Thursday, July 26, 2012

Flannel Friday-We Will Stomp

I am so excited by this week's project as it is a song prop for We Will Stomp on the cd Yummy Yellow by The Learning Groove.  The Learning Groove puts together a number of awesome music and movement cds for young children.  Eric Litwin, author of the popular Pete the Cat stories, is half of The Learning Groove.

A couple of weeks ago I had a dance party and made cute little paper monsters on sticks for kids to use and take home.  This song and prop was the highlight of the program.  This week I made flannel versions of some monsters that I can keep and reuse in my story times.

Just to be fun, I came up with 4 different monsters.  I pulled out all of my felt scraps and started cutting out monster parts.  The fun part about this is that no monster has to look the same.  You can change around the mouths, the eyes, the colors and more.  If you wanted, you could use googly eyes.  I liked the effect better of rolling the eyeballs around.  To make my monsters sturdier, I made a front and a back and glued the popsicle stick in between.

When I play the song, we all start off by stomping around the room with our puppets.  Since they use a silly monster voice, I add in some silly monster stomping.  Then the singers get really quiet and we sneak around the room.  It is fun to get up on your tippy toes and try to sneak around.  Our monsters then run (I try to get them to go back to stomping) and fly (we will put out our arms and fly like airplanes).

Amanda at Toddler Tales is hosting this week's round-up.  For more information on Flannel Friday, check out the Flannel Friday blog.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Out of This World Party

This week we held an Out of This World party for ages 4-8.  We had decorations, 3 crafts, and 2 games.  Due to space, we registered 30 kids.  For decorations, we hung inflatable planets from the ceiling.
Our decorations and set-up
Every party needs games.  We were looking for easy ones that did not require staff supervision, but were still fun.  Our first game was our flying asteroid game.  We had balls made of crumbled aluminum foil and tossed them into a black cauldron that we had from previous Halloween parties.  This was quite popular and the last boys to leave were really excited to take the asteroids home to make their own party game.

Our second game was our space shuttle landing game.  We measured out masking tape on the floor and marked off the feet with a ruler.  To decorate, we added circles with various planet names on them.  Kids took a paper airplane space shuttle and threw it to see where it would land.
Space shuttle landing game
Craft #1-Make your own solar system
We started off with giant black posterboard circles for each kid.  We put out pictures of various constellations to give kids ideas, but also encouraged them to make their own designs (peace signs, their initials, etc.).  With rulers and Crayola gel markers we had kids draw their designs.  Then we had glow-in-the-dark puffy paint for them to add the stars.  I suggested adding stars at the joints of the picture, but some had more and some had less.

Make your own solar system

Craft #2-Solar system sticker scene
We purchased the sticker packages from Oriental Trading.  Each kid got one set of stickers and a cardstock square to mount their design on.
Solar system sticker scene

Craft #3-Star sand art bottle keychains
We purchased this craft from Oriental Trading.  We had sand left over from previous projects and used it to make the keychains.  (A little bit of sand goes a long way.  We have used the same bottles for the past 8 or so years and haven't run out.)  The kids loved designing their keychains.  The problem that we ran into here is that there was only 1 funnel per package so we could only make 3 keychains at a time with our 3 packages.  If you do this and there is a way to get extra funnels to fit your project, do so.

The Wrap-Up
All-in-all the program turned out good and is definitely one to do again.  While we did run into a line at the sand art, the kids were really patient and didn't mind waiting.  Plus, we had the 2 games that they could play while they waited.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

K Club-Art

Today was my second K Club program and we chose art as our theme. If you would like to know more about K Club, check out my first post.

The Books
As a group we read 2 stories:
  • The Art Teacher from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
  • Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh with a flannelboard
We also did a prop story of I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Paint Brush.  The prop story set up our craft of a collage.

The Special Guest
I was fortunate in that one of our staff members is in her last semester of an art major at a local university.  Miss Brenna brought a number of her paintings, including 1 made by blowing paint through a straw, 1 made by drawing in juice, a charcoal drawing of blocks, and 1 with different textures that the kids could touch.

The Craft
We made our own insect collages.  Lakeshore Learning sells cardboard shapes that make a sturdy background for holding collage materials.  (I will admit that I did have to run out yesterday afternoon to buy these because I couldn't find our original peel-and-stick collage boards that I had ordered).  As for materials, you can use anything-scraps, stickers, feathers, sequins, tissue paper, foam shapes, etc.  Many years ago, we bought a collage kit to supplement our supplies.  I pulled our crinkle paper, feathers, sequins, and foam shapes out of there.  I grabbed our leftover stickers from previous crafts this summer.  I also found many bottles of half-empty glitter glue.  It does help if you pass out paper plates for the kids to carry their creations home on.  Many are wet and the plates give the kids a place to hold.

The program ended up being about 45 minutes.  Both the collage and the special guest were a big hit.  Many of the parents had their phone cameras out taking pictures of the program.  Unfortunately, this was our last K Club for the summer as this was our trial period.  It will definitely be back next summer and I have our community relations specialist already looking for more community members who can be special guests!

K Club-Music

The idea for this program came out of a presentation by staff from the Kalamazoo Public Library at a conference last year.  They do a family story time with special guests.  I thought that this sounded like great fun (while I was mentally making a list of who could come to one at our library).  I had also had been looking for a way to add some sort of programming that is just for kindergartners.  We seem to do a lot of programs for young kids and for older kids, but sometimes we have to work harder to find ones for those middle kids.

What is K Club?
K Club is a Kindergarten story time (we include those going into or leaving Kindergarten).  It is a summer program since many of our Kindergartens are full-day programs.  Every program has a theme and some sort of special guest.  We read stories and do a craft, still working on our early literacy skills.

The Books
In today's program, we read 2 books:
  • Berlioz the Bear by Jan Brett
  • I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello by Barbara Garriel (we also had the props that were in the 2009 Get Creative summer reading program manual)
The Special Guest
For our first special guest, I did luck out.  I convinced my brother, who is a local high school band teacher, that he really wanted to do this (or at least that I would owe him for his help).  He brought a trumpet, a trombone, and a tuba with him to demonstrate the different sounds and to play music on.  The trumpet was handed around the room so all of the kids could push the valves.  He was a big hit!

The Craft
Discount School Supply sold a great kit with all of the pieces included (it was definitely better than anything that I would have come up with using paper towel tubes and rice).  Other than setting out parts, there was nothing for me to prepare.

The music theme was great.  The kids almost had more fun with the special guest today than reading the books.  I had asked him to talk for 5 minutes or until the kids got squirrelly and he was still going at 15 minutes with the kids paying attention.  I did start to wonder what other music programs I could do with this age group as they really got into it.

Flannel Friday-Mouse Paint

Today I did a Kindergarten story time on art and was able to do Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh in flannelboard form.  It is one of my favorite classic stories as you can use the story for mice, colors, or art story times.

All of the pieces are created out of fun foam.  The pattern for all of the pieces is here.  This allowed me to add more detail with permanent markers.  The eyes are all googly eyes.  The paint jars and the painted mice are dipped in actual paint (nothing else made it look like real paint).

The story starts off with 3 white mice and 1 cat.

The 3 white mice dip themselves in paint-1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 blue.

The colorful mice step in other blobs of paint to create new colors.  The red mouse steps in yellow to create orange.  The yellow mouse steps in blue to create green.  The blue mouse steps in red to create purple.

The 3 messy mice wash off in the cat's bowl before they paint with paintbrushes.

Retelling Mouse Paint on a flannelboard does require practice.  This is one of those stories where you won't want all of the pieces on at the same time or it will be distracting.  As you start each new part of the story (falling in the paint, mixing the paint, and washing the paint off), you will want to pull off the previous pieces.

This week's Flannel Friday is being hosted by Kay at Storytime ABC's.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lisa's Dance Party

One of the highlights of summer is our dance party.  If you have never run one before, they are great fun and easy to put together.  We run ours for 25 2-4 year olds.  Our program lasts approximately 30 minutes. 

Things to consider:
While you need space to dance, your biggest consideration is your sound system.  The more people that you have in the program, the more "chatter" you will have.  This means that you will need a way for the music and your voice to project over it.  We run ours through an ipod that hooks into our sound system.

Even though you register 25 toddlers, there will be more kids at the program.  For example, today 25 registered toddlers showed up, plus 17 big brothers and sisters, 2 babies and 27 parents.  This gave us 71 people for a 25 person program.

When you pick out your songs, you will want a mixture of crazy (ones with jumping, flying, etc.) and ones that will slow things down and help kids to focus on you (ex. I'm a Little Teapot).  I also like to mix the familiar and the new.  I always pull a couple of our favorites from story times so some of the kids can help lead.  It is also fun to find 1-2 songs that use props of some kind.

Song list:
1.  If You're Happy and You Know It by Old Town School of Folk Music on Songs for Wiggleworms
2.  Can You (Point Your Fingers and Do the Twist) by The Wiggles on Dance Party
3.  The Airplane Song by Laurie Berkner on Whaddaya Think of That?-We make airplane puppets to "help" the kids fly.  Check here for an example.
4.  The Monkey Dance by The Wiggles on Yummy Yummy
5.  Wiggle Your Lah-De-Dah by Ralph Covert on All Around Ralph's World
6.  The Goldfish by Laurie Berkner on Victor Vito
7.  I'm a Little Teapot by The Wiggles on Sing a Song of Wiggles
8.  Drivin' In My Car by Ralph Covert on Ralph's World
9.  Super Silly Tango by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael on Yummy Yellow
10.  Jumping and Counting by Jim Gill on Jim Gill's Irrational Anthem and More Salutes to Nonsense
11. We Will Stomp by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael on Yummy Yellow-I took craft sticks and attached silly clip art monster pictures to them.  The kids LOVED them.
12.  The Mack Chicken Dance by Greg & Steve on Big Fun

The program turned out great.  Everybody had a great time.  The big favorite of the day was We Will Stomp by Mr. Eric and Mr. Michael (Mr. Eric is Eric Litwin of Pete the Cat fame!).

Friday, July 6, 2012

Parachute Games

Summer is my favorite time to pull out those activities that you love to do, but just don't have time to put into place during the school year.  The parachute is one of those activities.  I loved playing with a parachute as a kid, but there were a few things that I had to learn through trial and error before I created a really great program.

1.  Know what will work in your space.  We have a large meeting room that seats 100 people so a 20' parachute with 18 handles works well for us.  A larger one would be cool, but we would need outside space and we just don't have it.

2.  Learn what will work with the different age groups.  If you work with younger kids, you will need a definite plan.  With older kids, you need a lot of possible activities, but you can stay with one if it is popular.  As an example, we learned that older kids (4-8 year olds) don't work well in our program space, because one of their favorite activities is making the props hit the ceiling (which makes my branch manager frown).

3.  Have adults or volunteers who are ready to pick up the handles if the kids need a break.  Otherwise you and 2 little kids could be the only ones trying to move the parachute.

Here's what we do:
We register 22 2-4 year olds to play Parachute Games in a 30-minute session.  By having 22 kids registered, we will hopefully have 18 kids who show up and hold the handles.  Otherwise, we recruit big brothers and sisters.  If we have too many kids, they can hold the edge between the handles too.  I set up a playlist of music that will last about 25 minutes.  You will want a mixture of songs that are fast and slow.  As new cds come in, I keep a list in itunes as to what would work with a parachute.

Our playlist/activity list:
  1. Sally Go 'Round the Sunshine by Carole Peterson on Dancing Feet-This is our warm-up song.  It allows us to make the parachute go around, kind of like a merry-go-round.  We also get to make it go faster.
  2. The Popcorn Pop by Rosenshontz on Tot Rock-Now it is time for some bouncing.  I have a lot of mini beach balls from Oriental Trading that I use as "popcorn".  The hard part is getting beach balls off of the parachute when the song is done.
  3. Ring Around the Rosie by Caspar Babypants on Sing Along!- This allows us to slow the parachute down again and spin it around in a circle.  The kids love "falling down", but the music isn't so fast that they have a hard time getting up again.
  4. Merry-Go-Round by Michael Plunkett on Shakin' the Chute-We get to keep spinning around.  Sometimes I change it up a bit and we change directions.  Allow time for the kids to turn around as "left" and "right" are still hard for them.  I like to say, "Let's go the other way."  **If you want 1 cd that has all parachute songs, this is one of the best.
  5. Shaky Shaky by The Wiggles on Yummy Yummy-It's time to speed things up again and get the kids shaking the parachute.  This song is good because you get to go "fast" and "slow".
  6. Five Little Monkeys on the cd Five Little Monkeys-Since monkeys like to bounce, we pop some monkey finger puppets we have onto the parachute for the kids to bounce.  Like the monkeys in the rhyme, they tend to fall off and we have to toss them back on again.
  7. The Wheels on the Bus by Michael and Jello on Monkey See Monkey Do-This song slows us down again.  You can either have the kids sit on the floor or stand mostly in place.  The parachute is good for acting out the song, such us "up and down", "round and round", and "open and shut".
  8. Row Row Row Your Boat by Old Town School of Folk Music on Songs for Wiggleworms-For this one we sit on the floor and act out this song.  There are a lot of funny verses that work well with the parachute, such as "bounce" and "wiggle".
  9. A Walking We Will Go by Greg and Steve on We All Live Together, Vol. 5-We get to stand back up again and walk around the circle with the parachute.  Once again, the fun verses allow you to follow the song with the parachute.
  10. Alabama, Mississippi by Jim Gill on Jim Gill Sings the Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes-This speeds the parachute up again with some bouncing.
  11. The Bear Went Over the Mountain by Disney on Best of Children's Favorites-Pooh's Top 40 Tunes-I have a giant bear puppet that we throw on the parachute for the kids to bounce to get him "over the mountain"/
  12. Popcorn by The Barenaked Ladies on Snack Time-This is a great finale song due to the speed and bouncing.  At this time all of my beach balls and other parachute stuff goes on the parachute for the kids to bounce as "popcorn".
If you haven't done a parachute games, it is definitely worth doing.  It is great fun and you get to do something a little different.  As a "selling point", you are using cds that are in your library collection.

Flannel Friday-I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Paint Brush

I was going through my files this week preparing for a kindergarten story time that I will be doing on art and found this cool prop.  I made this in 2009 when the summer reading theme was "Get Creative @ Your Library".  The rhyme was found on page 221 of the 2009 manual.

I started off by making the old lady prop.  You will want to make her clothes the size of a paper lunch bag.  The lunch bag will hold the pieces and help her to stand up.  I made her a purple dress and cut a circle out of where her stomach should go.  The flowers are stickers.  I ran the dress through our laminator to make the circle part see-through, but sturdy.  Line the dress up with the paper bag and cut a hole that will match up with the stomach circle on the dress.  Glue the dress to the bag.  I drew and colored the head and hands on white cardstock.  The hands are glued to the front of the dress.  The head is taped to the back of the lunch bag.

Now you will need some things for her to eat.  The trick is to make them big enough to see in her stomach as you add them to the bag.  I used a combination of Microsoft clip art and pictures of our art supplies.  You will need a paint brush, paint, glue, yarn, and clay.

I know an old lady who swallowed a paint brush.
Swallowing that brush sure made her blush!
She really loves art!

Other verses:
That pint of paint made her feel that she'd faint.
That glue made her feel like she had the flu!
Oh darn, she swallowed some yarn!
She swallowed some clay, oh, what a day!

Final verse:
I know an old lady who jumped and dodged,
Until in the morning she'd made a collage.
She really loves art!

If you've ever done an art story time, you will know how difficult it is to find rhymes and flannelboards to go with it (other than ones on colors).  This is definitely one to add to your files!

This week's Flannel Friday round-up is being hosted by Miss Mary Liberry.
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