Storytime Spotlight: Bears n’ Berries with the Preschool Pack

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I LOVE bears.  There’s so many fun books, songs, rhymes, flannels… and so many different angles you can take!  You can do polar bears, teddy bears, bears in spring, bears hibernating in fall, forest friends… you get the idea.  Since spring has finally come to Colorado (*crosses fingers*) this week I went for what I call a “bears n berries” approach.

Here’s some of the fun books I had ready to read:


Welcome/Opening Songs:

  • I snuck into the story room wearing a fun “explorer” hat and a pair of binoculars.  I tiptoed in, ran behind the flannel board and looked over the top with my binoculars, then whispered “Has anyone seen a bear in here?”  The preschoolers all said no and I asked, “Do you promise?” then stepped out from behind the board.  Then I pointed to the books that were lined up and yelled “Aaah!  I thought you said there weren’t any bears in here!” and they laughed their little heads off over how silly I was.  🙂  After they assured me the bears in the books wouldn’t bite, I popped in the CD and we sang/danced to…
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It- Traditional
  • Shake My Sillies Out- Raffi
  • After singing and dancing we took a bow.  My hat fell off, which the kiddos again seemed to really enjoy.  I’m thinking I might have to make wearing a hat a story time tradition.  🙂

Letter of the Week: R

  • Sing ABC song
  • Find letter R on ABC chart (play hot/cold with pointer)
  • Write letter R in the air and on the ground
  • Give clues/kids guess letter R word pictures
  • Kiss your brain!

Fingerplay: 2 Little Black Bears

At this point I also talked about our ECRR skill, which was writing.  I shared how fingerplays can strengthen fine motor skills children need to write and encouraged the parents to make fingerplays a part of their daily routine, such as at bedtime.  We practiced this one together once, then went and taught our grown ups!  🙂

Two little black bears eating strawberries,

One named Michael and one named Mary.

Run away Michael, run away Mary!

Come back Michael, come back Mary!

___

credit: Sunflower Storytime

Book #1: Spring is Here by Will Hillenbrand

We really enjoyed the actions in this one- especially snoring!  By the end though we definitely had some wiggles, so it was time to go on a bear hunt!

Action Song: Going on a Bear Hunt by Greg & Steve

My favorite version of this song by far.  We stood up and stomped around the room for this one.  After storytime I had a ton of parents asking for the song title/artist, so I knew it was a big hit!

Transition: If You’re Ready for a Story

If you’re ready for a story have a seat,

If you’re ready for a story pat your knees!

If you’re ready for a story, if you’re ready for a story,

If you’re ready for a story look at me!

Do you remember what Bear did when Mole finally woke him up?  That’s right, he ate food!  What do bears like to eat?  That reminds me, I know a finger song about bears and berries!  Can you…

Fingerplay: Pick Berries High (tune of Peas Porridge Hot)

Pick berries high (reach up high)

Pick berries low (reach down low)

Pick berries on the bush, nine in a row (clap 9x)

Some like them red (raise one hand to side palm up)

Some like them blue (raise other hand palm up)

Here’s one for me- yum! (pretend to eat berry)

And here’s one for you (hold out hand)

___

credit: adapted from Artsy Toddler Storytimes

Flannel: Baby Bear’s Big Feast

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As always, this kind of flannel story is a big hit with my preschoolers.  They love helping me with the actions in the story and the twist ending!  I always leave the flannel up afterwards so kids can tell the story again after craft time.  This has helped a lot with the crowding issue at the board- they know it’s my turn now, but they will have their own turn later.

Little Bear and his Mama woke up from their long winter’s nap (stretch and yawn). Little Bear was so hungry his tummy went grumble grumble.  Mama Bear was hungry too, so they stepped outside their cave and looked around.  In the clearing was the tree stump where they always ate their feast.  Little Bear hopped up and sniffed around- sniff sniff sniff.

“Mama, where’s the food?” he asked.  “I’m hungry!”

“We have to go get it, silly,” Mama Bear said.  “Why don’t you go get the blueberries?”

“Okay!” Baby bear jumped down from the stump and ran to the woods (pat knees quickly to imitate running).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low).  He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s a – (pause to let children respond) fish!  This time go past the stream.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s an – (pause to let children respond) orange!  This time go past the stream and the orange tree.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s an – (pause to let children respond) apple!  This time go past the stream, the orange tree and the apple tree.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

“Look Mama, blueberries!” he said.

“No Baby Bear,” Mama said, laughing.  “That’s not a blueberry.  That’s a – (pause to let children respond) strawberry!  This time go past the stream, past the orange tree and apple tree, and past the strawberry bushes.”

So Baby Bear went running back to the woods again (pat knees).  He looked high (pretend to look high) and he looked low (pretend to look low). He looked all around until he thought he saw some blueberries, then he went back.

This time he was gone such a long time Mama Bear started to get worried.  But then Baby Bear came back and he said, “Look, Mama, blueberries!  And I found Daddy too!”

“Yes Little Bear, those are blueberries,” Mama Bear said.  “You’re just in time for dinner.  But it looks like Daddy already ate his!”

____

credit: adapted from Ready-To-Go Storytimes by Gail Benton and Trisha Waichulaitis

pattern: available here (note the book also includes a pattern)

I really wanted to squeeze in a second book after the flannel, but by that point we were pretty crunched for time so we jumped right into the craft, which was a…

Craft: Paper Bag Bear Puppet

There’s a variety of free templates for this craft you can find online- the one my coworker picked this week is very similar to this one from East Coast Mommy and turned out super cute!  The kiddos really enjoyed running around the room afterwards.  I may have been mauled by a pack of preschoolers and their bears.


Overall I would give this story time two thumbs up!  I started collecting my storytime resources in Google Sheets as opposed to Excel so I could access them from work and home (yay!) but now they’re significantly less pretty (boo).  If you’re interested, you can download a copy by clicking the image below.  Have a great weekend!

plan

Storytime Saturday: Rainy Days (Preschool Pack)

ss rainy days 2

Now for Preschool Storytime- always my favorite!  (I separated my Flannel Friday posts this week because I used a few different books/flannels for my bigger kids and the layout is little different, especially for Letter of the Week).


Welcome/Opening Songs:

  • I start with a “thumbs” check in.  Then I put out two thumbs up because “I’m so happy to see everyone, read stories and sing/dance today!”
  • If You’re Happy and You Know It – Traditional
  • Shake My Sillies Out – Raffi

Letter of the Week: N

  • Sing ABC Song
  • Find letter N on chart
  • Write letter N in the air and on ground using Fountas & Pinnell verbal path of motion
  • Give clues/kids guess letter N words
  • Kiss your brain!

Fingerplay: Itsy Bitsy Spider

The itsy bitsy spider crawled up the water spout.

Down came the rain and washed the spider out!

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain.

So the itsy bitsy spider crawled up the spout again.

___

Traditional

Book #1: Rain by Linda Ashman

I had so much fun with the voices in this book.  Everyone has an inner grumpy old man, right?  Then we talked about what happens after it rains… RAINBOWS!!!

Action Song: Rainbow Dancers Scarf Song

Rainbow dancers, let’s get ready!

Hold your scarves nice and steady.

You’ll hear the colors of the rainbow.

Listen for your time to go!

Shake RED… shake ORANGE… shake YELLOW… shake GREEN… shake BLUE… shake PURPLE

RED ribbons turn around.

ORANGE ribbons touch the ground.

YELLOW ribbons reach up high.

GREEN ribbons fly, fly, fly!

Rainbow dancers, dance around!

Ribbons swirl up and down.

Overhead and on the ground.

Rainbows flying all around!

Shake RED… shake ORANGE… shake YELLOW… shake GREEN… shake BLUE… shake PURPLE

BLUE ribbons tickle your nose.

PURPLE ribbons touch your toes.

Everybody dance around.

Swirl your ribbons up and down!

Rainbow dancers dance around.

Ribbons swirl up and down.

Rainbow dancers hug a friend.

Our colorful dance is at an end!

____

Credit: Start Smart Songs

Action Song: Like a Cloud

Can you stretch like a cloud up in the sky?

Stretch big and tall, stretch up high!

Can you curl up like a cloud into a ball?

Curl up tight, make yourself small!

Can you stretch like a cloud and make yourself wide?

Stretch out from you body, side to side.

Can you bend like a cloud down to the ground?

Bend left and right, bend all around!

____

Credit: Kindermusik

Transition: If You’re Ready for a Story (tune of “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain”)

If you’re ready for a story have a seat!

If you’re ready for a story tap your knees.

If you’re ready for a story, if you’re ready for a story,

If you’re ready for a story look at me!

Flannel: 5 Little Umbrellas

  • What did the boy wear to get ready for his rainy day?  Boots?  A jacket?  (pretend to put on as kids suggest) What about an umbrella?
  • I have some umbrellas!  What color is this one?  And this one?
  • How many umbrellas do we have now?  1-2-3-4-5!  Let’s sing a song!

flannel umbrellas

5 umbrellas stood by the back door.

The red one went outside (say BYE! and wave) and then there were 4.

4 umbrellas pretty as can be.

The blue one went outside and then there were 3.

3 umbrellas with nothing to do.

The green one went outside and then there were 2.

2 umbrellas not having much fun.

The yellow one went outside and there was 1.

1 umbrella sad and all alone (sniffle and pretend to rub eyes).

He went to join his friends and that left none!

____

Credit: adapted from Jen in the Library

Pattern: available here and in master spreadsheet below

Book #2: The Thingamabob by Il Sung Na

This was hands-down our favorite book!  It had us giggling and laughing the whole time.  If you read one book only during your rainy days storytime, let this book be it!

Craft: Under the Umbrella Scene

Next time I’m thinking of doing this with a cupcake liner for the umbrella and cotton balls for clouds, or maybe making a paper towel roll rainstick!


As always, please feel free to help yourself to the additional resources in my master plan below:

rainy days spreadsheet

And have a wonderful weekend!

Flannel Friday: Get Up & Groove (Toddler/Preschool Storytime)

ff dance

I was so excited when I saw the Summer Reading theme for this week’s Flannel Friday!  We actually just did a healthy movin’ and groovin’ storytime to go along with this year’s One Book for Colorado, Giraffes Can’t Dance.  It was super fun and I’m so excited to share the whole plan with you- hopefully it will come in handy soon!  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the great resources by hopping over to Lisa’s Library Land, our gracious host for the week.

Here’s the books we read this time (our favorites being the biggest):

And here’s the nitty gritty!


Welcome/Opening Songs:

  • If You’re Happy and You Know It – Traditional
  • Shake My Sillies Out- Raffi

Letter of the Week: M

Fingerplay: Dance Your Fingers

Dance your fingers up,

Dance your fingers down.

Dance them to the side,

Dance them all around!

Dance them on your shoulders,

Dance them on your head.

Dance them on your tummy.

Now put them all to bed!

___

Credit: Storytime Katie

Book #1: Dance with Me by Charles R Smith Jr.

The kiddos really seemed to like the actions in this book.  This could be read standing up or sitting down!

Transition: My Thumbs are Starting to Wiggle (to the tune of The Bear Went Over the Mountain)

My thumbs are starting to wiggle,

My thumbs are starting to wiggle,

My thumbs are starting to wiggle-

And now so are my hands!

(repeat with hands, arms, toes, body)

___

Credit: Jbrary

Action Song: Silly Dance Competition (Jim Gill)

Transition: Can You Jump Jump Jump?

Can you jump jump jump?

Can you hop hop hop?

Can you clap clap clap?

Can you stomp stomp stomp?

Can you nod your head yes?

Can you shake your head now?

And can you sit down very slow?

___

Credit: adapted from 1234 More Storytimes

Book #2: Hop Jump by Ellen Stoll Walsh

This was a great book to sit down for a minute and catch our breath.  Plus it’s cute and it went with our flannel!

Flannel: 5 Green and Speckled Frogs

5 green speckled frogs

Five green and speckled frogs

Sitting on a speckled log

Eating some most delicious bugs – YUM YUM!

One jumped into the pool

Where it was nice and cool.

Now there’s 4 green and speckled frogs.

(repeat with 4, 3, 2, 1)

___

Credit: Traditional

Pattern: Click here (also in plan)

Book #3: Dancing Feet by Lindsey Craig

Our favorite book by far!  This was so much fun.  The kids loved guessing which animals were dancing next and acting out the stompity/tippity/flappity/creepity feet.  It was a perfect way to end storytime!

Craft: Rainbow Ribbons

craft stick ribbon dancer

For the craft we made craft stick ribbon dancers similar to the one above from Sunflower Storytime.  The kids had lots of fun dancing with their sticks to the “Rainbow Dancers Let’s Get Ready” song, which I have on a CD and whose artist escapes me at the moment.


For preschoolers, we ended by reading Giraffes Can’t Dance and telling parents about One Book for Colorado.  Then kiddos could take their picture with their book and Gerald!

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There were so many great books and songs to choose from, I wish we could have read and sung and danced them all!  (Oh well, there’s always next year, right?)  You can check out all the resources I gathered by clicking on the master plan below:

dance spreadsheet

Have a great weekend everyone!

Flannel Friday: Dog Days (Outreach Storytime)

ff dogs sm

Welcome to my first Flannel Friday post!  I’m so excited to share this storytime with you today.  This storytime was a HUGE hit with my preschoolers when I was doing outreach.  Since I started in a new role at the library, I adapted the plan to include a craft and be more flexible for toddlers/preschoolers.

I love to start storytime with a mischievous puppet.  For Dog themes, I use either Ben the golden retriever or Bob the bulldog.  Here’s what the introduction might look like:

Me: What kind of animal is Bob?

Kids: He’s a DOG!

Me: That’s right!  Do dogs make good pets?

Kids: YES!

Me: What about alligators?  Do alligators make good pets?

Kids: NO! (Yes, my kiddos talk in all caps.  True story.)

Me: Do fish make good pets?

Kids: Yeeessssss.

Me: What about cats?

Dog: *shakes head*

Kids: *laugh heads off*

Me: What are you doing Bob?  Why are you shaking your head?

Dog: *barks like crazy*

Me: I wonder what’s wrong with Bob?

Kids: Dogs don’t like cats!

Silly me.  I should have known!  🙂

From there the story takes two routes: I either transition into a book about cats and dogs getting along and tell my puppet he really needs to listen, OR sometimes my puppet confesses to taking all the cat books out of my bag and the kids laugh their heads off again.

Here’s what my plan looked like for my last outreach storytime:

dog plan

Here’s the books we read:

And here’s the play-by-play:


Puppet Intro

Fingerplay: Two Little Puppies Lying in a Heap

2 little puppy dogs (hold up two fingers)

lying in a heap (lay fingers down)

Soft and furry (stroke fingers)

and fast asleep (lay hands against side of face)

Along came a kitty cat (hold up opposite finger)

Creeping near (move closer to other fingers)

“Meow” she said right in their ears (cup ear)

Two little puppy dogs after one cat! (two fingers chase other finger)

Do you like to play tag like that? (point to children)

Credit: Jodene Smith, Activities for Fine Motor Development

Review Storytime Expectations

“Do my hands go in the air?  Do they go in my ears?  Over my eyes?  No?!  Somebody help me, I can’t see!  Where do my hands go?  That’s right, in my lap!”

Book #1: Is There a Dog in this Book? by Vivian Schwarz

Also known as, the BEST BOOK EVER.  The kids love when we lift the flaps and see what’s behind!  It’s so interactive and funny to boot.

Flannel: Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? (Guessing/Colors)

dog post

Where oh where has my little dog gone?

Oh where, oh where can he be?

With his ears cut short and his tail cut long,

Oh where, oh where can he be?

Little dog, little dog, what did you decide?

Is the yellow sofa a good place to hide?

Credit: In the Children’s Room

Flannel Patterns: Toddler Storytimes II by Dianne Briggs or alternate here (also in the storytime spreadsheet)

Book #2: Dog Blue by Polly Dunbar

This is a sweet book about the friendship that develops between a boy and a dog, even if the dog isn’t exactly what he always wanted.  The preschoolers got way into it, but I probably wouldn’t read it to my toddlers.  After reading we talked about what the boy did to take care of his puppy, which was a nice transition to…

Action Song: “Walk, Walk, Walk Your Puppy” (tune of Skip to My Lou)

Walk, walk, walk your puppy

Walk, walk, walk your puppy

Walk, walk, walk your puppy

Walk him all around!

Feed, feed, feed your puppy

Feed, feed, feed your puppy

Feed, feed, feed your puppy

Feed him till he’s full!

Wash, wash, wash your puppy

Wash, wash, wash your puppy

Wash him all around!

Credit: adapted from I Read to Relax

 Action Song #2: If You’re a Dog and You Know It (tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It)

If you’re a dog and you know it, wag your tail.

If you’re a dog and you know it, wag your tail!

If you’re a dog and you know it, and you really want to show it

If you’re a dog and you know it, wag your tail!

(repeat with other actions- bark like this “woof woof!”, scratch your ear)

Credit: Mary Marshall

THEN… TRANSITION TIME!

If you’re ready for a story, have a seat.

If you’re ready for a story, slap your knees.

If you’re ready for a story, if you’re ready for a story

If you’re ready for a story look at me!

Sit quietly… ready in 1…2…3…

Credit: Me! 🙂

Book #3: Dog’s Noisy Day by Emma Dodd

Another great interactive book!  The kiddos love making the animal noises.

Closing Song

Open, shut them

Open, shut them

Give a little clap clap clap!

Open, shut them

Open, shut them

Put them in your lap lap lap.

Wave them, wave them

Wave them, wave them

High up in the sky sky sky!

Wave to me, I’ll wave to you.

Let’s all say good bye bye bye!

Credit: Kim Siffring


This is honestly probably my favorite storytime yet.  It’s just so much fun, there’s so many great books and so many awesome ideas that there’s no way you can try them all at one time!  I wanted to see my master list of ideas and plug them into my plan without having to click through a gazillion pins and places… and voila!  I created THIS color-coded, super storytime master spreadsheets of organizational awesome-ness:

spreadsheet example

Here’s what’s in the super storytime spreadsheets:

  • Two storytime plan templates (one for outreach and one for conventional storytimes)
  • Growing book list with suggested age-groups and favorite features (e.g. Noisy Story, Silly Story, etc).
  • Action Songs
  • Fingerplays & Rhymes
  • Flannelboard Fun (with links to FREE pattern templates)
  • Crafts
  • Coming Soon: ECRR take home extension ideas/talking points

Did I mention you can download it and make it your own?  Click here or on the image above and download the file from Dropbox!  You’ll want to make sure you download the file and open it with Excel if you want everything formatted properly.

Happy Friday everyone!  Don’t forget to make the flannel rounds at Mel’s Desk this weekend!