Today I had my first class of this fall's Books n Play for Pre-K program. I've written about the format of Books n Play for Pre-K in several past posts. Today, the theme was fall. After our Hello Song (still A New Way to Say Hello by Big Jeff), I started off with the book Stuck by Oliver Jeffers followed by Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss. The kids LOVED both! They appropriately laughed all the way through Stuck and were quiet, in that memorized, listening to a good book way through Ten Apples Up on Top (minus a few interruptions to say "That's a lot!" when the animals successfully balanced eight apples on their heads). Success!
This was my first time reading Ten Apples Up on Top in a storytime and, as I've mentioned before, reading Dr. Seuss out loud makes me nervous. Wording is so important when you're reading Dr. Suess because it's so rhymey and sing-songy. If you miss or flub a word, you can't cover it up easily or tell parts of the story from memory. Each word plays a vital role in the rhythm. But after braving one of his books this summer (What Pet Should I Get?), I was feeling confident enough to attempt another today. And Ten Apples Up on Top is so cute and theme-appropriate! So I tried it. In fact, I did flub some words, but the kids didn't notice or care. I just re-read the phrase and all remained ok. Nothing was lost and the funniness of the story still came through perfectly. While I probably should have given this a practice out loud read ahead of time, I managed ok anyway! And I conquered a fear!
After the two books we sang The Leaves on the Tree as seen below, thanks to good ol' Jbrary:
And I added a verse: The people in the yards go rake rake rake.
The kids enjoyed this song because they already knew The Wheels on the Bus. So changing it up was fun for them.
Then it was time to break off for the craft and play time.
Here's what was at the craft table:
1. Dot-leaf painted trees. (See below)
3. Leaf rubbing with crayons. (See below)
And here's what was at the toy table:
2. Big colorful blocks (like Duplos x3).
3. Florist puzzles (similar to this).
4. Homemade cinnamon slime! I combined several Pinterest recipes for this. (See below for recipe)
The dot-leaf tree craft was super easy! The template was a really simple document made in Microsoft Word. Using the shapes tool, I just drew a circle shape toward the top and then overlapped it with an elongated trapezoid shooting out the bottom. Like the simplest possible tree-shape ever. You can download the PDF here!
The trees might look kind of unimpressive before they're painted but once you use a q-tip to dot the leaf part of the tree with fall colors, and a sponge brush to fill in the bark, the results are pretty cool:
I expected more excitement for leaf rubbing, to be honest. I walked around outside IN THE RAIN this morning, gathering the perfect variety of different shaped and textured leaves. I peeled perfectly good crayons so they'd have good rubbing sides. But despite this, sadly, leaf rubbing was not a hit. In fact the boy below, a good sport, was the only kid to even attempt it and frankly, he wasn't super thrilled to be doing it. So, oh well.
The homemade cinnamon slime was the other big hit of the afternoon. I don't mean to take credit for this slime in any way. All I did was combine a bunch of different slime recipes I found on Pinterest. But here is how I made my particular batch of slime:
In one bowl: 1 teaspoon Borax with 1/2 cup of warm water.
In another bowl: 2 bottles of Elmers white glue, two empty Elmers white glue bottles refilled with warm water (which also gets some of the extra glue out), food coloring (one batch with green, one batch with yellow [which I thought was red-- woops.]), and cinnamon essential oil.
Then toss the Borax mix into the other glue mix and it will immediately get super icky super fast. If you're as lucky as me, you'll have a willing page to do the yucky hand mixing for you. If not, you'll have to get in with your hands and sort of kneed it around. If you let it sit for a minute or two after that, you should find yourself with slime! We made two batches:
Like I said earlier, the slime was a big hit and the kids were awesome at not eating it, even though it smelled delicious. I also decided to let them all take home some slime (because really, what was I going to do with it?) and they were really great about taking only a small amount each. Smart and good sharers-- it's official: I already like this group!
At the end, of play/craft time, I wrapped up with one more story: Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger. The kids weren't super into it (to be fair, they'd just been given slime) but several of the grandparents and older caregivers called it "a nice story." I guess I should be happy the kids were quiet at all after just playing with the cinnamon slime, really.
Then we did my new favorite goodbye song, Bread & Butter (I still love and use Blow a Kiss by Laurie Berkner in all my other programs, I just needed some variety!):
What worked least: Probably Little Yellow Leaf. It was just too calm and naturey for a post-play session story. I actually had a feeling this might happen. Shoulda listened to my gut.
What worked best: The homemeade cinnamon slime! The kids totally loved just mushing it up and making lines and snakes and balls with it. I need to remember to incorporate more simple, sensory activities with this group. They like it more than I'd realized.