Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All About Animals--Preschool Storytime

This storytime is pretty basic. I tried to keep it simple because we were supposed to have guest readers come (a city official and his wife) and I didn't want to make things extra complicated for them. They didn't end up coming, but we still had a great time. And I was reassured that you don't have to be super creative to have an effective, fun storytime. 

Sooo, our theme was animals! The low-hanging fruit of storytime land. Basically, my go-to theme if I'm not feeling too creative because it is absolutely always fun to act like animals :) 

Intro: Welcome and guidelines

Opening Song: Silly Dance Contest

Theme intro: Animals!

Book: Are You My Mother?*

Theme Song: Down by the Bay (Raffi version on CD) with shakers

Sit down rhyme:
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Give a little clap, clap, clap
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Put them in your lap
Creep them, crawl them
Creep them, crawl them
Right up to your chin
Open wide your little mouth...
But do not let them in.

Book: From Head to Toe 

Action Rhyme: Animals on the bus from 1234 More Storytimes

Song: Hip Hop Tooty Ta (I've convinced a lot of grownups to join in the fun on this one by calling it a workout, which it is!)

Sit down rhyme:
If you’re ready for a book, clap your hands!
If you're ready for a book, clap your hands!
If you're ready for a book, listen up,
And take a look. 
If you're ready for a book clap your hands!

Book: The Pigeon Wants a Puppy

Flannel game: Little Mouse

Craft: Adaptable Animal Game

I designed this craft because I refuse to make animal masks in storytime. It is pretty basic but can be used in a variety of ways. Each child got a brown paper bag and a stack of pre-cut pictures of animals from this coloring sheet. They could color the animals and decorate their bag. At home, I suggested that they sing Animals on the Bus, act out the animals like in From Head to Toe, or come up with their own animal game. The parents were enthusiastic about being able to extend storytime at home! Most kids didn't finish coloring all the animals before they left, but planned to finish at home. One girl colored all hers green and one boy took 15 minutes to painstakingly color the toucan. I like crafts that cater to different abilities and artistic desires!

This storytime was a lot of fun and even though it wasn't a super creative theme, I got several compliments from parents who said I'd done a good job of creating a developmentally appropriate learning experience. (Ok they didn't say that exactly, but that's what they meant.) Are You My Mother was a way better read aloud than I'd been expecting. A colleague suggested I include it because the city official's wife enjoyed reading it last time they came to storytime--otherwise I probably wouldn't have picked it. But, I'm glad I did! The kids really got into the plot of the story, which made me realize that I haven't been giving them enough credit for their ability to understand and pay attention. From Head to Toe is a blast every time. And The Pigeon Wants a Puppy went over well once we talked about how to take care of a puppy. My forthcoming flannel friday submission is something I adapted because Little Mouse hasn't gone well in the past. But, I decided to try it one more time and the kids actually really got into it! I turned the flannel board around when I hid the mouse (which I don't usually do), and I think it cut back on the cheating, which made the game more fun.

*Now that I am a newly converted Dr. Who fan, I can't see this book without imagining this creepy little guy...

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