Story Hour: Fall 2019

It’s finally fall! And it even feels like it! From now until Christmas, it feels like every couple weeks I am doing a season/Holiday themes story time. I always do a general fall theme sometimes before Halloween, so this week was it!

I am up to 8 kiddos! We had a couple turn 4 this fall so I have a bigger group that I’ve had since August. I was thrilled!

We read two books about fall, because I planned two crafts so I wanted to make sure we had ample time for everything.

The books were:

  1. The Roll Away Pumpkin By Junia Wonders and Daniela Volpari
  2. Fall Mixed Up by Bob Raczka

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Both of these books are so cute but Fall Mixed Up is one of my all time favorites. It is full of a bunch of goofy mismatched fall things, for example “Apples turn orange, pumpkins turn red, leaves float up into blue skies overhead”. It reinforces the normality of fall experiences for the kids to say “no apples are red!” and so on. Some of them are a little goofier, but they are all good! My favorite page says that the neighbors gave them stuffing and turkey for Halloween. I always ask the kids if they’ve ever gotten mashed potatoes on Halloween and they all yell NO! It’s so much fun!

I found two crafts that I thought would be fun and fall-y so we did two today!

The first one was a leaf suncatcher craft! I used my Cricut Crafting Machine to cut out the outlines of the leaves, and then we stuck them to contact paper, then set it sticky side up. The kids were able to choose colors of tissue paper for their leaves, and stick them to the contact paper. Once they were all done, we put another layer of contact paper on top, sticky side down. We trimmed the excess, punched a hole and tied on the yarn! I held my example up to the window so they could see the light shining through, and after they were finished several of them went to the window to see theirs like that too. They are so precious. Here is a picture of my example:

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And here are some pictures of the kiddos doing this craft:

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After this craft we did a color mixing craft with pumpkins. Again, I had my Cricut cut out the pumpkins for me. That thing is amazing!

This is a no-mess craft and the kids had a lot of fun with it! You put the pumpkin in a plastic bag (I put a piece of paper under each pumpkin too so the paint would only be on one side of the bag), put a few dollops of paint on the pumpkin, seal the bag and boom! The kids can press on the bag and mix the paint around. It was perfect!

We put yellow and red and some orange on their pumpkins so they could mix it around. We talked briefly about how mixing yellow and red makes orange and then we proved it with our pumpkins!

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Here are some photos of them doing the craft:

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The only thing that I didn’t love about this craft was that the paper was pretty stuck to the top of the bag where the paint was. On a few of them, removing the pumpkin ripped off some of the paint on their pumpkin, so that was a bummer!

Here are their finished projects!

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Story Hour: Leaves

Last week at story hour we talked about leaves! There are a lot of really cute kids books about fall and fall leaves, and I managed to find a GREAT song on Pinterest too. Some of the leaves we used for the craft last week were still good, so I added a quick leaf rubbing activity to the end of this program. Overall the kids were awesome and they had a great time!

I had 12 last week, which was a really good number. The craft involved the kiddos spelling their names, so we had to go around and help several of them. It was the perfect number! 🙂

We read three wonderful books about leaves this week:

  1. Red Leaf Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
  2. We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger
  3. Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber

red leaf yellow leafwe're going on a leaf huntLeaf Jumpers

These books were all really cute and fun and also informative about leaves! They listed many different types of leaves and showed photos to go with them. I asked the kids a lot of time what color the leaves were once I had said the tree it comes from. They did great!

After we sang our opening song and read our first two books, we did a really fun song about leaves I found on Pinterest. My kiddos loved it and it was full of really great movements!

Leaves Up High

Leaves up high (reach up high)

Leaves down low (bend over and touch the ground)

Leaves are spinning (spin in a circle)

Everywhere you go! (spread arms out wide)

Touch leaves in the trees (reach up high again)

Kick them on the ground (kick imaginary leaves)

Jump in the piles (jump up and down)

Of leaves all around! (spread arms out wide again)

Once the story time portion was over, they were dismissed to the craft tables. I found a great craft, also from Pinterest. The link provides some extra activity that I didn’t do (the sticky wall part) but I thought the idea of having letters on the leaves and the kids spelling their names was awesome practice!

A lot of my kiddos will go to kindergarten this coming fall, so I am trying to be cognizant of skills that we can start working on now. I usually ask them to write their names on a craft, but this time they needed to rearrange the letters to make their name!

I cut out all the leaves and wrote the letters on them using my Cricut crafting machine. I made sure I had the letters on different fall leaf colors, and that I had all their names spelled correctly!

I ended up making names for kiddos who weren’t there, but it was a lot of letters.

After they were cut, I made sure I had all the letters that went in the child’s name and put them together in little piles.

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Before we did anything with the leaves, I gave the kids their tree outline and told them to color it however they wanted to. Some did it like a traditional tree, and I had some purple trees. They had fun with it and that’s one of my main goals. 🙂

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Once coloring was done, we gave them the pile with their letters. They were mixed up, but some had a harder time than others. It makes sense that the kiddos with 4 letter names were done before the ones with 8 letter names. But overall they all did a really good job putting them in order!

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Only after we made sure the leaf letters were in the correct order did we give them a glue stick. haha. Then they were asked to glue them on their tree, sort of in order.

It turned out really cute and was good spelling practice!

We had some extra time and I had some extra leaves from last week, so I gave them leaves and paper to do leaf rubbings at the end. Some of them did better than others! I’m not sure what the problem was, but some of the leaves did not want to work the right way. They got frustrated with this easily, so I quickly gave it up and we moved on with our snack!

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It was a really fun time overall! Tomorrow we talk about Thanksgiving and then my fall unit is over and we move on to winter!

 

Story Hour: Fall

In the few weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving, I wanted to try to keep talking about fall/fall related things with my story hour kiddos. I decided next week I am talking about leaves (spoiler alert!) but this last Tuesday I decided to just look for books about Fall in general.

I had 11 kiddos, and we did a super fun (and really easy) craft using leaves! I gathered leaves the night before (shout out to my awesome neighbor and parents for letting me traipse through their yard for good leaves!!).

If I am looking for books that we don’t physically have in the library (that I will borrow from another library in order to use with my programs) I usually do some searching on Pinterest/Google for “kids books about ____”. Pinterest has a TON of blog posts like this one that are all book lists for the best picture books within a certain category. I found all of these books on lists like that one by searching “kids books about fall”.

The books were:

  1. Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin
  2. Hedgehugs: Autumn Hide-and-Squeak by Steve Wilson
  3. Fall Mixed Up by Bob Raczka

those darn squirrelshedgehugs hide and squeakfall mixed up

I loved all these books! I started with Those Darn Squirrels because it was the longest and my kiddos prefer short books, and ended with Fall Mixed Up because it was sort of interactive, so that left perfect space for Hedgehugs in the middle!

Fall Mixed Up was a really cool and funny story. It talks about fall, but it mixes everything up(duh). So for example, one page says “Apples turn orange. Pumpkins turn red. Leaves float up into blue skies overhead.” So I asked them if that sounded right and we corrected the book so that it wasn’t mixed up as we went! It was a fun story and it helped reinforce some of the fall time experiences for the kids. They were a little confused about the idea of hibernation/flying south but we figured it out!

Before we read our stories, we sang our normal song to get the wiggles out, found in the Story Hour Overview post. In between the first two books, we sang a really cute song about squirrels found here. The lyrics and motions are as follows:

Squirrel Action Rhyme for Kids:

I am a squirrel in a tall, tall tree.
Stretch up tall toward the sky!
I like to look around and see, see, see!
Make hands into binocular shapes and look around!
I am picking acorns for my lunch,
“Pick” invisible acorns out of the air.
I love the way they crunch, crunch, crunch!
Make exaggerated crunches with your mouth.
Sometimes I stretch my arms up to the sky,
Spread arms out wide.
Take a leap, and start to fly!
Jump and “fly” around the room!

The kiddos loved this one. They liked the crunching and the flying the best. We did this 2 times before we started with our final book!

I struggled a little with a craft this week. Because we are talking about leaves next week, I didn’t want to lean too hard into leaves, and we’ve already done a fall tree this year, and pumpkin stuff so looking into “fall” was difficult. I decided to do some searching for “squirrel crafts” and “hedgehog crafts” and see what I could find, since we talked about those two animals. I found this post when I searched for the Hedgehog crafts and decided it would be just as easy with a squirrel too!

So I searched for a good squirrel and hedgehog outline and printed them for the kids. They got to choose which animal they wanted, so I printed 20 of each, just to be safe. (Now the extras are on the coloring table! Win-win!)

I had them color the body of the squirrel, and the face/hands of the hedgehog first. I also asked them to write their name on their paper since the crayons were out. You can’t practice that too much with this age kiddos!!

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After everyone had colored their animals, we got the leaves out. They were told to glue the leaves onto the tail of the squirrel, or the body of the hedgehog.

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Then we washed our hands before snack because I literally picked these leaves up off the ground! A hilarious number of the kiddos told me they didn’t need to wash their hands and I was like “Yeahhh you do” haha. 🙂

Overall it was a really fun program and I will definitely be remembering those books for future fall programs!!