At the beginning of the summer, a local organization approached me about doing a long program for a group of children as a one-time child care service. I had to plan a storytime for as many as 20 children between the ages of four and seven, and the program needed to last for an hour and a half. Whew! This is the program that I came up with. It doesn’t have a particular theme; rather, it’s a conglomeration of some of my favorite books, songs, and activities. I had never seen any of these children before, so I was able to recycle some successful material from previous storytimes. My plan was to have basically two storytimes in one. We would do a set of stories and songs, break for a craft/activity, come back together for another set of stories, and then finish with a craft/activity.
- Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas
- Cat Knit by Jacob Grant
- Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
- Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
- A Hop Is Up by Kristy Dempsey
- Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire
- Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo by Karma Wilson
- Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman
Song: “Clap Your Hands”
(To the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)
Clap, clap, clap your hands
As slowly as you can
Clap, clap, clap your hands
As quickly as you can
Shake your hands…
Roll your hands…
Rub your hands
Wiggle your fingers…
Pound your fists…
(Credit: Wee Sing Toddlers)
Song: “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”
Song: “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”
Story extension: Bark, George Box
I have used this box before, and I wrote about it in a previous post here.
Flannelboard: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes flannel story
This felt set is another tried-and-true favorite. My library purchased our felt story from Amazon as a ready-made set (and it is really cute), but there are some great tutorials online for making your own.
Egg shaker song: “Shake Your Shakers”
Egg shaker song: “Everyone Can Shake, Shake, Shake”
Song: “Shake My Sillies Out”
Flannelboard: Put Me in the Zoo felt story
I made this felt set myself from a pattern on Making Learning Fun. It is a good pattern and easy to follow.
Activities and Sensory Play
Sensory activity: Water Beads
I bought water beads on a whim from Amazon because I really wanted to try them myself then pulled them out for this storytime because I wanted some simple sensory activities. I put about 6 teaspoons worth in a large plastic tub with some cups and scoops and let the kids have some fun. They LOVED them!
Sensory activity: Play dough
I think this one speaks for itself.
Activity: Cardboard blocks
I had collected a bunch of empty cardboard boxes over the summer, and I used them in a previous storytime. This program was only a few days later, so I kept the boxes around for use again.
How It Went
Obviously, I planned an insane amount of activities for this program. I really didn’t know what to expect, so I wanted to be prepared. As it turned out, I only used about half of what I had planned. The kids arrived in very-spread-out stages, so instead of opening with books as I had planned, we started with play-dough. After about 15 minutes, a few more children had arrived, and we moved to books. I only did the first four on my list, along with three of the songs and the story extensions for Bark, George and Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes.
The kids really enjoyed all of the books. Is Everyone Ready for Fun? is a fantastic ice-breaker. It is a perfect opening book because it’s silly and over-the-top and it helps the kids warm up to participating in my other activities. Cat Knit is a new favorite of mine; I can’t say enough good things about it. Who doesn’t love a book about cats and sweaters? I will recommend it forever. My Bark, George box never fails to be a crowd-pleaser. There is something so magical about pulling stuffed animals from the mouth of a cardboard head. And no matter where I go, I always find some kids who are already familiar with Pete the Cat, and they love I Love My White Shoes.
After those four books, I pulled out the play-dough, water beads, and a Lego ball maze that we have at the library. The kids went to town, and we filled the rest of our time with these activities. In the end, the kids only stayed for about an hour, instead of the hour and a half that I had been thinking. In all, it was a very successful day, even though I seriously over-planned in advance.