Little Movers

You may have this blog has been on a bit of a break. We’ve had a two-week break between storytime sessions and during this time we have tried something new. Instead of storytime, we’ve done a new program called Little Movers. This is basically a drop-in, casual movement program for children 3-5 years with lots of music and song related activities.

I did not invent this idea. I learned about it when I went to the Illinois Library Association conference this past fall and saw a presentation by Hi Miss Julie. She discussed successful movement programs she’s presented and I was inspired and I wanted to do it! Upon returning to my library, we tried to find a time to implement this program.

What’s great about a program like this is you really can be flexible and do whatever works best for your patrons. This is what my program entailed:

I began with a book (this is a library after all!) I tried to choose books that have a bit of movement to them that expected the children to get involved. 

A great title is Dancing Feet! By Lindsey Craig, illustrated by Marc Brown. I’ve discussed this one before with the dancing storytime theme. I just love reading this one aloud!

Another great book to include is Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe. This is another one of my favorites and it has also been mentioned before on this blog. This is one of my go-to books, it’s fun to read and encourages the kids to participate.

I also read Can You Make A Scary Face? by Jan Thomas. This book is very silly and just as with the other two books, I have used this in storytime previously.

After a book or two, we started by streaching and moved on to some movement activities with music.

There is no limit to the amount of kid’s music that is out there. But, full disclosure here, I can’t stand most of it. Luckily, there is some fantastic stuff available and that’s what I shared with my group.

Jim Gill is awesome. He has five albums and each one is packed with great tunes that get little ones hopping and bopping all over the place. His music makes it way into many storytimes and my library has been fortunate enough to have him perform for our patrons. It was a fantastic show.

I also really like Georgina Stewart’s Bean Bag Activities & Coordination Skills.
These songs are instructional and incorporate bean bags. Tons of fun. Yes, the cover is a bit dated and the music may seem silly but everyone always has a great time. I use one song, The Bean Bag Rock, regularly in storytime.

In addition to kid music I also played some old-fashioned rock and roll. We had a little Beatles, Beach Boys, and Chuck Berry. I also tried to incorporate newer music as well. Israel kamakawiwo’ole’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a great song to slow everything down and was a good at way to wrap up the program.

I also (attempted) to teach them the Chicken Dance and the twist. The results were (as expected) so-so but there was a lot of laughing. We got the parachute out, which is always a super fun surprise because we don’t do that all that often. I forgot our limbo stick, but that would have been a great addition.

What I learned from this program:
We had it in an hour drop-in time slot. The idea was they would drop in and out but they didn’t. That is a-ok because we had a great time. However, an hour was a bit long for some of the kids and they “had to go to the bathroom” and never came back. In retrospect, I think a half hour or even 45 minute time slot would work better for this group. Additionally, we did this program two weeks back to back so I need two hours of material. Obviously it’s ok to repeat but I couldn’t repeat everything.

Bubbles make everything better! We use bubbles in our baby storytimes and I got out the bubbles for the last few songs. This really rejuvenated the group and kept us going towards the end. When in doubt, blow some bubbles!

Shameless Self-Promotion

I don’t know how regularly people check out my blog (It’s actually sort of insane to think that real people out there in the real world read this) but those of you who check up regularly probably noticed I neglected to post a storytime last week. Normally, you can just chalk this up to me be lazy but last week I had a real reason- I was in New Mexico for YALSA’s 2010 Young Adult Literature Symposium. It was a great experience and I took a lot away from it. The reason I went was my colleague and I presented a session about connecting religious teens with literature. This was the first time I ever presented anything and it was really fun. I highly recommend it!

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I figured some of you are librarians and I wanted to share our resources with you. We created an electronic version our handouts from the conference for people to access later on. Here is a link to it: Connecting Religious Teens with Literature

Coincidentally, this week’s storytime is the last one for a while. We are going on a break for the month of December. I have a few things planned for the blog for the break. I am excited to see what you all think!

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.

Twinkie Creations

I recently started a new tween group at my: TAG (Tween Activity Group… I thought TWAG sounded silly). We weren’t having a lot of luck with attendance at tween programs so I decided to sort of copy our YAC (Youth Advisory Council) and start a somewhat similar tween group. I am using former YAC programs that were proven successes to start with the hopes that it will help build momentum. For our inaugural TAG we did a truly awesome program. I didn’t make it up, so I can’t take any credit but it is so stupendous I had to share…. Twinkie Creations!!!

How this work is you provide Twinkies and lots of great supplies and let the participants get creative and make some awesome creations. Possible supplies include but are in no way limited to:

  • frosting,
  • food coloring,
  • marshmallows
  • chocolate chips
  • coconut
  • sprinkles

After everyone made their creations, we voted on random categories. I instituted the rule that no one was allowed to vote for themselves. This could really be anything but tonight I used these categories:

  • best use of supplies
  • most life-like
  • cutest creature
  • craziest creature
  • most delicious looking
  • best overall

The best part of this is really the creations themselves. Here are some awesome examples created by the TAG kids.

I really like this one. I was informed that it’s a cowboy. I think she added some pants after the picture was taken.

This one has great teeth! Very fierce!

We’ve had a bit of a debate about this one around the library. Maybe a submarine? Maybe a creepy crawly bug? Great use of supplies.

I think this one was some sort of spaceship. It also sort of reminds me of a toothache!

There were so many more (20 participants in all!) and each and every one was very creative and totally awesome!


This week I started a brand new nursery rhyme program in my library. I got the idea from one of my classmates in my library school classes. For one of our assignments, we had to think of a program for children or young adults that we could implement in our library. This was one of my favorite assignments for the class because I was able to hear all of the great ideas from my peers.

This is going to be a monthly program for the youngest of our patrons. My reasoning for this program is two fold: I have found that many of the children who use my library are not familiar with nursery rhymes and we have need for new programs geared for pre-school age children. Additionally, nursery rhymes are a great way to impact and support early literacy and I think that a lot of our kids can benefit from this.

We did a lot of things during this program but most importantly, I made my own flannel board…. which is really the reason for this post. Normally, I am not so egotistical and would post a blog all about a flannel board that made, but I am very proud of it. It took much longer to make than anticipated.


Had a great fall

Storytime starts up again January 27 and I am currently in the planning stages. I can’t wait to share what we do!