Story Hour: Farm Animals

I’ve done farm story times before but I think this is my favorite one! The combination of books and craft was perfect and the kids had a really good time!

The three books we read were:

  1. Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell
  2. Barnyard Boogie by Tim McCanna
  3. The Cow Said Neigh!  by Rory Fleek

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Farmer Duck came out in 1991, and I have a distinct memory of reading it as a kid. Over and over the farmer says “How goes the work duck?” and I remember my mom saying that to me as a kid when I was cleaning my room of doing my homework. The nostalgia was strong with this one! The kids liked it a lot which was a win because sometimes reading older books is a miss with such a young audience. Barnyard Boogie was SO much fun! There were a lot of instrument sounds and the kids had fun making them with me. The Cow Said Neigh is a modern classic as far as I am concerned. I love reading this one to kids! It is all mixed up so when the cow says neigh they all go “what??? no that’s not what cows say! They say moo!” and it never gets old. There are a lot of fun animal sounds in this one and they have to tell me what sounds the animals really do make so it is a good practice!

Our craft today was so fun. I’ve seen lots of marble painting crafts on Pinterest, so I kind of made this up (though I’m sure I’m not the first to do this). Essentially what you do is put a piece of paper in a plastic container and tape it down. Then you put dollops of paint on the paper, and put marbles into the plastic container. Then you let the kids tilt the container to roll the marbles through the paint and create paint streaks on the paper.

I decided this was the perfect format for a pig painting craft! I printed a cute pig on cardstock, taped it to containers, and we put brown paint on them as mud.

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The most important lesson of this activity was to NOT touch the marble. They were immediately covered in paint. We washed our hands before our snack anyway but I really didn’t want them to have super messy hands.

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It was SO fun! The kids did such a good job rolling the marbles through the paint. It’s a lesson in hand eye coordination too so that was an added bonus! When we were finished with the pigs, we did a short tracing activity before we had our snacks. Here are the finished products!

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Link to last year’s farm story hour: Story Hour: Farm Animals

Story Hour: Frogs

In my quest to find springy story hour themes without doing a giant overarching “spring” theme, I decided on frogs! This one was a really simple storytime, but we had a lot of fun! I read three really good frog stories and it was funny because they all involved a pig too! I didn’t even plan it, but my show and tell kiddo brought a stuffed pig as their favorite toy too so it was a perfect addition to the frog theme.

The three books we read were:

  1. I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty
  2. Ribbit! by Rodrigo Folgueira
  3. I’m a Frog! by Mo Willems

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I loved them all and the kids did too! I Don’t Want to be a Frog  and I’m a Frog! are both about being yourself and Ribbit! is about being nice to those who are different than you. We talked a lot about how the frogs weren’t nice to the pig and why that might be, and why we should always be nice to everyone, and that differences are good. It was a good story time!

Our craft was a frog face craft, with a 3-D curly tongue. It was really simple but really fun!

The frog is essentially 5 circles, the face, the white of the eyes and the pupils. We started by cutting out all of those circles!

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Next was the really fun part. Rolling the tongues! I gave each kiddo the strip of red paper, and a wooden pencil that hadn’t been sharpened yet (just as a precaution). I showed them how to roll the paper up in the pencil to make it all curly. They loved it!

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After that, we glued the face onto a piece of blue paper, and put the eyes on accordingly. Last but not least we drew on a nose and a mouth with crayons.

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Here are the finished products!

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It was a really fun theme! I will definitely do more frog story hours in the future. 🙂

 

 

Story Hour: Crayons

I don’t know what started it, but I always do a crayon story time in February. It just seems like a good time! The last three years I have done crayons and the kiddos really enjoy it. There are some really clever crayon books out there for kids too so it’s really fun for them to enjoy the stories.

The three books I read were:

  1. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew DayWalt
  2. The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane DeRolf
  3. A Day With No Crayons by Elizabeth Rusch

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These are all wonderful books and the kids loved them. We talked a lot about colors, and about coloring on the walls and how that is NOT a good idea. They all seemed to understand! Fingers crossed!

I kept the craft a little more lowkey this time, and we did a paper craft about their favorite colors. I asked the caregivers ahead of time to ask their kiddos what their favorite colors are and report back to me.

I found the craft on this blog where it links to the crayon pattern download. I printed the crayon pattern on each kiddos favorite color so I knew I had exactly the right colors for the number of kiddos I have attending.

We started by cutting out the crayon. Cutting practice is BIG with this age, and I usually try to look for things with straight lines to start, and make sure they aren’t tiny little things for them to cut. This crayon outline was the prefect choice!

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Next we cut out the eyes and glued them on. I let the kiddos make the mouth with crayons and we were done! They all identified their favorite color and we wrote it on the crayon’s little hat.

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I did one more activity before we finished up. I have also been trying to work with there guys a lot on name spelling. I found the PERFECT crayon name spelling activity. It can be purchased here for $3.50. This template allowed me to put the names of my kiddos inside an image of a crayon, so I could just print them and cut the letters apart.

Each kiddo got their name puzzle printed out on their favorite color, so it matched their favorite color crayon craft. I asked them to put their puzzle together before we had our snack.

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Here are the finished products and their name puzzles in a bag to take home. We received a donation of 90 boxes of 4 crayons a year or so ago ad we have been slowly giving them away since then. Today seemed like a perfect time to give some more out! Can’t wait until next February when we do crayons again!

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Link to last year’s crayon story hour: Story Hour: Crayons

Story Hour: Pizza

I’ve been wanting to do a pizza theme for awhile, but the fall/winter is hard because there are so many holidays and weather topics to cover during that time. Since it is February now (but before Valentine’s Day) I decided now would be the perfect time to do a pizza theme!

I was SO hungry by the time we were finished with this one! Unfortunately pizza wasn’t what I planned for lunch, because now it is all I am thinking about. A couple of the caregivers told me the same thing after the program.

We read 3 super fun pizza books:

  1. The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Struggs
  2. Pete’s A Pizza by William Steig
  3. Secret Pizza Party by Adam Rubin

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I had actually never read any of these books before! I was pleasantly surprised by how good they were. We have a small selection of pizza books but it was a good selection apparently! They were all fun and funny and mentioned some important aspects of making pizza. I would read any of them again!

We did a pretty simple pizza craft, but it reinforced coloring, cutting and gluing, so it was definitely a worthwhile one.

The kiddos got a paper plate and we handed out brown and red markers. The crinkly part of the plate was the pizza crust, so they colored that brown. The circle in the middle was the sauce, so they colored that red.

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After they had finished coloring, we gave them each 4 pepperoni to cut out. Some of their pepperoni’s were circles and some were not but it was obvious what it was!

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Finally, it was time to glue on the cheese and pepperoni. I sorted out yellow tissue paper and they used that as cheese, and then glued their pepperoni on top.

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Here are the finished products!

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I had never done a pizza story time before but the kiddos really enjoyed it so I will probably do another in a couple years when these guys age out. It was a fun time!

 

 

Story Hour: Snowmen

You know how you make plans for things? And you know how sometimes things don’t go according to plan? That’s what happened yesterday! Last week, I had 10 kiddos at story hour. A lot of them are siblings, so if they are going to miss a program, the numbers dwindle fast! By the time story hour started, I had 8/10 that had told me they weren’t coming for one reason or another. SO I had one family come, with two sisters and the three of us had story hour! But I scrapped my original plan and went a more sensory route with my snowmen theme.

The books I read were:

  1. Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
  2. Snowzilla by Janet Lawler
  3. Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright

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Snowzilla was the only book I hadn’t read before and it was such a good one! I borrowed it from another library but we are definitely going to be getting our own copies. They are all great snowman books for this age level. My original craft plan had to do with Sneezy the Snowman. Sneezy is cold, so he keeps doing things that will warm him up, but then he melts! He stands by a fire, gets in a hot tub, and drinks hot chocolate. The idea was for the kiddos to use puffy paint to make their melting snowmen, and then put paper eyes, noses and arms in the paint haphazardly. Then the kiddos were going to have to come up with a reason their snowman melted! The craft came from Pinterest, and can be found on this blog. I’ve actually done this craft before, and it is a good one!

I made puffy paint with glue and shaving cream (and glitter) before some of my other kiddos cancelled, so I had plenty. We have done a couple of slime programs before, so I know that glue and shaving cream are two of the most plentiful ingredients in puffy slime. SO I added some contact solution to my puffy paint and let the girls play with it on the table. It didn’t ever set up 100% normally, but they had fun stretching and squishing it around, so I considered it a success. I apparently didn’t get any photos of this but it was a fun mess.

I had another quick sensory activity up my sleeve, in the form of play snow! I have done this before, but it was slightly different because I was more prepared haha If you take baking soda and shaving cream and mix it together, it can be molded like packed snow! Last time, I put the baking soda in the freezer overnight so it was even cold like snow, but I didn’t decide in enough time to do that yesterday. This was also very fun! Even the two older siblings wanted to play in the fake snow.

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I don’t often skip a craft in favor of a sensory activity but I would definitely do this again. The kids had a really fun time!

Story Hour: Snow/Winter

It’s the first story hour of 2020! Because our programming ended so early in December, I didn’t get a chance to do a snow/winter OR a snowman themed story hour before the break. Even though Indiana is oddly and alarmingly warm for late January and we have had almost no snow this year so far, I decided to cover snow and winter this first meeting.

I had a few kiddos age up over Christmas, so I am up to 12 kiddos on my list! We had 10 come this first day, and it was an awesome way to kick off the year. I was honestly thrilled.

The three books we read about snow/winter were:

  1. When is Starts to Snow by Phillis Gershator
  2. Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
  3. Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book About Changing Seasons by Il Sung Na

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All of these books were perfect for this theme. They all were fiction stories, but had a smidge of nonfiction added in about snow or winter animals. I really appreciate books like this for story times because it helps tie in some discussion about real aspects of the theme, while still making it fun and exciting for the kiddos. I was very impressed!

In between books 2 and 3 we all stood up and sang the “Snowkey Pokey”. I do not know where it originated but I saw it on this blog. All of my original Hokey Pokey loving group from two years ago have aged into kindergarten, but I discovered today that these guys really like it as well. They aren’t *quite* as excited, but they definitely enjoy it. We put our “gloves”, “boots” and “hats” in, did the Snowkey Pokey and turned ourselves around. Because that’s what it’s all about.

For our craft, we did a fine motor honing craft that involved scrunching tissue paper! I printed out an outline of a snowflake on cardstock, and separated dark blue, light blue and white pieces of tissue paper for the kids to crumple. They each had a glue stick, and we told them to put just a little glue on, and then stick some of their crumpled paper to the glue spot. The snowflake was a decent size, and a few of them were over it after a dozen or so pieces of tissue paper. Most of them did great and the ones who got bored still got the fine motor practice. 🙂

Here are some photos!

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It was a really fun craft! And each of their snowflakes came out totally different, just like a real snowflake. We talked a little about that at the end. 🙂

 

Story Hour: Ice Cream

I’ve always wanted to do an ice cream story time! If I had planned a little better, we would have made out own ice cream, but unfortunately I didn’t. 😦 You live and you learn! We still had a great time talking all about ice cream!

I read some fun books about ice cream with my kiddos, and we did a fun craft AND a fun name spelling activity!

The books I read were:

  1. Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems
  2. Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis
  3. The Ice Cream King by Steve Metzger

should i share my ice creamice cream summerthe ice cream king

They were all good books, but Piggie and Elephant is an obvious fan favorite. I asked the kids at the beginning if they thought Gerald should share his ice cream and they all said yes. What nice and thoughtful kiddos I have!

After we read our ice cream stories, we did a puffy paint craft! I love puffy paint. It is a fun deviation from the norm of painting, and the kids always think it is really cool! I gave each kiddo an ice cream cone to cut out, and then they each got a “scoop” of “ice cream” on their paper to paint into an ice cream shape. Once they were finished, I gave them a red circle to use as a cherry, and tiny brown circles made from hole punches to add to their green mint chocolate chip ice cream. Here are the finished products!

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We also did a name spelling activity. I am working on name spelling with these guys, and I try to do an activity every couple of weeks that helps them with letter recognition and name spelling. This week each kiddo got the letters of their name on an ice cream scoop, and also a cone. They stacked the letters of their name on top of the cone to spell it out. It was a really cute and helpful activity.

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This was a really fun one! I’m definitely going to do this again in the summer sometime and let the kiddos make homemade ice cream!