Friday, March 29, 2013

Flannel Friday: Whose Hat is That?

I made this in about 15 minutes before story time on Thursday, I've had a bad procrastinating streak lately. When I get a chance I'll go back and make both a boy and a girl face so that there's a little more diversity in the dressing up- I realized after I had made it that there were 4 pretty stereotypical boy professions and 1 stereotypical girl profession (if you consider a witch a profession) and I'd like to switch it up a bit in the presentation.

Anyway we start with my friend Pete (aka Pete the Pirate from This Little Pirate) and I told the kids that Pete likes to dress up and pretend to be different people. He uses hats in his dress-up and we have to guess what Pete is going to be...

I run into fires to save the day, my bright red hat keeps me safe all the way!

Pete's a firefighter!

I ride a broom with a cat on the back, my hat is a triangle, pointy and black.

Pete's a witch!

I cook all day, I cook all night, my hat is big, puffy and white.

Pete's a chef!

And sometimes we know what Pete wants to dress up as, but we have to help him find the right hat.

I'm a king, I rule this town. I wear a special hat, it's called a....


Whether I'm catching a ball, or swinging a bat, on my head I've got a....


And that's our hat game.

Flannel Friday is being hosted this week by Mollie Kay at What Happens in Storytime and as always, you can find more information about Flannel Friday (which just celebrated its second birthday!) at the official website.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Theme Thursday: Hats Galore!

I've had a really bad case of "but I don't wanna"s for the last month. This happens to me a lot when I'm working on a big project that I'm excited about, but still have to find the time for the daily things that I need to do. Like plan story time. Which is why it was 9:45 this morning before I decided on a theme for my 10:30 story time and started grabbing books and frantically making a flannel set. We went with "hats." Alas, my beloved Millie's Marvelous Hats is too long for my preschool crowd, but I was able to find some good substitutes.

Song: Good Morning Dear Earth

Finger Play: I Had a Little Turtle

Song: Open, Shut Them

Book: The Magic Hat by Mem Fox

Flannel: 5 Little Ducks

Song: Grand Old Duke of York

Song: Shake My Sillies Out from The Singable Songs Collection (20th Anniversary Special Edition)

Book: I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Song: If You're Happy and You Know It

Flannel: Who's Hat is That?

Song: Turn Around from Getting to know Myself

Make and Take Crafts: Visor Hats

We had a bunch of foam visors in a file cabinet I labeled "Foam Junk," if you don't have an excess supply of foam junk, check out the pirate hats we made a few months ago.

-foam visors
 -glitter glue
-pipe cleaners

Process: After story time we all gathered around the craft table and I handed out visors, glitter glue and pipe cleaners. The pipe cleaners are very easy to stick through the foam visors, so you could make extra hair or springy coils coming out of the top. Most kids just used the visors and a canvas for experimenting with glitter glue.

Time: Prep took 2 minutes (most of which was spent finding the visors) and the craft took about 20.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

I'm speaking in cliches today because while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, an image is also worth a thousand words. Which means 104 images edited together rapid-fire style must be worth 104,000 words. And that's a lot.

And here are a few up close detail shots of the wall. Do you see any of your favorite books amongst our Baby Mouse collection?


Aren't our kids talented?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Black History Month: Magic Trash

I like to think of myself as a pretty crafty person. And a creative one too. So it just about kills me that I'd 1) never heard of Tyree Guton, 2) this book or 3) a program using found objects until Ms. Erin came along and introduced me to Magic Trash . Here she is in her own words to explain my favorite Black History Month program EVER!

I’m Lucy’s colleague, Ms. E, and it’s an honor to be guest posting here at  In the Children’s Room.  I wanted to talk about a recent program that I did for Black History Month—I really wanted to do something that would be different, hands-on, and engaging for a range of ages. Also, I knew I wanted to focus the program around a less well-known figure, maybe even one who was still alive.

Somehow (I honestly don’t remember how at this point) I learned about the picture book biography Magic Trash (text by Jane Shapiro, illustrations by Vanessa Brantley Newton). Inspired by the life of Detroit artist Tyree Guyton, it tells the story of how Guyton grew up as a poor but art-obsessed kid and later returned to his neighborhood of Heidelberg Street as an adult. Determined to uplift and inspire, Guyton turned houses and vacant lots into pieces of installation art that people travel from far and wide to see. 

I decided to collect trash and various found objects (aka “junk”) and invite each child attending the program to create their own found-object sculpture.  I collected some items myself, but also sent an email request to our list of all children’s staff, and received contributions from 4 or 5 other staff members. There were some interesting boxes in the inter-office mail!    I specifically requested coffee cans, used-up paper towel rolls, egg cartons and soda bottles.

The only things that I purchased for the program were two bottles of epoxy glue (about $4.50 each) from the local art supply store.  I did add some craft supplies from our cabinet at work: popsicle sticks, colorful construction paper, fuzzy puffballs, pipe cleaners, and buttons, as well as a few plastic toys we had lying around. 

I did this program for the first time last year, but it was at a different library with a different group of kids, so I was a little nervous about attendance and how it would be received. I shouldn’t have worried, because it went really well!  Our participants ranged in age from 4 (assisted by an adult) to 12, and included a number of our regular after-school kids, as well as some younger ones who came specifically for the program and were accompanied by parents/nannies.

I adapted the text a little as I was reading, because it sometimes feels simultaneously too young and too old; the real star was Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s illustrations. Many of the older kids know her art style from the covers of the Ruby Booker series, and some of the younger ones had read Don’t Let Auntie Mabel Bless The Table. I also printed off a bunch of color photographs of Tyree Guyton and various installations on Heidelberg Street to pass around; I wanted the kids to get a vivid sense of him as a real person working in a real place, and to be able to compare the actual installations with Brantley-Newton’s paintings.
After that, I explained the project and brought out the supplies; there was some minor scuffling (from the big kids!) over sharing supplies, but fortunately Lucy was there to moderate behavior while I put out supplies and gave a quick explanation of how to use epoxy glue and why younger ones should ask an adult to help them. 

Everyone had a great time coming up with ideas and sharing them!  There were a few moments of frustration with the epoxy glue’s slowness to dry, as well as a couple of people who were concerned about sensitivity to fumes. (ed: That was me, I am stupid sensitive to smells and had to leave the room at one point.) I deliberately chose an adhesive with a slower drying time because I needed something that could hold heavier items, but I didn’t want kids gluing themselves together with super glue.  If there’s a less-toxic but still strong adhesive, I’d be interested in suggestions.  

Most of the children took their projects home, but a few left them for us to display, which has provided an opportunity to share the story of Tyree Guyton and Heidelberg Street with others who weren’t able to attend the program. I generally don’t think of myself as a “crafty person” and don’t have an art background, but I love projects like this that are discovery-oriented and don’t require specialized knowledge.  I’m already trying to brainstorm the next outside-the-box idea to introduce kids to great thinkers and creators!

Thanks Ms. Erin! It really was a great program and we have kids who see the display ask if they can make their own all the time. Below are a few more pictures of our Magic Trash Sculptures. Enjoy!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Flannel Friday: Dig Into Summer Reading

Okay everyone, today we're going to dig a hole all the way to the center of the earth. Does everyone have their shovel? Okay good, let's get started. Dig, dig, dig.

The first layer we have to dig through is called the crust. It's what we're standing on right now. All the plants and grass grow on top of the crust and deeper down you'll find all sorts of cool rocks, fossils and precious stones like emeralds and rubies.*

Phew, now we're through the crust. Let me see those shovels because we're going to have to dig some more. Go on, let me see you dig.

Good, we're going to have to dig even more though because the next layer is called the mantle and it's the thickest. The mantle is 400 hundreds miles thick! Imagine if you got in a car and drove all the way to South Carolina**, has anyone ever been to South Carolina? It's a long ways away. Now imagine driving that far straight down. That's how thick the mantle is! So let's get out that shovel and keep digging...

YES! We got through the mantle! High five! But, uh-oh! The next layer of the earth is called the outer core and it's so hot down there that everything is liquid! It's like the molten lava that comes out of volcanoes but much much hotter. I hope you guys are wearing protective suits. You're not? Well, let's put them on now.

Suits on? Awesome. Okay, get out those shovels and keep digging. We have one layer left. Let's dig!

The last layer is called the inner core and it's even hotter than the out core! In fact, the inner core is as hot as the surface of the sun! Unlike the outer core, the inner core is completely solid because it's got everything else, the crust, the mantle and the outer core pressing in on it and making  it all stick together. Like when you're playing with play dough and you pack it into a really tight, tiny ball with your hands.

 Let's not stay here too long. I'm getting really hot. Now we could keep digging. And we'd go through the outer core and the mantle and the crust on the other side. But if we did that, do you know where we'd come out? Nope, not in China. We'd be in the middle of the Indian Ocean!*** I'm not that good of a swimmer though so let's go back the way we came.

What's this layer called? And this one? And this one? The last one? Good job, you guys, we traveled all the way to the center of the earth and back again! And now that we're back here on the surface, the crust, let's sing a song.

* You can use any facts that you want when talking about the different layers of the earth. This one is aimed at the interest/attention span of toddler and preschool. If I was going to take it to outreach, I'd get a little more technical.

** Northern South Carolina is about 400 miles from us and a lot of our kids have family in North and South Carolina. So pick whatever works for you to convey a very long distance. Driving for 6.5 hours would also work. Assuming an average speed of 60 mph.

*** There are some cool google map hacks that let you type in your zip code and then see where you'd pop out if you could dig a hole through the middle of the earth. But everywhere in continental North America puts you somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Alaska and Hawaii are more interesting.

Flannel Friday: Dig Into Summer Reading special edition is hosted today by Lisa at Libraryland and as always you can get more information about Flannel Friday at the official website