Thursday, May 5, 2016

Moms Club Story Time, 4/28/16

At the April social for my Moms Club, I performed a story time in a church gym for a group of about 12 kids ranging in age from 3 weeks old up to 4 years old. It was probably the biggest turn-out I have ever had for a non-library story time, and it was the only one I've ever done without the ukulele. (I left it home because I had to walk to the story time location in the rain with a double stroller and didn't want an extra thing to carry.) This session was also unique in that almost everything I did was new to my story time repertoire. Here is my full set list.

Opening Song: Story Time is Starting
I have been sick of my traditional "Hello, how are you?" hello song for months. It is especially awkward to use at Moms Club gatherings, because the story time is never at the start of the meeting. So, I wrote a new opening song, which is sung to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It." It goes like this:

Story time is starting, clap your hands
Story time is starting, clap your hands
Story time's begun, 
I hope that you have fun! 
Story time is starting, clap your hands

We did three verses: clapping, stomping, shouting hooray. It was so much better than "Hello, how are you?" 

Book: When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes
This is the latest book from Kevin Henkes and his wife Laura Dronzek. I don't like it as much as Birds, which is one of my favorite nature picture books, but it was well-suited for establishing the theme of the story time. (I set out to plan an unthemed program, but a Spring theme ended up naturally emerging anyway.) I wouldn't say the kids loved it, but it went over fine, even despite the fact that Little Bo Peep spit up on the floor in the middle of it, prompting Miss Muffet to yell, "Mama! Spit up! Mama!" 

Song: Springtime is Here
I found a version of this song on YouTube, performed by a librarian from King County Library System. Some of her verses either didn't make sense, or had too many syllables, so I changed those, and added some more of my own. The kids were really good at acting out the song, and because they knew the tune, it was easy for them to pick up each verse quickly and sing along. Here are my verses:

The ducks in the pond go quack, quack quack... springtime is here! 
The eggs in the nest go crack, crack, crack... springtime is here! 
The birds in the sky go flap, flap, flap... springtime is here!   
The bunnies in the grass go hop, hop, hop... springtime is here! 
The wind in the air goes whoosh, whoosh, whoosh.... springtime is here! 
The rain coming down goes drip, drip, drip... springtime is here! 
The boots in the mud go stomp, stomp, stomp... springtime is here! 

Rhyme: See, See, See
I have had this rhyme on file for years, but it does not appear that I have ever used it. This audience was especially interested in moving around, so it was a perfect choice, and a perfect segue into a story about three ducks.

Book: Three Ducks Went Wandering by Ron Roy, illustrated by Paul Galdone
This book was long for the littlest kids, and even the bigger kids seemed to fade in and out a bit as I was reading. I probably would not choose this again unless all of the kids in the group were four or five. They were most interested in the snake, but didn't seem to follow the plot all that well. (It was also during this book that Miss Muffet, who normally loves this story, started playing with sound equipment at the back of the room and had to be rescued by another mom.)

Book: Leap, Frog, Leap by Douglas Florian
This is a new board book of which I just received a review copy from Little Bee Books a few days prior to the story time. The size of the book was just a little bit larger than From Head to Toe, and because I knew the kids would be able to see the pictures, I decided to use it as a movement activity. The biggest kids in the group acted it out really well.

Song: Head and Shoulders, Baby
I just recently taught this song to Little Miss Muffet, so I put it into the story time in the hopes of engaging her a little bit. It worked! She did most of the motions, as did a whole line of little girls seated right in the front row. I had planned to do Tony Chestnut, but I think this was the better option.

Book: A Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
Though this book is sort of an odd note to end on, the kids were interested in talking about where bunnies might live, and they agreed that places like  bogs, nests, and crowded logs would not be good places for a rabbit. The ending seemed to satisfy them, but I knew they didn't have much of an attention span left, so I started wrapping things up.

Sing-Along Songs: Itsy Bitsy Spider and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Since I didn't have the ukulele, I didn't do my usual ABC medley to signal the end of story time. Instead, we just sang a couple of favorite songs I knew everyone enjoyed. The moms all sang along and did the motions with their kids, which was great.

Rhyme: This is Big, Big, Big
This makes a better ending rhyme for story time than I ever realized. One boy in the audience has been a big fan of this rhyme ever since he first came to story time with me, so even though he's getting older now, I was still glad to be able to share it with him. The other kids also did a nice job with it.

Closing Song: Story Time is Over
Goodbye songs are even more awkward than hello songs because we never end story time and leave immediately. So I changed the words to my opening song a bit to come up with a non-goodbye closing song. It goes like this: 

Story time is over, clap your hands
Story time is over, clap your hands
Story time is done
I hope that you had fun!
Story time is over, clap your hands

This story time really renewed my excitement about performing. I put another story time on the calendar for May, so check back later in the month for another brand-new plan.
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