Saturday, December 22, 2012

Leaves Storytime


Fall Leaves Fall! is a great introduction to the facts of changing leaves. The story follows two brothers playing with their dog in the falling leaves.

"One Little Leaf" from
One little leaf, (count on fingers)
Two little leaves,
Three little leaves today.
Four little leaves,
Five little leaves,
Blow them all away! (blow fingers and flutter them)

"Little Mouse and the Big Leaf" flannel story by Miss Courtney

"Leaves are Falling" sung to the tune of "Frere Jacques" from A Box Full of Tales by Kathy MacMillan.
Leaves are falling, leaves are falling,
On the ground, on the ground.
Rake them in a pile, rake them in a pile,
Jump right in! Jump right in!

I love books to be sung. They make the book inviting and encourage children and parents to sing along. The Leaves on the Trees by Thom Wiley can be sung to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus." It is a nice book to grab attention toward the end of a program.

Matching Activity: Flannel Leaves

Musical Instruments Activity: Egg Shakers
"Shake Together" from Mother Goose on the Loose by Betsy Diamant-Cohen.
We shake our shakers together,
Shake our shakers together,
Shake our shakers together, because it's fun to do.

"Leaves are Falling" sung to the tune of "Jingle Bells" adapted by Miss Courtney.
Leaves are falling, leaves are falling,
One fell on my nose.
Leaves are falling, leaves are falling,
Some fell on my toes.
Leaves are falling, leaves are falling,
One fell on my head.
Leaves are falling, leaves are falling,
Yellow, orange and red.

Parade Song: "Take a Hike" from Celebrate Seasons by Sara Jordan.

Lull-a-bye: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Closing Routine

Craft: Fingerpaint leaves. Children cut out tree trunks from brown construction paper. Use yellow, red, orange and green fingerpaints to decorate tree. Add stickers for flair.

Leaf lacing. Cut out a leaf shape of green construction paper and paste to cardboard piece. Punch large holes around the edge. Give each child a long piece of yarn to lace through the holes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fall Storytime

I'm finally sharing my 2- and 3-year-old storytimes! As the storytime sessions have ended until next year, I have a few weeks to catch up with posting. I present to you Fall...

People in Fall by Martha Rustad has simple text accompanied by photographs of children. It includes activities people do in the Fall because of the changing weather. It is an excellent series to use with toddlers as it shows items and actions they may be familiar with while also describing new things and vocabulary.

"The Floppy Scarecrow" action rhyme from
The floppy, floppy scarecrow
Guards his fields all day.
He waves his floppy, floppy hands
To scare the crows away!
Additional verses: arms, toes, head, legs

Image from Storytime Secrets
"Five Brown Acorns" sung to the tune of "10 Green Bottles" from A Box Full of Tales by Kathy MacMillan.
Five brown acorns hanging on the tree,
Five brown acorns hanging on the tree,
And if one brown acorn should fall down to me,
There'll be four brown acorns hanging on the tree.
Repeat: 4, 3, 2, 1

"The Pumpkin Song" from A Box Full of Tales by Kathy MacMillan.
I had a little pumpkin,
I put it down just so, (squat)
And then I waved my magic wand
And it began to grow...and grow... (raise up)
And grow... and grow... and grow! (stretch arms overhead)
Additional verses: giant pumpkin and as quick as you can blink/shrink
Tiny pumpkin and put it down just so/grow/stop

Mouse's First Fall by Lauren Thompson follows Mouse through all of his first Fall activities. The Mouse series is another great option for toddlers. The illustrations are colorful and the text large. Mouse is an recognizable character with whom they can relate.

Squirrel and Nut matching game. I put up different color squirrels on the flannel board and hand out several color of nuts to each child. When I put up the color that matches the one they have, they can bring it up to the board and receive applause.

Musical Instruments/Scarves Activity: Scarves
"Wave Together" from Mother Goose on the Loose by Betsy Diamant-Cohen.
We wave our scarves together,
Wave our scarves together,
Wave our scarves together because it's fun to do.

"Owl in a Tree" sung to the tune of "Skip to My Lou" and I've lost the source for this one as I've used it for so many years. 
Owl in a tree says hoo, hoo, hoo.
Owl in a tree says hoo, hoo, hoo.
Owl in a tree says hoo, hoo, hoo.
Owl in a tree says peek-a-boo. (hold scarf in front of face)

"I'm a Little Scarecrow" sung to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot" by Miss Courtney.
I'm a little scarecrow stuffed with hay.
Here I stand in the field all day.
When I see the crows, I like to say,
"All you crows, go away!"

Parade Song: "I Love the Mountains" from Music Time for All Four Seasons by Robin Dupuis. 

"Away, Away" from Mother Goose on the Loose
Away, away, put our scarves away today.
Repeat until all scarves are collected.

Lull-a-bye: "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"

Cinnamon-scented Acorn Craft. 

Pre-cut acorn shapes from brown construction paper. Mix brown tempera paint with cinnamon until it smells strongly. The acorns smell of cinnamon even after weeks of being dry! Mmmm, smells like Fall.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Messy Learning Lab: Water Beads for Babies

You may be thinking, "How can water be messy?" These activities are all water-based, so the clean-up is a breeze. Introducing water beads to the library is probably going to be my claim to fame. No one at the library has ever heard of these, which means none of them are reading my blog!

Me, being the Queen of Worry, placed the water bead bin on a regular height table. I repeatedly warned, "Do Not EAT this." I had nightmares prior to the event of the sweet babies being rushed to the emergency room. But after several minutes, I did this...

Thankfully, the parents were on top of security, I mean paying careful attention with this activity. I didn't want  the under three crowd to feel left out, so I made them "baby water beads."

I filled the other bin with enough water for the ball-pit balls to float.

See, there is no way that ball is fitting in that mouth!

The boys love water beads. Everyone survived and had a great time! I think my small town may run low on water beads for the next couple of months.

I'll be sharing more water-based, messy activities this week. In the other messy play room, I finally planned glow-in-the-dark sensory play. Don't miss it.

Sharing with Tuesday Tots and Kids Co-Op

Monday, December 17, 2012

What My Child is Reading

No Sleep for the Sheep! by Karen Beaumont is a lyrical bedtime ode to those having trouble sleeping. All the farm animals wake the sheep in the barn. They want to sleep in the barn, too. No Sleep is a great book to share at bedtime.

New Christmas books come out each year, so it's a challenge to find ones appropriate for preschoolers. A Child Was Born: A First Nativity Book by Grace Maccarone is a simple story with detailed illustrations about the birth of Jesus. We enjoyed the rhyming text and the familiar beginning, middle and end.

Our favorite book this week by far was a parody of Madeline, Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parady by Ludworst Bemonster. The rhymes and events are spot on for fans of Madeline. Bobo enjoyed the monster aspect for it. His favorite parts were about the little monsters wetting their beds and losing their heads. I'm adding it to my "must-reads" list for parents.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tot School: Winter

We've spent several weeks decorating the house for the holidays. Here are our winter trays.

Holiday activity book purchased at the Dollar Tree with lots of preschool fun inside. The gingerbread cookie carrier is filled with foam Christmas shapes, great for sorting and creating artwork.

Bobo chose four sheets of window clings and four sheets of wall decals for the house. We are down to these two sheets for the windows. He's been very busy! He also cleans the windows before putting them up, hence the spray bottle (white vinegar and water).

Snowball fight with poms and tongs and adorable snowmen baskets (a gift).

Lacing with Christmas shapes and chenille sticks. Bobo likes to make bracelets.

Polar Express play dough activity, read and explore.

Polar bear fridge decorator. Bobo assembled it using the fridge as a canvas.

Sharing with Tot School and the Children's Bookshelf and Montessori Monday

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Messy Learning Lab: Gingerbread Cloud Dough and Clay

The two messiest activities in the Messy Learning Lab are gingerbread cloud dough and clay.

7 cups flour
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 container of cinnamon (Dollar Tree)

We started out with the dough in the box, but the children were having trouble reaching it so I dumped it onto the table. The dough feels soft and fluffy but packs well to make shapes. They pretended to make muffins and cupcakes. The dough smells delicious!

The dough is actually easy to clean up with a broom and a mop. However, it created a slippery floor. I used the puzzle mat from storytime as a non-slip surface around the table. The dough on the table can be used again by brushing it all back in the box.

Messiest Activity!!!
I purchased clay from Discount School Supply two years ago for a Summer Reading Club program. We used almost half of it and I saved the rest. Since it dried out quite a bit, I soaked it in water before the program. I wanted a pliable consistency and boy did I get it! 

The children loved squirting the clay with water to create a gooey masterpiece. This table took the longest to clean. My husband used one of the clay tools to scrape all the extra clay off. We used heavy duty wipes and spray to get the rest of the mess up. J also mopped the floor around the table.

Did you miss any of the Messy Learning Lab?

Next week, I'll be sharing activities from the second MLL.
Sharing with Kids Co-op and It's Playtime!

Flannel Friday Round-Up: December 14

Welcome to Flannel Friday! I'm a first-time host and longtime participant and enthusiast. Using alternative storytelling is a great way to build narrative skills with children. Play with these ideas at work or home!

Soft and Fuzzy

"All You Need for a Snowman" by Alice Schertle adapted by Miss Tara from Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends. Look for the surprise prop that delighted the children.

"Cupcake" by Charise Mericle Harper adapted by Miss Meghan from Busy Crafting Mommy. Yum, a storytime all about baking.

"Feelings" by Kristen Balouch adapted by Sarah from Read Rabbit Read. If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!

"My Mother's Got Me Bundled Up" by Jack Prelutsky adapted by Andrea from Librarian VS Storytime. A wonderful way to visualize poetry. Don't miss the long-johns!

I've Got Five Fingers

"Five Little Unicorns" Unicorn finger puppet from Lisa at Libraryland. I agree, Lisa, who doesn't need a unicorn or five?

Fun and Games
"Baby Penguin" Seek-and-find game by Linda from Notes from the Story Room. Why not add number recognition to the classic story board game of hide-and-seek?

"Where's the Duck?" Seek-and-find game by Bridget from What is Bridget Reading? Bob Ross would be jealous of these happy, little trees.

I'll Show You Mine, If...

"My House" Draw-and-Tell rhyme from Anne at So Tommorow. Lovely rhyme and pattern with movement options to get those wiggles out.

"Pete the Cat and the Santa Hat" from Library Quine at Loons and Quines @ Librarytime. Pete has a new hat! Hmmm, do I sense a craft idea?

"Picture Frame Flannelboard" by Andrea from Rovingfiddlehead Kitlit. Possibly the perfect Christmas gift! It's portable, educational and quiet.

And that's the last Flannel Friday for 2012! Do you want to know more about this FF craze? Check out the blog, pinterest and Facebook pages. Can't wait for more flannel or storytelling ideas? Visit the FF contributors during the holidays.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Flannel Friday Round-Up

I'm hosting the round-up this week. Please leave your link in the comments.

Here's the post for Flannel Friday 12/14.

Messy Learning Lab: Mini Volcanoes and Fingerpainting

The two activities I'm sharing today are classic messy play. Sometimes simplicity works best!

Crayola fingerpaints and fingerpaint paper from Discount School Supply invitation. After using the special, glossy paper, I highly recommend it. The paints spread easily and didn't tear the paper even after several layers of paint. The product retained the brilliant colors of the paints even after drying.

Fingerpaints are so fun!

Mini volcano invitation, vinegar in spill-proof cups (DSS, again) with liquid watercolors for color, baking soda and vinegar from the Dollar Tree, and pipettes from DSS.

The mini volcanoes are always a favorite at the library. I'm surprised more people don't do this simple science experiment at home. I recommend it for reluctant bathers as a fun bathtime activity. It's also easy to set up in the kitchen while you're busy preparing meals.

Water removes most of the mess of these activities. I'm happy to say the fingerpaints came right off the wallpaper and the floor (our custodian helped with the clean-up, so I'm not sure what he used). I did throw out the table cover for the mini-volcanoes.

I'll be sharing the two messiest activities from the Learning Lab on Saturday. I'm hosting Flannel Friday this week for the first time!

Sharing with Kids Co-Op and TGIF

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Messy Learning Lab: Rainbow Floam and Rice

Last week, I dumped the rice I had left from making raindrops for another craft into three ziplock bags and squirted some liquid watercolor paint into it. I rubbed the paint all around in the bag until I had a color I liked and spread it out to dry.

Scooping, dumping and pouring galore
Most of the rice ended up on the floor and that's fine because it's so easy to sweep up.

Floam is a foam substance that sticks together but doesn't make hands sticky. It is the biggest hit with parents so far! I ordered several bricks of floam from Discount School Supply for the library's playgroup last year. I don't think it dries out as I've kept it in the original bags with no problem.

As you can see, all the colors mix into a giant ball of floam. I think it looks beautiful. Plus, if you pack it tight enough, the pieces bounce! For clean-up, I simply break the floam apart into 6 bricks and stuff them back in the bags. I use the large pieces to "suck" up the rest. Easy peasy!

Sharing with Kids Co-Op and TGIF and For the Kids Friday

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Messy Learning Lab: Packing Peanuts Sensory Bin

In anticipation for our Messy Learning Lab, I purchased several under the bed storage containers from Meijer. They are the perfect size for large sensory bins with several children playing at once. I filled this one with packing peanuts, magnetic letters and re-purposed puzzle piece magnets.

Again, the first couple of parents to observe this activity asked the children to keep the peanuts in the box. I quickly assured them that I expected peanuts to be everywhere. It is a messy learning experience after all. That is the only encouragement the little ones needed!

When everyone finished up, I swept up the peanuts on the floor and tossed them. They were flattened anyway. I put away the magnets and dumped the rest of the peanuts into a bag for later use. Easy clean-up for two hours of messy fun!

Sharing with Tuesday Tots and It's Playtime! and For the Kids Friday

Monday, December 10, 2012

Messy Learning Lab: Shaving Cream Table

Bubble wrap table with shaving cream swirl all over
The Messy Learning Lab is a program I created for the library children to enjoy messy play with friends and family. I'll be sharing an activity from the lab each day this week!

I still have a large quantity of bubble wrap, so I covered a table with it. Masking tape didn't work, so I used packing tape to secure large sheets over and under the table. I envisioned a large mountain of shaving cream in the middle of the table as an invitation, but I just couldn't get that much out at once. 

The Lab lasts for two hours, so families can come at the best time for them and stay as long as they want. With ten messy activities available, you can really tell who is allowed to make a mess at home. Some of the children put a couple of fingers or a whole hand in the shaving cream, then immediately ask for washing up.

While others show great abandon.

I use regular shaving cream, which has a nice, fresh scent and smooth texture. The bubble wrap provides sound with gentle popping as the shaving cream is spread and squished. I am sharing this activity first because it is the least messy and easiest to clean up. It can also be adapted for the home by taking it outside or to the bathtub.

To clean, I simply pull the wrap free, fold it over the mess, and toss it. We have wood floors at the library, so I just used an extra paint shirt to wipe up the floor and a dry mop to suck up the moisture. The children can likewise be wiped clean with a dry cloth and smell wonderful afterwards.

Be sure to check back for more messy activities!

Sharing with Montessori Monday and Tuesday Tots and It's Playtime