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, December 29, 2014

Flannel Friday Roundup for Friday, January 2nd!

I'm excited to be back hosting the first Flannel Friday Roundup for 2015.

Here are the submissions for your viewing pleasure:

Do you want to build a snowman? Lisa does and will show you how it's done.  A related post by Kathryn has some winter themed shapes for you to admire. 

Nikki has winter socks and snowflakes to share. 

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? Amy is planning a wonderful looking Sesame Street themed program and has a cute twist on Little Mouse featuring our favorite muppets. 

A new rhyme to me is the super fun One, Two, Three, BLOW that Katie found. This one seems perfect for when your toddlers just need to move at storytime. 

Speaking of rhymes, here's a Storytime prop favorite: a rhyme cube by Katie. 

Felt boards can be digital too! As with all things, there's an app for that. Here is a wonderful review by Katrina Bergen of the Felt Board Smoothie app posted at Little eLit. 

Speaking of tech at storytime, Pop Goes the Library is sharing an idea using conductive thread. SO cool! Definitely check this one out.


Next week's host is Lisa and it will be our Valentine's Day extravaganza! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Drive In Movie 2: The Sequel

So last year I threw a drive in movie and it was awesome. I set it up basically the same as last year, so I will direct you to my write-up of that for details. But this year, I had to take it up a notch, with personalized license plates!

I downloaded a license plate font (free!) and a license plate template (also free!) and all it cost the library was time it took me to type in 25 kids' names and a little bit of paper and ink. And how fun, seriously? The parents went nuts for this.

This year, I showed Don't Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus, thanks to a suggestion from Sarah. The kids loved it, gleefully shouting "NO!" at all the right places. 

This is such a fun program to host and a good way to use up leftover craft supplies. It might be one of my favorites that we hosted all year long. I'm planning to do a "Fly-In Movie" in the spring and we will make rocket ships out of cardboard boxes. Can't wait! 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Winter Wonderland Storytime

I held a special "winter wonderland" storytime outside of our regular storytime. I wanted to be able to do some things we don't have time or space for during my regular storytimes. I held this program in mid-December but specifically did not include any references to Christmas or other winter holidays. Even though this is Michigan, we had basically no snow the whole week of this program.

We did the following rhyme to start:
Let's All Do A Little Clapping
Let's all do a little clapping (Repeat 3x)
And spread a little cheer.
..tapping (on the floor), waving, etc.

Everyone participated in this action rhyme and I'm toying with making it part of my opening routine when regular storytimes resume in January.

Then we did Snowball, Snowball on the flannel board, which was a perfect transition into our book, Snowballs by Lois Ehlert. After the story, we did a few scarf rhymes including one that I adapted to better fit the winter theme (original words have rain instead of snow):

Snow on the Grass
Snow on the grass,  Shake your scarf on the floor. 
Snow on the trees,   Shake your scarf above your head. 
Snow on the roof,    Make a roof with the scarf  held stretched flat above your head. 
But not on me! AAAAA! Drop the scarf on your head. 

Then I read Jingle, Jingle by Smee. I used a bell when the text said "jingle jingle". Next time I would skip a second book as we had a big group (48 people) and the younger ones were starting to wander. I had planned to do Three Little Snowman Riding on a Sled but I skipped that. I'll save it for my regular storytime group in 2015.

Then we moved into our craft project: paper gingerbread houses! I used an Ellison die cut of a house, then the kids added candy and snowflake foam stickers. Then, they painted around the shapes with Special Snow Paint (Epsom salt and water mixed) with a foam brush. I went around and let them soak their brushes instead of giving everyone a cup so nothing got spilled.

The paint went looking like water but as it dried, the kids could see it started to look like snow and ice on their houses. You can also add food coloring but it wouldn't have shown up well on our brown construction paper.  This project was inspired by an Oriental Trading craft kit that is adorable. The stickers we used were left over from Halloween. Could you tell?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reindeer Program 2014: Winter Wreath Craft

Remember last year's reindeer program?  It's an annual event for us and a great way to celebrate the winter season too even if it is freezing cold. Rather than rehash all the details, I thought I would share our craft project for this year with you: winter wreaths!

We used Ellison dies for the mittens, snowflakes, snowperson. The smaller shapes are foam stickers probably from Oriental Trading (where the idea for this craft came from). We also used a circle die cut on our Ellison machine to punch out the middle of 450 paper plates for this craft. A ribbon loop is taped on for hanging. One of our pages used markers to decorate the mittens. Cute, right? In 2013, we did two crafts and I am glad we cut back to one for this year because we had 784 people attend this program and I can't imagine trying to squeeze everyone in. We still had two stations but they had the same craft at both.

In lieu of a second craft, we added a game from Oriental Trading: 
Gingerbread House Bean Bag Toss (smaller than some of our similar games but cute and decent quality)

And whipped up a quick photo booth using snowflake bulletin board paper, an Olaf and Sven standee, and some props from around the children's department (and some we printed off online)

Meet our reindeer friend, Nick, age 8. No snow this year! 


Friday, December 05, 2014

Here Stands a Lovely Christmas Tree Flannel Board

Today is Flannel Friday's Holiday Extravaganza, hosted by our fearless leader, Mel! I won't be doing a Christmas (or winter holidays) storytime, but I spotted this rhyme in Easy-To-Make Puppets And How to Use Them by Fran Rottman (1978 edition) and I thought I would share a quick clip art flannel board:

Here Stands a Lovely Christmas Tree
Here stands a lovely
Christmas tree,

Christmas tree, Christmas tree,
Here stands a lovely Christmas tree, 
So early in the morning. 

Here is a horn for the 
Christmas tree,
Christmas tree, Christmas tree,
Here is a horn for the 
Christmas tree,
So early in the morning. 

The original words used drums and lights for additional verses. I decided not to do the drum (couldn't find a clip art piece I liked quickly enough) but added a star and gifts instead. I thought this would be cute for a home or religious setting like a Sunday school class.

I used Open Clip Art Library clip art. Since all of the images are licensed for Creative Commons sharing, here is the file I made. The first two pages are the patterns and the third page is a sample completed tree. Happy holidays!