Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pete the Cat Party

Pete the Cat is one of my favorite book characters and I was really excited to host a Pete the Cat party at my library!  This was an event where everyone who registered showed up (which NEVER happens).

We started off by reading Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes and Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin.  I chose these two stories as the crafts and activities all centered around these books.

After the stories, I opened up our 4 stations.  Everybody got to do everything, but it helps congestion to spread the kids out.  At our first station, we made these awesome Pete the Cat headbands.

At our second station, we made Pete the Cat out of shapes.

At our third station, we added numbered button stickers to our yellow shirts.

Our fourth station was a Button Sorting Center.

We also have a Pete the Cat standee that we use for a lot of our school outreach visits.  I brought him into the room and a lot of the parents were taking pictures of their kids with Pete.

The whole program lasted about 45 minutes.  Everybody had a great time!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tot Time-Babies & Doggies

While I don't normally share my story time plans, I really liked how this program turned out.  Our Tot Time program is for 12-24 months and we preregister 15 toddlers for a 5-week session. 

Opening Song: If You're Happy and You Know It from Songs for Wiggleworms

Book:  Naptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica Shyba

Scarf Rhyme:  Peek-a-Boo (to the tune of Are You Sleeping?)
Peek-a-boo, peek-a-boo 
I see you, I see you
I see your button nose
I see your tiny toes
Peek-a-boo, I see you!

--Written by Jim Thomas and found on What Happens in Storytime

Scarf Rhyme: Wave Your Scarf
Wave your scarf, one, two, three
Wave your scarf, just like me!
(Repeat with roll and throw)

-Adapted by Mollie from What Happens in StorytimeOriginally from Lapsit Services for the Very Young II by Linda L. Ernst. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc, 2001.

Scarf Rhyme: Roll Your Scarf
Roll your scarf and make it into a ball.
Make it very small. 
1, 2, 3, throw!

Book: I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy
For our middle book, we pass out a board book copy for every participant to follow along.

Action Rhyme: Here is the Beehive
Here is the beehive, but where are the bees?
Hidden away where nobody sees.
Watch and you'll see them come out of the hive.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, buzzzzz! 

Flannelboard Rhyme: Two Little Bluebirds
Two little bluebirds sitting on a hill.
One named Jack and one named Jill.
Fly away Jack. Fly away Jill.
Come back Jack. Come back Jill.
(Repeat with yellow, pink, and purple birds)

Book: Babies and Doggies by John Schindel and Molly Woodward

Depending on the day, we spend 5-10 minutes playing with bubbles.  I use a bubble stick to blow the bubbles and the toddlers pop them.  Many of my first time parents and caregivers are amazed by the bubble stick and are stopping by their local Target to pick up their own to use at home. 

We spend an additional 5-10 minutes playing with mini beach balls.   

Closing Song-Clean Up Song
Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere.
Clean up, clean up, everybody does their share. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lego Week

Last week was Spring Break in Michigan.  For us, this means that our library will be extremely busy.  While it wasn't originally planned, we also ended up with low staff last week.  This makes passive programming ideal for this type of week.  When choosing what to do, we look for a theme where we can switch out activities daily.  We WANT to be a destination spot for those who are having staycations and by having different activities, it is possible that the same people will come back multiple times.  This year we chose the theme of Lego Week.  Here's the glitch-since we were running this program at multiple locations at the same time, it was not a Lego building program.  We needed to find activities that were fun enough that the kids would still want to do them.

Day 1-Roll a Lego Minifigure
This activity was based on a game that we found online.  We simplified the rolling and put out laminated Lego minifigure shape parts (heads, hands, etc.).  We used large dice that I purchased from Oriental Trading as that way they don't disappear as fast.

Day 2-Design Your Own Lego Minifigure
For this station, we precut a bunch of Lego minifigure parts out of construction paper and added glue and crayons.  Kids glued their creation together.

Day 3-Lego Memory
We printed off multiple sets of Lego matching cards and put them in plastic baggies so families could take a set and play with it in the Children's Room.

Day 4-Lego Masks
I have a pattern for masks that I originally got from the Lego Minifigure web site, but they are no longer there.  If you go to this site and scroll about halfway down, you will find them.  We ran our patterns on yellow cardstock and had kids cut out their shapes.  We provided craft sticks that already had a glue dot at one end so kids could just stick their mask onto the stick.

Day 5-Coloring Sheets
For the fifth day, we put out a couple of Lego coloring sheets that we found online.

The week was extremely popular, despite having no Legos out to build with.  On the two craft days, we easily had 100+ kids making the crafts (when we planned for 50).  While the other days had lower numbers, I liked that they promoted family interaction with the games.  We're already on to planning our next possible passive programming week (hint-Darth Vader).

For some other great library Lego adventures, check out:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

We're Going on a Bear Hunt Play to Learn

I love to put together new themes for our Play to Learn program, but have been lacking time lately.  That's why I am super excited to show off our new one on We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.  This title is extra special as it is also one of our 100 Books to Read Before Kindergarten. 

If you are unfamiliar with our Play to Learn program, it is a station-based early literacy program where children and parents can interact together.  It is not librarian-driven.  While I create the stations and set everything up, I am not in front of the room reading the story or telling people what to do.  They can spend as long or as little as they want at a particular station.  Each station has a sign that explains the activity and why that activity is important to early literacy.  By running this type of program, we hope to give parents the tools to take home and use with their children.

We register 20 kids, ages 2-4, for each session of Play to Learn and we open the room up for one hour.  If it is a really popular program, we will register additional kids and start them 30 minutes into the program.  We want each parent and child to be able to spend time at each station and you can't do that in a crowded room. 

Station 1: Make a Nametag
I used an AccuCut die to cut brown bears to use as nametags.  The kids then can then write their name on it. To help those kids who are not quite ready to write their name, I type out all of the first names in list form so they can see the letters.  At this station, as you may have guessed, we are working on the writing skill.

Station 2: Read the Book
Since we are a library, I feel that the book is the most important part of the program.  I pull just about every copy from all of our locations that I can get and we put them out for parents to read to their child.   At this station children are practicing reading, which encourages them to learn how to read on their own.  By sharing reading with their child, parents are helping them to develop vocabulary and comprehension, nurturing a love of reading, and motivating their child to want to learn to read.

Station 3: Flannelboard
Now that the kids (and parents!) have read the story, they can retell it in their own words at the flannelboard. 

Station 4: Make a Book
I couldn't think of anything clever to come up with on my own so I went online. Making Learning Fun has a printable book.  I think it is important for the kids to make and take home some type of book in this program.

Station 5: Make a Teddy Bear Puppet
I used die cut shapes, sticker eyes, crayons, glue dots, and craft sticks to make teddy bear puppets.  To make things easier on the kid, the glue dots were attached to the craft sticks ahead of time.

I also provided the words to The Bear Went Over the Mountain for kids to sing and act out with their puppets.  Since songs slow down language, the children can hear the different sounds in words and learn new words.

Station 6: Make a Map
I put out various parts so kids could create their own maps. I included crayons and these awesome mini stampers.

After the kids created their maps, we talked about what they added.  Plus, it was always fun screaming when we got to the bear.

Station 7: B is for Bear
I drew a bear cave on our giant whiteboard.  Then I created various pictures (some start with B and some do not) and added magnet tape to the back.  Kids were asked to add the B pictures to the cave. 

Flannel Friday-We're Going on a Bear Hunt

This week's submission is We're Going on a Bear Hunt, which I needed for one of our Play to Learn programs.  To make it really easily, there is a pattern at Making Learning Fun.

This week's round-up is hosted by Kim at Literary Commentary.  

If you want to know more about Flannel Friday:
  • Check out the official Flannel Friday blog that includes schedules and other important information.
  • Search for images and links on our Pinterest page.
  • Discuss story time stuff (and other ys stuff) on the Flannel Friday Facebook page.
  • Follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Marshmallow Challenge


Last year at the PLA Conference in Indianapolis, I watched a group of librarians take part in the Marshmallow Challenge.  It was so awesome that I knew that it could be a whole program at my library.  Today was that day!

To run your own Marshmallow Challenge, you will need:
  • 20 pieces of spaghetti per participant or team (2 oz. of spaghetti=60 pieces)
  • 1 yard of string
  • 1 yard of masking tape
  • 1 marshmallow
 My total cost for this program was $3 as I had string (well, yarn) and masking tape on hand.
Registration & Set-up
We preregistered 20 7-12 year olds as that is what our Activity Room could hold.  I made sure to roll up the carpet (because marshmallow does not easily come out of carpet!).  Since we are low on staff this week, I prepped each set of supplies ahead of time.  I put the marshmallows in at the last minute so that they didn't get stale.

I also measured out the masking tape right before the program and hung it off of our cabinets.

The Program
At the beginning of the program, I went over our rules:

  • The challenge lasts 18 minutes.
  • You can work together, but can only use 1 set of supplies.
  • The paper bag does not count as a supply.
  • The tallest freestanding structure at the end of 18 minutes is the winner.
I passed out the supplies and called out "GO!" as I started my stopwatch app on my phone.  I called out various times with how much time was left.  As the kids were having so much fun, some of the adults wanted to play too.  I had a few extra kits so they started their own challenge.

Our tallest structure ended up being 29 inches.  We talked about how all of the tall structures built had good bases to support the height.  The kids even cleaned up afterwards!

As parents left, they were raving about the program and planning their own Marshmallow Challenges.  I gave them the idea that they could also build structures with mini marshmallows and spaghetti noodles and it was like a light bulb went off in their heads.

We're already planning on when we could do the program again!
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