Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes

Crazy Pets #2

I did this storytime twice today, with camp groups of 3- and 4-year-olds.

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

dear-zooStory: Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.  This is the ultimate crazy pet story.  Plus it has the guessing game element, which makes it a nice intro story to set the tone and let the kids know that participation is welcome.  It’s also fun for the kids to talk about why the zoo animals wouldn’t make good pets.

Song/Chant: “I Went to the Pet Store”.  I set up a lap-clap-lap-clap rhythm for this one.  At this age, just joining in on the rhythm takes up a fair amount of concentration.  I started with puppy, to echo the end of Dear Zoo, and then took suggestions from the kids.  I told them they could choose wacky pets or regular pets, and got a good mix of animals.

spiderStory: Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks.  For both groups, I mentioned that no one had suggested a spider in the pet store and asked if anyone wanted a pet spider.  They all said no, and I told them that this was a book about a spider who wanted to be a pet.  I said that some people dislike spiders so much that they scream when they see one, so we started by practicing an I-see-a-spider scream together.  Throughout the book, I prompted the scream by asking, “What do you do when you see a spider [doing whatever]?”  Then I’d take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds before starting the scream, which gave the kids the chance to get ready to scream with me.

Song: “Spider on the Floor” by Raffi from Singable Songs for the Very Young.  I’ve done this a few times lately, and I may be ready to retire it.  The kids are not as familiar with Raffi anymore, and they didn’t recognize or seem super excited about this one.  Also, for an active song, it’s not really all that active.

silly-doggyStory: Silly Doggy! by Adam Stower.  In this book, preschooler Lily finds a bear in her yard and thinks it’s a big silly doggy.  These kids were pretty young, and I wasn’t sure they would get the humor.  The first group saw that it was a bear right away, but it took a fair amount of work to keep their attention on the book – too many places where the humor comes from the difference between the text and what is portrayed in the images.  I definitely recommend it for a one-on-one read at this age, but it might need an older group to really get it.  For the second group, which had more 3s and fewer 4s, I swapped in Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, which is easier (and lots of fun).  The teen counselors were definitely into the groovy buttons song!

I repeated this storytime a few weeks later with a different set of campers.  I had three 20-minute storytimes for about a dozen 3s and 4s.  Because of the shorter time span, I cut the movement activities, which seemed to go fine with all three groups.  I didn’t use Silly Doggy! at all.  For one group, I used Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons for the third story.  For the group that was most attentive – interestingly, this was the youngest group – I used Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown for the third story.  They really enjoyed it, and I had fun listening to them all “squeak!” along with Squeaker.  For the group that was having the hardest time sitting still, I went with Dear Zoo, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, and Bark, George! by Jules Feiffer.


Ending Song: “Wave High”

No crafts since this was an outreach storytime to go with the “Paws to Read” theme.




“I Went to the Pet Store”

I went to the pet store, and what did I see?
I saw a cute little puppy looking at me.
He said, “Arf! Arf! Arf!”
He said, “Arf! Arf! Arf!”
He said, “Arf! Arf! Arf!”
And that’s what he said to me.

Repeat for other animal / sound pairs.


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