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.)
- 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.
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.