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!

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. :) 

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.