Tag Archives: story time

Toto the Tornado Kitten!


This little girl read the book beforehand and was SO excited to meet Toto! She brought him some food to donate to the local pet shelter.

For those of you who are not familiar with the story, Toto was found in a tree as a newborn kitten after surviving a tornado that swept through Western MA about 2 years ago. A paramedic and his wife found the kitten and saved him. They wrote a book and do story time programs around MA to raise money for local pet shelters. All proceeds from book sales are donated.


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April 17, 2013 · 9:36 pm

Story Time ~ ART


My computer is on it’s way out, but it appears to be working now so I’ll try to get a post in!

Here are my story time plans….which my dog just stole off the table and my husband had to bribe her with a treat to get it back. The paper is a bit soggy and has teethmarks. In case you wanted to know.


Story Time – Art (ages 3-5)

  • Introduction (if there’s anyone new I’ll introduce myself and say a little bit about what we’re going to do. I usually ask how everyone is doing, if they did anything fun over the weekend. If there’s a birthday, we’ll sing 🙂
  • Announcements (I’ll let parents know about upcoming programs or remind them that there’s no story time the next week, etc.)
  • Opening Song: “My Hands Say Hello” (to the tune of “the farmer in the dell”)

My hands say hello, my hands say hello / Every time I see my friends, my hands say hello  (Ask kids to  name body parts and sing the lines again – as many times as your sanity allows.)

  • Books (part 1)

Patrick Paints a Picture by Saviour Pirotta                                                                                                                                            Art by Patrick McDonnell


Art is a really cute book about a boy named Art who does….you guessed it! Art. The kids really liked this one. Highly recommend it!! Love all of Patrick McDonnell’s books!

  • Song/Dance Break (I find that I can sometimes get 3 books out of them if we stop for a song/dance break. I usually use “Shake Your Sillies Out” by Raffi. I have no idea what tune this is supposed to go to, so I sort of made one up. It’s great for an especially rowdy group.)
  • Books (part 2)

~If I think they’ll make it through one more book, then I go for it. The third book I read was The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle. This is a great book because it shows the kids that art can be anything you want it to be.

  • Game/Activity (we played The Color Game – which is a song by Jim Gill. I have bags with construction paper circles of each color he mentions in the song and we go through and talk about what colors things are so they are ready for the song (it goes a bit fast.) We had Jim Gill at our library a few years ago and he was AWESOME!
  • Walking, Walking – I usually end with this game/activity/song. They LOVE it. Have them line up in a circle behind you and start walking in a big circle, saying the words and doing the actions.

Walking, Walking (to the tune of “Frere Jacques“)

Walking, walking
Walking, walking
Hop, hop, hop!
Hop, hop, hop!
Running, running, running
Running, running, running
Now we stop
Now we stop.
  • Craft (using Bingo Daubers the kids made their own “modern art” pictures. Fun & easy, especially as this particular story time doesn’t leave as much time for a long craft.
  • Snack (Yeah, I usually have a snack. I started it and now I can’t go back. I chose rainbow goldfish for this one, but I also try to get something healthy and allergy-free to go with it. Pre-cut apple slices in a bag (I’ve only been able to find these in larger bags at Walmart or Target) work well and the kids really like them. So do the parents!

Fin. 🙂



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Earth Day Story Time!

Skipping the Sunday Quiz to post my Earth Day story time I held this past week for April Vacation. I had about 20 people come, which is a good turnout for such a beautiful day!

I kept this one pretty simple. I read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and we made “litter bugs” for our craft out of a bunch of recycled materials.

I had forgotten just how long The Lorax is, but the kids were really good. It actually helped that so many of them had seen the new movie recently and so they knew the story even if they hadn’t read the book. Before I started reading, we talked a little about Earth Day and about recycling and reusing. One little girl told me she used empty food containers as pretend food for her play-kitchen. I said that was a great idea – to wash out food containers and reuse them as toys. “Oh, no,” the girl said solemnly, “my mom doesn’t wash them.” Her mother was laughing, but indignantly told us she did actually wash out the containers.

We talked about the book and about the importance of having trees for shade and food and clean air and places for animals to live. They made it through the book (with only one “farting” incident, I suspect from the same little girl, which made us all a bit silly!)

The kids (and their parents) made some pretty cool litter bugs. I did have to put out the glue guns, as many of the materials would take way too long to dry with Elmers.


Happy Earth Day!

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Story Time – Down on the Farm!

Ah, the Farm. Parents are always asking their toddlers what the cow says or what the chicken says or what the horsie says. And there’s lots of great farm-themed picture books and songs to choose from.

For this session I read Punk Farm by Jarrett Krosoczka, Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig and The Red Hen by Rebecca Emberley.


We sang Old Mac Donald using farm animal puppets and BINGO.

For the craft, we made paper plate chickens:

Craft instructions – http://www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/animals/farm/handprint-chicken.asp

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Snow-Themed Story Time

Well, today was about 72 degrees so I feel strange posting about my story time on snow, but here it is…

Opening Song

My Hands Say Hello (Click here for a previous post on this song w/ words)



Snowmen at Night is a book I use pretty much every year because it’s really fun to read. The story is about – you guessed it – what snowmen do at night. Which is snowball fights, sledding, skating and drinking cold cocoa, of course. This explains why snowmen might look a bit “saggy” the next day (aka – they were partying all night.)

Millions of Snowflakes is a quick counting book where you – yup – count the snowflakes. It’s good for a younger crowd and gets them involved in what’s going on. They love it when I need their help to count things in books!

The Snowy Day is of course the classic story of a little boy exploring the snow. It’s a quiet book, and while I love it, it may be better for an older or smaller group.

Songs & Activities

I like to use the Raffi song Shake My Sillies Out in the middle of the story time – sometimes between books if the kids are getting a bit antsy.

I’m a Little Snowman (to the tune of “I’m a Little Tea Cup“)

I’m a Little Snowman – short and fat
Here is my scarf, here is my hat
When the sun comes out I melt Away
But when it’s cold I’m here to stay

Walking, Walking (to the tune of “Frere Jacques“)

Walking, walking
Walking, walking
Hop, hop, hop!
Hop, hop, hop!
Running, running, running
Running, running, running
Now we stop
Now we stop.

The kids LOVE this. I usually do it at the end, before we go sit down to do our craft. I have the kids line up behind me and we start walking in a circle. Then we hop like bunnies. Then we run (more of a slow jog) and then we stop and freeze. This is the point when several kids crash into my butt. They think it’s hilarious. Sometimes the parents join in too.

Funny anecdote: A few weeks ago a little boy stood in front of me with his arms up as we started this game, silently insisting that I pick him up. So I did this whole thing (3 times) with a very heavy one year old in my arms. He also refused to get down or go to his mother after, so I had to do the whole craft one handed. No wonder moms have great arms! 🙂


I happened to find a bunch of foam snowflake stamps in the story time storage closet. No idea where they came from, but I knew they’d come in handy someday! I put out white paint, the stamps and dark & light blue construction paper. Also, I put down newspaper. I quickly realized that in order for the snowflake shape to come out, the kids needed to dip the stamp in the paint and then stamp it on paper towels a few times before stamping the paper. After we figured this out, it was great. It was also super easy, which the parents liked. I keep old button-down shirts and small aprons in case anyone has nice clothes on. The mess was pretty minimal for both groups.



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The Hello Song Turns Inappropriate….

I have been using a song to start off my 3-5 year old story time called “My Hands Say Hello,” which I found on Abby the Librarian’s awesome blog.

The song goes like this, waving your hands in the air:

(to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)
My hands say hello
My hands say hello
Every time I see my friends
My hands say hello

Then you repeat with different body parts. It’s a great way to get the kids (and the parents) participating right away. I always ask the kids to name a part of the body we can use to say hello. Usually it’s feet, elbows, knees. If they don’t say anything, I’ll suggest one to get them started. Sometimes they’ll say belly, hair, eyes, lips, etc. which gets a little bit silly and fun. I do feel like I’m asking for trouble sometimes, since you never know which body parts they’ll mention. The other day was a first though, when I asked for body parts to say hello with, a little boy, who I don’t even think is 3 yet, yelled out – “your booty!” The parents burst out laughing and the boy’s mother rolled her eyes and grinned. It was pretty funny. I considered going with it, but decided not to, as I wasn’t feeling overly confident in “booty” region. 🙂


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Valentine’s Day Story Time

So I was trying to find a good Valentine’s craft that wasn’t all pink or a card and I found the best thing on Pinterest (obviously!)

In finding a great craft, I also discovered a book I had never heard of and in fact, found the best Valentine’s Day story time ever.

The image from Pinterest lead me to a great blog called Storytime ABC’s. Where I discovered the book My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall. Perfect for Valentine’s Day because, as you can see, the lion on the cover is made entirely of paper hearts. And such a great book for storytime! It’s short enough to keep 2 & 3 year olds interested, and asking them what sound the animal makes is always helpful if they get a bit wiggly. For the older ones, it’s fun to have them guess what the animals are. The lion is easy enough, but not all the animals are as well-known.

In addition to reading the book, I made a flannel board of as many animals as I had time to make (the night before.) I passed out the animals to the kids and when they came up in the course of the story, I had the kids bring up the animal and stick it on the board. Of course, some kids can’t wait, or like to take other kids animals off the board, but I just go with it 🙂

flannel board for My Heart is Like a Zoo

For the craft, we made lion and penguin puppets. I pre-cut all the hearts for each animal and also made a mini poster showing how to put each one together step by step. (I did the mini poster for the Wednesday class, as the Monday class was a bit confusing!) Sometimes I forget that non-crafty mom’s don’t always see things the way I do! Sadly, my Monday class is the “guinea pig” group. Below are some pictures of how the animals came out – very cute! All in all, a great non-Valentine’s-ish Valentine’s story time 🙂



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January Story Times

Week 1 ~ Elephants

I centered this story time around Elmer by David McKee. A sweet story about a patchwork elephant who thinks that it would be better to look like all of the other elephants, so he covers himself in grey mud. When he gets back to his herd, he realizes that without him, no one has any fun. When it rains and the other elephants realize the funny joke that Elmer has played, they declare this to be a special Elmer Day and every year, Elmer makes himself look like a regular elephant, while the rest paint themselves to honor Elmer. It’s a cute story about fitting in and being loved for who you are. Also, it’s mostly just about crazy elephants (to a 3 year old.)

The other book I read was I’ve Got an Elephant by Anne Ginkel. A cute rhyming story about a girl with an elephant who gets lonely and invites another elephant to play. This continues until there are quite a few elephants and it gets very silly.


I also created a felt board activity for Elmer that made it fun for the kids, especially since my copy of Elmer is small and the pictures are harder to see from the floor. (Sorry, too lazy to rotate the picture!) For the craft, I printed a black and white outline of Elmer and the kids cut squares of colored tissue paper and glued them on the patchwork Elmer squares.

Elmer Felt Board

Week 2 ~ Silly Stories

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really leave much time to prepare for this week. It crept up on me! I love the book Stuck by Oliver Jeffers, so I decided to read that and Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas, because I don’t think any kid has ever NOT laughed hysterically at this book. I’ve read it so many times to different groups and it never fails me!

Stuck is very cute, though the group I had was on the younger side and I had to abridge it slightly because they weren’t quite getting some of the subtle humor. Most of them enjoyed it, but there were lots of little siblings running around. The craft I planned was based on the book, so I had to make the best of it! (In LOVE with Oliver Jeffers, btw.) In the story, a boy gets his kite stuck in a tree, so he throws up a shoe to knock it out, but it gets stuck. As does the other. One thing after another gets thrown and stuck in the tree – even the ladder, which you think he would use to climb up the tree – gets thrown and stuck, as do cars, houses, ships, whales, etc., until finally the kite falls and the boy is so happy, that he forgets about all the other things and beings that are stuck in the tree.

For the craft, I had pre-drawn trees that they kids colored and pictures of random objects from magazines for them to glue into the branches of the tree. They came out very cute!

"Stuck" crafts

Week 3~ Chinese New Year!


This was a tough one, but I really wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year with the kids. It was difficult to find books that were short enough to read, but I ended up with The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine and Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin. The first one was long, and I had a younger crowd again, but I decided to give it a try, since it was a cute story. I didn’t read all of the text and stopped to ask them what they thought about a pan that could sing, which they thought was very funny. We made it through the story in both sessions. The Grace Lin book is a bit shorter and describes a New Year celebration in a way that is easier for younger children to understand.

In my session this morning, I had a mom and daughter who celebrate the lunar New Year, as the mom is half Vietnamese. I thought this was pretty cool. They told me a few of the things they did to celebrate. Though I was a little worried about trying to explain what Chinese New Year was to the younger kids, especially with people there who actually celebrate it!  They seemed OK with it 🙂


Since it is the Year of the Dragon, we made *dragon puppets, which the kids LOVED. When my Monday session finished theirs, they all gathered back on the story rug and just sort of walked around moving their puppets up and down. I never even told them to do it – it’s like the dragons just took over….lol. For a snack we had fortune cookies, which I happened to notice a few weeks ago at Walmart in the asian food section. (This may be the real reason I wanted to do the Chinese New Year theme……)

My un-colored sample

(*The instructions for the dragon puppets can be found HERE at the Enchanted Learning site, which is worth the $20.00 yearly subscription! However, I found a different head that looked more like a dragon and drew my own tail.)

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December Story Times (weeks 9 & 10)

(Better late than never, eh?)


Week 9 – Bedtime


For this story time, I read Llama, Llama, Red Pajama by Anna Dewdey, Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton and Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by the great Mo Willems. The Llama books are always a hit and work with younger and older kids alike. The rhyming text is perfect for reading out loud to a restless group and the parents love these too because Baby Llama is “every toddler.” The kids totally get it too, and think it’s funny when Baby Llama whines and screams. I always ask them if they would ever act like that and they always say “no” with a big grin on their faces. In this story, Baby Llama has some trouble falling asleep and whines and frets until Mama rushes to him and tells him she is always there. Russell the Sheep has the classic Rob Scotton illustrations that I love and is a cute story about a sheep who tries everything he can think of to fall asleep to no avail. When he finally tries counting the sheep in his own flock, he falls asleep immediately. This is a cute story, but didn’t work too well with the group I had. They were on the younger side and the pictures are smaller and more detailed, so harder for them to see. I ended with Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! which is usually another one that works for all ages, but by this point, it was almost a lost cause! (The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are usually pretty tough for keeping kids focused, no matter what age.) Normally though, this is a great read-aloud because it involves the kids. They have to say “no!” to the pigeon, which they think is hilarious because they get to act like their parents.


Songs & Rhymes

We did the 5 Little Monkeys Song with hand motions. Bit hit! I had also planned to do Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, but they asked to do one of our Jim Gill dances – this particular group’s favorite is Jumping & Counting. So that got a little more energy out of them at least.


We made sheep out of cotton balls. Yup, that’s it! Some kids made several sheep, while some made one big one. I made a sample sheep, modeled after Russell.

This was my sample....

Week 10 – Unusual Pets


I chose 4 books as possible reads for this story time, and I actually managed to read all 4 at my Wednesday session, a miracle!

The books were: My Rhinoceros by Jon Agee, Prudence Wants a Pet by Cathleen Daly, Chewy Louie by Howie Schneider and Smelly Bill by Daniel Postgate. Jon Agee’s new book is super cute and has that lovely off-beat humor and story-style that all of his books tend to have. At first, the boy thinks that his choice of a Rhinoceros as a pet was bad, as the Rhino doesn’t play fetch or any of those normal pet things. After speaking with an expert, he finds out that Rhinos only do 2 things. Those 2 things end up saving the day, and revealing that there is one more thing that Rhino’s do, making them the perfect choice for a pet after all!

As for Prudence, she wants a pet so badly and goes through all sorts of “non-pet” pets, such as a branch, a stick, a tire, and an old shoe. Her parents finally agree that she should have a real pet and the story ends happily, with Prudence choosing the perfect name for her new pet. I love this book, but it’s probably not the best group read-aloud. I only read it to my slightly older Wednesday group, who all loved it. It has cute illustrations and some subtle, dry humor for the parents too. Chewy Louie is about a dog that chews. Everything. Cute story, but a little on the longish side. Smelly Bill is a rhyming book about a smelly dog who finally gets a bath from Great Aunt Bleach, only to leave her as smelly as Bill was. A very funny story.


Song & Rhyme

We sang BINGO, which was a lot of fun, since the parents and myself kept getting confused as to how many claps to do! And did some more Jim Gill dances.


For the craft we made Sock Pets, which actually turned out even better than I thought it would. They are easy to make, since they don’t require any sewing, though I did heat up the glue guns so that they didn’t have wait for things to dry. I have 2 low heat glue guns that I put out for crafts sometimes, though parents always have the option of Elmers or tacky glue. Sometimes it’s just easier. I had black and white child socks I bought at Walmart. They chose a color, stuffed it with cotton balls, and then used a rubber band to tie off the end. This also worked as a tail. They came out so cute! And also really strange-looking, which was the whole point, of course.

This kid made some sort of carrying case for his....

It has antlers.....

We decided this was a Reindeer Lady Bug Mouse 🙂

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Fall Story Times – Week 7


November is Family Literacy month, so I thought I’d do a Family theme. I haven’t done one of these in awhile, mostly because of something that happened a few years ago. One of my staff had covered for me and saw The Family Book by Todd Parr sitting on our re-shelving cart, so she grabbed it and read it to the group. I love this book. It’s a colorful, smart and easy way to talk to younger kids about how families are all different, but also all the same. Some families in the book are animals, while some are human. The families are all different colors – like purple and blue – so no one in the group will be singled out. One page talks about how some families have two moms and two dads. It’s in there as a fact, not pushing the issue or making it stand out awkwardly. We had one person mention it on a survey, saying that it was “inappropriate for younger children.” Which makes sense, because it’s much better to pretend it doesn’t exist and then have your kids think it’s weird when they get older…..yeah. Good luck with that one.


Anyhoo, I decided that the parents would just have to suck it up, so I read The Family Book, (linked to a great review on Diary of A Yummy Mummy blog) along with one of my favorites, Pete’s A Pizza by William Steig. This is a great family story. A boy is sad because he can’t play outside, so his parents decide to make him into a pizza. Not literally, though. It’s cute and it makes the kids laugh, as the boy starts to smile and giggle as his parents toss things on him like paper (cheese) and checkers (peperoni.) They enjoyed both stories and they talked about their own families and how they were loud or quiet or big or small. We also talked about how pets are part of the family too!


Songs & Rhymes:

We sang Where is Thumbkin? because the ending part is about the “family,” i.e. the whole hand. We also did Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (which I always mess up while trying to go fast) and we did the Hokey Pokey. One girl was getting a bit annoyed with me because I wasn’t doing the full, “correct” version (since the group was ready to do something different by that point.) It was pretty cute.


The craft was one that I borrowed from story time files that my director used when she was a children’s librarian. I had my library page find cute, generic family figures – kind of like the ones they have for cars. We printed them and made copies, then cut them out and sorted so that the kids could choose figures to represent people in their families and then color them to look more “personal.” There was a man, woman, boy, girl, baby, dog, cat, and fish. The man could be a dad, grandfather, uncle, boyfriend, etc. And any different pets could be drawn in. We even had a pregnant mom, which was weird, but cute. The mom’s loved how skinny the woman figure was! They colored the figures and glued them onto a paper plate and attached yarn to hang it. Some wrote “My Family” or their last name. Some labeled who each person was (supposed to be.)

And so far, no complaints about extra moms & dads in the book. All is well in Story Time land 🙂

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