Hi. I want to start this post off by admitting that many of my library programs are kind of similar to each other. I am a bit of a two trick pony, as well as a firm believer that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But this morning I had the opportunity to try something kind of different and, as my colleagues can attest, I was really excited about it! For ages 18-35 months, I now present my super fun, new, different program... Dramatic Storytime!
(Ok, I can't lie. I may have copied [borrowed] the overarching idea for this program from an event I attended with my daughter at Think Big! Theater. But all the details and all the work for it were mine and mine alone! I actually did something creative for once!)
So, anyway. the theme of Dramatic Storytime was Three Little Kittens. If you're unfamiliar with the story of the Three Little Kittens, let me include a quick summery of it for you. If you are familiar with it, feel free to skip this next paragraph:
The story of the Three Little Kittens, according to Wikipedia, "is a sophisticated piece usually attributed to American poet Eliza Lee Cabot Follen (1787–1860). With the passage of time, the poem has been absorbed into the Mother Goose collection. The rhyme tells of three kittens who first lose, then find and soil, their mittens. When all is finally set to rights, the kittens receive their mother's approval and some pie."
Here's how it worked. The whole program was based around very slowly reading and acting out the book, Three Little Kittens by Paul Galdone (just a retelling of the classic tale). The kids played the part of the three (or in this case, 8) little kittens and I played the part of the Mother Kitten. When they signed in, I let them choose a cat nose to wear for their "costume" so they could really be the kittens. I would say 1/4 of the kids wore the nose for about 3 minutes and the other 3/4 of the kids wouldn't touch them. I wore cat ears because, really, they're kinda cute.
Throughout the story, there were three main breaks for activities-- aka "acting." The program broke down like this:
Read a few pages from the book. (The kittens lose their mittens, cry, are told by Mother Kitten that they can have no pie, and then find their mittens.)
Activity one: The kittens search for their mittens. This involved the kids digging through a pile of die-cut paper mittens as well as other die-cut shapes in search of two matching mittens.
Read a few pages from the book. (The kittens tell Mother Kitten that they have found their mittens and Mother Kitten tells them that they can have some pie.)
Activity two: The kittens shall have some pie. This involved making this very simple paper plate cherry pie craft from Glued to My Crafts.
Read a few pages from the book. (The kittens eat the pie with their mittens on thus soiling their mittens, cry, and then go wash and dry their mittens.)
Activity three: The kittens wash their mittens and hang them out to dry. First, this involved the kids basically just playing with pre-cut felt mittens, a few empty detergent bottles, a couple of tiny spray bottles, and a big bin of water.
Read the last few pages from the book. (The kittens tell Mother Kitten that they have washed their mittens, she praises them, and then they all smell a rat close by-- which, I explained to the kids, was even better than pie to a cat!) THE END.
Activity four: Unrelated to the story, we listen to The Three Little Kittens song and mother ktiten (me) blows bubbles. Uh, just like I said, when I got to the end of the book, I put on The Three Little Kittens song (this version from Mother Goose Club Playhouse on YouTube) and blew bubbles for the kids to play in a few minutes before we said goodbye. Just a quick extra thing that I could be sure would be a hit.
What worked best: Seriously, all of it was awesome. I think everyone really liked sitting for a minute, then doing an activity, then sitting for a minute, then doing an activity. It broke the program up nicely and was perfect for short little attention spans. Of the four activities (five, if you include reading the book!), I thought the "washing" would be the stand-out favorite for sure, with bubbles as the second favorite. Honestly, I was way off! I think the favorite activities were a tie between activities 1 and 2-- the searching for a pair of matching paper mittens and the pie craft! Who would have ever guessed?
All in all, I had such a great time planning, prepping, and doing this program and I feel really proud of it! So I shall leave you all with this question: What other books or stories lend themselves to a dramatic storytime?