Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mall Storytime

Starting this past weekend, the Walt Whitman Mall began hosting its last-Saturday-of-the-month storytime in the mall's Center Court. Each week, this storytime is run by one of 8 Huntington-area libraries, rotating around from library to library, and guess what? I got to do the first one ever!

I was super excited and, of course, a little nervous. It's always a bit overwhelming when a storytime is open to all ages and you have no idea if you'll get 4 kids or 40 kids. Luckily, I wasn't in it alone. My coworker, Andrea, and I got to man this storytime event together.

What we lacked in ability to plan, we made up for in quantity of books. Since we just had no idea what to expect, we brought quite a stack along with us--20 books to be exact. Here is our pile:

We tried to pack books for every scenario: a group of moms and babies, a group of antsy pre-schoolers, a really large group of antsy pre-schoolers, a quiet and focused group of pre-schoolers, school-age kids, a group with a mix of older and younger kids...any scenario that was possible, we had the books for it!

What wound up really happening was that we had a core group of three really attentive, 4-year-old girls + a few other kids who came and went throughout the storytime (including Andrea's two sons and one of my Musical Kids regulars!).

We crammed a lot into 30 minutes. Here's what we did:

1. Jump! by Scott M. Fischer
3. Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin and James Dean
5. Five Little Monkeys (with the monkey mitt)
7. If You're Happy and You Know It by David A. Carter
8. Can You Make a Scary Face by Jan Thomas
9. What Pet To Get by Emma Dodd

What worked least: All things considered, this storytime went pretty well. I asked Andrea her thoughts and she agreed that it really worked. Sure in an ideal world, we'd have been able to do a bit more prep work, but for not knowing the ages of the kids or how many of them we'd have in attendance, we pulled this off nicely...if I do say so myself.

What worked best: I think we both agree that The Very Hungry Caterpillar activity kit is like gold. This is one of my longstanding favorite storytime props and one of Andrea's also. The kids love holding all the different signs and "feeding" the different things to the caterpillar. As the caterpillar eats through each piece of fruit in the story, I use the puppet to "chomp" through the holes in the signs as the kids hold them out, half scaring/half tickling each kid. They all shriek with glee at this! It's a sure-fire win time after time and definitely was yesterday also.

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