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!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Family Reading Night: Autumnal Bliss

My one loyal reader (Hi, Mom!) might remember that during the school year I do a monthly outreach program with the local public school time. It is called Family Reading Night and it is one of my favorite programs that I put on at my job, mostly because it gives me a chance to see a lot of my favorite kids (yes, I play favorites) in their school setting, but in a storytime environment.

It also means I get to pick out picture books that will work with kids older than three, which is a lot of fun. This month is October, so of course the theme was going to be related to fall and Halloween. This is one of my favorite times of year, so I was glad to get the opportunity to share some really great autumn stories with some really great kids, until, of course, the program was canceled due to a tornado watch for the area. But... for posterity, here's what MIGHT have been, had Mother Nature not interfered.

There is a hilarious collection of poems with scary elements called Monster Goose by Judy Sierra. My personal favorite is "Mary Had a Vampire Bat," which probably tells you a lot about me.
Lisa Desimini wrote a cute story about two mean witches who set out to ruin Halloween, but fortunately for the local children, fail miserably. Oops, spoiler alert! It's called Trick-or-Treat, SMELL MY FEET!
David Ezra Stein just came out with a new story about a bear who hsa never witnessed fall and is very distressed when he sees his first fallen leaf in the not-too-heartwarming book, Leaves. The hibernation theme complements Nancy Tafuri's The Busy Little Squirrel quite well. This could also work with a younger crowd, if adapted, due to the repetition.
Marty Kelley's classic Fall is Not Easy illustrates the distress that trees have with all the pressure put on them by the media to have the prettiest leaf colors.
Brand new this Halloween season is The Three Bears' Halloween by Kathy Duval, which I am going to recycle for storytime next week (which, as a mere coincidence, has a theme of "threes" and folktales--I swear, I do not pick the themes!).

While Kidz Bop is not really my favorite, they did put out a Halloween CD, which I was plannting to bring along for mood music during craft/snack time.

I'll be able to use some of these titles when Family Reading Night is rescheduled, but the "rain date" is after Halloween, so I will have to throw in a few late fall/Thanksgiving choices as well. C'est la vie.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

(Hu)mans' Best Friend

Woof! If you joined us for storytime this week, you learned all about (hu)man's best friend, the dog! Here are some great stories about canines:
Good Boy, Fergus by David Shannon
Buster by Denise Fleming (a little long for my story-time audience--mostly 3-year olds--but a cute story)
Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
How to be a Good Dog by Gail Page.
A Dog Needs a Boneby Audrey Wiood

And, of course, the classic Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion

There are also some cute activities you could play with kids. Why not put them through a "puppy training" class where they have to learn how to sit, stay, lie down, roll over, etc.? Or pretend that a puppy has hidden a bunch of socks and the kids have to help find them?

Our craft was this dog mask from Enchanted Learning. I'm pretty proud of the way mine turned out!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dino Rhymes at Storytime

When I announced this week's theme at last week's storytime, one of my regular girls came up to me and said, "But Miss Annie we just did DINOSAURS!" Well, we had just done dragons, and I tried to protest that they were beasts of a different feather, but she was not having any of my logic.

Good dinosaur stories:
Tyson the Terrible by Diane and Christyan Fox.
If the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight by Jane Yolen.
One I wish our library had: Dinosaur Stomp by Paul Stickland

A good song (with fun actions) is "I'm A Mean Old Dinosaur" (song to the tune of "I'm a Little Tea Pot"), which I found at Preschool Rainbow.org. Super cute.

I also made dinosaur feet out of cardboard that I cut in the shape of a dinosaur's feet (even though my co-worker said it looked more like a duck foot, honestly!), painted green, and then used book tape to apply a half-Kleenex box for the foot to go. It was pretty fun to see the kids walk like dinosaurs.

I also saw some cute dinosaur-themed activities at Kids Party Fun, which my Googling skills uncovered, and which I will be bookmarking for future storytimes. The February 2006 issue of LibrarySparks had some cute songs as well.

Quote of storytime:
Boy: "Annie, you're a saurus!
Me: "I am? Am I a librarosaurus rex?"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Swine Time @ Storytime

This week's theme is pigs. Of course, there are some great stories that feature "some pig(s)" to borrow a saying from E.B. White. I had a hard time narrowing down the list to these:

Today I will Fly by Mo Willems (my favorite picture book writer)
The Long Nosed Pig by Keith Faulkner.
If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff

I didn't read this one, but a great parent/child story would be You Are to Me by Rebecca Doughty.

Oh, and if you're wondering where a certain favorite porcine series character is on this list, I must confess that Olivia (by Ian Falconer) earned her own program earlier this year (not hosted by me due to a workshop I attended being held the same day) and so was left out of this program (and thus I could not blog about it!).

Sample Craft:

Gaming (unplugged) @ your library

I would like to thank my brother-in-law for introducing me to several games that I have been incorporating into the teen book club at this branch, which is really more of a teen advisory board (TAB) in terms of its incredibly loose organization and that we rarely talk about the book for more than 15 minutes.
The first game I played with them is already popular with the families in the area, and I know of several other libraries that utilize this game in teen events. It is, of course, Apples to Apples. We are actually running a programming-session long Apples to Apples Tournament (probably through Thanksgiving) at our weekly teen meeting. Most of the teens play individually, but several of them chose to pair off (generally the younger ones). There are some really good players. I like this game because it encourages creativity and silliness at a time in life when those qualities are not necessarily rewarded in teenagers' daily lives.
Yesterday I threw in a new game to mix it up a little bit, Fluxx. It was pretty chaotic in the room, as Fluxx is designed for no more than 6 players, and we had 12 (in teams of two). The neat thing about Fluxx is that the rules are always changing, so it stresses concentration and focus. It also has a huge element of strategic thinking, which the teens who stayed after the official end of Book Club to try and play against me decided to turn into "How can we play so Annie doesn't win?" I still won though. If I were making this a regular occurence, I would want to pick up another pack of cards or two, so we wouldn't all be playing one game and I could walk around and mingle a bit more.
I think next week we will try Nanofictionary, and I will probably let the teens who are more shy start a game of Fluxx while those brave enough for public performance wrestle with yet another game. I like the Nanofictionary says right on the box: "Some imagination required"