From the (not very) mixed-up files of LibraryLaura... If You Give a Cat a Cupcake!
First, I think Laura Numeroff's whole "If You Give a..." series is cute, funny, and great for subtly teaching kids about sequence. However, they're not my favorite for storytime groups. For whatever reason, I find that I tend to get lost in them, losing the whole "If this, than that" concept. Yet, when I saw this Decorate Your Own Cupcake worksheet from Harper Collins not only was I sold, but I decided to up the ante. Here is my cupcake bar:
From left to right: Cupcake Holders (these are made from different kinds of interesting and colorful fabrics, pre-cut to look like cupcake tin liners), Cupcakes (pre-cut felt in different colors [flavors?]), Frosting (pre-cut white cardstock), Decorations (self-adhesive jewels similar to these), Cherries (pink and red pom-poms). Back row: Tacky glue, stamping markers, and these self-adhesive magnet coins from S&S).
This is another program from my days at the Brentwood Library. It probably doesn't need to be said that I began this program by reading the book, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff. I had convinced my department head that this If You Give a Cat a Cupcake Puppet and Props set from Kaplan Toys (also seen to the left) was crucial in making the storytime portion of this program just as good as the craft portion. This probably stemmed from my personal hang ups and squirminess with reading this book to a group. At the time, I really though this props set would help alleviate my discomfort and also help the kids keep track of the events going on in the story. But looking back, it didn't. In fact, I think if anything, it was distracting for both the kids and for me-- especially the part where you dress the puppet up in a karate suit. However, I do think it was successful overall anyway. And actually, it seemed like the kids had no trouble following the sequence of events in the book. (Just me, I guess? Hm.) In fact, at the end of the book, when I asked, "And all that happened because the cat asked for what?" the whole group very matter-of-factly answered, "A cupcake!" So I'd say yep, they got it.
Here are some of the colorful cupcake magnets and their creative designers:
I also thought I'd put out a bunch of the Decorate Your Own Cupcake worksheets as a second, quick craft. I really didn't expect them to be just as enthusiastic about this as they were about my cool cupcake bar, but they were! They wound up getting really creative-- sticking jewels and pom-pom "cherries" to those also. Here are a few examples:
I guess that's proof that you just never know what will and won't work! And speaking of working and not working...
What worked best: They loved the style of just having a bunch of cupcake related things to be creative with. If I was lazier, probably could have saved myself a lot of time and just put out the printed worksheets, the adhesive jewels, and the pom-poms, but I definitely think it was nice having a variety of different things out for them to work with. This particular group was great too, just really enthusiastic and appreciative of the whole program.
What worked least: I don't know if I'd go as far as to say anything didn't work here, but I definitely think using a book that I wasn't 100% comfortable reading to a group was a challenge for me. And it probably came through, subconsciously, as I read. Also the puppet and props set, while cute, didn't really aid in my telling of the story.
Hoping I am in the final stretch of my time out on disability now. Until next time...