Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving: Pre-K and Family Storytime

We talked briefly about being thankful and about what makes Thanksgiving fun! 

*I am thankful for my co-workers who help me with props and puppets so that stories really come to life:

Me (Miss Tara)              Lesley                        Erica


Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson.  Bear thanks his friends for bringing food to his dinner party.

Props for Bear Says Thanks:

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson.  You know how it goes!

I really, really shortened this book by skipping the repetitious text and the part about dieing.  My co-worker* assembled the flannel pieces as I read.  The different sized skirts are added to the old lady as she gets bigger and bigger.

I'm a Turkey by Jim Arnosky.  I love this book and the fact that Scholastic provides a free MP3 download of Jim Arnosky's recorded "spoken word song".  (Not in our catalog)

See book here
Listen to recording here

Game:  Mouse View

We pretended to be little mice looking at Thanksgiving foods close up and had to guess what they were.

Music / Movement:

CD:  "Turkey Dance" (not in our catalog)

Move your elbows to the turkey dance
Move your elbows to the turkey dance
Stomp your feet and shout, "Hooray!"
It's Thanksgiving Day!

... hips
... knees
... head
... whole body

CD:  "Wobble, Wobble, Wobble" (not in our catalog)

Wobble, wobble, wobble goes the turkey
Gobble, gobble, gobble's what he says
Turkeys spread their feathers on Thanksgiving Day
And then they run (FLY)** away

**I sing FLY loudly to encourage kids to flap their wings rather than run!

Colorful scareves make the kids a bunch of colorful turkeys!


"The Turkey Trot"

Oh, you turkey to the left
You turkey to the right
You heel, toe, heel, toe
and scratch with all your might

You flap your turkey wings
While your head goes bobble, bobble, bobble
Then you turn around and say,
"Gobble, gobble, gobble!"

Game with flannel turkeys: 

This is a rhyming game I came up with while using the flannel turkeys I made for the kids to hold (and then give back). I made about 50 of them and use them every year so it was worth the time to make them.  The kids love them!

 Olivia holding a turkey after storytime:
"Bibbity Boppity Boo: A turkey sat on my shoe"

... bed / head
... binger / finger
... etc.

Flannel: Turkey wore his feather

Poor turkey has no feathers!  (Perceptive children also point out that he has no feet LOL).  We sang the song below as I added feathers.

Turkey wore his red feather, (pat knees)
red feather, red feather (pat knees)
Turkey wore his red feather (pat knees)
And flapped his wings (flap)

... red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple ...
I let some groups pick a feather to hold up when we got to their color.  It certainly wasn't essential and could easily be a distraction in some groups.
Some Pre-K kids posing with their feathers:

 A bit blurry, but how great is the evening Family Storytime group?  I love how all the adults and kids get fully engaged in every activity!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pr-K: Squirrels Getting Ready for Winter

Pre-K                      Evening Family Storytime
39 kids                     18 kids
5 siblings                 19 adults
32 adults                  37 total              
76 total

It is that time of year when I know squirrels are getting ready for winter.  We don't see too many in AZ, but I grew up watching and loving squirrels in NY. 


The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri.  Squirrel is too busy getting ready for winter to play with the other animals!

That Pup! by Lindsay George. After having fun digging up acorns, a little dog helps squirrel out by burying them again.

I placed paper acorns on the flannel board as the dog found them.  When the squirrel and dog hid them again we counted backwards as I took them off the board.

Frisky Brisky Hippity Hop by Susan Lurie.  Photographs and rhyming text follow lively squirrels through the trees.

Acorns Everywhere by Kevin Sherry.  An energetic squirrel hoards acorns but forgets where he hid them after being distracted by a berry-gathering bear.

Flannel Story:  "Sammy Squirrel" by Liz and Dick Wilmes

Sammy Squirrel is sad because his favorite tree dropped all its leaves and now he's cold (look at that poor pink nose!)

He thinks about all his friends and their winter homes, but he just can't seem to find a cave or empty log and digging in the dirt and mud just aren't working for him!

Look what Sammy found just as it started snowing!  The kids love when I slowly pull the pine tree out from behind the board because it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  It's about 2 1/2 feet tall.

Letter of the Day / Memory Box:
Our letter of the day was Cc for corn -  which happened to be our memory box item.  The ear of corn was in The Busy Little Squirrel.


"Furry, Furry Squirrel" by Jack Prelutsky:  The kids acted this poem out as the puppet also hopped, ran up the tree, turned around, and scurried down.

Music / Movement:  "Grey Squirrel"

I use the version by The Learning Station because it invites mama squirrels and daddy squirrels to participate.  I love my evening Family Storytime group because all 19 adults were up dancing with pompoms with their kids!

We use the pompoms to swish like squirrel tails:

Acorn Hunt:  The kids searched the library for acorns to put n the squirrel's tree hole.  I have learned that no matter how many acorns you put out there (120) and how many times you tell the kids to only find THREE each... they will go nuts and collect them all...  leaving some of the more reserved or younger kids acorn-less.  I just grab the acorns they've already collected and re-hide them numerous times during the activity.

This idea is from

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wiggle Worms: Busy Squirrels

90 degrees in Phoenix today!  Uck.  At least we got to pretend to be busy little autumn squirrels in the toddler storytime today!

Animal Song with Puppets:  "My Squirrel"*

I switched out our usual animals songs with a song about my favorite squirrel.

I have a favorite squirrel and he loves to jump
I have a favorite squirrel and he loves to jump
Jump, squirrel
Jump, squirrel
Jump from tree to tree

* Message me if you want to know the CD title.  I'm sure I can look it up.

The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri.  Squirrel is very busy getting ready for winter!

I can not ephasize how much I love Nancy Tafuri's books for storytimes and one-on-one reading.  The pictures are large and bold, the text is simple and appealing, and most pages contain little critters and bugs for you and your toddler to find together.

Letter of the Day:  Cc for corn (the squirrel finds some corn in our book)

Movement / Music:  "Grey Squirrel"
There are lots of versions, but I use the one one by The Learning Station (listen here) because it includes mama squirrels, daddy squirrels, etc.  I always pause the song before the next verse and invite the different parental squirrels to stand up and participate.

I hand out these Oriental Trading pom poms for this songs so we can really swish our bushy tails.

Grey squirrel, grey squirrel, swish your bushy tail
Gray squirrel, grey squirrel, swish your bushy tail
Hold a nut between your toes
Wrinkle up your little nose
Grey squirrel, grey squirrel, swish your bushy tail

Flannel / Prop Rhyme:  "The Soup is Boiling Up"

We made soup again this week (using corn, of course!)

The soup is boiling up (bubble fingers)
The soup is boiling up (bubble fingers)
Stir it slow - around we go (stir)
The soup is boiling up! (bubble fingers and POP UP!)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Happy Teeth: Pre-K and Family Storytime

The week after Halloween is a great week to talk about healthy teeth! 


Clarabella's Teeth by An Vrombaut.  Clarabella Crocodile misses out on fun with her friends because she spends all day brushing her teeth - and crocodiles have a lot of teeth!

Her friends give her the perfect gift to solve the problem.  We unwrapped the gift to reveal Clarabella's new, crock-sized toothbrush.

Maisy, Charley, and the Wobbly Tooth by Lucy Cousins.  Maisy Mouse and her friends accompany Charley on this first visit to the dentist.

Pony Brushes His Teeth by Michael Dahl (electronic resource).  Pony eats a lot and always brushes his teeth - just like his dad.
Game: Animal Teeth
The last one is just for fun  =)

"Stick to the the Glue" by Jim Gill (listen here)
"Hands are for Clapping" by Jim Gill (listen here)
"Brush Your Teeth" by Raffi (listen here)

The live version of "Brush Your Teeth" is really fun to sing along to! (watch here)

Letter of the Day: Tt for teeth, toothbrush, and toothpaste

Flannel:  Zoe Zebra eats a sandwich in Clarabella's Teeth.  I used the Melissa and Doug sandwich set to build her sandwich using written words.


After the kids brushed their tooth (laminated paper colored with yellow dry erase marker), they brought it up to show me and got a high-five sticker for having such healthy teeth. The yellow does NOT come off completely and the lesson is: even when we are great brushers, we still need to visit the dentist regularly.

The kids went gaga for this activity, but there was definitely some trial and error with it.  Some things to consider:

1. I started with fluffy chenille pipe cleaners glued onto craft sticks for "bristles" but the wire ended up scratching the laminate.

2. I ended up using felt "bristles" and colorful pom pom "dabs of toothpaste" which worked really well!

3. I waned to reuse the "toothbrushes" but once they had yellow marker on them, it seemed really gross to hand them out again.

4. Lesson:  Count on this craft being disposable after one use.  So... it probably doesn't matter what you use for "bristles"

Family Storytime Pictures:

Thursdays at 6pm (Books and activities for children ages 2 to 7, but all family members are welcomed)

Miss Erica dressed as a super fun dentist

 Brushing teeth

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pre-K Halloween

Storytime fell on Oct 31st, so I kept storytime pretty active assuming it would be hard to not wiggle around on such an exciting day.  This group was awesome!!

46 kids
3 siblings
41 adults

Showing off costumes before storytime starts:


Spooky Spooky Spooky!  by Cathy MacLennan.  A variety of creepy critters (they're still pretty adorable!) come out on Halloween.  When it gets dark in the book, we turn off the lights and my firefly puppet, Sparky, comes out and lights up his light.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.  I love this old tale about some boots, pants, a shirt, gloves, hat, and pumpkin head who all follow the little old lady.  The kids get to act out the parts of all these pieces and we finally assemble a scarecrow at the end.


Waiving hello to the ghost:

The older-kid version: Throw your arms up at the end and shout, "Trick or treat!"

Music / Movement Activities:

"Dingle Dangle Scarecrow":  After reading The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, we danced to this song.

When all the cows were sleeping and the sun had gone to bed
Up jumped the scarecrow and this is what he said,
"I'm a dingle dangle scarecrow with a flippy floppy hat
I can shake my hands like this and shake my feet like that!"

"Alphabet":  In this song, we sing the alphabet and incorporate body movements along the way.

Making Witches' Brew:
Waiting for freshly popped popcorn:
As we snacked on witches' brew and fresh popcorn, we watched this classic Halloween book projected on the wall (Popcorn by Frank Asch). 

Watch it here

Look at this adorable owl family!