Friday, July 5, 2019

Family Story Time, 6/28/19 (Rain Theme)

For my second summer story time session,  there were 12 kids in attendance ranging in age from 6 months to 7 years. Though it was a hot and sunny day, I did a rain theme because I ended up pulling a bunch of rain books from our shelves, and they all fit together really nicely.

Opening Song (with ukulele): Story Time is Starting

Story time is starting - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!
Story time is starting - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!
Story time's begun; I hope that you have fun!
Story time is starting - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!

Book: Noah Builds an Ark by Kate Banks, illustrated by John Rocco
This new picture book (March 2019) tells the story of a little boy who builds an ark over his wagon to shelter the creatures in his backyard from a storm. I chose this book with the oldest kids in the group in mind, and they were the ones who were most attentive to it.

Rhyme: Rainbow Over the Waterfall
I changed the second verse of this rhyme so I could use easier and more obvious hand motions. My version of that second part went like this:

Rainbow over the rabbit
Rainbow over the bee
Rainbow over the butterfly
Rainbow over me

Book: My Red Umbrella by Robert Bright
I chose this book specifically for the younger end of the age spectrum, but the big kids helped me make all the animal sounds of the animals that appear in the story. I'm not sure how much the other toddlers liked the book, but my 20-month-old has been asking me to re-read it all week.

Song: Come Under My Umbrella
I used the motions Jbrary shared in this video, but I stuck with the tune which I originally learned for this song, "Did You Ever See a Lassie?"

Song with Ukulele: Boots (originally by the Laurie Berkner Band)
I used some of Laurie Berkner's verses for this song, and then added a few verses for other motions like skipping, marching, etc.

Song with Ukulele: Stop and Go (originally by Ella Jenkins)
This was the best-received song from the first week, so I brought it back and once again had the kids supply the motions they wanted to do. My favorite suggestion came from my friend's four-year-old who wanted to breakdance. The group got a little wild, so I quickly improvised a final verse:

Tippy toe, tippy toe, tippy toe to your seat...

By the end of the song, they were seated and silent. It was kind of amazing. 

Book: Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal
The kids were all very quiet during this book, possibly because all the dancing wore them out. I realize now that I have done two cumulative stories like this in a row, so I'm making a mental note to change things up for next time.

Rhyme: When Water Drops
I wanted an action rhyme that would help us act out what animals do when it rains. I used the text of Rain Dance by Kathi Appelt (which I borrowed from Open Library) and then made some additions and alterations based on information in When Rain Falls by Melissa Stewart.

When water drops
Frog hops
Water beetles swirl
Snakes curl 
Caterpillars crawl
Ladybugs fall 
Spiders skitter
Chicks flitter
Cows swish
Pigs squish
Rabbits hurry
Squirrels scurry
Dogs splatter 
Cats scatter
Turtles hide
And I go inside. 

Book: Singing in the Rain, illustrated by Tim Hopgood
I had never sung this song in front of a group before, and no one jumped in to sing along, which felt a bit awkward, but it was fine. I love the illustrations in Hopgood's books!

Closing Song (with ukulele): Story Time Is Over

Story time is over - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!
Story time is over - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!
Story time is done; I hope that you had fun!
Story time is over - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Family Story Time, 6/21/19 (Houses & Homes Theme)


Remember me? The last time I did a story time before today was June 14, 2017! In that time, I've published a second book and added another daughter to my family. This summer, I've invited the families in my homeschool group and my Catholic women's small group to join me for story time in my living room. The seven-session series kicked off today, and three families besides mine participated. There were 8 kids: a little boy under one year, 3 girls who will turn two soon (including my toddler), two 3-year-olds (including mine), a five-year-old (also mine), and a 7-year-old. There were at least five other families interested who couldn't make it this week, but plan to come to future sessions, so this was really just the warm-up.

Opening Song (with ukulele): Story Time is Starting

Story time is starting - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!
Story time is starting - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!
Story time's begun; I hope that you have fun!
Story time is starting - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!

I started using this hello song when I was doing story time at a church 2 years ago. It works better than a hello song because we are all friends and have already greeted each other and chatted a bit when story time starts. 

Book: We Were Tired of Living in a House by Liesel Moak Skorpen, illustrated by Doris Burn
I am kicking myself for not remembering I had a song to go with this book! (See this post.) The kids seemed to like this one, and it is such a pleasure to read aloud.

I found this on YouTube and decided to only sing the English for fear of really butchering the Spanish. I had my kids practice it ahead of time so I'd be guaranteed some audience participation, and they didn't let me down. My mom friends were also really awesome about doing the motions too. (The librarian on whose YouTube channel I found this song has a lot of good stuff in both English and Spanish.)

Book: The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson and Helen Oxenbury
I think this book was just right for this broad span of ages. I do wish it had some more interactive elements, but it does have repetition and a simple plot, making it ideal for those toddlers and young preschoolers. 

Song (with ukulele): Stop and Go
I had the big kids choose the motions we would do for this song, and they had a great time with it. My friend's 7-year-old picked jumping jacks, which was really fun. 

Rhyme: Elevator 

First floor (touch toes)
Second floor (touch knees)
Third floor (hands on hips)
Fourth floor (touch shoulders)
Fifth floor (hands on head)

Going down! 

Five (hands on head)
Four (touch shoulders)
Three (hands on hips)
Two (touch knees)
One (touch toes)
Basement! (sit down)

This was a bust. Even my own kids didn't seem to get it. 

Flannel Board Story: This is the House that Jack Built
I had the kids help me tell this rhyme by pointing to the image of each character on the flannel board and having them say its name. I used this booklet and just cut out the characters.

Book: I Can't Said the Ant by Polly Cameron
One of the other moms remembered this book from childhood too, which made me so happy. My five-year-old laughed through the whole thing, but it was harder to get a read on the other kids. 

Song: I'm a Little Teapot 
My kids somehow don't know this song, so they weren't as keen on demonstrating the motions. I also messed up the chords more times than is really forgivable. I suspect, though, that my audience is going to skew much older next week and this won't be an appropriate song anyway.

I had intended to use Visor, T-shirt, Shorts, and Shoes, but there weren't enough big kids, so we just did the basic version. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. 

Book: The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson, illustrated by Beth Krommes
I tossed this book in at the end, mostly because one family had come really late and I felt like they had missed out. My oldest daughter gasped and oohed and aahed through the whole book, but no one else seemed that impressed.

I had this in the back of my mind as a potential song for this session, and the kids seemed like the right ages. At least one mom knew the song from listening to Laurie Berkner. 

Closing Song (with ukulele): Story Time Is Over
Story time is over - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!
Story time is over - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!
Story time is done; I hope that you had fun!
Story time is over - clap your hands [stomp your feet / shout hooray]!

I ended story time with this song, and then my kids got out a few toy bins we had set aside. Everyone stayed for at least an hour to play.  It's nice to be back in the saddle. I can't wait for next week! 
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