Toddler Time: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

We recently started offering a Toddler Time storytime for our nearby preschools/daycares. We do this special storytime once a month, and I’ve been assigned to them in July, August, and September (and hopefully October, November, Decemeber, etc.). I am absolutely loving this storytime, and I was so excited about August’s bug theme that not even a bad sinus infection could stop me!

Since it’s been a few months since I posted a storytime on this blog, here’s what I did for my bug theme:



I Love Bugs! by Emma Dodd
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up Book by Eric Carle
Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi



Here is the Beehive:
w/ bee puppet

Here is the beehive,
But where are the bees?
Hiding away where nobody sees.
Here they come.
Out of the hive.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Itsy Bitsy Spider:
3 ways

The itsy, bitsy spider,
Went up the water spout,
Down came the rain and,
Washed the spider out,
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain,
And the itsy, bitsy spider,
Went up the spout again.

Great Big Spider w/ great big voices
Rockin’ Rollin’ Spider sung really, really fast

Very Hungry Caterpillar Flannelboard:

Hand out various food and retell the story. Children put the food on the flannelboard when the time comes.

Wiggle Worms Movement Activity:

I created movement cards based off of bugs: wiggle like a worm, flutter like a butterfly, jump like a grasshopper, buzz like a bumblebee. For this activity, I would randomly select a card and we would move like that bug. The kids loved it!

Fuzzy, Fuzzy Bumblebee
w/ pom-poms as our bumblebees
to the tune of Mary had a Little Lamb

Fuzzy, fuzzy bumblebee,
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
Fuzzy, fuzzy bumblebee,
Landing on my toes [place pom-pom on toes]

Repeat with: knee, elbow, shoulder, head, bed (putting the pom-poms back in the tub)

Three Makerspace Challenges (July, August, September 2016)

It’s time to celebrate, because I’m back with not just one, but 3 makerspace challenges! I’ve decided that posting about each challenge on a monthly basis is tough, so I’m going to try posting 3 challenges quarterly. We’ll see how this goes…

July: Paper Folding

July Makerspace Challenge Paper Folding

While July isn’t as busy as June, it’s still a month in which a LOT of kids are hanging out in the Children’s Department on a daily basis (except for the weekends…we’re dead on the weekends in the summer). Since I knew we’d be busy, I needed an activity that was cheap, simple, had a huge kid appeal, and was easy to stock. Paper folding met all of that criteria.

I bought some origami paper, placed some paper folding books out at the makerspace, and let the kids have at it! I will say that while there were plenty of kids who tried their hands at origami and paper airplanes and other forms of paper folding, there were also a lot of kids who preferred to just cut a bunch of shapes out of the paper. And that was fine with me.

August: Mystery Bags

August Makerspace Challenge Mystery Bags

I was very excited for this one! I love the idea of giving kids an open-ended challenge, and mystery bags are perfect for this kind of activity! I filled the bags with a random assortment of supplies and told the kids that they could only use what was in their mystery bag + scissors + tape to create whatever they can imagine.

This one was a HUGE hit with the kids! I would put three bags out in the morning, and usually by afternoon all three were gone. I even had one child in particular stop by the desk on her way out to tell me out much she liked the mystery bags. Will definitely be doing this one again.

September: Straw Sculptures


Straws are a staple in the makerspace, but the straws that we usually use are clear. For this project, I went out and bought colorful straws in a variety of sizes to make the challenge more fun. I also throw in some colorful pipecleaners as a way for children to construct their sculptures, though they also use tape when they don’t want to use pipe cleaners.

I’ve been gone on vacation for most of the month (and the month isn’t over yet), so I can’t say how popular this one is, but a group of girls did make some straw pyramids, which they then put on their heads to become unicorns, so I know at least some kids are having fun with it.


I’m Going to Try a Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal

It has been a bumpy road for me and my bullet journal, and I haven’t even officially started yet!

When keeping a bullet journal first became super popular a few years back, I was torn between “Yes! This is right up my alley! I’m totally going to do this!” and “…But I kind of already do? But, like, on post-its and stuff?” So while everyone on the Internet started posting about their bullet journal habits, I continued to alternate between the conflicting feelings of “THIS IS SO AWESOME!” and “Why is everyone freaking out about this? It’s not a new concept. I do this already!”

And then I forgot about bullet journaling, almost completely…until a few weeks ago.

I was scrolling through Buzzfeed when I stumbled upon this post. Suddenly, my urge to bullet journal increased by leaps and bounds. I immediately grabbed the nearest notebook and pen and washi tape and got to work, only to discover that:

  1. I am not nearly artistic enough for a pretty bullet journal.
  2. I am not interested in a basic bullet journal. (It’s the Taurus in me; I love beautiful things.)
  3. I do not have time to invest in creating a pretty bullet journal.

I was just about to give up when I found this planner at Target. I picked it up on a whim [side note: I really need a chaperone in Target to keep me from picking up things on a whim] and immediately thought, “Hey, this could work for bullet journaling!”

This is a massive tome of a planner! It has a space in front for you to map out your big picture goals for the year, each month starts out with a monthly calendar, and each page is dedicated to a single day (excluding the weekends, which are smooshed together on one page). On each day page, there’s a place for your schedule, your to do list (with a separate place for your top three things to do), a notes section, a quote, a gratitude, and plenty of space for you to write other things.

Needless to say that my inner Taurus was very happy with this planner. So, yeah, I bought the (overly priced) planner. And I’m going to try the whole bullet journal thing in September. I’ll let you know how it goes.

P.S. Is it still bullet journaling if you use a planner?

Makerspace Create: Tensile Bubbles

Tensile Bubbles Group

The end of Summer Reading always kicks my butt, which is why I’m typing this post up at the beginning of August instead of the beginning of July, which is when I actually offered the program.

So, yeah, at the beginning of last month, I offered my second Makerspace Create program.  Once again, I needed something that was appropriate for a variety of ages. I also needed something that would have high kid appeal, but would be fairly cheap and simple for me. Therefore, I decided to do a tensile bubbles program.

This program was such a big hit! And it was so simple and fun that I’m seriously considering offering it again next year!

Interested in doing a tensile bubble program? Here’s what you need:



Prior to the program, cut the straws into relatively equal quarters and fill the containers with a mixture of bubble solution and water (I believe the bottle of the bubble solution recommends 1 part solution to 7 parts water).

I started the program by instructing the group of kids on how to make a pyramid-shaped bubble wand with pipe cleaners and straws. Afterwards, I gave them some time to create their own bubble wands in any shape they wanted. Once all that was done, we migrated outdoors and spent a good 20 minutes blowing bubbles.

I highly recommend blowing the bubbles outside as opposed to inside. The bubble solution was WONDERFUL, but very, very soapy.

Goodreads Challenge Update #3

2016 Goodreads Challenge 3

Well folks, I have just over 5 months to read 20 more books to meet my Goodreads Challenge! When I posted my last update for this challenge, I mentioned that I hoped I’d fit in an adult book and nonfiction book for this third round, and neither of those things happened. Fingers crossed that I get both an adult book and a nonfiction book in during the fourth round because I’m pretty sure the final round will be mostly middle grade fiction as I read the best middle grade books of the year in preparation for my work’s annual Mock Newbery! Anywho, onto the books:

Amulet // I finished round two of this challenge at the end of April/beginning of May, and there were two books coming out that first week of May that I knew I would devour. So I didn’t want to start a big book, but I needed to read something during the few days that I had before the books came out. So I reverted to what I always revert to in these situations: graphic novels. I picked up the first volume of Amulet because it’s hugely popular at my library (this seems to be a theme with me this year…reading stuff that’s popular with the kiddos). I have to admit that the first volume didn’t enthrall me, but I can see the appeal. I got some strong Neil Gaiman vibes from it, and I would love to read another in the series just to see where it goes. (Whether or not that actually happens is yet to be seen.)

The Crown // I was initially so excited for this one because I love the Selection series, and Eadlyn’s story in particular. However, I was disappointed from the moment I picked the book up in the store. It felt so light to what I was expecting, and I would not be surprised in the slightest if I found out that Kiera Cass wrote both The Heir and The Crown as one book, decided it was too long, and lopped off the last part to make into a separate book. The whole thing felt like one, rushed denouement, and I really would have liked to have seen more development. Plus the guy I was hoping for didn’t win. However, I still really liked this book. It’s a perfect example of how sometimes a book isn’t what you want, but you can still appreciate it for what it is.

The Rose and the Dagger // This was another book that I was very excited for and then somewhat disappointed in when I finally read it. Although my disappointment for this was is because I thought that this series would be a trilogy for some reason. So I read this book thinking that it was the second book. It felt very much like a second book, seeing as it introduced us to new characters and places and concepts. It also felt…and I hate to say it…a little sluggish. Much like how many second books feel. So when it ended, I felt very disappointed. Both over the fact that there wasn’t a third book, and also because for 400 pages, the characters were preparing for a big battle…one that really didn’t seem to come. But, again, I liked it. I think if I had known that there wasn’t going to be a third book, I would have read it in a different mindframe and wouldn’t have been so disappointed with the end.

A Court of Mist and Fury // After reading two books that I was very excited for but ultimately a little disappointed in, I ended up picking up a book that I wasn’t really excited for and ended up loving SO FREAKING MUCH! I read A Court of Thorns and Roses last year, and I wasn’t that into it. As a matter of fact, I remember skipping/skimming entire chapters of it. It was only the end…a moment between two characters (Rhys and Feyre) that made me pick up the second book. And I am so glad I did.

This is Where It Ends // This book had been on my to read list for awhile, so I picked it up once I was able to move onto a new book that wasn’t A Court of Mist and Fury (that book stuck with me for a long time, keeping me from reading anything else). This book is powerful. It’s well-written. And it made me cry at the end (which rarely happens). As a side note, I finished this book (which is about a school shooting) the night of the Orlando shooting. I woke up the next morning and heard the news and promptly decided that I probably won’t read another book about a shooting anytime soon.

The Crown’s Game // I don’t know how I feel about this book. It’s well written, the characters are great, and it has a really strong setting. It also has a lot of things that I would normally love in a book: a historical setting, Russia, magic… Still, it was kind of a slow read for me. I liked it. It was fine. But I found myself sighing a lot and wondering how much longer I had until the end of the chapter. 

The Raven Cycle // I hadn’t intended to read this series. The plot seemed very weird to me (psychics? a dead king? prep school boys? what?). But so many people were raving about the series that I decided to pick it up…and I became enraptured with it. The plot’s still silly. But the writing is amazing. The characters are amazing. The setting is amazing. Definitely one of my new faves!

Makerspace Challenge: Pipe Cleaner Creations

Pipe Cleaner Creations

June’s Makerspace Challenge was pipe cleaner creations, and it was a huge hit! As a matter of fact, the day that I changed the challenge to pipe cleaner creations, a coworker came up to me as I was filling a tub with pipe cleaners, and she said, “Did you stock up on pipe cleaners? Because I can see this one being popular.” And even as she said it, a tween left her computer to come over to the Makerspace and make something!

Since then, I saw a lot of flowers and bracelets and finger puppets, all made with pipe cleaners! I even had one tween make a very realistic pipe cleaner Sonic the Hedgehog!

Sonic the Hedgehog

June is almost over, so in a few days, I’ll be putting most of the pipe cleaners away in favor of a new medium. In the meantime, I can’t wait to see what else kids will make!