Friday, February 22, 2019

Old MacDonald Storytime

I may have only had three toddlers in attendance, but my Old MacDonald Storytime (for ages 18-35 months) a few weeks ago was still a super fun program! And one that I plan on doing again, perhaps in a more popular time slot. It was a simple toddler storytime. First, I read two stories, then we had a big singalong with puppets, and last, there was a mommy & me type craft. This is going to be a very short blog post because it was such a simple program, but I really had a lot of fun so I'd like to share! Here's what went on:

First, books:

Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox -- This was perfect for the older end of the 18-35 month age range but kind of worked even with the 18-month-old of the group!

Spot Goes to the Farm by Eric Hill --  This one SUPER worked for me because I had such a small group and the kids were able to participate in the lifting the flaps! This book wouldn't have worked with a group of more than, say, 5 kids. But with 3? It was absolutely perfect!

Next, Sing-a-long: 

No surprise here, we sang Old MacDonald! I had 9 puppets, all hiding under a blanket, who I took out one-by-one as we sang. It worked really well! Our farm was really big. It had a cow, pig, chicken, duck, cat, dog, lamb, frog, and turkey. After we sang the verse for each animal, I left that puppet out so the kids could see it or pet it. I'm not sure if this would have been pure chaos or not with a bigger group, but with my little trio, it was totally fun. The kids really loved to be up and down, playing with the puppets as they appeared from under the blanket. Again, thanks to the group size, this singalong was really manageable. I probably would have handled it differently with a bigger group.

Last, Craft:

I had the kids make farm scenes. I put out white construction paper, pre-cut barns in two pieces (made with the Cricut), glue sticks, markers, and animal foam stickers (these from Discount School Supply)

What worked least: The time. This program was a ton of fun and, if I do say so myself, perfectly age-appropriate, but I just didn't have the crowd I'd planned for or wanted.

What worked best: I think the sing-a-long was a huge hit. Leaving all the farm animals out for the kids to play with was perfect, although, again, I'm not sure if it would have worked or not if I'd had a bigger group.

Final thought: I will be doing this program again over the summer in a different time slot!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Baby Shark Storytime!

New blog post doo doo doo doo doo doo, new blog post doo doo doo doo doo doo, new blog post doo doo doo doo doo doo, new blog post! Here it is doo doo doo doo doo doo, here it is doo doo doo doo doo doo, here it is doo doo doo doo doo doo, here it is! Baby shark storytime! I did this program two weeks ago already but life and work got hectic suddenly so I'm only getting to blog about it now. But actually, despite the delay, I've been so excited to share this post! I'm kind of proud of myself for this one. It was the only Baby Shark Storytime (that I know of) in our county!

The newsletter description said, "If you love Baby Shark, join us for some shark stories, a shark craft, and, of course, a sing-along." I decided to make the program for kids ages 2 and up because, really, don't all kids love Baby Shark? However, the biggest challenge for me in planning quickly became finding stories and a craft that would be appealing to kids of all ages. In the end, for books, I settled on Baby Shark Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo by John John Bajet and the not-really-totally-about-sharks book, I Spy Under the Sea by Edward Gibbs. Even though neither of these are really stories per say, they worked well for the young, active group I had. For a craft, I had the kids make shark fins, which I figured would be done more simply (and with more parental help) for the younger kids and with more detail for the older kids. More on this below. Baby Shark Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo was a fun book choice because it was familiar, yet the movements and words were slightly different than those in the Pinkfong version that made Baby Shark suddenly super popular. (For example, the book had "Great White Shark" where you bring your arm and your leg together.) And, as far as I Spy Under the Sea goes, I find that "Who am I?" type books (which is what it is) tend to be a hit with a wide variety of ages too. The older end of the age group loved totally acing the guesses before I even finished reading out the clues.

After the books, it was craft time. Shark fins! To make this, I took this template here, enlarged it a little, added two little x's on the bottom tab for hold punch guides, and printed 2 copies on light blue cardstock for every kid registered. To make the wearable shark fin, have each kid/parent cut out two of these fins, glue them together and fold the two bottom tabs (under the dotted line) in opposite directions. Like this:

Then punch two holds in each tab (which, again, I marked with x's so there was no thinking required!) and string (pre-cut) elastic through the holes. Then, have the kids decorate the fins however they want! I put out markers, gems, foam stickers, buttons, and pom poms (and glue). Even the younger kids were able to enjoy themselves with help from their parents.

Troubleshooting tip: Some kids cut off the tabs on the bottom. Some kids glued the tabs together. These things are probably my fault because I am a really bad craft explainer.

When there were only a few minutes left I gathered the group up for one more singalong (I mean, this was Baby Shark Storytime after all). This time we sang along to the Pinkfong version of the song that made Baby Shark the hit that we all know and love. (Love? Hm. Not sure.) I just played the Youtube video on a blutooth speaker and had everyone gather 'round. It was SO MUCH FUN. I mean the song is only, like, 2-minutes long but what a super fun 2-minutes we had together!

What worked least: Like I said, I did a bad job explaining how to do the craft. I do crafts so infrequently that I think, honestly, I may have just been a little out of practice. Good thing I had extra fins ready to go!

What worked best: The singalong at the end was so much fun! Everyone was singing loud and proud and smiling and just, genuinely, enjoying!

That's the end doo doo doo doo doo doo, that's the end doo doo doo doo doo doo, that's the end doo doo doo doo doo doo, that's the end!