Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)
Mystery Bag objects: I wanted to avoid using the same objects for the mystery bag and the story themes. I took out an eggplant (which the kids didn’t recognize), an eagle (some of the kids said “book” because it was actually a photo of an eagle on a book cover), and described an eye and then drew it on the white board. We also had an egg (shakey, not real) and an elephant in the bag.
Because we’d already talked about the letter, I introduced each story or song by having them guess what E-word it was about.
Story: Elephants Cannot Dance! by Mo Willems (elephant). I love this book, and I’ve used it successfully before, especially as a 2-person act out. This time, it got away from me. I encouraged the kids to try some of the dance moves with Piggie, and then they totally went nuts and I had to stop until everyone was under control and sitting. Not what I expected!
Song: “One Elephant“. Because they were squirrelly, I adapted it so that the elephants jumped on the spider’s web. (“One elephant jumped on the web, jumped on the web of a spider. She had such enormous fun, she called for another elephant to come. Two elephants…”) By the time it was done, I was worn out, but so were they, so… Call it a win?
Story: Eggs 1 2 3 by Janet Halfmann (egg). This is a fun guessing book. I cut some of the text describing the babies because it got a little bit long.
Song: “I Know a Chicken” on The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band (eggs). Classic. This worked well.
Story: The Ear Book by Al Perkins (ears). I wanted to use this to intro the activities, but I didn’t think we were going to make it through because – squirrelly. Amazingly, they were totally into it and we read the whole book. Go figure. I guess kids are good for keeping you on your toes!
Closing Song: “See Ya Later”
Craft: Instead of a craft, I set up sensory activity stations. I got the idea from “Eye” (sight) and “Ear” (hearing), but then decided that I might as well toss in touch as well. And then another staff member did a program the day before with mystery smells, so I added smell, too. Most of these activities were repurposed from other programs, so it was pretty easy to prep.
I put out magnifying glasses and color viewers along with colored scarves, large colored buttons, and plastic bugs for the kids to investigate. I was surprised that most of the kids were not familiar with magnifying glasses. For example, they thought things viewed through the magnifying glass with the orange handle would turn things orange. I had to prompt them to compare the size of objects viewed with and without the magnifiers, and then they got it. They also liked predicting what color the scarves and buttons would look when viewed through the color viewers.
These shaker jars are left over from a Science Storytime on Sound. The jars are filled with a variety of materials, and they need to try to match them by sound. One jar of each material is clear and one is covered by colored paper.
These balloons are left from last year’s Fun with Science program. The kids had to feel the different materials (rice, lentils, corn, flour, sand) through the balloon and match them to the pictures on the cards. It was fun to listen to all the great adjectives adults used with the kids to help them do the matching!
These scent jars were left over from a program for 3rd and 4th graders. The preschoolers couldn’t identify many of the smells (cocoa, coconut, vinegar, vanilla, lemon, mint, maple, mustard, soy sauce, hot chili sauce) but they had fun smelling the cups and comparing the different smells.
People stayed for 10-15 minutes after storytime for the activities and really seemed to enjoy them. Once again, no one seemed to mind that there wasn’t a product to bring home.
One elephant went out to play
Upon a spider’s web one day.
He had such enormous fun
That he called for another elephant to come!
Repeat, adding an elephant each time.
Possible subthemes: elephants, ears, eggs, eyes, eagle, earth
Other possible titles:
A Bald Eagle’s World by Caroline Arnold (nonfiction) (eagle)
Except If by Jim Averbeck (egg)
I Hatched! by Jill Esbaum (egg)
Rex Finds an Egg! Egg! Egg! (egg)
When Blue Met Egg by Lindsay Ward (egg)
What To Do If an Elephant Stands On Your Foot by Michelle Robinson (elephant)
Tanka Tanka Skunk! by Steve Webb (elephant)
The Thingamabob by Il Sung Na (elephant)