Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes



I am starting this fall with a series of storytimes about self and community.  This is the first of the bunch, with the thought that we’ll make new friends in storytime by learning about each other as the season progresses.  See below for the 2014 Friendship Storytime, which had more of a Valentine’s Day focus.

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

Story: Peanut Butter and Cupcake by Terry Border.  Some of the kids were familiar with this already.  I use it fairly often, but it was maybe too long to work as an opening story on the first week of storytime.  Maybe next time I’ll go for something slightly more participatory.  The kids did call out the names of the foods, but the repeated lines were a little bit too long to gain traction.

Rhyme: “Heckety Peckety Bumble Bee”  I called up 5 kids and we played “Heckety Peckety” with their names.  Both the kids and the adults got into this and participated, which was really great.  And the kids loved having everyone say their names!  I might do this again.  I learned it as a way to work on syllables, but it’s also just plain fun.

Story: The Two Tims by David Elliott.  This one was short and simple.  I’ve never used it before.  Since it didn’t open itself up super well to participation, it was a little bit hard to tell what they thought of it.  I’ll stick with the belief that quiet kids = good story.  If they weren’t paying attention, it would be louder.  Right?

Song: “Put Your Beanbags Up” We just got these cool beanbags over the summer and I’ve been wanting to use them in storytimes this year.  I am hoping that beanbags will be one of those things that kids and adults can do together, which would be nice for wrangling unruly adults.  (The adults were really attentive today, but I know I won’t be that lucky all year.)  I adapted this from a song I do in Babytime called “Shake Your Shakers Up,” which I’m sure I borrowed and/or adapted from something I first saw on jbrary.  We did the song several times, with small changes – do it fast, do it with your eyes closed, do it loud, do it on one foot, etc.  I’d definitely do it again.

Rhyme: “Heckety Peckety Bumble Bee”  We fit in another 5 kids for “Heckety Peckety.”  It wasn’t everyone, but I think it was everyone who wanted a turn.  They were just as attentive the second time around, which was great.  By the time we finished, there wasn’t really time for another book, and I didn’t want to stretch them too much, since it was only the first week, so I wrapped it up.

Ending Song: “See You Later”

Craft: Because we had talked about names, I wanted them to get to do a craft with their own names.  I put out black construction paper, die cut letters, die cut circles, glue, and dot stickers, and let them go to town.  Most had some adult help finding the letters in their names, but then put them together independently.  That was the case with 5-year-old Jackson, whose result you can see above.  I love the way the black paper makes the colors pop!  The process involved practice with letter recognition, fine motor, and gluing, and I think the products were pretty cool, too.



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

We started with a quick discussion of Valentine’s Day, which was the following day.  I didn’t really do any Valentine stories, but some of the other staff did, and the room was decorated with hearts, so I figured we’d better address it.  I asked what the kids were going to do for Valentine’s Day and who they were going to give Valentines to.  I thought they’d say their parents, but they all said their friends in class, so that worked out unexpectedly well for me as an intro into Friends.

parr-best-friendsStory: The Best Friends Book by Todd Parr.  Typical Parr – a nice intro to the topic, with a decent amount of silliness tossed in.  The kids really got a kick out of this one.  Sadly, it was in horrible condition, so we withdrew it after storytime this year.  And it’s out of print, so I’ll have to come up with something new next time.  Ah, well.

Song: “Clap with a Friend”  I haven’t played this in a while, and I should probably have practiced more ahead of time.  I was a little distracted by getting the chords right, instead of just having fun with the song.  I was afraid that this was too close to the opening song, which also features a variety of actions, but I guess you just can’t jump too many times in one session.

ten-things-i-loveStory: Ten Things I Love About You by Daniel Kirk.  I considered substituting Suzanne Bloom’s A Splendid Friend, Indeed, which features a similarly pesky-but-lovable friend in a simpler storyline, but decided to go for this one.  I was glad I did.  The kids stayed really engaged in the story – which would have been even better in a tandem storytime, with two voices.  The only place we started getting wiggly was at the end, when reading the two lists of things the friends loved about each other.

Song: “Stick to the Glue” from Jim Gill Makes It Noisy in Boise, Idaho.  The tune was super easy, so I played it myself on the guitar instead of using the CD.  The tie-in here is the “hugging friends” verse, which ends with the two friends stuck together, so before we started the song, I asked the kids to stand next to someone they wanted to hug.  Some of the kids hugged themselves, which was super cute.  For the last verse, we did “singing songs” with our lips covered with glue and then sung/hummed the chorus as if our lips were stuck together.  This is always a big favorite (and works better for me than the “brushing teeth” verse used on the CD.)

willems-can-i-playStory: Can I Play Too? by Mo Willems.  Can’t go wrong with Elephant & Piggie in a friendship storytime, but here they add a third friend, Snake.

Ending Song: “See You Later”

valentineCraft: Even though I didn’t use any Valentine-specific stories, I wanted the kids to make something they could give to a friend.  I had a lot of pre-torn foil sheets left over from a boat-making program, so I was thinking maybe something shiny.  I used this shiny heart as an inspiration, but I wanted to make it a little simpler.   Wrapping cardstock hearts in foil was too hard for the little guys to do themselves at craft time, and I didn’t want to pre-prep a ton of crafts, so I ended up with paper plates that the kids covered with foil and decorated with paper hearts, sequins, and other goodies. I considered doing a hole punch at the top with a piece of ribbon so they could hang it, but punching through the plate and foil was pretty hard.  I started the year with some over-complicated crafts, so I’m trying to minimize frustration by keeping things a bit simpler. I also left out the Mod Podge step shown on the website.


Other possible titles:

Toot Toot Zoom! by Phyllis Root

I Will Not Eat You by Adam Lehrhaupt



“Heckety Peckety Bumblebee”
Heckety peckety bumblebee,
Won’t you say your name for me?
Snap it.
Tap it.
Clap it.
Rap it.
Say name each time along with snapping, tapping, clapping, louder each time. For “Rap it,” say the name really loudly.


“Put Your Beanbags Up”

Put your beanbags up,
Put your beanbags down,
Put your beanbags to the side
And shake them all around.
Put them on your shoulders.
Put them on your head.
Put them on your tummy and then
Put your beanbags to bed.


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