Tag: summer 2010


Sadly, another planned storytime that didn’t happen. The week before this storytime was scheduled, our basement flooded and we unfortunately had to begin renovations because our walls and floor were significantly damaged. But had storytime happened, this is what we would have done:

Hector the Hermit Crab by Katie Boyce

Clumsy Crab by Ruth Galloway

Old Shell, New Shell by Helen Ward

And the planned extension activities:

Flannelboard: “Five Cranky Crabs”
Five cranky crabs were digging on the shore.
One swam into a net and then there were four.
Four cranky crab were floating in the sea.
One got tangled up in seaweed, then there were three.
Three cranky crabs were wondering what to do.
One dug a deep, deep hole. Then there were two.
Two cranky crabs were warming in the sun.
One got scooped up in a cup. Then there was one.
One cranky crab was smarter than his friends.
He hid between the jagged rocks. That’s how the story ends!
Credit: Preschool Education — Sea & Ocean

Action Rhyme: “Once I Saw a Crab” // Modified “Once I Saw An Octopus”
Once I saw a crab swimming in the deep blue sea. (Swim, point downward)
I called, “Mr. Crab, won’t you swim with me?” (Cup hands around mouth)
Then out came his pinchers, very short and sharp, too (Make two clawhands)
Then I swam away from his sharp pinchers two. (Swim away)
Credit: Preschool Education — Sea & Ocean

Fingerplay: “Mr. Lobster and Mrs. Crab”
Mr. Lobster and Mrs. Crab pinch and snap all day
Mr. Lobster and Mrs. Crab pinch and snap all day
With a pinch, pinch here and a snap, snap there
Here a pinch, there a snap, everywhere a pinch, snap
Mr. Lobster and Mrs. Crab pinch and snap all day
Credit: Everything Preschool — Beach Songs

Song: “We’re Little Orange Crabs” (Tune: Farmer in the Dell)
We’re little orange crabs
Who live down by the sea,
And where we do go
We’re quick as quick can be.
We’re little orange crabs
Who like to run and hide,
And when you see us walking by
It’s always side to side.
Credit: Preschool Education — Sea & Ocean

And the planned craft (which is amazingly adorable!) was paper plate crabs!

Which I got from Sarah, which she got and modified from the Craft of the Day blog — Cool Crab Hats.

Teen volunteers cut out all the shapes; the wiggly eyes were self-stick, and the kids would have used glue dots to attach everything to the plate.


This week in storytime, we went to the beach and read beach-themed stories! And when we called to remind our parents about storytime, we also asked them to bring a beach towel to make storytime a little more fun.

Started off with “To the Beach” by Linda Ashman.

This is a great story all about a family who tries to get to the beach, only to forget a ton of items and have to go back. Once they finally are ready to go, it begins to look like rain. They eventually go to the beach in their backyard. I liked this A LOT because I know that a lot of my families can’t afford giant vacations to the beach.

Next, I read “Fun Dog, Sun Dog” by Deborah Heiligman.

I love the rhyming pace and fun text of this book. The beach is only on a few pages of the book, but I definitely want to use this book again for a different theme another time.

Flannelboard: “Five Little Ocean Friends”
Five little ocean friends on the ocean floor,
The starfish walks away and now there are four
Four little ocean friends living in the sea
The crab slides away now there are three
Three little ocean friends looking for a clue
“Glub, glub,” said the lobster now there are two
Two little ocean friends not having much fun
Off swam the sea horse now there is one
One little octopus sad and all alone
Back swims the starfish, back swims the crab,
Back swims the lobster, back swims the sea horse
And they played in the sea foam, safe in their home.
Credit: Beach Fingerplays from Carroll County Public Library

And then I read, “Sand” by Pam Miller.

I had a hard time finding any books about just the ocean or the sand. This was a Rookie Reader book, which is a little bigger than the average board book. Reading it aloud involved lots of panning, and a few “I can’t see!”s. While it wasn’t a huge disappointment or catastrophe, this was the first and last reader I plan on using in storytime.

Chant: “Picnic Time”
Going on a picnic, gonna pack a lunch.
What should we bring to munch, munch, munch?
(suggest different foods)
Ready for a picnic,
Ready with a lunch,
Now we’re ready to munch, munch, munch!
Credit: Kidsparkz

Then, I read “What If?” By Laura Vaccaro Seeger.

This book is an interesting one to read in storytime. The kids had a lot of fun telling me exactly what was happening in each of the spread. (The text prompts them with “What if? and “But then…” and I wound up asking the kids what was happening in the pictures.) I’m not sure that I could use this one in every storytime, but I was very lucky to have a very verbal crowd this week. A twist on a familiar song:

Song: “The Sea” (Tune: Wheels on the Bus)
The waves on the sea go up and down, up and down, up and down
The waves on the sea go up and down all day long.
The shark in the sea goes snap, snap, snap…
The fish in the sea goes swish, swish, swish…
The boats on the sea go toot, toot, toot…
Credit: Perpetual Preschool

And for the last book of storytime, “Beach Day” by Karen Roosa.

This was a sweet, simple story with vibrant illustrations and nice rhyming text. It was the perfect end to storytime. And for our craft, we decorated surfboards!

This was actually a last minute craft replacement because I had wanted to do sandcastles, and the recipe I found wasn’t working well for me.


Continuing with our summer theme of “Make a Splash,” I did a frog storytime!

Started off by reading “One Frog Sang” by Shirley Parenteau.

Parenteau has got to be one of my favorite storytime authors — but she’s only written two books that I know of! This is a great counting book, large and brightly illustrated. We added it to our in-house storytime collection because I love it so much.

Next up, “Where Are You, Little Frog?” by Kayleigh Rhatigan.

This is a short, sweet story about a little frog who doesn’t know where he is. Clues are given throughout the story, and the kids were very happy to guess where little frog was! After they figured out that little frog was on a farm, I moved on to the flannelboard for the week:

Flannelboard: “Five Green and Speckled Frogs”
Five green and speckled frogs
Sitting on a hollow log
Eating the most delicious bugs – YUM YUM
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool
Now there are only four speckled frogs – RIBBIT RIBBIT
(count down from there)

After a rousing rendition of singing the flannel with the story, I moved on to “The Big Wide-Mouthed Frog” by Ana Martín Larrañaga.

This is my favorite version of this classic story, and I was so happy to share it with my storytime kids. What makes this version my favorite are the illustrations. I generally prefer simple illustrations as opposed to intricate ones in storytime. As for the story, I was a little worried that they might get a little scared, but instead — they laughed! I’m glad that I was able to avoid fear, and instead got amusement.

Next up, a cute action rhyme:

Croak said the frog, (make croaking sound)
With his golden eyes. (fists up to eyes)
Sitting on a lily pad, (crouch on the ground)
Catching flies. (grab air with hand)
I have a sticky tongue, (stick out tongue)
It’s as fast as can be…
And I catch the mosquitoes (catch bugs again),
1-2-3. (count on three fingers)
Credit: Child Fun

Followed by a modified fingerplay!

Fingerplay: “Two Little Frogs”
Two little frogs sitting on a hill,
One named Jack and one named Jill.
“Jump,” said Jack. “Jump,” said Jill.
And the both jumped down the great hill.
Come back, Jack. Come back, Jill.
And the both jumped up the great big hill.

And I ended storytime with the best frog book in the world: “Big Frog Can’t Fit In” by Mo Willems.

I practiced this book until I could recite it and just concentrate on the movable pieces. The hardest part was honestly that I was working with a brand-new book (our library does not purchase pop-ups because they get torn apart within one check-out), that I had purchased for myself, and it took a long time for the pieces to move freely and easily.

But, the pay-off was AMAZING. I have never heard more “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing” in storytime before!

And the craft for this week was just a simple paper frog. The kids assembled lily pad, frog body, frog head, and then decorated with googly eyes and some foam shapes.

I don’t remember where I found the template though. I saved it to a Publisher file and had my teens cut it out, but have somehow misplaced where I got it. My guess is just through Google.

Sea Creatures!

I wanted to do a storytime that introduced the kids to a lot of different animals — ones that they might not know, and ones that definitely do not have enough books to have their own storytime. So, I mashed them all together and did a sea creatures storytime.

Our first book was “Over in the Ocean” by Marianne Berkes.

I fell in love with this book. It’s a little long, especially if your storytime kids skew towards 2s/3s, but the illustrations are so unique and interesting — the sea creatures were created using clay and then photographed. The colors are so bright and vivid, and the texture is apparent throughout the book. My kids kept getting up to touch the pictures, and I had to remind them to sit down often! That’s a high compliment, if kids are naturally drawn to the book itself!

I followed up with “I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean” by Kevin Sherry.

This book is such a great book for storytime. The kids love giant squid, and while I was worried that they might be scared by the ending of the book, they were totally fine with it. One of the kids even remarked that giant squid “was bad, so he was eaten!” I loved his sense of justice. Next up a rhyme with puppets:

“Four Little Ocean Friends”
Four little ocean friends living in the sea
The turtle slides away now there are three
Three little ocean friends looking for a clue
“Glub, glub,” said the lobster now there are two
Two little ocean friends not having much fun
Off swam the sea horse now there is one
One little octopus sad and all alone
Back swims the turtle, back swims the lobster, back swims the sea horse
And they played in the sea foam, safe in their home.
Credit: Modified from Beach Fingerplays from Carroll County Public Library

I did this with my very favorite set of fingerpuppets — the Sea Mates set from Manhattan Toy. It’s no longer available for purchase from the company, but I was lucky enough to catch a set for sale in Amazon’s Marketplace.

Next, a familiar book for the kids who were at “Fish Storytime” earlier this summer, “Big Fish, Little Fish” by Ed Heck.

This was my first time repeating a book in the same storytime session, and my younger kids really liked seeing it again. My older kids, on the other hand, shouted out how the book ended. If I had a storytime that was divided up by ages, I think that I would definitely repeat more books with the younger kids.

Song: Did You Ever See a Fishy? (Tune of “Did You Ever See a Lassie?”)
Did you ever see a fishy, a fishy, a fishy
Did you ever see a fishy, swim this way and that?
Swim this way and that way, and that way and this way?
Did you ever see a fishy, swim this way and that?
Credit: Ocean Songs and Fingerplays

We made fishies with our hands while we sang. And then, I read “Rub-a-Dub Sub” by Linda Ashman.

I really enjoyed this story about a little boy who takes on a submarine adventure all from his bathtub. I was very impressed that a few of my kids guessed the ending rhyme — tub! A quick switch to our flannelboard:

Flannelboard: “Five Big Whales”
Five big whales in the sea offshore
One swam up to spout and that left four.
Four big whales in the deep blue sea
One swam up to spout and that left three.
Three big whales in the sea so blue
One swam up to spout and that left two.
Two big whales having loads of fun
One swam up to spout and that left one.
One big whale longing for the sun
He swam up to spout, and that left none!
Credit: Ocean Life Compilation

Last book, “Secret Seahorse” by Stella Blackstone.

As always, I love a good hunt-and-find picture book. The kids were completely engrossed in finding out where the seahorse had gone. This was a great way to keep them engaged to our craft:

This was a super easy idea that I borrowed from Sarah. She did this craft a long time ago with pets/fish, I just changed it up to sea creatures and foam! All the pieces were self-adhesive which made this craft both entertaining and easy.


I was so excited to do this storytime — I love ducks and was incredibly lucky to find an amazing craft! Yes, this is one of those storytimes that was built around a craft. But I had nothing to fear, there are a plethora of great duck books, songs, and rhymes!

Storytime began with a classic: “Little Quack” by Lauren Thompson.

This is a wonderful story about five little ducks getting ready to swim with mama duck. Of course, one is scared and stays behind and that’s Little Quack. The kids loved the repetition of this book and were quick to pick up how the story was going to end. And after such a successful story (there was clapping at the end), I moved immediately to “Duck Dunks” by Lynne Berry.

This is another book from a seasonal series and we have all of the books in our storytime collection. I love the almost tongue-twister rhymes and the sweet, soft illustrations. In this book, the ducks are going to the beach, which was perfect for our summer session! Next up, the kids needed to get up and move, so we did our action rhyme:

“Little Duck”
I saw a little duck go hop, hop, hop (hop three times)
I told the little duck to stop, stop, stop (hold up hand for stop)
I went to the window to say, ‘How do you do?’ (hold out hand for handshake)
He wagged his little tail and far away he flew! (shake tail and fly away)

Just adapted an action rhyme that I’ve done before to fit my theme! And then followed it up by singing with our flannelboard:

“Five Little Ducks”
Five little ducks went out to play, over the hill and far away
Mother duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
And only four little ducks came back
(count down until)
Sad mother duck went out one day, over the hill and far away
Mother duck said, “Quack, quack, quack, quack”
And all of her five little ducks came back

I was positive that I learned this song from Kidsongs, but after searching, I’m not so sure. Either way, it’s a song that I know from childhood, and I actually had a few kids chime in — they had learned the song from their mom!

Next up, I read “Dimity Duck” by Jane Yolen & Sebastien Braun.

This is a great story about two friends — Dimity Duck and Frumity Frog — and their adventures together. I considered using this book for both my duck and frog storytime (which is upcoming), but ultimately chose it for duck storytime because Dimity is the main character.

Song: “Little Ducks”
Little ducks go quack, quack, quack
Quack, quack, quack
Quack, quack, quack
Little ducks go quack, quack, quack
In the springtime
Credit: Duck Theme – Step By Step

A quick song before finishing up storytime with “10 Little Rubber Ducks” by Eric Carle.

This story about rubber ducks was a fun deviation from real ducks! My favorite part is the ending, when the kids were quacking along with the real ducks, and I pushed the sound button for the rubber duck noise — they stopped quacking and started laughing. Storytime was over, and we got up to do our craft:

I found this great craft on Danielle’s Place and was immediately sold on doing it for a storytime. I couldn’t find paper plates in the right color yellow, so I did substitute plastic plates and also switched to Glue Dots. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but those Glue Dots are a *lifesaver* when it comes to preschool crafts!

The kids had a great time at duck storytime, and left with a super adorable craft. There is nothing cuter than kids running around, quacking and chasing each other as they leave.


This is an ironic storytime post — it’s nothing but a plan! This storytime was supposed to happen the Thursday following ALA’s Annual Conference, and I was out of town until Wednesday at the conference. My staff forgot to do reminder calls the night before and no one showed up for storytime!

In my community, reminder calls are so important.

So, here’s what I planned to do and how I planned it:

I start off by picking 4-5 books. I’m a moody reader by nature and will almost never read all five, but I like to have options in case storytime isn’t working out the way that I planned.

I choose “An Island in the Sun” by Stella Blackstone to start off storytime. I adore Blackstone’s books. I think they are age-appropriate and that the illustrations are always eye-catching. I also really like rhyming stories, and prefer to start off storytime with a rhythm.

I had “Sail Away” by Donald Crews because whenever you do a transportation storytime, you have to include one by Crews! Obviously, my favorite is “Freight Train,” but what I like about Crews’s books are the quick, short text getting the point across in simple language for kids.

I inter-library loaned “Alistair and Kip’s Great Adventure” by John Segal for a different program and fell in love with it for storytime. It’s a very simple story about two friends who build a boat and wind up having a great adventure. It’s a bit of a different pick than what I normally choose because it’s a linear story with a little dialogue in the illustrations.

Another book that I was surprised by was “I’m Mighty” by Kate & Jim McMullan. It’s the story of a tugboat who pulls boats to and from the dock. The illustrations are bold, bright, and colorful. I hoped that the theme of being small would resonate with my preschoolers.

Last, but not least — a settle-down book — “Boats for Bedtime” by Olga Litowinsky. I loved the ending of this book, and really thought it would be a great end to a storytime.

Other than my starting book and ending book, the others would have been moved around as I went. And I never plan where my extension activities are going to go, because I try to meet the needs of the kids as we go. If they need to get up and move before the next story, we do that. If they’re okay with sitting for a flannelboard before moving, we do that.

Flannelboard: “Five Little Boats”
The first little boat went chug, chug, chug.
The second little boat went tug, tug, tug.
The third little boat went row, row, row.
The fourth little boat went ohhhh sooooo slooooooow.
Here comes the sailboat, watch it go!

Action Song: “Riding ‘Round in My Little Boat”
Riding ’round in my little [red] boat
Riding ’round in my little [red] boat
Riding ’round in my little [red] boat
Zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom, splash!

Song: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream

And our very simple craft came from DLTK’s awesome craft section: Halves Boat Preschool Craft.

The biggest “wow” with this craft would be using tissue paper!


Our theme for summer reading this year is “Make a Splash,” so we’ll be doing water-based storytimes for the next seven weeks. This week’s theme was easy — fish!

We started off with one of my favorite books — “Hooray for Fish!” by Lucy Cousins.

The children loved looking at all of Little Fish’s friends. We had a lot of side chatter during this book — “That’s MY favorite fish! The stripey one, Miss Katie!” — but no one lost interest! When we got to the “How many can you see?” spread, we had several little ones just start counting out loud, so we took a break and counted together which was an excellent practice for our next book…”Fish, Swish, Splash, Dash” by Suse MacDonald!

I absolutely love this book — the counting is told in a cut-out format where one fish turns into two fish, and so on. Then, we you reach the end of the book, you turn the book upside down and count down from ten. You can turn the book rightside up again at the end and start over if you want to. I think if the kids were given the option, we would spend all of storytime reading just this book. But, we did move on to our flannelboard:

Flannelboard: “Five Little Fishes”
Five little fish swimming by the shore
One got caught then there were four
Four little fish swimming in the sea
One got caught then there were three
Three little fish swimming in the blue
One got caught then there were two
Two little fish swimming in the sun
One got caught then there was one
One little fish swimming straight for home
Decided he would never roam

I am trying to break out of my comfort zone by using more puppets. We sang this song with Pinkie the Fish. (The kids pretended to have their own fishes, but I should have had the foresight to make popsicle stick fish or something.)

Did You Ever See a Fishy? (Tune of “Did You Ever See a Lassie?”)
Did you ever see a fishy, a fishy, a fishy
Did you ever see a fishy, swim this way and that?
Swim this way and that way, and that way and this way?
Did you ever see a fishy, swim this way and that?

We settled back down with our next book: “Big Fish, Little Fish” by Ed Heck.

I used this book several times over the course of the summer and each time it was very popular with my storytimes and group tours. It’s such a short, simple story that really works wonderfully. Next up, an action song!

“One, Two, Three, Four, Five”
One, two, three, four, five, (hold up fingers one by one, while counting)
Once I caught a fish alive. (put hands together and wiggle like a fish)
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, (hold up fingers one by one, while counting)
Then I threw it back again. (make throwing motion)
Why did you let it go? (hold hands out asking why)
Because it bit my finger so. (shake hand, as if hurt)
Which finger did it bite? (hold hands out asking why)
This little finger on my right. (wiggle pinky finger)

And we closed our storytime with “Fidgety Fish” by Ruth Galloway.

Our craft was very simple this week — fish scratch art! You can either make your own (most online craft stores sell “Magic Color” paper) and then you can die-cut your own shapes, or you can buy the kit online.


Seasons are an easy go-to theme, especially when you live in Chicago and the area has definite seasons! Our welcome song for this cycle is “Mr. Sun” and we’re still singing our “ABCs” for our closing song.

Started off storytime with “Mouse’s First Summer” by Lauren Thompson.

I really love the Mouse series — these are great books to use in introducing a season. Simple, bright illustrations and really adorable characters in Mouse and Minka. And even though the books are very formulaic, the kids are always excited to shoot “Hooray” with Mouse at the end.

Next, we read “It’s Summer” by Jimmy Pickering.

This is another series that has an installment for each season. We have another pair of cute characters here — Sally and her dog — and follow them as they explore the differences between the seasons in rhymes.

Afterwards, we needed to get up and shake around a bit, so we did our action rhyme:

Action Rhyme: “Swimming”
Swimming in the water cool and bright (pretend to swim)
I kick my feet with all my might (kick feet)
And when I’m tired I turn and float (spin and hold arms out)
Pretending that I’m a boat
I like to hold my breath and dive (pretend to take breath and dive)
I swim beneath the water and count to five (count to five)
Wow! What a dive!
Credit — Hummingbird Educational Resources

And then listened to our flannelboard: Ice Cream Colors (Credit: Step By Step).

Next up, “Summer Wonders” by Bob Raczka.

I adore this season series — bright colors, easy rhymes — and my favorite part is that there is always a vertical spread in each book. The kids are always really excited when I suddenly turn the book around on them. We have this whole series in our storytime collection, always ready to read.

Song: Summer’s Here (Tune: Frere Jacques)
Days are longer, sunshine’s stronger.
Summer’s here! Summer’s here!
Let’s jump through the sprinkler, let’s make lemonade
Summer’s here! Summer’s here!
Credit — Summer Preschool Lesson Plan

And we finished up the storytime by reading “Playground Day” by Jennifer J. Merz.

I really wanted to close the storytime with something that every kid could do over the summer. We have some awesome playgrounds around here and I hope that this book inspired parents to take their kids. Also, this one was definitely a winner — it’s a guessing animals book! As the girl plays on the various equipment, readers are invited to guess what animal she is acting like. Guessing animals is always a crowd pleaser.

For craft, we went with a pre-made kit from Oriental Trading: Tropical Visor Craft.

As for prep to make this one storytime appropriate, I punched out the foam pieces, pre-assembled the sun (base, face, and glasses) and decided to use glue dots instead of glue. This was our second time using glue dots, so my parents knew what was going on and I will definitely continue to use this product.

(Also, the recommended age on Oriental Trading has changed to 8+ since I ordered this kit. I really think that it works fine as a preschool craft. Some parents insisted that their kids make the scene exactly as the picture shows — but some of the cuter crafts were the ones where the kids had more free rein. And just so you know — this craft was entirely made of foam.)