Parachute ideas for all kinds of programs!

Stumped for ideas for using the parachute at storytime?

Think outside the picture books stacks!

Here are some great ideas for incorporating material from other areas of your collection.

Want to make your own clip art?

Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started!

Some easy ways to spice up your site!

Be sure to suggest your favorites in the comments!

Ideas for incorporating factual materials into storytime

There is lots of great nonfiction for kids out there. If I missed your favorite, leave a comment!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Metafiction for Kids


A while ago I had a patron who was looking for metafiction picture books for a children's literature class. I had so much fun looking up titles that could work that I kept going long after (and I mean LONG after) finding enough books for him. I put together a list of books for the rest of my staff in case we get this question again and I'm sharing with you all too. I will note that this in no way a complete list of all metafiction books but simply ones we happen to own at my branch. I hope this will be useful for reference and collection development purposes. I happen to be a fan of metafiction myself, so please share in the comments if you have a favorite title not on the list and I'd love to read it!

To start us off, I loved the definition of "metafiction" from What Do We Do All Day:  A metafictional text is one that subverts traditional, straightforward storytelling.

Okay, here we go!

Easies
E-Ahlberg-The Bravest Ever Bear (c1999)
E-Ahlberg-The Pencil (c2008)
E-Barnett-Chloe and the Lion (c2012)
E-Barnett-Count the Monkeys (c2012)
E-Black-The Purple Kangaroo (c2010)
E-Bingham- Z is for Moose (c2012)
E-Byrne-This Book Just Ate My Dog (c2014)
E-Cabatingan-Musk Oz Counts (c2013)
E-Catalanotto-Ivan The Terrier (c2007)
E-Czekaj-Cat Secrets (c2011)
E-Freedman-Blue Chicken (c2011)
E-Freedman-By Mouse and Frog (c2015) 
E-Gravett-Again (c2013)
E-Gravett-Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears (c2008)
E-Gravett-Wolves (c2006) 
E-Hopkinson-Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek (c2008)
E-Johnson-Harold and the Purple Crayons (c1955)
E-Klausmeier-Open This Little Book (c2013)
E-LaRochelle-It’s a Tiger (c2013)
E-Lehman-The Red Book (c2004)
E-Lehrhaupt-Warning: Do Not Open This Book (c2013)
E-Lendler-An Undone Fairy Tale (c2005) 
E-Macauly-Black and White (c1990)
E-McDonell-A Perfectly Messed Up Story (c2014)
E-McKinlay-No Bears (c2012)
E-Nesbitt—More Bears (c2010) 
E-Novak-The Book With No Pictures (c2014)
E-O’Byrne- Open Very Carefully: A book with bite (c2013)
E-O’Malley-Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude (c2005)
E-O’Malley-Once Upon a Royal Superbaby (c2010)
E-Panzieri-The Kindhearted Crocodile (c2013)
E-Perry-The Book That Eats People (c2009)
E-Rubin-The Big Bad Bubble (c2014)
E-Schwarz-Is There a Dog in this Book? (c2014) 
E-Schwarz-There are Cats in this Book (c2008)
E-Schwarz-There are No Cats in this Book (c2010)
E-Scieszka-Battle Bunny (c2013)
E-Scieszka-The Frog Prince, Continued (c1991)
E-Scieszka-The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (c1992)
E-Sesame-The Monster at the End of this Book (c1971) 
E-Smith-It’s a Book (c2010)
E-Tullet-Help! We Need a Title (c2014)
E-Van Allsburg-Bad Day at Riverbend (c1995)
E-Watt-Chester (c2007)  on order March 2015.
E-Watt-Chester’s Back (c2008)
E-Watt- Chester’s Masterpiece (c2010)
E-Watt-You’re Finally Here! (c2011)
E-Wiesner- The Three Pigs (c2001)
E-Yates-Dog Loves Drawing (c2012)

Early Readers
ER-Willems-We are in a Book (c2010)

Chapter Books
JFIC ANDERSON-Whales on Stilts (c2005)
JFIC BOSCH-The Name of This Book is Secret (c2007)
JFIC Bruel-Bad Kitty Drawn to Trouble (c2014)
JFIC FUNKE-Inkheart (c2003) plus sequels Inkspell (c2005) and Inkdeath (c2008)
JFIC GIDWITZ: Grimm series
JFIC GRIFFITHS-The 13-Story Treehouse (c2013)
JFIC GRIFFITHS-The 26-Story Treehouse (c2014)
J FIC HORVATH-The Pepins and their Problems (c2004)
JFIC SNICKET-A Series of Unfortunate events
JFIC WILLINGHAM- Down the Mysterly River (c2011)
JFIC VIORST- Lulu series

Sources consulted (thank you to everyone!): 

Children's Literature at the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library
Metafiction Pinterest Board
NoveList K-8
Seth's Shelfari
What Do We Do All Day

Image source: Open Clip Art

Monday, March 23, 2015

Seuss Celebration 2015

Every year we throw a party in March to celebrate Reading Month and Dr. Seuss (read about last year's event here). I didn't get a chance to take a picture of all of our stations this year, but I will tell you about them anyway. Most of them were adapted from ideas we found online. I tried to include the sources when I could find them again, apologies if your idea was not credited--let me know, please and I will fix it! Our program is a 90-minute drop in, station-based program.  Here we go:

  • Cat in the Hat Toss (used a store-bought Seussian hat and giant craft pom poms)
  • One Fish, Two Fish, You Fish fishing game (we did this one last year and it was a hit again!)
  • Reading corner where my co-worker treated us to some awesome read-alouds of Dr. Seuss books, which I was madly impressed by because I do not find his books easy to read aloud to groups at all.
  • Seuss Photo Booth We are loving photo booths at our programs because they are simple to put together and it provides a word-of-mouth advertising for us as parents post photos to Facebook and Instagram of their kids in costumes having fun at the library
  • 2 craft stations: Cat in the Hat nose craft and Thing One paper bag puppet (see below) We used treat bags from Dollar Tree so I had to adjust the size of the template for it to work. I skipped the arms because it was too much cutting for the audience size we were expecting (70-115 people have attended this event in the past 5 years).




Monday, March 16, 2015

Life Size Chutes and Ladders

I wanted to share a really fun, easy program we did here that I learned about through Amy, Anna, and Kelly: life-size chutes and ladders! This would be a great program to fill out summer library programs or even a quick one to throw together on a snow day. It took about an hour of prep to put down the construction paper squares but that would be relatively easy to hand off to a volunteer even. We used masking tape for the ladders and yarn for the chutes (not easily seen in this picture thanks to the striped carpeting in our program room).

This program was for 45 minutes after school but the kids would have happily played for an hour or more. We played one round with the board as I laid it out in this picture (taken before the program). Then I had the kids start modifying the board. They wanted more and more chutes! We also played some rounds starting from the original finish point. In the last game, the kids added some extra twists in the form of squares that would have a player: lose a turn, win a second turn, or win the whole game automatically. For the first game we used the spinner Anna made. Instead of projecting it onto the wall, I loaded it onto our department's iPad and walked it around to the kids. Then I gave the kids the option of using a giant foam die that we have and they preferred that over the iPad.

Incidentally, the same girl won three out of four games. I've never seen someone dominate a game of luck so thoroughly! Also pictured is a display of other indoor games and activities. You can also make out the table where I laid out the signs to number the players on the lower left of the photo. We played some Putmayo CDs during the program to give it a party atmosphere without annoying music. The winners got to pick a prize out of a box of temporary tattoos. All in all, a cheap and fun program! Would do again. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mother Goose Jam: A Musical Program for Preschoolers

Last week I hosted a program called Mother Goose Jam, which was basically an hour-long music themed preschool storytime. It was a lot of fun to plan and present! I was able to try some new material for storytime as well as to incorporate some of our lesser-used props. I put all the recorded music onto an iTunes playlist and burned it to a CD to save switching CDs around. I do not like to use an iPad/iPod/iPhone for this type of program personally (I prefer the bigger buttons of a CD player).

Here's what we did:

Opening rhyme: Let's All Do a Little Clapping (I actually did not learn this song from Jbrary and thus I had no idea you were supposed to sing it to the tune of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" so I... do not. I don't know how to describe how I sing it without actually making a video myself though) I changed the words to "and spread a little cheer" so I can do this year round and it has become my opening rhyme for my storytimes as well.

Story: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Scarf Rhymes:
Shakers: 
Song with Stuffed Bats prop (1/child), would also work on parachute: 
Stretchy Band (would also work with parachute): 
Parachute:
Free Dance Songs (I put the scarves, shakers, rhythm instruments, and some streamers out for the kids to dance): 
  • "Old MacDonald" by The Learning Groove (Bouncy Blue)
  • "One Two Three Whee!"  by The Learning Groove (Goovy Green
  • "Itsy Bitsy Spider"  by The Learning Groove (Yummy Yellow)
  • "Moving In a Circle"  by The Learning Groove (Rocking Red)  
  • "I Hear the Water"  by The Learning Groove (Rocking Red)  Great cool down, soothing song
Image Credit: OpenClipart.org

Friday, February 13, 2015

"I Had a Little Rooster" With Puppets

Sometimes I come across a song I can't believe I did not already know. Right now it's the folk song "I Had a Little Rooster" which I discovered by listening to The Learning Groove's Outrageous Orange, which is one of my daughter's favorite CDs. She's 2.5 and gets her excellent taste in music from her parents. I thought this would adapt to a puppet song really quite easily. Of course I didn't have a rooster puppet at my library but I was able to borrow one from our neighboring branch (thanks, E!).We did have the dog, rabbit, and cow puppets here though. They are sitting on a metal bookshelf propped up on metal bookends. This is the easiest way to manipulate four puppets with my mere two hands. 


If you don't know the song, you can listen to it on the Learning Groove website, which is just a ridiculously amazing treasure trove of stuff. Please buy all the CDs. You won't regret it. I sang this myself instead of using the CD though. It gave me a little more time between verses to pick up the next puppet. I find more of the adults join in when I sing instead of using a CD also. Another bonus of not using the CD is you could add or use different puppets. Next time I will grab more as this song really kept the kids' attention.

The first verse goes like this: 

I had a little rooster by the barnyard gate 
That little rooster was my playmate
That little rooster said, “Cocka doodle doo 
Dee doodle-ee doodle-ee doodle-ee dude.” 

The rest of the lyrics are here. Sheet music is here. You can download the song via CDbaby or iTunes. If you'd like to see a flannel version, In the Children's Room posted one a few years ago. 

This week's Flannel Friday is hosted by Kelly

Monday, February 02, 2015

Self-Directed Maker Program

We have started doing regular maker programs for kids (grades 3-6). These will be self-directed programs where the attendees can choose from 6-10 different activities and spend as long as they want at one or many. The program will be open for 90 minutes. I did a shorter trial run at my branch to see how it would go before rolling it out system-wide. 

The projects I set out: Lite Brite, Littlebits, rubber band bracelets, paper airplanes, thumbprint art, straws and connectors building set. We had 9 kids and they spent well over an hour playing. It was a really nice, low-key opportunity to get to know them one on one. I especially liked working with them on the Littlebits projects. We will be doing something similar, but probably with more stations in April.





Thursday, January 29, 2015

I Have a Little Pocket: Animals

Four years ago, I posted an activity called I Have a Little Pocket. At the time, I used a homemade board with repurposed clothes. It wasn't as sturdy as I hoped and fell apart. Just when I was thinking of making a new one, a co-worker found these awesome vinyl pockets with a magnet back. I'm not sure where she found them but think these could work. The pockets have a see-through window that I have made opaque using lime green copy paper.

The rhyme I used originally used household items like a flashlight and clock, but this activity was so popular at storytimes that families asked to repeat it. Which is awesome but meant I had to write new clues and come up with new objects. The first week I tried animals! 

I Have A Little Pocket: Animals
I have a little pocket where something can hide...
It says "RIBBIT RIBBIT"
Do you know what's inside?  GREEN--FROG

I have a little pocket where something can hide.
It lives on a farm and says "BAA BAA"
Do you know what's inside? PURPLE-SHEEP 

I have a little pocket where something can hide.
It used to be a caterpillar but now it can fly!
Do you know what's inside? BLUE--BUTTERFLY

I have a little pocket where something can hide...
It lived a long time ago and says "ROARRR!"
Do you know what's inside?  RED--DINOSAUR

This week's Flannel Friday is being hosted by Katie

Monday, January 26, 2015

Process Art Projects for Preschoolers

On Friday morning, I held a Preschool Art class. Registration was limited to 25 kids (ages 2-5) and their caregivers. The room is big enough for two projects to go on at once with that number of kids. Our projects were homemade watercolor paints and chalk resist drawings. This was a very fun program for me and I was pleasantly surprised by how little mess was made. I did have to wipe down all the tables and the chairs, but nothing out of the extraordinary. I also did a quick run with the carpet sweeper. This program ran from 11am-12pm and was attended by 38 people. I received quite a few compliments on this program and it was a fun one to plan! The pictured artwork is by my daughter, age 2.5.


Homemade watercolors (have plenty of towels handy to wipe up messes quickly):
Use ice cube trays as palettes (we used one per two kids). Dollar Tree sells a 2-pack of trays for $1. Put one drop of each color of food coloring in the tray. I did 4 spots for each child. Fill the spot about half-way with water. Children can mix corn starch in to change the color. Corn starch vacuums up easily. Idea from First Art for Toddlers & Twos by Mary Ann Kohl, a great book for parent/teacher collections needing process-based art exploration projects.

Chalk resist drawings
Children place masking tape all over their black construction paper (and I do mean, all over!). Then they scribble all over their paper and remove the tape. Idea adapted from Library Makers. Next time I will remember to grab some hairspray to set the chalk!



Friday, January 23, 2015

"Sleeping Bunnies" on the Parachute!

Here's one of my favorite parachute activities! I actually mentioned it a few months ago when talking about my summer parachute playtime but it's become a storytime staple since. We've been doing this here at my 2 and 3 year old storytimes and it's a great activity that I thought deserved its own post. I learned the song "Sleeping Bunnies" from Mary and I had the idea to adapt it to a parachute activity.

We use the version from Kathy Reid-Naiman's Tickles and Tunes CD.

Here are the words:

Sleeping Bunnies
See the little bunnies sleeping til it's nearly noon. 
Come and let us gently wake them with a merry tune. 
Oh, how are still. 
Are they ill? 
Wake up soon. (Here I yell "WAKE UP BUNNIES!" and the kids shake the parachute.)

Hop, little bunnies, hop, hop hop! 
Hop, little bunnies, hop, hop hop! 
Hop, little bunnies, hop, hop hop! 

Then we say "good night" to the bunnies and repeat a few times.

Today's Flannel Friday is hosted by Cate! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Celebrate Flannel Friday's Birthday!

Flannel Friday is celebrating its fourth birthday, and we have decided to do something a little different.  What started out with a few librarians sharing their flannel story ideas on Twitter has grown into something pretty special.


We are hosting a Guest Post Palooza.  If you’ve ever wanted to share one your favorite flannel boards, but don’t have a blog, this is your opportunity.  We will pair you up with a blogger who is willing to share their spot in the blogosphere.  


We need people who are willing to post flannel stories and we need bloggers who are willing to post someone else’s work.  Is that you?  


Remember, every single one of us, from Melissa D to you, had to start blogging sometime. This is a great way to dip your toe into the blogging pool..  


Please fill out the attached Google form.  Sharon or Mollie will contact you with your match.

Have questions about this?  Check out our FAQs page.

You may see this message on more than a few blogs today! We apologize but are trying to spread the word as best we can. :)