Category: Preschool Storytime

Preschoolers: Opposites

For more information on how I plan and prepare my preschool storytimes, check out this introduction post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one class.

The Plan

Books

preschool-opposites

Animal Opposites by Petr Horacek**
Big, Bigger, Biggest by Nancy Coffelt*
Black White Day Night by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox**

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Best of Laurie Berkner**

Featured Track: “Fast and Slow”**

Flannelboard: Big, Bigger, Biggest*

Letter of the Day: O**

Props: Green Says Go**

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Icky Sticky Bubble Gum
  • Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree*
  • Dance Your Fingers Up
  • Everyone Can March

How It Went

Monday morning
I enjoyed playing with this group and the book Animal Opposites today. When the words were “heavy” and “light”, I pretended like the book was heavy/light and let the kids call the words out and I would react. I did the same with a few other page spreads and it really engaged them. This group really appreciates the flannelboard as a different kind of story, so I do my best to always use it with them. And of, course, they loved the shaking the parachute to Laurie Berkner’s “Fast and Slow”.

Thursday morning
And if Monday’s group loved shaking the parachute, I don’t have a word to describe the group on Thursday’s enjoyment. One of my “omigosh” moments came this week though as I realized that I would have to explain long and short vowels concepts because I was doing the letter O as the Letter of the Day. Thursday’s group definitely grasped the concept better, though I do have two six-year-olds in the class that missed the kindergarten cut-off.

Preschoolers: Zoo

For more information on how I plan and prepare my preschool storytimes, check out this introduction post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one class.

The Plan

Books

preschool-zoo

1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle*
My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall**
Stop Snoring, Bernard! by Zachariah Ohora**
Wild About Books by Judy Sierra

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: What a Zoo!**

Featured Track: “Wimoweh”*

Flannelboard: Color Zoo*

Flannelboard: Dear Zoo*

Letter of the Day: Z**

Puppets: You Can Hear*

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Icky Sticky Bubble Gum
  • Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree*
  • Dance Your Fingers Up*
  • Everyone Can March*

How It Went

Monday morning
Today’s big hit was My Heart Is Like a Zoo. The kids spent time on each page and wanted to count the hearts on all the animals. They also laughed appreciatively as the animals did sillier and sillier things. I think the page that got the most laughs was the herd of hippos drinking apple juice. The Letter of the Day “Z” did trip them up a bit with “zigzag” and “zucchini”. Many of the kids thought that the zucchini was a cucumber. So, it was a great day for new vocabulary!

Thursday morning
I had the very best fake snorers in this group while we were reading Stop Snoring, Bernard. This group also got to get up and practice their American Sign Language with me during our song “Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree”. This was also the group that needed to get up and march around the room to the song “Wimoweh”. Or as they prefer to call it, “The Lion King song!”

Preschoolers: Weather

For more information on how I plan and prepare my preschool storytimes, check out this introduction post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one class.

The Plan

Books

preschool-weather

Maisy’s Wonderful Weather Book by Lucy Cousins**
Rain by Manya Stojic*
Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle
Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood**

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Songs for Wiggleworms**

Featured Track: “If All the Raindrops”*

Flannelboard: What’s the Weather?**

Flannelboard: Ten Little Umbrellas/Raindrops*

Letter of the Day: W**

Prop: Rhythm Sticks*

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Icky Sticky Bubble Gum*
  • Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree
  • Dance Your Fingers Up
  • Everyone Can March*

How It Went

Monday morning
Since my Monday group is smaller, I was able to let them have rhythm sticks and they tapped out different rain beats with me. I love using Maisy’s Wonderful Weather Book since it is a pop-up book and I don’t have it circulating in the general collection. This storytime flew by! I felt like we had just gotten into the room and were already starting our goodbye routines. The kids really had our routines down by this week and did excellent direction following.

Thursday morning
I had a bunch of wiggleworms in this group today! Both of the extension activities (Icky Sticky Bubble Gum and Everyone Can March) were both used with this group and did help re-direct the group towards paying attention since I had them stick their bottom to the ground in “Icky Sticky” and ended with “everyone can sit, sit, sit” with “Everyone Can March”. Since the Thursday group is in a room with a window bank, the kids were able to look outside and tell me what the weather was like during “What’s the Weather?” which was a nice change from the windowless room on Monday!

Preschoolers: Feelings

For more information on how I plan and prepare my preschool storytimes, check out this introduction post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one class.

The Plan

Books

preschool-feelings

Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberley*
Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard*
Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Rock & Roll Playground*

Featured Track: “Jump Up (It’s a Good Day)”

Flannelboard: Go Away Big Green Monster*

Letter of the Day: F*

Prop: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”*

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Icky Sticky Bubble Gum
  • Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree
  • Dance Your Fingers Up*
  • Everyone Can March

How It Went

Monday morning
My co-worker covered my Monday morning class while I presented a Guerrilla Storytime at one of the local networking groups.

Thursday morning
We spent a lot of time in this morning’s storytime talking about feelings and making faces. If you haven’t had a group of children stamp their foot and make grumpy faces with you during Grumpy Bird, you are missing out on life. They had a great time with the masks from Glad Monster, Sad Monster too. I took turns and left each child come up and pick a mask to be. Since I have a class of twenty, this took three go arounds but was time well spent in my opinion!

Preschoolers: Transportation

For more information on how I plan and prepare my preschool storytimes, check out this introduction post. I starred the materials used in the plan; multiple stars indicate use for more than one class.

The Plan

Books

preschool-transportation

I’m Fast! by Kate and Jim McMullan
Old MacDonald Had a Truck by Steve Goetz**
Race Car Count by Rebecca Dotlich**
Supertruck by Stephen Savage**

Theme Extension Activities

Featured CD: Ladybug Music — Green Collection**

Featured Track: “Big Fire Truck”**

Flannelboard: Clickety-Clack

Flannelboard: Lots of Cars*

Letter of the Day: T**

Prop: Stoplight Sorting**

Repeating Extension Activities

  • Icky Sticky Bubble Gum
  • Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree
  • Dance Your Fingers Up*
  • Everyone Can March*

How It Went

Monday morning
The first class of our preschool storytimes can be difficult as children separate for the first time from their families. But Monday’s group? Not a problem. Every child came in and sat down and stayed throughout the whole storytime. It does help that most of the kids in preschool storytimes were my first and second group of toddlers. So at this point, I am a familiar person to them and they’re happy to see me. We had a great success with our Stoplight Sorting and I taught the kids our storytime routine. Their favorite book was Supertruck which timed nicely with a later snowfall in Chicagoland.

Thursday morning
My Thursday group had one child who wasn’t ready to separate. Their caregiver sat in the back of the room with the child and I continued on with storytime as usual. (Full disclosure: this child never wound up separating throughout the entire seven-week session. It happens. But since the caregiver was willing to keep trying, I was too.) This group LOVED Race Car Count with the kids voting by hand-raise about who they thought would win!

Preschool Storytimes

preschoolstorytime

Hello and welcome to Preschool Storytime! This is the page where I explain my typical preschool storytime routine. First things first, preschool storytime is for ages 3-6 and is an “on our own” storytime setting where caregivers do not attend with their child. Which means that my storytime runs more akin to a classroom setting. I do have an adult volunteer in the room with me who is able to shuttle kids back to their caregivers if they need the restroom.

Opening

Welcome & Introductions
This happens as I greet each child at the door instead of as a large group. I make sure that each child knows my name and either Miss K or Miss J’s name depending on what day it is. I introduce myself to the caregiver if I don’t already know them. I answer any questions for caregivers and I help the children separate from their grown-up. Most of the kids separate just fine (I had only one child who never separated this session and their grown-up just sat in the back with them), even if it takes a few weeks.

Name Tags
Each child has a pre-made name tag with Velcro on the back to attach to our free-standing flannelboard. I use this to take attendance and to learn everyone’s names. After I shut the door, we count how many friends are here today using the name tags. We also sort them by color (I always have two colors). I’m trying to think of a way to make the name tags more exciting next session. Maybe stickers for each week that they come. I’m not sure yet.

Opening Song
I sing “It’s Time to Say Hello to All My Friends” which I learned from Jbrary. (The video link is actually the goodbye version. For hello, I sing “It’s time to say hello to all my friends, it’s time to say hello to all friends, it’s time to say hello, stretch up high and touch your toe, it’s time to say hello to all my friends.”

Letter of the Day
When I took over preschool storytimes, I made the decision to buy Lakeshore Learning’s Alphabet Teaching Tubs for the library. I use them in the same way that I did during Growing Readers storytime. I pulled out items and the kids identify them. Then we practice the sound of the letter together: “S-s-s-sun!” Afterwards, I ask them to help me find the lowercase letter and the uppercase letter: “What color is the uppercase S?”

Program
I plan a lot more than I actually use. I plan 3-4 books, 1-2 puppet activities, 1-2 flannelboard activities, 1-2 music choices, and 4 fingerplays/movement that I can grab. There is absolutely no way that I would USE all of these activities, books, and songs in a single program, but I wanted to have them.

Closing

Rhyme
I used Melissa‘s “This Is Big, Big, Big” as the beginning of my closing routine. I use it in every storytime program that I do. Ever. They love it!

Closing Song
I sing “It’s Time to Say Goodbye to All My Friends”. I always tell the kids if they can’t wink, to cover one eye and be a pirate. This

Take-Homes
Since caregivers are not in the room with us, I included a take-home handout that directly explains why I chose to do specific activities and what skills we are working on during the class. I also had a simple craft included so that caregivers could participate at home on the theme of the week. I also decided to include this activity because my co-worker used to do crafts during the class. I didn’t want to use class time, but still wanted to give the kids that chance to create at home. These were packaged together in a plastic ziploc bag every week.

There you have the framework of my preschool storytimes. In my write-ups, I’ll talk about what I actually used and what worked/didn’t. I’ll also likely talk about why I didn’t use some materials. As always, if I did a theme multiple times, I’ll write about all the sessions in the same post.

Discovery!: Play Dough

discovery

Our mission: to make three kinds of play dough in a forty-five minute session. These were our recipes:

1. Dirt Playdough
For each batch, use:
Equal parts flour, salt, and water
Add two spoonfuls of black tempura paint for color
Add coffee grounds for texture

2. Snow/Cloud Playdough
For each batch, use:
Equal parts cornstarch & shaving cream

3. Scented Playdough
For each batch, use:
1 cup of flour
3 TBSP of salt
2 TSP olive oil
1 TSP of cream of tartar
1 & 1/2 packets of sugar-free Crystal Light
1/3 cup of water


I still can’t believe that I made play dough with a class full of preschoolers and no one died! Here’s a few tips:

1. Since I don’t have twenty five sets of measuring spoons and cups, I improvised. I put a popsicle stick into a styrofoam cup. I measured where each measurement hit on the stick and marked it. The kids were told to measure to the “blue line” for a cup, the “red line” for 1/3, etc. That was excellent.

2. I had a tarp underneath the tables to prevent too much mess and disposable tablecloths on the tables.

3. Parents went to the sink to get the water instead of the kids doing that part and potentially spilling on the floor.

4. I had a set of purchased name-brand PlayDoh at the front of the room. I talked about how much it cost ($20) and that the supplies for 25 kids cost just about that for three types of homemade playdough.

5. The mess took FOREVER to clean up and I was so very blessed by my co-worker who pitched in for an hour of clean-up including vacuuming.

Overall, a fun and fantastic program. It teaches math skills (measuring), science (chemistry!), and it gives everyone a great take-home since I let them keep each dough they made!

Discovery! Dino Science

discovery

(I want to take this moment to thank Abby at Abby the Librarian immensely for her Preschool Lab Dinosaur science program where I got most of my ideas.)

Today’s storytime began with another set of books to introduce our topic for the day: dinosaurs!

discovery-dinos

Dinosaurs by Lila Prap
Inside/Outside Dinosaurs by Roxie Munro

We had a lot of great conversations during the books. Some of the kids wanted to know whether or not the dinosaurs were meat-eaters or plant-eaters. A lot of the kids were super impressed that I could explain what each dinosaur name meant. (Inside/Outside Dinosaurs translates each dino name!) This also turned into a great teaching lesson for caregivers as I talked to them about how I didn’t read every word/box in “Dinosaurs” but was still able to share a non-fiction book with this age group.

And our stations for today:

IMG_1069Stegosaurus Spike Roll
The kids rolled a large foam dice and tried to get all five spikes on their dinosaur. This could have been played as a game between kids, but my kiddos worked collaboratively trying to get everyone’s dinosaur loaded up with spikes.

IMG_1070Model Magic Fossils
I bought some dinosaurs for the program and had the kids use them at this station to make fossils. We talked about how if they left their Model Magic out to dry that it would harden overnight and feel like a real fossil. A lot of the kids spent a good deal of time here making fossils over and over again.

IMG_1072Dinosaur Puppets
I wanted to have a station that encourage imaginative play and this was an easy solution. Kids also had the chance to work on scissor skills which is something that local teachers have told me is in desperate need *before* children arrive at school. There was lots of great play here with kids chasing their caregivers with their dinosaurs.

IMG_1073Footprint Size
I drew a rough template of an apatosaur using the American Museum of Natural History’s website as a guide. My footprint was definitely not perfect, but it got the point across. The kids were *amazed* as how big the footprints were.

IMG_1071Mud Dough
I made some dirt dough/paint using this recipe. I added dinosaur figurines to our play set and the kids went to town. (The library does have smocks which are mostly old summer reading t-shirts.) Most of the kids absolutely loved this station, but I had a few mess-phobic kiddos that made me worry about next week’s all play dough making session.

This session’s Pinterest photo:

Discovery! Parachute

discovery

I did a second parachute program in the spring sessino of Discovery!. Here’s our playlist:

1. Introduction & Rules: Do not walk on the parachute. If Miss Katie asks you to find a spot on the wall, you need to put a hand on the wall. Caregivers, I need your help to watch out for our little ones. We don’t want anyone to trip on the parachute. If anyone does step on the chute, we need to stop what we’re doing until everyone is safe again. Thanks!

2: Read “Higher, Higher” by Leslie Patricelli: I read “Higher, Higher” while the kids/caregivers sat on the floor. As we read each page, we raised the parachute higher and higher until everyone was standing at the end of the book and I was reading under the chute so the kids could still see. This worked out beautifully and was a very engaging way to read the book.

3. “Take the Sun” by Caspar Babypants: We worked on different parachute directions with these next two songs. This song was up and down. Eventually kids got bored and started running under the parachute which was fine by me. When that happens though, I do stick my head underneath and police kids that might be running too fast or aren’t aware of their surroundings.

4. “Fast and Slow” by Laurie Berkner Band: Shaking the chute fast and slow absolutely brought the kids back to holding the chute. I cannot describe the shrieking that occurs when I tell the kids that they can shake fast again.

5. “The Tempo Marches On” by Jim Gill: I tried very hard to get the kids to shake slow at the beginning of this song and to shake faster towards the end. Thankfully the parents helped make that happen!

6. “Boom Boom” by Bari Koral Family Rock Band: This song has actions (stand up, jump up, spin around, comb your hair, shut the light) which I adapted for the parachute — stand up, jump up, kids spin while parents hold the chute up, give yourself static hair, and curl up under the parachute. This was incredibly fun and was a great transitional piece for our next book.

7. Read “Monsters Love Colors” by Mike Austin: I made this interactive by asking the kids to shake the chute while sitting to help mix the colors. I also had the secondary colors scarves in bags, prepared to toss on the chute when we “made” that color. The kids thought that this was magic and were so happy when another color joined the chute. I kept the scarves on the chute for the next song.

8. “All My Colors” by Ralph Covert: We had another round of shaking the chute since the kids were ready to get back up again. Afterwards, they all found the wall and I collected the scarves by walking on the parachute.

9. “Pass & Clap” by Michael Plunkett: This is a song that’s supposed to be used with bean bags, but I had the kids/caregivers sit back down and pass the chute around the circle. This is a great chance to develop some teamwork skills. One of my kids struggle with this and mom pulled her away from the chute since she couldn’t/wouldn’t pass it.

10. “Peek-a-Boo” by The Learning Groove: A really quick fun game from Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael. I asked the kids to crawl under the chute and their caregivers lifted it slightly so the kids could peek out. Lots of laughter with this one.

11. “Popcorn” by Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights: I made paper popcorn again out of recycled materials and the kids shook the chute. After a while, I invited them to go underneath and “pop” the popcorn off the parachute. This was a great way to get the paper off of the chute without having them find another wall to do it safely.

12. “Rocks and Flowers” by Caspar Babypants: This last song, the kids went underneath the chute and crawled around to pick up the paper and bring it to me!

Another successful parachute program! I absolutely love playing with the kids and the parachute. It brings back such fond memories of when I was in school and we did the parachute. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures though because it’s so difficult to try and lead this program and document it at the same time.

Discovery!: Building

discovery

Another station activity for this week’s Discovery!. I decided to take the time to focus on building/engineering. I was really excited for this event since we have so many wonderful building kits and equipment at the library.

(We’re in the process of developing circulating kits, so I was able to use the materials from these kits for this program.)

I put out the following materials: Legos, Duplos, Megablocks, wooden blocks, Castlelogix, Jenga, Gears Gears Gears!, Goldieblocks, playing cards, clay (ModelMagic), Tangrams, and a paper/pencil station.

While the kids loved lots of different parts of this program, my favorite part was reading “Dreaming Up” by to them. “Dreaming Up” is one of the Monarch nominees (our state’s K-3rd award) and I had the pleasure of serving on the committee. It was really exciting to share one of our choices with the kids.

I had a lot of great feedback from this event. Several of my kids picked a station and stayed there for most of the time. One little boy spent his time mastering the Gears Gears Gears station. Another family spent their time at the pencil/paper station and drew house plans and cotton candy factories. But the biggest hit was the Lego station. One parent remarked that if the library had an all-day Lego program that the kids would never leave!

A Pinterest friendly picture for you: