Discovery!: iPad


For set-up, I used our staff iPad and mirrored on the television with Apple TV. I sat on the counter underneath the TV and the kids piled in on the floor. This was another program that I planned in stages to help me choose from our myriad of iPad apps that we have on our in-house circulating equipment. I did purchase four apps for the program: “Wheels On the Bus”, “Peekaboo Vehicles”, and “Press Here” (for $1.99 each) and “Flip-Flap Safari” for $0.99.

Before I began the program, I talked a little about what we know about young children and new media. I mentioned the American Association of Pediatrics’s recommendation. And then I talked about using new media with young children in the library. (At the time this fabulous inforgraphic was not available, but you should use it going forward!)

My grand conclusion that I left them with is that parents/caregivers need to make the iPad/tablet an interactive experience as often as possible and that each family needed to decide for themselves what was appropriate for their child. And that’s what I was going to model today!



David Carter’s Spot the Dot
I started off the program using this app because I knew it would be a great icebreaker and a great way to model questions. While the kids scoured the television screen to find the dot, I modeled questions like: “What is the dot next to? Is it on the right side or left side? Is it big or little right now? Is it moving or flashing?” Kids answered the questions loudly and enthusiastically. I made sure to mention that in a one-on-one session it might be easiest to just touch the dot, but asking these questions brings in other concepts like size (math), spatial relations, etc.

Find Little Dot 1-10
Afterwards, I switched to another dot app. This is definitely more for babies and toddlers than preschoolers. But I took this opportunity to talk about the fact that apps can be aged and that older siblings can become the model in this situation. I asked each child to take a turn finding the dot with this app, which meant I walked around the room and let everyone touch the iPad. This was also a good learning experience since some of the children had never touched an iPad before. They now knew how hard to push to make something happen. (Like with my violin, some of them were extremely cautious!)

Press Here
I bought the book “Press Here” into the room with me. I put the iPad down for a second and took a book break. This was a great chance to talk about moderation to parents/caregivers. It also introduced my next kind of apps — ones that extend the book by having activities. After we read “Press Here”, I demonstrated some of the extras in the app. The kids were particularly taken with the fireworks section!

We moved on to Transportation apps next!



Peekaboo Vehicles
Another app for the younger kids in the audience (the three-year-olds) that they really enjoyed. My tip to parents/caregivers for this app was that these kind of guessing games are excellent for long car trips. I also recommended having Animal Sounds installed on their phones. An adult or older sibling in the passenger seat can play the sound and have the preschooler guess what animal is it.

Byron Barton’s Planes
For this app, I talked about how flat a book can be when you read it. An iPad version of the same book allows for more interactions. I asked the kids what they wanted to “touch” to see more. In the Barton app, if you touch different areas of the app you can hear different words and names of items and places. The kids were fascinated and wanted to touch every part of the app.

Wheels on the Bus
So to end this session, I (and the app) led them in a spirited version of this popular song! We played the song several times and then recorded our own version. We played it back to a lot of giggles. I gave this tip to parents/caregivers: these apps that allow a recording can show a parent who was at work or on a business trip what was going on at the house while they were gone. Technology is a great tool for keeping in touch with family we don’t see every day.

And then it was on to animals!



Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
This was a fun experience for the kids. We played along to each language and got up to stretch our muscles. For this app, I talked about expanding language needs using apps. Children who are interested in learning a new language or who are working on learning English as a Second Language can find supportive apps to increase their knowledge. Children learn languages much faster than adults, so now is the time to start if you’re interested!

Flip-Flap Safari
My only “app” disaster. It crashed twice as we were using it. It’s also a UK author so some of the word choices didn’t make too much sense for the kids. This is the only app that didn’t work well for me. I guess every program has to have one dud!

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App!
But we recovered easily with the Pigeon, aka every preschooler’s best friend. I read aloud the original version to make sure everyone knew the story before we delved into the app. We recorded our own very funny Pigeon story and the group left with lots of giggles under their belts. I once again reiterated about looking for opportunities to interact with apps and to not use them as babysitters.

How It Went

Planning the program using the small segments was brilliant on my part. The kids remained engaged and excited on each journey. I only had one child who kept getting up to try and touch the big screen (which no one can reach). His caregiver did a good job of chasing him down. Everything went incredibly well, even though I had a power outage/surge that required a re-set of Apple TV in the Transportation segment. Of course that would happen, haha!

Leave a Comment

Flannel Friday: Color Zoo

Today’s original flannelboard is a very special one to my heart. It’s based on Lois Ehlert’s Color Zoo:


“Color Zoo” is the first book I remember being read to me in my kindergarten school library. I was enthralled with this book and was so thankful that Mr. J read it to us! It’s a perfect memory — I remember that carpeted sunken reading area so well. I can even tell you where the Pinkerton books are if you happen to have a time-turner.

For the template, I made photocopies of the book and used that as my patterns. There is a LOT of measuring if you choose to make it this way, which mirrors the book. You can always do it as a build-your-own like Lisa from Libraryland did.

I used this flannelboard in a shapes theme for a partnership storytime (Play to Learn with the DuPage Children’s Museum) this fall and for a boxes theme for my family storytimes. Both groups really enjoyed it, in particular my family storytime group!

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

Leave a Comment

Families: Colors

For more information on how I plan and prepare my family storytimes, check out this introduction post. I starred the materials used in the plan. Some activities go unstarred because I only do this program once a week.

The Plan



Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Horacek*
Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd
Little Green Peas by Keith Baker*
Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin

Early Literacy Tip

Storytimes are your child’s first classroom setting. By coming regularly and participating together, you are preparing your child for school.

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Bari Koral Family Rock Band’s “Rock and Roll Garden”*

Featured Track: #6 Colors*

Flannelboard: “Maisy Mouse”*

Flannelboard: “Brown Bear”

Prop: “Scat the Cat”*

Song: “Driving Round In My Red Car” (Tune: “Bumpin’ Up and Down In My Little Red Wagon”)*
Driving round in my little red car
Driving round in my little red car
Driving round in my little red car
Zoom zoom zoom zoom zoom
(Go through red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple)
Credit: Childhood

Song & Scarves: “These Are the Colors” (Tune: “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”)*
Red and yellow, green and blue
These are the colors over you
Red as a flower, green as a tree
Yellow as the sun, blue as the sea
Red and yellow, green and blue
These are the colors over you
Credit: Read Sing Play

Repeating Extension Activities

I had four back-up activities in case I needed them for time. I rarely used them, but here they are:

  • Dance Your Fingers Up
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Thumbkin

How It Went

I took over family storytime this fall and was absolutely thrilled to see so many friends from this summer’s “Shake Shimmy, & Dance” programs. I had a pair of sisters being so kind with one another during our scarf songs, I saw a new toddler and his mom snap a selfie, and had some of my favorite kiddos being wonderful at participation. My new introduction and warm-up activity was a huge help! And as always, Scat the Cat and Maisy are magic.

Leave a Comment


The Plan



Dini Dinosaur by Karen Beamont
Dinosaur Kisses by David Ezra Stein
Dinosaur Vs. School by Bob Shea
Here Comes Destructosaurus by Jeremy Tankard
Shape By Shape by Suse MacDonald

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Ten Little Dinos”

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: Childhood/Modified “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear”

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: Nancy Klein on The Childrens Museum of New Hampshire’s website

How It Went

Site Information
At this location, I do two classrooms. One is a two-year-old classroom and the other is a combined three-year-olds to six-year-olds classroom (basically three classrooms pile into one classroom). I was always directed to the two-year-old room first.

This storytime should have been an absolutely perfect fit for this age group. Instead, the teachers asked if I would do this storytime outside since it was a gorgeous day. I agreed, provided I had an area. The only area that was fenced in was the playground equipment. You can bet what the toddlers wanted to do instead of listening to Miss Katie. So, I did a very quick storytime where we only read two books “Dini Dinosaur” and “Dino Shapes” and called it a win!

Three-Year-Olds — Six-Year-Olds
This group did much better with everything because a) they’re older and b) we were inside. They had a great time roaring with Bob Shea’s Dinosaur and smashing things with Destructosaurus. I had a great time pretending to be dinosaurs with them. I did wind up using “Shape by Shape” with them, but I should have saved it for just the two-year-olds. I was met with a chorus of “IT’S A DINOSAUR” from the very beginning of opening the book.

Leave a Comment

Toddlers: Winter

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



Cleo In the Snow by Caroline Mockford**
Jingle-Jingle by Nicola Smee*
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Under My Hood I Have a Hat by Karla Kushin**

Early Literacy Tip

Scientific studies of the brain suggest that a child’s natural approach to learning is through play. Songs about weather can be followed by games.

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: H.U.M. by Carole Stephens

Featured Track: #3 I Can Make a Snowman**

Flannelboard: “Five Little Snowflakes”**

Flannelboard: “Matching Mittens”*

Prop: “Snowflake Circles”**

Puppets: There’s Something In the Snow***
There’s something in the snow, now what can it be?
There’s something in the snow that I can’t really see.
Hear its funny sound…HOWL HOWL HOWL
A wolf is what I found! HOWL HOWL HOWL
(CAW CAW CAW, A cardinal is what I found! / GRR GRR GRR, A bear is what I found! / WADDLE WADDLE WADDLE, A penguin is what I found!)
Credit: Modified from “There’s Something In My Garden” originally found at SurLaLune Storytime

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Dance Your Fingers**
  • Elevator Song*
  • Roly Poly**
  • These Are My Glasses***
  • This Is Big, Big, Big***

How It Went

Tuesday morning
They absolutely loved “Something In the Garden” today; it made a great guessing game. I had a few screamers today, which parents and caregivers took out of the room. But something about screamers just sets the tone of the room to anxiety, so we listened to “The Mitten Song” off Miss Carole’s CD too. For “Snowflakes Circles”, I passed out white tulle circles for the kids to toss up and down like snowflakes.

Thursday morning (9:30)
My younger kiddos loved the puppets! While I read “Under My Hood I Have a Hat”, I asked parents/caregivers to touch each part of their child’s body. This was a great tip that really kept my youngest group involved enough for a second group! Bravo, kids! One of my girls held my hand during “Tickle the Clouds” and another latched herself onto my legs during bubbles for a long hug…aww!

Thursday morning (10:30)
I specifically picked my “Matching Mittens” flannelboard for this group since they did so awesome with the Stoplight Sorting last week. I did have a young kiddo who tried to come to the 9:30 and cried, and then tried the 10:30 with more crying. Poor kiddo just wasn’t ready for stories. I had big hugs from two of my kids on the way. And! And! My new storytime arrangement (where I removed some tempting items on low shelves) made a huge improvement this whole week!

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

Flannel Friday: All The Little Germs

This flannelboard was inspired by LibraryQuine!


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!

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

Leave a Comment

Family Storytimes


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!


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!)


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 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!

Leave a Comment

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.


The Plan

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.

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.)

Leave a Comment

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



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!

Leave a Comment

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,343 other followers