Category Archives: Summer

Wonderful Watermelon

Celebrate this summery sweet treat in storytime with this action rhyme and a watermelon science project!

Watermelon, watermelon, turn around.

Watermelon, watermelon, touch the ground.

Watermelon, watermelon, stamp your feet.

Watermelon, watermelon, good to eat! (rub tummy)

 

pink frothy liquid erupts from a watermelonTry this vinegar-free watermelon eruption project from Learn ~ Play ~ Imagine to demonstrate chemical reactions and promote fine motor skills.

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Share This Book: Take Me Out to Yakyu

Cover of Take Me Out to the YakyuBaseball 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.

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

Surf’s Up!

beachRecommended Books

At the Boardwalk by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman.  Wilton, CT: Tiger Tales, 2012.

Beautiful illustrations and rhyming text describe all that is offered at the boardwalk.  From early morning jogging to arcade games and sweet treats, anyone who has strolled the boardwalk will enjoy this simple tale of family fun.

At the Beach by Anne and Harlow Rockwell.  New, NY:  Simon & Schuster, 1991.

This classic tale with simple pictures and text is perfect for any child.  A little girl and her mother spend a day at the beach playing in the sand and water.

Action Rhyme

Beach Day

The sun is in the sky, (point up)

the sand is under my feet, (point down)

the waves tickle my toes (touch toes)

and crash in a rhythmic beat. (SPLASH)

Flannelboard

At the Beach

Pieces Needed: sandy beach, ocean wave, shovel, pail, sandcastle, seagulls, beach bag

At the beach we play all day,

running and splashing in the ocean spray.

I take out my pail, and my shovel too,

and build a castle for me and you.

The seagulls squawk and steal our food,

leaving my mom in a foul mood.

As the sun sets, we pack our supplies,

rinse the sand off, and say our goodbyes.

Five Fish

Piece Needed:  five fish, seaweed, sunken ship, anemone, sea turtle, setting sun

Five little fish swimming near the ocean floor,

One stopped to nibble some seaweed, then there were four.

Four little fish swimming in the sea,

One explored a sunken ship, then there were three.

Three little fish in the ocean blue,

One went to visit an anemone, then there were two.

Two little fish playing and having fun,

One caught a ride on a turtle’s back, and then there was one.

One little fish noticed the setting sun,

He swam home before the day was done.

Song

Surfin’ Safari by the Beach Boys

While the song is playing, toss a beach ball into the crowd.  Dance around and try to keep the beach ball in the air for the entire song!

Craft

Paper Plate Beach

Pieces needed:  paper plate, glue, torn pieces of brown construction paper, shredded blue construction paper (or gift bag filler), cut out pictures from magazines of  beach umbrellas, flip flops, towels, seagulls, fish, or other beach items.

  1. On the lower half of a paper plate glue brown pieces of construction paper to create sand.

  2. On the upper half of the paper plate glue blue strips of paper to create the waves of the ocean.

  3. Glue various other pictures on the plate that you may find at the beach.

Carpet Squares: Not Just for Sitting on Anymore

Those good old standbys, carpet squares, can be so much more than just a seat! Check out these cool new ideas for using carper squares in your programs.

1) Surfboards:

Spice up a summertime or ocean-themed program by inviting the kids to climb aboard their carpet squares and surf along with your favorite Beach Boys tune!

 

2) Color Action Game:

If you have carpet squares of different colors, use them to play a color recognition action game. (If all your carpet squares are the same color, put processing dots of different colors in the corners.) Then sing the song below and invite the kids to perform the actions:

(to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)

If your carpet square is red, pat your head.

If your carpet square is red, pat your head.

If your carper square is red, then go ahead and show it.

If your carpet square is red, pat your head.

Blue…touch your shoe…

Yellow…wave to a fellow…

Brown…jump up and down…

White…curl up tight…

Green…do a forward lean…

Black…scratch your friend’s back…

Grey…shout “hooray!”

Any color…give a holler!…

 

3) Play a life-sized board game:

Set up a path of carpet squares around the room, randomly mixing up colors. (Again, if your carpet squares are all one color, mark the corners with different colored processing dots.) Designate a starting and ending square. Create cards of each color by cutting up pieces of construction paper (or put dots on index cards if you are using the dot method. If desired, mark some squares with pictures relating to your theme and make cards to match. (For example, a Fall storytime might include a pumpkin, apple, leaf, and tree.) Have the children line up at the starting square and then take turns drawing a card from the pile. If a child draws a red card, he or she goes to the first red square. If a child draws a picture card, he or she must go to that square, even if that means going backwards. Keep playing (reshuffling cards as needed) until everyone gets to the end.

Literacy variations:
  • Alphabet matching: Mark the squares with letters of the alphabet and make cards to match. (Or use a set of magnetic alphabet letters and have each child draw one out of a bag on his or her turn.) Be sure to ask the child to identify the letter and match it to the correct square.
  • What’s that sound?: Mark the squares with letters of the alphabet as above, but make cards with simple words that begin with different letters of the alphabet. On each child’s turn, read a word aloud without showing it to the child, and see if the children can guess the first letter by sound. If they have trouble, show them the card and help them identify the first letter and its sound before moving to the correct square. (Make sure that the letters on your cards and squares are consistently uppercase or consistently lowercase to avoid confusion.)
  • Big and Little Matching: Mark the squares with uppercase letters of the alphabet, and make cards showing the lowercase letters. The children must match the letters to find the correct square.

 

4) Make Your Own Flannelboard:

Give each child a carpet square and a set of simple felt shapes, and invite them to tell the story along with you as you use the large flannelboard. This is a great activity for baby storytimes, as it encourages one-on-one interaction between parent and child, and gives parents a useful model for storytelling with their little ones at home. A simple flannelboard story such “Dog’s Colorful Day”, based on the book by Emma Dodd, is ideal for this activity. (Download a free flannelboard pattern by artist Melanie Fitz here.)

For older children, consider using this activity with a tangram story. Tangrams, a traditional Chinese puzzle and storytelling form, are easy to make and can yield thousands of different shapes. Check out one of the books below for stories and instructions on how to make a tangram set:

  • Grandfather Tang’s Story: A Tale Told With Tangrams by Ann Tompert. New York: Crown, 1990.
  • Grandfather’s Shape Story by Brian Sargent. New York: Scholastic, 2007.

 

5) Lilypads:

Liven up a froggy storytime with this rhyme, performed on carpet square lilypads.  Follow up by inviting the kids to hop from lilypad to lilypad around the room while you play a frog song such as “Jumping Frog” from Pretend by Hap Palmer (Freeport, NY: Educational Activities, Inc., 1998).

Lilypad Rhyme

I am a frog, lovely and green

I sit on my lilypad, calm and serene

Until a fly comes whizzing by

Then I LEAP in the air so high!

I stick out my tongue and SLURP.

Down goes the fly and out comes a burp.

I like being a frog, so I don’t think I’ll stop

Because it’s so much fun to hop!

There goes another fly, I really must dash.

I hop into the water with a great big SPLASH!

 

6) Tuffets:

Invite the kids to imagine that they are Miss Muffet sitting on her tuffet and act out the silly rhyme below.

Miss Muffet’s Tuffet

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet

Eating her curds and whey

Along came a spider and sat down beside her

And frightened Miss Muffet away.

But she came back around and sat back down

And continued then to eat.

Her toes got cold, so she was told

To put the tuffet on her feet!

Miss Muffet was done, she’d eaten a ton

But she didn’t care.

The spider came back and jumped on her back

So she waved her tuffet in the air!

It started to rain, she said, “What a pain!

I don’t want my hair to get wet!”

So she lifted her hands like that, and made up a hat

She put the tuffet on her head!

The rain started to slow, and the spider had to go

So she said, “I’ll see you around!”

She put the tuffet on the floor, and then once more

She sat herself back down!