Play and Pretend!

Last Thursday was my regular weekly storytime — and I had choosen to do my theme with play and pretend, choosing all different kinds of books.

First up, I read “Knuffle Bunny” by Mo Willems.

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I adore Mo Willems. Like practically worship at his feet. His most recent release “Amanda and Her Alligator” has made me reconsider my “no reptiles/alligator/crocodile storytimes EVER” stance. (I’m terrified of snakes and thus, don’t like the idea of devoting a storytime to them!)

Anyway, “Knuffle Bunny” was my first Willems book and will always remain my favorite. And it doesn’t hurt that the kids adored that title, too. After we had a brief talk about our favorite toys, I read “Joey and Jet” by James Yang.

This book was another book I found while shelf-reading our collection. It’s a great book about a dog who chases a ball, with lots of prepositions. The kids were very involved in this storytime, and I had one little boy who kept repeating what I read after me, quietly to himself. Such a great literacy moment!

Then, I told the kids my favorite outside toys was kites — perfect segue into the flannel:

Flannelboard: “Five Little Kites”
One little kite in the sky so blue,
Along came another, then there were two.
Two little kites flying high above me,
Along came another, then there were three.
Three little kits, just watch them soar,
Along came another, then there were four.
Four little kites, so high and alive,
Along came another, then there were five.
Five little kits dancing across the sky,
What a sight to see, way up so high!
Credit: Step By Step — Kite Theme

Afterwards, we discussed the kite colors, practiced counting in English and in Spanish, and waved goodbye to each kite before I pulled out “Not a Stick” by Antoinette Portis.

This is another author and series that I adore. I love that this is basically a build-in guessing game, and that the kids and I talked throughout the book about what the stick was going to be. I also love the “not a stick!” refrain that my kids naturally started shouting with me.

After this book, I had an epiphany to just let them pretend and bounce around in storytime. I called out different actions from the book, and the kids galloped around the room, etc. Then, we did a favorite of mine from library school:

Action Rhyme/Bounce: “The Noble Duke of York”
The noble Duke of York, he had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill, and marched them down again.
And when you’re up, you’re up. And when you’re down, you’re down.
And when you’re only halfway up, you’re neither up nor down.

I always do this one several times, the last time super fast. This exhausts the kids and they are ready to sit back down for another book, which for this storytime was, “Higher, Higher” by Leslie Patricelli.

This is such a simple concept book: girl on swing, father pushes her, she keeps calling out “higher, higher.” The kids eagerly “read” this one out loud with me. It was really funny when she met her space alien friend who is also on a swing; the parents and kids were giggling pretty hard then. Then, I led the group in our session stretcher:

Fingerplay: “Itsy Bitsy Spider”

And on to the last book of the day, “Playground Day” by Jennifer J. Merz.

I’ve used this book before and it was a hit. This time, I had a cranky little boy call out that animals were stupid (Mom quickly took him out of the room) but that broke the spell for all the kids. No one wanted to guess the animals after that. Luckily, I skipped ahead a few pages and ended storytime by singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” I’m just glad the song went over well.

For our kite, we revisited the kites from earlier and made this kit from Oriental Trading:

Ta-da! (I really loved this craft.)

10 comments on “Play and Pretend!

  1. Sarah
    May 12, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    LOVE this theme! Perfect example of a cool theme that enables you to use awesome books!
    Don’t you just love books you discover from shelf reading? They are like secret gifts!!

  2. WithAG
    January 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    You do PlayGround Day a lot…is it like your favorite?

    • Katie
      January 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

      I’ve only used it for two themes (Summer and this one), but it is a great book for storytime!

  3. Laura Marie
    March 10, 2017 at 10:31 pm #

    What age grade is this good for?

    • Katie
      March 23, 2017 at 10:47 am #

      This was an all-ages storytime for 0-5 year-olds.


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