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.

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.

cube

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.

Snowball, Snowball

Last week, we celebrated winter during storytime. We sang songs, played Snowman I Spy with colors, read a few stories, built a paper snowman and made ice cream in a bag. It was so much fun! This was one of my favorite games/rhymes we did. All of the children had the opportunity to participate!

mittens

Snowball, Snowball
Snowball, Snowball
Big and round
Behind which mitten can you be found?
I had the children each take a guess. Luckily, they didn’t find it until the second to last mitten–otherwise this would have been a very short game!

To make the pieces, I used the Ellison mitten cut-out on felt and some fabric puffy paint.

Parachute Play with Babies

Icon-ParachutePlay Baby Storytime was a little different this week. This summer, we have typically had two to three babies with their moms (and dads). Since it is the summer I’m trying different things with my programs. (Summer in my mind means relaxed and fun…although as I reminded my storytime parents, storytime is always relaxed and fun!) So this week we did a parachute storytime. No stories (although I did have one as a back-up in case this didn’t work). Just nursery rhymes and songs.

gr-25972To prepare, I consulted the internet and the book Parachute Play by Liz and Dick Wilmes. So as not to confuse the babies too much, we began with our usual opening song, “Where is Baby?” sung to the tune of Frere Jacques. This is the rest of the storytime (we did repeat each rhyme or song at least two or three times unless noted):

We do a song every week called “The Scarf is on My Head” with lightweight shear colorful scarves. They love this song, so I adapted it for the parachute. I had to change a couple of the actions, but we did this song several times.  

Action Rhyme: The ‘Chute is on My Head! (to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”)
The ‘chute is on my head, the ‘chute is on my head!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute is on my head!
The ‘chute goes up and down, the ‘chute goes up and down!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute goes up and down!
The ‘chute goes fast and slow, the ‘chute goes fast and slow!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute goes fast and slow!
The ‘chute is on my head, the ‘chute is on my head!
Hi ho the dairy-o, the ‘chute is on my head!

This next song worked really well because we managed to match the lyrics with the action of moving the parachute. 

Action Rhyme: Itsy-Bitsy Spider

This one is a real arm-workout. 

Action Rhyme: If You’re Happy and You Know It
If you’re happy and you know it, lift it high!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it fast!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it slow!
If you’re happy and you know it, shake it low!

I didn’t actually read this book during the storytime only because I didn’t find it was necessary. It was one of the most appropriate stories I could find as far as action books. If you have done a storytime with a parachute before, please comment with appropriate books you have used. 

Story: Jump! by Scott M. Fischer

Action Rhyme: Row, Row, Row Your Boat
(sit on the floor, hold the parachute tight and row back and forth)

Action Rhyme: Hickory Dickory Dock

For the next song, I couldn’t find the plastic balls we have (the kind you would find in a ball bin at an arcade in the 80’s or 90’s), but we have soft, fabric blocks, so I placed about ten or twelve of them in the center of the parachute. We waved the parachute slowly as we chanted the rhyme, and then when we got to the end of the song, we lifted it high in the air to make the blocks bounce high in the air. The babies loved watching the blocks fly and land on the floor. We must have done this one at least six times. 

Action Rhyme: Popcorn!
Put the oil in the pot and make it real hot.
Put the popcorn in and begin to grin.
Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, sizzle, POP!

If there were any blocks remaining on the parachute, I just left them there for the next song. 

Action Rhyme: Toast in the Toaster
I’m toast in the toaster
I’m getting very hot
Tick tock, Tick tock,
Up I pop!

This song is our closing song every week. 

Closing Song: Bounce You Here
I bounce you here, I bounce you there.
I bounce you, bounce you everywhere!
I hug you here, I hug you there.
I hug you, hug you everywhere!
I tickle you here, I tickle you there,
I tickle you, tickle you everywhere!

This was one of my favorite storytimes I have done, but I will say that it could have been a little longer. When I do it again, I will add in a few more rhymes. Repetition was the key literacy skill this week, and we definitely repeated the rhymes many, many, many times, but I would like to add more variety next time.

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?

Pete the Cat

From the moment I heard Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons, I wanted to make my own flannel and read/sing it with the babies at my Baby Storytime. However, I just didn’t think it would work. I’m not sure how flying buttons would go over with children who are barely crawling or walking and love to put all things in the their months. So I put the idea on hold. Until last month.

I found Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes. I’m not sure why it took me so long to find this book/song. With a little help from the staff in our Kidmobile department, I was able to create somewhat of a pattern by enlarging a photo from the Groovy Buttons book. (The kidmobile ladies put together an awesome, awesome version of Pete using craft foam, which was the inspiration for my version.)

Pete the Cat

Pete the Cat

I figured it would be easier to create a stand up Pete that could be used for multiple stories instead of several Petes. I mounted him on foamboard to make his sturdy and used some wire I found to make his whiskers. His shirt is attached with Velcro, and the center can be easily removed for the Groovy Buttons story. And he is glued to a paint stick, so I can sit on the carpet with the babies and tell his story without an actual flannel board.

Opening Song

papapishu_Baby_boy_crawlingOne of my favorite programs to plan and do is Baby Storytime. I started doing it exactly one year ago this month, and I look forward to it each week. While I do enjoy YA books, there is something so exciting about picture books (especially getting to read the brand new ones!). Each week, my plan is to post a list of my outline. It works pretty well in small groups. This is also a great way for me to keep track of the songs and books that work or don’t work with the babies. Today I am going to write about opening and closing songs, and then next week, I will begin posting some of my favorite books and songs.

So last week, the first week in our new storytime cycle, the theme was winter. I choose a theme each week. I know there’s a great debate on holding a themed storytime, but A)it’s easier to find books and songs when I have a theme and B)it’s makes for easier transitions during the program.

I have used three different opening songs. They all worked in their own way.

The first one I used was “Gilly, Gilly Good Morning.” It was suggested to me by a friend. While I could never really find a good recorded version, I found a couple YouTube videos that helped with the tune. I only did the first verse, and I used shakers. You could go around and shake each babies hand lightly, I suppose. But they love shakers.
Gilly Gilly Good Morning
Gilly gilly gilly good morning, good morning, good morning
Gilly Gilly Gilly good morning, good morning to you.

In the summer, I changed the opening song to “Welcome, Welcome Everyone.” It is sung to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
Welcome, Welcome Everyone
Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now you’re here let’s have some fun.
First we’ll clap our hands just so,
Then we’ll bend and touch our toes.
Welcome, welcome everyone.
Now you’re here let’s have some fun.

In the fall, I changed the opener to “Where is Baby?” sung to the tune of “Frere Jacques.” This is my favorite one, and I am using it again this winter. I like it because you can substitute the baby’s name for the word “baby,” which helps with name recognition. *Literacy tip moment!* Typically, the parent/caregiver will hold the baby up while we sing to them. The babies love it!
Where is Baby?
Where is baby? Where is baby?
Here I am! Here I am!
How are you today?
Very well, I thank you.
Please sit down. Please sit down.

I usually follow these songs with another repeated song each week that involves colored scarves or shakers. But that’s another post entirely, so stay tuned!