Family Story Time – July 24, 2015

As I mentioned in a previous post, the heavens finally opened this week, and there was much rejoicing.

Who would’ve thought that Vancouverites would be happy about rain?! Obviously we had to include a few rain-celebrating songs this week.

Hello Song: Hello, Friends!

Book 1: Farmyard Beat / Lindsey Craig

farmyard

Songs:

  • I wake up my hands with a shake, shake, shake
  • Come under my umbrella
  • Open/shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Dear Zoo / Rod Campbell

dear zoo

Action songs:

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom
  • If you’re happy and you know
  • Rain is falling down / Jump in the puddles
  • The elevator song

Soothing song:  Mmm-ahh went the little green frog

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!

Jump in the puddles, jump jump jump!

rainAfter weeks of hot, dry weather, we were blessed with a heavy downpour yesterday.

To celebrate, I had to include some rain-themed songs in our story times!

My kids love to jump, so I came up with this fun little rainy day mash up:

I took the first verse of Rain is falling down and mashed it with the jumping part of Sleeping Bunnies. 

The result is pure story time gold.

Rain is falling down – splash!

Rain is falling down – splash!

Falling here, falling there

Rain is falling down – splash!

So……we’ll……

Jump in the puddles!

Jump jump jump!

Jump in the puddles!

Jump jump jump!

Jump in the puddles!

Jump jump jump!

Jump in the puddles!

Jump jump jump!

So. Much. Jumping.

“Again again again!”

We were really wiggly yesterday, so we waved our arms up and down and side to side as we sang about the rain.

The kids loved this new song so much I can’t wait to bust it out during Vancouver’s 10-month-long rainy season…..

Family Story Time – July 17, 2015

This is my first experience running a summer story time series, and so far it’s been very interesting. During the school year our story time audience is largely made up of toddlers, with the occasional preschool group. Because school is out and our family story times have no upper age limit, I’ve had a very mixed group, with everything from babies to older school age siblings. It definitely makes for an interesting dynamic, and it can be challenging to find material that appeals to everyone! Here’s what we did this week:

Hello Song: Hello, Friends!

Book 1: I’m a Dirty Dinosaur / Janeen Brian

dirty

Songs:

  • I wake up my hands with a shake, shake, shake
  • Old Macdonald had a farm
  • Open/shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Pete the Cat – I love my white shoes / Eric Litwin

pete

Action songs:

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom
  • Twinkle twinkle
  • Here we go a marching
  • The elevator song

Soothing song:  Mm-ahh went the little green frog one day

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!

I like getting the most out of my felts, so I’ve been doing a lot of animal songs. Old Macdonald likes to have a varied collection of animals, so this week we had a snake, a monkey, a lion and an elephant join the usual pig, horse and cow, which the kids found hilarious.

Family Story Time – July 10, 2015

It’s so good to be back!! After a month+ long break, story times are back for a six-week summer session. It felt so good to be back in the programming room with all my little ones!

I’m trying to venture out of my comfort zone ever-so-slightly, so today I brought out some felts – something I never do! Here’s what we did and how it went:

Hello Song: Hello, Friends!

Book 1: Bark, George! / Jules Feiffer

bark george

Songs:

  • I wake up my hands with a shake, shake, shake
  • When cows wake up in the morning
  • Open/shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Pete the Cat – The Wheels on the Bus / James Dean

wheels

Action songs:

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom / Far, far, far
  • Twinkle twinkle
  • If you’re happy and you know it
  • The elevator song

Soothing song:  Orca whale

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!

What a fabulous story time! We had an excellent adult/child ratio (no preschools/day cares), and the adults were all really involved and active, which was great. There was a mix of regulars and new patrons, and a lot of families who had been counting down the days until story time started up again!

For my first foray into felts, I combined pieces from “Dear Zoo” and “I went walking” to make a custom “When cows wake up in the morning”. Combining the stories meant I got old standards like “cow” and “horse” as well as fun additions like “elephant”, “snake” and “monkey”! It was a lot of fun, and I cut it down a bit because of time, but I think I could’ve easily gone through all the animals in my bag. It would also be fun to use this customized kit for “Old MacDonald had a farm”, to make a very unique set of farm animals!

All in all a really great way to kick off summer story times!

Family Child Care Story Time – June 10, 2015

Today I filled in for a Family Child Care Story Time at our central branch. This weekly story time is for home childcare providers with small groups of children. The children were mostly toddlers and preschoolers, not too dissimilar from my usual family story time crowd.

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Bark, George!

bark george

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Roly poly

Book 2: The Seals on the Bus

seals

Action Songs

  • Zoom zoom
  • London Bridge is Falling Down
  • Head and shoulders
  • If you’re happy and you know it

Book 3: Little Owl Lost

owl

Cool-down songs:

  • Grr-grr went the little brown bear one day (with puppet)

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

I love testing things out on new audiences. 😉 I don’t typically fit three picture books into my story times, but this crowd seemed primed to sit and listen, so I decided to give it a whirl. It worked surprisingly well – I chose very silly stories that I could play up with facial expressions and different voices, and as usual I stuck to my favourite standbys for this one-off story time.

I also used “If you’re happy and you know it” as my transition song, finishing the song with:

If you’re happy and you know it sit back down / If you’re happy and you know it sit back down / If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it / If you’re happy and you know it sit back down”

I wanted to finish with a puppet, but I didn’t really like any of the frog puppets I could find, so I decided to just sing “grr grr went the little black bear” with an adorable black bear puppet.One of the childcare minders had never heard that version before, and she liked it so much she came up to me afterwards for the words. I love being able to share new versions of old favourites with caregivers – like I always say, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – if you already know a few tunes, work with what you have!

Family Story Time – May 16, 2015

Remember what I was saying about variety being the norm for a children’s librarian?

I arrived for my on-call shift at the children’s department of the central branch to discover that I was scheduled to deliver the morning’s family story time. Surprise! Thankfully I am a bit of an old hat at last minute story times by now.

One of the nicest things about doing on-call story times is that you can cheat. You can bust out your favourite songs and story books, the really popular ones that everyone loves and that you’ve already done to death with your own group. Today’s family story time was a bit of a greatest hits edition, but no Pete the Cat, as I couldn’t find a copy in the story time closet…

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: I went Walking / Sue Williams

walking

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Old MacDonald Had a Farm / Jane Cabrera

macdonald

Action Songs

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom zoom zoom
  • The wheels on the bus
  • Toast in the toaster
  • The elevator song

Cool Down Songs

  • The itsy bitsy spider
  • Open shut them

Goodbye Song: Goodbye Friends!

I had some very enthusiastic caregivers in today’s small story time group who were happy to belt out all of the songs, which took some of the pressure off my voice, which was still a little strained after the program-heavy day before.

Family Story Time – May 15, 2015

For this our last story time of spring, I wanted to go out with a bang, so I tried to plan an extra-special story time that would include all of our favourite songs and activities. To make it extra-special, we did almost the entire story time standing up! We sang our hello song as usual, then sang “when cows wake up in the morning (including a lion and a dinosaur, of course), and then it was up and moving around, even during the stories!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Song: When cows wake up in the morning

Book 1: From Head to Toe / Eric Carle

head

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Jump / Scott M. Fischer

jump

Action Songs

  • Zoom zoom
  • The wheels on the bus
  • Here we go a marching
  • Toast in the toaster
  • Elevator song

Cool-down songs:

  • Grr-grr went the little brown bear one day (with puppet)

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

I know my audience, and what my audience loves best is jumping! So, we jumped to the moon, the people on the bus went up and down, we went a jumping, our toast popped, and our elevators went up and down. Even our second book was all about jumping! We had a delighted, if exhausted crew after story time today, and it was a wonderful note on which to finish off the session.

Family Story Time – May 8, 2015

Well, that was interesting….

Yeah!

Today we implemented a new ticketing system to manage the size of our story times, which meant I had the smallest story time I think I’ve ever had – only 50 people (adults and children) in the big meeting room.

It was a bit of an adjustment, to say the least. What had worked with 40 or 50 children didn’t work as well with only about 25.There was so much space in the room that several of the children took to running around, and it was difficult to wrangle them back for our picture books. It was unlike any story time I’ve ever had in this branch, and my original plan simply didn’t stand a chance, so I had to do some last-minute rejigging to try and MacGyver something together.

I only have one session of story times before we take a break until July, so I only have to manage one more crazy story time before I can rethink my story time strategy to reflect the new reality of my set up.

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: The Very Hungry Caterpillar / Eric Carle

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • The itsy bitsy spider
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: I Went Walking / Sue Williams

walking

Action Songs

  • Zoom zoom
  • If you’re happy and you know it
  • Tick tock
  • Elevator song

Cool-down songs:

  • Mm-ah went the little green frog

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

Only one more week until we take a much-needed summer break!

Family Story Time – May 1, 2015

We’re already into May, I can hardly believe it!

Today was a very exciting day at the branch because we had some special guests visiting us – three community health nurses from a local health centre came by to talk to caregivers about child development, health and resources. For libraries, connecting with local service providers is an increasingly important part of being active, visible members of our communities.

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Clip Clop / Nicola Smee

clipclop

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Old Mikamba Had a Farm / Rachel Isadora

mikamba

Action Songs

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom zoom
  • Head and shoulders
  • Here we go a marching
  • The elevator song

Cool-down songs:

  • Orca whale

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

Old Mikamba Had a Farm was a rousing success – the kids loved seeing all the unusual animals, and making all the wonderful animal noises. We were a little pushed for time because we took a bit of time at the beginning of the program to introduce the health nurses, so I shortened the story a little. The cheetah and the lion were particular crowd pleasers.

I have been introducing the sign for stop in the song Here we go a marching, and I’ve noticed that several of the kids have picked up the sign, and are signing along with me!

Only two more story times until we take a bit of a break for the summer! Where has the time gone?!?!

Family Story Time – April 24, 2015

I had planned a very rain-themed story time for today in the spirit of the weather, complete with all sorts of songs and stories about rain. Wouldn’t you know, about thirty minutes before story time started the heavens cleared and the sun shone through – so it was back to the drawing board! Here’s what we did:

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Dear Zoo / Rod Campbell

dear zoo

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: The Seals on the Bus / Lenny Hort

seals

Action Songs

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom zoom
  • The hokey pokey
  • Toast in the toaster
  • The elevator song

Cool-down songs:

  • Mm-ahh went the little green frog (with puppet)

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

Funnily enough, the hokey pokey was not an audience favourite this time around. The kids enjoyed shaking and turning around, but weren’t all that excited by the song, so I kept it brief – arms, legs, whole self.

What they really, really seem to love is jumping. Jumping, jumping, anything with jumping. So, toast in the toaster was received with much enthusiasm after the lackluster response to the hokey pokey!

Mm-ahh is a perennial favourite because I make sure that all the children practice really sticking their tongues out for an authentic froggy experience, which they just find absolutely hilarious. I also happen to have a freakishly long tongue (think Gene Simmons….), which typically leads to shrieks of laughter. I’m not above an easy sight gag 😉