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, August 14, 2014

The Fish With the Deep Sea Smile

Happy Shark Week, everyone! I'm sharing an adaptation of "The Fish with the Deep Sea Smile"* I just made with Scratch. I have been learning Scratch for about a week now and this is the first project I have done completely on my own. The other projects have been from Teach Your Kids Computer Coding which may be the best book I have read ever. Seriously.  More on that another time.
Click here to watch!

Please consider this project a rough draft, but one I had a lot of fun working on. I'm very curious to see what you think! There's still a few things I want to tweak but I didn't want to miss the deadline for Sharon's Shark Week Roundup.

Two previously shared shark-themed ideas were Filmore Fish and Six Silly Sharks.

*Words source

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mascot Mania! Library Baseball Program

I love baseball! So I was very excited to have a program featuring the local minor league baseball team's mascot, Lou E. Loon. Luckily, my library had done this program before, about 2 years before I came here, so all I had to do was
pull things out of storage. Recycling program ideas is a great way to minimize planning time. You don't need to reinvent the wheel, I promise.

Program details:
Date and Time: Thursday, August 7 from 11-12
Age Range: All Ages/Family Program
Attendance: 86
Cost: Free, except for the craft materials

The biggest tweak was that the 2011 edition of this program was a Dance Party. We love our dance parties here but decided something more low-key was in order this summer. So we changed to a simple craft and meet and greet program. We also put out some inflatable games for the kids to play.

Our playlist--click to enlarge!
I couldn't resist putting together a baseball-themed playlist for background music though. I am ever so grateful to Zooglobble for this awesome list of baseball songs for kids. I was delighted to find many of the CDs were already in my branch's children's collection. My personal favorite is "Baseball" by Milkshake. You may notice I am more than OK with repeating songs! The music played over by the craft station.

The kids made a pennant for the craft out of construction paper and drinking straws. The mascot images were from a Loons coloring page and the baseball is a foam sticker from Oriental Trading.

We had two inflatable games, also from Oriental Trading, available for the kids to play. The first was a pitching game using baseball bean bags and the other a batting game. The batting game came with an inflatable tee but when we inflated it, the tee wasn't straight! I subbed in a large traffic cone that we already had. We actually put out a second traffic cone to stack them so we could raise and lower the height of the tee by adding or removing a cone. 

We also had a table where Lou E Loon could sit and sign autographs. The sign behind it was made for the last time we had this program. 

And here's Lou E in action, helping us out at the children's reference desk! 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Parachute Playtime Round Two!

As I did last summer, I did a parachute playtime program again this year in August. I incorporated a bunch of familiar songs and added some new ones as well. This year I used a lot of songs suggested by Lisa and Nicole, thanks ladies! I went with more recorded music this year as I have been slowly familiarizing myself with a lot more children's music due to having a little one of my own who loves to dance. So I had some favorites to pull from my own experience in addition to songs that I have used in previous programs with kids at the library.

My playlist in iTunes looked like this:
I added 10 seconds of silence in between songs in the hopes of regaining the kids' attention and being able to quickly dole out instructions. I downloaded a free MP3 of silence to accomplish this. It sounds ridiculous but it works! I also have used that MP3 to make a silent ringtone for my iPhone before since my iPhone did not come with that option. The silence was not critical to the success of the program but it adds a nice buffer and you can always skip to the next track if you're done talking earlier.

I whipped up a quick page of notes in Excel also, in case the parents or caregivers really liked a song (or songs) and wanted to know the title, musician, and CD, etc. I also added a column so that I could note what props were needed for each song so I could have a handy "to-grab" list. This version is probably easier to read (or print this one):

I had 12 children register for this program but only 8 attended. They did a great job though! I loved looking around the parachute and seeing so many smiling faces and hearing so many laughs. Last year I sang most of the songs myself, but using the recorded music this year really helped me to better focus on the kids and enjoying the program. It also flowed better since I had the list of activities set and could follow my paper copy. I had tried to alternate high energy activities with slower ones to keep the kids from getting too wild and it worked. I would do this program almost exactly the same in the future. I printed off extra copies of my notes for the caregivers and they all took one copy. Everyone had at least one song they wanted to look for in the library or on iTunes! It wound up being a really fun way to showcase our music CD collection. 

Our program was a Thursday morning at 11:15. I'd love to try it as a family program on a Saturday or weekday evening though. Someday I hope to invest in one of the giant parachutes and be able to play games with the older kids. How much fun would a parachute program for tweens be?! 

A few notes on the songs: 
We did "Shake My Sillies Out" and "Moving in a Circle" without actually touching the parachute as our warm up songs. I skipped "One Two Three Whee" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider". The most popular songs were "Sleeping Bunnies" and "I Hear the Water" which are both calmer songs, if you're looking for something a little more mellow to try with your parachute.

For "Sleeping Bunnies," I used some stuffed bunnies and told the kids that they were sleeping on the parachute, then we yelled "WAKE UP BUNNIES" and started to bounce them in between "Wake up soon... Hop little bunnies!" They loved this and we did it more than the 3 times I had planned. 

Friday, August 01, 2014

Flannel Friday: Little Pet in a Box

This week we did a pet-themed storytime for the last week of our summer session. I do not know how it got to be the last week already. I saw this adorable puppet rhyme on Jbrary's YouTube channel, and thought it would be perfect to introduce our pets theme, using this super cute dog puppet we have. 

As the Jbrary ladies pointed out, this rhyme adapts really well to whatever puppet-in-a-container set you may have. I think we actually do have the rabbit in the hat puppet they used but I found this one first. Here's the words I used: 

Little Pet in a Box
Little pet in a box, 
Sitting so still
Will it come out? 
Yes, it will!
It looks to the left.
It looks to the right. 
It looks straight ahead...
And pops out of sight! 

I decided not to name what kind of pet it was and let the puppy surprise the audience just to build some more anticipation. My group loved this and had me do it over and over! The puppet is Folkmanis

This week's Flannel Friday host is Library Village!