Tag: book parties

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I did this program last year right around this time, and thought I would post it so that other librarians and libraries could use it!

Flannelboard: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

I knew that most of the kids attending this program had likely read the book prior to signing up. At first I was going to combat that by using the pop-up version to add a little twist. But then, I discovered flannelboard templates online and the rest was history.

(And because I still adore this flannelboard, I went and took some better pictures of it!)

My favorite piece is the butterfly wing! I did a ton of painting to get it to look at close to the book’s illustrations as I could.

After the flannel (which was a HUGE hit; I had a lot of kids “reading” the story along with me), we sang a little song with our pretend butterfly hands.

Song: “Fly Fly Butterfly” (Tune: “Skip to My Lou”)
Fly fly fly butterfly
Fly fly fly butterfly
Fly fly fly butterfly
Fly high up in the sky.
Credit: The Virtual Vine

After our storytime portion, I did a game with the kids:

Game: Caterpillar Race
Form two teams of three. The course should be about 20 feet long, marked with a start and finish line. To play this game you’ll need 4 balloons. Each team lines up single file. Each player sandwiches a balloon between herself and the person in front of her. Each team is a little caterpillar! First team to run around the cones and back while keeping the balloons between them wins. (And you can’t use your hands to get the balloons in place!)
Credit: PBS Kids Zoom

For my kids, I modified by allowing hands to help the balloons and pairing kids up instead of making teams of three. I had a lot of younger threes/fours at the program and knew that the game would be too difficult.

And then, I did two different crafts with the kids!

Butterfly/Caterpillar Craft:
Caterpillar:
• Glue pom-poms onto one side of clothes-pin. Twist 3 inch piece of pipe cleaner around top end to form antenna. Let dry.
Butterfly wings:
• Lay paper towel flat. Mix water and food coloring to make “paint.” Use paint brush to paint the paper towel. The more colors you use, the more colorful the butterfly. Allow to dry. When dry, fan fold the paper towel into approx. ½ inch sections.
Credit: DLTK Kids

I actually did the caterpillars ahead of time, using hot glue and making sure that it was nice and dry for the kids. And I SO did not want to mess with food coloring with preschoolers, so I wound up using watercolor paint. It worked just as well, with way less mess!

Bookmark Craft:
Use fingerpaint to make a caterpillar crawling across the bookmark. Add legs, eyes, and mouth with a black marker when dry. Hole-punch a hole at the top of the bookmark and tie a ribbon through it to finish it off.
Credit: Domesticali

I called each child up one at a time while they were watercolor painting and had them dip their fingers in fingerpaint to make the bookmark. Instead of taking each child to the sink after their turn — I used hand/face wipes from the store. Another way to simplify my life!

Then, while their butterflies and their bookmarks were drying, we played one more game!

Game: Butterfly Match-Up
Cut butterflies out of cardstock and then cut them in half. Hide them around the room and ask the children to help you match up the butterflies.
Credit: The Virtual Vine

Afterwards, each child got to keep the butterfly they matched up and took home both crafts. This program was a really big success as far as I’m concerned, and I had a lot of pleased parents leaving the programming room that day.

The Polar Express

Program Plan
1. Read “The Polar Express.”
2. Sing carols.
3. Play “Conductor Says” — Simon Says with a Polar Express twist.
4. Do crafts: Reindeer hats & “Magic Reindeer Food.”
5. Give presents. (Candy canes and Jingle Bells on leather cords.)

This is the simplest program that I have ever created for 3 to 7 year olds — and I’ve done it three times in the five holiday seasons that I’ve been at my current job. It’s such a great way for little ones and their families to participate in the holiday season! Here’s a few things I’ve learned through my years of doing this program:

1. The book is a long book; make sure to engage children with questions throughout. Tuck a bell in your pocket and when the boy receives his bell, pull yours out. It *will* grab any kid not paying attention back to the story.

2. No one will really care who wins “Conductor Says.” And it’s not worth it to try and get a three-year-old to sit out after they’ve “lost” the game.

3. Making “Magic Reindeer Food” will inevitably leave you with a gigantic mess of sprinkles, sugar, and oats on the floor. Remember to have a broom nearby!

4. Give the candy cane presents to the parent; give the bell to the child. At my first year doing this, I mistakenly gave the children the candy and I had several meltdowns on my hands when parents demanded the candy to wait until after dinner.

Maisy & Friends

This month, I was very excited to be able to do a Maisy themed program for my 3 to 7-year-old age group. The kids at my library are crazy about Maisy, and her books are rarely on the shelf. I knew that this would be a successful program, and was pleased that I could devote a whole hour to one of their favorite characters.

I began storytime by laying down expectations for kids and parents — something new I’m trying to see if we have some better behavior. (Which we totally did!) And then, went ahead and read “Maisy Goes On Vacation” by Lucy Cousins.

This is one of those “First Experience” books, so it walks Maisy through packing, getting to the beach, and her first day on vacation. I love the Maisy “First Experience” books because they do such a good job of explaining these new places and activities to preschoolers. After we finished this book, the kids had a lively discussion of where they had each gone on their last vacation. Super cute.

Next up, “Maisy Big, Maisy Small” by Lucy Cousins.

Introducing this book was SO easy, because the kids had seen the cover of this book in the last one. (Maisy reads one of her own books on the way to her vacation.) The kids were pumped that we had Maisy’s book here! This tale of opposites led to a lot of laughter with the kids, especially the “Maisy fluffy and Maisy spiky” page layout.

After such a rousing success, I had to follow it up with my flannelbaord: “Maisy Mouse, What House Are You In?”

Talk about another instant-hit, they LOVED guessing which house Maisy was in. I was successfully able to re-hide Maisy twice before kids started to peek. I followed this with a quick fingerplay:

“Hickory Dickory Dock”
Hickory, dickory, dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down
Hickory, dickory, dock

Afterwards, I asked the kids about what kind of animals Maisy and her friends were. They kept telling me that Maisy was a mouse, but I had one little girl rattle off the other animals (crocodile, elephant, etc.) very proudly. I asked if Maisy had any fish friends, and the kids shook their heads, and that led us into “Maisy Goes to the Library” by Lucy Cousins, where Maisy searches for a fish book.

This was an accidental hilarity — THREE of the kids before the program asked me where the fish books were, so that naturally led to the kids shouting out that they were like Maisy. Then, the non-fish-asking kids all said that they asked for a fish book too, to which I nodded and let it go, asking everyone to raise their hands if they wanted to find a fish book with Maisy. That let us finish our story, thankfully. We needed the next action play to help discharge some energy:

Action Play: “The Old Grey Cat”
The old gray cat is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping,
The old gray cat is sleeping in the house
The little mice are dancing, dancing, dancing (children dance)
The little mice are dancing in the house
The little mice are nibbling, nibbling, nibbling (children nibble)
The little mice are nibbling in the house
The little mice are resting, resting, resting (children rest their heads on hands)
The little mice are resting in the house
The old gray cat comes creeping, creeping, creeping (cat begins to creep)
The old gray cat comes creeping in the house
The little mice go scampering, scampering, scampering (children run in place)
The little mice go scampering in the house (cat can surprise Maisy and meow!)
Credit: Everything Preschool Mice Games

Then, our next story, “Maisy Cleans Up” by Lucy Cousins.

This one is super quick, and easy, and the kids loved guessing what kind of chores Maisy and Charley would do next. The kids clapped when Maisy and Charley finally got to eat their cupcakes after such hard work. Another quick fingerplay:

Fingerplay: “Mouse Fingerplay”
Chorus: Boing, boing, squeak
Boing, boing, squeak
A bouncing mouse is in my house
He’s been there for a week.
He came from out of nowhere
And quickly settled in.
I’m thankful that he came alone,
I heard he had a twin.
He bounces in the kitchen
He bounces in the den
He bounces in the living room
Look, there he goes again
That mouse just keeps on bouncing
Every minute of the day
He goes bounce, bounce, bounce
But he does not bounce away
Credit: SurLaLune Storytime

This was by far one of my favorite fingerplays ever. The kids were so happy to bounce their finger-mouse up and down, and we had a lot of gigglers. And a couple of them picked up the chorus by the end of the chant!

And to finish up, our grand finale was “Maisy’s Show” by Lucy Cousins.

My co-workers tease me about how much I enjoy pop-up books that don’t require you to fix the pop-up before moving on. This book is easily my new favorite pop-up book! The actions are thoughtful and appropriate, the kids are wow-ed by them, and I don’t have to fix the book before turning the page!

Lastly, the kids played a quick game of “Pin the Tail on Maisy” that I printed off from the official Maisy website.

Followed by a quick craft of making Maisy ears (also on the official site) and a puppet coloring craft of Maisy riding a bicycle.

(Teen volunteers cut everything out, and had already attached the popsicle stick to the back of the puppet so that no one’s Maisy went flying suddenly.)

A hugely successful program, with no headaches, and a great afternoon spent at the library.