Parachute Storytime Revisited

A while back I posted about a Parachute Storytime I did as my baby storytime theme. It had been a while since I used that storytime, so I decided to dust off my parachute and try it again. This time I did it with several different age groups and added a few new songs to the mix.


I have now done this with babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and families of many age groups. It works with all of them. For babies, I recommend parents sitting Baby on their laps and letting them just feel the air and watch the parachute go up and down. For toddlers, preschoolers, and school agers, I let them hold on to the parachute and participate in the movement. You have to know your audience, though–that is the key!

For the most part, I followed my previous plan. This time we started by shaking the parachute fast and slow, up and down several times to warm up and go over the “rules.” I also started with the book Jump by Scott M. Fischer. It gets the children excited and warmed up. I like the addition of the book. The children know it’s time to start and get excited every time they get to jump in the air. I also added two new rhymes.

London Bridge
(As we sang the song, we moved the parachute up and down.)

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
(I couldn’t find five monkey puppets, so I had the children use their imagination while I placed five soft blocks on the parachute. For the toddlers, I used a smaller parachute, so I used the finger puppet monkeys.)

London Bridge was fun, but many children don’t know the rhyme so we did it twice and moved on. Five Little Monkeys is a little long, so depending on your group, you may want shorten it to just three monkeys. If you read the original plan, Toast in the Toaster and Popcorn are still the rhymes we repeat the most.

Next time I do this storytime, I plan to add in a little finger warm-up with Wiggle Them.


Christmas storytime with a twist…

Today, I had the opportunity to be a guest storyteller at one of our branches. I knew I wanted to do a Christmas-themed storytime so I could share my favorite book, but I wasn’t sure what else I wanted to do. Planning a storytime for an unknown audience is a very daunting task. I did have one Christmas storytime planned from a few years ago, but it just wasn’t very appealing to me. So I took to Google in search of some fun Christmas-themed activity that we could use during storytime. And that’s when I this. And then it all came together.

Candy canes. That would be our theme for the activities.

To begin, I raided the new Christmas bookshelf at the beginning of December–these books go fast! Since I wasn’t sure how old the children would be or how many would be there (it ranges and is billed as a family storytime), I found a couple board books and a couple story books.

  • The Animals’ Santa by Jan Brett
  • Llama Llama Jingle Bells by Anna Dewdney
  • Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman
  • Peek-a-Boo Snowman by Charles Reasoner
  • Shh by Julie Sykes

I grabbed my water table and several water toys, the candy canes, and a few crafting supplies for a fun marble painting project (more on that in a bit).

We had one family participate in the storytime: a preschooler and his one-year-old sister. For the storytime portion of the program, I followed this schedule (although I really didn’t map it out before I arrived; I knew what we would do, I just needed to meet the children to know what order we would do things).

  • Welcome Song: “Wiggle Them, Wiggle Them”
  • Action Rhyme: “This is Big, Big, Big” 2x
  • Story: Llama Llama Jingle Bells (I went with this one first because one of the children recognized the cover and lit up with excitement.)
  • Song: “Up on the Housetop” with hand motions 2x
  • Story: Shh (this is my absolute favorite Santa story)
  • Song: “Jingle Bells” (next time I will add actual bells)
  • Story: Peek-a-Boo Snowman (l gave the children a choice for the last book and this is what they chose.)

IMG_4428And now it was time to play a little. I filled the water table with about three inches of water and asked the children to place their hands in it. Then I gave them candy canes. I asked questions:

  • What does the water feel like? Is it hot? Cold? Cool? Warm?
  • What will happen when we add the candy canes?
  • Will the water change colors?

Immediately, the water around the candy canes started to bubble and the color started to disappear. The preschooler was excited that he had guessed correctly. I brought out the water toys and let them play for quite a while. We played until the candy canes disappeared (I used the small sized ones). And then we did a quick craft.

Marble Painting: Candy CanesIMG_4435

In a large flat container, I poured a small circle of red paint. I placed my candy cane cutout on the bottom of the container and added a marble. To start, I helped the preschooler wiggle the container back and forth, side to side to allow the marble to roll over the white paper and create a candy cane pattern. And then after just a few seconds, he started doing it on his own. His baby sister needed a little more help and lost interest after a short while. You could also add peppermint extract to the paint to give this project another level of sensory.

Storytime Song Cube

I love storytime. I love storytime for babies. I love storytime for toddlers. I love storytime for preschoolers. I love storytime for school-agers. I will even do a storytime for adults–although I haven’t had the opportunity to do that, yet–and I’m not sure what it would look like, but I’m sure it would be fun! It’s a half hour of my day where I get to read stories, sing fun songs, and dance around like I’m five again. It’s true. Oh! And I get to teach parents and caregivers about the benefits of reading and how to have fun with reading at home.


Unfortunately, over the last year , I haven’t done many storytimes due to the nature of my new position. I do try to do it once a  month at my Young Moms’ Club program. And so, this week I finally had the chance to test out my new Song Cube. I found the idea here at so tomorrow. I have been wanting to use this idea since I saw her post last year. So this week, I made the song cards, stuffed them into the cube slots, and added it to my storytime set up.

We started with our standard welcome song, “Wiggle Them, Wiggle Them,” and then I read a story. After the book, I told the children (there were four this week), they would each get a chance to roll the cube and pick the song. We did two in a row. We read one more story and then finished with two more songs from the cube. The children were excited to see what song we would do.

The cubes came in a three pack with storytelling photo cards. I think next month we will use the other two cubes to make up  a story.

All on Display (Part 2)

Last week, I posted pictures of some of the fun teen displays we have created. This week, I am going to share some of my favorite children’s displays. I don’t have as many displays from our Children’s Department as I was originally hired as a teen programmer. Next time, I’ll post some of my favorite bulletin boards from my days as a preschool teacher.


This board is from our Literacy Corner. We typically leave these displays up for a few months at a time due to their large nature and placement in the department. This was for Spring. The six early literacy skills were glued in the center of each flower.


This was for our poetry month display. Every year we hold a poetry contest for children and teens (and now adults). The theme this year was “How Sweet It Is,” so after a few different layouts, we finally went with the gumball machine. Some of the gumballs have our favorite poets written on them.


When I did baby storytime, I always tried to include a little sign language. And after visiting a local elementary school, I discovered many of the hearing impaired students attended the school. So we tried a sign language storytime. It didn’t draw as many people as we had hoped, but we had fun creating the display.!


To celebrate Chinese New Year and the year of the dragon, we created this “Blazin’ Reads” bulleting board. It took at least three or four of us to create it. One staff member had a dragon-head from a previous job, so we worked around it. The books on display were all about dragons or featured dragons as main characters.


I just love penguins! And some of these penguins were so adorable. Thanks to some awesome coworkers, this display was a so “cool!” The books on display were all about winter and penguins.

Library Tour with Elephant and Piggie

I just finished with a fun tour group this afternoon. We had such a good time. It was a small group from the inner city. Most of the children in the group were in elementary to early middle school. We started by doing a little exercise on the organization of the library. I barcoded them and we practiced using the online catalogue to figure out where each child would be located on our non-fiction shelf. I borrowed this idea and had the children choose their favorite subject. We created a spine label by finding the call number for each child’s favorite subject and using the first three letters of the child’s last name. While I worked with each child, the rest of them would go off and find where they were located on the shelf. They enjoyed trying to find “their” book.

Then we toured the rest of the library, stopping at the Genealogy Department where they learned how to use the microfilm Eleph_Pig_i_am_going_lgmachine and find articles in older newspapers. They wanted to stay longer in this department, but we had to keep moving. We rode the glass elevator to the main floor, and then finished the tour portion of the program with a scavenger hunt–a simple question and answer page.

To end the program, the children’s librarian and I read “I am Going!” by Mo Willems to the children. We wanted a story that would be appropriate for multiple age groups, and Mo Willems was the perfect choice! They loved this story! To tie it all together, they completed an Elephant and Piggie Mad Libs page and comic. The best parts came when the shy children who didn’t want to read their Mad Libs out loud finally did so because the adults were so enthusiastic about them.

What kind of tours do you like to do?

I *mustache* you to read this…


Photo credit:

Last year, I put together Marvelous Mustache Day for teens. This year, I put together Marvelous Mustache Day for children. At both events, we had a great time. 

Teens: To advertise, I placed giant posterboard cutouts of mustaches throughout the department.
Children:  I hung a couple giant mustaches on our desk and front table, and I put out books like MoostacheThe Lorax, a book about walruses, Mustache!, and a few others. The display went up a little late, but my plan was to also grab random books throughout the children’s department and place small, paper mustaches on them.  

Teens: I decorated the room with mustache/facial hair trivia and pictures. I also put celebrity photographs on the wall (but I only included their mustaches/facial hair). I included a few books, too (after all, we are a library). 
Children: We played the “I Mustache You a Trivia Question” game…a multiple choice game with imaginary points where each question was worth one million points. Trivia included the length of the longest mustache, pop culture references, photos from the “Identify the Mustache Game” (see below), and other historical mustache related information. Next time, I would make the game a little more hands-on. 

Teens: I had the teens try to identify the celebrity mustaches. I gave them a word bank and they had to figure out who belonged to which picture. I used Snoop Dogg, Santa, Swedish Chef, Cap N Crunch, Charlie Chaplin, Burt Reynolds, Gandalf and about 17 others. I tried to use a combination of fictional, historical, and current photos. I didn’t want to make it too easy, nor did I want to make it to hard. 
Children: After the trivia game, I gave the girls (yes, originally we had all girls come to this event about mustaches–and then I learned that not only are mustaches popular, so are dill pickles) instructions…they could move around to three different stations. Decorating mustache-shaped cookies, playing a mustache matching game, and decorating their very own paper mustache on a stick.  

Teens: When I did this with the teens, we went through the program in a more linear fashion. First we decorated mustaches using a fuzzy/furry fabric. Then we decorated cookies. 

Children and Teens: At the end of both programs, we played “Pin the Mustache on the _______.” For children, we had decorated the refrigerator in the room to look like a snowman, so we played Pin the Mustache on the snowman. For teens, there was a movie poster for Hoot in the room, so we played Pin the Mustache on the Owl.

I love doing this program, and I want to do it again in November and tie it in with No-Shave November. Have you done a mustache program? What did you do?


Follow the link…

Today, I was a guest-poster (that sounds funny!) on Bryce Don’t Play‘s awesome blog. I discussed how we implemented our own version of a program she did at her library. Here is my take: