Today, in my final preschool story time starter for the Fizz, Boom, READ summer reading program, I am focusing on light and electricity. This is one of the more versatile science themes I have considered - you can focus on many different aspects of the topic, depending on your collection, your audience, and the materials available to you. This theme is also a great opportunity to reuse some of the nighttime activities you may have developed for the Dream Big! Read summer reading program in 2012. (To see my other Fizz, Boom, READ story time starters, visit these links:
Five Senses, Temperature, Living vs. Non-living Things, Weather, and Sink or Float?)
Miss Katie's Recommended Books
- Night Lights by Susan Gal
A little girl and her dog explore all the different sources of light that present themselves when it gets dark. I love this book for its illustrations as much as for its content, and it's a good way to get kids thinking about all the places they see light.
- Blackout by John Rocco
I recommend practicing how you will read this aloud before you share it, but kids tend to love the illustrations and the story provokes lots of great questions about how things change when the lights go out. It also shows how families can regain a sense of community when they unplug for just a little while - a message many parents might appreciate even if the kids don't quite catch it.
- Dance by the Light of the Moon by Joanne Ryder
All the farm animals get together for a dance by the light of the moon, presented by the farmer in appreciation of all they do! This one doesn't have very much to do with light, but I have always had wonderful story time experiences with the story, and it works just as well with toddlers as with kindergarteners.
- Night Light by Nicholas Blechman
This is a counting book combined with a guessing game, so it's a perfect one for encouraging kids to interact with you. It also deals with transportation, which is one of the most popular interests among preschoolers, so it's pretty much a guaranteed hit. This one is also a good option for groups on the older end of the preschool spectrum.
Other Possible Books
- What's Going on in There? by Geoffrey Grahn
- The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss
- Hooray Parade by Barbara Joosse
- The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle
- The Patterson Puppies and the Midnight Monster Party by Leslie Patricelli
- Stars by Mary Lyn Ray
- The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson
- The Dark by Lemony Snicket
- This Little Light of Mine by Raffi
- When the Library Lights Go Out by Megan McDonald
Songs & Rhymes
- Song: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Everybody knows this song, and usually they're anxious to sing along. If you have an especially musical group, they might even like to learn the lesser-known second verse.
- Song: Mr. Sun
This song is fun to sing and easy to learn even if the kids and their parents don't know it. I like to use a puppet, and invite the kids to give him a high-five at the end of story time.
- Song: Stars Shine Bright (non-Christmas version)
This song asks the kids to identify stars by color - it's always a huge hit, especially with class and camp visits.
- Rhyme: Five Little Moths
I wrote this rhyme for the Dream Big, Read theme and then never actually used it. It can be a fingerplay or a flannel board.
- Rhyme: Two Little Fireflies
This simple rhyme is a take-off on Two Little Blackbirds. It's a quick one, and very simple, but if the kids are on the younger side, it's a good one for regaining their focus after a busier activity.
Games & Activities
- Flannel Board Sorting Game: Does this need electricity?
Depending on the age of the kids, it could be fun to share images of a variety of household objects and ask them whether they do or do not use electricity. I think this is more likely to work in a group of five-year-olds than a group of three-year-olds, but I know something like this would have been perfect for one of my preschool camps this summer.
- Flannel Board Guessing Game: Whose shadow is this?
Create a set of objects and their shadows. Show the kids the shadow and have them guess what it is, then reveal the true image. The set in the link above is pretty basic, and the group I used it with guessed the items fairly easily, but you can choose easier or more difficult-to-guess objects based on the kids you typically see.
- Activity: Making Shadow Animals
I have never tried this, but I think it would be a lot of fun to project a light on the wall and teach the kids how to make different shadow animals with their hands. Your collection may have non-fiction books on this topic, which you can promote, or you can use these instructions from Zoom at PBS Kids.
- Discussion: What wish would you make on a star?
Asking kids what they would wish for is one of the best story time discussion starters. When I have asked this question of four-year-olds in the past, kids have had great answers including:
- "A ninja!"
- "A big red gem, and when you open it up, it has a medium gem, and a small gem, and a large gem!"
- "Snowflakes that turn into throwing stars!"