Tag: discovery!

Discovery!: Nursery Rhymes


The Plan


1, 2, Buckle My Shoe by Anna Grossnickle Hines
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Jane Cabrera

Flannelboard: “Hickory Dickory Dock”

Flannelboard: “Jack and Jill”

Flannelboard: “Little Miss Muffet”

All flannelboards are Little Folk Visuals.

The Stations

IMG_0941Rhyme Book
My big overarching idea for this whole program was that all the kids would leave with a nursery rhyme book when they went home. I had a table set up with a book cover and markers for them to write their names. Each page had a hole punched in it and yarn was on the table to tie all the rhymes together. I also had two pages on the table to represent the books we read and flannelboards we saw.

IMG_0939Sorting Dishes (Hey Diddle Diddle)

I bought some plastic dishes from Target from the actual kitchenware section (Circo brand if you’re interested). The plates, bowls, and cups were around a dollar a piece and we will be using them in our new interactive play centers debuting later this year! In my introduction to this table, I told parents that sorting is a beginning math skill for preschoolers!

IMG_0942Lamb Craft (Mary Had a Little Lamb)

I recycled a craft from my last library. I found it at First School. Since this was an older program (3-6 year-olds instead of all ages), I put out scissors and let the the kids trace their hands and cut them out with the help from their caregivers. Both scissor skills and pencil skills are another set of school readiness preparation!

IMG_0940Candlestick Jump (Jack Be Nimble)

I made a “candlestick” out of a toilet paper roll that I covered in brown paper and stuffed some red, orange, and yellow tissue paper into the top of the roll. I originally had thought about bringing a real candlestick and not lighting it, but it occurred to me that a real candlestick had a chance at causing a real injury if a child misjumped. When I introduced this station, I asked parents to recite the rhyme as their children played because some children remember/learn things better while doing an activity, especially if they are a kinesthetic learner.

IMG_0943Egg Hospital (Humpty Dumpty)

I combined a few ideas from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas for my Humpty Dumpty station. Remembering how much my kids loved playing with band-aids at my last library, I decided to use leftover easter eggs and some band-aids for the kids to repair a 3D Humpty Dumpty. I bought some generic non-characters kids band-aids from the store and let the kids go to town. They loved this station and would drop their eggs on the floor to see if it would pop open and need another band-aid!

How It Went

The lamb craft was absolutely perfect for this age group! No one got frustrated and they all really enjoyed pasting the cotton balls down. It was so nice to see such great interactions between parents/caregivers and the children. I really and truly believe that each station was equally as engaging and entertaining. While every child had their favorite (a pair of brothers stayed to sort dishes for the longest time), it was clear to me that the program was an overall huge success!

And a Pinnable image with bonus pictures:

Discovery!: Music


Full disclaimer: I have a heavy music background! I’ve been in choirs since preschool and took violin lessons (while in three different orchestras) seriously for ten years. I read music fluently in both treble and bass clef. I’ve self-taught imperfect technique piano and am working on the ukulele. I’m not sure I would have attempted this program without my background!

I broke the program into four sections: Rhythm, Sounds, Timing, Playing.



I gave a brief introduction about rhythm and beats by having each child tell me their name. I let the group guess how many claps they thought each name would have. I finally took them and then we clapped out every child’s syllables.

Similarly, after practicing with our names, I pulled out Tanka Tanka Skunk, aka one of the very best storytime books ever. The whole group clapped along with the animal names and I once again managed to make my arm bright red from slapping my arm to keep the beat with the kids while holding the book up.

We finished up this rhythm section by listening to our first song: Clap It! by Bari Koral Family Rock Band. This song asks kids to clap left and right, clap high and low. It’s fairly simplistic in terms of directions, but it has such a great rhythm to practice with with nice strong beats.



One of most memorable experiences as a child was when my music teacher taught about the difficult instruments in the orchestra using “Peter and the Wolf”. I knew that I had to find a way to do that without the scariness for my three-year-olds.

I thought about “Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!” It introduces the instruments. But I wanted to have that experience when the kids would hear the instruments as well. And bam! I found “Those Amazing Musical Instruments” with a interactive CD-Rom. I was able to use the clips of instruments from this book to create my own version of “Peter and the Wolf”.

Then it came time for a demonstration: my real-life violin!


(That was my very nervous face at home practicing the week before.)

I played some very short classical pieces for them (Bach’s Minuet in G — my first solo/ensemble piece; Beethoven’s Ode to Joy) before leading them in a sing-along of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Then, I sat down on the floor with my violin in my lap and let each child come up one at a time to pluck the strings. The kids were so precious and careful and respectful. I had to tell several of them to pull harder to make some sound!

[Sidenote: I also pulled a Meryl Streep and told them that there was a horse and a frog on the bow. That is one of my favorite music movies of all time. I still get weepy when I think about music education being cut in schools.]

Lastly for this section, I played Kathy Reid-Naiman’s “I Love to Hear the Sounds” and demonstrated to each child the instrument she was singing about. My library has an INCREDIBLE musical instrument collection; the only instrument I needed to buy was finger cymbals.


Now that the kids had basic knowledge of rhythm and sound, I wanted to talk about timing. We talked about how some songs are fast and some are slow. And to demonstrate, I put on Jim Gill’s “The Tempo Marches On” which we marched and ran around to.

Then it was time to get shaker eggs in their hands. This led to back-to-back songs that have great examples of timing. Just like “The Tempo Marches On”, The Learning Groove’s “I Can Shake My Shaker Egg” starts slow and gets faster and faster. It’s also set to Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King, another piece of classical music! Secondly, I played Laurie Berkner’s “Fruit Salad Salsa” which alternates between a slow tempo and a fast tempo. I challenged the kids to switch between the two which they did awesomely!


For this last section, I let the kids switch their instruments around. I had rhythm sticks, bells, shaker eggs, sand blocks, finger cymbals, and tambourines. The kids played whatever they wanted to the songs of “Ring Them On the Floor” by Kathy Reid-Naiman and “All You Pretty Babies” by Caspar Babypants.

Lastly, I pulled out our set of six gathering drums for our very last song “Drumming the House” by Jim Gill. We alternated using our fingertips lightly, our hands softly, and finally our mallets. This was definitely the loudest section of the day but 100% worth it!

How It Went

I had a few little girls who were AMAZING at identifying beats and syllables. And this activity really helped me finally learn everyone’s names this week. I think the most thrilling part of the day for the kids was touching my violin. They were so thrilled to actually touch a real professional musical instrument! I had so many compliments from caregivers about the recorded instrument samples being very educational. It made me feel like I had maybe just given a “Peter and the Wolf” experience to the next generation!

Discovery!: STEAM (Body)


This entire program was inspired by Abby’s Preschool Lab and Amy’s Body Science programs.

(And my apologies for the utter lack of pictures today. It was a day off of school, so in addition to the regular kiddos, I had a ton of extra siblings. I had to call for co-worker back up! The wonderful Miss J came to my rescue for the second week in a row!)

The Plan


Dem Bones by Bob Barner
My Nose, Your Nose by Melanie Walsh

Flannelboard: “My Body”

Flannelboard: “Inside Me” (Link coming soon; you can see a picture of both Amy & Abby’s blogs)

Flannelboards: “X-Rays”

The Stations

Station One: Heart!

I had purchased two new working stethoscopes for our circulating doctor kits. We just tested them out beforehand! The instructions at this station were simple:

  1. Use a stethoscope to listen to your heartbeat.
  2. Do ten jumping jacks!
  3. Listen to your heartbeat again.

Question prompts for parents/caregivers: Which heartbeat was faster? Whose heartbeat is faster — yours or mine? Can you find a heartbeat sound somewhere on your body without a stethoscope?

Station Two: Lungs!

I had paper bags and markers on the table. Here were the instructions:

  1. Write your child’s name on a paper bag.
  2. Breathe in and out of the paper bag once or twice.
  3. Talk about what you saw.

Question prompts for parents/caregivers: How did the bag look when you were breathing? Can you touch your stomach and breath again normally? What happened?

Station Three: Bones!

On this table, I had a piece of paper with a general body outline on it, Q-tips, scissors, and glue. My instructions were:

  1. Use the Q-tips to make some bones on the paper body.
  2. Feel free to cut the Q-tips to make tinier bones!

Question prompts for parents/caregivers: Can you feel bones even though you can’t see them? How many bones do you think are inside of you? What do you think we have bones?

Station Four: Stomach!

I raided our extra summer supplies (we had hosted an edible buildables program and had tons of stuff left over) — marshmallows, pretzels, cheerios, and cheese balls were on the table. Everyone also had a plastic ziplock bag. (I recommend going name brand here for quality.) Miss J stayed at this table to make sure that no one ate our stale food and to help control the mess. Instructions on the table read:

  1. Put some food inside the plastic bag.
  2. Adults: please make sure the bag is sealed tight!!
  3. Mash it up.

Question prompts for parents/caregivers: What is your stomach doing? What colors do you see? Is this hard work? What kinds of food do you think your stomach likes to eat?

I also had a handout and crayons for kids to use to draw what their bag looked like before “digestion” and after “digestion”. Lots of colorful pictures resulted!

How It Went

“My Nose, Your Nose” and “Dem Bones” were both great book choices that really involved the kids. I loved being able to reuse several flannelboards and to even make a new one that was perfect for this program.

I had several planned answers to model for the parents at the different stations (pulse at heart station; how many bones a human body has at bones station; how is the bag moving at the lungs station) and spent a great deal of my time modeling to parents how to ask questions and explain simple body science concepts.

The kids naturally loved the stomach station the very most. Although, the bones station was also very popular. I had one clever young lady who took the labeling idea from our flannelboard and asked to know the names of the bones to write on her paper. Between her caregiver and I, we taught her a lot of new vocabulary that day!

Discovery!: Parachute


Parachute Playlist & Plan

1. Introduction & Rules Since this was my first week, I introduced myself to the families and made sure to talk about the program. I had a few simple rules: Do not walk on the chute. When Miss Katie says touch the wall, please touch the wall. (This let me walk over the parachute to collect our materials without worrying about a kiddo lifting the chute up while I was on it.)

2. Warm-Up (A capella): Shake My Sillies Out This needs no explanation. We shook the chute!

3. Warm-Up (A capella): Ring Around the Rosie We walked around the parachute and dropped during “all fall down”.

4. Song: If You’re Happy and You Know It I got this idea from Anne and it was absolutely golden for getting the kids primed for following directions. We sang all her verses: clap your hands, stamp your feet, shake the chute, turn around (while holding the chute), pass the chute (to your neighbor), pull it high (above your head)

5. Book: Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera I had the kids sit on the floor and we rowed our parachute back and forth as I sang this book out loud.

6. I Went Walking by Sue Williams This was a genius idea, if I do say so myself. As we held the parachute and walked around, I read the book. I wanted to have pictures of the animals taped up around the room, but I ran out of time before the program.

7. Recorded Music: Take the Sun by Caspar Babypants We raised the chute up and down.

8. Recorded Music: Old MacDonald by Wiggleworms This idea came from Lisa. I did use a different version of Old MacDonald, but I tossed puppets onto the chute as they were introduced.

9. Recorded Music: ABC Song by Baby Loves Jazz Band And since I also had a package of Lisa’s foam letters, I took Lisa’s ABC foam letter activity! I tossed the letters as I went. The song went very fast, so I had to be very fast!

10. Game: Letter Treasure Hunt I modified this game from the suggestions from Kid Activities. Right after the ABC Song, I got all the letters off the chute and hid them underneath. I sent kids three at a time under the chute to find the letter that their name begins with.

11. Recorded Music: Moving In a Circle by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael It was time for a prop break. I did this in the summer with the parachute and it was a hit again.

12. Recorded Music: Shimmie Shake! by The Wiggles We shook and shook until we nearly dropped.

13. Game: All Change This game came from a List of Parachute Games. I actually wound up skipping it due to time. I’m not sure it would have worked like I envisioned it for preschoolers.

14. Recorded Music: Hot Poppin’ Popcorn by The Wiggles Everyone who has done a parachute program has recommended doing a popcorn one. I used crumpled up recycled paper as our “popcorn”.

15. Game: Cover Up We were all ready for a break at this point and this game from Anne was perfect. Kids sat on the floor and I called out a body part that they needed to cover with the parachute. Funniest part? Nose.

16. Recorded Music: Jump, Jump by Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights We jumped and shaked and kids dropped the chute to spin while parents kept it up.

17. Recorded Music: Rolling Ball by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael I bought these soft fleece balls last summer and used them again for this game. When directed, I tossed the balls on the chute and the kids rolling them around.

18. Game: Don’t Drop the Ball For this game from Kid Activities, I added a beach ball on the chute and challenged the kids to keep it up for a minute.

19. Recorded Music: Under a Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner The very last thing was letting the kids run underneath while parents and caregivers lifted the chute up and down to one of my favorite Laurie Berkner songs.

20. Big Finish: Parachute Fireworks This was an idea that Anne didn’t use, but I sure did. As kids arrived in the room, I asked them to color some scribbles and crubmle up a piece of paper. At the end, we counted backwards 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, FIREWORKS to close out the program!

How It Went

This was an amazing program!! It was a great launch to Discovery! and immediately made the kids feel at ease with me when I was crawling around on the floor playing with them. I had a few boys struggle to obey the “touch the wall” rule, but eventually they got it. The kids did get tired of shaking after each song, so I was so happy that I had planned games to break up the dancing/shaking.

Both books were HUGE successes to use with the parachute, although I did have one caregiver say that “I Went Walking” made her a bit dizzy. I’m so very grateful to my co-worker, Miss J, who ran door check and really helped with crowd control. It was so helpful having another staff member’s eyes on the parachute just in case a situation arose.



Welcome to my first post about Discovery!

At my library, our 3-6 year-old storytime is an “on our own” storytime. Children are dropped off by their parents or caregivers who must remain in the library and be back at the storytime room five minutes before storytime is scheduled to end. Parents often write on our evaluation sheets that while they appreciate the chance to prepare their child for school, they also miss being in class with their child.

And as many of you are aware when I changed jobs last year, the Spring session of storytime was already scheduled for me. Fall 2014 was the first time I was creating the schedule and assigning which librarian would do which program. I knew that I wanted to create a preschool program that parents and caregivers would attend. But what…?

After brainstorming a ton of ideas, I still didn’t know where to start. So I decided to do everything. But instead of doing a seven-week iPad storytime or a seven-week STEM storytime, I would create a storytime test-kitchen. And that’s what Discovery! became.

For the Fall session, I did the following themes:
Play: Parachute
STEM: Body Science
Music & Rhythm
Nursery Rhymes
Movement: Yoga
Technology: iPad
Art: Process Vs. Product

I just started the Spring session last week and these are my themes:
Play: Throwback Games
Art: Mini-Masters

Movement: Obstacle Course
STEM: Dinosaur Science
Engineering: Blocks
And a TBA

In fall, Discovery! was advertised as an hour long program. This spring, we’ve adjusted that to a forty-five minute program. Our youngest (the 3yos) definitely burned out faster than our oldest (the 6yos), so forty-five minutes felt like a better plan. So far, I’ve got a lot of my regulars and some new faces!

I’ll see you next Monday for a write-up all about the first Discovery!, which was the parachute.