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.

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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.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Teens

December 5 is National Ninja Day. Did you know that? Well, if you didn’t, now you do. Last December I wanted to celebrate this day with the teens, so we held a program called Teenage Mutant Ninja Teens. I invited a martial arts instructor to come and teach teens basic self-defense/karate/martial arts for the first 30 to 40 minutes. He went over his expectations which were very strict but very appropriate–things like calling replying with “Yes, Sir” and always standing at attention. Afterward, I set up several games for the teens to play to practice the art of being a ninja:

    • Patience: Make the tallest card tower in a ten minute period
    • Composure: Cotton Ball Relay; move cotton balls from one end of the table to a cup at the other end using chopsticks
    • Endurance: Hula Hoop Challenge
    • Posture: Book Balance; balance books on your head and walk from one end of the room to the other and back
    • Agility: 15-yard box tag; we marked off a square in the room and the teens had to be the first to tag the other person without stepping out of the box
    • Acuteness: bow and arrows; unfortunately, this one never happened. We tried several instructions on making bow and arrows from popsicle sticks and q-tips but they never really worked, so we eliminated this one.
    • Snack: Fortune Cookiesninja3

The teens who came to this program were the teens that regularly visited the teen department but not necessarily our programs. I remember it was raining very badly on this night so the group of 20 teens I was expecting never came–but they had would have had to walk a few blocks in the cold, dark, downpour. I had a mixture of boys and girls come and they both enjoyed it equally. The week prior I set up a display at the teen desk with a sign and YAninja-themed fiction and non-fiction. If nothing else, the teens talked about it and picked up the books to read at the tables in the departments.

I wanted to repeat this program this summer, but unfortunately, I planned it during the week of July 4th–I’m not sure why I did that. The martial arts instructor is unable to make it due to lack of staff at his own business, and since we haven’t had any sign-ups for the program, I’ve decided to make it a passive program instead. So as I was perusing Pinterest last week, I found a fun ninja-themed craft, and it was then that I decided to offer a make-it-take-it craft to teens who come in lieu of a live-action program.

ninjainabox

Box of supplies needed for ninjas: pipe cleaners, pony beads, wooden beads, straws, instructions, Sharpies, and scissors.

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?