Monday, December 11, 2017

Elements of a Great Storytime: Transitions

During a typical storytime, a transition from one type of activity to another entirely different type of activity happens several times.  For example, the children might be jumping up and down to a song but then need to switch gears to sitting down for a story.  A smooth and well done transition from jumping to sitting calmly is not necessarily difficult.  Yet it does so much in creating a storytime where everyone is ready to participate on the next part.



A smooth transition does not need to be long or tiresome.  A little thought into a few words can bring everyone's attention around to the next activity.

  • When moving from a book to a standing activity I might say, "The bunny (or whatever character was in the book) was happy to do _____. Now let's all stand up to do a happy dance."
  • When moving from one book to another book I might say, "What animal do you see on the cover of my next book?"
A smooth transition can also be more thought out and lengthy.  Still, a little thought into what you want to achieve at the end of the transition is needed.
  • If I feel that not everyone is sitting and ready to pay attention to a book I might say, "Is everybody sitting criss-cross applesauce?  Bottoms on the ground?  Hands in your laps?  Ears ready for listing? (touch your ears to check on them, of course) Eyes on the book?"
  • When moving from a very active wiggling and dancing activity, I might do a rhyme to get everyone back in their seats and attention back on me.Here are two of my favorites to use. 
Open, Shut Them (Traditional fingerplay with many variations. Jbrary has a nice YouTube video showing one version.)

(Start off by asking the group to show you their two hands)

Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 

Come A'Look A'See (Fingerplay song I first picked up at a workshop conducted by Jane Cobb. Jbrary has a nice YouTube video showing how to do this song.)

(Start off by having the group show you their hand family)

Come a'look a'see,
Here's my mama, (point to thumb)
Come a'look a'see,
Here's my papa, (point to index finger)
Come a'look a'see,
My brother tall, (point to tall finger)
Sister, baby, (point to ring, then baby finger)
I love them all. (kiss the fingertips of your finger family)


If transitions do not come natural to you.  That is okay. They didn't for me at first.  A kind hearted children's librarian observed this in my first year of doing storytimes and set me up on track to learning how to do it automatically.  At first, I needed to write each and every transition out on paper. Now, after all these years, I rarely think about them. But I value their role in my storytimes. They are truly a very important element to every storytime!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Flashlights in the Night Preschool Storytime

Storytime for 3 to 5 year olds:



  • Color literacy activity flannelboard - Twinkle, Twinkle Colored Stars
Directions: Hand out colored stars to every child. Sing the song once. Then change out the word "little" with a color of a star. The children comes up to place their star on the board when their color is sung. 
 



  • Activity - This is Baby Ready for a Nap (fingerplay I found in the book I'm a Little Teapot! by Jane Cobb)



   
 

  • Art experience - Use bingo paint dabbers on flashlight drawing and then use scissors to cut out the flashlight

Friday, December 1, 2017

Lights in the Dark Storytime

Storytime for 1 to 3 year olds:
  • Opening - Skinnamarink, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum
   
 


  • Stand-up Activity – "If You're Happy and You Know It" action song from Songs for Wiggleworms by Old Town School of Folk Music

  • Bridge - Open, Shut Them (fingerplay)
Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 


  • Flannelboard - "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" traditional song
Directions: Hand out colored stars to every child. Sing the song once. Then change out the word "little" with a color of a star. The children come up to place their star on the board when their color is sung. 

  • Letter of the Day - "L" is for light


  • Activity – During the Night (action chant written by Carol Hopkins)
During the night I know that...
Stars twinkle in the sky
Bats fly and swoop through the air
Owls flap their wings before saying, "Who-Who"
Cats jump from place to place
Opossums climb up trees
Raccoons run across the grass
Wolves howl at the moon
And I lie in my bed to sleep

  • Closing - Tambourines to the song "Fruit Salad Salsa" from Victor Vito by Laurie Berkner 
   
 

  • Art Experience – Place foil star stickers on light-bulb cut outs

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Bubbles in the Bath Storytime

Storytime for 1 to 3 year olds:
  • Opening - Skinnamarink, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum
   
 

  • Book #1 – Time for a Bath by Phillis Gershator, illustrated by David Walker


  • Bridge - Open, Shut Them (fingerplay)
Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 


  • Flannelboard - Ten Rubber Duckies (counting song I found in a book years ago)

  • Letter of the Day - "B" is for bath


  • Activity – Bubbles All Around (action rhyme I found in a Mailbox magazine)

  • Closing - Tambourines to the song "Fruit Salad Salsa" from Victor Vito by Laurie Berkner 
  
 

  • Art Experience – Use cups (in this case, cleaned out yogurt cups) and tempera paint to stamp bubbles onto a drawing of a bathtub

Monday, November 20, 2017

Body Parts Storytime

Storytime for 1 to 3 year olds:
  • Opening - Skinnamarink, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum
  
 



  • Bridge - Open, Shut Them (fingerplay)
Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 

  • Flannelboard - How Many Feet? 
Birds have two
Dogs have four
Beetles have six
Spiders have eight
That's quite a lot more than me because I only have two feet!

  • Letter of the Day - "T" is for toes



  • Closing - Tambourines to the song "Fruit Salad Salsa" from Victor Vito by Laurie Berkner 
   
 

  • Art Experience – Glue sewing trim and fabric scraps to gingerbread body shapes

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

D.I.Y. Fidget Spinners

It can be tough to create a library program that tween patrons want to attend.  For this reason, I tried to create a program around something these not-quite-teenagers find popular.  The result was this fidget spinner creation event.



A simple Google search will find plenty of information on how to make your own fidget spinners.  I chose four designs that seemed easy enough to create, yet looked different from each other.


Ball Bearings and Zip Ties
The easiest and most popular of the spinners we made!  All you need is 3 ball bearings, 6 zip ties, and wire cutters.  This YouTube video best describes how to make it. 


Bottle Caps
This spinner did not take a lot of skill to make, but it did require a lot of glue from a hot glue gun. This YouTube video describes a simple to make version. Supplies include the hot glue gun, 5 bottle caps, toothpicks, wire cutters, and pennies. An optional supply is cardstock or cardboard for the edges of the toothpicks. The pennies inside the caps really did make it spin better. 


Cardstock and Toothpicks
This was the most complex of the four spinners to make. They look so simple but require many steps. It spins the best after the glue has dried. Red Ted Art has fantastic directions and templates.


Perler Beads
This was the second most popular spinner to make. The teen librarian already had a ton of Perler bead supplies so this was an easy addition to the program. Templates and instructions can be found at the official Perler.com website. Be aware that the template requires a hex peg board. We only had square boards so I had to special order the hex boards. This spinner does require many steps: Place the beads on the board, iron it, hot glue the ball bearing and hex nuts to the beads.  I suggest checking that the ball bearings and nuts fit into their allotted holes before applying the iron. 

I had three super awesome teen volunteers from the local Key Club helping me at this event. The majority of the attending tweens managed to make three of the four spinners during the one hour event. Many were surprised at how well the spinners actually worked. It was a fun event to put together.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Turkey Day Storytime

Storytime for 1 to 3 year olds:
  • Opening - Skinnamarink, Sticky Sticky Bubblegum



  • Stand-up Activity – "If You're Happy and You Know It" action song from Songs for Wiggleworms by Old Town School of Folk Music

  • Bridge - Open, Shut Them (fingerplay)
Open, shut them
(open and close hands)
Open, shut them
Give a little clap (clap)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
(put hands in lap)

Creep them, creep them
Under your chin
(creep fingers up chest)
Open your mouth, but don't put them in
(do as words say)

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap
Open shut them
Open shut them
Put them in your lap 



  • Letter of the Day - "T" is for turkey



  • Activity – I'm a Little Turkey (action song to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot" found in The Mailbox Preschool magazine, Oct./Nov. 1999, page 37)

     
 

  • Art Experience – Glue many colored feathers onto a turkey drawing