Baseball season is here! Celebrate by sharing Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon (New York: Atheneum, 2013).
In this winsome picture book, a little boy describes going to the stadium to watch baseball with his American pop pop, and to the dome to watch yakyu with his Japanese ji ji. Clever split-page illustrations compare and contrast the American and Japanese experiences of getting to the game, buying souvenirs and snacks, and cheering for the team (tellingly, American fans shout “Win! Win! Win!”, while the Japanese fans chant, “Do your best!”). A glossary of story-related words in Japanese appears at the end of the book, and an author’s note gives more details about how baseball works in American and Japan. With brief text and vibrant illustrations, this is a great read-aloud for storytimes about sports, exercise, summertime, or families around the world.
Sure, you know all about using rhythm sticks to tap out rhythms, but consider these creative uses for the old storytime standby:
1) Spider Legs:
Hold your sticks vertically to make spider legs, and sing “The Spider Went Over the Mountain”. Kids love to make their spider sticks walk!
2) Magic Wands:
Pass out one stick to each child and invite them to help you cast a spell! Let the children take turns using their wands to make their friends jump, turn, bounce, and sit!
3) Giant Pencils:
This exercise is great for promoting gross motor skills and early literacy! Give one stick to each child and let them draw shapes in the air, or write specific letters or numbers.
4) Windshield Wipers:
Give 2 sticks to each child and chant the rhyme below as your “windshield wipers” keep the rain away. This activity is a great tie-in to rain or transportation themed programs.
Windshield Wipers Rhyme
It’s a rainy day and down the street we go.
It’s only raining a little bit, so the wipers are going slow.
It’s starting to rain more now, but it’s not a disaster.
We know what we need to do: make the wipers go faster!
Oh no, it’s really pouring now, we hope that it won’t last.
Let’s turn those windshield wipers up, and they’ll go fast fast fast!
The rain is slacking off again, we’re not sad to see it go.
We’ll turn those windshield wipers down, and they’ll go back to slow.
Oh, look, is that the sun I see? And here comes one last drop.
The rain has stopped now, yessiree, and we turn our wipers OFF!
5) Olympic Torches:
Give each child one stick, and stage your own Olympic relay across the room! Use an orange scarf for the flame, and have each child pass it along with his or her rhythm stick to “light” the next torch. (Make sure you play Olympic music to complete the experience!)
Make your own marching band! Have the children hold their rhythm sticks like flutes as they march around the room.
7) Clock Hands:
Hold one stick in each hand. Review where the numbers on the clock fall, and then call out times. The children should move their clock hands to the appropriate positions. (For older children, call out things like “dinnertime” and “bedtime” and have them supply the times!)