Category: Family Storytime

Virtual Storytime: Houses & Homes

For information on how virtual storytimes work at my library, please visit this post.

Materials

Books

[A collage of the five book covers listed below: Grandma’s Tiny House; My House; Noisy Night; This is Our House; & Windows.]

Grandma’s Tiny House by JaNay Brown-Wood*
My House by Byron Barton*
Noisy Night by Mac Barnett*
This is Our House by Hyewon Yum
Windows by Julia Denos

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: A House for Birdie*

Flannelboard: Little Mouse, Little Mouse

Props: Song Cube

Puppets: I Have a Little Turtle*
I have a little turtle (put hands on top of one another)
He lives in a box (make box)
He swims in a puddle (swimming motion)
He climbs on the rocks (climbing motion)
He snapped at a mosquito (clap)
He snapped at a flea (clap)
He snapped at a minnow (clap)
And he snapped at me (clap)
He caught the mosquito (cup hands together)
He caught the flea (cup hands together)
He caught the minnow (cup hands together)
But he didn’t catch me! (shake finger “no”)
Credit: Childhood

Planning

This was a storytime that I had planned for in-person spring 2020 and converted to a virtual storytime. I had a lot of diversity featured in the books that I chose: Grandma’s Tiny House features a diverse extended family coming to gather; Noisy Night takes place in an apartment building; This is Our House showcases an intergenerational family living in the same house; and Windows show a brown-skinned child walking through their neighborhood.

As for converting to Zoom, I planned specifically to have the kids count along to Grandma’s Tiny House using their hands and their caregivers’ hands (since the book counts up until 15!), or to type numbers along in the chat.

And I knew that I wanted to try a thumbs up/thumbs down interaction for “A House for Birdie” on the flannelboard. I would purposefully put a bird in a house that didn’t fit and pretend like I had solved the problem, waiting for the kids to tell me whether or not the bird fit with their thumbs up/thumbs down.

How It Went

Even though the theme was planned pre-pandemic, it wound up being a very topical theme during the pandemic! Illinois had just come off of a stay-at-home order for the months of April and May, so the kids were very familiar with their homes.

The guessing game aspect of Noisy Night didn’t quite translate to Zoom like I had hoped it would. I wound up doing a lot of talking to call attention to the clues hidden in each page spread. And it was hard for me to understand what the kids were guessing. I did a lot of “Oh, I think I heard the answer — let’s turn the page to check!”

Prior to storytime starting, I tested my “Little Mouse, Little Mouse” flannelboard with my co-worker, and it turns out that my instinct was right — the contrast between blue/purple and red/orange were REALLY hard to tell via webcam. After this incident, I did try to preview flannelboards to make sure that they were still viewable via Zoom.


Virtual Storytime: Emotions

For information on how virtual storytimes work at my library, please visit this post.

Materials

Books

Book covers of the four books listed below: Hooray for Hat; I Feel Teal; I'm Worried; and The Rabbit Listened.
Book covers of the four books listed below: Hooray for Hat; I Feel Teal; I’m Worried; and The Rabbit Listened.

Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won*
I Feel Teal by Lauren Rille
I’m Worried by Michael Ian Black
The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld*

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: Go Away Big Green Monster

Flannelboard: Pete the Cat & His Four Groovy Buttons*

Prop Sticks: If You’re Happy and You Know It*

Props: Song Cube*

Planning

This was my first virtual storytime, back in June of 2020. I definitely wanted to kick off virtual storytimes with a discussion about emotions and feelings. I wanted to support the kids and their caregivers during this time of upheaval, and to hopefully give caregivers ways to continue to talk openly about emotions and feelings.

I also chose to use The Rabbit Listened because it features a non-gendered child. It was important to me that every child could see themselves in Taylor.

How It Went

Have I ever mentioned that Hooray for Hat! is one of my favorite books? I probably have and it should come as no surprise that it was a great hit over Zoom. I really loved seeing my friends’ GRUMPY faces, as well as their hands raised as we said “Hooray for hat!” I had some children turn their cameras on especially so I could see their GRUMPY faces.

For our first flannelboard, I did Pete the Cat and asked the kids to roll their hands along with me and to clap for the “POP!” portion. This was a great way to monitor if everyone was following along with me. I don’t know if they sang Pete’s buttons song since our Zooms are muted, but they definitely rolled and popped along!

During The Rabbit Listened, I took the time to ask a lot of questions and brought the book close to the webcam so the kids could really see what Taylor’s face looked like and the kids could talk about how they thought Taylor was feeling. I invited them to participate in several ways: they could tell the grown-up in the room with them, they could type the name of the emotion, or they could make the face.

Lastly, we finished up with “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, with more emotion face-making encouragement and a flannelboard telling of Go Away Big Green Monster which I asked the kids to use their arms when we repeated “GO AWAY!”

Since this was my first, I planned a lot of different ways for the kids to interact with the materials and with me — I had NO IDEA how they would adapt to storytime on a screen. I’m very pleased to say that they were engaged and attentive and that we really had a meaningful storytime together. I definitely had to cry out my emotions — both sad and happy — after we had closed the Zoom room for that day.


Families: Pilots & Astronauts!

During the summer, staff rotates a Saturday morning storytime for all ages. The program is drop-in which means we never know how many families will attend or the age range. This summer, we’re focusing on community helpers and I played to my strengths — space! Well, pilots and astronauts really. I only starred the materials used at storytime, but I pulled more than I needed.

The Plan

Books

pilotsastronauts

ABCs on Wings by Ramon Olivera*
The Airport Book by Lisa Brown
Astronaut Handbook by Meghan McCarthy
Flying by Donald Crews
Hello, Airplane by Bill Cotter*
Higher, Higher by Leslie Patricelli
I Want to Be an Astronaut by Byron Barton*

Extension Activities

Flannelboard: “Four Rockets”*

Finger Puppets: “Two Little Astronauts”*

CD: Laurie Berkner’s The Airplane Song*

Action Rhyme: “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom”*
Zoom, zoom, zoom, we’re going to the moon
Zoom, zoom, zoom, we’re going to the moon
If you want to take a trip,
Climb aboard my rocket ship,
Zoom, zoom, zoom, we’re going to the moon
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, blast off!
Credit: Jbrary

How It Went

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the “please come, please come, please come” storytime mantra like I did during the wait before this program. I was scheduled for Fourth of July Saturday and I just had that gut feeling that I might not have any families attend that day because of the holiday.

It started small with only a few friends (two families) but grew to have eight families of fifteen friends! It was definitely a more toddler crowd, but I had books that would work for them. Caregivers loved ABCs on Wings especially after I gave my vocabulary tip and kids had the best time waving along to Hello, Airplane.

You’ll notice that I did all of the extension activities to hold the crowd’s attention. Since it was such a younger crowd, I knew that doing the activities would help me out. The toddlers and babies had the best smiles during both “The Airplane Song” and “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom”.

Families: Interactive Books

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

Books

families-interactivebooks

It’s a Tiger! by David LaRochelle*
Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet
Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia*
Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson*

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Rock and Roll Playground*

Featured Track: #2 Jump Up (It’s a Good Day)*

Flannelboard: “Dear Zoo”*

Flannelboard: “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”*

Props: “Green Says Go”*

Repeating Extension Activities

I had lots of back-up activities in case I needed them for time. I starred which ones I used in this storytime:

  • ABCs
  • Dance Your Fingers Up
  • Everyone Can March*
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • Open, Shut Them
  • Pat-a-Cake
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom*

How It Went

For my last Family Storytime (another staff member is taking over for the spring), I decided to go all out and do really high energy, interactive picture books and activities. I let each child put up a “No!” on the flannelboard during the Pigeon and encouraged everyone to get up and move and be excited. Since we were up and moving so much, I got through three books! That is a family storytime miracle for me!

Families: Music

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

Books

families-music

Be Quiet, Mike! by Leslie Patricelli
Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle
Music Class Today! by David Weinstone*
Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb*

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Dragon Dreams*

Featured Track: #13 We Make Some Noise Together*

Flannelboard: Seals on the Bus*

Props: Handbells with Track #13

Repeating Extension Activities

I had lots of back-up activities in case I needed them for time. I starred which ones I used in this storytime:

  • ABCs
  • Dance Your Fingers Up
  • Everyone Can March
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes*
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • Open, Shut Them
  • Pat-a-Cake
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom*

How It Went

We had a very noisy class today! (I had compliments from our Technical Services department which shares a wall with our meeting room.) Both books were immediate successes and we had a great time clapping along to Tanka Tanka Skunk. But the best part of the day was definitely when I let the kids have handbells to shake along to “We Make Some Noise Together.” The kids loved getting their energy out and I liked getting to watch them actually use an instrument.

Families: Counting

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

Books

families-counting

Count! by Denise Fleming
Counting Ovejas by Sarah Weeks*
One Family by George Shannon*
Ten in the Bed by Jane Cabrera*

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: The Irrational Anthem*

Featured Track: #7 Jumping and Counting*

Flannelboard: “Pretty Ladybugs”*

Puppets: “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”*

Repeating Extension Activities

I had lots of back-up activities in case I needed them for time. I starred which ones I used in this storytime:

  • ABCs
  • Dance Your Fingers Up*
  • Everyone Can March
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • Open, Shut Them
  • Pat-a-Cake
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star*
  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom*

How It Went

This was honestly a really weird family storytime. I only had four kiddos in the room and it’s been a REALLY long time since I had such a small audience. (My guess is that because Shake, Shimmy, & Dance was this week and we had snow that families opted not to come to our weekly event and instead go to the monthly. That resulted in SSD having a super high attendance of 71, so I’ll take it!) Anyways, we got through a TON of material since it was an all preschool crowd and they were great. I put the flannelboard on the floor and let them add the spots to the ladybug. All of the books worked well, but Jane Cabrera has something really special with Ten in the Bed so I’ll call it the favorite — I loved watching the kids play along with the characters as they fell out.

Families: Arctic Animals

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

Books

families-arcticanimals

Baby Penguins Everywhere by Melissa Guion
Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson*
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr.*
Where Is Home, Little Pip? by Karma Wilson*

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Stinky Cake*

Featured Track: #18 The Penguin Song*

Flannelboard: “Five Bears”*

Flannelboard: “The Penguin Went Over the Iceberg”

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

I had lots of back-up activities in case I needed them for time. I starred which ones I used in this storytime:

  • ABCs
  • Dance Your Fingers Up
  • Everyone Can March*
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • Open, Shut Them*
  • Pat-a-Cake
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

How It Went

Every storytime that includes a guessing game with animals makes my storytime kids lose their minds, so the clear winner was “There’s Something In the Snow” this week. I enjoyed reading all the books this week, but probably pushed it by including Where Is Home, Little Pip? after we had already done two books. Because this is a drop-in program, I have to cater to the larger group which was preschoolers this week, but the few toddlers in the room were definitely out of attention. I found myself skipping page spreads in Little Pip so that the preschoolers could hear the end since they were still super invested.

Families: Dinosaurs

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

Books

families-dinosaurs

Dini Dinosaur by Karen Beaumont*
Dinosaur vs. the Library by Bob Shea*
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen
Inside-Outside Dinosaurs by Roxie Munro*

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Whaddaya Think of That?*

Featured Track: #1 We Are the Dinosaurs*

Flannelboard: “Ten Little Dinos”*

Puppets: “Dinosaur, Dinosaur”*
Dinosaur, dinosaur, turn around
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch the ground
Dinosaur, dinosaur, reach up high
Dinosaur, dinosaur, touch the sky
Dinosaur, dinosaur, find your nose
Dinosaur, dinosaur, find your toes
Dinosaur, dinosaur, find your knees
Dinosaur, dinosaur, sit down please

Puppets: “Two Little Dinosaurs”*

Repeating Extension Activities

I had lots of back-up activities in case I needed them for time. I starred which ones I used in this storytime:

  • ABCs
  • Dance Your Fingers Up
  • Everyone Can March
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • Open, Shut Them
  • Pat-a-Cake
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom*

How It Went

Seriously, how fun is this theme? I love doing dinosaurs stories and would read them every week to joy of many of my preschoolers. I had a young man who dropped his jaw when I revealed that our theme for the day was dinosaurs! He was very on top of answering questions and leading the group in roaring. It was a perfect storytime to come home to after ALA Midwinter. Really, everything was a great success. Dini Dinosaur has such a great refrain and lets the kids practice body identification, but it also lets parents with babies and toddlers do some touching and tickling as we identify “head” and “stomach”. It’s a great cross-over title and I love giving my families those modifications to make a book work for all attending this drop-in.

Families: Milk & Cookies

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

Books

milkcookies

The Duckling Gets a Cookie by Mo Willems*
It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw
Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes*
Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? by Bonnie Lass

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Dizzy*

Featured Track: #12 A Cookie As Big As Your Head*

Flannelboard: “Down Around the Corner”*

Flannelboard: “It Looked Like Spilt Milk”*

Repeating Extension Activities

I had lots of back-up activities in case I needed them for time. I starred which ones I used in this storytime:

  • ABCs
  • Dance Your Fingers Up
  • Everyone Can March
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • Open, Shut Them*
  • Pat-a-Cake
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

How It Went

I really enjoyed this storytime plan. The kids were really into Kitten’s First Full Moon and loved acting out kitten’s actions along with the book. Even though The Duckling Gets a Cookie is normally a crowd-pleaser, it kind of flopped this time in storytime. I’m not sure that my group was old enough (on average) to get the humor of the story. Both flannelboards were wonderful hits, but “Down Around the Corner” is especially fun when you use puppets to “buy” and “eat” the cookies.

Families: Balloons & Bubbles

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

Books

bubblesandballoons

Bubble Bath Pirates by Jarrett Krosoczka*
Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy
It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon by Jarrett Krosoczka
Perfectly Percy by Paul Schmid*

Early Literacy Tip
Help your children see shapes all around them, even if they are not standard shapes like circles, triangles, and squares. Even babies can see shapes! Shapes are the precursors to letters!

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Yo Gabba Gabba Music Is Awesome!*

Featured Track: #13 Bubbles*

Flannelboard: “Five Bubbles”

Flannelboard: “The Great Hot Air Balloon Race”

Props: Bubble Machine

Repeating Extension Activities

I had lots of back-up activities in case I needed them for time. I starred which ones I used in this storytime:

  • Ants Go Marching
  • Five Little Monkeys Swinging From a Tree
  • Green Says Go*
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, & Toes
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • Pat-a-Cake
  • Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
  • Two Little Blackbirds
  • Way Up High in the Apple Tree

How It Went

I was pretty terrified to let the large group of kids each have a turn to roll the dice for “The Great Hot Air Balloon Race”, but they were amazing and patient and all took their turns. I did have a few very small toddlers who loved to pick up the dice and bring it to me, but since we do so much passing in/out at our storytimes they are always prepared to give it back to Miss Katie. Our music CD started skipping at the beginning of class, but thankfully our track was working fine. The favorite book of the day was definitely Bubble Bath Pirates!