I did this storytime twice today, with camp groups of 3- to 6-year-olds. Usually the older kids’ camp comes to the library to visit and then I go visit the little ones at their location. The 5- and 6-year-olds had so much fun at their storytime on Tuesday that they asked to be able to sit in on the little guys’ storytime today, so I had about 10 little guys and 8 big guys in each group.
Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)
Story: Snip Snap! What’s That? by Mara Bergman. This starts out a little bit scary, but having the kids respond to the characters’ fear (“Were the children scared? You bet they were!”) makes it a little bit less scary. And they love the end, when the children in the story have had enough and scare the alligator away.
Song: “Five Little Monkeys Swinging from a Tree” The older kids remembered this from Tuesday, when we did it at the library with a felt board. I didn’t bring the felt, but they enjoyed it just as much this time. I almost skipped it because we had just done it two days ago. Silly me. I’m always telling other people how much kids love repetition and then I get hung up worrying about the kids getting bored.
Story: The Aminal by Lorna Balian. This is a much longer and more complex story than I usually do at group storytimes, especially with 3s and 4s, but the repetition and the escalating humor worked – they were hooked! At the beginning, the kids enjoyed guessing what “the aminal” might be, while later on, they were more interested in seeing the character’s imaginings as the “aminal” grew bigger and scarier. One little boy pointed out that the pictures in this one are very pale – I think he said very “white” – and so we talked about how the drawings were made.
Story/Song: The Croaky Pokey by Ethan Long. This is such a guaranteed hit with any age range. I usually bring along a party blower – preferably pink or red – to act as the frogs’ tongue when they’re trying to catch the fly. I forgot it this time, but it didn’t matter. Even the kids who hadn’t participated in the opening song or the Five Little Monkeys got up to do the Croaky Pokey!
I had planned to finish up with I’m a Frog! by Mo Willems. I was especially excited about this one when I found out the big kids were joining us because they told me on the library tour Tuesday that they are big Elephant & Piggie fans. We didn’t really have time, though, so both groups ended with The Croaky Pokey.
I repeated this theme later in the summer with 3 20-minute storytimes for 3s and 4s at a park district summer camp. With the 20-minute format, I skipped The Aminal, which seemed a little too involved for a short storytime with wee ones. I mixed up the order and the composition for all three groups, depending on how bouncy they were, but basically did some combination of Snip Snap!, “Five Little Monkeys”, The Croaky Pokey, and I’m a Frog! All three groups went well. It was amazing how attentive the kids were to Snip Snap! when the alligator was creeping up on the kids in the story. This is one of those books were you definitely want to go slow and make use of verbal “white space”.
Ending Song: “Wave High”
No crafts since this was an outreach storytime to go with the “Paws to Read” theme.