Thursday, August 14, 2014

Storytime: Under the Sea

We're winding down our Summer Reading Program at my library.  That also means we have a couple weeks of story time left this summer and then I'm free on vacation.  I thought it would be fun to do an Under the Sea themed story time, especially since a lot of our little ones have been going on vacation to the beach with their families.  Calgon, take me away!


Peanut Butter and JellyfishRub-a-dub subHooray for fish!A house for Hermit CrabI'm a shark!


Did You Ever See a Fishy?
Tune: 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, swim this way and that way,
Did you ever see a fishy swim this way and that?

(Source: King County Library System)

The Shark in the Sea
Tune: The Wheels on the Bus

I have a sea animals felt set that have velcro attached to them.  They work great as a glove puppet, or directly on a flannel board.  I modified the verses to this song based on those felt animals.

The shark in the sea goes chomp, chomp, chomp.
Chomp, chomp, chomp. Chomp, chomp, chomp.
The shark in the sea goes chomp, chomp, chomp,
All day long.

The octopus in the sea goes wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.
The seahorse in the sea rocks back and forth.
The fish in the sea goes swim, swim, swim.
The crab in the sea goes snap, snap, snap

(Source: Youth Literature)

Once I Saw an Octopus

Once I saw an octopus in the deep blue sea
     (put hand over eyes as if searching and look down)
I called, "Hey, Mr. Octopus, won't you swim with me?"
     (hands over mouth to call)
Then out came his tentacles so very long and straight
     (link thumbs with fingers out)
I counted them: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
     (count eight fingers)

(Source: Jen in the Library)

The little mermaid greatest hits"Under the Sea"
Pull out the music instruments, get everyone up on their feet, and dance away to this hit song.  From the CD The Little Mermaid Greatest Hits, you can't have an ocean-themed story time without playing this song.  And good luck getting this song out of your head.  You'll be humming it all day.  Not that I speak from experience. :)

For my preschool group, we made hermit crabs.  I found the idea on Pinterest and here are the details.  I simplified it by having the kids trace their hands without using a paint hand print.  Then, they decorated their paper plate "shell" anyway they liked and I helped them affix the pipe cleaners and eyes with tape and glue dots.
For my toddler group, we decorated paper fish.  I cut out several fish shapes on construction paper using an Ellison die-cut.  The kids decorated them with foam stickers, sequins, and crayons.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: My Teacher Is a Monster by Peter Brown

My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)
By Peter Brown
Little, Brown and Company, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-316-07029-4

Bobby has a big problem at school and her name is Ms. Kirby.  All she does is yell, stomp, and take away recess privileges (for throwing paper airplanes in class).  In a word, she is a monster.  One Saturday while at the park trying to forget all about Ms. Kirby and school, he runs into...Ms. Kirby!  What's a boy to do?  He sits down on the bench next to her and tries to make small talk.  A gust of wind blows Ms. Kirby's favorite hat off her head and Bobby rescues it.  Then, Bobby and Ms. Kirby quack at the ducks, Bobby shows her his favorite spot at the park, and they throw paper airplanes.  Maybe Ms. Kirby isn't such a monster, after all.

I love this story, because it is so relatable.  Think back on your elementary school know there was that one teacher you weren't a fan of.  I can think of a couple from middle school!  Bobby gets to have an experience with Ms. Kirby outside of school and it turns out she can have fun and that she doesn't yell and stomp all of the time.  The illustrations really make this story.  Ms. Kirby is depicted as a green, scaly monster at the start of the story, and as it progresses, the monster fades away (think Nanny McPhee).  This is a fun book to share with kids, especially as summer is winding down and parents and kids are getting in back to school mode.  Have a great first day back and remember, your teachers aren't monsters!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Storytime: Count With Me

I had a lot of fun planning this story time, and depending on the books you choose, it's easily adaptable for toddlers or preschoolers.  And let me tell you, there are a lot of books out there on numbers and counting.  I had to scale myself back from reading all the things.  Here is what I did.


One is a drummer : a book of numbersOne two that's my shoe!Pete the cat and his four groovy buttonsThe long, long lineSoup for one

One is a Drummer: a Book of Numbers by Roseanne Thong
One Two That's My Shoe! by Alison Murray
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin
The Long, Long Line by Tomoko Ohmura
Soup for One by Ethan Long


"This Old Man"
I have a sing-along kit from Lakeshore Learning.  I love to have kids participate in this song, so I hand out the pieces.  As we're singing, each one puts their piece up on the flannel board when we get to that part in the song.

This old man, he played one.
     (hold up one finger)
He played nick nack on my drum.
With a nick nack paddy whack,
     (pat one knee and then the other)
Give a dog a bone.
     (mimic throwing bone to dog)
This old man came rolling home.
     (make rolling motion using both hands)

Repeat with these verses followed by the chorus:

This old man, he played two.
He played nick nack on my shoe.

This old man, he played three.
He played nick nack on my tree.

This old man, he played four.
He played nick nack on my door.

This old man, he played five.
He played nick nack on my hive.

This old man, he played six.
He played nick nack on my sticks.

This old man, he played seven.
He played nick nack up to heaven.

This old man, he played eight.
He played nick nack on my gate.

This old man, he played nine.
He played nick nack on my line.

This old man, he played ten.
He played nick nack on my hen.

"Jumping and Counting"
This song is from the album Jim Gill's Irrational Anthem and More Salutes to Nonsense by Jim Gill.  This is a great song to get the wiggles out because it involves jumping and then stopping to count up to ten.  This is a favorite in my toddler group.

"Five Little Speckled Frogs"
Slowly, but surely, I've been integrating technology into my story times. For this childhood favorite, I used my iPad and an app called Felt Board.  It is just as interactive as a physical felt rhyme.  I had a small group, so each child was able to come up and "jump" a frog into the pool.

Five little speckled frogs,
Sat on a speckled log,
Eating some most delicious bugs,
Yum, yum!
One jumped into the pool,
Where it was nice and cool,
Then there were four speckled frogs,
Glug, glug!

Continue with four, three, two, one.

Five Elephants in a Bathtub
I have a felt board from Artfelt for this rhyme, and I love to do this with the kids.  This would also work for an elephant theme or bathtub theme story time.

One elephant in a bathtub going for a swim.
Knock, knock - Splash, splash - Come on in!
     (Clap twice with "knock, knock," slap knees twice with "splash, splash," and motion with both hands to come in with "come on in.")

Continue with two, three, four...

Five elephants in a bathtub going for a swim.
Knock, knock - Splash, splash and it all fell in!
     (knock elephants and tub off the felt board)

The craft I did for this story time had nothing to do with numbers or counting.  I call it "Let's help Miss Jenny clean out the craft closet."  I had some leftover mask shapes and butterfly shapes that I had purchased at Michael's.  I brought out glitter glue, sequins, feathers, stickers and markers and let the kids decorate either shape.  Sometimes, the craft doesn't always match the theme and that is okay.  Kids don't care as long as they can create something.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review: The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara

The Midnight Library
By Kazuno Kohara
Roaring Brook Press, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-59643-985-6

This is a story about a library that opens only at night.  A little librarian works there with three assistant owls, helping animals find the perfect book.  It's a quiet library, except when a band of squirrels decided to play their music.  Thankfully, the little librarian showed them the activity room, where they could play their music without disturbing everyone.  Then, the little librarian had to deal with rain in the library!  It turns out it was just wolf crying so much because her book was sad.  The little librarian took her to the story time room where they read a happy book.  When the sun came up, it was time for the library to close.  There is always a straggler, and tortoise didn't want to leave because he hadn't finished his book.  Being a good librarian, the little librarian signed tortoise up for a library card, checked out his book to him, and he left very happy.  After closing the library, the little librarian and her three owls read a bedtime story just perfect for drifting off to sleep.

This book is wonderful, and I'm not just saying that because it's about a library and librarian (although, it does give this book high bonus points, in my humble opinion).  The story is cute, and would work great in a number of story time themes (library/books, nighttime/bedtime, or animals).  What really makes this book distinctive are the illustrations.  I'm a big fan of Kazuno Kohara and read her book Ghosts in the House! every year at my library Halloween Party.  Her illustrations employ a delightful color palette, which enrich the story and represent the midnight setting perfectly.  From the goldenrod color of the animals and background, to the dark blue for the books and sky, to the bold black outlines, they blend together beautifully.  A cozy story, The Midnight Library is a great pick to share with your little ones.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Storytime: Gross and Messy

Let's face it, being messy can be fun, especially with kids.  They enjoy it so much.  For the grown-ups and the clean-up afterwards, not so much.  To fit in with this summer's "Fizz Boom Read" reading program theme, I thought a Gross and Messy story time was in order.  Here is what I did.


Not me!Puddle pugThere was an old lady who swallowed some bugsSpider sandwichesI ain't gonna paint no more!

Not Me! by Nicola Killen
Puddle Pug by Kim Norman
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Bugs by Johnette Downing
Spider Sandwiches by Claire Freedman
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont


Five Clean and Dirty Pigs
I used a printable pattern of pigs.  I cut them out, glued a clean pig to a dirty pig, and laminated them.  I affixed Velcro to them and used this as a flannel board.  You can easily flip the pigs over from clean to dirty!

Five little pigs rolled in the mud,
     (roll hands)
Squishy, squashy, felt so good.
The farmer took one piggy out,
"Oink, oink, oink!" the pig did shout.
     (turn pig over to clean side)

Continue with four, three, two, one...

No little pigs rolled in the mud.
They all looked so clean and good.
The farmer turned his back, and then,
Those pigs rolled in the mud again.
     (turn all the pigs over to the dirty side)

(Source: Sunflower Storytime)

I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee

I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee.
     (cup hands together)
Won't my mommy be so proud of me?
I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee.
Ouch! Ouch! It stung me!

I'm squishing up the baby bumblebee.
     (rub hands together)
Won't my mommy be so proud of me?
I'm squishing up the baby bumblebee.
Oh no!  It's yucky!

I'm wiping off the baby bumblebee.
     (wipe hands together)
Won't my mommy be so proud of me?
I'm wiping off the baby bumblebee.
Look at me! All clean!

(Source: King County Library System)

On My Toe There is a Flea

On my toe there is a flea,
Now he's climbing up on me,
Past my stomach, past my nose,
On my head where my hair grows.
On my head there is a flea,
Now he's crawling down on me,
Past my stomach, past my knee,
On my toe,
Take THAT, you flea!

(Source: King County Library System)


I found the directions for this activity on the Steve Spangler Science website.  I made one batch, and the kids helped me stir it.  It was lots of fun, and worked really well with my small group of preschoolers.  At the end, the slime can be divided up, put in Ziploc bags, and the kids can take it home.

8oz. bottle Elmer's glue
1 tsp. Borax (a powdered laundry soap, can be found in the laundry detergent aisle at grocery store)
Warm water
Food coloring
Large mixing bowl
Glass measuring cup
Ziploc bags

1. Empty entire bottle of Elmer's glue into the mixing bowl.  Fill the empty bottle with warm water, put the cap back on, and shake it around.  Pour the glue-water mixture in the mixing bowl and mix it up well with the spoon.
2.  Add a drop or two of food coloring and mix this up.
3.  Measure 1/2 cup of warm water into the glass measuring cup and add 1 teaspoon of Borax.  Mix this together.
4.  While stirring the glue mixture, add a little bit of the Borax solution.  Immediately, you will see the mixture become thicker and stringier.  Keep adding the Borax solution until you get the desired consistency.  You will need to use your hands to really mix it up.
5.  Store slime in a sealed Ziploc bag.

It doesn't get messier than this!  Pour out different colors of washable paint (I use Crayola) onto paper plates.  Give the kids a piece of construction paper and let them "paint" a picture with their fingers.  Make sure to cover your tables and have plenty of baby wipes and paper towels available!