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
side note before I get into this post: you may have recently started seeing ads. While I used to pride myself on being an ad free site, I do need to find some way to try and supplement the money I put towards the hosting and maintenance of Miss Meg’s Storytime. After all, I do live on a small town librarians salary ;)
I am going to see how using google adsense works for the time being, and I truly truly do apologize for any inconvenience. Hopefully it will not need to be a long term solution. -Meg
Sensory storytimes and playgroups are happening all over the place and I’ve been wanting to try it for awhile so I was excited when we started getting requests for Friday morning programming (when I had previously been told no one comes to) and could try it out! We are offering a sensory playgroup once a month for the spring and may continue it through summer or start it up again in the fall. Our first group was a great size for our first time and was very mangeable…there were about 10 kids that came.
In addition to having a sensory enriched setting I also wanted to have a lot of DIY toys and activities that parents could replicate at home. Out of all of our stations, only one was fully store bought!
I advertised the playgroup as a sensory playgroup that encourages participation from both caregiver and child. It was open for ages 6 mos to 5 years and we had kids come that were every age in that range. I set up the room with different stations and had a powerpoint slide up explaining the guidelines of this group. Since we already do a regular playgroup and I had many families come that go to our other playgroup I really wanted to set up the expectations I had for this one:
I was very impressed with all of the grown ups in the room– they really stayed with their tiny human and interacted. It was so so so amazing to hear all of the great conversations that were happening in the room:
This was a HUGE hit. Biggest recommendation: lay down a tarp or something. If you have carpet- lay down an extra big tarp. The noodles got stuck to the shoes and then ground into the carpet quite a bit. Towards the end a few kids had taken theirs shoes off and it was like a whole nother level. We had a relatively small group and all of the parents were attentive so that’s why I didn’t ask shoes to remain on, but it was a bit of a hazard because the noodles were so slippery so I’d keep that in mind.
As for making the noodles, the tutorial on Growing a Jeweled Rose is great. I made mine the night before and they were just fine the next morning. I actually used Easter egg dye (I ran out of food coloring and Walgreens didn’t’ have any and it was 9pm so I wasn’t about to drive to a grocery store) and it worked great as well! Half of the green and the pink/orange color were dyed with the egg dye. When making it, I would recommend wearing gloves because your hands will most likely get stained. Unless I am just a messy person which is completely possible.
Amount of prep time: 1 hour (I did 3 batches of noodles)
source: mamiblock , linked on Storytime Underground and my local CT chapter of SU
The video is not in English but if you google diy sensory board and look for it in pinterest there are a TON of ideas. For ours, I tried to use whatever I already had and it ended up being relatively cheap. All I bought was the board (a trifold board), some sparkly pipe cleaners, hair gel, and the orange fuzzy fabric. We had an old numbers puzzle that was just sitting in storage so that’s what I used for the numbers on the top right corner. Behind the board I have two zipper boards and a pull box (both from Laughing Kids Learn). These were very simple to make and were also a big hit. The pull box was a great way to introduce cause and effect!
Prep time: The longest thing to do was the pipe cleaner star and combined with the zipper board and pull box it probably took about 2 hours total.
Paper Pool & Bubber
Both of these things were introduced in our regular playgroup before I was even here, so they are already crowd favorites. The paper pool is very simple: shredded paper in a kiddie pool! I have also seen some librarians do it on a parachute or just on a tarp. The second thing is called Bubber and it is usually a favorite toy with the parents and we get questions constantly about what exactly it is. Bubber is similar to play doh but doesn’t create a big mess, doesn’t dry out, is easy to pick up off the floor and is wheat, gluten and casein free and 100% safe and non-toxic. It is like strange new miracle stuff, basically. We have a bunch of play dog toys in with it including little letter stamps. The most popular toy with it, though, is a little toy play doh knife.
Prep Time: this one you don’t have to do any pre-set up! Except for shredding paper… But we get ours from a staff member’s husband who is a professor and shreds stuff at school.
The picture isn’t great for this one so hopefully I can explain it well enough… This is just a table set on the floor without the legs up with plain paper taped on the top. I made some homemade crayons with little broken crayon pieces we had donated and set them out for the kids to draw and color and explore! The crayons were made in a muffin tin and cooked at 275 for about 16ish minutes. There are a lot of diy crayon tutorials online to look up! (I initially googled “crayons from crayons” and somehow google knew what I was getting at…)
The crayon table was near the noodle area so toward the end it ended up being a little bit of a crayon and noodle collage :)
Prep Time: 30 minutes (if you soak the crayons in water it is so easy to take their wrappers off before you cook them!! Really saves time)
Baby zone was a very low key area of the room. I set up some fleece fabric scraps I had from previous projects into a patchwork type layout, put some board books out and foam pieces that were used year ago for a project of some sort.
Prep Time: 10 minutes, maybe
All in all, this was a super successful program, but it did take quite a bit more prep time than I put into our regular playgroup. We will be meeting monthly through the spring and will probably continue it beyond that.
Do you do a sensory playgroup or storytime? I’d love to hear about it! What do you call it, what do you include, how is it received?
**this post is in no way sponsored by GoNoodle, although I did ask their permission to make sure they were okay with me posting it**
I may be a bit behind the bandwagon but I have recently discovered GoNoodle— and luckily in the middle of a 7 week music & movement session. I first saw it mentioned on the Storytime Underground facebook page and immediately spent over an hour watching all of the different videos.
For those that have never heard of it, Go Noodle is a web site that “helps teachers and parents get kids moving with short interactive activities”. It is originally designed for K-5 classrooms but I use many videos for my pre-k groups, although it takes more time to find those videos most appropriate for the younger crowd. When I googled ideas nearly all of them were for older kids in a classroom setting, whereas my focal point was the 2-5 year olds. So, after a lot of ‘research’ I have compiled a list of some of my favorite GoNoodle songs for pre-school age.
First, you will need to make a free (There is a paid plus account but I have no tried that yet) educator account. A cool thing about GoNoodle is after you use it in a library program you can inform caregivers that they can make their own accounts (as kids or parents) and keep on dancing at home!
In order to watch the videos you will need a computer, access to the internet, and a screen such as a projector or interactive whiteboard set up in your programming room.
*There is a paid plus account but I have no tried that yet*
After you create your account you will need to set up a classroom– I just named mine Music & Movement. Up at the top of your page you should see a menu bar that includes “Explore”, “Categories”, and “Channels”. These three areas are where you will find your videos. I highly recommend just playing around to figure out how everything works. It is a kid friendly interface, though, and not that hard to navigate. Now that you have an account let’s look at some of my favorites. Each video has the name of the video and the channel you will find it in.
Miss Meg’s Favorite GoNoodle Videos
For ages 2-5 in a library program
Action & High Energy Videos
Wobbly Man- Koo Koo Kanga Roo
Slo-Mo Machine- Koo Koo Kanga Roo
Roller Coaster- Koo Koo Kanga Roo
Too Hot- Zumba Kids (especially good for a crowd of 4-5 year olds)
Om Petalhead in “William Tell Overture”- The Champharmonic
Dance Like This Dude- Awesome Sauce
Ants In Your Pants- Youtube
*as a bonus please watch Disco Brain by Awesome Sauce because it is really hilarious*
Cool Down & Calming Videos
Hug it Out- Maximo
Belly Breathe- Youtube (from Sesame Street but on the Youtube channel)
Airtime- Game On (A little bit different concept than just watching a video… you pick grade level K-2 then where you are and breathe as a bubble floats as you breathe and then collect postcards as you go along)
Rainbow Breath- Flow
If you yourself ever feel the need to calm down and collect yourself before a program I recommend Chin Up by the Flow channel!
*another bonus: watch anything with Mr. Catman because also hilarious*
As you watch videos your ‘Champ’ will grow! I have already been able to max out Om Petalhead:
Let me know if you have any other favorite GoNoodle videos in the comments! I have yet to sift through them all and loving finding more songs to share in my Music & Movement program.
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!
In a semi recent Storytime Underground facebook page post someone mentioned about asking their storytime group for suggestions on books or themes… I got to thinking about doing something similar and realized that without a doubt, hands down, the most asked for topic would be Unicorns! So I decided to plan a Unicorn Storytime! I announced the theme the week before (which I never do) so that the big die hard unicorn fans would know to come, and many even came wearing unicorn themed clothes or with their unicorn stuffed animals!
Unicorn Picture Books
*also let this be known, this is my official call for more picture books featuring unicorns!*
Unicorn Think’s He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea
Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Brigette Barrager
I Wished for a Unicorn by Robert Heidbreder and Kady MacDonald Denton
Unicorn Extension Activities
Actually… I couldn’t find/come up with any great Unicorn songs or rhymes so we just did our basic Goldfish Song and Icky Sticky Bubble Gum!
If this didn’t fall the week after ALA Midwinter I might’ve prepared a much cooler craft BUT, I think we did alright with some last minute planning. I printed off two unicorn coloring sheets, added the traceable text on the bottom, and set out markers, crayons, glue, ribbon, scissors, and GLITTER! One of the skills I try to work in at least once a month in storytime is scissors so for this one they were able to cut little pieces of ribbon for their Unicorn’s mane. The glitter was just because it was unicorn storytime and can you REALLY have an authentic unicorn storytime without glitter?
All in all this was a great storytime, despite very few options that I could find for book choices and songs. Many of them loved that storytime centered around one of their favorite things and they got to tell me about the unicorn stuffed animals they have at home!
I am so so so excited (and honored!) to have been asked to be a part of the ‘Babies Need Words Every Day’ blog tour. To view the other rockstar blogging librarians (seriously, how did I get so lucky to get in this mix!?) on the blog tour click here! Babies Needs Words is an ALSC initiative focused on bridging the 30 Million Word Gap. It includes 8 beautiful posters that promote four early literacy practices: talk, sing, read, play! In addition to the FREE posters it includes a downloadable book list and a media kit.
I am so excited to share with you this poster that promotes reading!
Before my tiny tots storytime we have 15 minutes of play time & so I decided to put the poster on our toy tubs:
Having something different on the tubs attracted a lot of curious looks and the parents all noticed the posters during playtime. I hadn’t thought of putting anything on the tubs in the past but I may switch out each of the different posters ever month or so for something new to look at that includes a new early literacy tip!
Reading, in a library!?
Reading may seem like a no-brainer in a library, but I think the biggest way we can promote this early literacy practice is being great models for parents. Many that come to my tiny tots storytime mostly come for the social aspect of it & to get their baby around other tiny humans. And then while they are here I surprise them with some early literacy tips and they go home with things they can practice outside of the library.
I hear quite often from new parents that they don’t even realize that reading to their baby is beneficial… sure, they sing and talk to their newborn but reading!? They can barely even sit up– what good is a book going to do!? When we read stories in storytime I share an early literacy tip about how to read to baby and let them know that it is completely okay to not finish a book.
Each storytime includes a choral reading of a board book. As we are passing out the books I mention that if your little one is near you and looking at the pages to point to each word as we say it, or the pictures in the story.
Depending on how the group is I also read a big book. Sometimes with the big book I will ask questions and point to the pictures. This helps the caregivers realize that the book can be a conversation– we aren’t just reading the words and moving on.
Tips to promote Reading
In the first couple months, reading is a bonding experience. Snuggle in with baby and read a story that you loved yourself when you were a child. (True story: We have a dad who is reading his newborn The Hobbit, because he loves The Hobbit and they snuggle and baby usually falls asleep but zomg they are bonding SO MUCH)
Soon, baby will be able to enjoy looking at the pictures in the story. Pick a high contrast book or one with fun textures.
When baby is able to sit up and hold things, have board books around the house. Point to the pictures in the book and name them.
As you share stories, point to the words on the pages. This will help them realize that the words you are saying are those weird black squiggles they see on the page.
Read often and read stories you yourself enjoy. It is okay to not finish a book or only read a few pages at a time.
Picture books have a lot of unique language that we don’t always use in our day-to-day! These unique words helps build a strong vocabulary which then makes your tiny human more ready for school, helps them be a rockstar in school, graduate at 12, go on to MIT or something, and become the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Really. Just from reading Moo Baa La La La.
One again, I am so honored to be a part of the Babies Need Words Blog Tour. Go check out all of the amazing resources ALSC has to offer. Seriously. They have this Press Release that all you have to do is insert your Library’s Name and then send it to local organizations to try and see if they will display the posters! Not only is this a great way to promote early literacy in your library (more so than you already are) but it can be a huge community partnership!! The Letter to the Editor that they include has the biggest mic drop I’ve seen when it comes to early literacy:
By participating in the Babies Need Words Every Day campaign, we can work together to build a healthy, sustainable community in one of the most high-impact and cost-effective ways: by investing in its youngest members.
So yea, check out everything there is to offer– and share how you plan to use Babies Need Words in your library!