Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)
Story: The Deep Blue Sea: A Book of Colors by Audrey Wood. This is more about colors than it is about blue specificially, but it’s cumulative and starts with the deep blue sea, so blue is repeated a lot. There were a lot of great books in my blue pile, but not many of them had a lot of interactivity. I always like to start with something that gets the kids involved, so I put this up front. I didn’t get a ton of audience participation this time around – there were a few loud and mobile toddlers who were distracting attention a bit – but it went ok.
Book/Song: Port Side Pirates by Oscar Seaworthy. This is one of those Barefoot books that helpfully comes with a CD because you know, just know, there is a song in there, but you’re not sure what it is. I’ve used this as more of a story with the kids sitting and singing the chorus, and I’ve used it as more of an action song, with motions to the chorus (“And we go this way, that way, port side, starboard, over the deep blue sea” – there’s a lot of motion potential there, right?). I wanted to squeeze in some extra books, so I went with the action song version. This was less successful than I wanted it to be. The invitation to stand had the wigglers even more wiggly, and then there were the talkers… I’ve used this before and had better luck, so I’m willing to chalk this one up to the moon or something and try it again another day.
Story: Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty. (I had also considered Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie by Joel Stewart. These are nominally similar – a boy interacts with a crotchety blue monster in a humorous way – and I couldn’t decide between them. I decided to let the crowd determine which one to use. Jeremy is a little bit shorter and simpler, and I went with it because it was a squirrelly group. If they had been a bit more attentive, I would have gone with Dexter, which is a little bit more involved.) I don’t usually do voices, but this monster definitely has a sort of growly voice which kept the group’s attention. Or maybe some of the toddlers had been taken out of the room by then? This is definitely where things started to pick up.
Song: “All the Fish are Swimming in the Water” on I Found You by Caspar Babypants. Play the CD and blow (and pop!) bubbles. From a segue standpoint, this would go better after The Deep Blue Sea, but I figured they’d need the large motor activity more by this point in the storytime than they would up front, and I really wanted to start with the most interactive book, so… The cool segue gave way to more practical concerns. This was lots of fun. I roped one parent into blowing bubbles for me, so there were two of us. Three would have been even better (there were 22 kids).
Story: In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck. This is a lovely, gentle story that I haven’t used at storytime before. I think it is also a nice lead-in to the craft, although I wouldn’t use it just because of that. The running and bubble popping must have settled them down a bit, because they were able to sit for and enjoy this quiet story. Many of the kids were upset by the fact that the walls of Alice’s “blue room” were, in fact, yellow. They did like it when the moon changed everything to blue though.
Craft: Crayon resist skies – draw on white cardstock with white crayon and then paint over it with blue watercolor. This could make a cloud/sky picture (which I might have played up if I’d chosen Sky Color or It Looked Like Spilt Milk) or a neat moonlit picture, as at the end of In a Blue Room.
I decided to demo this before the kids did it; I wasn’t sure how they’d react to drawing with white crayon on white paper if they didn’t know where it was going. I brought one girl up to the front and had her draw with white crayon on white paper. I really played this up – “White crayon on white paper? That’s just crazy!” “Wow, look at that cool drawing! Great job! Doesn’t it look great, guys? What do you mean you can’t see it?” After she was done, I painted over it a little bit at a time so we could watch the drawing appear.
A word of caution on the paint — I had been planning to use Dixie cups and just put in a tiny bit, because it really doesn’t need all that much paint. Then I went environmental on myself and decided not to use throwaway cups, so I put it in our paint cups. I ended up wasting paint, even though I watered it down, because it really only takes a tiny bit of paint per child. I did color mix a little to get different shades of blue, so each table got four shades – pure blue, blue mixed with black, blue mixed with green, and blue mixed with purple. Most of the kids used only one color, but it did help make the different pictures a little more distinguishable. Overall, very cool, and a good way to use some of the zillions of white crayons we have sitting around (drat Crayola and the classpack that contains white!)
Closing song: “See You Later” – after the demo, but before the actual painting.
Other Contenders: This is another color that could easily stretch to a second week. I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry; Monkey Ono by J.C. Phillipps; My Blue is Happy by Jessica Young; Peanut and Fifi Have a Ball by Randall De Seve; When Blue Met Egg by Lindsay Ward; Sky Color by Peter Reynolds; It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw; Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman