I had a great time last Thursday presenting my brand-new workshop, “Last Minute Lessons” at the 52nd Annual Early Childhood Education Conference. Participants were challenged to come up with creative lesson plans in response to emergency situations – all with limited materials. Check out some of the wildly creative things they did with waterlogged books, paper goods, and the contents of their pockets and purses. One thing’s for certain: if I am ever stranded on a deserted island, I hope it’s with a group of these resourceful early childhood educators!
Beyond peek-a-boo and freeze dances, what can you do with a scarf? Plenty!
1) Windy Days:
Perfect for weather or springtime storytimes, the activity encourages children to imitate the qualities of the wind with their scarves. With or without music, ask the children to move their scarves as they would in a light wind, a medium wind, and a heavy wind. They can even be the wind and blow their scarves into the air! Ask older children to make two lines facing one another and wave their scarves at shoulder height, then have each child take a turn walking through the lines and experiencing the indoor “windy day”!
Using the song “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from the Mary Poppins soundtrack or the original song below, encourage children to fly their kites through the air.
“Kites Are Flying” (to the tune of “Frere Jacques”)
Kites are flying, kites are flying
In the sky, in the sky
See them in the springtime,
In the windy springtime
Kites fly by, kites fly by.
Blue kites flying, blue kites flying…
Red kites jumping, red kites jumping…
Yellow kites circling, yellow kites circling…
Green kites diving, green kites diving…
Orange kites turning, orange kites turning…
Purple kites wiggling, purple kites wiggling…
(Adjust color verses to the scarf colors you have; End by repeating first verse)
3) Waves in the Ocean:
Pass out scarves and encourage the children to wave them at waist height to mimic the waves as you tell the story below.
We’re going on an ocean trip
We’re boarding a great big ship.
Se the tiny waves below
In the harbor rippling slow.
Now we’re leaving from the shore
And the waves are moving more.
Slow and steady, our ship goes past
But now the waves are getting fast.
Here comes a wind, the waves get bigger.
Will we make it, do you figure?
The ship is rocking to and fro
As higher and higher the waves go.
A storm is coming, see the clouds?
This is getting scary now!
The waves are huge! Big and rough!
I’m getting seasick! I’ve had enough!
But look! The sun is shining through.
The waves are growing calmer too.
They are still big, but getting slow.
Back and forth and to and fro.
Now we’re almost safe in port.
And the waves are getting short.
Little ripples in the water.
And we’ve arrived at the shore, just like we oughta.
The waves are waving, small and shy
So we wave too, and say goodbye!
Make a beautiful butterfly using American Sign Language along with your scarf! First, hold both hands up facing away from you. Then hook your scarf over one thumb. Next, cross your wrists. Now carefully turn your palms so that they face you. (Don’t drop the scarf!) Hook your thumbs together and wiggle your fingers and you’re signing “butterfly”! Play instrumental music or a freeze dance as the children make their butterflies fly around the room!
5) Flag-waving Fun:
Have a Fourth of July Parade! Pass out scarves in red, white, and blue and play patriotic music as your storytimers march through the library! Make it a St. Patrick’s Day Parade by using green, white, and gold scarves.
Read Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodds and invite the children to “scrub” the colorful spots off the dog with their scarves when he takes his bath. Then invite everyone to scrub-a-dub with Bert and Ernie as you sing “Everybody Wash” from Splish Splash: Bath Time Fun.
7) Soup-Stirring Tissue:
Share Monkey Soup by Louis Sachar, and invite the children to “stir” the soup with their “tissues” (scarves). This book lends itself well to a flannelboard or prop story presentation.