Snow fun at Story Time

This week we got back into the swing of things with Winter story times and boy was it swinging!  I had 26 kids registered for the class and then we had some drop in or tag along with the others.  I didn't get a good count, but 29 crafts were made so there were probably over 60 people packed into that story time room today!  Boy did it get hot, which is a little ironic as our books were all about snow.
The past few sessions I have some over arching theme from which I planned all of my story times.  Last fall we did colors, in winter and spring we had nursery rhymes, and just this fall each week featured a book from the New York Public Library list of 100 books everyone should know.  These broad themes really helped with planning for story times.  They gave me ideas for each week.  They weren't anything really new, ie. with the nursery rhyme Old Mother Hubbard we did books about dogs, but it helped me to pick the themes and plan for each week.  This session, we are just going week by week.  I had wanted a big theme, but when I sat down I found that I already had enough themes that I wanted to use.
 So, this week our theme was Snow featuring the letter S.  A nice, versatile theme to get us going again.  The first week of a session is always hard because some kids and parents are new and getting used to the format.  So, it tends to be a little crazy and wiggly.  This is also the week where I go over my 'guidelines' or rules so that takes a little extra time.  These are the guidelines that I give to the parents:
Welcome to Read to Me for 2’s and 3’s
This program is specifically designed for children 2 and 3 years old along with a caregiver.  Typically sessions last 25 minutes and are followed by a simple craft. 
Some guidelines to keep in mind:
·        -Please try to arrive on time.  If you are late, please enter the room as quietly as possible.
·        -Be a role-model for your child – they watch what you do, so please save all side conversations for craft time or in the play area after story time.  Your participation in songs and rhymes will encourage your child to join in too.
·        -Children this age are active and that is what we plan for, but please be mindful of others if your child is standing in front of other children or running disruptively around the room.  You are welcome to leave the room and return as needed.
·        -Please try to avoid giving your toddler food as this can be a big distraction for all the others.
·        -We like to do crafts and they can be messy.  We will try to provide you with notice if we will be using paint, but many other crafts may use glue, markers, or stamps.  Please keep this in mind when dressing for story time.

I very much stress that parents are a model for the kids.  I remind them that their children watch everything that they do and like to copy them, so if they sings songs and listen to the books the kids will see that and if they are chatting with friends their kids will copy that too :)  Anyway, after that little spiel, we did the Hello songs and Sparky (my dragon puppet) revealed the letter of the day.

Our first book was Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner.  This is a great book with rhyming text about why your snowman looks droopy after a day.  The story shows the snowmen enjoying all kinds of winter activities such as sledding, snowball fights, ice skating, and even baseball.  As usual, this was a crowd pleaser as the kids enjoyed seeing the snowmen do things that they do in winter.

The other book we read was Lois Ehlert's Snowballs.  This is another snowman book.   In classic Ehlert collage she shows a creative snow family, pets included!  I like to show the last few pages where she spreads out the items she uses so we can talk about how the pictures were made.

This weeks flannel was another favorite of mine, 5 snowmen fat.  This had the Family night kids in fits of giggles because each time you say the word fat you puff out your cheeks and then push the air out with your hands.  I made a flannel board with 'melting snowmen' that you can read about here.  The rhyme goes:
Five snowmen fat.
Each with a black top hat.
Out came the sun and melted one,
Down, down, down.
Four snowmen fat!

Then repeat with 4, 3, 2, 1 until there are 'no snowmen fat!'
 We also did a quick puppet story.  We have a snowman puppet with a removable nose and a rabbit puppet.  I like to get the snowman out without his nose and ask the kids what might make a good nose.  One day I would like to make him some other options, like a celery stick, button, etc, just for fun.  After we get his nose on, the bunny comes along and we do the rhyme:
A chubby little snowman had a carrot nose.
Along came a bunny and what do you suppose?
The hungry little bunny, looking for some lunch,
Ate the snowman's carrot nose, nibble, nibble, crunch!
 The bunny takes the nose and then we talk about how it is not nice to take things from others and we nicely ask the bunny to put it back (he won't even try until you say please).  Then, the silly bunny doesn't know where the nose goes and tries it on the snowman's head, arm, toes, etc.  I do this for as long as the kids seem entertained.  Then, to show the bunny they all point to their own nose and he finally gets it right.

Our songs this week were semi winter themed.  We got out the bells for Carole Peterson's Ring those bells.  You ring the bells and turn around, stomp your feet, jump up and down for winter.  We also did another Carole Peterson song, Tommy Thumb is up.  This is a good fingerplay song and you can do it sitting as a settle down activity.

Our final song of the day was Laurie Berkner's I feel crazy so I jump in my soup.  Not quite winter, but soup is a nice warm treat in the winter.  We jumped, swam, splashed, and sat in our soup to end story time.

This week's craft was a super cute snowman that I found on Pinterest (a very addictive website but great for craft, recipe, decor, DIY ideas, or any other thing you can think of).  Here is a link to the one I saw, and below is a picture of the one that I made.

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