Category Archives: Spring

Celebrating Earth Day in Storytime

earth-clip-art-earth_clip_art_24300Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, in San Francisco, California. Since then, over one hundred countries have joined together for this annual environmental event.  This Earth Day, help the little ones in your life appreciate nature and learn about protecting the environment with this roundup of our favorite Earth day resources from Storytime Stuff and beyond!

Here at StorytimeStuff.net:

Bringing Nature Inside for Storytime – bring the best of the outdoors to your classroom or storytime room!

Nature Around the World Storytime – bring a multicultural touch to your Earth Day celebration!

Springtime Fun Storytime – celebrate the sounds, smells, and sights of spring!

Around the Web:

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Earth Day for Kids Website – lots of storytime suggestions and printable resources.

Preschool Earth Day Storytime from Library Village – rhymes, songs, book suggestions, and a supercool recycling craft that easy to make.

Reading for the Earth: Ultimate Earth Day Resource Roundup – a comprehensive roundup of lesson plans, books suggestions, activities, video links and more at the Lee & Low Books blog.

 

Share This Book: And Then It’s Spring

51hFMsVLF0L._AA160_And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2012.

After a long winter, a boy and his dog decide to do something about the brown that is all around, they plant a garden! Simple text and illustrations tell this delightful story of a boy waiting for spring to arrive. The boy looks all around at the brown, plants seeds, worries about his seeds, wishes for rain, and waits. As time goes by, the illustrations show that the weather is warming, the brown is changing, until one day it’s spring!

After the winter we’ve had, we can all sympathize with the boy’s watchful waiting!

Brilliant Bean Bags

bean bagsBean bags may be some of the least appreciated storytime props – after all, they are easy to make, cheap to buy, and they can be used for so many different activities across a variety of age groups and storytime themes.    But that’s not all!  Bean bag activities also help children to:

  • develop directionality and orientation in space, which supports writing skills
  • improve self-control
  • develop  hand-eye coordination, an important early literacy skill
  • improve gross motor skills
  • understand the rhythm of language with their whole bodies

Here are some fun ideas for using bean bags in your programs, and links for more ideas!

 

1) Butterfly

On each line, move both hands from sides to up in the air above the head.  Each time your hands go above your head, pass the beanbag to the opposite hand.

Butterfly

In the sky

Flap your wings

And up you fly

Back and forth

To and fro

Up, up, and

Away you go!

 

2) Froggy Hop

(to the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush”)

For baby and toddler storytimes: Give a bean bag to each caregiver and have them hop it on the baby’s toes, knees, etc. as described in the rhyme.

For older children: Follow the directions below to make this a balancing activity.

Froggy’s hopping on my toes, on my toes, on my toes (balance bean bag on toes)

Froggy’s hopping on my toes –

RIBBIT! (move bean bag to knee)

Froggy’s hopping on my knee…

Froggy’s hopping on my tummy…

Froggy’s hopping on my shoulder…

Froggy’s hopping on my head, on my head, on my head (balance bean bag on head)

Froggy’s hopping on my head –

RIBBIT! (make bean bag jump to floor)

He hopped away!

 

3) At the Circus

Place a masking tape line on the floor to act as a tight rope.  Invite the children to balance their beanbags on their heads as they walk across.  If they drop them, encourage them to pick them up and keep trying!

With my bean bag on my head,

I stand so very tall.

I walk along my own tightrope

And will not let it fall.

 

4) Cook Out

This is a fun bean bag activity for food or summer themed storytimes.  As a bonus, when you are moving the hamburger from hand to hand in the first part of the rhyme, you are also signing HAMBURGER in American Sign Language.  Click here to see a video of the sign.

(Hold bean bag in right hand.  Hold left hand facing up.  Turn right hand over to deposit bean bag into left palm.  Then turn both hands and repeat it the other way, as if you are shaping a hamburger patty.  Repeat this rhythmically through the first verse.)

I’m making a hamburger for the grill. 

Will I eat it?  Yes I will!

 

(Place bean bag on flat left palm.  Use your right hand as a spatula to lift the beanbag and flip it over.  Then switch hands.  Repeat this motion throughout verse 2.)

I’m flipping my hamburger on the grill.

Will I eat it?  Yes I will!

 

(Hold bean bag in left palm.  Pretend to squirt on ketchup, mustard, etc. with other hand.)

Now I’m fixing my hamburger from the grill.

Will I eat it?  Yes I will!

 

(Place bean bag in left hand.  Raise hand toward mouth, then down to right hand.  Switch the bean bag to the right hand and repeat.)

Now I’m eating my hamburger.  This is fun!

Did I eat it?  Yes, all done!

(If desired, sign ALL DONE at the end.  Click here for a video of the sign.)

 

5) Vacation

I went to the train station

To take a little vacation  (Pass bean bag back and forth between hands for the first 2 lines)

I went to the beach (Move bean bag diagonally away from you, starting at your right side, and ending up far out in front of your on you left side)

And then came home (Bring bean bag back to right side)

And had some relaxation. (Place bean bag into left hand)

 Repeat, replacing “the beach” with vacation destinations chosen by the children.  Each time you begin, you should be starting with the bean bag in the opposite hand from the previous time.  Make sure the diagonal cross-body movements also alternate hands between verses.  This simple motion of crossing the midline improves communication between the two hemispheres of the brain.

 

Got a great bean bag activity that you use in your programs?  Tell us about it in the comments below or by sending an email to storytimestuff@gmail.com and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a copy of our latest storytime resource book!

 

More Bean Bag Activities:

http://www.philosophyoffreedom.com/node/1654

http://www.ehow.com/way_5414552_bean-bag-activities-kids.html

http://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/bean-bag-games.html

http://craftulate.blogspot.com/2013/02/bean-bag-tutorial-and-games.html

Sign This!: Weather Song

(to the tune of “London Bridge”)

Click on these links to learn the signs RAIN, SNOW, and WIND.   Introduce these signs and then encourage the children to use them during this simple song.  Experiment with the size of the movement to covey a drizzle versus a thunderstorm, a flurry versus a blizzard, and a breeze versus a gale.

vane2See the rain come falling down, falling down, falling down

See the rain come falling down on this rainy day.

See the snow come floating down, floating down, floating down

See the snow come floating down on a snowy day.

Feel the way the wind does blow, wind does blow, wind does blow.

Feel the way the wind does blow on this windy day.

Storytime Plan: Spring!

Spring!flower

Recommended Books

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano.  New York, NY:  Roaring Brook Press, 2012.

Brown is all around, and the illustrations and simple text portray a boy eagerly waiting for the spring green to arrive.  The boy waits week after week for his seedlings to sprout, until one day…  green!

I See Spring by Charles Ghigna.  Mankato, MN:  Picture Window Books, 2012.

Bold colors and simple text describe all the things you see in spring, from raindrops falling to blue birds riding the breeze.

Flannelboard

Little Seed

(Pieces needed:  seed, watering can, sun, green stem and leaves, flower top.)

We plant a little seed, (put seed in ground)

and we add a little water. (add watering can)

The sun shines bright, (add sun)

and the ground gets hotter.

Soon the seed sprouts,

and the green leaves rise. (add stem and leaves)

Out pops the flower, (add flower top)

what a beautiful surprise!

Rhymes, Songs, and Bounces

Spring is in the Air

Green grass beneath us, (look down)

Blue skies above, (look up)

Warm air all around us, (turn in circle with arms our)

I feel the love! (get a hug from caretaker or wrap arms around yourself)

 

Traditional rhyme

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells,

And pretty maids all in a row.

Craft

Cupcake Wrapper Flowers

Create your own garden of cupcake wrappers.

(Supplies needed: construction paper, cupcake wrappers in a variety of colors, pom-poms, crayons, and glue.)

  1. Give each child a piece of construction paper, 2 or 3 cupcake wrappers, a few small colorful pom-poms, crayons, and glue.
  2. Have the children create a garden scene.  Encourage them to color the sky, dirt, and stem of plants.
  3. At the top of the stem, have them glue cupcake wrappers or pom-poms to create a flower.  A pom-pom can also be placed inside of a cupcake wrapper.

Action Song: “I’m a Little Flower”

I’m a Little Flower

(to the tune of: “I’m a Little Teapot”)

I’m a little flower, watch me grow.

I start as a seed in the ground so low. (lie on the ground in a small ball)

When the sun is shining up I go, (slowly rise)

I open my petals, just like so! (pop up and stretch arms to the sky)

Super Scarves: 7 New Ways to Use Them in Your Programs

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”!

2) Kites:

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.

Ocean Journey

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!

4) Butterflies:

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!

See a video of the sign BUTTERFLY.

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.

6) Washcloths:

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.

Click here for a free flannelboard pattern for Dog’s Colorful Day, courtesy of artist Melanie Fitz.

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.

Click here for a free flannelboard pattern for Monkey Soup, courtesy of artist Melanie Fitz.

 

Ribbons and Streamers: Not Just for Parties

Ribbons and streamers are fun to incorporate into storytime and can be used in a variety of ways, all of which promote development of gross motor skills. You can use sturdy pre-made ribbons from a school and library supply company (our favorites are Lakeshore Learning’s Wrist Ribbons, which are just the right size for young children), or you can make your own using lengths of ribbon tied to dowel rods. For a less sturdy take-away streamer, tape a length of crêpe streamer to a straw.

Here are some ideas for using your streamers in storytime:

1. Share an ancient tradition:

The Ribbon Dance is a two thousand year old Chinese folk dance. Dancers use long ribbons attached to sticks to represent clouds and are supposed to bring rain and plentiful crops. Invite the children to move their ribbons in different ways as you show the sun, rain, wind, and clouds.

2. Catch a Wave:

Ribbons and streamers make wonderful waves. Make waves to your favorite Beach Boys tune, or go under the sea with a Calypso rhythm. Invite the children to stand in two rows, waving their streamers up high. Let the children take turns “swimming” between the rows so they feel they are under the sea!

3. Make a Rainbow:

Pass out streamers in a rainbow of colors. Wave them above your head when practicing your colors, singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, or during a book when a rainbow is mentioned. Or share the rhyme below to reinforce color knowledge.

If your streamer is red, wave it over your head!

If your streamer is blue, shake it by your shoe!

If your stream is yellow, wave it at a fellow!

If your streamer is green, shake it while you lean!

If your streamer is pink, shake it however you think!

4. Share a Star:

Sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as you gently wave your streamers to show the shimmering starlight, or share the shooting star rhyme below:

“The Star”

There once was a star who lived up in the sky (wave streamer above head)

He twinkled and twinkled at all who came by (move streamer in small movements to represent twinkling)

He twinkled left and he twinkled right (move streamer left, then right)

He twinkled through the day and he twinkled through the night (continue twinkling)

He twinkled down at the earth and he twinkled at me (point streamer down and keep twinkling)

Until he decided Earth was where he wanted to be.

So one day he twinkled as brightly as could be (move streamer in large back and forth movements)

And became a shooting star who came down…to..me! (slowly make streamer descend to the ground)

5. Race a Rocket:

Mark off a “course” on the floor using plastic cones or masking tape. Let the children take turns becoming “rockets” with the streamers as the fire coming out of their engines, as they skip or dance along the course.

Rocket Song (to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel”)

(Name) is blasting off into space

In a big red rocket

First we count and then we blast off

(5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Blast off!) (slowly raise streamer during countdown)

ROAR! Goes the rocket. (go along course with streamer behind you)

 6. Fly a Kite:

Play “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from Mary Poppins and pretend your streamer is a kite in the sky.

7. Share a Shape:

Use your streamer to create shapes in the air as you sing this song.

Shape Song (to the tune of “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”)

Can you draw a square, draw a square?

Oh can you draw a square, draw a square?

Draw a line and then three more

They are all the same for sure

Oh can you draw a square, draw a square?

 

Can you draw a circle, draw a circle.

Oh, can you draw a circle, draw a circle?

A circle is round

With no corners to be found

Oh, can you draw a circle, draw a circle?

 

Can you draw a triangle, draw a triangle?

Oh, can you draw a triangle, draw a triangle?

Make one side and then make two,

Then make a third, that’s all you do,

Oh, can you draw a triangle, draw a triangle?

8. Write a Word:

Use the streamer to write words or letters in the air. Encourage the children to make their letters as large as possible. This activity encourages letter knowledge, gross motor skills, and prewriting skills. As you lead the letters, describe exactly how to move the streamer to create them. For example: “Let’s make a letter A. We start at the top, then make a slanted line down to the bottom. Now back up to the top, and make a slanted line going the other way. Now make a little bridge to connect the  lines. We made an A!”

 

Springtime on the Farm Storytime

Recommended Books

The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett. Walker & Company, 2011.

In fairy tales, kissing a frog turns him into a prince, but if you kiss a pig,will you get a princess? In this clever and fun new book, the characters base all of their fortune and misfortune on what they have read before in fairy tales. When Priscilla the princess accidentally switches places with Pigmella, the farmer’s new piglet, the farmer and his wife believe it’s the work of a good witch, while the king and queen blame the bad witch. Isn’t that what happens in fairy tales? This book is entertaining for both adults and children and provides a wonderful opportunity for extension lessons discussing other fairy tales referenced.

 

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein. Candlewick Press, 2010.

Every night Papa Rooster tries to get Little Red Chicken to settle down and goto sleep by reading a few bedtime stories. But every night, Little Red Chicken gets too excited by the stories Papa Rooster reads and interrupts Papa to save the characters in the story – THE END! Unfortunately, Little Red Chicken’s involvement in the story doesn’t make her sleepy, so Papa Rooster suggest Little Red write her own story and tell it to him. Soon Papa Rooster is interrupting Little Red Chicken in his own way, but Little Red knows just what to do.

 

Song

Springtime on the Farm

(To the tune of “Down on Grandpa’s Farm”)

Chorus

It is spring, it is spring, springtime on the farm!

It is spring, it is spring, springtime on the farm!

 

Springtime on the farm, there is a new baby calf,

Springtime on the farm, there is a new baby calf.

The calf, he makes a sound like this – moo-moo.

The calf, he makes a sound like this – moo-moo.

 

…chick…cheep-cheep

…piglet – oink-oink

…lamb…bah-bah

…duckling…quack-quack

 

 

Flannelboard

Springtime Five Little Ducklings

Five little ducklings went out one day,

exploring the flowers and lost their way.

The mother duck said “Quack, Quack, Quack,”

but only four little ducks came back.

 

Four little ducklings went out one day,

exploring the flowers and lost their way.

The mother duck said “Quack, Quack, Quack,”

but only three little ducks came back.

 

Three little ducklings went out one day,

exploring the flowers and lost their way.

The mother duck said “Quack, Quack, Quack,”

but only two little ducks came back.

 

Two little ducklings went out one day,

exploring the flowers and lost their way.

The mother duck said “Quack, Quack, Quack,”

but only one little ducks came back.

 

One little duckling went out one day,

exploring the flowers and lost his way.

The mother duck said “Quack, Quack, Quack,”

but no little ducks came back.

 

Wah, Wah, Wah, cried mommy duck.

She looked for her ducklings with no luck.

The mother duck said, “Quack, Quack, Quack.”

and covered in flowers her ducklings came back!

 

 

Craft

Baby Bird Puppet and Nest

Pieces Needed: paper bags, twigs or other small woodsy items, craft stick,bird (cut out of a magazine or construction paper)

Directions:

  1. Crumple up the bag a few times to give it a soft, wrinkled appearance.
  2. Cut a small hole in the bottom of the bag that a craft stick could fit through.
  3. Fold the sides of the bag down about half way.
  4. Glue assorted woodsy items onto the bag to create a natural looking nest. Give it time to dry thoroughly.
  5. Glue the bird to the craft stick, and place in the bag with the stick through the hole in the bottom of the bag.

 

After making your craft, show off your puppet with this fun little rhyme.

Little bird, little bird, up in the tree,

Little bird, little bird, say hi to me!

(Pop up bird and “tweet, tweet, tweet!”)

Springtime Fun Storytime

Recommended Books:

Me and My Mom! by Alison Ritchie (Good Books, Intercourse, PA, 2009)

Although baby bear is little and unsure of the world around him, he knows with Mom by his side he can do anything. Mom shares daily adventures with her baby bear, all the while reassuring him that he is special, loved and with time will grow up to do all the things she can. For more loving family adventures with baby bear, check out Me and My Dad! by the same author.

Hooray for Spring! by Kazuo Iwamura (North-South Books Inc., 2009)

Mick, Mack and Molly, sibling squirrels, are excited to see the first signs of spring. As they explore the caterpillars, bees and trees, they discover a baby bird waiting for its mama to bring food. The squirrel siblings attempt to offer the baby bird some of their favorite foods, but the bird isn’t interested in anything they offer. Mama bird soon arrives and surprises the squirrels with the lunch she brings. For more Mick, Mack and Molly adventures, check out Hooray for Summer! and Hooray for Snow!

Action Rhymes

Bouncing Bunny

Bunny is so excited because spring is here,

Can you give spring a big hello cheer? (“Hooray!”)

Can you bounce like bunny, high in the air? (Bounce in place)

Shake your head like bunny, shake your hair! (shake head)

Bunny can wiggle his ears, I bet you can too. (wiggle ears)

Bunny also wiggles his nose, can you? (wiggle nose)

Often bunny tries to hide by sitting very still (pretend to hide behind hands)

Can you sit like bunny? I bet you will. (all sit down)

 

Spring Garden

My mom and I are working in the garden today.

First we have to loosen the soil. (mime digging)

Then mom gives me some seeds.

We have to be careful not to plant them too close together. (mime sprinkling seeds)

Next I carefully give each seed a small drink of water (mime pouring water)

and wait for the sunshine to warm them. (point up at sun)

Mom and I tend the garden every day, giving the seeds a little water. (mime watering)

Finally we start to see little green leaves sprout from the soil. (hunch down, slowly stand)

In the summer we have tall strong plants, both vegetables and flowers. (reach arms over head)

I can’t wait until next spring when we plant again!

 

Flannelboard Song

5 Caterpillars (to the tune of “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider”)

5 caterpillars went looking for some lunch.

1 found a leaf, crunch, crunch, crunch.

He made a little cocoon and he hid himself inside.

And when he woke up he was a beautiful butterfly!

4 caterpillars… (continue, counting down to 1)

Click here for a free flannelboard pattern to go with this song, courtesy of artist Melanie Fitz.