Boo! Halloween Storytime!

My most favorite holiday ever is Halloween! Last year we sort of dropped the ball with our Halloween storytime so I definitely wanted to make up for it this year! My theme was loosely ghosts. I had one book, in particular, that I was excited to read and sort of used as inspiration for this week’s storytime.

We started storytime this week with Pumply, Dumply Pumpkin by Mary Serfozo.

I think I have pulled this book before for other storytimes but it hasn’t made the cut for storytime. I really liked this book. It was fun to read with lots of rhyming phrases and the kids really enjoyed guessing what the pumply dumply pumpkin would be used for. 

Next we read Boo, Bunny! by Kathryn O. Galbraith, illustrated by Jeff Mack.

This book is a good example of me really liking a book and realizing that it may be better for a lapsit type of situation rather than a storytime after the fact. Don’t get me wrong, I think the kids enjoyed it… just maybe not as much as I thought they would. Before I started the story one little girl asked if this was a scary story. I told her it wasn’t scary but it was maybe a little Halloween creepy. I think that a) my answer didn’t really make sense and b) the kids were a little off because of the possibility of it being scary. I think this is a great book and is lots of fun but it wasn’t right for this group today. That happens, I can’t always be super awesome and pick out crowd pleasers 100% of the time.

Next we read Go Away Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley.

This book is a classic and really needs no explanation. Emberley’s books are great for storytime because they are so visually appealing. I love it when I read it to a group of kids and there is one in the group who has never seen it before. I love the look they get as the monster slowly starts to unravel. At my library, we have a cool Go Away Big Green Monster glove that I retold the story with after I read the book.

The kids really liked the repetition of the story. They also thought the glove was really cool and enjoyed watching me add and subtract its pieces.

Finally, I closed with Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara

This book was my storytime inspiration! It came out in 2008, but I didn’t learn about it until last year. I love this book! This year I bought it as a Halloween gift for all of the little kids in my life. I like it because while it is about ghosts and Halloween it’s not really scary. Ghosts don’t always have to be super scary and creepy they can be friendly too (just like Casper!)

There are so many Halloween songs and fingerplays out there. I chose just a few to get us rolling…. first we sang If You’re a Ghost and You Know It, which was a huge success. We sing If You’re Happy and You Know It every storytime, so the kids really like it when we mix it up. They came up with lots of great things such as yelling “Boo!”, waving our arms and spinning in circles.

I needed a bit of movement  in today’s storytime so I found something to get them up off the ground. This one fit the bill:

Ring Around the Pumpkins
Pocket full of spiders
Boo! Boo!
We all fall down!
The ghosts are in the meadow
Drinking witches brew
Boo! Boo!
We all stand up!

Finally, I really like this fingerplay because it sort of went a long with the whole ghost idea:

Five Little Ghosts
Five little ghosts dressed all in white
Were scaring each other on Halloween night.
“Boo!” said the first one, “I’ll catch you.'” (Hold up pointer)
“Wooo said the second, “I don’t care if you do! (Hold up middle finger)
The third ghost said, “You can’t run away from me.” (Hold up ring finger)
And the fourth one said, “I’ll scare everyone I see! (Hold up little finger)
Then the last one said, “It’s time to disappear.” (Hold up thumb)
“See you at Halloween time next year!”

The craft today was SUPER easy but also lots of fun. We made tissue ghosts.

This is very easy. Using a facial tissue, you cover a sucker and secure it with yarn, string or ribbon. Because this was so easy and quick, I also provided cute Halloween coloring sheets for them to color. Lots of fun!


Sensational Senses!

This month I got to do a 2nd and 3rd grade program, Sensational Senses. It was originally going to be someone else’s program but they were unable to do it, so it got dropped in my lap. My colleague had partially planned it by making a skeletal plan and I was able to fill in with my own ideas. I think that these programs are sometimes the most fun programs to do. I like being given an outline but able to add my own special flair.

As the title suggests, this was a program about the 5 senses. We covered everything except taste. I think it would have been a lot of fun to include it, but my library has a lot of restrictions with food and I just didn’t want to deal with them for this program. Besides, it was only an hour-long program and I definitely had enough to fill that time.

This was the most popular sense activity of all. It was called mysterious smells. How this works is you find small containers (Film canisters are ideal but in this digital age they are almost impossible to find! Luckily, one of my colleagues is a teacher who has a stockpile of almost anything you would ever need. She is seriously amazing!) The containers are filled with different smells. I used garlic (they kids unanimously declared this one to be farts! Ha!), chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla extract, mint extract, pencil shavings, a clorox wipe, coffee, eucalyptus oil, and pepper (this one was funny because it made them all sneeze.)

The canisters were set out and they were asked mark whether or not they liked the smell. It was interesting to see what was popular and what was not. Garlic, obviously, was the least favorite. Chocolate was the overall winner and everything else was somewhere in the middle. Then everyone guess what they thought the smells were.

I am glad I started with this activity because it got the kids excited to be at the program and eager to see what was next.

I found an idea for hearing that also included film canisters. How it works is you put pairs of items in canisters and have them guess which is the same. I think that would be lots of fun for younger kids but since these were 2nd and 3rd I worried it would be too easy and pandemonium would break out.

Instead, I created a sound mix with some of our sound effects CDs at the library and broke them into teams (boys v. girls) and had the teams guess what each sound was. Some were super easy (pigs, waterfall) and others were very difficult (donkey, footsteps in snow.) It started out with both teams just yelling it out but that got crazy real fast so we changed the rules to one team guessing and the other could steal. I didn’t really keep track of correct answers since that wasn’t really the point. They all seemed OK with that.

For sight I had a box full of all sorts of crazy items and gave them 30 seconds to commit them to memory. They I handed out paper and pencils and they had to remember what they had seen. I was pleasantly surprised how well most of them remembered. We also talked a bit about optical illusions and I showed them a few famous ones. Another good thing to use would be Magic Eye books. I’ve never been able to see any Magic Eye illusion, so I skipped it.

We also did a few spot the difference pictures. They really enjoyed this! I was very surprised I sort of planned it as a throw away activity but they really had a great time doing this.

Finally, touch. This activity was sort of take on the “touch gross things” Halloween activity. I created different touch boxes, each with its own item in it and the participants hand to touch and guess what they were touching. Because this was similar to the first activity, it was extremely popular.

I like bugs!

This week’s storytime was all about BUGS! This is a super versatile theme and a lot can be done with it. There are SO many great bug books out there.

We started with Sleepyhead Bear by Lisa Westberg Peters, pictures by Ian Schoenherr.

This book is about a bear who just wants to take a nap but can’t because bugs are constantly bothering him! It’s a sweet story and features lots of neat bugs. We had a fun time identifying each bug.

Next we read I Love Bugs by Emma Dodd.

I really love reading Emma Dodd’s books in storytime. That’s really no surprise since we’ve seen one about pets and also one about dogs show up in storytimes. This one was not a disappointment! I can’t recommend her books enough.

Finally, we closed with Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas.

I really enjoy Jan Thomas’ books. This one is a PERFECT read aloud and PERFECT for storytime. It is similar to Monster At The End of This Book and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus in that it speaks directly to the listeners and asks that they are active participants in the story. As a result, this was super fun for everyone. My favorite part is when the bug asks the children to stand… then to sit… and then to stand again. Very silly!

For our craft this week we made spider hats! This was a great craft to get the parents working with their children. Crafts that result in them wearing something as they head out the door are always very cute.