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, November 21, 2016

Sunflower Story and a Craft

A few weeks ago, I held a Sunflower Story and Craft program for kids aged 2-5.

I read:

We sang along to Raffi's version of "Mr. Sun" and danced with scarves. 

I borrowed my daughter's flower builders play set and the kids were also able to play with the pieces from my 5 Little Flowers flannel board. 

We made foam sunflowers and crows from an Oriental Trading craft kit they appear to no longer sell, but there is an even cuter idea in from Artsy Toddler Storytimes for a more homemade one. 

Fingerplays and Action Rhymes: 

One Little Seed*
One little seed is all I've got
Watch me plant it in my pot.
With sunlight and a rainshower,
What do you know?
Up pops a sunflower.


Five Little Flowers (from PreschoolEducation.com)
One little flower had nothing much to do,
Out popped another one, then there were ________. 

Two little flowers were smiling at the bee,
Out popped another one, then there were _________. 

Three little flowers were growing by the door,
Out popped another one, then there were __________. 

Four little flowers were glad to be alive,
Out popped another one, then there were __________.


Little Flower Open Up (from Artsy Toddler Storytimes)
Little flower open up (Start crouched down and then begin to stand)
Open up your petals bright (Open up arms to the side)
Swaying in the sunshine light (Sway side to side)
Little flower in the night, (Put arms back to sides)
Closing up your petals tight (Bring arms back in and hug self)


*I adapted this from a rhyme accompanying pop-up counting puppets from Discount School Supply. I wanted it to make it more about sunflowers. I didn't actually use the puppet. 

Monday, November 07, 2016

Flannel Friday Roundup for November 11, 2016

I'm taking over the hosting of this week's Flannel Friday roundup due to a technological problem over on Sharon's blog. If you're participating in this week's roundup, please leave a comment below and I will compile all the entries. I will delete your comment after I get your link in the roundup. :)

Thanks!
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Keith has Jelly in a Bowl and I adore his Kawaii-style felt characters. So distinctive and beautiful!

Jennifer has Five Nervous Turkeys wearing costumes to avoid being Thanksgiving dinner.

Kate has 5 Rubber Ducks and it's good clean fun!

Kathryn blew me away with her original rhyme called Giraffe Has a Snack

Monday, September 26, 2016

Family Fort Night!

A fort built by one our patron families!
A few weeks ago, we host our first Family Fort Night! We borrowed liberally from bloggers like Marge, Erin, and Amy, so I want to thank everyone for sharing their program ideas. It was a big hit here too! It was a wonderful, simple program and reminded me that those are the best ones! We plan to do this again next year.

We started our program at 5:45pm, 45 minutes after we closed for the day. Another co-worker let attendees into the building and I greeted them in the Community Room with gift bags. Our gift bags included walking s'mores (Teddy Grahams, mini-marshmallows, and chocolate chips), a mini-flashlight, and a map of our town on the outside. The design was inspired by an Oriental Trading idea.

At about 6:00 pm, I read Creepy Carrots to the group as they finished off their snacks in our community room. Then we wandered over to the children's department where they had free reign to build forts using the stacks, tables, chairs, etc. It was really amazing to see what they came up with. We provided clothespins (traditional and metal) and masking tape, as well as 5-6 extra sheets for anyone who forgot to bring their own. We gave the families 5 minutes to pick out some books to read together in their forts before the official building began, figuring it would be easier to navigate the stacks without tents and forts in the way. Then everyone had about 30 minutes to build before the program ended at 7:00 pm.


Monday, August 29, 2016

STEM + Stories: Earth Science

Birdseed Mining
I really enjoyed this month's STEM + Stories! We did two activities I found on the American Geoscience Institute's lesson plans for Earth Science Week*. I made fossils from plaster of Paris (SO messy but fun and some of the fossils did dry too hard for the kids so we had to add more water during the program) and we did a birdseed mining activity. I had the kids wear eye protection for both activities as there was dust involved.  Everything was pretty much as described in their lesson plans but I did want to blog about this program because their lesson plans for Earth Science Week are all awesome, dirt cheap (pun intended), and they have ideas for elementary through high school. So this is a great resource to have in your pocket.
Homemade fossil

I read three books: Gold Fever by Verla Kay to go with the mining activity, A Rock is Lively by Diana Hutts Aston, and If Rocks Could Sing by Leslie McGuirk. I did introduce the California Gold Rush era a little bit to give some historical context as the age range for this program is 5-12. Most of the attendees were in the middle of that range. This book has some great cross-curriculum uses in a school setting as it is written in rhyme. Worth checking out if you can track down a copy.

I had a lot of fun with this program series and plan to offer it again next summer!

*Earth Science Week is October 9-15 in 2016. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

"I Love Sailing" Draw and Tell

I wrote an easy draw and tell story for my Sail Away program this week and I wanted to share it for Flannel Friday. I hope you like it! It's so simple to draw--mostly lines and circles and you finish with a sailboat! 

This week, our host for Flannel Friday is Kate at Felt Board Magic.

Finished sailboat

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sail Away: Boat Storytime with a Craft and STEM activities

Sail Your Boat Station
Every three years, my fair city participates in the Tall Ship Celebration. This festival is a huge deal and it's one of my favorite recurring events around town. And we have a lot of cool events in the summer, so that's really saying something. I wanted to do a simple program for the Monday night before the festival this year to have something to get the 2-6 year olds pumped up for those tall ships!

Sail Away Story and a Craft Program: 
Monday, July 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm


Craft: Pool Noodle Sailboats
Supplies: Pool noodles cut into approximately 12-15 pieces (I used a serrated kitchen knife), drinking straws cut into 3 inch lengths, craft foam for the sales, hole punches, scissors.

Book List: 
Sail Away by Donald Crews
Little Tug by Stephen Savage
On the Boat by Cynthia Amoroso

Songs, Rhymes, and Storytelling: 
Let's All Do a Little Clapping --my storytime opening song

Let's all do a little clapping!
Let's all do a little clapping!
Let's all do a little clapping,
And spread a little cheer. 
(we clapped, tapped, drove our boats, swayed like a sailboat, etc.)

Row, Row, Row Your Boat (traditional and "screaming" verse)

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream,
If you see a crocodile,
Don’t forget to scream.

"Zoom Down the River" (I learned "Zoom Down the Highway" from Jbrary and adapted it to be about a boat)

Zoom down the river
Zoom down the river
Zoom down the river
Sink or Float Station
FAST!

Up goes the drawbridge
Up goes the drawbridge
Up goes the drawbridge
Our ship is going past.

Down goes the drawbridge.
Down goes the drawbridge.
Down goes the drawbridge.
Our ship has past at last.

Zoom down the river
Zoom down the river
Zoom down the river
FAST!

"I Love Sailing" Draw and Tell (I also wrote a draw and tell story for this program! It will be posted on Friday!)

Activity Signs:
We had two stations: One where kids could blow their sailboats across a bucket using straws and another where they tested household and office objects to see whether they would sink or float.

I made the signs for the activity stations using Canva. You are welcome to use them yourself. Download them here. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

STEM + Stories: Robotics

Ozobot in action
This summer I am doing a monthly program called Stories + STEM. Each meeting, we'll have a different topic and we will read a story or biography and then have different stations with activities related to the topic. This program is for ages 5-12 and I limited it to 40 kids at a time. June's topic was robotics.

I read two books: Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley and Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World by Mac Barnett. Then I divided the children into three groups and they visited three stations in a rotation.

Two of the stations were competition robots from the local high schools' robotics teams. The children were able to drive the robots, learn how they were built, and ask questions of the students on the teams. The coaches were also there supervising.

The last station was run by one of the robotics coaches who brought a set of 8 Ozobots to the program and showed the kids how to program them using paper and colored markers. I was not familiar with Ozobots before the program and they are so cool!

This was a simple program to put together and made an awesome community collaboration between us and our nearest public and Catholic high schools. The robotics coaches actually reached out to us to hold a program during Robotics At Your Library Week, a Michigan initiative to have robots visit every library in the state between June 19-June 25 this year. We had 78 people attend, including parents and grandparents. We are hoping to repeat this program (or one very similar) next year! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Finger Play: Five Lovely Starfish

I wanted to share with everyone a really simple but fun fingerplay I spotted in Artsy Toddler Storytimes, which is my favorite resource for planning my 2 and 3 year old storytimes. In that book, this rhyme i sused as a flannel board rhyme but I decided to adapt it as a fingerplay. I like it because it's simple enough I can actually memorize the words. I adapted it on the fly to use some fun vocabulary words that are synonyms for "big" so each verse was a little different.

Here are the words as given in the book:

Five Lovely Starfish
Five lovely starfish sitting on the beach,
Along came a wave and now there are four.
(count down to zero)

So what I did was insert a different word in front of wave like: big, giant, huge, enormous etc. I used my left hand to count and made my right arm a wave with a rolling motion that knocked my left fingers ("starfish") down. 

Monday, May 02, 2016

Minecraft Madness


The one program I knew I wanted to do over Spring Break was something Minecraft-related. We do have 10 public computers in my children's department but I knew that wouldn't be enough to meet demand so I decided to plan an "unplugged" program. I was fortunate to find tons of awesome ideas online and I actually think I have enough ideas that I didn't use this time around for another program. Maybe this summer?

Our program was a drop-in, all ages program held the Monday of Spring Break from 2-3:30pm. We had 95 people attend and I received some really kind compliments.  To decorate the room, I used black tablecloths. I also hung purple and black streamers and a Minecraft portal sign in front of our program room door.

We had two crafts, both from Kerry Ann Morgan's AWESOME blog post. What I loved about these crafts was their simplicity. We did the Minecraft creeper magnets and the Minecraft sticker crafting project. I overheard one of the boys say, "This is the simplest magnet I've ever made and (dramatic pause) THE BEST!"

The design your own realm craft required the sticker printouts, construction paper, scissors, and markers.

The creeper magnets required glass tiles from Dollar Tree, glue sticks, magnets, and the creeper face printouts.

We also had three games to play. I made 6 creepers out of dry floral squares from our local Dollar Tree store. I left them all in their plastic. Then I printed off a Creeper face image and duct taped it to the front of each square. Then I covered the remainder of the square with the same green duct tape (which we already had, score!). They turned out pretty cool and this seemed like the sturdiest way of doing it. This game was inspired by the Knock It Down Creeper game from this blog, but I made it a bowling game instead of a bow and arrow game.
I also made a Pin the Tail on the Pig Game. I made a Creeper helmet for the kids to wear instead of a blindfold (faster!).One of my coworkers made a Minecraft scavenger hunt so we had that out during the program as well.


Last but not least, I set up the library's portable green screen set up for a photo booth. I printed off these masks, laminated them, and attached them to drinking straws and let the kids take photos with their own devices. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Going to the Pet Store (take 2)

A few years back, I shared a rhyme called "Going to the Pet Store" and it remains a staple of my storytimes today, particularly my outreach and school visits. At my local Meijer, I found a set of puppets that I thought were the perfect size for bringing along with me when I go out into the community to do storytimes, especially because they come in an adorable carrying case.

Here's the rhyme again:

Going to the Pet Store
Going to the pet store,   (Slap your knees to the beat)
Gonna find a pet. 
I wonder what to get? 
Hmmmmm...  (Scratch your head) 
(Look in the house and pull out a puppet)

(I actually bought three sets of these puppets on clearance for $9.99 each. I've already blogged the pirate and ocean animals with a rhyme I whipped up for them, so please check those posts out too!)

This week's Flannel Friday is being hosted by Kate at Felt Board Magic