Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sensory Tub: Ocean FAIL

It all began when I sat down with Bobo and showed him Crystal's fun sensory baths. I didn't expect him to want to have a play bath (as we are calling them) right away. I wanted to take advantage of his enthusiasm, and (let's face it) willingness to get into the bath. I also didn't anticipate how these play baths would be VERY different with MY boy.

I planned to paint some waves on around the bath with a shaving cream and food color mix. Bobo wanted to help.

"We need ocean creatures." I hunted, but couldn't find the extra box of bath toys with the shark. We settled for an octopus, hippo and elephant.

I probably should have figured out how to dye cooked pasta before this tub. Maybe explained better? I definitely shouldn't have put Bobo's favorite food (noodles) into the tub without expecting him to eat it. "Mama, these noonles taste funny." Could it be the shaving cream on your face?

Let's have a pasta throwing contest, instead.

When all else fails, bring out the big guns (or big bubbles as the case may be).

Since this auspicious beginning, we've had a few successful sensory tubs. The hot weather lends itself nicely to water play, so we'll keep trying. It's not always pretty, but always messy and fun.

365 Days Outdoors: Ocean Adventure

Bobo needs more ocean creatures! All I could find at the Dollar Tree were sea turtles. Any suggestions? Please leave a comment if you've found a good variety of ocean creatures somewhere. He really wants a shark. We did find loofahs, cupcake bath fizzies and a growing crab. He enjoyed washing the baby turtles.

D.T. does have a plethora of water guns and pool toys. We got one that you suck the water in, then push out. It is proving to be very sturdy and easy to operate. Bobo watered the plants with it. He's been working in the garden with grandma and learning lots.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WMCIR: New Favorites (Age 3)

Two robot friends compete with costumes. It's Bobo's perfect book! They even dress like superheroes. We've read this one each evening for the past week. I love the bright robots and the use of white space. Bobo loves dressing up. I plan to use the inside cover of the book to make an activity for the weekend.

In the newest Pete the Cat adventure, Pete has mishaps with his buttons which lead to subtraction. Bobo can subtract with these small numbers. I didn't coach him, so this book is great for working with little ones. I didn't download the song, because we borrowed the book from the library. I did make my own tune, which is Bobo's favorite part. My favorite part is the surprise ending. A wonderful extension for the book would be counting buttons, like we did with our trays.

You are a Lion! is the best yoga picture book I've seen. It uses animals to teach the poses, brilliant! As I was reading aloud, Bobo did each pose on his own. I didn't even suggest it! He also learned the word "namaste." His favorite pose is the one on the cover, the lion. My favorite pose remains cat. Although it's nice to concentrate deeply while practicing yoga, I also enjoy sharing it with Bobo. He loves to lie under the "bridge" while I am in down facing dog.

Let me know if you read any of these books. I'd love to hear what your children think. I link up with What My Child Is Reading every week, so check out my sidebar. I also share on Read Aloud Thursdays.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Imaginative Play: A Lesson in First Aid

Bobo loves to dress up, mostly as superheroes. When we visited Ivy Tech last year for their annual Punkin' Chunkin', he showed no interest in the medical room. I still snagged some freebies and put them with his dress up play. After he found these items and put them on, he asked for the "bump, bump thang." Daddy had to translate, "stethoscope."

Then, we brought out the First Aid Kit and had a lesson about injuries, big and small.

The first steps for an emergency are Check, Call and Care. If the injury is small, you can skip the call to 9-1-1.

The inside shows what to do for big to small cuts or lacerations. A head injury is on the very right.

A few days ago, Bobo had a small injury on his arm. We talked about how I took care of it, which just happened to follow the steps in the kit. 

Bobo had the most fun listening to our hearts. He tried to listen to Buzz's heart, but came to the conclusion toys don't have a heartbeat.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Spring Carnival

Each year we hold a Spring Fling, a literacy-based party with a different theme each year. Our theme this year was a Spring Carnival. My camera has been out of commission for months, so the photos were generously shared by my favorite library mama, Cecy. They feature her adorable little boys, E and T. 

Temporary Tattoo Booth
Once again, I used the whole meeting room to hold this event. Originally I planned to have the carnival outside, so some of the games didn't fit in the room. I set those up in the children's area by the tree house. When guests arrived, they entered their guesses for the jelly bean and gumball containers. The winner took home all the candy! Then, they stopped by the temporary tattoo booth.

I always set up several crafts at different levels, since the program invites all ages. I used the die-cut to punch out top hats and elephants to decorate for the younger children. The older children made a paper plate toss game. We had popcorn for a snack, but saved the cotton candy for a craft using cotton balls dyed with tempera powder paint and toilet paper rolls.

Ring Toss Craft
After the initial half hour of fun and games, I started the cupcake walks. All the cupcakes were donated by co-workers, Connie, Mattie and Robyn. I used the storytime puzzle mats with numbers taped to them. Every child had the opportunity to win a cupcake, so this activity was easy-going and fun. Bobo helped me by stopping the music.

Cupcake Walk
The children played lots of games to win tickets for prizes. The first game I planned when we chose the theme was the one where you knock down the cans, I still can't find the proper name for it. We make lots of homemade play dough, so I used salt containers to be knocked down. The children also played beach ball bowling and egg-racing with a set bought from Oriental Trading. I set up a couple of accuracy games like tossing bean bags into baskets and shooting ping pong balls with a squirt gun.

Basket Toss
I found most of these ideas on Martha Stewart's site. A carnival would be a great, inexpensive option for a birthday party. You will need good weather. Most of the items used in the games were purchased at the Dollar Tree. I bought the temporary tattoos from Oriental Trading, who also has lots of prizes available. If you'd like to see how I organize my ideas, see my pinterest board.

Beach Ball Bowling
In the past, the attendees for the Fling have been preschoolers. I am happy to say, this year we had a wonderful mix of all ages. The games and crafts were appropriate for varying levels. Bobo's favorite part of the Carnival, as well as most participants, was the Sharp Shooter game.

Sharp Shooter
Some of my favorite carnival books are: Spot and His Grandparents Go to the Carnival by Eric Hill, Paddington Bear and the Busy Bee Carnival by Michael Bond, Karen's Carnival by Ann M. Martin. The Goosebumps series also has some spooky carnival stories which are popular, but those were my favorites when I was in middle school and now I'm terrified of clowns. I'm not saying that is the cause...

Winner for favorite activity
I'd like to thank my two helpers for this program. Miss Angela and Kristi. It wouldn't have been half as fun without you!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

365 Days Outdoors: Baby Pool

Bobo even climbs the slide in his pool. It's been hot, hot, hot, so he's been spending lots of time in the water.

We've had this monster towel for a year, and it's still cute. Last year at our staff pool party, Bobo pulled the hood over his eyes and kept saying "Batman." He started rolling and jumping. Eventually, he ran head first into a pole. He fell down, rolled over then ripped the hood back and looked for the enemy. Nicole said, "Yep, you can tell he's your son."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Flannel Friday: 1, 2, Buckle My Shoe

Two Little Bluebirds
I've got some more Mother Goose on the Loose fun this week. MGOL is wonderful because it gives you the skeleton with the ability to add your own guts! (Note: I've been spending way too much time working on the body with my 3-year-old). The suggested rhyme for MGOL is "Two Little Dickie Birds." I found these wood and flannel birds at Hobby Lobby, though and adjusted the rhyme to go with them. Aren't they cute (after Easter sale, too!)?

Two Little Bluebirds
Two little bluebirds
Sitting on a cloud
One named soft
And one named LOUD
Fly away soft
Fly away LOUD
Come back soft
Come back LOUD

1, 2, Buckle My Shoe
 Last week, I shared an interactive flannel with Humpty Dumpty. This week, I'm sharing another one that works well with older toddlers as well as large groups. I start off the rhyme with the pieces like this. Then, say the rhyme as I move the pieces to suit the actions.

1, 2, All in a row
1, 2, Buckle My Shoe
1, 2, buckle my shoe
(fit buckle on shoe)
3, 4, knock on the door
5, 6, pick up sticks
(pick up)
7, 8, lay them straight
(place neatly)
9, 10, a big white hen.

With older toddlers, the children try their favorite action. If there is a small group, they can try the whole rhyme. For a larger group, I have lots of different hens on hand. I hand out a color to each child (several of the same colors, too). Then, we say the rhyme together with a different ending a few times. Each child has a turn to bring up their hen and put her on the board.

Thank you for checking out my flannels. Mel is hosting the round-up this week if you'd like to see more. Check out the Flannel Friday blog if you'd like to get involved or want to find out what it's all about.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TFT: Participation in Baby Storytimes

Question: How many children attend storytime? What is the ideal number for letting children come to the flannel board? --Miss Tara of Storytime with Miss Tara and Friends

Miss Tara posed these questions in relation to my baby storytimes. I'm sharing a few pictures of past storytimes, but I don't have any photos of BABY storytimes. It is just too hard to snap pictures as I'm leading. I use the curriculum Mother Goose on the Loose by Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen.

I first heard of MGOL at a presentation at ILF about six years ago when I was first learning to be a children's librarian. It was the first professional meeting I attended! Wow, what a way to begin. MGOL is more than storytime. It combines music, movement and art with traditional storytime elements like picture books, flannel boards and knee bounces.

Babies and toddlers under 2 along with caregivers (1 lap, 1 child) are the intended participants. However, I've had older siblings attend (with a lovey for their lap) who also enjoyed the program. As I don't require registration for MGOL, I have anywhere from five to 20 babies and toddlers (plus 5-20 adults).

Sorry for fuzzy picture, fluorescent lighting...
At the beginning of each MGOL meeting, I lay out the rules. "I don't expect your little ones to sit perfectly still or be perfectly quiet. They can roam around the room and babble. They are paying more attention than you think. The only rule I have is, if your little one comes to the flannel board and tries to pull things off or get materials out of my cubby or box, please pick them up and put them back on your lap."

Voila! The expectations are presented and the parents take care of behavior. Phew. Humpty Dumpty is the last rhyme I present before the closing song. I say, "Now it's your turn to come to the board. You get to pull Humpty off the board, then we'll clap for you. Everyone gets ONE turn." Again, parents are in charge of enforcing the one turn.

Even when I have 20 babies and toddlers, not EVERYONE is going to want a turn. Some children are shy, especially if it's their first visit to the library. Sometimes, it takes 5-6 visits to participate, which is fine. I never make a child take a turn. I know they will do it when they are ready.

If you have even bigger numbers for your youngest audience, I would use the candlestick participation activity. Each baby still gets one turn, but the line will move faster. You place a candlestick in the middle of the room and ask each child to jump over it. Say the rhyme:
Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candlestick.

This post is part of my Thanks for Your Thoughts series. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment. You may get featured on Thursday!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WMCIR: Shout! Shout it Out!

Harper's book is a re-imagining of the classic poem "There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." This book works well for an Outer Space theme and Transportation theme. We've been reading it for the past month. I like the picture cues that make it interactive and help with sequencing. Bobo likes the lady getting the star for her grandson (the "lady" looks like my mom).

The illustrations tell the story in this book. The text is sparse and leads into the pictures. So, the little boy is fast like a "horse" but the text just says "fast as" with a picture of a horse. I love books where my pre-reader can read with me. The first two-page spread shows a little boy with his grandma waving good-bye to his mama and papa. Then, we learn all the things to boy is: strong, fast, tall, messy. When the special day arrives, he is something he's never been before "a brother." You have to see this book to appreciate it. My favorite illustration is the very last page where the boy is lying on a blanket with is baby. Bobo's favorite is LOUD like an elephant.

I love, love, love Denise Fleming. This book is a great show me what you know book. If you know it, shout it out! 1, 2, 3s and A, B, Cs, colors and animals, let your little one shout everything they know. Bobo misunderstood me the first time I said it, so he kept saying "Cut! Cut it out!" Then, I'd correct him and he'd have a fit of giggles.

Who's joining their library's summer reading club this year?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tot School: Transportation 2

Thank goodness I had some coloring pages handy! Bobo has been on a coloring kick. He wants everything to look "just right." He asks for coloring books everyday. Today, he wanted to make bombs. I was trying to put together new activities, and that wasn't on the agenda. So, I asked him to play with the magnets on the board. That reminded him of his favorite magnet activity, the skeleton. Unfortunately, it was buried in the Halloween box and I couldn't get to it, either.

When he asked for another coloring page, I gave him this pattern page. He drew an astronaut inside and then was done with this activity.

Stacking "tires"

Tire matching

More stickers. These were fun, because he built a road with stickers, then placed the little car stickers and signs everywhere.

Crazy drum solo. It's blurred because he was drumming so fast!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Book Review: The Stinky Giant by Ellen Weiss

Teachers are huge fans of these Step into Reading books, but I've never given them much stock. They serve their purpose of giving children the confidence to read on their own. They help with practicing the mechanics. Unfortunately, many of the Step book characters come from television shows or movies like Barbie, Cars and various other Disney films.

I can see the appeal of using books with characters children are familiar with, but as a librarian, it makes me cringe. I often suggest Frog and Toad books or Amelia Bedelia books as alternatives. Dr. Seuss Easy Readers are my favorites by far.

I didn't realize until this book the Step books also come in classic stories or retellings. The Stinky Giant reads like a classic fairy tale. The main characters are shepherds and live a happy life, except for one problem. The giant who lives on a mountain above their pasture is rude, mean and causes catastrophes by sneezing, burping and doing his laundry.

The children, being the heroes of the story, climb the mountain to confront the giant about his bad behavior. Like all good fairy tales, they make a bargain with the bad guy. He will move away to a location of their choosing, IF they can figure out his riddle. "There is something you see every day, and it is one thing but also three things."

New independent readers would enjoy this book for it's challenging vocabulary and plot. They may identify with the main characters, who are the victims of a bully. When they figure out the riddle, they will be eager to explore the answer on their own. I'll be looking more carefully at these Step books when helping parents find beginning readers, now.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Flannel Friday: Mother Goose on the Loose

Baby storytimes work so well with flannels. I use Mother Goose on the Loose to plan and have all the rhymes and songs memorized, so I use the pieces as a reminder.

Slowly, Very Slowly
Tickle Rhyme
Slowly, very slowly
Creeps the garden snail,
Slowly, very slowly
Along the garden trail.
Quickly, very quickly
Goes the little mouse
Quickly, very quickly,
All around the house.

Itsy Bitsy Spider
The "Itsy Bitsy Spider" is always a favorite as most children and parents are already familiar with it. I love when the little ones start doing the motions as soon as I put him up.

Humpty Dumpty
I use Humpty Dumpty as the interactive rhyme each week. Each child gets a turn to pull him off the board. Most of them like to put him back up, too!

Notes from the Story Room is hosting this week.