Thursday, May 18, 2023

Preschool Craft: Flying Butterfly

I planned this craft kit for a summer storytime- it's so fun to flutter around! This is the die cut I used.

 Here's what I put on the bag for instructions:

 Included: popsicle stick, stickers, chenille stems, butterfly 

 Not included: glue stick 

 1: Open the bag to see the included supplies. 

 2: Add stickers to butterfly wings as desired. 

 3: Glue paper butterfly shape to one end of the popsicle stick. Bend wings up. 

 4: Twist chenille stems together most of the way, leaving antennae at one end. 

 5: Glue the stems to the abdomen area on top of the popsicle stick and paper wings. 

 6. Wait to dry... then shake popsicle stick to FLY!

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Toddler Storytime: Let's get SPOOKY!

There are so many wonderful rhymes and books for seasonally spooky storytimes! This was my storytime plan for the week of Halloween. Pumpkin playdough is always a hit! It's as easy to make as it is hard to clean up.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Preschool Storytime: Mice are Nice!

This is a fun storytime filled with lots of action and rhyming! A mentor once told me that the key to a good storytime is using books you love; that enjoyment comes through in the sharing. House Mouse is a book I want to hug every time I read it:

There's something very hygge about this book! Perfect for Autumn. I had the kids act out the mouse's actions with me- thump thump thump, knock knock knock, tap tap tap.

These days, I put my storytime plans in a Google doc like this. I find the simple layout helps me balance the different activity types (Song, Book, Rhyme, Activity, Discussion) included during a typical storytime. I usually make these "game plans" available for the parents too. 

When I don't have a craft, I like to substitute a group activity. In this case, we brought out 2 giant totes of megablocks for some creative play after our goodbye song.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Sensory Storytime: We LOVE Fall!

My library has a partnership with a local school that specializes only in Special Education. I visit once a month and do storytimes for several classes. We struggle to get attendees for sensory-oriented events at the library, so this has been a great opportunity to provide sensory storytimes for more children in our community.

Each storytime lasts about 25 minutes, and every class is a unique experience. I try to do my best to adapt on the fly to the skills, abilities, and moods of the students in the class. I have found that music is very popular and helps refocus the students' attention.

There are a few things I keep the same every visit to build familiarity with and for the enjoyment of the students:

We do the same opening and closing song every visit- this wonderful song from our friends at Jbrary! It provides a nice bookend effect and uses simple sign language.

We always sing If you're happy and you know it, using this version where we clap our hands, stomp our feet, and shout "Hooray!"

Finally, somewhere near the end of the 25 minute storytime, I break out the bubble machine and we pop and sing along with Pop the Bubbles by Patty Shukla- this is usually the high point of the storytime!

With those repeating elements, this is what our storytime outline looked like today:
  • We sang Hello Friends (see above.)
  • We read Fall is Here by Frankie Jones
  • We sang If You're Happy and You Know It (see above.)
  • I passed around giant pine cones that smelled delightfully like cinnamon and let the kids pet the soft squirrel puppet I brought with me. (Always be on the lookout for objects that may be choking hazards.)
  • We read The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tarfuri. (I skipped a few pages of this repeating storyline to better keep their attention.)
  • I threw a bunch of artificial fall leaves in the air, and then we sang these words to the tune of Frere Jacques, with falling hand motions and wiggling fingers:
Leaves are falling, Leaves are falling
To the ground, to the ground
Look at all the colors, look at all the colors!
Red, yellow, brown!
  • We read I DARE YOU! by Nicole Maubert.  (I skipped a few pages to keep their attention. I also let "daring" students experience the touch-and-feel elements. They enjoyed seeing themselves in the mirror at the end.) 
  • Then we did the delightful and classic fingerplay 5 Little Pumpkins. I made this a little less Halloween-oriented to suit the setting:  
Five Little Pumpkins sitting on the gate (hold up five fingers)
The first one said, "Oh my! It's getting late." (hold up one finger, then point to your watch)
The second one said, "There are bats in the air!" (hold up two fingers, then make them fly around like a bat)
The third one said, "But we don't care." (hold up three fingers, then put your arms akimbo and shake your head)
The fourth one said, "Let's run and run and run!" (hold up four fingers, make running motions)
The fifth one said, "This is so much FUN!" (hold up five fingers, throw your arms up into the air on "FUN")
WOOOOOOO went the wind, (sway hands back and forth)
and OUT went the lights (clap on "OUT")
and the five little pumpkins (hold up five fingers)
rolled out of sight. (make a rolling motion with your fists)
  • We sang and popped along with Pop the Bubbles (see above.)
  • We sang Goodbye Friends (see above.)
  • I gave the teacher packets of 3 Fall coloring pages for each student, including a half sheet of library info for the parents.  
And that's it! I hope this is useful. Sensory Storytimes are fun for everyone!

    Tuesday, September 3, 2019

    Easy Teen Craft: Kumihimo Bracelets

    I took this craft to our local Juvenile Detention Center; it was a perfect activity for kids stuck inside on a rainy day. The students were very receptive, and all of them "got it" without too much trouble. Several of them wanted to keep working on the project after the program and asked me to leave behind extra string, which earns this craft a spot in my future programming repertoire.

    I made enough looms out of old poster board for each student to keep one. (This way they could keep working on the project and didn't have to finish their bracelet by the end of my visit.)

    Before we got started, I told them a little bit about the history of Kumihimo, and showed them a few color photos of some of the impressive projects you can make with this Japanese braiding technique, professional Kumihimo artists at work on their fancy wooden wheels, as well as finished photos of the type of bracelet we would be making.

    Before I reinvent the Kumihimo wheel, I'd like to share this fantastic video explaining the entire craft from Red Ted Art.  In this case they have used yarn, but I think embroidery floss is more attractive to older kids. For the cardboard circle loom, I used a medium circle die-cut and posterboard, which also worked well.

    Try it yourself! It's simple, easy, inexpensive, historically interesting, engaging- what else can we ask for? Enjoy!

    Tuesday, May 7, 2019

    Teen activity: Library Bingo

    Bingo is a crowd-pleasing classic! I did this with teens at our local Juvenile Detention Center, and a great time was had by all- and we talked about 20 different library resources to boot. I could see this being a fun activity with many age groups. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

    These are the bingo cards I made on although I ended up switching to the "Stars and Stripes" theme seen below. I printed them on white cardstock.

    When the teens got their first bingo, I would let them drop a disc in the Prize Drop, a really fun product to have for outreach and programs, and then they would win one of these awesome scratch-n-sniff bookmarks available from Demco.  For the mini-bookmarks at the bottom of the Prize Drop, I cut the actual bookmarks in half. Then I would give them a full-size normal bookdrop for their prize- and 5 Jolly Ranchers!  (Blue Jolly Ranchers were the most popular today.)


    While playing, I would explain each resource and why it is an awesome thing that they should take advantage of either now or in the future.

    Next time I do this activity, when they get their second bingo I would let them CHOOSE their favorite bookmark. The gummy worms seem to be the most popular.

    Tuesday, April 9, 2019

    Easy teen activity: Paper cup making & testing!

    Every month I visit our local Juvenile Detention Center and do a short activity with the teens, just to give them a "taste" of what we do in library programs and make sure they are aware of library resources in general. Today's activity was a suggestion from my director that worked very well, so I thought I'd share!

    First, I asked the teens to imagine that they were in the desert/jungle, dying of thirst, [insert dramatic scenario here] and they needed some way to carry water.

    Here to save the day is the humble Origami Cup!

    I gave them each a few square sheets of paper (5" by 5" works well) and told them that they would be able to test their cup after they made it with some... dun-dun-da-dun: SPRITE!  (The more dramatic the reveal of the two liter, the better! I had it hidden in a large bag.)

    I printed and handed out directions, but then I also walked them through it step by step. Kids did what worked best for them and I walked around giving pointers. Then, as they finished, I filled their little cups with sprite and they got to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

    I then challenged them to see if they could make a new paper cup without looking at the directions.

    This activity only takes about 15-20 minutes. If I wanted to stretch it out, I would also have them make an origami tray/bowl/plate that they could then "test" with a snack. It could be a fun part of a survivalist-type program for teens.