Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes

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Storytime: Houses and Homes

little-mouseWe continued our community themes with Houses and Homes.  This was the first one where a non-traditional craft was an easy activity choice.  We built houses for assorted plastic figurines using a variety of building toys.  Lots of fun!

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Storytime: Pets

I continued the “getting to know you” storytime sequence last week with Family (which I guess I forgot to post about) and this week with Pets.  Most of the kids who had pets in the group had dogs,  but there was one cat owner.  I ended up reading a dog story and a cat story, with a bigger variety of animals represented in the songs and the craft.

One of the things I’ve found more challenging in moving from the Alphabet themes of the past few years to more traditional themes is that I’m having trouble finding appropriate process crafts.  With concrete themes, I keep coming up with ideas that are more concrete products.  This week, I decided to have us create our own pet store with different kinds of pets.  I put out white butcher paper on the tables and put different materials on each table – dot paints and markers; feathers, googly eyes, glue, and crayons; and pom poms, googly eyes, glue, and crayons.  I thought the kids would move around between the tables to use the different materials.  What really happened was that some of them pulled up chairs, which led others to pull up chairs, which led them all to stay just where they started.  There was a little bit of movement of materials from table to table, but not much, so most of the kids just ended up with the materials they started with.  At the dot paint table, many of the adults drew animals, which the kids then colored in with the dot paints.  At the other two tables, there was some pretty creative animal-making, but then the kids ended up wanting to take their creations home.  So I took out scissors and construction paper so they could cut out their animals and carry them home.

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Boys & Books: Catstronauts

This was the best turnout I’ve had at a boys’ book club in a while, and it was loads of fun.  Three words: pool noodle rockets.

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Storytime is Back! Friends Storytime

I don’t do any in-house storytimes over the summer, just outreach and stories in the parks, so this was my first time back with “my” group since May.  There were some familiar faces and some new ones, too.  For the past two years, we’ve done alphabet themed storytimes, and those were fun, but we were all ready for a break.  At least for fall, all of our storytimers are planning independently.  I’m doing themes related to self and community.  We started with Friends, and then I’ll be doing things like food, clothing, family, homes, community helpers, etc.  For a first week, this was really solid.  The stories were not the best, but we did get to try out our new beanbags and play a name game.

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Glow-in-the-Dark Storytime

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I haven’t put up a new post in a while because we’re doing letter storytimes again this year, so I’ve mostly just been updating those, but Glow-in-the-Dark storytime is worth its own post, I think.  We first saw this on a NYPL blog post a few years ago and we’ve been tossing it around ever since.

I borrowed a black light from a neighbor (the kind you might use with a fish tank) and connected it to the top of our white board.  It lit up the white board, but also bounced off the surface and gave us pretty good black light coverage of the room.  The maintenance staff member who helped me with this also got excited about it, so after the program we went out and bought a longer fixture and black light tubes so that we can do it properly next time.  (And, yes, there will definitely be a next time.)  This was a good winter program, because we could do it in early evening and still have it be dark outside.  We also used the blackout shades in our program room, covered over the window in the door, and covered over the emergency light that’s on in the room even when all the lights are out.  That was about it for room setup.

Overall, the program was just as awesome as I wanted it to be.

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Fun with Science 2016

talk-dropping-colorsWe just finished our 4th annual Fun with Science event this morning, an ECRR2-based science drop-in for preschoolers and families.  Turnout was a little bit smaller than in our first two years, but the kids who came had a ton of fun!  You’ll have to go to our facebook page to see our wind tube in action, but you can find the rest of the info here.

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Letter B Storytime – Take 2

bubble-print-leavesThere is so much material for letter B that I didn’t repeat one single thing from last year – not a story, song, or craft.  Crazy!  I guess we could have several weeks of letter B storytime.  I remember this not being true for all of the letters – you’re kind of scraping bottom for XY storytime – but having lots of choices is great for the beginning of the year, when you’re still feeling out your group.

I know there’s been a lot of discussion in the field in the last few years about process vs. product art.  One of the difficulties with process art is that lots of the obvious projects are super messy.  We’ve solved this in the past year or so by doing more community art, where we cover the tables in roll paper and let the kids work together.  Sometimes this creates a reusable product, and sometimes it doesn’t.  This week, the kids made individual bubble wrap prints, but I offered to keep them here and post them on a community bulletin board if the adults didn’t want to bring them home.  This is a win-win because we get to display kids’ art and freshen up our bulletin boards for fall; the kids get to do a fun, messy project and come back and see their art displayed; and the parents and caregivers don’t have to tote a bunch of wet paint home.

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