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 – March 27, 2015

So, after the brief interlude that was spring break, we’re back to massive story times again. We ended up having to turn almost 20 people away from our story time because we were just too full. Thank goodness for my voice amplifier, I don’t think I’d be able to continually make myself heard over the crowd, week after week.

I tried out a new-to-me story this week, Two Little Monkeys by Mem Fox, and the kids seamed to enjoy it. I might suggest that it’s a good choice for early on in the program, when the kids are at their most attentive and least wiggly. I don’t think this would have flown quite as well later in the program, as there aren’t as many opportunities for audience participation. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty using Pete the Cat in story times, it feels like a bit of a librarian cop out, but when you have a large group of wiggly toddlers and preschoolers, the simple story, catchy, repetitive refrain and opportunities for participation really come in handy. We had a lot of excited counters in the audience today, and they loved helping me with each POP!

I also had some requests from the gallery today. I wasn’t planning on doing The Wheels on the Bus, but several of the kids asked for it, and I was happy to oblige. Sometimes it’s better to just go with the flow! We also added dinosaurs to our repertoire of animals who wake up in the morning, thanks to an enthusiastic audience request, which was a lot of fun!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Two Little Monkeys / Mem Fox

monkeys

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • When cows wake up in the morning
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons / Eric Litwin

buttons

Action Songs

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom zoom
  • Twinkle twinkle little star
  • The wheels on the bus
  • The elevator song

Soothing songs:

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

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

I’m also embracing puppets, slowly but surely. I’ve been introducing a different puppet friend and related song each week (I’ll start repeating them soon, we don’t have a huge puppet collection at the branch), and it’s been a lot of fun! I don’t think I’m brave enough for felt stories yet though…..!

Preschool visit and story time – March 19, 2015

One of the things I love so much about being a children’s librarian is the variety that comes with the position – no two days are ever quite the same! We get to do so much outreach in our positions, and I for one am pretty passionate about getting out into the community, meeting our neighbors and being involved in what’s going on around us.

Today I had the opportunity to visit a local preschool and participate in their circle time. It was a bit of a last-minute arrangement, and due to scheduling constraints I didn’t have my usual thirty minute story time allowance, so I had to be a little creative with my program. As I’ve said before, that’s one of the things I love about doing on-call or drop-in story times – they’re perfect opportunities to spread my wings a little, branch out and try new things!

We had a small group – only 16 kids, but they were so engaged in the stories and so excited to participate.

Here’s what I did with the lovely little preschoolers I met on this super soggy spring day:

Book 1: Little Owl Lost / Chris Haughton

owl

Song: Roly poly

Book 2: Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons /  James Dean, Eric Litwin

buttons

Songs: I wake up my hands

The itsy bitsy spider

Book 3: I’m a Dirty Dinosaur /  Janeen Brian & Ann James

dirty

And just for fun: Here I am sitting in the neighborhood house with my books, waiting to make my grand entrance into the preschool –  a little bedraggled from the terrible rain, but ready to get this story time started!

index

Family Story Time – November 7, 2014

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Down on the Farm / Merrily Kutner

farm

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly
  • Mm-ah went the little green frog one day

Book 2: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

buttons

Action Songs

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom zoom
  • Twinkle twinkle little star
  • Head and shoulders
  • Tick tock tick tock
  • The elevator song

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

 

Down on the Farm is such a fun book! I adore rhythmic texts that I can turn into jazz chants, and this one has a great, simple refrain that is repeated on every page – “down on the farm, down on the farm.” The book is a little long for my squirrely little ones, even with lots of animal noises thrown in for good measure, so I skipped a few pages (a trick I learned as I was a student is to fasten pages together with paper clips to adapt books for different audiences), but no one seemed to mind.

Just a side note – “roof” and “woof” don’t rhyme well unless you have an American accent….

Holy smokes we had a big crowd today, this biggest I’ve ever had at this branch. It was a bit zany, to say the least!!

Sing it again!

I love to sing. In the shower, on the bus (quietly), while shopping (again, hopefully quietly), I am one of those people who always seems to be humming a merry little tune. So it’s no surprise that I love picture books that can be sung! Singable picture books are a secret weapon that I like to pull out towards the end of a story time, when the children are getting wiggly and just want to keep singing Zoom Zoom Zoom over and over again.

I also like to use singable picture books to show caregivers how much use they can get out of a picture book – read it, chant it, sing it, turn it into a felt story, act it out with stuffed toys – get as much bang for your buck out of that story as you can! Plus, kids thrive on repetition, and odds are the caregiver will be sick of the story long before their child is….

Here are just a few of the singable picture books I’ve used in my family story times.

Paint1

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More – Karen Beaumont

Colour, colour and more colour! A mischievous little boy is determined to use his body as a canvas for his riotously colourful abstract works. Sing this one to the tune of the boy scout campfire classic, “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More”.

seals

The Seals on The Bus – Lenny Hort

One of many versions of this children’s classic, Hort’s version is one of my favourites because of its wonderful illustrations and hilarious cast of noisy characters – a perfect book for encouraging audience participation.

mikamba

Old Mikamba Had a Farm – Rachel Isadora

Another spin on a familiar classic, Rachel Isadora’s beautiful collage illustrations introduce children to a host of African animals, from the familiar lion to the adorable little dassie. Expand your story time horizons in a way that is still very accessible.

pete

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes – Eric Litwin

What more is there to say? This is a great introduction to singable picture books, as it’s really only the jazzy refrain that gets sung. While many children already know this book, most are more than happy to sing it again….and again….and again…