Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Baby Lap Time, 9/21 & 9/22

I have finally, after many months, gotten myself together enough to do a babies-only registration-only story time. Today was the first session, and tomorrow I will repeat it twice more, at 11:00 and 11:30 AM. Today's group had 11 babies, each with one adult, for a total of 22 people in our little story time room. It was the absolute perfect number of people, and I couldn't be happier with how well it went. This year has been kind of a crash-course in learning to be a good children's librarian, and I feel like this is the final exam that proves I can do this.

I worked harder on the plan for this story time than for any other I have ever done, and it really paid off. This is what the final performance looked like.

Opening Song: Clap Along With Me
I've stopped using this with other groups, but it seemed perfect for breaking the ice with the babies. And it worked well. Everyone seemed to feel comfortable clapping, and I have a lot of great singers in my group of adults.

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big

I use this rhyme for my own comfort, as much as for the enjoyment of the group. Melissa from Mel's Desk wrote this little gem, and I can't thank her enough! The regular storytime goers love it, and I have a feeling we'll be creating some new fans here soon. Also, I added a prop for these sessions that allows the adults to participate more fully. My fiance lent me a music stand, and I printed up the rhymes and set them out on the stand. It worked perfectly, even though an easel would still be better. 

Rhyme: Where Oh Where Are Baby's Fingers?
I brought a baby doll prop to this story time - another change from the larger story times. His name is Marty, and he's African-American, and so far, he's the celebrity of the lap time! The babies just loved looking at him, touching his toes, and laughing. My mom got him for me from a kindergarten teacher she works with, and he's just perfect, especially for a rhyme like this.

Song: Mr. Sun (a cappella)
I used the beloved sun hand puppet for this one. The adults sang along, and some of them actually seemed to know the song, which was a nice surprise.

Song: Tony Chestnut (a cappella)
I always muddle through this, and then it spooks me and I never try it again. But I'm determined to get it down this time around, because it's so cute, and funny when I do it right!

Book: Hello, Baby! by Mem Fox, illustrated by Steve Jenkins (2009)I chose this book for my first week because I've done it before, and I know it works. It's hard to gauge baby reactions to books sometimes, because they're not walking up to it, or calling out words, like the toddlers might, but the fact that most of them had their faces glued to me while I read seemed like a sure enough sign that it was a hit. Also, Steve Jenkins' illustrations are a guaranteed hit every time.

Song: Bumpin' Up and Down in my Little Red Wagon (a cappella)
I am not very good at modeling bouncing. This might have something to do with the fact that I don't think I've ever held a baby. But my baby doll prop and I did our best, and the audience really responded. The kids were somewhat less interested in turning their hands or waving than I expected, especially since some of them are a year old or more, but that was still just fine.

Song: I'm a Little Teapot
In theory, it's fun to tip babies over and pour them out. In practice... maybe not so much. We might not revisit this one next time around.

Song: Shortnin' Bread by the Laurie Berkner Band (with shaker eggs)
I used homemade shaker eggs for this one. I bought the eggs from Oriental Trading, filled them with rice, and taped them shut with electrical tape. They're not the most beautiful things in the world, but they are fully functional. I need to remember to pass them out more quickly next time, though. We had one little guy who felt totally left out when he didn't get his first. Oops! Another important tip - hide the basket away when the eggs are handed back in, or the focus will be on nothing but eggs. Still, though, this was awesome.

Book: I'm a Baby, You're a Baby by Lisa Kopper (1994)
My all-time favorite book for babies. They seemed mostly into it, though I felt like there was some shyness or trepidation on the part of some of the families. I had the feeling I was being looked at sort of oddly. But I was also just really nervous, since it was new, so I might be paranoid. Either way, this is a great, great book for babies. I love it.

Rhyme: I Went to Visit the Farm One Day (with puppets)
I was initially going to do this on the flannel board, but I went for puppets instead. And  what a wise choice. The puppets are easier for me to manipulate, easier to move around to make sure everyone can see them, and more interesting than laminated paper on a flannel board, at least for this group. And thank God for willing participants - these moms and  dads and nannies were awesome with their moos and neighs and baas!

Bounce: Mother and Father and Uncle John

Mother and Father and Uncle John
went to town one by one!
Mother fell off.
Father fell off.
But Uncle John went
on and on and on and on and on!

I like this one. It cracks me up, and another librarian in my system mentioned in a training class that his groups love it. Time will tell, I guess. It didn't seem like a hit today, but it was also new. We shall see.

Song: Head and Shoulders
Nothing new here! I've been doing this one with all my groups for months now!

Goodbye Song: Open, Shut Them (Goodbye Version)
Open, shut them
Open, shut them
Raise your hands up high!
Open, shut  them
Open, shut them
Wave and say goodbye.

I absolutely loved this repertoire, and I managed to talk to my audience a little bit without freaking out or resorting to the Wheels on the Bus, as is my m.o. sometimes when I am nervous. So that was a victory. I think for tomorrow, I need to focus more on getting to know individual babies and for next week, maybe I should even do a song using names. I hadn't planned to, but it seems like it would work really, really well.

Baby Lap Time will run through the end of October, and I'm already looking forward to the next session, both for tomorrow's groups, and for this one next week. I won't write up tomorrow's sessions, since they should be the same, but I will try to write up detailed reports like this one for next week's groups, too.
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