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 – March 20, 2015

We’re in the second week of spring break, and the composition of my family story time was considerably different this morning! Typically it’s predominantly toddlers with a few preschoolers, but because of the school closures we had a number of older brothers and sisters in the crowd today, with quite a few elementary school aged kids. It certainly made for a different dynamic, but they seemed to enjoy the stories all the same.

I love Little Owl Lost, and I will take any opportunity I can find to bust out this simple but hilarious story. The kids find squirrel just about the funniest thing ever, and delight in pointing out his very silly mistakes.Like another of my all-time favourites, Bark George, Little Owl Lost lends itself to a bit of comedic over-acting in the delivery – I like to do a few dramatic double-takes when each candidate for the mummy owl is revealed, and make poor little owl more and more exasperated as the story progresses, and the kids just eat it up. Lots and lots of fun.

Funnily enough, some kids just adored The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, while others just could not wrap their minds around it. A few of the more literal-minded children in the audience wore confused expressions throughout this story – in their mind, cows are not supposed to be yellow, nor foxes purple! We talked about imagination and make believe and being creative, but these little pragmatists simply would not budge!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Little Owl Lost / Chris Haughton

owl

Hand Rhymes

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

Book 2: The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse / Eric Carle

blue

Action Songs

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom zoom
  • Head and shoulders
  • Tick tock tick tock, I’m a little cuckoo clock
  • The elevator song
  • Orca whale

Puppet:

  • Little worm in an apple, sitting so still!

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

I’ve been trying to add in a few calming songs or rhymes at the end of our program, right before the goodbye song. I think of it as a way of wrapping the story time up and creating a sense of closure, rather than abruptly coming to a close right after the exuberant action song section. Today I had the children sit after the elevator song, and we sang the orca whale song, which includes some gentle hand actions. We wrapped everything up with a visit from the little worm in the apple, and used the following rhyme:

Little worm, in an apple, sitting so still!

Will he come out? Yes, he will!

He looks to the left, he looks to the right,

He looks straight ahead, then pops! out of sight.

We have several of these puppets, with little creatures that can pop out and greet the children – a worm in an apple, a chick in an egg and a turtle in a shell. The children delight in seeing the little creature POP in and out of its home, and we say the rhyme several times. It’s a nice way to round out the program, and an easy way for me to come to grips with my nervousness around using puppets!

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 1, 2014

Another day, another family story time. This morning I led a family story time in a new-to-me branch that has only recently started offering Saturday morning story times. Because the program is new, and is only offered every other week, we weren’t expecting a big group – which is just as well, as the branch meeting room was unavailable and I set up shop in the children’s area.

The group started out pretty small – only a handful of very young children and their caregivers seated in a semi-circle on the floor. As the program wore on, children were drawn from around the library by my enthusiastic (read : loud) singing, and our numbers soon grew.

Here’s what we did! I don’t typically do three books at a family story time, but this was a small, quiet group and the books were short and interactive, so it worked out really well. The small space wasn’t conducive to too much jumping around, but we did manage to fit in a few jumping songs (mostly because I love doing them so much!). No one in the group has done the elevator song before, so we sang that one a couple of times – it was an all-ages hit, so I think they’ll be requesting it in the future!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Monkey and Me / Emily Gravett

monkey

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • The itsy bitsy spider

Book 2: Little Owl Lost / Chris Haughton

owl

Hand Rhymes

  • Roly poly
  • Open shut them

Book 3: Bark, George / Jules Feiffer

bark george

Action Songs

  • Zoom Zoom
  • The elevator song

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

Oh, Bark, George. You have served me so well, for so long, and without fail. Apparently my animal impressions need a bit of work, though. My “oink, oink” apparently sounded like a cow.

The most hilarious part of the experience was the tween who walked up behind me while I was reading a story, tapped me on the shoulder, and said “could you be a bit quieter?”. Once the initial shock wore off, my response was something along the lines of a hissed-through-a-smile “no, I cannot. But you are free to move to a quieter part of the library.” Oh tweens….

Surprise! It’s story time!

I checked my email this morning to discover that an after school group was coming to visit my branch this afternoon, and that they were hoping for a story time. I said, without hesitation, “of course!” One great thing about being an auxiliary librarian is that last-minute story times don’t phase me in the least.

I don’t often get to work with school-age or “middle years” groups, so it’s great to step outside of my comfort zone every once in a while and interact with different age groups.

The afternoon group really just wanted me to share a few stories with them, so I followed my own tried-and-true advice and pulled out a few old favourites that I knew would be fun to read aloud to the older kids.

Little Owl Lost – Chris Haughton

An enthusiastic but not particularly bright squirrel tries to help a little lost owl find his mother. Kids love rolling their eyes at the squirrel’s hilariously unsuccessful attempts to reunite mother and baby.

owl

Grumpy Bird – Jeremy Tankard

Everybody loves grumpy animals – just think of the internet sensation that is Grumpy Cat. This book is a lot of fun to read – I love making Grumpy Bird get more and more over-the-top exasperated by his increasing band of animal followers. Because as we all know, nothing makes a grumpy person grumpier than a cheerful person who just can’t help being cheerful.

grumpy

Normally I might have considered pulling out Bark, George, as it works with audiences of almost all ages, but having just read it four times over the weekend, I needed a bit of a break from good old George!