The Plan



Old MacDonald Had a Woodshop by Lisa Shulman
Tap Tap Bang Bang by Emma Garcia
The Toolbox by Anne Rockwell
Toolbox Twins by Lola Schaefer

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Toolbox Match-Up”

Fingerplay: “Five Little Nails”
Five little nails, standing straight and steady
Here I come with my hammer ready!
Bam, bam, bam! That nail goes down.
Now there’s just four nails left to pound.
(count down)
Credit: Mel’s Desk

Song: “Construction Worker Song”
This is the way we pound our nails, pound our nails, pound our nails
This is the way we pound our nails, so early in the morning
(Saw the wood, turn the screwdriver, drill a hole, stack the bricks, stir the paint, paint the walls)
Credit: Everything Preschool



This was another Oriental Trading kit — a photo frame that came ready to be decorated with foam tool stickers. The kids love sticker crafts and a lot of them covered up the photo part with more tool stickers!

How It Went

Thursday morningTools!
“Five Little Nails” is storytime gold if you haven’t used it before. The kids love shouting along with me and pounding down their nails, and are very enthusiastic about the fingerplay. Definitely add it to your to-learn list. Also, Emma Garcia books. Add those to your lists if you haven’t used them.

Friday morning
This group loved, loved, loved “Old MacDonald Had a Woodshop.” I had a lot of kids who quickly picked it up and sang along with me. They also went nuts for “Five Little Nails” as well. Seriously, add it to your list!

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Explore the World: Water

In response to the STEAM movement (and with great thanks to such great inspiration & encouragement from colleagues: Amy, Abby, and Kendra), this past fall I started a STEAM storytime series at the library. This is primarily aimed at preschoolers and their families, registration open to ages 3-7 in our library.


Books & Group Activities

Opening Activity
Building blocks from Kendra.
“Building Blocks”
(Tune of Good Night Ladies)
Hello ________
Hello ________
Hello ________
Come build something with your blocks!



All the Water In the World by George Ella Lyon
Rain by Manya Stojic
Wow! Ocean! by Robert Neubecker

I started off with “All the Water In the World” since it explains the water cycle in a fun, easy, approachable manner. Then I segued into the kids naming places that had water and I wrote them down on a piece of butcher block paper. I pulled out the different ocean animal flannelboards from the summer of 2010 and after doing the “Five Big Whales” flannelboard, I did some math problems with the animals and the kids. Then we read the last two books and talked about the rain and the different animals that live in the ocean.

Once we finished the group portion, it was time to move to the station activities.

Station Activities

Sink or Float?
I got this amazing idea from Amy’s post on the ALSC blog. I filled up our two dish pans with water and had five items (rubber duck, penny, popsicle stick, Lego, and crayon) out for the kids to toss into the water. This is the station that had the best discussions, in my opinion. Lots of caregivers talking about what the objects were made of and why metal sinks and wood floats. The most interesting thing for the kids were the crayons which floated if you dropped them in gently and sank if you plopped them in.

Does It Dissolve?
I got this idea from Hands On As We Grow. I raided the library’s cabinets of craft materials to sink what we dissolve. In the closets, we had sugar, flour, sprinkles, oatmeal, glitter, and drink mix. The kids loved stirring up their concoctions and I saw several of them stirring frantically trying to get the sprinkles to dissolve.

Water Diffusing Art
We had some leftover color diffusing craft kits from a previous summer reading event in our closets. I know that we got them from S&S Worldwide, but they are no longer available. If you’re doing this program on the cheap, you can also use coffee filters! Kids colored with markers and then used a spray bottle to spread the color. They had a great time with this, and always love taking crafts home.

Make It Melt!
This was be far the messiest station. I had an ice cube for each child. On the top were bowls with warm water, cold water, and salt. And I also had a ton of paper towels. The kids were encouraged to try and melt their ice cubes with the different bowl items. Lots of discovery about the effects of salt & warm water!

Take-Home Activities

I had another book display at the front of the room as always:

I also handed out these take-home packets as they left. Inside, there’s a booklist, an activity, and a coloring page. (They love coloring pages!) I grouped the sheets of “Sink of Float?” in this packet in case you all wanted to see that too.

And, here’s a super Pinnable image for you, if you’ve made it this far!


I still have three more science programs to write up; keep your eyes out for them!

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Beyond Duct-Tape Wallets!

PLA Logo

While I don’t often post about my other programming and librarianing other than storytime here, I did want to take the time to highlight the AMAZING time that I had presenting at PLA this past week. I am so very lucky to count Angie, Drea, and Kelly as wonderful collaborators and great friends and I really think we nailed our presentation.

Here’s the official presentation description:

Beyond Duct Tape Wallets: Dynamic, Effective, and Community-Centered Teen Programs – PROGRAM
Thursday, March 13, 2:00–3:15 PM

Seeking new life for programs in your teen department? Trying to jumpstart teen programs with small staff and little experience? Join this panel of four seasoned teen programming librarians to find out how you and your library can create and maintain successful, dynamic, and cheap teen programs for a wide range of users. It can be done and this session will help you launch your next generation of programming for teens today!

We had a great time talking about our successes (Lock-Ins, Passive Programming, Partnerships), our failures (Anime Club for me!), and our collaborations (yes, we all took/borrowed/adapted Kelly’s chocolate wars event).

I wanted to take a few moments to highlight some programming write-ups that I did on Drea’s blog, Book Blather.

I also talked about a lot of other programming — if you were at the presentation and want a write-up, Drea has again offered to generously host my teen program write-ups. As I’m doing with my old storytime files, I’m also cleaning out my old teen files now that I’m in my new job, so now is the time to ask!

Our 300+ crowd at PLA.

Our 300+ crowd at PLA.

Thank you to everyone who did come; you were a great, interactive, participatory audience and I can easily say that I had the most fun ever presenting in Indy!

I’ve creating a Storify of all the tweets that used our hashtag, you can read that here.

I’ll close with a picture of all of us right outside the room:

Me, Drea, Sign (haha, I'm so funny), Kelly, Angie

Me, Drea, Sign (haha, I’m so funny), Kelly, Angie

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Dirt, Sand, & Mud!

The Plan



Bebe Goes to the Beach by Susan Middleton Elya
Dini Dinosaur by Karen Beamont
Mr. Gumpy’s Motor Car by John Burningham
Sea, Sand, and Me! by Patricia Hubbell
Underground by Denise Fleming

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Five Clean and Dirty Pigs”

Flannelboard: “Five Pretty Sandcastles”
Five pretty sandcastles standing on the shore,
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there were four.
Four pretty sandcastles standing by the sea,
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there were three.
Three pretty sandcastles standing by the ocean blue,
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there were two.
Two pretty sandcastles standing in the sun,
The tide came in (whoosh!) and then there was one.
One pretty sandcastle just out of reach,
The tide came in (whoosh!) but it stayed on the beach!
Credit: Storytime Secrets

Song: “We’re Going to the Beach”
We’re going to the beach,
We’re going to the beach.
I think we’ll see some sand there!
We’re going to the beach.
(water, fish, towels, whatever else they said!)
Credit: Storytime Secrets



Yes, I attempted sand art at storytime! And I have to say, even to my surprise, it was a success! Three things that made this a remarkable joy: spoons + funnels + Tacky Glue. I put the sand in bowls for the kids to spoon into their funnels. I did have to buy additional funnels since the kit only came with two — but I would have had to do that anyways since this wasn’t the only sand art program we did last summer. And, of course, the caregivers were game to help their kiddos out which made it possible for me to man the finishing station where I put Tacky Glue inside the cap to permanently close the necklace.

How It Went

Thursday morning
I did this storytime on my birthday and it was a great theme given how much I love the beach! The kids had a great time with the flannelboards, which I left out for them to play with after storytime. My parents really enjoyed “Bebe Goes to the Beach” since it has some Spanish vocabulary in it. The kids were very fascinated with “Underground”, which was the book that inspired this whole storytime!

Friday morning
My Friday group loved all the mud activities today: “Mr. Gumpy” and “Five Clean and Dirty Pigs.” I had a lot of very excited kids when I flipped each pig — they weren’t expecting the mud to suddenly appear!

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Happy Anniversary, Flannel Friday!

ff-birthdayHappy 3rd anniversary, Flannel Friday!!!

I can’t even begin to express my appreciation for Flannel Friday and what it has done for me. You guys *saved* me when it came to professional learning and development. My first library was very small and for a number of more recent years, I was the only degree-holding children’s librarian. Flannel Friday and the contacts I made from it are invaluable to me. I wish we could all have a giant Internet hug right now. ::hug::

I will NEVER forget reading that PUBYAC post inviting us to participate and immediately settling down to write a post. So, I thought I’d do a little bit of everything: a bit of reflection, a peek at my to-do, and some of my personal favorites over the years.

I love seeing the evolution of flannelboards and the different intepretations of stories! We have a bunch of universal flannels, but one in particular seems to pop up everywhere, Dog’s Colorful Day: Me, before Flannel Friday even existed!, Nicole 4.27.11, Anne 5.27.11, Bridget 9.2.11, Danielle 3.2.12, Library Quine & Kendra 9.9.11, Tracey 4.13.12, Sarah’s dinosaur twist 5.18.12, Andrea 11.15.12, & Amy 2.21.14!

[If I missed your Dog post, please link it in the comments & I'll update it!]

One of my favorite things are tutorials. Whether it’s how to store your materials (Lisa from Thrive After Three) to how make a board (Library Quine at Loons & Quines) or repurpose a board (Lisa at Libraryland) to mastering puffy paint (Mary at Miss Mary Liberry), to making your own patterns (Melissa at Mel’s Desk).

So, thanks again, Flannel Friday! Pretty soon it’ll be four years…five years…fifteen years with you still going strong!

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

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Flannel Friday: Ten Umbrellas & Raindrops

Another favorite flannelboard that I can’t believe I haven’t posted before! This is a super simple one to make and it can be used for so many different storytimes! I’ve used it in spring, rain, letter U, and number ten!

Flannelboard: “Ten Little Umbrellas & Ten Little Raindrops”
One little, two little, three little umbrellas
Four little, five little, six little umbrellas
Seven little, eight little, nine little umbrellas
Ten umbrellas up for the rain
Repeat with raindrops going on top of umbrellas – last line “Ten raindrops falling down.” Pull raindrops away, counting down – last line “No raindrops out today.” Pull umbrellas away, counting down – last line, “Everything’s put away!”

As for the pattern, I just used Microsoft clip art as my template. It was very easy to find both an umbrella and a raindrop.

Anne will be hosting the round-up today! You can also check out our website, Pinterest, or Facebook!

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Road Work Ahead!

This was a special program that I did during the Summer of 2013 for “Dig Into Reading!” Families with kids ages 3-7 were invited to spend an afternoon celebrating all things construction!

The Plan



Construction Countdown by K.C. Olson
The Construction Crew by Lynn Meltzer
Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Red Crane, Red Crane, What Do You See?”

Action Rhyme: “Cranes”
Cranes reach up,
Cranes reach down,
Cranes reach out,
And all around.
Credit: Pre-K Fun

Fingerplay: “Five Little Nails”
Five little nails, standing straight and steady
Here I come with my hammer ready!
Bam, bam, bam! That nail goes down.
Now there’s just four nails to pound.
(count down)
Credit: Mel’s Desk


“Foreman Says”
You really can never go wrong with a special version of Simon Says. I gave the kids construction hats that I bought for the program to wear while we played. I put mine down at one point and wound up sitting on it, smashing it. I’ve never seen preschoolers erupt in such laughter.

“Dump Truck Relay”
The website linked above can give you full instructions, but basically I had two dump truck with packing peanuts that I had painted to look like rocks and two buckets. I divided the kids up into two teams and they raced to get their rocks from the trucks to the buckets. They had great fun with this one, even if I didn’t really “pronounce” a winner.

“Treasure Excavation”
Very simple way to hand out prizes. I had a bin full of shredded paper and let the kids dig using sandbox shovels for their ring pops. I figured that was as close to diamonds as I was gonna be able to afford!



I got this craft from Kids Craft Weekly. I let the kids do their own cutting and I had plenty of parents around to help the youngest ones out. I did keep the hole punchers at a single table with the brads so that teen volunteers could help with the construction aspect.

How It Went

Did I mention the part where I sat on my hat? Basically, not even ring pops could compare with how awesome that moment was! Their favorite book was probably “Tip Tip Dig Dig” and they really liked that I used the same illustrations to make the flannelboard. The craft was definitely doable for the kids, but I had a few that struggled to use the scissors, which makes me all the more determined to give them more opportunities when possible!

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Guest Post: Sarah Bean Thompson!

My dear, dear friend Sarah is on the ballot for the 2016 Caldecott Committee. I think she’s an unbelievably passionate librarian and she sure knows her way around award committees! I am in love with the different ways she’s worked to introduce her patrons to Caldecott winners and honor books and I know that she would be a great asset to the Caldecott Committee! (She’s definitely got my vote!!)

But here’s her post in her own words!

Sarah Bean Thompson is a Youth Services Manager and blogs at She has served on the 2013 Printz Committee, 2014 Cybils, and is on the ballot for the 2016 Caldecott Committee.

One of my favorite parts of storytime is seeing the kids faces light up when I introduce them to a book and they get lost in the story with me. In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Caldecott Medal, I knew I wanted to introduce Caldecott winners and honor books to my preschool crowd. So I themed my entire Spring storytime session around Caldecott titles. And I had a blast as the kids and I discovered Caldecott books and discussed what we thought of the illustrations in each one.

What surprised me the most was how much they responded to some of the older titles I read. I was never sure how the kids would respond to the older titles, especially since some of these don’t have bright, colorful illustrations.

One of their favorite books ended up being Frog Went-a Courtin’. They loved looking at the pictures in this one and seeing what animals were there. They thought the idea of a frog and a mouse getting married was hilarious and with the turn of each page, they kept asking “did they get married?” They were very engaged in this one and it was so fun to see.

Another book that surprised me was Play With Me. At the beginning of the book, I said how the girl only wanted to play with the animals. After each subsequent turn of the page, I had one preschooler call out “but she just wants to play!!” The rest of the group caught on and by the end of the book they were emphatically calling out that the girl just wanted to play with the animals! Of course they were thrilled when she got her wish and the animals came near here in the end.

I love watching how kids respond to picture books and I look forward to each storytime that I do because I think there’s nothing better than reading and sharing books with kids (and their grown ups!)

ALA Elections run from March 19th through April 25th. For more information, please visit ALA Election Information.

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The Plan



Dini Dinosaur by Karen Beamont
Dinosaur Vs. the Library by Bob Shea
Inside-Outside Dinosaurs by Roxie Munro
Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Ten Little Dinosaurs”

Action Rhyme: “Dinosaur, Dinosaur”
Dinosaur, dinosaur, turn around
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch the ground
Dinosaur, dinosaur, reach up high
Dinosaur, dinosaur, wink one eye
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your nose
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch your toes
Dinosaur, dinosaur, slap your knees
Dinosaur, dinosaur, sit down please
Credit: Modified from Childhood

Action Rhyme: Dinosaurs”
Spread your arms, way out wide
Fly like Pteranodon, soar and glide
Bend to the floor, head down low
Move like Stegosaurus, long ago
Reach up tall, try to be
As tall as Apatosaurus eating on a tree
Using your claws, grumble and growl
Just like Tyrannosaurus on the prowl
Credit: Children Museum of New Hampshire



I bought Crayola model magic in a classroom pack and let the kids create their own dinosaurs. I still think mine looks more like a cat than a dinosaur, but that’s life. The kids had a great time and they really enjoyed creating one dinosaur to mash it up to create another.

How It Went

Thursday morning
Dinosaur themed storytimes are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. I had a lot of success this time with “Dini Dinosaur”. But…Bob Shea always steals the show when it comes to dinosaur books. This group was super settled today and had a lot of parent involvement which was good because I had nearly thirty kids there!

Friday morning

My Friday morning group is always so pumped for storytime! I love how excited they are about reading. Again, Bob Shea stole the show but this group also loved “Inside Outside Dinosaurs.” And I love reading a book like that because of the great vocabulary that the kids get with the dinosaur names.

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ALSC: Play in the Library!


Yesterday, I posted over at the ALSC blog about an easy way to incorporate play in the library. Also, you can see a picture of part of my new library!

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