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.

Preschool Group Visit – March 26, 2015

Oh. My. Goodness.

All respect to preschool teachers – you guys are unsung heroes in our communities!

A local preschool group came to visit today, and this is pretty much how I felt afterwards:

By Umberto Salvagnin (originally posted to Flickr as Sleeping) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I love preschoolers – they are so enthusiastic and curious and energetic, and they can handle more complex stories and activities than my usual demographic of toddlers and babies. Preschoolers will ask questions, and let you know clearly and often volubly if they approve or disapprove of your story time selections.

But the very attributes that make preschoolers so much fun to work with can also make them a bit of a handful, especially in large numbers! Preschool or daycare visits can also be markedly different from in-house story times because of the change in child:adult ratio. In my regular story times, the attendance ratio is typically one child for every adult, while a group visit can have around 7 children for every adult. This can sometimes make wrangling the group feel a bit like herding cats. Adorable, talkative cats who give you big hugs at the end of the program, but still, cats.

"Street cats (1)" by Rodrigo Basaure from Santiago, Chile - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Street_cats_(1).jpg#/media/File:Street_cats_(1).jpg

Here’s what we ended up doing – it’s not really what I’d planned, but it’s what ended up working for this frisky group.

Book 1: Bark, George! / Jules Feiffer

bark george

Songs:

  • I wake up my hands
  • The itsy bitsy spider

Book 2: Pete the Cat I Love my White Shoes / Eric Litwin

pete

Action Songs:

  • Head and Shoulders
  • Tick tock tick tock
  • The elevator song

Book 3: The Wheels on the Bus / Jane Cabrera

wheels

Action Songs:

  • Zoom zoom
  • If you’re happy and you know it

If You’re Happy and You Know It is a great transition/instruction song. I used the tune to sing “If you’re happy and you know it wave goodbye”, “If you’re happy and you know it find your partner” and “If you’re happy and you know it line up now” – it was a perfect transition into the next portion of their visit, which was a book exchange.

Preschoolers really aren’t my typically demographic, but they’re a lot of fun! If anyone has any suggestions for great books or song to use with preschoolers, please please share!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a bit of a lie down after all that cat wrangling…. 🙂

Family Story Time – March 13, 2015

Another Friday, another set of story times! We had a smaller group at family story time today – it’s spring break, and a lot of branches take a story time break, but we decided to motor on through, even with a smaller group than normal. To be honest, though, this smaller size was just about perfect – we had about 65 people in our meeting room, and it was really nice – not too empty, not too crowded. Here’s what we did!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Ten in the Den / John Butler

ten

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly
  • Little turtle in a shell, sitting so still…

Book 2: The Wheels on the Bus / Jane Cabrera

wheels

Action Songs

  • Zoom zoom
  • Twinkle twinkle little star
  • If you’re happy and you know it
  • The elevator song
  • Orca whale

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

Remarkably similar to last week’s family story time, but I’m still struggling with my voice and my stamina, so I’m sticking to the old standards until I’ve got a bit more of my juice back!

Funny story – a mother came to tell me how her little girl was so upset at the part in “Ten in the Den’ when all the other animals have rolled out of the bed, and it’s just the little mouse alone in the den, missing his friends. So empathetic, and so sweet!

Family Story Time – March 8, 2015

One of the nice things about doing on-call story times at different branches is that it’s a great opportunity to try out new story time structures. My regular weekly group has their favourite songs and rhymes, and they know the regular structure of my story times. While I do like to change things up a little bit from week to week,children thrive on repetition, and I try to keep the structure of my story time the same from week to week, changing out books and song for variety.

Today I did a story time for a comfy cozy little group of 6 or 7 children and their caregivers, which was a far cry from my usual 80+!

Also unlike my usual story times, this one had a theme! I typically don’t do themed story times – I don’t like being tied to a theme, and having to potentially pick substandard books or books that don’t fit my demographic because I’m desperate to find books that fit a theme! But, this story time is typically themed and the theme was selected in advance, so I went with the flow.

Here’s what we did today!

Theme: Waking Up and Getting Ready

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush / Jane Cabrera

Here

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Roly poly
  • Open Shut them

Book 2: Time to Get Up, Time To Go / David Pilgrim

time to get up

Songs

  • Bend and Stretch
  • If you’re happy and you know it

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

dirty

Songs

  • When cows wake up in the morning
  • The elevator song

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

Definitely a different sort of story time, but a lot of fun! Both “Time to get up” and “I’m a dirty dinosaur” have great rhythm and are so much fun to chant – “Time to get up” actually became a bit of a call-and-answer experience when a couple of the older kids started repeating all the lines after me. I wasn’t expecting it, but it was a great way of including the kids in the story, and offered yet another example of the importance of learning to go with the flow and expecting the unexpected when it comes to working with kids!

Family Story Time – January 16, 2015

And we’re back! After a month away, story times are back at my branch, and I am thrilled!

Pro tip – make sure to read through your picture books before you use them in story time…I had done “Here we go round the mulberry bush” before, but didn’t have a copy in the branch, so I ordered one from another branch. Figuring I knew the story, I pulled it out in story time, only to discover that about half the pages were missing! Fortunately it’s more of a song than a story, so I could wing the ending, but it did throw me off momentarily! So – if you’re using a new copy of a book, make sure all the pages are there (and not scribbled on….)!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Clip Clop / Nicola Smee
clipclop

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Mmm-ahh went the little green frog
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Here we go round the mulberry bush / Jane Cabrera

Mulberry bush

Action Songs

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom zoom
  • The wheels on the bus
  • Orca whale
  • Here we go a-driving
  • The elevator song

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!