My preschool storytime is on Tuesday mornings, and we had a two week break from these storytimes due to both Christmas and New Years falling on Tuesdays this year (we were closed both days). So last week was the triumphant return of preschool storytime, and I thought a polar animal theme would be a great way to kick off January!
Opening Song: Open, Shut Them
Book #1: Nothing Like a Puffin by Sue Soltis
This is a wonderfully illustrated picture book that details ways that things are similar to or different from puffins. What I like most about this book, aside from the bright illustrations, is the fact that it really makes children (and adults!) think. You wouldn’t think that a newspaper has anything in common with a puffin…but wait…they’re both black and white! And surely a goldfish isn’t anything like a puffin…but wait…goldfish and puffins both like to swim! Another plus for this book is the fact that it focuses on puffins instead of the more popular penguins. There is a penguin in this book, but it’s the puffin who takes center stage.
Activity #1: Five Baby Penguins
One baby penguin makes a wish.
Two baby penguins catch a fish.
Three baby penguins slip and slide.
Four baby penguins run and hide.
Five baby penguins look around, calling “Mama! Mama! Mama!”
Now they are found.
Credit: Mary…she also links the clipart used to make the penguin
Book #2: Oh! What a Surprise! by Suzanne Bloom
This book has not just one, but three arctic animals: a polar bear, a goose and a fox (although the fox is not wearing its winter coat). I love this series for its simplicity, and the stories usually have a good moral about friendship that I can discuss with the kids after reading. In this one, the moral involves how wonderful it is to surprise your friends with gifts.
Book #3: Baby Penguin Slips and Slides by Michael Teitelbaum
I’ve been introducing simple nonfiction books into my storytimes this year. This particular nonfiction book focuses on baby penguins. The bulk of the book chronicles a day in the life of a baby penguin, who slips and slides and plays hide and seek with its friends. The book is interspersed with Fact Stop bubbles that provide information about penguins. There’s a spread in the middle of the book that has baby penguin hiding under the snow, and the kids loved coming up to the book and finding baby penguin!
Activity #2: Polar Bear Play
For this one, I put the polar bear on the board, then hand out different colored felt circles to the children. Then I call out:
“Polar bear wants to play! He wants to catch the red ball today. Who has the red ball? If you have the red ball, bright it up to me.”
Credit: Kari Ann at My Storytime Life
iPad App: Nothing Ever Happens at the South Pole
This is a great e-book for Stan and Jan Berenstain’s story. It flows really well, rhymes, highlights words as they’re read, and states what a picture is when tapped. It does run a tad on the long side (not too long, but I wouldn’t recommend it for very young children or children who are overly wiggly). The best thing about this e-book is how smoothly it transitions between pages. It doesn’t have razzle dazzle animations; instead, it has gently falling snow and floating air bubbles under the water. These animations are subtle and beautiful and create a relaxing atmosphere without causing much distraction. The kids really enjoyed this app as well. They sat quietly, pointed out the different animals to me, and one little girl got really into it (she gasped and covered her mouth when she saw the polar bears, then she smiled when the penguin walked away oblivious and unscathed).
Closing Song: Children, Children Turn Around
How It Went:
This was a great storytime! My regulars were so excited to be back at storytime, and they seemed to really enjoy the books and activities. The Polar Bear Play flannelboard was definitely a big hit. I’m also pleased with how well the nonfiction book was received by the children. I’m trying to insert more STEAM aspects into my existing programs, taking baby steps to one day hosting full STEAM program.