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, March 31, 2011

Spring Events Bulletin Board

Here is our spring events bulletin board. It is definitely adding some very needed cheer to our hallway (wood paneling, baby!). We are in the process of hiring painters to do the entire children's department so that is very exciting. Can't wait to share some before and after pictures!

Storytelling: Scat the Cat

Today I'd like to share my version of the glorious storytime favorite Scat the Cat!

(The words and patterns this week are from Dr. Jean)
Pattern and Directions

I have even made up everything the kids and their families would need to tell the the story and given it to them as their craft project to decorate. Honestly, the best part is the chorus: I'm Scat the Cat! I'm sassy and fat and I can change my color just like THAT!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Color Crayons

Here's a little something different for this week's #FlannelFriday: a crayon puzzle. To make this, I bought a foam puzzle at the dollar store and stuck Velcro dots on the back. I use this with school-age kids who are learning/able to read. The kids each get a foam crayon and I ask whoever has the red crayon to come up and put it on its spot.

Here's a rhyme you can use also:
5 little crayons waiting in a row.
The first one said "I'm red you know!"
The second one said "I'm green like a tree"
The third one said "I'm blue as the sea."
The fourth one said "I'm as yellow as the sun."
The fifth one said "Being purple is fun!"
Five little crayons as happy as can be,
Coloring pictures with you and me!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Storytelling: "BINGO!" by Dr. Jean

I thought it would be fun to post storytelling ideas. For the inagural post, I am highly recommending Dr. Jean's story "Bingo" a tell and draw story.

The gist of the story is that Bingo has run away, but don't worry, (spoiler alert) he is found at the end. You start by drawing:

 and at the end you will have drawn:

I have told this story to preschool classes, my regular storytime group, and even a Cub Scout troop, and all have enjoyed it. "Bingo" would be great for a beginning librarian to learn the art of storytelling. It's easy to draw and memorize, making it a wonderful story to tell any audience.

When I tell this one at an outreach visit, I bring a portable white board (and a marker, obviously) with me. You could also bring a chalkboard and chalk, but that's a little messy for me. A big sheet of chart paper and a marker is a good substitute.

This story pairs perfectly with that old classic song about a dog named Bingo. Although you might not want to use what Wikipedia claims is an additional verse:

The farmer lov'd a cup of good ale,
He call'd it rare good stingo,
The farmer lov'd a cup of good ale,
He call'd it rare good stingo.
S—T with an I — I with an N,
N with a G — G with an O;
He call'd it rare good stingo:
He call'd it rare good stingo

Other good storytime elements are Pete the Cat and "Soft Kitty" from the Big Bang Theory.

Detailed instructions are here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Dewey Signs

I've steadily been working on more Dewey end-cap signs for our kids' nonfiction section and I am pretty proud of how they brighten up my children's department.:

I will try to remember to get a picture of all the signs hanging together next time I have my camera at work.

Cartridges Used:
Create-a-Critter (animals)
Paper Doll Dress Up (airplane)
Sesame Street (font) ---I like this font much better than the font I used to make the first batch, but I'm definitely not going to remake them all just to change the font! Maybe as the signs wear out I will redo them, but that's definitely years in the future. Who knows what technology we will have then?
The mixer is a freebie from SVGCuts, a great blog for cutting machine users.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Oregon Trail" Bulletin Board

My best friend is a middle school English and social studies teacher. She wanted to make an Oregon Trail bulletin board on the Cricut, so she came over. I think it looks awesome! J's students are so lucky to have her (and so am I!).

I tried to get her to make little tombstones ala the Oregon Trail video game from our youth, but she seemed to think kids today wouldn't get the reference for "Died of Cholera." Oh well.

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Little Mouse, Little Mouse"

One of my favorite storytime bloggers is Melissa and she has begun a regular "Flannel Friday" series on her blog. I was inspired to share my version of "Little Mouse" today.

Sometimes I am amazed at how well the smallest things go over at storytime. I began doing this "Little Mouse" game after reading about it on several blogs and while I was skeptical, it has turned into a huge hit. Which just shows you how much I know.

If you are not familiar with "Little Mouse," it is ridiculously simple. You simply make a bunch of houses of different colors and hid a felt mouse behind them. Then you teach the kids to chant "Little Mouse, Little Mouse! Are you in the ____(color)____ house?"

Currently we have 9 different houses. I have been meaning to make a 10th. Here they are:

And here is our dear friend, Little Mouse:

I used a coloring page image to cut out the shapes of the houses and then embellished them with puffy paint. Puffy paint isn't the easiest material to work with so the windows and doors aren't perfect, but such is life. Maybe Little Mouse's neighborhood has shoddy construction. Little Mouse I made freehand. 

This game is genius because it is extremely interactive and anyone can do it. It works with 1 kid and it works with 30. I adapt it for a one or two family storytime by having the parents hide the mouse for the kids and then the kids hide it for the parents. 

"Little Mouse" is a great game to play as part of your opening ritual, because you can do it as many times through as the kids want. It is a great way to break in a new crowd at an outreach event and let them get to know. The kids love the suspense and it gets them used to interacting with you.

There are a few different ways to mix this up:

If we have a big crowd, I point to a certain colored house while we are chanting and the kids guess that house. If we have a smaller crowd (say only 3 kids), I let them come up and take a turn at saying the rhyme and then picking a house.

I have been meaning to make another Little Mouse and hide two. Or what if I play a "trick" on the kids and hide something other than a mouse? Sometimes I worry that the mouse won't be home at all!
You can have the kids count the remaining houses. You can talk about what color house the kids live in. And if they have mice there.

They like to come in and tell me which house they think Little Mouse is hiding behind. Sometimes they are right!

Just a little note about our flannel board. The one shown here is the big one that lives at my regular branch. I love it, so if you're in the market, definitely check out this one. I also have a double-sided portable felt storyboard that I bought from Etsy.

Wow, I honestly cannot believe I had that much to say about the world's easiest felt board story.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Give a Hoot" Bulletin Board

Here is our new bulletin board for spring: "Give a Hoot: Read!" It was desperately needed to replace our winter board "Let it Snow" because frankly we have had enough. My mistake encouraging it to begin with.

Here are some more close-ups:


The owls were cut from Create a Critter and the branches are freehand from posterboard. Text font is Seasame Street's Sunny Day. This is my favorite one so far.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Police Officer and Fire Fighter Storytimes

One of my favorite things to do at storytime is to have a "celebrity guest." I've noticed that attendance starts to fall off a little in spring when the weather gets nicer, so I've found that one way to guarantee a good sized-crowd is to have a special storytime. Having a police officer or firefighter drop by storytime is a lot of fun!

I know I had a hard time finding books that appealed to this age group so I thought I would share what has worked for me. Don't forget to check your nonfiction section as well as looking through the catalog for picture books. I found some great nonfiction books that explained in simple language what community helpers do.

Another advantage of hosting these storytimes for me is to get to know the police officers in our community better. We are all public servants. Don't forget that police officers and fire fighters are taxpayers and voters too--just like us!

Police Officer Storytime
A Day with Police Officers by Jan Kottke A good preschool nonfiction overview
The Police Cloud by Christoph Niemann You could also use this for firefighter storytime
Police Officers on Patrol by Kersten Hamilton; illustrated by R.W. Alley Rhyming text. The kids loved to yell "Go, Mike, Go!" with me.
Shhhh! Everybody's Sleeping by Julie Markes; illustrated by David ParkinsAlso a great source for ideas for other community helpers you could invite to come read  (doctors, bakers, farmers, etc.). The kids were very excited to go outside and check out the patrol car, so I used this one to settle them down a little so we could get through the stories.

For a craft, we made badges out of a coloring sheet and taped them to the kids' shirts. This was a big hit.

Firefighter Storytime
Firefighter Ted by Andrea Beaty and Pascal Lemaitre I love Ted, but this might be a little long for your group
The Trucker by Barbara Samuels I love this book. Lola reminds me of my cat.
Firefighters! Speeding! Spraying! Saving by Patricia Hubbell; illustrated by Viviana Garfoli 
If I Were a Firefighter by Thomas Kingsley Troupe
Fire Fighter Piggy Wiggy by Christyan and Diane Fox

For a craft, we made fire fighter helmets out of construction paper. Adorable.