Parent-Child Drop-in Visit – March 26, 2015

Talk about a busy (but awesome) day! After my preschool visit I was off to a community health center to talk about books and babies with a parent-child drop-in group.

I led a mini-baby time with the group, then shared some tips and tricks for helping baby prepare to read, and talked about some of the many free resources available at the library.

Here’s what we did!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends!

Songs/Tickles

  • The moon is round
  • Two little eyes
  • Everybody knows I love my toes

Book 1: Do Cows Meow? / Salina Yoon

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Bounces

  • A hippopotamus got on a city bus
  • You be the lemon
  • Bumping up and down in my little red wagon

Book 2: Monkey and me / Emily Gravett

monkey

Movement Songs

  • Dancing with bears
  • My bonny lies over the ocean
  • Zoom zoom zoom
  • The elevator song

Soothing Songs

  • Rain is falling down
  • You are my little panda bear

The program was really gentle and relaxed, and I was able to sit on the mats and chat with everyone – the atmosphere was very similar to a Mother Goose session, which is smaller than a typical baby time, with a slower pace.

I really appreciate the amazing opportunities I get to go out into the community and connect with people around my neighborhood!

Preschool Group Visit – March 26, 2015

Oh. My. Goodness.

All respect to preschool teachers – you guys are unsung heroes in our communities!

A local preschool group came to visit today, and this is pretty much how I felt afterwards:

By Umberto Salvagnin (originally posted to Flickr as Sleeping) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I love preschoolers – they are so enthusiastic and curious and energetic, and they can handle more complex stories and activities than my usual demographic of toddlers and babies. Preschoolers will ask questions, and let you know clearly and often volubly if they approve or disapprove of your story time selections.

But the very attributes that make preschoolers so much fun to work with can also make them a bit of a handful, especially in large numbers! Preschool or daycare visits can also be markedly different from in-house story times because of the change in child:adult ratio. In my regular story times, the attendance ratio is typically one child for every adult, while a group visit can have around 7 children for every adult. This can sometimes make wrangling the group feel a bit like herding cats. Adorable, talkative cats who give you big hugs at the end of the program, but still, cats.

"Street cats (1)" by Rodrigo Basaure from Santiago, Chile - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Street_cats_(1).jpg#/media/File:Street_cats_(1).jpg

Here’s what we ended up doing – it’s not really what I’d planned, but it’s what ended up working for this frisky group.

Book 1: Bark, George! / Jules Feiffer

bark george

Songs:

  • I wake up my hands
  • The itsy bitsy spider

Book 2: Pete the Cat I Love my White Shoes / Eric Litwin

pete

Action Songs:

  • Head and Shoulders
  • Tick tock tick tock
  • The elevator song

Book 3: The Wheels on the Bus / Jane Cabrera

wheels

Action Songs:

  • Zoom zoom
  • If you’re happy and you know it

If You’re Happy and You Know It is a great transition/instruction song. I used the tune to sing “If you’re happy and you know it wave goodbye”, “If you’re happy and you know it find your partner” and “If you’re happy and you know it line up now” – it was a perfect transition into the next portion of their visit, which was a book exchange.

Preschoolers really aren’t my typically demographic, but they’re a lot of fun! If anyone has any suggestions for great books or song to use with preschoolers, please please share!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a bit of a lie down after all that cat wrangling…. :)

Spring break school visit scavenger hunt!

Last week a group of grade 5-6-7 kids from a local spring break day camp came for a quick visit, and I threw together a simple scavenger hunt game to help introduce them to the library. A number of the kids in the group were identified as being at risk, and there was a real range of language levels, so the group leaders suggested that we keep any program simple and approachable.

To sweeten the deal, and encourage the kids to fully participate in the scavenger hunt, we of course had to have prizes available for the taking! I love being able to offer books as prizes – unfortunately many children never get to experience the joy of having their own books, and being able to choose a book off the prize truck never fails to bring out smiles in even the most reluctant young patrons.

The kids were encouraged to work together, and the prize winners were determined by a draw, so kids could work at their own pace. I also encouraged the kids to use their imaginations and think outside the box – when it came to finding a book about the past, for example, I accepted information books as well as novels or picture books set in the past!

We were able to welcome the group into the branch before regular open hours, so we had the entire branch to ourselves – which really came in handy as the kids got more and more excited (and voluble) as they filled in more and more of the spaces!

Here’s the quick little library scavenger hunt I whipped up for the kids!

scavenger hunt-page-001

Baby Story Time – March 20, 2015

A funny little baby time today – at 11:10, five minutes before we were due to start, there were only two babies and their mothers waiting in the program room! I was getting a little nervous – we typically have a pretty good group, but a combination of terrible weather and older siblings home from school had kept our programs a little smaller all week. I needn’t have worried – the babies and their caregivers kept trickling in over the next 30 minutes (one family came in without about 5 minutes left in the program!), and although we certainly weren’t at capacity, we still had a comfortable group. That’s the thing about babies – they don’t always understand schedules! I like to make sure that my patrons know that they are always welcome to come and go as they need to during baby time – I’d rather they benefit from 15 minutes of baby time and get a chance to meet other parents after the program, then not come at all!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends!

Touching Rhymes/Tickles

  • Eyes, nose, cheeky cheeky chin
  • Baby put your pants on
  • Slice, slice, the bread looks nice

Book 1: Do cows meow? / Salina Yoon

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Songs/Bounces

  • Oh I wish I were a little bar of soap!
  • I’m toast in the toaster
  • A hippopotamus got on a city bus
  • Gregory Griggs

Book Two: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse / Eric Carle

blue

Movement Songs

  • What shall we do with lazy Katie?
  • Dancing with bears
  • Zoom zoom
  • The elevator song

Soothing Songs

  • Orca whale
  • Rain is falling down

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!

Do Cows Meow is a really fun book because it has flaps – those gaping animal mouths really caught the attention of more than a few babies! It was also a perfect day for Rain is falling down….it was pouring, just pouring, and I was actually surprised that so many families braved it out through the deluge!

Family Story Time – March 20, 2015

We’re in the second week of spring break, and the composition of my family story time was considerably different this morning! Typically it’s predominantly toddlers with a few preschoolers, but because of the school closures we had a number of older brothers and sisters in the crowd today, with quite a few elementary school aged kids. It certainly made for a different dynamic, but they seemed to enjoy the stories all the same.

I love Little Owl Lost, and I will take any opportunity I can find to bust out this simple but hilarious story. The kids find squirrel just about the funniest thing ever, and delight in pointing out his very silly mistakes.Like another of my all-time favourites, Bark George, Little Owl Lost lends itself to a bit of comedic over-acting in the delivery – I like to do a few dramatic double-takes when each candidate for the mummy owl is revealed, and make poor little owl more and more exasperated as the story progresses, and the kids just eat it up. Lots and lots of fun.

Funnily enough, some kids just adored The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, while others just could not wrap their minds around it. A few of the more literal-minded children in the audience wore confused expressions throughout this story – in their mind, cows are not supposed to be yellow, nor foxes purple! We talked about imagination and make believe and being creative, but these little pragmatists simply would not budge!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Little Owl Lost / Chris Haughton

owl

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • The itsy bitsy spider
  • Wiggle your fingers
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse / Eric Carle

blue

Action Songs

  • Bend and stretch
  • Zoom zoom
  • Head and shoulders
  • Tick tock tick tock, I’m a little cuckoo clock
  • The elevator song
  • Orca whale

Puppet:

  • Little worm in an apple, sitting so still!

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

I’ve been trying to add in a few calming songs or rhymes at the end of our program, right before the goodbye song. I think of it as a way of wrapping the story time up and creating a sense of closure, rather than abruptly coming to a close right after the exuberant action song section. Today I had the children sit after the elevator song, and we sang the orca whale song, which includes some gentle hand actions. We wrapped everything up with a visit from the little worm in the apple, and used the following rhyme:

Little worm, in an apple, sitting so still!

Will he come out? Yes, he will!

He looks to the left, he looks to the right,

He looks straight ahead, then pops! out of sight.

We have several of these puppets, with little creatures that can pop out and greet the children – a worm in an apple, a chick in an egg and a turtle in a shell. The children delight in seeing the little creature POP in and out of its home, and we say the rhyme several times. It’s a nice way to round out the program, and an easy way for me to come to grips with my nervousness around using puppets!

Preschool visit and story time – March 19, 2015

One of the things I love so much about being a children’s librarian is the variety that comes with the position – no two days are ever quite the same! We get to do so much outreach in our positions, and I for one am pretty passionate about getting out into the community, meeting our neighbors and being involved in what’s going on around us.

Today I had the opportunity to visit a local preschool and participate in their circle time. It was a bit of a last-minute arrangement, and due to scheduling constraints I didn’t have my usual thirty minute story time allowance, so I had to be a little creative with my program. As I’ve said before, that’s one of the things I love about doing on-call or drop-in story times – they’re perfect opportunities to spread my wings a little, branch out and try new things!

We had a small group – only 16 kids, but they were so engaged in the stories and so excited to participate.

Here’s what I did with the lovely little preschoolers I met on this super soggy spring day:

Book 1: Little Owl Lost / Chris Haughton

owl

Song: Roly poly

Book 2: Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons /  James Dean, Eric Litwin

buttons

Songs: I wake up my hands

The itsy bitsy spider

Book 3: I’m a Dirty Dinosaur /  Janeen Brian & Ann James

dirty

And just for fun: Here I am sitting in the neighborhood house with my books, waiting to make my grand entrance into the preschool –  a little bedraggled from the terrible rain, but ready to get this story time started!

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Baby Story Time – March 13, 2015

A wonderful, wonderful baby time today. We’ve got lots of busy active crawlers in our group, who just delighted in all the lifting and bouncing we did!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends!

Touching Rhymes/Tickles

  • Wake up feet
  • Baby put your pants on
  • Roly poly
  • Head and shoulders

Book 1: Chick / Ed Vere

Chick

Songs/Bounces

  • A hippopotamus got on a city bus
  • You be the lemon
  • A smooth road
  • Tick tock tick tock

Book Two: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? / Bill Martin Jr.

brown bear

Movement Songs

  • Dancing with bears
  • London Bridge is falling down
  • Zoom zoom
  • The elevator song

Soothing Songs

  • You are my sunshine
  • Orca whale

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!