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!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Toddler Storytime: Bedtime Theme

We just had our last storytime until mid-June! The theme was bedtime. I had to use some of my second-choice books for this one due to a last minute decision to change my theme.

Pajama Time or The Going to Bed Book by Boynton Favorites at home or the library
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late or The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Willems Ditto
Goodnight Owl by Hutchins this one's on the longer side but the kids indulged me
Who's Yawning? by Bedford Very simple lift the flap book
Cows in the Kitchen by Crebbins I covered a storytime at a different branch this week so I threw this one in there since it was different kids than were there at my mice storytime

Scarf Rhyme:  This is the Way We Wash Our Hands
We did this right after reading The Pigeon Needs a Bath.

This is the way we wash our hands,
wash our hands, wash our hands,
This is the way we wash our hands,
when we get all dirty.
...toes, back, tummy, ears, face, hair

5 In The Bed 
Like 10 In the Bed, but better. Because shorter.

Five in the bed and the little one said,
"Roll over, roll over!"
So they all rolled over and one fell out.
Repeat with 4, 3, 2, 1, then:

Zero in the bed and the little one said,

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Toddler Storytime: Jungle Theme

Last week's theme at storytime was Jungle! This was one of my more successful storytimes lately, and I think everyone had a great time.

Seals on the Bus (Hort)
Head to Toe (Carle)
Yikes (Florczak)
We've All Got Bellybuttons (Martin) Basically the same kind of book as Carle's, but no one seemed to mind.

Chant Rhymes
I actually had this rhyme written down to do another week during the mice theme, and forgot to do it, so I figured I would change the animals to fit the jungle theme. It actually made it even sillier (original rhyme "I Have a Dog"  I learned from Artsy Toddler Storytimes and had a dog, cat, mouse, etc.) It's a call and response song (audience repeats after you), and we alternated clapping with keeping the beat on our laps. Well, I tried, but this is a lot for my brain to process so I goofed up a few times. Oh well!  I also thought you could do it with the motions I wrote below.

I Have a Giraffe
I have a giraffe.  Nod, like this a legit thing that you have a drummer giraffe at home.
He plays the drums.  Pretend to play the drums
He keeps me up.    Lift arms up. 
When bedtime comes. Fold your hands like you're pretending to sleep. 
With a rat-a-tat tat  Play the drums. 
Rat-a-tat-tat.  Play the drums. 

Then we did it again with elephant, tiger, zebra, whatever. You could change the instruments out, to better fit the animals too. Like an elephant that trumpets with a toot-a-toot, etc.

Scarf Rhymes
I've been experimenting with using the same scarf rhymes each week because it can be so hard to get good participation if the audience doesn't know what to expect. And truthfully I don't always have as much time to practice and learn theme-related rhymes as I would like. Here's two that I have been having a lot of success with though:

Shake the Mango Tree --I learned this from Sesame Street while home one day with my sick toddler. It's very catchy! We do it with a scarf in each hand, egg shakers work too. It's a call and response song, so have the audience repeat after you. Here's the words (each line is said twice before moving on to the next one):

Shake, shake the mango tree.  Shake your arms like a tree.
Mango yellow, mango green.  Hold one arm up and then the other. 
One for you, and one for me.  Point out and then in. 
Shake, shake the mango tree.  Shake your arms like a tree. 

Popcorn Kernels
(Tune: Frere Jacques)
Popcorn kernels, popcorn kernels. Wave the scarves in the air. 
In the pot, in the pot. Ball the scarves up in your fists. 
Shake them, shake them, shake them; shake them, shake them, shake them. Shake the scarves in your fists.
'Til they pop! 'Til they pop! Throw them in the air. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Toddler Storytime: Mice Theme

Here's a storytime I did a few weeks ago, on mice!

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (Wood)
Mouse Mess (Riley)
Cows in the Kitchen (Crebbin) There isn't a mouse in this book, but I had switched my theme at the last minute and decided to go with this book because I just love it.

Puppet Activity
Mice in a birthday present box


Hickory Dickory Dock
Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one, and down he ran
Hickory dickory dock.
Additional verses
The clock struck two, the mouse said BOO!
The clock struck three, the mouse said WHEEEE!
The clock struck four, there is no more;
Hickory dickory dock.

Tall as a Tree-- whole body movement, they liked this one a lot!
Tall as a tree
Wide as a house
Thin as a pin
Small as a mouse

Where are the Baby Mice
Where are the baby mice? Squeak, squeak, squeak Make fist and put behind back
I cannot see them. Peek, peek, peek. Shrug shoulders and begin to bring fist out. 
Here they come out of their hole in the wall. Show fist. 
One, two, three, four, five and that's all! Uncurl fingers one at a time. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

"Going to the Sweet Shop" Prop Rhyme

One quick announcement before we get into the actual post--I'm thrilled to have been chosen as this year's recipient of the Frances H. Pletz Award for Excellence in Service to Youth. I'd like to thank the Michigan Library Association for this honor as well as my family, co-workers, and friends for their support. And now back to our regularly scheduled content, a Flannel Friday post!

The other day I was working the reference desk and, as always seems to be the case, I started thinking about junk food. So I wrote this little rhyme, inspired by "Going to the Pet Store," I haven't used it myself yet, but I plan to chant the rhyme and then pull one of the treats out of this little bag.

Going to the Sweet Shop
Goin' to the sweet shop.
Gonna find a treat.
I wonder what to eat?

It might be hard to see in the photo, but that's a doughnut, ice cream cone, cookie, muffin, and chocolate bar. Those are play food pieces from a set my dad gave my daughter for Christmas. We lost the scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream that it came with (I think it's under the couch), so I substituted a head of lettuce (held in place with glue dots!).

This week's Flannel Friday roundup is hosted by my friend (and fellow Pletz winner) Lisa!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Disco Balls and Using What You Have

When I was a kid, someone gave me a disco ball for Christmas. Weird gift, but I loved it! It sat in my room for years and was the star of many teenage girl impromptu dance sessions. Last weekend,I found it in my basement during a spring cleaning binge and thought it would be fun to bring to one of our library dance parties. When I took it to work, I noticed a huge problem: 

At first I thought I would just buy some mirrored tiles at a craft store, but I mentioned this idea to a co-worker and she happened to remember that we had these strips of silver-on-both-sides foil (not sure exactly what kind--it's thinner than aluminium foil but that might work too.) leftover from some long-forgotten project.  
At first I wasn't thinking and thought I could just trim the strips to the size of the gap and hot glue them. Well, duh. A disco ball is a sphere and it wouldn't have looked right at all. So I realized that I would have to measure and cut tiles out of the strips. METRIC ALERT: These tiles are exactly one centimeter square. Perfect! A quick Google and I was able to find 1 cm graph paper. I printed it out and trimmed it to the size of the strips. I used double stick tape to adhere the graph paper to the foil and just snipped along the lines. 

When I had a pile of silver square tiles, I used more double stick tape to adhere them to the disco ball. I could have used hot glue but the pieces were so small and stuck to my hand, so I decided to try tape first and glue as a last resort. Luckily the tape is holding up well! 

I had also considered using foam as a backing for the foil so that the difference in thickness would not be noticeable, but after I stuck the first row on I realized it wasn't really noticeable at all, even in the light. And this will be used in the dark. 

All in all, it took less than 15 minutes to cover that gap. It would have taken longer to run out to the craft store and pick up mirror tiles. It was also a free product, using items we had saved just in case and tape! I'm pretty proud of how it turned out and I had fun doing it. This could also be a craft project for tweens or teens, using Styrofoam spheres for the shape and foil for the tiles. 

Here's the finished product (the white bit in the middle is the back of my phone case): 

Monday, April 07, 2014

Dr. Seuss Celebration

In March every year, all of our branches have a Dr. Seuss Celebration. One of the things I really enjoy about working in a multi-branch system is the ability to share ideas and actual materials. For this program we were able to borrow two games from our Auburn branch:

A "Roll a Lorax Game". Instead of felt, these are laminated paper. We actually made more on the day of by color copying some of the print outs and covering them with contact paper. If this game looks familiar, Katie made one for a previous Flannel Friday, so you may have seen it on her blog.

A fishing game which I dubbed "One Fish, Two Fish, YOU Fish" using ice fishing poles and cardstock fish that had paper clips attached before being laminated, which some of the moms in attendance (preschool teachers) marveled at the simple genius of.  One suggestion I would make for this game is to keep the tubs of fish separate. The ice fishing poles were very magnetic and got stuck together easily. They also stuck to the book cart I wheeled them into the room with, the steel beams in the wall, a filing cabinet I walked by, etc. etc. etc. I did have some trouble with the reels on the fishing poles getting jammed as well, so if you do a similar game, play with them a little so you can learn how to fix that if you're not a fishing nut. 

Both of these games were in the program room. Just outside of the program room, in the children's department itself, we had one librarian reading Dr. Seuss books out loud. We also had two crafts, a Dr. Seuss puppet and a silly hat. 

Here's the hat (basically one thick strip for the band, thinner ones going up and across the band, and Ellison cut outs to decorate), sorry it is so blurry: 

And here's the puppet: 

For about a month before the program, kids created "Who" characters to decorate our giant bulletin board. We also added homemade truffula trees inspired by Mrs. Lodge's library. We already had the foam plumbing insulation and we were able to use some of the teen department's yellow duct tape. We did not attempt to make the floral blooms but purchased them pre-flowering at a dollar store. 

Some of our animal friends got into the Seuss theme too:

We had this program from 4:30-6 on a Tuesday evening and 107 people attended. It was a fun, low-key atmosphere event. I was surprised how many people were there when I checked the counter at the end, because it was such a relaxed hour and a half. A good time! 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Thrive Thursday Roundup for April 2014

Here I am with the roundup for Thrive Thursday's April 2014 Edition. There is some great stuff here, so if you do school-age programs, you'll definitely be inspired.

Jennifer from In Short, I Am Busy shares her annual Spring Break T-Shirt Party. I would have been ALL about this during my elementary school days.

Kids love dinosaurs, so Marge's Dinosaur Program will be right up their alley. It's got a little bit of a storytime flavor, but with STEAM elements too. Great mix! Marge also sent in a great list of games and activities to perk up school age programs. I'm going to try BANG! with my next tween book club!

Speaking of STEAM, Cate has an awesome unprogram called Armchair Astronomy, which sounds amazing. Even though we have a planetarium a few blocks from my library, I may have to try this. The best part is you can adapt this format to so many different topics.

Speaking of STEAM, Jennifer has a fun math program to celebrate Pi Day. Put this on your lists for next March!

Carol Simon Levin invites you to check out multiple programming ideas for National Poetry Month (that's right now--April!) and an Earth Day program incorporating poetry. A double whammy!

Thrive Thursday's fearless leader, Lisa, held a 4-week Mercy Watson book club! It is my opinion that Mercy is grossly undervalued.

Sara shared a passive program developed last summer with the Awesome Box concept. I love the Awesome Box idea but couldn't figure out how to translate it to no-tech. Now I don't have to because she did it for me/us!

The Show Me Librarian was Lost in Space but her program was out of this world! Such a great mix of activities for kids in this event.

Kelly cooked up a no-bake cooking class for tweens, as well as an American Girl party celebrating Josefina.

Kathleen Larsen held a Homeschool Club meeting that revolved around the If You Give a Mouse books by Laura Numeroff and featured mad libs and the children illustrated their own book. I love this idea! (Hat tip to Marge for suggesting we include this post!)

Miss Sue wrote about how her Lego program showed her how much families can appreciate unstructured play time and the staff does not have hours of prep work either!

**I received a submission that I could not get to open from; it said I was not an invited reader. If this is your blog, I'd be happy to edit it in!