Holiday Family Story Time

I have to say that the Holiday story time is the one that I dread most each year.  Mostly because I worry SO much about offending someone.  Also because we get such a wide range of kids and I never know how many to plan for.  Plus, it is on a Tuesday night near the holidays and there can be so many other things going on.  So, this year I went with what seemed fun, and I think it worked out well.

We had about 75 people attend this year's holiday time.  The only other time we had more was when the Grinch made an appearance.  It was crazy, but it seemed that most people had a good time.

I started with the song 'If it's Christmas and you know it.'  We sang:
If it's Christmas and you know it clap your hands,
If it's Christmas and you know it clap your hands,
If it's Christmas and you know it then you really want to show it,
If it's Christmas and you know it clap your hands.
We repeated with:
Shouting Hooray
Jumping up and down

After the fact I think that we needed to do another song.  Lots of people came in late and it really seemed to disrupt our first book which was If you take a mouse to the movies by Laura Numeroff.  These books are generally crowd pleasers, but with people coming in late and taking off coats many kids were distracted.  There were also quite a few who said they had this book at home.  I tried to get them to read along with me, but instead they observed the late comers.

The second story went over much better.  I did my Crazy, confused Christmas that I wrote for last weeks Flannel Friday.  You can read the story here.  They really liked this one.  I kept turning the tree wrong as they yelled how to put it.  I drug that out for awhile, but they were happily trying to correct me.  They also really liked the crazy trees and seemed to enjoy yelling that the tree was wrong.

The last book I read was David Shannon's It's Christmas, David!  They LOVED this book.  I think both the parents and kids could relate to this one.  I was a little worried about the page where he pees his name in the snow, but I could hear parents laughing and telling their kids what David had done.

Christmas songs with action were very hard to find.  I think that I may need to go write some.  I found enough for my program, but none were super exciting.  And the best action songs were not from cds so we had no background music.  I found a version of We wish you a Merry Christmas from PreschoolEducation.com here that goes:

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year.

Repeat with:
Now let's all do a little clapping…
Now let's all do a little jumping …
Now let's all do a little waving…

From a great Flannel Friday blog I got a song called Santa had a Christmas Tree.  You can find the original post at Abby the Librarian.  I was really excited because the flannels for this song fit great with the tree I had already made for the Crazy, confused Christmas story.  The tree already had the star and lights, so I added a bell, presents, and cookies.  The song goes to the tune of Old MacDonald:

Santa had a Christmas tree
Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho
And on that tree he had a star
Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho
With a twinkle, twinkle here
And a twinkle, twinkle there
Here a twinkle, there a twinkle
Everywhere a twinkle, twinkle
Santa had a Christmas tree
Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!

Repeat with:
On that tree he had a light... with a sparkle, sparkle here
On that tree he had a bell... with a jingle, jingle here
Under his tree he had a gift... with a rattle, rattle here
Next to his tree he had some cookies…with a crunch
crunch, here

We did break out the bells to sing Jingle Bell Rock.  I used the Sugar Beats version on the Sugar Beats Christmas album.  That seemed to go well.  I told them to shake their bells up, down, around, whatever as we danced to the song.
We ended with the Reindeer Pokey that I also found at PreschoolEducation.com.  (It is on the same page as the link above for the We wish you a Merry Christmas song.)  To do the 'Reindeer Pokey' we made antlers on our head as we spun around.

Since this was a more special program I ended with a viewing of Super Why's T'was the Night Before Christmas.  This show is great for pre-reading skills so I figured that it fit well with story time.  I set up three crafts in a different area of the library so people had the choice of staying for the movie or just doing the crafts.  Not many stayed for the movie which was disappointing.  Last year I showed the Charlie Brown Christmas and only a few watched that, so I thought I would go less traditional this year.  It worked at Halloween with Word World, oh well.

I had three crafts I put out.  The first two I found pictures of by googling images of Christmas crafts.  The third is a version of something we did in the past.


Flannel Friday: A Crazy, Confused Christmas

So, this week I ended up writing my own Flannel Story.  I just wasn't finding much that I really wanted to 'flannelize' for a holiday story time, so I made up my own.  It is just a silly story - kind of Dumb Bunnies-ish - about a family that has a little trouble decorating the Christmas tree.

Feel free to change the script to fit your needs.  I am not for memorizing stories.  I find that it is just too hard to memorize a script word for word.  If you mess up any word you get lost, tongue-tied, blank out, whatever.  My advice, and what I do, is to know the story really well and then ad-lib as you go.  This also allows you to play to the crowd, or not if they aren't going for that.  I will repeat a refrain if it is relevant, but in general I just make sure I know the story and put all the flannel pieces in the order needed to be my prompts.  Ok, end of advice, here is my story:

It is finally December and time for the Dippies to put up the tree.  Father Dippie brought it up from the basement and proudly set it up in the living room.

'Oh dear,' said Mother Dippie, 'something is not quite right.'
So, Father Dippe twisted and turned, as set the tree up again.

'Hmmm, still not quite right,' said Mother Dippie.
So, Father Dippie twisted and turned some more and...
 I forgot to take a picture of the upright, bare tree, but I'm sure you get the idea of what it should look like here ;)
'Just right!' said Mother Dippie.  'Now, we must decorate the tree!  Who has the ornament box?'
'I do!' said Sister Dippie.  And she quickly decorated the tree.
'Oh my,' said Mother Dippie, 'something is not quite right.'
'I'll fix it,' said Brother Dippie.  And he took off the socks and re-decorated the tree.
'Good grief!' cried Mother Dippie.  'Not your briefs, we need the fancy Christmas balls.'
'I'll get them,' said Father Dippie.  He removed the underpants and put up the balls.
'Hmmm,' said Mother Dippie, 'something is still not quite right.  Santa will want to play if he sees that tree.'
'Santa!' Brother and Sister exclaimed.  They rushed off and came back to decorate the tree once more.
'Well, said Mother Dippie, 'that does look more festive, but something is not quite right.'  The family put their heads together, searched the house, and finally finished the tree.

'It's beautiful,' the all agreed.  'But,' said Mother Dippie, 'something is still, not quite right.  The tree needs light!'  So, the Dippies, clapped, and clapped their hands.  (Clap your hands.)  Nothing happened, so the clapped some more.  (Clap again.)  Still nothing happened.  They need your help.  Clap as loudly as you can.  Clap, clap.  Then...
'Yay!!!!!' cried the Dippies.  'The perfect tree at last.'
'But you know,' said Brother Dippie, 'I like this tree best of all!'

The green tree is made from craft foam and then I used transparency sheets to lay on top of the tree.  There is a pieces of fuzzy velcro at the top of the tree and a 'sticky' pieces on the back of each transparency sheet.  I made sure that they were hidden by the tree topper.
Also, the 'final' tree has a strand of lights that light up.  I found these at Hobby Lobby, but I am sure you could find them many places.  It is meant to be a necklace and I bought them to put on t-shirts for my kids.  So. I borrowed one for story time.  If you can't find one, you could just leave off the clapping part, or have them clap at the success of the Dippies.

Can you tell that I need to do laundry at my house?  The sock tree (and probably the whole story) was actually inspired by my kids who put their socks on my Christmas tree this week.  Ironically they were Christmas socks, but they were also used socks.  The good news is that I am officially done with my MLIS coursework and I get to graduate!  YAY!!!!!!!  (I just got the e-mail from my advisor today so I am a bit giddy.)  So, now there will be more time for laundry.

If you are looking for this week's Holiday Flannel Extravaganza, you can find it at Loons and Quines.  Past Round-Ups are at SoTomorrow, or you can click the Flannel Friday button to the right to see all the posts on Pinterest.


Flannel Friday: 5 Hungry Ants

Since I still have food on the brain after yesterday's feasting, I give you one of my favorite food related flannel stories: 5 Hungry Ants.  I think that I first came across this several years ago on a PUBYAC post, but I have seen it many different places.  The rhyme goes:
5 hungry ants, marching in a line
Came across a picnic where they thought that they could dine.
They marched into the salad,
They marched into the cake,
They marched into the pepper, uh-oh, that was a mistake.

And of course the Aaah-chooing is very exaggerated and I throw one of the ants off of the board.  The kids and parents love this one.  I think I did it every week a few summers ago when the Summer Reading theme was bugs.  I thought that they would get sick of it but every time I pulled them out I could hear excited murmurs.

If you are looking for an archive of Flannel Friday round-ups you can visit here or if you just want this week's round-up you can go here.  If you want to see them all together on a highly addictive web-site you can click on the Flannel Friday button to the right.


Flannel Friday: Five in the Bed

Last week we did a sick theme in story time so we sang the song:
There were five in the bed and the little one said 'roll over, roll over.'
So they all rolled over and one fell out!

Repeat with 4, 3, 2, then...

There was one in the bed and that little one said 'I'm lonely.'
So they all got back in and fell fast asleep!

The first time I did this I just pulled the bears off of the board, but that was no fun because then they were 'falling out' from the middle of the bed.  So, I decided to try and rig it so that they would fall out.

I took a strip of felt and made sure that it was long enough to wrap around the flannel board.  It does not have to be really tight, you need to be able to make it move - plus, the felt stretches after a few uses.  I put velcro at the end to better help hold it together.  You place the bears on this strip so that as you sing you can pull the strip and they 'roll over.'

Then, I placed a craft stick at one end hoping that once they would get to the stick and it would separate the velcro from the flannel and they would pop off.

The bears did not 'pop' quite as well as I wanted.  It usually worked for the first one and the rest just bunched up and I had to pull them off.  So, if you have any ideas to make it work better, let me know.  Maybe felt bears with no velcro?  But then they may not move well...  Either way, they at least move to the edge of the bed :). 

Turkey Day

I have fallen a week behind in my posting.  I will be graduating from my master's program in a few weeks (YAY!!) so I have been a little busy finishing up things for that.  So, I will post what we did last week next week some time since this week was a Thanksgiving theme.  This week I abandoned the NYPL list and simply did Thanksgiving themed books.  Our letter of the day was T for Thanksgiving, Turkey, and Thursday - talk about getting a lot out of that one!

The first book we read was What is Thanksgiving by Harriet Ziefert.  This is a fairly good, informative book about Thanksgiving.  Little mouse asks questions (just like most of my story time friends) and gets a brief overview of Thanksgiving.  It is a great overview for a big crowd and it has lift-the-flap pages to add a little to the illustrations.

Our second book was Thank you Thanksgiving by David Milgrim.  This is a very simple, short book with a little girl who says lots of thank yous.  It is nice because you can talk about things you are thankful for, as well as how you tanks others when they do something nice for you.  Perfect for the theme.

The final book we read was Over the river: a turkey's tale by Derek Anderson.  This book was ok.  I think it may have been better if I sang the song.  I didn't because that makes it harder to talk about the pictures, but they seemed ok with it.

Turkey songs are really hard to find, but we dug up a few.  The Wiggles have a song called Turkey in the straw so we did that with shaker eggs.  I had the kids act like turkeys and then shake their eggs around, so that was fun.

We also sang Ron Brown's Turkey Trot (originally I had Dr. Jean's Gobble! Gobble! here, but that didn't go so well with the Monday crowd.)  This song has you trotting around like turkeys some more, but the music is really up beat and he tells you a few things to do, like pull your hands in and stick your wings out.

Our last song was Laurie Berkner's She'll be coming 'round the mountain.  This is a good song and it fit with the idea of relatives coming to visit.  We had lots of parents/grandparents singing along with this one and the actions are easy for the 2's and 3's.

We also did a fun flannel song.  I found a song called Did you ever see a turkey? that made a perfect flannel story.  I posted it on my blog here where you can see what we did.  The kids and parents all LOVED it!

The craft was a cute toilet paper roll turkey.  Luckily, we have a die cut for the hand print that made up the feathers.  The kids were too young to cut out their own hand print, but that could be fun with older kids.


Flannel Friday: Did you ever see a turkey?

This week's Flannel Friday post is what I plan to use for next week's story time. I'm posting a week early in case anyone else might want to use it. This is a really easy flannel to make, so if you need something but don't have much time this is a good one to use.

When looking for another song to use for my Turkey / Thanksgiving story time, I found this video:

Isn't she great? I knew right away this would be a fun flannel so, I made my own. The lyrics are:
Did you ever see a turkey, a turkey, a turkey,
Who struts around the farm yard with feathers so bright?
With red ones and orange ones and yellow ones and brown ones,
Did you ever see a turkey with feathers so bright.

So here is my turkey - Blogger turned it again :(

I decided to add a few extra rounds of the song with some different colors to spice things up. I made feathers that are bright colors:

Then we got really crazy and made feathers that have stripes, spots, sparkles, and a cow!


Wild, Wild, Animals

This week we had what I thought was a super fun story time.  I saw the book Dear Zoo on the NYPL list and knew that I wanted to use it in a story time - especially once I saw several flannelized versions of it!  So, our theme this week was Wild Animals.  I added the Wild so that the letter of the day could be W since we had already used an A this session with Apple week.  I am not opposed to repeating letters as they are random anyway, but if I can avoid it and feature a new letter I will do that.

The first book that I read is a new one by Jane Cabrera (I always love her books), this is her version of The wheels on the bus.  But, this isn't just any bus.  This bus is filled with WILD zoo animals.  So, I had all the kids sing along with me as we flapped like flamingos, chattered like monkeys, roared like lions, and slept like bush babies (they are SO cute in the book).  The book might be just a tad long, but since all of the kids were singing and doing the actions none of them seemed to mind.

Our second book was Farmyard beat by Lindsay Craig.  I happened upon this book one day when looking for something else and knew right away I wanted to use it in a story time.  This book features farm animals (ok, they are domesticated, but they act wild and no one complained) who all 'caught that beat.'  There is a nice rhythm that goes along with this story so you have to rap it instead of read it.  (Well, you could read it, but what fun would that be?  And, I think it would be really hard to avoid falling into the rhythm, it's that catchy.)  The illustrations are really great with big cute animals. 
The final book of the day was our featured book Dear zoo by Rod Campbell.  I turned this one into a flannel story and the kids seemed to enjoy it.  I had a box for each animal and I put the box up with the animal behind it.  Then I would give hints like this box came with some bananas, or this box was making a hissing noise.  This worked a little better with the family story time where the kids are a little older, but the 2 and 3 year olds enjoyed it as well.

We had several animal songs to go with our books.  One was Sue Schnitzer's Jump, jump, jump where the kids jump like kangaroos, slither like snakes, wiggle like worms, and soar like a jet.

I had another flannel that we did with the song 1 elephant went out to play.  I was inspired by Miss Mary Liberry's Flannel Friday post for this song that goes:
1 elephant went out to play
On a spider's web one day.
They had such enormous fun,
That they called for another elephant to come.
'HEY ELEPHANT!!!!!!' (We really yell this part because yelling in story time is one of my favorite things to do!)

You repeat with 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 elephants.  Then, once all six are up there I say 'what do you think happens when 6 elephants are on a spider's web?  It starts to wiggle, and wobble, and...' and I shake the web until all the elephants fall off.

We also sang Laurie Berkner's I know a chicken.  This is always fun with shaker eggs.  Sometimes I do cut this one short because it is over 3 minutes long and 2 year olds can only do so much egg shaking before they get bored and start throwing their eggs :)

Our final song was All the fish by Sue Schnitzer which I find is always a crowd pleaser.  This song has fish, ducks, frogs, crocodiles, seagulls, and kids swimming and slashing in the water so there is a lot of action for the kids.

The craft this week was a fairly simple lion that I found here.  We changed it a little to make it simpler.  Thankfully, we have Ellison circle dye cuts, so the kids got one big orange and one smaller yellow.  They also got to try out scissors and cut a mane for the lion.  It was pretty simple, but they kids all liked roaring for their lion.


Flannel Friday: Dear Zoo

This week my story time theme was Wild Animals, so we did the book Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.  I have been planning my story times around the New York Public Library's list of 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know, and Dear Zoo is on that list.  I have seen this posted a few other times on Flannel Friday, but here is my version:

Sorry the animals are sideways, Blogger is acting funny today. 

I was so excited about my camel with his furry yarn, and then I realized that he has 5 legs.  Oops! :)

I think the kids really enjoyed this story (one little girl so much that she had to help me pull off all of the boxes!).  To add to the fun I would give them hints about what was in the box since my boxes are solid and you can't see through them.  For example, with the frog I told them that the box would not stop bouncing around, or with the monkey the box came with a bunch of bananas - although that one sparked a side conversation about how much they all liked bananas :)


Flannel Friday: A Vegetable Lunch

 This week's Flannel Friday is a version of Denise Fleming's Lunch that I made to go along with a vegetable themed story time.  Basically, Mouse is hungry so he eats a large variety of food and then heads off to take a nap until dinnertime.  It is a cute story, great for the littlest story time friends with a few words on a page and bright, bold illustrations.  The book also notes the color of each food, so for my flannel/foamie version I made vegetables in a variety of colors so the kids could help by naming the color and food.
 In my version, Mouse gets out his pink napkin, and his blue fork (because I wanted more colors and it was really hard to find pink and blue vegetables).  Then he feasts on some white cauliflower, purple eggplant, green peas, brown potato, orange carrot, red tomato (I know, I know, not technically a vegetable), and some yellow corn.  Then, he heads off for his nap!

You can find the rest of this week's round up with Tracey at 1234 More Storytimes, view past round ups with Anne at So Tomorrow, or click the Flannel Friday button to the right to view the page on Pinterest.

Friendly Monster Madness

 This week we had our pre-Halloween story time.  Even though Halloween is next Monday, we did all of our dressing up this week.  I figured that by next week everyone would be tired of it.  I always go back and forth about if we should do a 'Halloween' theme.  I still have the kids dress up because it is fun and parents like to get more mileage out of the costumes.  In the past I have done a birthday theme, and pretend / dress up.  This year I went the Friendly Monster route.  Our letter of the day was M for Monsters and our feature book was Go Away Big Green Monster.

The first book that we read was Goodnight, little monster by Helen Ketteman.  This is a nice bedtime story about little monster getting ready for bed.  The text rhymes and the pictures are soft colors and not at all scary.  It is a little longer for the littler ones in my group, but I read it first and they did pretty well with it.

Our second book was Ed Emberley's Go away, big green monster, our feature book from the NPYL list.  This is another favorite and this kids tend to respond well to it.  I have them all shout 'Go Away' to the parts of the monster to get them to disappear. 

The last story was a flannel rhyme called Five crazy monsters.  I found the idea from Cate on her blog Storytiming.  Cate's monsters were so cute I couldn't resist making some similar ones.  In Cate's version the rhyme is Five creepy monsters, but I thought they were so cute I changed them to Crazy monsters!  The rhyme goes:
5 crazy monsters jumping on the bed,
One fell off and bumped his head,
mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
'No more monsters jumping on the bed!'

Repeat with 4, 3, 2,  a,d 1, monsters  then...

No more monsters jumping on the bed,
'let's go outside and howl,' they said!

-I really wanted to say 'Mama called Dr. Frankenstein and Frankenstein said...' but I figured that it is such a classic rhyme they would be chanting along with me (which they were) and I didn't want to confuse them too much.

We also sang the song 'If You're a Monster and You Know It.'  My version goes like this (to the tune of If you're happy and you know it):
If you're a monster and you know it raise your paws,
If you're a monster and you know it raise your paws,
If you're a monster and you know it raise your paws and show your claws,
If you're a monster and you know it raise your paws.

Repeat with:
Jump up and down ... and all around
Give a growl ... and give a howl

We also had a few others songs.  Laurie Berkner's Monster Boogie is a great one for this theme.  It is also nice and short so I could do that with the If you're a monster and you know it song between books.

Laurie Berkner also sings We are the dinosaurs which we used this week.  Not monster related, but dressing up is pretend so we could pretend to be dinosaurs.  Plus, the song ends with a roar, which we had been doing a lot of this week.

We ended story time with the Monster Mash from Andrew Gold's Halloween Howls.  I gave all of the kids scarves to wave around as we danced to the music.  I think that the parents really liked this one.  Many of them were 'mashing' along with us.  I did cut the song a little short, but no one seemed to mind.

Our craft this week was a monster mask.  I found a dye cut for a cat mask and just let the kids add some feathers and shiny stickers.  I also put out some paint stampers and crayons to add to the fun.

I did something a little different for Family Story time this week.  Usually I do the same plan that I have for the 2's and 3's because it tends to work out well that way.  However, I had advertised a Spooktacular Family Storytime, so I added the book Laura Numeroff's 10 step guide to living with your monster.  This is a fun book about how to select and care for a pet monster.  It has some humor, and great pictures of a silly monster pet and his antics.  We also added a few crafts to make the night more special.  They got to make a spider visor and a Frankenstein puppet in addition to the mask.  We ended up with 60 people, double my usual Tuesday crowd, and the only advertising I did was place a few signs around the Children's Room.  Makes me wonder what would happen if I advertise the theme each week...I think I will see how many return this coming week and then see if ads increase the size the next week!


Flannel Friday: Five Butterflies

Since in this week's story time I used the flannel story There's a Bug on the Teacher that Miss Mary Liberry had previously posted to Flannel Friday, I am going to show you my 'magical butterflies.'  This flannel works kind of the opposite of the melting snowmen that I posted a few weeks ago.  In this, the butterflies 'pop' out of cocoons to flutter around.  Here is the rhyme that I made to go with it:

5 butterflies spun cocoons, Spin your hands like 'the wheels on the bus'
Hoping Spring would be here soon. Cross your fingers
With a little bit of magic, Wiggle fingers in the air
And some warm sunshine, Arms over head for the sun
Clap, clap, clap for a butterfly!  I make the kids really clap to get the butterfly to pop out
 This one wasn't too hard to make.  You need to get some cardboard and cover it with whatever background that you want.  Then, make 5 pockets for your cocoons.  Glue some caterpillars onto the cocoons and then glue them onto the board.

Next, make some butterflies.  I cut mine out of felt and wrapped pipe cleaners around the middle leaving the tops curled like antenna.

Glue 2 pieces of yarn onto the butterfly (I cover the yarn with another small felt scrap).  Make sure that you place the yarn at the top of the wings.

Then poke holes at the top of the board and push the yarn through.  This is the trickiest part because you want the two pieces of yarn to be spaced apart so that when you pull the butterfly up the wings open.  The best way to do this is lay the butterfly so that the middle of its body is in the middle of the cocoon and stretch the yarn up to see where it goes.  Some of the yarns may cross, so make sure that you pull the butterfly with the top yarn first.

When the yarn is pushed through the holes tie the two together so that you can easily pull them at the same time.  Then I covered the holes with some fiber fill to cover them up.