Monday, April 11, 2011

Family Story Time, 4/11

We had our first real warm day today - over 80 degrees! - and I think it's because of that, that my story time crowd was hyper and distracted. I didn't help, either, by changing our routine, and introducing some new songs.

The theme was animals, and I sort of divided the session in half, with farm animals in the beginning and zoo animals at the end. I had roughly a dozen kids in attendance, and a handful of adults.

Opening song: If You're Happy and You Know It (from Where is Thumbkin?)

Direct quote from a four-year-old as the music began: "I hate this song!" Oops!

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Book: Seven Little Rabbits by John Becker, illustrated by Barbara Cooney

When story time started, and for the duration of this book, I had one baby and four preschoolers in the room. Since the book is very repetitive - "Seven little rabbits / walkin' down the road / walkin' down the road / Seven little rabbits / walkin' down the road / to call on old friend toad" -  I had envisioned a kind of call and  response with the audience, but it didn't quite happen that way.  Instead, they sat perfectly silently and watched me read. One little boy really liked the way the book slowly counts down to one little rabbit walking down the road, but otherwise, I couldn't tell if they were bored or what. But the book is fantastic, and if I'd had  a larger group, with more adults to help me out, that call and  response thing would have worked and been a lot of fun. It would also be awesome to do with a flannel board, but time to work on making those is scarce at the moment.

Song: Monkeys on the Bed
The size of my audience nearly tripled during this song, which created a sense of chaos that we never fully bounced back from.

Song: Five Little Ducks

I used the flannel board for this song. Unfortunately, I don't know the song as well as I thought, and I was a bit scattered with the hand motions. and the older kids, who are usually my helpers, were laughing themselves silly over one of the toddler's dance moves. I'm determined to try this again, maybe with tomorrow's group.

Song: I Had a Rooster
I love this song, and have since childhood, but it wasn't a hit today at all. Part of it might be that kids who live in the city aren't as familiar with farms as maybe I was at age four, but it also has some loud and almost scary sounds in it, particularly when Pete starts growling like a lion. I also have an incomplete set of farm animals for  the flannelboard, so we started the song with no rooster and never really established a sense of focus. I'll do it again, but not without the  right props.

Book: I Bought a Baby Chicken by Kelly Milner Halls, illustrated by Karen Stormer Brooks

This is a silly book about a family that goes to the pet store and comes home with way too many chicks. All concentration was lost by this point, and the more I played up the humor of the story, the worse it was. But the book is very funny, and if I'd had a big toddler group, we would have done some counting, and I think I would have gotten a bigger laugh at the end when the narrator of the story says it's lucky she didn't go shopping for a cow.

Song: Going to the Zoo
This was a good one. The kids did whatever silly motions I came up with - tapping our knees, waving our arms, pretending to swim - and a couple of them had all the words to the chorus down by the time we were done.

Song:  The Keeper at the Zoo (adapted from here)
We used zoo animal puppets to show which animal we were singing about, and just repeated the verses until we ran out of animals. My puppets are apparently difficult to distinguish, because not even the adults could recognize my monkey. Oh well.

The keeper at the zoo
The keeper at the zoo
Heigh-ho the derry-oh
The keeper at the zoo

The keeper feeds the [lion]
The keeper feeds the [lion]
Heigh-ho the derry-oh
The keeper feeds the [lion]
(Substitute other zoo animals for each subsequent verse)

Book: Zoo Borns by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland

This book is awesome - close-up photos of cute little baby animals from all around  the world with little first-person introductions giving the first name of the animal, as well as its species. I should probably have led with this one and done only one other short one, but I didn't, so this book got the short end of the stick. The older kids loved it, but the smaller ones were totally done with me by this point and the noise level in the room just rose and rose.

Song: The Wheels on the Bus
To redeem myself with the little ones who were so lost during the second half of  story time, I did one of their favorite songs. Instant calm and joy overcame us all.

Goodbye Song: Skinnamarink
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