Sunday, October 14, 2018

Terrific Twos Storytime: Birds

Can't Wait to Celebrate
from Jim Gill's CD The Irrational Anthem
Open/Shut Them
Count to 10

Balance the Birds

Where's Little Duck? felt game
Little duck is hidden behind one of several colored eggs- can we find him?

If I Was a Bird
By Old Town School of Folk Music in the CD Wiggleworms Love You

Breathing Ball

Ducks Away

Got a Feather
(to the tune of Clementine)
Got a feather, got a feather, got a feather on my [nose, toe, etc.]
First I lost it, then I found it
Got a feather on my [nose, toe, etc.]

5 Little Birds + felt board
(to the tune of 5 Little Ducks, learned from my coworker)
One little bird with feathers of blue
Flew beside a green one and then there were two.
Two little birds came singing in the tree
The red bird came and then there were three.
Three little birds wishing there were more
Along came the purple bird and then there were four.
Four little birds, happy to be alive
Found a little yellow one and then there were five.
Five little birds as happy as can be
Singing a beautiful song just for you and me!

Splish Splash Ducky

I Know a Chicken + egg shakers
From Laurie Berkner's CD Whaddaya Think of That?

Bubbles in the Air + Bubbles
Goodbye Train

Big Kids Storytime: Birds

Bread & Butter
Letter of the Week

Giggle Giggle Quack

Got a Feather
(to the tune of Clementine)
Got a feather, got a feather, got a feather on my [nose, toe, etc]
First I lost it, then I found it
Got a feather on my [nose, toe, etc.]

Vulture View

If I Was a Bird
By Old Town School of Folk Music on the CD Wiggleworms Love You

Bird Band

Storytime Challenge
Owl Opposites- we matched owls (big, cold, etc.) with their pairs (small, hot, etc). My coworker printed the owl cards, but I believe they came from the blog 1+1+1=1.

Library Doors

Terrific Twos Storytime: Frogs & Toads

Can't Wait to Celebrate
from Jim Gill's CD The Irrational Anthem
Open/Shut Them
Count to 10

Spotted Singers
by Kelly Calhoun

1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Froggies
1 little, 2 little, 3 little froggies
4 little, 5 little, 6 little froggies
7 little, 8 little, 9 little froggies
10 little froggies say...ribbit!

Walking, Walking
*We used Anne-Marie Akin's version from the CD Songs for Wiggleworms, but a similar version can be found on Youtube:

Breathing Ball
(really called a Hoberman Sphere)


Jumping and Counting
From Jim Gill's CD The Irrational Anthem

5 Green and Speckled Frogs
5 green and speckled frogs sat on a speckled log
eating the most delicious bugs- yum, yum!
One jumped into the pool, where it was nice and cool
Now there are 4 green speckled frogs
(repeat until no frogs are left)

Where Is Mama?

Bubbles in the Air
The Goodbye Train + Stamps

Big Kids Storytime: Frogs & Toads

We're back to storytimes this fall at the library! I'm still playing catch up on posting, but this frogs & toads theme went especially well. Here's what we were up to:

Bread & Butter hello song
Letter of the Week

The Princess and the Frogs

Walking, Walking
*We used the Anne-Marie Akin version from the CD Songs for Wiggleworms, but I also found this similar version on YouTube:

I Don't Want to Be a Frog!

Jumping and Counting
(a personal favorite from Jim Gill's CD The Irrational Anthem)

Storytime Challenge
Today we played a roll and cover style game using dice with numerals instead of dots. This was a good test to judge how well the kids could recognize numerals and it helped me think about apropriate challenges for future weeks.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Little Scientists: Fall Fun

This was one of my favorite Little Scientist programs in a while. The end of Summer Reading Club is a great time for me to take a step back and evaluate what has been working (or could be working better) with my programs. As always, this was a 30 minute program for 2-5 year olds and their caregivers. Here are  the stations we explored:

Leaf rubbing was a big hit- I found that real leaves worked MUCH better than the silk ones we used for other activities and it was fun comparing the differences between regular printer paper and parchment paper.

Leaf sorting by color was made very easy by a variety pack of silk leaves. I had planned on using real leaves for this activity, but didn't think about leaves not really changing colors in my neck of the woods for another month or so. Silk worked just fine though!

I found this number puzzle on Teachers Pay Teachers and promptly lost the name of the creator. A similar one can be found here.

I thought of this monster dice game because a parent at my preschool storytime mentioned his daughter having trouble with reading numbers from dice. 

This one was a hit- I gathered different fall objects (little pumpkins, acorns, berries, leaves, etc.) and we guessed which would sink and which would float. Then we tested our guesses!

We used our math cubes to measure how tall different pumpkins were. For the older kids, they could also use a piece of yarn to wrap around the pumpkins and use the cubes to measure the length of the yarn. This way they could guess if the pumpkins were taller or bigger around.

Baby Explorers

Baby Explorers is a program I started this summer for 0-36 month olds and their caregivers. I designed it to combine sensory activities, exploration activities, and first science experiments. I think we had a great time and I plan to continue it in 2019. To make the activities a little more intentional (and to give caregivers an idea of what to say), each station had a sign with some ideas of what to talk about during the activity. Here are some of the stations from our summer 2018 session:

My favorite! I repeat this baby pool full of spaghetti every summer because it's always a good time. I cook the spaghetti to just under done (not mushy) then separated it into gallon bags. Each bag got about a teaspoon of vegetable oil and about 10 drops of liquid watercolor paint (although food coloring would also work). After squishing the colors around I laid it out on a tray to dry slightly, then poured it right into the pool!

All this took was a basket with holes (a pasta strainer is also an option) and some random pipe cleaners. It's a fun fine motor activity and the more pipe cleaner colors you can find, the better!

Baking soda & vinegar is always a good time, but I took it up a notch by mixing the baking soda with a little bit of water and freezing it in cupcake liners. Adults loved this one too!

Play dough is always a fun sensory activity and we made this one a little special with different colors of dough and a bunch of cookie cutters. We even had enough dough left over to send some home with families!

Little Scientists: Colors

Today we explored colors and color mixing! It was messier than a normal session, so it was fortunate the weather held up and we could be outside. This was a 30 minute program for 2-5 year olds where we read Neon Leon by Jane Clarke and then broke out into stations. Here's what we were up to:

Color mixing in a bag- kids chose two paint colors to add to their plastic bags. After sealing them up, we squished the paint around until the colors mixed. Kids could open the bags when they got home to let their paintings dry.

Kids could match the colored objects to the word of their color. The words were written in the color so kids who couldn't read could still participate.

This was a fun one- kids colored a paper plate with as many colors as they would like. Then they stacked a plate with a cutout chameleon (pre-cut by me) and added a brad. That way, when the top plate rotated, the chameleon would look like it was changing colors!

This one was a ton of fun- I mixed liquid watercolor paint with water in dixie cups, put a popsicle stick in each one, and froze them. After just a few seconds in the sun they were ready for painting! The liquid watercolor made some really great colors, but food coloring would also work.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Little Scientists: Eggs-periments

I can't believe I missed posting about my egg-themed Little Scientists program! This was one of the most successful sessions so far, with a great mix of experiments, activities, and games. We were also lucky that the Ohio spring weather let us do the messiest bits outside. Usually, I would read a story at this program followed by an assortment of self-guided stations, but this time we went straight into stations and 10 minutes before the end of the 30 minute program we gathered for a group experiment. This program was for 2-5 year olds and lasted approximately 30 minutes.

This month's take home experiment was the dissolving eggshell trick. Kids got an egg in a cup (with vinegar if they didn't have any at home) and were encouraged to observed what happened to their egg. I used a address label to type up and stick right to the cup some ideas for what to do with their egg afterwards. Unfortunately, my sample egg broke right before the program but I think that lent a little mystery to the experiment.

Kids counted the bandages on each broken egg and matched it to the number on a card.

Kids shook 5 different eggs filled with 5 different things and tried to guess what was inside. There were examples of each filler outside of the egg to guide kids if they needed help.


Our group experiment! Throughout the first 20 minutes of the program, kids voted on what they thought would happen to an egg dropped on a variety of surfaces. This one was a ton of fun and kids loved finding out if their guesses were correct. It was also a great opportunity to get a bunch of kids to learn to say "hypothesis"!

This one was a HUGE hit! We learned about why birds can sit on their eggs without breaking them and then tested it out by walking on eggs ourselves. Kids and adults were all amazed that when they walked slowly and used a hand-hold for balance the eggs wouldn't break. Only 2 or so broke the entire time!

Last but not least, kids and their adults competed in egg spoon races. Smaller kids could use a plastic egg, but everyone was encouraged to try using a real one as well.

This edition of Little Scientists was one of my favorites so far! Everyone loved the experiments and activities and no eggs went to waste (hopefully my coworkers don't find out, but any unbroken eggs went into the frittata I made for a staff potluck later that week).

You may like to add your own fun fonts, but you can find the signs I made for the stations here.

End of Summer Reading Carnival

We don't always have a big ending for our Summer Reading Club program, but I always think it's nice to do a little something that day. This year, I threw a carnival with games, prizes, and even cotton candy! This was a 1 hour program (although some families stayed a little longer) and it was advertised for all ages (but most attendees were 2-8 years old). I didn't end up having a lot of teen volunteers to help with this program, so instead of having kids collect tickets and redeem them for prizes I just had a prize for each game won and relied on parents/the honor system.

Hand Golf! (because I couldn't find our set of kids' golf clubs) Kids had to roll until they hit 100 points to earn a sticky hand toy.

Potato Sack Race! Everyone who made it to the end of the course earned cotton candy (made by a teen volunteer).

Pete the Cat toss game (left over from Pete's birthday party in April). Kids threw velcro covered balls at Pete. When they got all four balls stuck, they earned a bag of popcorn.

Tin Can Knock-Down- kids threw balls to knock down cans. Little kids had a big ball and older kids (or kids who wanted a challenge) could throw a smaller ball. They had as many tries as they wanted and when they knocked down all the cans they earned a container of bubbles

Bean Bag Toss- I set out small containers labeled with more points and bigger containers labeled with fewer points. Kids who tossed until they earned 100 points won a sheet of stickers.

Plinko- this was left over from a program a coworker of mine did this spring. It was made using a lid from a box of printer paper and straws. Kids dropped their bottle caps until they landed in a prize spot and won a balloon sword or guitar (pre-made by the same coworker who made the plinko). Pre-making the balloons saved a TON of time.

At the end, kids could take a picture with a clown cut-out to remember the day! Kids and adults both loved this one and it was totally worth making a quick cutout (cardboard was from a coworker's new big screen TV).

This program went so well! Around 40-45 kids ended up coming by (which is really solid for a program at our library). The only thing I would have changed is planning ahead a little more with making cotton candy. I pre-packaged all of the popcorn but I wish I had asked our teen volunteer to start making cotton candy earlier so all of it could have been pre-packaged, too. We have a very small cotton candy maker, so it took a little while for each batch and some kids had to wait a bit. Luckily there were plenty of games to keep them occupied!

Picture Book Book List: Math

Using math in storytime always seemed intimidating to me until I attended a STEAM programming seminar. One of the presenters spoke about in...