Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes


This week was the first of our shape-themed storytimes.  There were loads of choices for circles.  When I lined them up on the shelf, the books we had pulled covered cookies, vehicles/wheels, planets/moon, and balls (including snowballs/snowmen), plus some one-offs like meatballs and pennies.

Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)

big-guy-took-my-ballStory: A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems.  Honestly, I could have done an entire storytime just on Elephant & Piggie stories related to balls.  (Watch Me Throw the Ball! is one of my favorite tandem act-out stories ever, and Can I Play Too? is also pretty fun.)  This one is great because it also plays on the idea of size.  Gerald is big compared to Piggie, but compared to Whale?  He’s pretty tiny.  It also has some fun plays on the adult/child dynamic – who has more fun, the big guy or the little guy?  The adults loved this one and were very attentive, which always makes the little ones perk up their ears too.  Definite win.

Song: “The Wheels on the Bus.”  I started with the wheels on the bus going round and round, and then asked the kids what else they wanted to do.  I think some of them were still hung up on the conversation we had at the beginning about circles and things that are round, because there were several suggestions that weren’t really bus-related.  We had apples on the bus going crunch, lollipops going slurp, and plates going crash.  I tossed in wipers to try to get things back bus-ward, but the very next child suggestion was the bears on the bus going “squeak” – not sure where that came from!  I did get a request for the babies on the bus going “wah” from a hard core traditionalist, so I ended it there.

doorbell-rangStory: The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins.  The repetition and humor in this are great, but I have found that preschoolers don’t really get the division of the cookies without a visual.  I made a quick magnet board of the story with cookies and clip art faces this morning, but at Storytime, I decided to try using real kids instead.  We counted out all the cookies, and then I called up two kids. I  divided the cookies between them and we figured out how many each one had.  Then I called up two more kids and we split the cookies, and then two more and we split them again, and then the last six.  I also used the repeated language “They look as good as Grandma’s,”  “They smell as good as Grandma’s,”  “No one makes cookies like Grandma,”  and “The doorbell rang.”   When everyone had just one cookie and the doorbell rang, I asked if we should open it.  One little one gave an emphatic “No!” which cracked up the adults (who I had more or less lost by this point, along with the littlest kids.)  I didn’t really use the book until the very end, when I opened it to show Grandma’s arrival with more cookies.

I had planned to sing “Five Little Snowmen Fat“, but time was running short and there was a lot of movement during The Doorbell Rang, so I just moved on to the next story.

on-top-of-spaghettiStory: On Top of Spaghetti by Paul Brett Johnson.  In the past, I have sometimes used my guitar while singing the song, but then I need to get another adult up there to hold the book for me.  The adults were still a little squirrelly, so I decided to skip the guitar and go it alone.  As with all singing books, this one got their attention back and we were able to end on a high note.  I find this one really fun to read aloud – the language and illustrations are hilarious, even without the singing.

Craft: Plate of cookies.  Glue die cut circles and dots and sequins onto a paper plate to make a plate of cookies.  (All the stars in the picture are sequins; for some reason, even though it was a mixed-shape assortment, only the stars came out when I shook them out for storytime.  The kids didn’t seem to mind.  Star-chip cookies are awesome.)

The notes above are from the first day I did storytime.  The second day, I did a completely different set of stories and songs:

  • The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems  (cookies)
  • A Day at the Beach by Ed Briant; each time  family was running back home to get things, I played “The Flight of the Bumblebee” by Rimsky-Korsakov from the CD Toon time: Classical music from classic cartoons  (wheels)
  • “All the Fish” on I Found You! by Caspar Babypants with CD & bubble blowing  (bubbles)
  • Oral telling of the story found in My Grandfather’s Coat by Jim Aylesworth, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback, etc.   (buttons)
  • Craft: glue circles and buttons onto paper to make a picture (love how the “bowl of soup” pic below used torn pieces of the circle for steam and buttons for veggies)

buttons1 buttons2

Five Little Snowmen Fat
To the Tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”

Five little snowmen fat,
Each with a great big hat.
Out came the sun and melted one.
Oh, how sad was that.

Repeat down to one, and then:

No little snowmen fat,
Only their great big hats.
But the next time it snows, I’ll build one of those,
Oh, how fun is that!


Comments on: "Circles" (2)

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