Thursday, February 28, 2013

Theme Thursday: Please Mr. Postman

Try as I might, I just couldn't figure out a way to use The Marvelettes song during our story time. A reference in the blog post was about as good as I could do.

Song: Good Monring Dear Earth

Flannel: Alphabet Soup- MAIL

Book: I Miss You Every Day by Sims Tabek

Song: Mail Myself to You

Finger Play: 2 Little Black Birds

Song: Grand Old Duke of York

Flannel: A Tisket a Tasket

Book: Larabee by Kevin Luthardt

 Song: Itsty Bitsy Spider

Song: Turn Around from Getting to know Myself

Make and Take Craft: Decorate Your Own Stamps

Did you know that you can submit your own stamp design to the United States Postal Service? The guidelines were a little strict for my kiddos so we just decorated label/sticker paper instead

-label/sticker paper
-design cut scissors

I cut the label paper into quarters using ridged scissors. Then I wrote .42 in the top right corner (although apparently the price of stamps has gone up since I last checked. I personally am a fan of FOREVER stamps, but they don't have the cool designs). After story time I passed out markers and the kids decorated their own stamps to take home and stick on over sized letters!

Time: prep took 5 minutes, the craft took 15.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


This is a program from way back in the no-camera days of October and November when our system was celebrating the European Union. My chosen country was Denmark, and what better way to introduce older kids to Denmark than through Hans Christian Andersen and his most beloved story The Little Mermaid?
Using large pieces of butcher paper, I traced the upper half of everyone's body and then finished them off with a mermaid tail. The kids then used glitter, yarn, markers, stamps and sequins to decorate their very own mermaids.

I thought the biggest interest group would be children 4-8. While there were some younger kids who came and enjoyed themselves, we had a surprising number of older tween and even a few teens who got really into glamming up their mermaids.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Flannel Friday: We're Going to the Zoo

We had a zoo themed story time a few weeks ago and using mostly pieces that I already had I was able to do an approximation of Rod Campbell's Dear Zoo, a book that I love and that we only have as a Chinese board book.

I started by telling the kids that I'd written the zoo a letter to ask for a pet. Then I described each animal that they sent me and asked them to guess what the animal was before I out it on the board.

The first animal they sent me was soooooo tall and he ate leaves all day long.

It was a... giraffe! But he didn't fit in my house so I had to send him back.

The next animal they sent me was big and heavy. He had a long trunk and big flapping ears.

It was an.... elephant! But he kept eating all the peanuts from the kitchen so I had to send him back.

The third animal they sent me had a loooooong tail and great big teeth that went CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP. 

It was an... alligator! But he scared my mom so I had to send him back.

So the people at the zoo thought long and hard. And the last animal they sent me was small and wriggly with a wagging tail and he went woof woof woof.

They sent me a... dog! And he was just right for me so I kept him!

I also used flannel versions of the elephant, a bear, a seal and a monkey to talk about all the animals that are in the Peter, Paul and Mommy version of Tom Paxton's "Daddy's Taking Us to the Zoo Tomorrow." We went over animal sounds and actions so that they would know what to do when we danced to the song.

Flannel Friday is hosted this week by K Leigh at Storytime ABCs. For more information on Flannel Friday visit the official website.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Themeless Thursday: Hodge Podge

I went to a roundtable on Teen Mental Health on Thursday so I missed our usual theme story time. I did do a baby story time on Tuesday though. So here's that...

Song: Good Morning Dear Earth

Song: Hello, Hello to You and You and You

Finger Play: I Had a Turtle

Song: Open, Shut Them

Baby Bounce: Criss Cross, Line, Line

Book: And the Train Goes... by William Bee

 Flannel: I Had a Rooster 

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knee and Toes


Flannel: Valentine Tree

Finger Play: 2 Little Blackbirds

Song: Turn Around

Make and Take Craft: Valentine Trees

I prepped this craft for after the Valentine's Day story time that I missed on Thursday.

Time: Prep took 15 minutes, craft usually takes about 20.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Make Your Own: Pinata

Pinatas are the best. There are a lot of ways to make them and everyone has a favorite; this is mine. All the pictures come from the making of the Minotaur pinata from our Percy Jackson party way back when the Mark of Athena came out. 

You will need:

                    1) Ballons              2) Ripped Up Tissue Paper     3) Watered Down Glue

1) We're using full size ballons but making mini, personal pinatas out of water ballons is fun too.

2) Newspaper will also work (if you really saturate it) but if you're going for asethics then tissue paper is where it's at.

3) Did you know that mod podge is just weak glue? Save yourself some money and just water down craft glue for this project.

4) Pipe cleaners or string is also helpful.

Let's Begin:

1) Using your paint brush, spread a layer of watery glue on your balloon. The latex will make the glue pool and slip off, but the important part is that some of it sticks.

2) Begin to layer the tissue paper on the balloon. Use more glue to hold it down. Cover the entire balloon and then cover it again.

Here's a ballon that's not quite covered with one layer yet.

 And after the second and third layers.

3) After the balloon is covered in tissue paper, it needs to dry. String a piece of yarn or a pipe cleaner through the tiny tail above the balloon knot and hang it up somewhere. I used the book shelves behind my desk. Leave it overnight or until the balloon is completely dry.

 4) When balloon is dry, hold the tail and gently pop the balloon. The deflated balloon should slip out of the opening at the top. Trim the opening to about the size of your fist, giving it smooth edges will be nice for when you're filling it. This is what the inside will look like. Isn't it pretty and shiny? Also, this is an extra pinata base that I cut open to make into a bowl. DO NOT cut your pinata open this much. Unless you want a bowl. In that case go for it.

5) Now comes the time to add the superficial elements. Decide what you want your pinata to be. If you just want a semi-round orb skip down to step 7. I needed a bull (it ended up kind of pig looking but whatever) so I crumpled up newsprint paper and taped it to the outside to give a rough shape for my snout, eyes and the heavy brow.

6) Then use more weak glue and tissue paper to cover up the newsprint

7) Fill the tiny opening with candy, confetti or whatever else is going inside. Use masking tape to completely cover the small hole, lay the strips of tape in all directions.

8) And finally, cover the tape with tissue paper and glue to give it a uniform appearance.

9) The horns on this sucker where just twisted up pieces of newsprint that I then covered in yellow tissue paper and jammed in the sides of the head. Likewise for the hook, which is just a piece of pipe cleaner poked through and taped into place.

10) Let everything dry very, very well and voila! You're very own pinata.

11) And the after. Poor guy got beat. Hard.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Flannel Friday: Mitten Mates

 The weather here has been sporadic; it's almost spring, but winter is still holding on with everything its got. So while it's still chilly enough outside for coats and gloves and hats I wanted to share one of our favorite flannel games- mitten mates.

I start with a bunch of single mittens up on the board, then I hand out their pairs to kids in the room and give everyone a good chance to see where their mate is.

The we sing the song. It's to the tune of Farmer in the Dell and goes like this 

"Each mitten has a mate
Each mitten has a mate
Can you find the pair?
You're looking here and everywhere,
Can you find the pair?"

If I know all of the names for the kids who are holding mittens I'll substitute their name into the song, inviting them to come up and put their mitten with its match. Otherwise pointing works just fine.

 When the song gets boring (sometimes you have to go through a few rounds to make sure everyone who wants to gets a chance to come up) I'll hand out all the mittens and start asking specific questions about the color and shapes of the mittens. So I'll ask for all the mittens with stripes on them and the four kids with these will come up.

Flannel Friday is hosted this week by Katie at Storytime Katie. Information on Flannel Friday (and the upcoming birthday celebration!) is at the official website.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Theme Thursday: Daddy's Taking Us to the Zoo Tomorrow

I don't know why I've never done a zoo themed story time before. This was the most fun I've had at story time in a loooooong time.

Song: Good Morning

Finger Play: I Had a Little Turtle

Flannel: Alphabet Soup- ZOO

Book: Pssst! by Adam Rex

Song: Itsy Bitsy Spider

Song: Open, Shut Them

Flannel: Dear Zoo

Song: Going to the Zoo from Peter, Paul And Mommy 

Book: Class Two at the Zoo by Julia Jarman

Baby Bounce: Criss Cross, Line, Line

Song: Turn Around from Getting to know Myself

Make and Take Craft: Zoo Puppets

-construction paper
-popsicle sticks
-crayons or markers

Process: Before story time I cut out several animal shapes to match the animals that we saw in the Dear Zoo flannel. The kids then decorated the animals and glued the popsicle sticks on to make puppets.

Time: Prep took 15 minutes, the craft took 30. There was some animal theater involved.