Friday, June 29, 2012

Flannel Friday: Silly S'mores

I have not generally been in the habit of creating a brand-new flannel board each week - mostly because my coworkers have been doing this a lot longer than I have, and as such, have amassed quite the collection of awesome flannel boards. I did have an idea for our camping week, however, that I really wanted to try out. Unfortunately, I was out the day my story time was scheduled, so my coworker ended up doing it for me. She said it went pretty well, though I have a feeling this is one better suited to 4s & 5s than 2s & 3s.

Essentially, I wanted the kids to help me build a s'more.My original idea involved trying to add all sorts of healthy fruits and veggies to it, in the hopes that I'd get a chorus of "Nooooos!". (Obviously, adding anything resembling broccoli to a s'more would be akin to blasphemy.) Then I realized that a number of my 2s and 3s might not be familiar with a s'more, so I decided to get a lot more obvious with my incorrect ingredients.

I don't think it gets much more obvious than a shoe! (Well, I hope.)

Or a fish!

Mmmmm, a delicious chocolate-marshmallow-shoe-fish s'more! My favorite!

Aaaand eventually we would end up with a regular s'more - nothing but graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. The fish and the shoe were all I ended up having time to make, but I'd planned on doing a plate of spaghetti, a baseball, a computer, etc. For the 4s and 5s, I probably would have gone the vegetable/fruit route, instead, but I figured with 2s and 3s, just differentiating between Food and Not was probably enough.

We also have a chef puppet, which I'd debated bringing out so he could promise the kids "ze best s'more in ze world!" (Probably would have had to work on my French accent for that one.) Anyway, that's the general idea! If you try it out, let me know how it goes over, since I didn't get the chance to use it myself!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Story Times: Camping, Bedtime and Nighttime Animals!

Well, things have been a little crazy for me - both at home and at work - so I'm afraid I'm a wee bit behind on posting about this summer's story times. And by a wee bit, I mean we're just wrapping up week three, and I have yet to post about... anything. So here is a general overview of what I've been up to!

I missed my first story time due to some personal reasons, so I don't have much of a roundup for that one. My coworker was kind enough to take it on for me. Our theme for week 1 was "camping" - and I had a surprisingly difficult time finding camping books I really liked. I did have a flannel board halfway put together, so I'll put a separate post up for that.

Our week 2 theme was bedtime, where I ran into the opposite problem of having too many books I wanted to read. After some wibbling and wobbling back and forth, I finally decided on the following three:

 Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein is one of my favorites. I love the story, I love the pictures, and I especially love the way the bedtime stories that Papa tells Chicken are incorporated into the story. It's a great book, but my 2s and 3s were a little bit too squirrelly and distracted to get into it. Alas. I'll maybe pull it out again for a story time where I don't have 60+ people in the room. (With oh-so distracting latecomers to boot!)

Fly Blanky Fly by Anne Margaret Lewis was our second book. I borrowed my coworker's idea to use scarves as our blankies while I read, and we swooshed, whirled, and hopped our way to bed. Again, great idea in theory, but with the room as crowded as it was, I had a tough time keeping everyone focused.

Aaaand finally, we have one of those beloved Pigeon books by Mo Willems. The kids were so completely done with story time at this point that I had to start skipping pages, despite Mo Willems generally being a safe bet for story time. Attention spans were just not working in my favor this week.

The flannel board was a hit, at least! I used a coworker's Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, which the kids thoroughly enjoyed. (You can take a look at my other coworker's version here! Her version is super cool as it involves buttons that actually popped off, but I was so overwhelmed with my crowd that my head might have popped had I tried to do anything more complicated than simply tossing the buttons over my shoulder. Maybe next time!)

And finally, for our week 3 theme I went with nocturnal animals. My books tended toward simple and concise this week, which was a necessary change. I chose A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na, which is lovely, and we had fun identifying the animals in each picture. We also read Look Whooo's Counting by Suse MacDonald, and then we finished up with Little Owlet's First Flight by Mitra Modarressi. I hadn't intended to do all owls, but the books held my audience's attention, which was all I wanted. (By my best estimate, I had about 75 audience members for week 3, which is roughly 30 more people than I'm used to!)

Again, I snagged a coworker's 5 Hoot Owls flannel board, which you can find here. (It is indeed a hardship, let me tell you, to have such super talented coworkers who are willing to let you borrow their creations.)

We also used Laurie Berkner's Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) with our shaker eggs, which was pretty delightful. During the verses, we pretended to be the sleepy lion, so we stretched, yawned, and laid our head on our hands for a nap. The song picks up during the chorus, so that's when we shook our eggs - high, low, slow, fast, while turning in a circle, etc. Lots of fun! We also did We are the Dinosaurs, because that's one of my favorites. (Haha, and I mean, you know, the kids like it, too.)

That pretty much sums up story time for the past few weeks! My coworker, Jan, and I have also been putting on a craft program for kids age 3-7, so I'll be putting up a post with all of the crafts we've been doing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Story Time: Dance Dance Dance!

Although our last story time session ended back in the beginning of May, I didn't quite have this blog up and running then. Now that I've got both the blog going AND pictures uploaded, I thought I'd take a moment to share one of my story times from last session.

Dancing has always been one of my favorite things. I love taking classes on it, and I love just bopping around to my favorite songs. And the best thing about doing a story time for 2s and 3s? They loooove to dance! So as far as I was concerned, a dancing theme was a pretty obvious choice.

I kicked off our story time with Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae. I was a little bit worried it would be too long a story, but I shouldn't have been. The kids were enchanted, and so were their parents. Sometimes it really is all about a great story, and Giraffes Can't Dance is one of my favorites.

Our second story was Is Everybody Ready for Fun?by Jan Thomas. I made this one as silly as I possibly could. Every time the cows announced, "It's time to..." I had everyone get up and jump, wiggle, and dance with me. (Side note: Definitely a good thing I saved my longest book for the first one. I don't know if they would've been able to sit still for it following this one.)

And finally, our third book was Dancing Feet by Lindsey Craig. I like the repetition in this one, as well as the guessing game element, but my audience was getting a wee bit wiggly by this point, so we ended it a couple pages earlier. They had fun calling out the names of each animal though!

This story time was one I actually wished had lasted a little bit longer - I had tons of dances I wanted to do with the kids, but not enough time to get to all of them. We did, of course, do Tooty Ta by Dr. Jean, which was a big hit. I also did Shake Your Sillies Out by The Wiggles on Tuesday, and Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill with my Wednesday group. (Full disclosure - I'd meant to do Silly Dance Contest both days, but accidentally skipped ahead to the wrong track on Tuesday. Still - I had fun, the kids had fun, and I think the parents got a kick out of watching us!)

Awhile ago, I also found a song called The Monster Stomp on someone's blog. I think I ended up tracking it down to SurLaLune Storytime, but if that's incorrect, please let me know! The rhyme was a bit short for my tastes, so I expanded it, and ended up with this:

The Monster Stomp

If you want to be a monster,
Now's your chance!
'Cause everybody's doing
The monster dance!

You just stamp your feet,
Wave your arms around.
Stretch 'em up, stretch 'em up,
Then put them on the ground.

Give a roar (ROAR)
And clap your paws,
Bend your knees,
Then show your claws.

Stick out your tongue,
Then wobble your lips.
Jump up real high,
And shake those hips!

Now wiggle, wiggle, wiggle,
Like ants are in your pants.
'Cause that's how we do
The monster dance!

I also made this little guy to go along with my lyric poster. His name is Melvin, and I kind of love him.

Last but not least, for our craft we made... drum roll please... dance fans!

My original thought had been to make ribbon dancers (ie, dowel rods with ribbons on the end) but the cost was somewhat prohibitive. These were much cheaper and had the added bonus of being SUPER easy to make. I cut the basic shape out of cardstock, then set out Bingo markers and strips of ribbon and crepe paper. I recommend taping the ribbons before doing any markering, since Bingo markers have a tendency to leave big splotches of paint if dabbed too enthusiastically. All in all, quick, easy, and lots of fun!

Overall, the dance theme was a winner, I think. I'd love to do it again and take the chance to do some of the dances we didn't get a chance to this time!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Well, now that I've had this blog for well over a month, I thought it was high time to kick things off with a real post! In my defense, I've been VERY busy helping my department prepare for our Summer Reading Program, which we officially kicked off two days ago! Since then we've been swamped with kids signing up, but it makes for a nice change from May, which is one of our slower months.

Before I start blah blah blah-ing about what I've been up to, I figured a little bit of 'About Me' might be in order. I'm Angela, 24 years old, and I started working in the children's department of my local library at the beginning of February. No library degree, unfortunately, but I did major in English, and I spent a summer interning at a children's publishing company. Children's books, as well as YA, are basically my favorite things in the whole world, so this job has been a perfect fit for me so far, and I'm so excited to be on the other side of the desk for the first time during our Summer Reading Program!

We went ahead and embraced the Dream Big Read theme, which I think is great, since it leaves you open to eight thousand different interpretations. We're starting things off with a camping theme, but then we're moving on to nocturnal animals, superheroes, things that go bump in the night - something different for each week! Which means we also got to decorate our children's room in some really fun ways. And with that segue, I bring you a very exciting segment I like to call: Pictures of Things I Made!

We have a really awesome... I'm not even sure what you'd call it - zig-zaggy display board? - outside our children's room. It's painted black, and since it can be kind of a pain to get it covered with paper, I figured I'd just make it nighttime-themed with a cute raccoon and bat. (The raccoon started off a lot less friendly-looking - amazing what you can do just by changing the angle of the eyebrows!)

This is the biiiiiig bulletin board in our story time room. And when I say big, I'm not kidding. I wanted something that filled the space, so I thought three different "dreams" would be a good way to go. It's tough to see the detail in this picture, so I may take some closeups later, but I'm sure you get the gist. Poor Rapunzel is stuck in her tower and terribly bored, until some friendly aliens drop by to take her on an adventure. (Personally, I think this would be an awesome plot for Disney's next princess movie. Disney, if your next trailer involves some intergalactic princess-ing, I expect some credit!)

This is a sign I made to go along with our cute little campsite! (We've got a kid-sized tent, as well as some play food items, and the kids are LOVING it.) Simple, straightforward, and it was a great project to keep me busy on a slow Saturday!

And last but not least - a skyline above our graphic novels section! We recently moved our graphic novels/comic books to a new corner of the library, and I wanted something eye-popping to catch our patrons' attention. Come August, when we've slowed down some, I might go back and touch things up - I'm not completely thrilled with the way the paint I used caused some of the buildings to curve, and I'd like to add some kind of high-flying superhero soaring through the clouds. Still! I had fun doing this, and considering I've been on a comics kick lately, this display was one of my favorites.

That's it for now! We start story times next week though, as well as some craft programs, so I plan to be ultra-diligent about keeping up with all the fun things our department is doing. I hope everyone's summer reading programs are going fantastically!