Thursday, July 12, 2012

Circle Time, 7/10/12

Circle Time is a new program my branch library is offering this summer in an effort to attract more preschoolers. We have a preschool story time, but it is often overrun by babies, so the preschoolers either don't come, or get lost in the sea of infants. I decided the best way to guarantee us an audience of the right age was to ask folks to sign up ahead of time. So far, it looks like that was a good idea. 28 kids registered, and 16 showed up for the first session, which took place Tuesday afternoon. I took forever deciding what to actually do with this group, and as it turned out, what I thought I was planning to do was not what I wound up doing.  My original thought was to do themed story times each week, but when I started struggling to put together a books theme, I abandoned it all together and instead pulled together the most fun and interesting repertoire I could imagine. The result is below: 

Hello Song #1: Hello, [Name]
To the tune of Goodnight Ladies, I sang hello to each child by name, finishing each verse with "We're glad you're here today." All the kids were wearing name tags, so the hello song was super-quick, and they seemed to really like hearing their own names sung out loud in front of  everyone.

Hello Song #2: Hello, how are you?
Once we said hello to everyone individually, we then sang the usual story time hello song, mostly to give me a chance to ease into things. It also got the kids participating, rather than just listening to me sing.

Book: Shout! Shout it Out! by Denise Fleming
I haven't had great luck with this book in the past, but I wanted something interactive that would help us break the ice. It worked exactly as I hoped it would. Some kids were right with me from the start, but all of them were with me by the end! 

Book: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, illustrated by Megan Lloyd (1986)
I loved the way this book went over at the story time I did for the camp last week, so I decided to try it again. I was happy to see the kids and their parents all joining me for the various motions, and I was even more thrilled by the laughter I heard when the pumpkin head went "Boo boo!" 

Books: Stars by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee (2011)

Song: Moon Moon Moon

Song: The Banana Dance (by Dr. Jean)
This song is the greatest thing ever! I learned it on Monday night in preparation for Tuesday and haven't stopped singing it since. The video below includes all the verses; we only did the ones for banana, corn, mango, and avocado this time.

Book: Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? (2011) by Susan Shea, illustrated by Tom Slaughter
This is another great book for promoting interaction.  The kids got a kick out of laughing and saying "Noooo!" at every silly suggestion. Some of them even remembered to say yes to the last one, about whether babies could grow up to be big kids like them.

Song: Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands
I did just the first verse on my own then asked the kids for other movements we could try. I got everything from jump and dance to "car" (we pretended to turning a steering wheel), "sing" (we did the ASL sign for singing, which I knew, thankfully, from Sesame Street), and "bus" (we turned our hands like we do for The Wheels on the Bus.) I was impressed by their creativity and my ability  to think on my feet. 

Book: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes (2010) by Eric Litwin and James Dean
Pete the Cat worked his magic for our final book - he's the best!

At the end of the actual story time part of the session, we put on the bubble machine and played some Laurie Berkner, while I set out the craft, which was paper wristbands based on the ones I posted about back in February.

All around, this was a hugely successful program that made me feel like a rock star. My only question now is how I will find more books and activities for next time that will keep the excitement and fun at this same level.


  1. Hey Katie, this program sounds really exciting and fun to do. Since it is a "circle time" I assume you are sitting in a circle. One thing you could do is sit on a parachute and then do some parachute songs/games with the preschoolers during the circle time. Have fun!

    1. That's a really good idea. I think we have a parachute in our closet - I'm going to find out! Thanks for the suggestion!


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