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, 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?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reindeer Program 2014: Winter Wreath Craft

Remember last year's reindeer program?  It's an annual event for us and a great way to celebrate the winter season too even if it is freezing cold. Rather than rehash all the details, I thought I would share our craft project for this year with you: winter wreaths!

We used Ellison dies for the mittens, snowflakes, snowperson. The smaller shapes are foam stickers probably from Oriental Trading (where the idea for this craft came from). We also used a circle die cut on our Ellison machine to punch out the middle of 450 paper plates for this craft. A ribbon loop is taped on for hanging. One of our pages used markers to decorate the mittens. Cute, right? In 2013, we did two crafts and I am glad we cut back to one for this year because we had 784 people attend this program and I can't imagine trying to squeeze everyone in. We still had two stations but they had the same craft at both.

In lieu of a second craft, we added a game from Oriental Trading: 
Gingerbread House Bean Bag Toss (smaller than some of our similar games but cute and decent quality)

And whipped up a quick photo booth using snowflake bulletin board paper, an Olaf and Sven standee, and some props from around the children's department (and some we printed off online)

Meet our reindeer friend, Nick, age 8. No snow this year! 


Friday, December 05, 2014

Here Stands a Lovely Christmas Tree Flannel Board

Today is Flannel Friday's Holiday Extravaganza, hosted by our fearless leader, Mel! I won't be doing a Christmas (or winter holidays) storytime, but I spotted this rhyme in Easy-To-Make Puppets And How to Use Them by Fran Rottman (1978 edition) and I thought I would share a quick clip art flannel board:

Here Stands a Lovely Christmas Tree
Here stands a lovely
Christmas tree,

Christmas tree, Christmas tree,
Here stands a lovely Christmas tree, 
So early in the morning. 

Here is a horn for the 
Christmas tree,
Christmas tree, Christmas tree,
Here is a horn for the 
Christmas tree,
So early in the morning. 

The original words used drums and lights for additional verses. I decided not to do the drum (couldn't find a clip art piece I liked quickly enough) but added a star and gifts instead. I thought this would be cute for a home or religious setting like a Sunday school class.

I used Open Clip Art Library clip art. Since all of the images are licensed for Creative Commons sharing, here is the file I made. The first two pages are the patterns and the third page is a sample completed tree. Happy holidays! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tween Book Club: Smile

For November, my tween program was a book discussion of one of my favorite graphic novels Smile by Raina Telgemeier. Only three kids joined me for this program, sadly, but they really enjoyed the book and we had a fun discussion. They also liked the craft (which I think would be a fun passive program activity on its own) and YouTube videos.

As the kids came in, I gave them a word search I made featuring characters from the book (PDF). This was to keep them busy for a few minutes and served as a sort-of ice breaker.

I put together a playlist of neat YouTube videos featuring Telgemeier to show the kids and compiled discussion questions from The Mother Daughter Book Club (PDF) and Pierce County Library System (DOCX).The playlist also includes the video on how to play this month's Minute to Win It game: Baby Blockin'. The kids each got a plastic dinner plate and 5 wooden baby blocks and had 60 seconds to balance them on top of their head.

Our craft was emoji portraits. I found emoji pumpkin decorating patterns on a lifestyle blog and then I created a quick circle background (PDF) using the basic shapes drawing tool in Publisher. I printed these on yellow paper to match the book's cover but any color would be fun. I made sure there was enough for everyone to do more than one portrait if they wanted.

Here's my portrait. I call it "Stressed Out and Wearing a Tiny Hat": 
My Emoji Portrait


Monday, November 17, 2014

Minute to Win It Round 3

Time for another Minute to Win It program!  We had one parent mention to us that one of our local districts is now getting out of school so late that it is hard to make it to the library in time for our 4:00 programs. We will be looking at pushing them back a little bit later to try and make things more convenient for our families.

But! Onto the fun part--the games! We have done two Minute to Win It programs in the past and they are such a joy to plan. I love seeing our normal supplies get twisted into games and I also enjoy the logistical aspects of putting this program on. Each one requires a slightly different set up.

The games I chose this time around were: Stack Attack, Floatacious, Back Flip, Don't Blow the Joker, and A Bit Dicey.  I put together a YouTube playlist so you can learn the rules:



Here's a list of the supplies you need for each game (per player in each round):

Back Flip: 6-8 pencils
Stack Attack: 28 plastic cups (video says 36, whichever works better for you)
Don't Blow the Joker: 1 soda pop bottle (you can use new ones or wash ones out of the recycling and fill with water) and a deck of cards
A Bit Dicey: Popsicle sticks and 6 die
Floatacious: 6 soda pop cans with the tabs removed, a bowl filled with water, and a plastic plate

I like to make signs for the stations because it makes it look more polished.




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Librarian Approved Horse Picture Books

A while back, I asked on the Flannel Friday Facebook page for recommendations for good (non-historical fiction preferred) horse picture books. I've been doing a huge weeding project and I noticed our horse books circ like crazy (some over 100 times!!) and get pretty worn. But I always seem to have a hard time finding things of high quality that are still in print (not all of these are still in print, but I'm including them because there are Ways Around That.)  The good people in the Flannel Friday community always come through though and here's a list of what we came up with...

Horse Picture Books for Preschoolers

Brett, Jan. Fritz and the Beautiful Horses.
Cantrell, Charlie. A Friend for Einstein: The Smallest Stallion.
Dockray, Tracy. The Lost and Found Pony.
Doyle, Malachy. Horse.
Goble, Paul. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses.
Haas, Jessie. Appaloosa Zebra: A Horse Lover's Alphabet.
Hart Addy, Sharon. When Wishes Were Horses.
Hoban, Russell. Rosie's Magic Horse.
Hubbell, Patricia. Horses: Trotting! Prancing! Racing!
Kumin, Maxine. Oh, Harry! 
Jeffers, Susan. My Chicoteauge Pony.
Lawson, Dorie. Tex.
Lewin, Ted. Stable.
Markle, Sandra. Race the Wild Wind.
Provensen, Alice. Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm.
--The Year at Maple Hill Farm
Rash, Andy. Are You a Horse?
Schindel, John. Busy Horsies.
Smee, Nicolai. Clip Clop.
-- Jingle Jingle.
--Splish Splash.
Wilson, Karma. Horseplay.
Yolen, Jane. Hush Little Horsie.

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Turkey Finger Puppet Rhyme

I won't be doing a Thanksgiving storytime this year, but I spotted this rhyme in Easy-To-Make Puppets And How to Use Them by Fran Rottman (1978 edition) and I thought I would share:

The Turkey
"Gobble, gobble,"
Says the turkey.
"Soon 'twill be
Thanksgiving Day--
Will you eat me? 

How you treat me! I will run away." 

I found a quick turkey finger puppet to pair it with.

This week is Flannel Friday's Thanksgiving Extravaganza and Miss Mollie is hosting! Happy Thanksgiving flannel-making to everyone! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five Superheroes

A few months ago, I weeded a book by Rachel Isadora called 123 Pop, a counting book featuring illustrations in the pop art style. The pages were beginning to fall out but I thought I could use them for a few flannel boards, especially with the 2015 summer reading program theme "Every Hero Has a Story." 

I found a rhyme on Jbrary called 5 Superheroes and I love it! It pairs perfectly with Isadora's superheroes. If you don't happen to have a used copy of this book to repurpose, I spotted some cute superheroes on Open Clip Art. So, here we go! 

The words are: 
5 superheroes ready to fly
Here comes the villain, Stop that guy!This superhero can save the day.Off (s)he flies - up, up, and away!
Count down from 4, 3, 2, 1



I still haven't decided whether I want to use the pieces as a magnet board or with felt glued on the back. And they have to be laminated still too! 

This week's Flannel Friday is hosted by Hannah at Lovin' the Library

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Storytime Rescue: Emergency Program Planning

I have been working on developing a contingency plan for if I have to cover a storytime at my or another branch in an emergency. I have pulled some books from my branch's professional storytime collection as well as my personal collection at home that can work well with a wide variety of ages and that I am comfortable reading to an unknown audience. I also do a lot of these books at my regular storytimes and preschool visits.

The books that I have set aside for this are:

  • Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
  • Hi, Pizza Man by Virginia Walter
  • Cows in the Kitchen by June Crebbin
  • It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw

I also included some well known songs that encourage participation:

  • If You're Happy and You Know It
  • The More We Get Together
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
I did not include any recorded music because in a pinch I don't want to mess around with an unknown CD player (let alone try to find it at a different branch!)

I also do Little Mouse and my Bingo draw and tell. I have a portable whiteboard that tucks easily into a box or tote bag. If scarves are available, I'll do a few simple rhymes like Popcorn Kernels.

For baby storytimes, I rely strongly on material I learned from Mel's Desk and Jbrary. I have not regularly done a baby storytime since about 2011 so when I have to cover other people's baby storytimes, I find it easiest not to also attempt to learn anything new. I find storytime flows best when the material is really familiar to the presenter and, thus, I don't worry about introducing new and innovative stuff when I am just filling in.

So when I did a baby storytime a few months ago, it looked something like this (again, relying on Mel's genius and traditional songs):

Note: I adapted this image from Open Clip Art. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Announcing Michigan's KidLib Unconference 2015!

Save the date, friends! The MIKidLib Unconference will take place on Friday, April 24, 2015 in Kalamazoo. Any future/current/retired library type person interested in youth services is invited to join us whether you live in Michigan or are willing to come visit! Last year we had 95 attendees (in February!), and I know there are tons of wonderful libraries on Michigan's West Coast, so I expect to see a great turnout again.

Thank you to the Kalamazoo Public Library for graciously hosting this event. Registration will begin in January but you can mark your calendars be they print or digital now. Our official hashtag is #MIKidLib15 if you're on Twitter.

Also I'm super proud of how the website (my baby!) turned out-- thanks to an awesome Google Sites template-- so please OOH and AAAH.