Parachute Ideas for Tots and Big Kids

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!

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 these are similar and I also 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. :) 

Friday, January 09, 2015

Registration open for MI KidLib 2015!

Registration is now open for MI KidLib 2015, a youth services unconference. This year we will be in sunny Kalamazoo, Michigan. The event is Friday, April 24th.

Details are on our website. If you have questions not answered there, please email MIKidLib@gmail.com and one of the planning team members will get back to you. Thank you to Kalamazoo Public Library for hosting!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Announcing the Storytime Petting Zoo at ALA Midwinter!

If you will be attending ALA's Midwinter conference in sunny Chicago, please join myself and some of the Flannel Friday crew for a Storytime Petting Zoo! You are welcome to bring your own flannel story or other storytime prop or try some of ours. We are meeting immediately after Saturday's Guerrilla Storytime session. Any questions, send me an email-- anne@sotomorrowblog.com.

Hope to see you there!


Thursday, January 01, 2015

Resolve to Rock 2015: Readers Advisory

2014 was an incredible year for me, professionally. I was honored with an award from the Michigan Library Association, and did a number of conference presentations. It was an exciting year, but I am looking forward to a quieter 2015*.  

For 2015, I resolve to better rock readers advisory. I am someone that struggles with long reading slumps. I want to be a little more methodical in my reading and be sure to hit genres that I am less familiar with. I plan to concentrate on middle grade fiction. I have learned that it is best for me to have a specific plan to follow or things tend to fall off my radar, so I developed a Genre of the Month plan, heavily inspired by Abby's Reading Wildly staff RA project. If any of my staff members or co-workers from other branches reading this want to join in, please do so, but I plan to do this individually.

January: Mysteries
February: ALA Youth Media Award Winners
March: Science Fiction
April: Reluctant Reader
May: Realistic Fiction
June: Historical Fiction
July: Graphic Novels
August: Classics
September: Early Chapter Books (Stand Alone)
October: Scary Book
November: Early Chapter Books (Series)
December: Fantasy

*I do plan to be in Chicago during the time of ALA Midwinter. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones, so I hope to see you there too! I will also be visiting and staying with local family members.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Flannel Friday Roundup for Friday, January 2nd!

I'm excited to be back hosting the first Flannel Friday Roundup for 2015.

Here are the submissions for your viewing pleasure:

Do you want to build a snowman? Lisa does and will show you how it's done.  A related post by Kathryn has some winter themed shapes for you to admire. 

Nikki has winter socks and snowflakes to share. 

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? Amy is planning a wonderful looking Sesame Street themed program and has a cute twist on Little Mouse featuring our favorite muppets. 

A new rhyme to me is the super fun One, Two, Three, BLOW that Katie found. This one seems perfect for when your toddlers just need to move at storytime. 

Speaking of rhymes, here's a Storytime prop favorite: a rhyme cube by Katie. 

Felt boards can be digital too! As with all things, there's an app for that. Here is a wonderful review by Katrina Bergen of the Felt Board Smoothie app posted at Little eLit. 

Speaking of tech at storytime, Pop Goes the Library is sharing an idea using conductive thread. SO cool! Definitely check this one out.


Next week's host is Lisa and it will be our Valentine's Day extravaganza! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Drive In Movie 2: The Sequel

So last year I threw a drive in movie and it was awesome. I set it up basically the same as last year, so I will direct you to my write-up of that for details. But this year, I had to take it up a notch, with personalized license plates!

I downloaded a license plate font (free!) and a license plate template (also free!) and all it cost the library was time it took me to type in 25 kids' names and a little bit of paper and ink. And how fun, seriously? The parents went nuts for this.

This year, I showed Don't Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus, thanks to a suggestion from Sarah. The kids loved it, gleefully shouting "NO!" at all the right places. 

This is such a fun program to host and a good way to use up leftover craft supplies. It might be one of my favorites that we hosted all year long. I'm planning to do a "Fly-In Movie" in the spring and we will make rocket ships out of cardboard boxes. Can't wait! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Wonderland Storytime

I held a special "winter wonderland" storytime outside of our regular storytime. I wanted to be able to do some things we don't have time or space for during my regular storytimes. I held this program in mid-December but specifically did not include any references to Christmas or other winter holidays. Even though this is Michigan, we had basically no snow the whole week of this program.

We did the following rhyme to start:
Let's All Do A Little Clapping
Let's all do a little clapping (Repeat 3x)
And spread a little cheer.
..tapping (on the floor), waving, etc.

Everyone participated in this action rhyme and I'm toying with making it part of my opening routine when regular storytimes resume in January.

Then we did Snowball, Snowball on the flannel board, which was a perfect transition into our book, Snowballs by Lois Ehlert. After the story, we did a few scarf rhymes including one that I adapted to better fit the winter theme (original words have rain instead of snow):

Snow on the Grass
Snow on the grass,  Shake your scarf on the floor. 
Snow on the trees,   Shake your scarf above your head. 
Snow on the roof,    Make a roof with the scarf  held stretched flat above your head. 
But not on me! AAAAA! Drop the scarf on your head. 

Then I read Jingle, Jingle by Smee. I used a bell when the text said "jingle jingle". Next time I would skip a second book as we had a big group (48 people) and the younger ones were starting to wander. I had planned to do Three Little Snowman Riding on a Sled but I skipped that. I'll save it for my regular storytime group in 2015.

Then we moved into our craft project: paper gingerbread houses! I used an Ellison die cut of a house, then the kids added candy and snowflake foam stickers. Then, they painted around the shapes with Special Snow Paint (Epsom salt and water mixed) with a foam brush. I went around and let them soak their brushes instead of giving everyone a cup so nothing got spilled.

The paint went looking like water but as it dried, the kids could see it started to look like snow and ice on their houses. You can also add food coloring but it wouldn't have shown up well on our brown construction paper.  This project was inspired by an Oriental Trading craft kit that is adorable. The stickers we used were left over from Halloween. Could you tell?