Tag Archives: children’s librarians

Fan Club, Jr: Star Wars

What We Did:

Hey, have you guys heard there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out this month? Seriously, though, we knew that Star Wars was even hotter than usual, with the crushing buzz of the new movie propelling kids and adults alike into a frenzy. Courtney wanted to make Chewbacca bookmarks and BB8s out of Model Magic, and I thought we’d through in perler beads, too (we have a ton of them, kids like them, and they’re super easy). Courtney also had the brilliant and adorable idea of making some Death Star Crunch treats, simply by taping a Death Star on a delicious Little Debbie snack cake.

What I Bought:

$8 for one pack of Model Magic
$4 for two packs of Star Crunch

That’s it! We have tons of perler beads on hand, and we also have a lot of duct tape, craft sticks, and brown felt that we made Chewie bookmarks out of.

How It Went:

We accidentally counter-scheduled one of the many downtown festivals in our area with this program, but we still had about 12 kids come out for this. We put on a DVD of Lego Star Wars, and the kids went crazy making all kinds of cool stuff. We simplified the bookmark by simply having them wrap the felt around the large Popsicle stick and making Chewbacca’s face and bandolier out of duct tape. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. The Model Magic is just perfect for making a BB8, but definitely put out markers for the kids to decorate their creations. Otherwise it just looks like they’re making some adorable snowmen.

Art Afternoons: Beth Krommes Scratch Art

2015-10-06 [Art Afternoons - Beth Krommes Scratch Art]

What I Did:

Oops, I did this program several months ago and forgot to blog about it. Anyway, I love Beth Krommes gorgeous picture books, especially Swirl by Swirl  – I just adore the idea of highlighting something so common and yet overlooked in the natural world. When I first thought of using her as inspiration for an Art Afternoons program, I thought her work was done with prints – perhaps woodcut? Nope, she uses scratchboard, which is a super fun thing to experiment with! So that’s what we did, too!

What I Bought:

$4 for 100 scratch art sticks
$4 for 50 Artist Trading Card sized scratchboards
$18 for 40 8.5″x11″ scratchboards

$26 total for a program with a registration cap of 30

How It Went:

This was a fun Art Afternoons, but we definitely had some challenges. The scratchboard sticks didn’t really do a very good job of scratching off the scratchboard. I ended up pulling lots of random stuff from our craft closet – pipe cleaners, jewelry tools, sewing needles, and other scratchy stuff. I let the kids pick their tools.

It also doesn’t take very long to scratch art, so we put out watercolors for the kids to optionally paint their works afterward. This creates a really cool effect.

If you try scratch art at your library, make sure to talk warn your program attendees that they only get one large paper and one small paper (or however much you opt to give them) to use. Lots of kids are used to diving right in and then asking for another paper, which definitely works for some media, but not scratchboards.

This was also a relatively expensive program. Not breaking the bank, exactly, but definitely required more specialized stuff than I would prefer.

 

 

Passive Program: Cup Stacking

cup stacking

Okay, pretty much every single week I tell you my boredom buster/passive program is the easiest one, so you’re probably not going to believe me that this is really truly so simple you won’t believe it. Here’s what I did: I put out some paper bathroom cups (three packs – about 150 cups total) and an invitation for kids to stack them. I did also grab a bunch of books about construction and engineering, but this program is far more popular than the work I put in permits! All week kids have been creating stacks (like the one seen above – it wasn’t me who made that pyramid!) – experimenting with different shapes and structures. We’ll occasionally hear the soft “clickityclackcrash” of the cups falling, and then, without fail, a new tower will rise.

Cup stacking is like blocks for kids who think they’re too old and cool to play with blocks. Put them out, and see the collaboration and creation that results!

Passive Program: Scavenger Hunt

Passive Programming Scavenger Hunt

I knew I wanted to do some sort of scavenger hunt as part of my Boredom Buster station this summer, but it wasn’t until Tiny Tips for Library Fun highlighted Amy The Show Me Librarian’s  way of using a scavenger hunt as a way of highlighting the collection that I started thinking about what I wanted my scavenger hunt to accomplish. I definitely wanted to get kids looking at areas of the collection they might not know about, and I also wanted it to be fun enough that kids would actually do it. So, I printed out a picture of Gerald and Piggie and one of Bad Kitty (who I’ve been getting mad requests for lately). I also made up a small scavenger hunt questionnaire. I hid Gerald and Piggie by our award books, and stashed Bad Kitty below our kid’s magazines. My questions asked kids to think about what was special about the collection Gerald and Piggie were near, and how many of the items Bad Kitty was hiding under they could take home.

So, I had set up an awesome scavenger hunt highlighting our collections, but I really did want to give kids who finished a prize. I pulled out some super cute reading themed temporary tattoos we had laying around from last summer. But I wanted something more – something kids could take home with them to continue the hunt at home. Inspiration came from the strangest of places – Buzzfeed. Scroll down to number 35 on this list for the picture that gave me the idea. I pretty much retyped the nature scavenger hunt they picture, printed out the lists two to a sheet on pretty paper, and stapled the list to lunch sized paper bags. As each kid finished our in-library scavenger hunt, a staff member would chat with them about what they found, give them a tattoo, and give them a scavenger hunt to take home.

I am really thankful to Amy and Marge for their thought-provoking posts on how to make scavenger hunts in the library, you know, about the library. This boredom buster was a total success. On the first day, I spotted two different families who finished the scavenger hunt with award books in hand. I’m glad that I could shine a little light on the award section, since I feel like it gets forgotten so often – lots of parents and kids don’t think to browse there, which is a shame. I also heard so many kids excitedly chattering to their parents about where they could do their nature hunt.

This passive program does take a little more direct interaction with staff – so if you want to try it at your library, make sure everyone on staff is on board with making sure kids have a good experience when they finish. Hopefully everyone who works in your library is excited about kids using the collection and exploring, but I know that that isn’t always true. If you DO have staff who are on board, this is such a great way to 1) highlight some of the less-used parts of your collection, and 3) encourage some kid/staff interaction.

Passive Program: Collaborative Color Wheel

photo 3 (5)

This is a passive program I ripped right out of our school-aged summer series and plopped on the boredom buster table. It’s dead simple, but really fun! I took a piece of white poster board and divided it up into six wedges. I looked up my trusty color wheel colors and wrote in the appropriate colors in each wedge. Then I put out discarded magazines, scissors, and glue, and invited kids to cut things out of the magazines and paste them in the right wedges. I like making collaborative art – I think it’s fun for kids to be a part of something everyone is working on together.

My favorite part of this super simple boredom buster is the excellent collection possibilities. Art books, picture books about colors, books about color mixing, books about light…the list goes on. I grabbed a ton of colorful books and threw them up, and they checked out like crazy.

Okay, I know I’ve said all these boredom busters are easy, but this one really is easy, too! You gotta try some of this stuff if you can claim a table or corner of your library. It’s really good to have an activity out for our school aged kids so they feel like the library is a place that’s welcoming to them no matter when they get here!

Picture Book Review: Cold, Crunchy, Colorful by Jane Brocket

If you haven’t seen any of the books in Jane Brocket’s Clever Concepts series, I definitely recommend checking them out today! The series includes books about texture, shapes, colors, numbers, and patterns. Her newest book, Cold, Crunch, Colorful: Using Our Senses, is a great addition. There are a lot of things I really enjoy about the series. They feature minimal text, which makes them great for younger groups, such as toddlers. They’re not illustrated, but they feature full color photographs of the concepts the text describes. The photos are always arranged so deliberately and paired so artfully  that even a city street filled with honking streets becomes beautiful. One of my absolute favorite things about the series, though, is that they branch out beyond the obvious. For example, the shapes book doesn’t just feature squares and circles, but star shapes, egg shapes, and more. Similarly, this senses title doesn’t just talk about how we see things. The page on feeling says “And we feel things through our skin. When the weather is cold and snowy and hot or sunny. When it is cool and windy or wet and rainy.”

My library at least hides these jewels in the non-fiction section, where they sometimes languish. Sometimes busy toddler moms don’t have time to wander over to our nonfiction section and sort through the offerings to find things short enough for their kiddos (note to self: do better cross-promotion and display more nonfiction in the picture book area!). All of the Clever Concepts books make a great addition to this summer’s CLSP reading theme of Fizz, Boom, Read, because if we can’t sense the world around us, how can we do science?!? I would definitely encourage you to grab these excellent books for use with your kiddos today!

 

Toddler Time: Colors

Continuing to tie my school-aged program themes in to my Toddler Time themes, I had a Colors Themed storytime this week. This was made more challenging by the fact that I just did a whole mess of color storytimes in the Spring! Well, if nothing else, at least there are lots of awesome toddler books on this subject, so it was kind of fun to branch out to brand new books.

Opening Song: Welcome, Welcome Everyone

Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now you’re here; let’s have some fun!
First we clap our hands just so,
then we bend and touch our toes.
Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now we’re here; let’s have some fun!

Nursery Rhyme: The Old Grand Duke of York

Oh, the old grand duke of york,
He had 10,000 men.
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
then he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up.
And when they were down, they were down.
And when they were only halfway up,
they were neither up nor down.

Action Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Book: Brown Cow, Green Grass, and Yellow Mellow Sun by Ellen Jackson and Victoria Raymond

I found this book hiding on the shelves first because the colors in the title caught my eye. What is really cool about it, though, is that it shows the process of how butter is made. For kids who have maybe never seen a live cow before, and who have always gotten their butter from a package at the grocery store, where butter comes from is a revelation! I love the illustrations in this book – they have an almost folk-art feel that really compliments the agrarian theme. This book is definitely worth a try for your Toddler Times! Give it a read first, though, as the rhythm is a little uneven.

Song: Bread and Butter

With my younger kids, we just did a random song, because we had so many kids the music sticks were out of the question. Also because Ms Ariel totally forgot her Toddler Time cheat sheet and forgot every song she had ever planned to use. It was a rough day! My preschoolers definitely have been digging the music sticks, though.

Bread and butter, toast and jam,
I hit my sticks as [loud, soft, fast, slow] as I can!

Book: Counting Ovejas by Sarah Weeks and David Diaz

I LOVE this book for so many reasons. I’ve been trying to incorporate more bilingual books into my story time, since I do live in a bilingual city! This book has it all – Spanish and English, colors, funny sight gags, counting, and a sweet bedtime theme. If you aren’t a fluent Spanish speaker (that’s me!), make sure you run through it at least once to perfect your color pronunciations!

Finger Play for Toddlers: Open Them, Shut Them

Finger Play for Preschoolers: Put Your Hands Up High

Action Song: Fruit Salad

Book: I Spy with My Little Eye by Edward Gibbs

This series is really great! There’s a small hint about who the animal is, and a die-cut circle let’s you see their eye. All the kids loved guessing what the animal on the next page was. The illustrations are really beautiful – realistic and expressive at the same time. If you can, I’d definitely recommend snagging this book (or any of the other I Spy books by Gibbs) for your storytime collection. They are a delight!!

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

I put out some pasta and rice that I had dyed different colors with vinegar and food coloring. The kids LOVED sorting it and pouring it between cups I had put out. Several of the adults asked how I dyed it, so hopefully they’ll make some at home! I really think my effort to incorporate more easy sensory play examples into storytime has encouraged parents to explore easy things to do at home. SCORE!

Toddler Time: Airplanes

My school-aged program this week was making paper airplanes, so, like a true trooper, I put together an awesome storytime full of plane books. It started out as a “things that go” storytime, but I actually found enough plane books to make it just planes. Awesome!

Opening Song: Welcome, Welcome Everyone

Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now you’re here; let’s have some fun!
First we clap our hands just so,
then we bend and touch our toes.
Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now we’re here; let’s have some fun!

Nursery Rhyme: The Old Grand Duke of York

Oh, the old grand duke of york,
He had 10,000 men.
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
then he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up.
And when they were down, they were down.
And when they were only halfway up,
they were neither up nor down.

Action Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Book: Miss Mouse Takes Off by Jane Ormerod

I love that this book is from the point of view of Miss Mouse (a stuffed animal!) So many kids have a special stuffed friend, and I think it’s fun for them to think about things from their friend’s point of view. My younger patrons enjoyed this book less than the preschoolers, who were much more interested in the plot. My only qualm is that the point of view shifts a little when Miss Mouse disappears, which was a little elicited some questioning looks from kids.

Song: Bread and Butter

We again had waaaaay too many kids to do the music sticks in my Toddler Time, so we did this song only in Storytime, which is always a smaller group. With my toddlers, we sang The Plane in the Sky (featured below).

Bread and butter, toast and jam,
I hit my sticks as [loud, soft, fast, slow] as I can!

Book: Pilot Pups by Michelle Meadows and Dan Andreasen.

Another book that did slightly better with the older kids than the toddlers. Toddlers seemed to enjoy it fine, but the preschoolers were super excited to discover that the pups were just toys, the mountain was a sleepy dad, and stuff like that. I really like the illustrations, which are realistic despite the Toy Story-esque plot.

Finger Play for Toddlers: Open Them, Shut Them

Open them shut them is fun because it’s easy, and most moms and dads already know it. I usually have really high participation with this one!

Finger Play for Preschoolers: Put Your Hands Up High

Kids are always so reluctant at the beginning of this song, but they’re always smiling by the end. That’s a pretty awesome song, y’all.

Action Song: Fruit Salad

My toddler moms really seem to enjoy this song – at the end, they bounce the babies up and down for each syllable of FRUIT SALAD, FRUIT SALAD. The preschoolers think I’m silly for singing a song about watermelon!

Book: Flying by Donald Crews

I had another large and super wiggly group this week. Thank goodness this book is super duper short. I flew through it (HA!). I think this book would make a pretty cool felt board, if you’re the kind of person who has time to make feltboards (that used to be me! Not during summer, though!)

Early Literacy Tip of the Week:

Travel offers lots of different opportunities to learn new words. When travelling somewhere, talk to you kiddo about the new objects and vehicles around you. Try checking out some picture books or watching some YouTube videos together about where you’re going before you get there, and talk about the things you’ll be doing on vacation. Remember, the more you talk, the more kids learn!

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

This was another wacky crazy storytime! I made up a batch of cloud dough for the kids to play with during our free play time at the end of the program. The kids loved it soooo much! The adults and our custodian, not so much. What can you do? Kids gonna make a mess, and that’s okay by me. I’ve been trying to incorporate more sensory materials in my free play time, and it seems like the small additional time investment is really paying off!

Passive Program: Origami

Origami Boredom Buster

 

Y’all. I mean, origami is like a classic thing kids so when they are bored, right? I was super excited to use it as one of my passive programs, but man origami paper is EXPENSIVE! I know the old trick of chopping the edge off a piece of copy paper to make it square, but I really wanted our boredom buster to seem more special than that (plus, I didn’t want to have to cut all the paper. I’m very lazy.) I found the perfect solution is a pad of scrapbooking paper!  It’s pretty cheap if you buy it when it’s half off (I think it was less than ten bucks for 200 sheets), comes in tons of different colors and designs, and it’s big enough for kids to be able to fold things easily. It’s a little too thick for intricate designs, but that’s okay.

I found a super easy fox design from Pintrest, put a ton of origami books out, and made a little sign about what origami is. I must admit I have had lots of kids who have just used the paper and markers for coloring, but hey, fine motor skills!

This is another super easy boredom buster for busy people. Honestly, I think you could leave up an origami display for months, especially if you just switched out the example designs every few weeks.

Toddler Time: The Five Senses

This was the first Toddler Time of summer, and ho boy, did I ever feel it. My Toddler Time that usually has a solid 15 kids had over 30! The crowd also included lots of newbies, which is good, but also tough, because they don’t know the rules of the road, so to speak.  This was a crazy crazy CRAZY Toddler Time. I also switched up my songs, so it made it feel even wackier. I tried to tie in my school age program themes for the week with the Toddler Time theme, which resulted in some..strange choices on my part this summer. Oops!

Opening Song: Welcome, Welcome Everyone

Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now you’re here; let’s have some fun!
First we clap our hands just so,
then we bend and touch our toes.
Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now we’re here; let’s have some fun!

Nursery Rhyme: The Old Grand Duke of York

Oh, the old grand duke of york,
He had 10,000 men.
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
then he marched them down again.
And when they were up, they were up.
And when they were down, they were down.
And when they were only halfway up,
they were neither up nor down.

Action Rhyme: Five Fat Sausages

Book: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr.

Those bears! So applicable to every situation! With my younger toddlers, we just breezed through the book. With my preschool-y kiddos, they helped me make the noises. Great book that scales up and down seamlessly.

Song: Bread and Butter

This song goes with our music sticks. I actually didn’t get to use the music sticks with our first group, because there were so many kids and I didn’t have enough music sticks!! The second group dug it, though. Well, you live and you learn.

Bread and butter, toast and jam,
I hit my sticks as [loud, soft, fast, slow] as I can!

Book: Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

If you need a description of this book, you are in for a treat! It’s a delight. Also, delicious.

Finger Play for Toddlers: Open Them, Shut Them

Since I phased out the parachute play we were doing in the Winter, I added in some new stuff. Open Them, Shut Them is a classic, and it’s FUN!

Finger Play for Preschoolers: Put Your Hands Up High

Thank you once again, JBrary. This song is AMAZING. And super duper fun! I’ve used it so far with preschoolers, outreach groups of varied ages, and second graders. They were all giggling super hard by the end.

Action Song: Fruit Salad

This one’s from Kendra. It is also SUPER DUPER FUN GUYS. It’s simple enough for babies, but older kids think it’s hilarious too.

Watermelon, watermelon (make oval with hands)
Papaya, papaya (make a papaya shape with hands (kinda like a pear!)
Banananananana, bananananana (hug arms to body and rock them back and forth, like a baby)
Fruit salad! Fruit salad! (wiggle hips!)

Book: I Stink by Kate McCullen 

This book is challenging, even with a good group. The garbage truck does this little “talking to himself” thing that doesn’t necessarily translate well to reading aloud. With this crazy group of wigglers, it wasn’t my most successful choice. I flew through it, skipping a few pages here and there. I really like this book for a lap-sit, but it was not a winner for this group.

Early Literacy Tip of the Week:

It’s okay to use words that your toddler doesn’t understand yet – that’s how they build vocabulary! Try to use lots of different words, and explain what they mean. A big vocabulary is one of the key predictors of success in school!

Shaker Song: Shake It to the East

Shaker Song: Shaking your Shaker!

Song: Rum Pum Pum

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Goodbye I’ll See You Soon

WOAH. I was sweaty and exhausted after this Toddler Time. It was fun but crazy. I should definitely have realized that summer was upon me and chosen more crowd-pleasing and shorter books. But there ya go. It was fun, although some of the kiddos got a little overwhelmed. Hopefully they’ll be back and have fun again!