first book I read to kids in a library and the first puppet that made me go, “OH MY GOSH, I MUST HAVE HIM.” Scaredy has helped me on fall school visits by showing kids the library is nothing be scared of.

3. Manhattan Toy Old MacDonald
I think every librarian needs a good farm set. My set isn’t sold through Manhattan Toy; you need to catch it on a re-sale website. Obviously good for “Old MacDonald”, but also for “Over in the Barnyard” and “Ah-Choo!”

4. Manhattan Toy FlipFlaps Butterfly
I cannot find this one sold anywhere and I am terribly sorry about that. I love this puppet. It’s so easy to manipulate and move around with. I wish there were more FlipFlaps made. I use this all the time with “Flutter, Flutter Butterfly”.

5. Folkmanis Golden Retriever
Where would I be without Applesauce, the storytime mascot from my last library? Applesauce came with me to my new library because he was mine and the library finally purchased their own golden retriever puppet to maintain the tradition I started. He’s been a superhero, eaten strawberries off the flannelboards, led a game of “Applesauce Says”, and been mended countless times when I use this Band-Aids flannelboards.

So whether or not puppets are your style, I hope at least the pictures amused you since I had fun taking them on my dinner break! And if puppets are your thing, maybe you’ve found a new way to use one of your favorites or have found a new friend to purchase.

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Flannel Friday: All The Little Germs

This flannelboard was inspired by LibraryQuine!

2015/01/img_0762-0.jpg

All the little germs, dirty and mean,
Hiding on your palms, (point to where they’re hiding)
Where they cannot be seen.
Wash them, (rub hands together)
Scrub them, (rub knuckles together)
Rinse them away. (whisk hands across each other)
Then we’ll have clean hands, (hold hands out palm up)
Hip, hip, hooray! (jazz hands!)

(More verses: Hiding between your fingers, Hiding behind your hands, Hiding on your thumbs, Hiding under nails, Hiding on your wrists)

I used this in Manners storytime when I talked to the kids about keeping our hands clean to be polite to our friends. I also used this in a recent “I’m Sick/Ouches” storytime. The kids loved pretend scrubbing their own hands and parents/caregivers love the reminder that hand washing is necessary and healthy!


TBA is hosting the round-up today! You can also check out our website, Pinterest, or Facebook!

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Family Storytimes

familystorytime

Our family storytimes are held in our very large meeting room. They are drop-in and typically average 40-50 people in the room. While we have a wide variety of ages, I am mostly seeing ages 3-5 as the main participants with a few toddler or baby siblings.

I modified Lindsey’s AMAZING toddler planning sheet for family storytimes. I changed it around a bit, but it is the single most useful planning tool I’ve ever found for a storytime!

Opening

Warm-Up
I took this idea from Audrey, who shared it with us at Guerrilla Storytime! (PS – THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!)

Hi everyone! My name is Miss Katie and I’ll be leading family storytime this session; this is week __ of seven. It’s time for everyone to warm-up. Let’s start with our elbows. (Everyone rubs their elbows.) A couple of quick pieces of information about the library: restrooms are located right outside the meeting room and on either side of the storytime room. Feel free to use them as you or your child needs to.

Switch elbows! It’s all right if you child gets up and moves during storytime. Just be sure to keep them clear of the front of the room as I’ll be walking back and forth throughout the storytime. If they do enter that space, please just re-direct them, although they do not have to sit back down.

Switch to your knees! If your child becomes uncomfortable at any time, please take them out of the room to settle them down. You are welcome to rejoin us once your child has calmed down. If you need to leave, please try to come back next week. Sometimes it takes children more time than adults to be comfortable in a space or program.

Switch to your head! You are your child’s best model for storytime behavior. Please participate in the singing, rhymes, and activities that we are doing. Your child will look to you for how to behave. And with that, I think we’re warmed up. Let’s start storytime!

Opening Song
Our hello song has four words in ASL, which is American Sign Language. The first word we need to learn is “hello”; make a salute from your head. The next word is “friend”; we take one finger and then another finger and our fingers give each other a hug. Then we need to learn how to say “time”; we point to where we might wear a watch. Last, we need to learn the word “say”; we put our finger on our chin and imagine our words coming out of our finger as we move like this.

Okay, now we’re ready to sing:

“Hello Friends”
Hello friends, hello friends
Hello friends, it’s time to say hello

(Insider tip: watch Jbrary sing it here!)

Middle

Here’s where everything changes week-to-week. I always have four books, several flannelboards and puppets and props, a featured music CD, and fingerplays/movement activities planned. I’ll talk about those in each write-up.

Closing

Closing Rhyme
I used Melissa‘s “This Is Big, Big, Big” as the beginning of my closing routine. You can try and pry this rhyme out of my repertoire, but I will shout “NEVER!” and cling to it like a first edition signed Harry Potter book.

Closing Song
For our closing song, I just sing “Goodbye Friends” which is also available in the video above!

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Shake, Shimmy, & Dance: 7/15

For the first time in our library’s history, we ran our own summer reading program — Make Some Noise! What better opportunity to do a bi-weekly music and movement dance party? This program was advertised for ages 0-7 and their families.

shakeshimmyanddance

The Plan

hopjump
Book
Hop Jump by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Two sets of frogs: one who wants to jump and the other who wants to dance. Eventually, they come together. It’s a perfect book for a music and movement program. The kids had a really great time jumping around and it definitely got us off to a rocking start for this day’s Shake Shimmy.

Props
Activity Scarves!

The Playlist

Hello & How Are You? — Old Town School of Folk Music
Get Ready to Wiggle — The Wiggles
Rocketship Run — Laurie Berkner Band
I Like to Dance — Yo Gabba Gabba
If All of the Raindrops — Old Town School of Folk Music
Dancing Scarf Blues — Carole Peterson
Under the Sea — Georgiana Stewart
Shake Hands With Friends — Ella Jenkins

How It Went

This program is really serving as a great way for me to get to know a lot of my new families and for them to get comfortable with me. I had another set of siblings really get into dancing today. For the past few sessions, they’ve stayed close to Mom and hung out on the edges. Today, they all walked up and danced right next to me! I think everyone’s favorite activity today was swimming with the scarves during “Under the Sea”.

(For an example of the Powerpoint and handouts that I made for each Shake, Shimmy please visit the original post.)

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Toddlers: Cars

For more information on how I plan and prepare my toddler storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the repeating extension activities, visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan

Books

t-cars

Moo! by David LaRochelle
My Car by Byron Barton*
Toot Toot Beep Beep by Emma Garcia***
Who Is Driving? by Leo Timmers**

Early Literacy Tip

When you read a book to your child, running your finger under the printed words helps him/her know that it is the text you are reading, not the pictures.

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: You Make Me Feel Like Dancing — The Wiggles

Featured Track: “I Drive the Big Red Car”**

Flannelboard: “Lots of Cars”***

Prop: Stoplight Sorting***

Prop Sticks: “Green Says Go”***

Repeating Extension Activities

  • A Wiggle Wiggle Here*
  • Slowly, Slowly*
  • These Are My Glasses***
  • This Is Big, Big, Big***
  • Thumbkin**
  • Wake Up Toes*

How It Went

Tuesday morning
I gave an extra tip this morning while reading “Who Is Driving?” — the kids were getting restless so we only read parts. Parents/caregivers: remember to close a book if the experience is turning out to be more frustrating than fun! The Wiggles CD completely malfunctioned today; track would not play even though it did when I tested it prior to storytime. Stoplight activities were so fun!

Thursday morning (9:30)
Today’s class featured a ton of grandmas and grandpas which is so wonderful! I heard a lot of my toddlers repeating such great words and sounds during “Toot Toot Beep Beep”. Stoplight Sorting did not go as intended. I wound up modifying by asking the toddlers to touch their clothespin to the color and then give it to me. That worked much better.

Thursday morning (10:30)
This group absolutely NAILED Stoplight Sorting. I have two young ladies in this class who are absolute joys — they continually participate and one of them comes to hug me after every storytime before I bring bubbles out. The group’s favorite activity today was “Lots of Cars”. They really got into acting out the rhyme!

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Discovery!: Yoga

discovery

Yep. I did yoga with PRESCHOOLERS.

[Small background: I taught yoga in college for a semester and have taken yoga on and off again since high school. I do not have a certification, but I talked with my supervisor about whether or not this program would be covered under liability. It was decided that we ask patrons to follow movements in all programs (lifts, bounces, games, etc.) and would therefore be covered under the library’s general insurance policy. Please check with your administration before attempting this program.]

I broke up the day into Intro, Animal Poses, Shape Poses, and Cool-Down.

For your understanding of what I’m talking about, I’ve linked each pose to a picture from Namaste Kid. They are a wonderful resource for teaching yoga to children. I watched both “Once Upon a Mat” and “Yoga Motion” to help prepare for specifically teaching to children. [“Yoga Motion” is available to rent on Amazon Prime; another library in my system has “Once Upon a Mat” which I ILLed.]

Intro

I began class by telling the kids that we were going to do some yoga, which is a form of movement. I asked parents and caregivers to participate as best they could. I also said that the kids could opt out of any pose that they didn’t want to do. If they wanted to take a rest, they could sit cross-legged while the rest of us were in pose. Then, we practiced taking some deep breaths all the way from our bellies. I had the kids touch their stomachs to feel if their stomach moved. If their stomach was moving, they were breathing deep enough.

Animal Poses

fromheadtotoeBook: From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
I started with “From Head to Toe” because it’s a great book about movement and getting kids to think about their bodies standing in for animals. I thought this would be a great way to kick off yoga poses and would also work with the plethora of animal poses available to teach!

Monkey Pose

Butterfly Pose

Giraffe Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose

Cat & Cow Pose

Lion Pose

Frog Pose

Shape Poses

roundisamooncakeBook: Round Is a Mooncake
I wanted, again, to introduce a concept to the kids that we would then mirror with our bodies. This is one of my favorite shape books ever. While there aren’t as many shape poses, I think the kids really responded to this section because the shapes were easier to see in their friends than the animals.

Star Pose

Triangle Pose

Crescent Moon Pose

Child’s Pose (Oval)

Corpse Pose (Line)

Cool-Down

A trillion thanks to Laura for the amazing idea of using Beanie Babies to help the kids practice their deep breathing in a cool-down. I used bean bags since the library does not own Beanie Babies.

Since they did such an amazing job being still and calm, I put on some music and let them end with a dance party. Some kids left right away, others stayed for about fifteen minutes to dance with me!

How It Went

Preschoolers + YOGA. (Yes, it really happened!) Some tips that worked for my kiddos was counting out loud five breaths while we were in poses. I kept my voice low and calm to keep up the relaxation going on. Our meeting room has a dimmer installed on some of the lights, so I did use low-level lighting which also helped. Since the meeting room is carpeted, I did not ask parents/caregivers to bring towels or mats. Before we started, I had each child make sure they were three carpet squares away from their friends so we didn’t have any crash landings! I had so many compliments from caregivers and parents. And one Twitter friend said I should apply for sainthood, haha!

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Flannel Friday: Five Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed

This is week two of two to extend the “Five Little Monkeys” set I posted two weeks ago.

Since I already had the monkeys, it was time to make the bed! I decided not to make a mama monkey or a doctor monkey to keep things as simple as possible. I know many pre-made sets have both, but I dislike moving pieces around on the flannelboard.

I have a template available for the bed here! You can get the monkeys from Melissa’s template here.


Mollie is hosting the round-up today! You can also check out our website, Pinterest, or Facebook!

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Babies: Songs

For more information on how I plan and prepare my baby storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the baby rhymes/bounces/lifts/etc., visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan

Books
For baby time, my library passes out individual copies of board books to each caregiver/child pair. I typically keep two or three to the side of me in case a baby tries to grab my copy. I read face out; caregivers read to their children.

babies-songs

Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz**
Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr.**
Rain, Rain Go Away by Caroline Jayne Church

Early Literacy Tip

Children want familiar songs from people who mean a great deal to them. Sing, even if you think that your voice isn’t the greatest.


Flannelboard: Shape Game

This is the only baby storytime that I made pieces for. I had to make some music notes!

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Bouncing, Bouncing**
  • Milkshake**
  • Rock the Baby**
  • Roly Poly**
  • Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear**
  • These Are Baby’s Fingers*

How It Went

Tuesday morning
One of my little boys really wanted to play peek-a-boo with me. He kept hiding behind me and popping out to say “boo”! The babies were dead silent and focused when we chorally sang the books. The “Milkshake Song” is absolutely adorable. This was our last summer session and we said “goodbye” to some of the babies moving to toddlers. Luckily, I’m doing toddlers so I didn’t really have to say goodbye!

Thursday morning
The moms loved the tip that “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” can be sung to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” — it really stretches a much beloved classic to give them another activity. I will miss doing baby storytime. I feel like it really stretched me to learn how to do babies. But I am happy that my co-worker is back and can get back to snuggling babies, too!

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African-American Culture & Diversity!

The Plan

Books

africanamericanculture

This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt
Uh-Oh by Rachel Isadora
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn
I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Five Little Books”

Flannelboard: “Five Little Snowflakes”

Fingerplay: “Dance Your Fingers Up”
Dance your fingers up, dance your fingers down
Dance your fingers to the side, dance them all around
Dance them on your shoulders, dance them on you head
Dance them on your tummy, and put them all to bed
Credit: Best Kids Book Site [Link no longer works]

Fingerplay: “Two Little Snowflakes”
Two little snowflakes sitting on a hill
One named Jack, the other named Jill
Fly away Jack, fly away Jill
Come back Jack, come back Jill
(Other verses: cloud/quiet & loud; pole/fast & slow)
Credit: Modified from childhood

Song: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
Stomp your feet // Shout hooray
Credit: Childhood

How It Went

Site Information
At this location, I visit four classrooms total, reading to five classrooms total. The first classroom is a combined two-year-olds classroom. Then I visit two three-year-old classrooms and finally a four-year-old & five-year old classroom. I’m at the facility for about two hours, and my voice is definitely feeling it by the end of the visit!

Topic
This particular facility selects themes for me to do ahead of time to tie into their curriculum. For this theme, I wasn’t given a lot of “don’t use that author” like I had been in the previous theme. Which was good — until I hit a classroom and one of the teachers informed me that “The Snowy Day” was their book project for later that day. Whoops?

Two-Year-Olds (Combined classes)
I chose the book “Uh-Oh” especially for this classroom. I only read it for this storytime, since I knew it was a high-appeal book for toddlers. They loved seeing their normal day-to-day activities. I especially liked this choice because it’s a book that shows everyday diversity, which is so important to expose children to. This group was also pros at singing along with “If You’re Happy and You Know It” which made my heart so very happy.

Three-Year-Olds (First classroom)
This class LOVED “This Jazz Man” so much! They tapped along with me as I sang the book and were really attentive as I told them the names of each of the jazz men once the “story” ended. Also, this group was the only one who absolutely protested when I pulled out “The Snowy Day”. They kept telling me over and over again, “But it’s summer!” I wound up making the executive decision to skip the snowflakes rhyme and flannelboard for this group. (I blame Olaf…somehow.)

Three-Year-Olds (Second classroom)
My quietest class of the four; I can’t even say that this class had a favorite activity. This is the classroom that I keep hearing from their teachers about how they count down the days until Miss Katie comes back because they love storytime so much. Which is lovely and wonderful to hear especially since this is my third class and I’m losing steam at this point in the visit!

Four-Year-Olds & Five-Year-Olds (Single classroom)
This class had the best time dancing along to “I Got the Rhythm”. They were amazing little dancers, pulling all kinds of rhythm and hip twists and dance moves that I wasn’t sure that four-year-olds had! (I mean, they beat my moves times 1,000, which um, is easy to do to begin with.) They also loved the Five Little Books flannelboard a lot!

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Toddlers: Hello

For more information on how I plan and prepare my toddler storytimes, check out this introduction post. And for a complete list of the repeating extension activities, visit this post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one session.

The Plan

Books

hello

Hello, Airplane! by Bill Cotter*
Hello, Moon by Francesca Simon
Say Hello! by Rachel Isadora*
Say Hello Like This by Mary Murphy***

Early Literacy Tip

Library programs like this can be considered a child’s first class. Positive experiences of learning in a group setting at a young age help children form an enthusiastic attitude toward learning in a classroom setting.

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Wiggleworms Love You

Featured Track: #1 “Hello, How Are You?”***

Puppets: “Hi, Pizza Man!”**

Flannelboard: “Can We Find?”***
(Tune: Muffin Man)
Can we find an orange cat,
An orange cat, an orange cat?
Can we find an orange cat?
We want to say hello!

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Elevator Song**
  • Open, Shut Them**
  • These Are My Glasses**
  • This Is Big, Big, Big***
  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom**

How It Went

Tuesday morning
It was a full, full class this morning! And I pushed them to get through two books because they are my oldest group. I was proud of them for sitting so still. One of my regulars from “Shake, Shimmy, & Dance” programs started Toddlers this session and I can tell she really misses the constant dancing/movement. As always, the “Elevator Song” equals major love.

Thursday morning (9:30)
This is my youngest ever average for a toddler class. We are hosting this class during our traditional baby class hour because patrons have requested an earlier toddler class for the 18-24 month crowd. I will likely only get through one book with this group, but that’s okay. We read “Say Hello Like This” and heard lots of animal noises today! On the way out, a grandparent said to me, “You have the patience of Job.”

Thursday morning (10:30)
During our Name-Oops rhyme, I had two boys with the same name who kept eyeing each other: “Why do you have my name?” This was by far my best behaved toddler class all week; they loved “Hello, Airplane!” But my favorite part was when a mom pulled me aside afterwards to let me know that her toddler demands to watch Miss Katie every day! This past session, she took video of me singing one of our songs (with my permission) and her little guy points at her phone saying “Miss Katie Miss Katie Miss Katie” until she gives him the video. Heart melt!

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