Since my last Little Explorers post back in March, I have had this program 4 more times! We took a break in the summer, but otherwise it’s been a monthly program and always very well attended (which means there is always a fun mess afterward to clean up). Because of a similarly named program in our area, we have changed the name to Messy Munchkins, but it is is still the same program with the same description!
Here is our NEW flyer for the program!
Here are some of the new activities I have done in Little Explorer’s/Messy Munchkins that have been successful:
Dyed Sensory Noodles
Of course, we brought the spaghetti back once more since that initial time. This one takes a lot of prep work and creates a BIG mess so it only happens once every few months… I did blog about this one in my first post but it is the biggest hit so I thought it was worth revisiting. I got the sensory noodle recipe from Growing a Jeweled Rose.
Water Table with Kid-Safe Water Beads
I have seen A LOT of stuff on pinterest about using water beads in sensory play. While this is probably a great idea for 1:1 and at home sensory, I knew I needed something kid safe to use… So I ended up using Tapioca Pearls and Chia seeds! I bought both on amazon. It worked great, and I didn’t have to be constantly worrying about choking since both are edible. **Although, I do announce, as well as have on the projector, that parents/caregivers should be watching mouths at all times**
You will need to cook the tapioca pearls ahead of time, I did mine the night before. And then just add the chia seeds to the water about 15 minutes before the program. Beware though– the chia seeds stick to clothes very easily!
DIY Kinetic Sand
Again, I kept seeing awesome things on pinterest with kinetic sand BUT I didn’t want to buy a ton just for it to get all over the place the first time I brought it out. Again, Growing A Jeweled Rose came through with a win! I used their recipe for “Ghost Foam” but just had the foam out, no ghost pieces. For this you will need baking soda and shaving cream. I also used dollar tree cookie sheets for a little bit of containment (although that really didn’t last long).
This one was a lot of fun– and easy to clean up :)… All you need is tear-safe baby bubble bath, water, and a hand mixer! It took a bit of prep work to make the bubbles but otherwise it was super great. You just need to add some water to your bin, a lot of bubble bath, and use that hand mixer until it becomes SUPER bubbly!!
The great thing about the dyed rice table compared to the spaghetti is that it is reusable!! I have brought out the rice table three times and could probably use it a bunch more before it gets gross! I usually add some spoons and magnetic letters to the table.
In continuing our authors storytime session we had a very fun time with Jan Thomas!
Jan Thomas Picture Books
A Birthday for Cow
Is Everyone Ready for Some Fun?
Rhyming Dust Bunnies
Other Jan Thomas Books for Storytime
Can You Make a Scary Face?
What Will Fat Cat Sit On?
Is That Wise, Pig?
Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy
Extension Songs & Rhymes
Any action or silly song would be great with this author theme!
You could also work in some GoNoodle videos… check out my post for some recommendations.
Icky Sticky Bubbly Gum by David Landau (album: Kids & Kitties) The Goldfish by Laurie Berkner (album: Victor Vito) Shake Your Sillies Out by the Wiggles (album: Yummy Yummy)
We made our own rhyming dust bunnies! Previous to storytime I cut out the dust bunnies, the noses, and printed out rhyming words. They kids then got to pick 3 dust bunnies and try to find three words to rhyme. 3
For our fall pre-school storytime session I have decided to focus on a different author or illustrator each week instead of theme. This has been very fun and different and I’m really enjoying it so far! I have a backlog of authors to blog about from the past couple of weeks :)
Our first author was Denise Fleming!
Denise Fleming Picture Books
In the Tall, Tall, Grass
Mama Cat has Three Kittens
Other Denise Fleming Books for Storytime
In the Small, Small Pond
Alphabet Under Construction
Go, Shapes, Go!
I know a cat with perky ears,
And Kitty is her name-o.
K-I-T-T-Y, K-I-T-T-Y, K-I-T-T-Y,
And Kitty is her name-o.
She makes a sound and it’s “meow,”
And Kitty is her name-o.
K-I-T-T-Y, K-I-T-T-Y, K-I-T-T-Y,
And Kitty is her name-o.
Herman the Worm
I got this craft from Simply Speech– and it comes with a free printable! This is a great one to encourage some language and to discuss the book :)
As for prep, I wrote the words and then drew the lines for the kid to cut. I also cut out the squares of the pictures. Beyond that it was all scissor and glue skills while the kids made their projects!
A storytime theme that seems like such a no-brainer that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done before is Opposites! This was a super quick and easy one to plan and really lended itself well to having unique and fun conversations with the pre-schoolers!
I started by talking about the concept of opposites and telling them some examples. After we went over the theme we did our opening songs Rickety Tickety and Hello Friends (both can be found on the opening songs page)
Opposites Picture Books
Sun Above and Blooms Below: a springtime of opposites by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky, illus. by Susan Swan
The Hueys in What’s the Opposite by Oliver Jeffers
I am a Oliver Jeffers fan but this is the first time I have successfully used one of his books in storytime! It went really well
Where Is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox, illus. by Judy Horacek
I do this one a lot in tiny tots so it was fun to see how to pre-schoolers enjoyed it!
Other Opposites Picture Books: Black? White! Day? Night!: a book of opposites by Laura Vaccaro Seeger Maisy Big, Maisy Small by Lucy Cousins Big and Small: an animal opposites book and Long and Short: an animal opposites book by Lisa Bullard Opposnakes: a lift-the-flap book about opposites by Salina Yoon Big Bear Little Chair by Lizi Boyd Some Monsters Are Different by David Milgrim Alex and Lulu Two of a Kind by Lorena Siminovich
Opposites Songs & Rhymes
Cool Cat Jbrary
I did this in both tiny tots & Pre-school storytime and it was a hit with both crowds!
I Say Fast Did you ever go to Chuckee Cheese for a birthday party and they would do that song with all the big creepy animatronic animal things that went “I say happy you say birthday! Happy! Birthday! Happy! Birthday!
Anyways, this is a play off of that song!
I say fast and you say…. SLOW!
Fast! Slow! Fast! Slow!
I say up and you say….DOWN!
Up! Down! Up! Down!
I say happy and you say… SAD!
Happy! Sad! Happy! Sad!
I say over and you say… UNDER!
Over! Under! Over! Under!
Over and under weaving! We have been working very hard the last couple months on our cutting and pasting skills that I thought it was about time we introduced a new skill– weaving! It was a little difficult for some of the kids but we all practiced saying “over and under over and under” so they knew that’s what our strips of paper had to do. After they finished weaving we laminated the finished products and turned them into placemats. This was a fun project that taught a new skill and had a great finished product
For my monthly outreach visits I always have an interactive flannel board game. For our Friendship storytime I found some clipart on www.mycutegraphics.com and turned it into a puzzle game. I gave each child one half of the friendship puzzle and then asked each child to come up to put their piece on the felt board.
“If you have the friends with soccer balls please come put them on the board”
After they put their matching friends on the board they were invited to high five the friend who had their match (if they chose to).
Here is a PDF download of the friend pairs… I tried to get it with the puzzle template over them but when I rescanned them it looked really lossy. Basically, just with a pencil make a puzzle on each one and cut it out, then cover it with contact paper and stick some zelcro on the back!
Oh your job must be so relaxing and peaceful… you just get to read all day!
Blogging about our days as children’s librarians is not new, Abby the Librarian has done it, as has The Show Me Librarian, Never Shushed, and Storytime Secrets. But, we all bring a fresh and different perspetive and I have been wanting to blog about one of my days for quite some time to show the real variety in what I do each day. Recently my days have been quite the mixed bag. There are some days where I start my morning with two very full storytimes and end it with giving a presentation to a local community group about our library expansion project, with some collaborative work and patron engagement in between. There are very rarely two days that are similar, sometimes I have a couple programs in one day, and others I spend most of the time in my office planning. My favorite parts of my days are when I get to interact with the tiny humans enjoying the library. Even if it just means waving goodbye or popping my head up when I hear a “Mom! Miss Meg is here!”. Actually, about two minutes ago I had a 3 year old that I know from outreach visits introduce me to his dad, by his father’s first name, which gave both of us a good laugh.
Here was my Wednesday:
8:30am- leave for work, listen to a TAL podcast on the way
8:50am- arrive at work, talk to our amazing custodian for a few minutes. Teach him how to download podcasts onto his ipod touch.
9:15am- clean up community room (our only room in the library for programming). Put away tables and chairs and clean up any remaining craft supplies from storytime on Tuesday.
11:35am- OH HEY I HAVEN’T CHECKED MY E-MAIL YET. Check e-mail. Respond accordingly
11:45am-1:30pm- Work in my office on the spring calendar while also hopping to the desk to help check out
1:30pm- realize that I forgot to put my lunch of leftovers in the fridge and instead it has been in my bag the entire time
2pm- go out for lunch, get an okay salad to go from grocery store
2:45pm- set up for after school club. The craft this week is bracelets and necklaces so not too much to set up. Although I do have to drag all of those tables and chairs out that I put away this morning so I guess this is my third workout of the day
3:30pm- finish working on spring calendar
4pm- After School Club! Spend the next hour making bracelets and necklaces while jamming out to some kidz bop
5:00pm- IMPROMPTU DANCE PARTY. Literally. Some of the younger siblings of after school club kids came in and I put on Shake it Off and we had a dance party for a few minutes. The mother of one of the dancing children sent me this video to the library facebook page and I tried my skillz at turning it into a gif:
5:10pm– Quickly gather information I will need for evening meeting
5:15pm– Leave library and head to neighboring town for a forum about the CT Office of Early Childhood 4 year strategic plan. I attended as the Children’s Librarian of my town as well as a member of my town’s early childhood collaborative. Bonus: This meeting includes delicious food! AND COOKIES!
**While at this meeting I was happy to see that “Partnerships” are included in one of their goals. Unfortunately, libraries were not mentioned. I work closely with and am a member of the local early childhood collaborative and they know how beneficial our partnership is so my group was not hesitant to bring libraries to the table and let the OEC know that this was a vital thing missing from their plan. A tweet of mine also brought it to the attention of ALSC and they will be sending me some information to share with the OEC. I also sent some e-mails today to try and open up communication between the state OEC and libraries that are working hard with young children and their families in the state.
7pm– Head home!
Even at home I wear my children’s library hat while I read a middle grade book, interacted with Hafuboti on facebook about library programs, and checked twitter which is 99% librarians on my feed.
OTHER CHILDREN’s LIBRARIANS:
Please write posts about your day! IF you don’t have a blog, guest post here and tell us about your day!
10. Kendra’s Self Care Sundays on her blog, Read Sing Play. So much of my online and personal life is about the library world, I am in over 10 library facebook groups, when people see me around the community they see “Miss Meg the librarian”, my closest friends here in CT are all librarians or work in libraries, and nearly everyone I follow on twitter is library or book related. My persona is “Librarian” everywhere. Sometimes it’s good to just step back and not think about the library, or reading, and do my own thing. I love that Kendra recognized this and started blogging about the things she does on Sundays to take care of herself, and how by doing this she is really making herself a better librarian anyways.
9. My favorite school age program I did this past year at my library was Spy Academy (1, 2, 3). This was a lot of fun and both challenging and very rewarding. I did this program last winter and I still have regular questions on when I will be offering it again. It required a bit if planning and prep work but I highly recommend doing your own version!
7. Canva.com… I’m counting this in “library related things” because I use it mostly for library things like this blog and promotional materials at the library. I LOVE Canva, it makes creating eye catching posters and social media things really easy and fun. Here are some of my favorite things I’ve created:
6. This year I was lucky enough to be chosen for the 2017 Nutmeg Intermediate Book Award Selection Committee. The Intermediate Nutmeg Book Award is the Connecticut state award for books aimed at children in grades 3-5. What this meant is that between January and October of this year I read over 100 middle grades books to help decide the top 10 that would be on the nominee list, which a winner will then be voted on by the kids across Connecticut! It was a lot of work reading all of those books and attending meetings an hour away but it was so rewarding!
5. My first time attending Book Expo America (BEA)!!! It was exhausting, and a whirlwind of things happening BUT SO AMAZING. It will be in Chicago in 2016 so all you midwest librarians should definitely find a way to attend! It is not expensive as far as conferences go and you get to come home with SO MANY BOOKS!!!! And meet so many authors! Ahhhh I am getting all excited again just thinking about it.
3. I wrote a thing! This past year Upstart launched their new 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten line, and I was asked to write the free startup guide! This was a super fun project to research and write and I hope it helps many librarians in the future to start their own 1,000 Books program! There are a couple more things that will be published this coming year that I am excited to share as well.
2. Outreach storytime. This year marked the first full year of outreach storytime and me being a #librarianonthego. This was one of my goals for 2015 and I am so excited to report that things are going great so far! In our small town, I visit a local pre-school, and a handful of at home daycares once a month for storytime. This was previously a service that the children’s room didn’t provide so there have been a few small obstacles in just getting the word out. Now, my outreach storytimes are some of my favorite parts of the month.
1. A Very Merry Trump-mas; in which Rebecca from Hafuboti trolled the Storytime Underground facebook page to get us to rethink how we do programming around the Holidays. I sometimes feel like a broken record at this time of year because I am personally against Christmas programming and so half of my comments on facebook in library groups are “hey, watch your privilege, not everyone is Christian”, but I really enjoyed the perspective Rebecca had that made us really think hard about what we do and why we do it.
10. I shaved half my head! I had been thinking about it for a long time then I started reading the graphic novel Nimona (in which the main character and some of her head shaved) and decided then and there that I AM DOING THIS. I did receive many comments from people with their opinions of my hair (not that I asked) but I am SO HAPPY I did it. My current hair is short on one side and growing out on the other but I plan to keep it short for a very long time! Follow me on instagram (@theemegnificent) to see more sweet pics of my shaved head ;)
9. I got a new sewing machine from Mike as an early Christmas present. I have wanted one for years so I was so excited that we found one at a decent price the weekend after Thanksgiving. So far, I have just made a couple scarfs, a small stuffed animal, and some bookmarks, but my long term goal is to be able to make my own dresses and skirts.
8. At home paint nights. As many of you have seen, there are a lot of dedicated places for these “everyone paints the same pictures and drinks wine” type of things. Which seem really great and someday I’d like to do a real one but until then, Mike and I have made our own at home (and we never get cut off on how much wine we drink!). We don’t always have a ton of money to do fancy things, but we like to get creative with what we have.
7. I ate a lot of delicious food in 2015 including Oysters in Boston, a new Taco place near us, chicken wings every chance I get, Thai food for my first time, a bunch of goodies when I visited home in November, some fun new homemade meals, and cheese at every opportunity.
6. For both of our first times, Mike and I were able to take part in a CSA box. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and once a week for 22(ish) weeks we picked up a box of mostly vegetables (some fruits) fresh from a local farm! It was so fun exploring new veggies and recipes.
5. Okay so technically not library related because I read all of these books in my personal time but my favorite books for 2015 were Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, Ms. Marvel, Lumberjanes, and More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (who I also got to meet at BEA!)
4. I was lucky enough this year to go home for Thanksgiving! It was my first time home for Thanksgiving since I’ve moved out of the midwest and I was so happy to be there.
3. Visits from friends and family. In 2015 alone my best friend and her husband visited from Minnesota and we spent the weekend in Boston, my brother visited from Wisconsin (and again spent the weekend drinking beer in Boston), and I joined my other best friend (since Kindergarten!) for a long weekend in NYC. <3 My mom and dad are planning a visit up here for summer of 2016!
Also, along with my friends and family visiting we also had to chance to visit many of Mike’s friends in Boston and NYC and regularly visited his family in MA!
2. New kitten! I received Frank on January 1st of 2015 :) He’s a stinker and the very definition of a scardey cat, but he gives the best snuggles (unless it’s 4am then he gives the best finger nibbles). Frank joined Rae (who I received in 2014) and they still don’t quite get along but I love them both oh so much <3
1. In February of this year, my boyfriend Mike joined me in Connecticut. Previous to that we had been long distance for 18 months (first from NH -> WI, then from CT -> WI). It is still an adjustment for both of us to go from living alone to constantly having another human near us, but I am oh so thankful that our relationship is no longer comprised of facetime and phone calls.
2015 was a really great year for me, professionally and personally, so here’s to 2016! See you then.