Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer Camp Story Time, 7/1/16

I visited my parents in New York for the Fourth of July, and, as I did last year, presented a story time for my mom's summer camp while I was there. Though this isn't likely to be useful to anyone else until next year, it was a great story time and worth writing up!

Opening Song: Hello, how are you?
I had started using a new hello song for the story times I was doing for my Moms Club, but for this group, where the kids were ages 4 to 6, I went back to my original song. In this situation, the hello song was really just a means to an end rather than activity unto itself, so I wasn't that worried about it. 

Book: Wow! America! by Robert Neubecker
This book follows two sisters as they run across a map of the United States, discovering different landmarks and customs associated with each state. Because each page is so simple, with just one sentence about each state followed by an exclamation of "Wow, lobster!" or "Wow, canyon!" I knew I would have to make it super interactive if I wanted to use it. So I came up a motion for each "wow" and had the kids repeat after me on each page. It worked really well. It also helped that my mom was on hand to hold the book for me because it's a huge picture book, and I could not have held it and done the motions. 

Song: The Irrational Anthem by Jim Gill
I had never done this song before without or without the recording, and I was skeptical about whether I could pull it off. I practiced it for a week or so at home and finally decided it was doable. It functions in a story time similarly to Taba Naba, which I did for this group last year, but whereas Taba Naba proved difficult for them, the Irrational Anthem was just right. I did it a cappella so I could take it at my own pace, and I think that's the way I would always do it.  

Book: Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell
I debated a lot about using this book because while I remembered it being hilarious, I wasn't sure the kids would find it that funny. Going against my usual story time style, I decided to assign voices to the two characters, Crankee Doodle and his horse. The kids were silent through the whole thing, so I had no idea in the moment whether this was a hit or a flop, but when my mom got home from work later in the day, she informed me that when she asked the kids their favorite part of camp at the end of the day, several named this book as a highlight. So I guess it was worth the risk. 

Song with Ukulele: Yankee Doodle
The last page of this book is told in the voice of the horse, who sings the song, so we sang it twice through just for the fun of it. (I asked my mom ahead of time if she could sing the song with them during the week before I came. I have had bad luck using this song with groups that don't know it.)

Song: Visor, T-Shirt, Shorts, and Shoes
This worked just as well as it always does. It is truly a secret weapon. 

Book: Song for A Summer Night: A Lullaby by Robert Heidbreder and Qin Leng
I checked this book out of the library on a whim and my first thought was that it would be perfect for a story time because all of the repetition. I assigned a motion to each sound that makes up the summer lullaby and had the kids repeat each one each time the sound was made. I doubt this book would have gone as well with a group in a less structured environment, especially since there are a lot of quiet moments between repeats of the refrain, but it worked really nicely in this situation. 

Goodbye Song: We Wave Goodbye Like This
I used the goodbye song to put a period at the end of the sentence, so to speak, but I and my husband and kids actually stuck around to sing Down by the Bay with the campers after the story time, which was really fun, especially for Little Miss Muffet, who has recently discovered that song. 
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