Last week, my storytime theme was flowers and the garden!

I started off storytime with a great book, “My Garden” by Kevin Henkes.

This is a great book that would work for a lot of different themes — imagination is definitely one to remember for this book — but I did choose to use it for a bit of whimsy in this storytime. The kids really responded to the idea of this story, and once we were finished, I let them talk about what would happen in their gardens. One kid said he would grow monster trucks and dump trucks.

Next, I read “Up, Down, and Around” by Katherine Ayres.

This book has a great end refrain for repeating (first plant is up; second is down; third is around), and the kids jumped on it at first, but as they repeated it they got louder and louder until I’m pretty sure the book had no meaning for them anymore. Oh, well. Afterwards, I had to get their energy out, so I did this:

Action Rhyme: “Dig a Little Hole”
Dig a little hole (dig)
Plant a little seed (drop seed)
Pour a little water (pour)
Pull a little weed (pull up and throw away)
Chase a little bug (chasing motion)
Heigh-ho, there he goes! (shade eyes)
Give a little sunshine (make sun)
Grow a little rose (smell flower, eyes closed)
Credit: SurLaLune Storytime

And then, it was on to our next book, “Planting a Rainbow” by Lois Ehlert.

I did not get Lois Ehlert’s books as guaranteed hits, but let me tell you — the kids were CRAZY excited about this book. (And my daycare set LOVED “Waiting for Wings.”) I have now been properly schooled by the preschoolers. The kids and I alternated reading this one. I read the text on the page, and then they were allowed to call out a color. After that, I told them what flower name was next to that color. It worked out so well, I know that I had a great time reading it with them.

And then, after a brief introduction on how bees help flowers, I did our flannelboard: Six Little Bumblebees. (Text for the flannel can be found on my Yellow storytime plan.)

And then an awesome little fingerplay:

Fingerplay: “Watch It Bloom”
Here is a green leaf (hold out one palm)
And here is a green leaf (hold out other palm)
That, you see, makes two (hold up two fingers)
Here is a bud (cup hand together)
That makes it a flower (slowly open hands)
Watch it bloom for you (slowly open hands)
Credit: Perry Public Library

And my second to last book, “Zinnia’s Flower Garden” by Monica Wellington.

With this book, I got to talk a little bit about the names of flowers again since Zinnia is both the main character and the name of a flower. During this book (and after several choruses from the whole storytime about waiting for flowers), a little girl sighed and said, “Flower waiting is so hard.” Awww.

Afterwards, I did a puppet rhyme and guessing game, “There’s Something in My Garden,” that I got from SurLaLune Storytime and used at Bunny storytime earlier this spring. Everyone enjoyed themselves greatly during this activity!

And then, I got to whip out the song “Green Grass Grows All Around.” I sing and do motions to a version I learned during childhood, but you can find lots of versions on the Internet. Then it was on to the last book of the day, “Peek-A-Bloom” by Marie Torres Cimarusti.

The kids fell a little bit apart during this storytime, and I did wind up skipping the last page where readers can find all the animals (and daisy which is why I did it during garden storytime!) all over again. I just kind of said, “Hooray, you did it! The end!” and closed the book. After our goodbye song, it was on to the craft:

Flower rows! This was modified from CraftScope’s post. All I did for the kids was pre-glue (with Tacky Glue) the popsicle sticks down. Oh, and the leaves were a Martha Stewart craft punch from Michaels. Kids glued the cupcake liners and leaves with gluesticks and for the buttons, they used Glue Dots. Easy peasy, and the moms LOVED this one!

20 comments on “Garden!

  1. Kathleen
    May 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    You read 5 books, sang 2a songs, did a nursery rhyme, played a game, a fingerplay, talked about the flower names, how bees help flowers, and a flannelboard ..ALL IN ONE STORYTIME? No wonder they fell apart.

    Your ideas and enthusiasm are great, but I wonder if you are truly doing all this. I have done Storytime for years with many other librarians. Our preschoolers can only last for two books, a song or two, or a fingerplay, and a craft. How old are these kids?..thanks, Kathleen

    • Katie
      May 11, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

      My kids range from ages 0-5. I have a storytime average of about 4 years of age. I have some fantastic parents who are very involved during the program and keep their kids on task. I don’t know why this long of a storytime works well for my community. But I think it would be pretty silly to spend a lot of time and energy typing up blog entries if I wasn’t truly doing the storytime.

    • MaryMargaret
      September 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

      Kathleen, it also has alot to do with how things are presented. You can just read the story, you have to bring the story to life! You don’t just recite the song, you get them moving to the songs/poems. The more involved they are, the more you can accomplish with them. I normally do 4 books, 3-4 songs/fingerplays/felt board stories and a craft. I usually have 15-20 2-5 year olds in attendance and LOTS of smiles and happy, involved families. It’s all in the presentation! Good luck!

    • sdbahlmann
      March 8, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

      We have pretty long programs at our library too. Typically 4 books interspersed with activities (a half hour program). I agree with MaryMargaret that it all has to do with the presentation, and letting the kids move during parts of the program. I also try to incorporate puppets or other interesting visuals each time.
      We have an average of 30-40 kids under 5 at our programs (the caregivers join them) and they all have a great time!

      Also, thanks for your great blog Katie! It’s so great to see what other people are doing.

      • Katie
        March 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

        Thank you!

  2. gerri
    July 26, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    I think that your ideas are great. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Katie
      July 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

      Thank you for reading!

  3. Tracey
    April 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Thank you for the cupcake liner craft. Used it in my preschool storytime and it was a big hit–so easy for the kids to do themselves! Also, I tweaked your fantastic idea during Planting a Rainbow by giving the children colored scarves and having them shout their color and wave the scarf like a flower. At the end we had our own colorful garden. Thanks so much for passing on your ideas.

    • Katie
      April 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

      You’re welcome! Sounds like they had a great time with their scarves turned garden!

  4. Jennifer
    June 6, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Kathleen, I also do a storytime the same length as Katie and it works great for me. Every community is different as well as every storytime leader too. I keep the kids interested in the program by keeping them active between each story and using puppets, games and flannel boards. My typical storytime is between 30-40 minutes and there are usually 35-45 kids, so it is possible, you just have to find what works!

  5. Marsha Green
    April 27, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    I do five books and five extras every week. I really appreciate all your hard work and take tons of ideas from you. You rock.

    • Katie
      May 11, 2015 at 11:59 am #

      Thank you!

  6. Leslie
    April 4, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

    Yes, you do rock! Love your ideas and all of the work you put into sharing them with others! Thank you

    • Katie
      June 7, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

      Thank you for reading!


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