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:

toddler-time-bugs-books

Books:

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

toddler-time-bugs-activities

Activities:

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
BUZZ!

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)

10 New-ish Picture Books That are Storytime Gold

Storytime GoldHoot and Peep1. Hoot and Peep by Lita Judge.

Exquisite illustrations reminiscent of Van Gogh’s Starry Night really make this picture book stand out as a gem. The story features a pompous older old brother who wants to share his owly wisdom with his little sister and doesn’t seem to appreciate his sister’s unique voice. When I shared it in storytime, I invited the children to “hoo” along with the owls, which ended up being a big hit! This book is a tad on the longer side, so it’s best to share it slightly older preschoolers, though the toddlers in my group enjoyed “hoo-ing” just as much as the older kids. “Hoo-ing” aside, this is also a quieter book, best shared at the start of storytime before the wiggles really take over.

Super Jumbo2. Super Jumbo by Fred Koehler.

Every child dreams of being a super hero, and this picture book perfectly captures the imaginative ways children pretend to save the day. Prior to storytime, I enjoyed examining the pictures and got a chuckle over some of the details. During storytime, I appreciated the spare text that makes this book great for sharing with wiggly kids and toddlers. I also loved the opportunities for open-ended questions that this book presented. Examples include: “Who is he helping?”, “Do you think they want to be helped?”, and “What’s Super Jumbo’s greatest weakness?” The story ends with the message that helping a friend makes the world a little more super.

Get Out of My Bath3. Get Out of My Bath by Britta Teckentrup

This is an older one (copyright, 2015), but I didn’t get a chance to use it in storytime until recently because it had been so popular that it was almost constantly checked out! This is an interactive book in which you tilt and shake the book to make the bath water move. While I’m not thrilled with the way elephant asks the other animals to leave her bath (“Get out of my bath” just seems a little rude to me), the kids definitely enjoyed the story and parents wanted to check the book out after storytime. The illustrations are also cute, and the fact that this book is interactive and short makes it perfect for a wiggly crowd!

Opposite Zoo

4. The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na

I’m sure it’s a surprise to no one that a book by Il Sung Na is on this list. This book features Na’s whimsical artwork and also focuses on a favorite topic for the younger crowd: opposites! A monkey visits its neighbors in a zoo, and the readers are introduced to various opposites by the animals. Some are predictable: the sloth is slow, and the cheetah is fast. But other pairings are more imaginative. When I read this in a family storytime, the kids loved pointing out the various opposite pairs. The short text and colorful illustrations makes this book perfect for a toddler storytime, but it works equally well for the slightly older crowd.

Good Night Like This5. Good Night Like This by Mary Murphy

Pretty much everything by Mary Murphy is storytime gold, but I love this book in particular because of it’s twilight colors and the calming text. This is a perfect book calming down a hyper-active bunch (if they are able to be calmed down, that is), and it’s also great for a quieter bunch. Perceptive children may even spot the silhouettes of animals telling others good night on each page.

I am bear6. I Am Bear by Ben Bailey Smith and Sav Akyuz

I gotta warn you, this book could wrinkle some parent noes over the fact that the bear starts out bare. I personally feel, however, that it’s a good opportunity to expand vocabulary and maybe talk about homophones (plus the kids will get a good laugh). Bare bears aside, this book is wonderful. Full of bright colors with only two sentences per spread, this could work very well for kids of all ages. There’s also an opportunity for a game of peek-a-boo, and who doesn’t love shouting out BOO in storytime?

Puddle7. Puddle by Hyewon Yum

Okay, I haven’t actually tried it yet, but I have grand plans for this book in storytime. My plan involves paper, crayons, and having the kids draw their own version of puddles while I read the story. At the end, we’ll all stand up, put our puddles on the floor and jump in! Depending on the crowd, this could either be a great extension activity or a disaster. Still, I’m super excited to try something creative with this imaginative book!

Peddles8. Peddles by Elizabeth Ross Stanton

Speaking of imaginative stories, Peddles is about an adorable pig who thinks outside of the box. When Peddles discovers his love for dancing, he goes off to find some appropriate footwear. After a few unfortunate options (paint cans, flower pots, and even bee hives) Peddles finds a nice pair of red boots. Unfortunately, he finds it difficult to walk in said boots until he gets some help from his barnyard friends. Featuring pencil and watercolor illustrations and focusing on the themes of creativity and teamwork, this is a great one to share in storytime!

Strictly No Elephants9. Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Montchev

I feel like I say this a lot — or, at least, I think it a lot — but this book is SO FRIGGIN’ CUTE! A little boy with a pet elephant is excluded from a pet club due to his unusual choice of pet. While this is very disheartening the boy eventually finds other children with weird pets and they start their own club. The illustrations are charming and the story could open up a great conversation about inclusion and treating others as you want to be treated. If that’s a little heavy-handed for your storytimes, you could also change the conversation to what kinds of unusual pets the kids would like to have and make a chart of their pets (unusual or otherwise) to add a STEM activity!

Dear Yeti10. Dear Yeti by James Kwan

Two hikers set out to meet the illusive yeti in this wonderful story. Told through a series of (storytime-short) letters to the yeti, we follow the hikers and see how the yeti watches over them on their trip. When a mean, old grizzly attacks, the gentle yeti saves that day using only words (no violence). The story ends with the hikers getting a letter back from the yeti. This is a sweet story to share with a storytime crowd.

 

Family Storytime: Jan 2016

I haven’t been posting many storytime plans on here lately. This is mostly because I usually only do 1 storytime a month (sometimes 2, but usually just the one). It’s also because I no longer do themes unless it’s a special occasion. Still, I’d like to post some storytimes, so here’s what I did in January.

P.S. This storytime doesn’t have a theme, but if it did have a theme, the theme would be, “Awesome books I discovered through Jbrary’s 2015 Favorite Storytime Picture Books post.”

Storytime Books
Books:

Welcome Home, Bear by Il Sung Na
The Fly by Petr Horacek
Fish Jam by Kylie Howarth
Nose to Toes, You are Yummy! by Tim Harrington
Pepper & Poe by Frann Preston-Gannon

Activities:

Along with my usual rhyme cube, we also danced to Jumping and Counting by Jim Gill, sang “Where is Bear” with bear finger puppets, and sang “Shoo Fly” with shoo fly props. The words to “Where is Bear” and “Shoo Fly” are below:

Bear Puppets

Where is Bear?
To the Tune of Where is Thumbkin

[start with hands behind your back]
Where is bear? Where is bear?
[bring one hand, then the other in front of you]
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you today, bear?
Very tired, thank you.
Go to sleep. Go to sleep.
[lower fingers as if bear is sleeping]

Instruct children to count to three then yell, “Wake up, bear!” Repeat rhyme.

Credit: Storytime Katie

Shoo Flies
Shoo Fly (Don’t Bother Me)

[pass out shoo flies and have children wave them around while you sing]

Shoo fly! Don’t bother me!
Shoo fly! Don’t bother me!Shoo fly! Don’t bother me!
I below to somebody.

Oh no! The fly landed on your knee! Where’s your knee? Shoo fly!

Repeat. Choose different body parts such as feet, hands, shoulders, nose, and head.

Credit: Mel’s Desk

How It Went:

This was such a fun storytime! My preschool group especially loved the books; three kids came up to me after storytime to tell me how much they liked them, and one child asked if I could read all of the books again at the next storytime!

My family group also loved it! I’m so glad that I picked really short stories because the average age of the family group was probably 2.5 (if you don’t include the parents’ ages, of course). Despite their young age, the kids were really into the books and loved the extension activities!

The other thing that I noticed about this storytime plan is that it had a good variety of interactive and get up and wiggle stuff, as well as let’s sit quietly stuff. I’ve been noticing that there are two types of storytime kids: those who want to bounce around the whole time, and those who want to sit quietly and listen. I’ve been trying to make sure I have something for both kinds of kids, and this one really worked well.

Mixed Ages Storytime (K-5): Three Little Pigs

Three Little Pigs Activity
Today, I had to give a storytime to a group of kids who ranged in age from Kindergarten to 5th grade. As we all know, these types of storytimes can be very tricky. Normally, I feel as though I lose the kids’ interest when I attempt a storytime for such a wide age range, but today…today things were amazing, so I’m going to share my plan with you all. This plan was inspired by Amy Koester’s Three Little Pigs STEAM program.

Set Up and Supplies:

You will need:

  • A table divided into three areas with tape.
  • Duplo
  • Plastic Cups
  • Index Cards (about half of them folded in half)
  • Jon Scieszka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
  • Music and possibly other cool books (for later)

Intro:

  • Ask the older children to raise their hands. Select 6 volunteers from older children.
  • Bring older children over to the table and assign 2 kids to each of the three supplies (Duplo, cups, and index cards)
  • Tell them that they should build a structure (house, tower, whatever) using their supplies
  • Their building time is during the story. Once the story is over, they are finished.

Story:

  • Read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
  • Have children participate by sneezing loudly

Activity:

  • Once the story is over, have the builders step aside.
  • Tell the other kids that we’re going to try to huff and puff and blow the three structures down.
  • Select three volunteers. They get one breath to try to blow the structures down.
  • Continue selecting volunteers until index cards (and possibly cups) have been blown down.
  • The Duplo will most likely still be standing (unless you’ve got a kid with some amazing lung capacity).
  • Have children return to their seats and break out a hair dryer.
  • Blow everything down.

Follow Up Activities:

  • Depending on time, you can either turn on some music and boogie (the kids really liked doing The Freeze today), read another book, or talk about the library.

How It Went:

This was, by far, the best storytime that I’ve done for such a wide variety of ages. Usually I lose the 4th and 5th graders during storytime, but they LOVED this (even though not all of them got to build). Seriously, I had kids of all ages cheering during this storytime.

And the best part was that they had so much fun during the activity, that they were really up for anything afterwards. This was supposed to be a 30 minute storytime, but the Three Little Pigs activity lasted about 15 minutes, so I had to do a few other activities. The younger ones wanted to read Pete the Cat, and I was afraid that the older ones would stare at me blankly during the story, but they sang along. I then turned on some music, and everybody danced.

So, yes, this was a success, and I’ll definitely be doing it again in the future!

Pre-K Storytime: Super Heroes

I am jumping on the bandwagon and posting about the Super Hero Storytime that I did a few weeks ago for my library’s Free Comic Book Day event! As most of you know, I have given up themes for storytime, but I was happy to do a themed storytime for this special event. Not only was it fun, but it also gave me a chance to read Supertruck to a group!

Opening Song:  The More We Get Together with ASL

First Book:  My Mom Has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister

My Mom Has XRay Vision
This book runs a teensy bit on the long side, particularly if your crowd skews to the young side. However, this is a great book to share with older children! A young boy is convinced that his mom has X-ray vision because she can always tell when he’s up to no good. He tries to test his theory one day by hiding in a closet when he’s supposed to be helping Mom with the groceries. He’s convinced that if she finds him in the closet, then she has X-ray vision. However, Mom is too busy saving the neighbor to come find him, so the boy determines that she does not have X-ray vision. But when she catches him sneaking some snacks  under his shirt, he determines that she has eyes on the back of her head! The twist at the end caused the adults to chuckle.

First Activity: X-Ray Vision Flannelboard Game

X Ray Vision Flannelboard
This is my super hero rip-off of the ever classic little mouse game.  I told children that a robber stole some money from the bank and hid it behind one of the stars on the flannelboard.  I then told them that they were to use their X-ray vision to find which star the money was hiding behind. We did not do a rhyme with this one. Instead, since the stars were numbered, I told children to hold up the number of the star that they think the money was behind, and I chose what seemed to be the most popular star.

Second Book:  Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero by Anne Cottringer

Eliot Jones
Again, this book was a smidgeon longer than what I normally read in storytime. (Or maybe I just tend to read really short books in storytime?) Eliot Jones is a quiet boy by day, but a superhero who saves the world by night.  I loved the colorful illustrations in this, and despite the text being a little long side, it still flowed well for a read aloud.

Second Activity: Five Superheroes Flannelboard/Fingerplay

Five superheroes ready to fly,
Here comes a villain. Stop that guy!
This superhero can save the day.
Off he/she flies — up, up, and away!

I got this rhyme from the amazingly talented Jbrary, and, while it’s not pictured, I used a flannel set that I based off of this one from Storytime Katie.

Third Book: Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears by Carmela LaVigna Coyle

Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears
This book is a more appropriate storytime length (for my standards at least). It’s told in rhyme that is easy to read and discusses all the things that super heroes may have/do.

Third Activity: Did You Ever See a Hero? (with puppets!)

Super Hero Puppets

Did you ever see a hero, a hero, a hero,
Did you ever see a hero, flying through the sky?
Flying this way, and that way, and that way, and this way.
Did you ever see a hero, flying through the sky?

…hopping on one foot…twirling around…saving the day

Rhyme credit goes to Jbrary, and the template for the Popsicle stick super hero puppets goes to Hello Bee.

Last Book: Supertruck by Stephen Savage

Supertruck
I loved this book from the moment I read the first review! Most days, Supertruck is a normal, bespectacled garbage truck. But when a blizzard comes, he takes off the glasses and puts on a plow and saves the day! This was a very short book (perfect for those wiggly toddlers) with great illustrations!

Closing Rhyme: Put Your Hands Up High

 

Themeless Storytimes: Final Thoughts

Themeless Storytimes Banner

In conclusion — and I’m gonna keep this brief because it’s Flannel Friday, and y’all should be checking out some awesome flannelboards right now — themeless storytimes may not be for everyone.  But I’m having lots of fun with them right now.  I may not always stick to themeless storytimes.  I mean, every now and then you just gotta do a bugs storytime or something, you know?  But for right now, themeless storytimes are working really well for me.

What about you?  Do you do themeless storytimes?  If so, what are some of the pros/cons you’ve experienced?