Wednesday, April 1, 2015

MOPS Easter Story Time, 4/1/15

It has been a long lonely winter for this story time performer. I have been fighting morning sickness (baby #2 is due September 30th!) and pouting over subzero wind chills, and the last time I did a story time, until today, was in January! (And it occurs me to that I never wrote it up. I'll have to do that.) Thankfully, my local MOPS chapter invited me to do a story time at their Easter playdate, which took place this morning. There were around 15-20 kids in attendance, ranging in age from birth to 6 (including my own 16-month-old), and lots of moms. I initially thought I would try to do an Easter theme, but there really just aren't enough good books, so instead I focused on Spring. Here is how it went.

Hello Song: Hello, how are you? 
I wanted to try a different hello song, because I was never fond of this one, but I was nervous, so I decided not to mess with something I know works well. The kids were great about waving and clapping along with me, and I was glad I didn't try something new.

Song: If You'd Like to Read a Book 
I was torn about whether to include this, but I decided it was a good idea to warm the group up a little more, and threw it in before the first book. It was smart to do, I think, because it gave the kids a chance to get some extra wiggles out and got them in the frame of mind for reading stories.

Book: Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek
I was never able to use this book when I worked in the library because all the copies were missing, so I was excited to have the chance to use it now. The kids listened attentively, but only a couple of them truly seemed to care where the sheep went. I found myself wishing the sheep were funnier.

Song with Flannel Board: Mary's Lambs
I brought my handheld homemade flannel board with me, and used it to share this song about Mary's lambs, which were white as snow, red as a rose, blue as the sea, and green as a frog. (I wanted it to be green as the grass, but I apparently do not have a flannel board piece for grass. I'll work on that!) This was the best activity of the whole story time. The kids called out the colors nicely, and most of them sang along.

Book: Whose Chick Are You? by Nancy Tafuri
The moms were talking during this book. I didn't address it because it didn't bother me that much, and it's not like there are any rules I can really enforce when I'm the guest of an organization. This is the book I would have cut, though, had I known how it would be received. The kids seemed not at all interested in knowing what kind of bird had hatched from the egg, or who its mommy was, but the moms did "awww" at the final scene of the swan family cuddled up together in the pond. I'm starting to think Nancy Tafuri is not as great a story time choice as she appears.

Rhyme: Five Eggs and Five Eggs
I wanted to be careful not to just sing the entire time, since I wanted to save my voice for a ukulele sing-along at  the end, so I decided to use this rhyme, even thought it is not my favorite. Interestingly, these kids liked it more than any group I've ever done it with, and they loved following along with the hand motions.

Song: Hands Up High
The kids were in chairs (which was not my decision, but was okay with me), and they were going to have a demonstration by a local gym following story time, so I didn't want to incorporate too much physical movement. I chose Hands Up High because even one-year-olds can do the motions, and because kids who aren't that skilled at getting out of chairs could participate without having to stand. We did this once twice.

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big
One of the kids in this group is also in my regular MOMS Club story time audience, and his mom always talks about how much he loves this rhyme. He hasn't been feeling well, so he wasn't as into it as usual, but I was still glad I could stick it in here because the other kids loved it , too.

Book: My Garden by Kevin Henkes
This book is longer than it looks, and I worried about them making it to the end, but the idea of chocolate bunnies and jelly bean bushes seemed to snap everyone back to attention. Most of the kids were not old enough to answer questions, but I still asked them whether they thought a seashell would grow more seashells, and one little boy informed me that the girl in the story was using her imagination. You got it, kid.

Song: One Seed
We did this song (just the chorus) three times because it's not well known and has an unfamiliar tune. The moms were into this one as much as the kids, and I didn't blank on the hand motions as I did each time I practiced at home. This is one of Laurie Berkner's better songs for sure.

Book: That's Not My Bunny... by Fiona Watt
I didn't feel like I could do story time at an Easter playdate without mentioning bunnies, so I did read a fourth book. It was really short, so it didn't require much more attention from the kids, and it was nice to have one basic book for the really little ones to enjoy. (We also own this book, so it was readily available, unlike every library bunny book this time of year!)

Rhyme: Hop Your Bunny
The kids loved this. It will never get old. We did it once with one bunny, and a second time with two bunnies.

Songs with Ukulele: ABCs / Twinkle Twinkle Little Star / Baa Baa Black Sheep

Song with Ukulele: The Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell
My husband and I figured out the chords for this song after listening to it and singing it to our daughter a million times. My performance was not perfect, but the group was mesmerized, so I think it's a keeper. (I also really love this song and sing it to amuse myself as much as my daughter.)

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This 

After the story time, I received such a nice compliment. A mom told me that she works full-time and has to use annual leave to attend playdates like this with her child. And then she said that this was the first time she'd taken time and felt like it was worth it. I was nervous about the story time, but her comment made me realize that it truly had been a success.

I will be doing monthly story times again from now through the summer, so hopefully, I'll have more posts like this to share soon! Stay tuned...
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