I’m new to the storytime and library scene. And by new I mean I haven’t even graduated from library school yet (MAY 13 — so soon!!!). I work part-time doing one storytime weekly and a very small, rural town about 40 minutes from where I live. I do not have the stress and anxiety of planning programming and storytimes weekly while still doing other librarian jobs. Because of that, I have a bit more flexibility in my planning. I plan storytimes for fun. Seriously, I’d rather do this than my homework any day. “Hmm… On one hand I can find an adorable craft and fingerplay for our butterfly storytime coming up or I can do my cataloging homework…” (actually, cataloging is my favorite class this semester, weird).
That being said, I have looked at a lot of storytime resources, pinterest crafts, and blogs. I know what I’m doing (or at least I have a nice allusion). And I have an opinion about crafts and how I prefer them to be done.
I prefer storytime crafts to have more freedom than structure. I encourage the kids to use their imagination– go ahead– make your monkey purple! Add 6 googly eyes to your monster! Your fish is riding a surfboard?! GREAT! When I plan out storytimes I try to make it so that kids can interpret it their own way. I have a basic plan and idea but then let them go their own way with it.
A good example of this was our recent monster craft. I gave the kids colored styrofoam balls, google eyes, plastic straws, pipe cleaners, glitter, and glitter glue and let them do whatever they wanted for their monster. And I got some great results.
To me, the point of a craft in storytime is the actual doing not the end result. It’s okay if your dog doesn’t necessarily look like a dog as long as you had fun being creative.
Because of this, I try to stay away from the crafts that could look adorable and fit with the theme, but maybe don’t have a lot of substance or opportunity for creativity. I’d rather kids have fun with what their doing and create a purple monkey than just glue pieces together to create the same exact thing as their neighbor.
Now, I understand that this is not what everyone wants nor is it always possible. I do think that some more simple and more constricting crafts can often teach early literacy and fine motor skills and those are great resources. I just have a problem with doing a craft that looks cute or would be easy to clean up if it doesn’t give any chances for creativity or learning.
My passion is to push kids to explore their creativity through books, songs, fingerplays, and crafts.
Please give me your thoughts, feedback, constructive criticism and what not! Like I said, I’m new here– there is always room for improvement.