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, December 09, 2010

What else can I do in storytime: Puppetry!

This is post #4 in my series of other activities to incorporate into your storytimes. We also talked about music, creative dramatics, and parachute activities.

Puppetry
There are lots of fun ways you can incorporate all kinds of puppets, from stick puppets you make yourself and the kids can wave during the story to putting on an actual puppet show. (A great book for one person puppet shows designed for storytime is Puppet Plays Plus: Using Stock Characters to Entertain and Teach Early Literacy, which allows you to use pretty much any puppets you have access to at home or in your library.) You can also perform simple puppet shows of picture books like Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

What else can I do in storytime?: Creative Dramatics

This is post #3 in my What Else Can I Do in Storytime series. Previous Posts were on Music and Parachute Play. Today we will be talking about Creative Movement!


I have a set of Get Up and Go! dice from Discount School Supply and I really recommend them, although you. I roll a die and the kids make the shape of the letters. I start with the letters they can do by themselves and add the cards for letters they can make together (in groups of 2-3). One die I use this way and the other die has each side labeled with a different nursery rhyme. You can use them seperately on different days (or use the Letters die in preschool storytime and the Rhyme die in baby storytime) or you could use them together and have the older kids sing a rhyme in the shape of a letter. You could also have kids call out things that begin with the letter on the die.

Movement stories such as those in Helen Landalf's Movement Stories for Young Children: Ages 3-6 are a big hit with kids. The book is out-of-print but it is tortally worth tracking down a copy if you can find one through ILL or buying a used copy. They are fun and really involve the kids. I have used stories at my summer family storytimes as well as outreach visits to elementary schools.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

What else can I do in storytime? Music!

This is my 2nd post in my series called What else can I do in storytime? (Previous posts: Parachute Play!)

It's always fun to just get out the instruments and bang away, but if you're looking for some more structured activities, I highly recommend 101 Rhythm Instrument Activities for Young Children. You can use tambourines, triangles, and rhythm sticks just to name a few. I like to use egg shakers and here are some songs you can use:

Butter Boogie
Shake it up,
Shake it down,
Shake it, shake it all around.
Shake it high,
Shake it low,
Shake it, shake it to and fro.
Shake it over,
Shake it under,
Pretty soon we will have butter!

I Know a Chicken by Laurie Berkner (Off her Whaddaya Think of That CD)
(The kids will echo these lines)
Well, I know a chicken.
And she laid an egg.
Oh I know a chicken.
And she laid an egg.
Oh my goodness.
It's a shaky egg.
Shake 'em fast! (Repeat with different shaking directions/Slow/Up and Down/All around/Soft/Loud)

Alabama, Mississippi by Jim Gill (Off his Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes)
Alabama, Mississippi
Alabama, New Orleans.
Alabama, Mississippi
Shake it on down to New Orleans.
Shake, shake, shake, shake it baby (repeat 3x)
Shake it on down to New Orleans

Goin' to Kentucky
We're going to Kentucky, we're going to the fair
To see the senorita with the flower in her hair
Shake it shake it shake it,
Shake it like you care,
Shake it like a milkshake,
And shake it everywhere.
Shake it to the bottom,
Shake it to the top.
Now turn around and turn around
Until you make it stop.

Monday, December 06, 2010

What else can I do in storytime? Parachute!

I'm always looking for new non-reading activities to include in my storytimes, so this is the first post in a series of my favorite activities and resources for more ideas.

Parachute games
We generally sing a few songs that involve different parachute movements:

The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round (Turn the parachute around in a circle)
The kids on the bus go up and down (Lift the parachute up and down)
The door on the bus goes open and shut (Everyone walks into the middle and then back out)

If you're happy and you know it, shake the chute...
If you're happy and you know it, lift the chute...
If you're happy and you know it, spin the chute...

Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men,
He marched them up to the top of the hill (raise the chute)
And he marched them down again (lower)
And when they're up, they're up (raise)
And when they're down, they're down (lower),
And when they're only half-way up, (raise half-way)
They're neither up nor down (raise, lower).

I also have a set of 5 Little Monkeys puppets so we can do toss them on the parachute and do "Five Little Monkeys Jumpin' on the Bed."

There are lots of other ideas in Parachute Play by Liz and Dick Wilmes. When we're done singing, we let the kids run under the parachute and sit underneath while it floats to the ground. I'd love to hear some of your favorite parachute activities, so please love a comment!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Winter Bulletin Board

In honor of yesterday's first snow, here is a quick shot of our "Let it Snow!" bulletin board.

Have a great winter! 

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Puppet Show backdrops

I've blogged about my library's puppet shows before, but just to catch you up, the youth services staffers here have been performing puppet shows for decades. Our puppet shows are extremely popular and one of our most reliably-attended programs other than storytimes. I really enjoy the creative and technological challenges involved in staging them and always look forward to the next production.

I'm required only to do puppet shows during winter and spring breaks but I have taken to the idea of doing them seasonally. In the summer, we kicked off the reading program with "Under the Sea Stories." I chose 3 short puppet scripts and wrote introductions to them delivered by a pirate puppet.

For Halloween, we performed"The Princess & The Pumpkin" which is a twist on "The Princess & the Pea" written by Marilyn Lohnes. I originally intended to write an additional scene but ran out of time. I'm a big fan of Lohnes' books (Fractured Fairy Tales, where this script is from, and Storytime Puppet Zoo, my favorite)  because they include very simple puppet patterns which you can make in sew or no-sew (hot glue) variations. I hope she will write more!

There are six scenes in Lohnes's original script. I decided that the script necessitated 3 backdrops for how I wanted to stage it, but you could probably get away with one or two, depending on how you used props or relied on the audience's imagination. The play begins with a stormy night, continues in a bedroom, and then concludes on the next morning. I decided I want to show the exterior of the castle for the first and last scenes, and the interior for the bedroom.

First I sketched a basic idea of what I wanted my backgrounds to look like and then I looked to see what was available on the cartridges I already owned. Turns out, it was a lot, especially when you use a little creativitity and think about how else shapes could be used. Then I selected paper and made the cuts and assembled the backgrounds. Take a look!:

First backdrop (a stormy night):


Second backdrop (Inside a royal bedroom):





Last backdrop (sunny morning):

We just use posterboard for the backgrounds. I like that it is a hand/homemade approach. As a point of pride, I try to make as much of our materials as time allows. The look is less than polished, but we are not professional puppeteers either! My motto is "It doesn't have to be perfect! It just has to be done."
You could also use a Cricut to make puppets of paper or fabric, if you have the deep-cut blade. I would love to do The Nutcracker sometime, using the Paper Doll Dress Up cart for the puppets.