Preschool

Pinkalicious Storytime

Another themed Saturday storytime special! I first thought about having a Pinkalicious Party over a year ago after having two different moms ask me for Pinkalicious readers for their sons. Previously, I had felt that a program on this book and tv series was a little too close to conforming to gender norms for my taste, but I was convinced otherwise by the number of young boys expressing interest in the books. While it was never my intention for this program to be virtual, I see a distinct advantage to it–there were many young boys in my virtual audience, and we didn’t have any of the parent comments that could have occurred in person or the social stigma that could have kept a parent from bringing their son to a program celebrating all things pink. (Another way virtual programming can open doors for patrons!)

I made another “commercial” for this program, which you can view below:

To help continue the Pinkalicious fun at home, I curated a PDF packet that we shared with event participants. Download it here.

The general storytime layout is below, with videos where applicable.

Backdrop Setup: Pennant banners and Pinkalicious book covers and images helped make my backdrop more on-theme to increase the Pinkalicious excitement (and it helps that my wall is pink!):

Pinkalicious Intro: We got ready for storytime with Shake Your Sillies Out by Rainbow Songs, my go-to intro song.

Book: Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann

Amazon.com: Pinkalicious (8580001052694): Victoria Kann, Elizabeth ...

Song: Dance All Day by Bari Kori
Pinkalicious is fairly long, so I wanted to get some wiggles out with a movement-heavy song after the book.

Fingerplay: I Have One, I Have Two Little Mermaids (celebrating Aqua from Aqualicious)

Puppets: Down Around the Corner starring Pink Animals

Song: Pink by Pancake Manor (freeze dance!)

Action Rhyme: Pinkalicious, Pinkalicious Turn Around (skipped in storytime)

Magnet: Pinkalicious, Pinkalicious Where Do You Hide?

Magic Wish: Make our unicorn light up with our wishing powers! (only repeated twice in the actual storytime)

Closing Song: Pinkalicious Theme Song

Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 8

My last preschool storytime (outside of specials)–possibly for a long while. If we keep with our proposed schedule for the fall and spring, other than those Saturday programs, I won’t be doing these again. This was such a fun age range. (I think I say that about all of them!)

For me, a benefit of COVID has been being able to really dig into storytimes for different ages. When I started as a youth librarian, I had very little storytime experience, and I essentially served as a substitute. I was tossed head first into Baby Storytime, which I made my own. I substituted for other ages, but I often just repeated the same program because I saw the kids so infrequently. Now that I’ve really been working with each age range, I can see the improvement across all of my storytimes, plus I have more awareness of what is appropriate for each age range.

One thing I didn’t get to explore as much as I wanted these last few weeks is diverse musicians. I am still working on this project, but as happens, especially now, deadlines keep trumping projects like these. I have been chipping away, however. I have a great lists of artists and CDs, and I am working on the listening. More soon!

Background: While my library is closed during the COVID pandemic, we are hosting five virtual storytimes a week, livestreamed through our Facebook page. While those livestreams are deleted soon after they are complete, we are also making YouTube clips of select elements of our storytimes that our patrons can view anytime they would like–and that I can share with all of you!

Find additional content at the links below:

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Talking & Reading

When sharing a story together, take a look at the book cover. Have your child predict what the book might be about. Read them the title and see if that changes their thoughts. Take a look at the pictures inside, and see what they think.

Book: King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes: 9781524740740 ...

Song: Wiggledy-Woo by Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael
(No video, as we don’t need a permanent record of me dancing to this.)

Fingerplay: Five Little Caterpillars

Book Retelling: Goodnight Moon

Action Rhyme: Mix a Pancake

Flannel: We’re Going on a Bug Hunt

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 7

My second to last preschool storytime! I’m trying to keep to the same routine, but I also feel like I want to just squeeze as much content in as I can. Starting in the fall, I’m rotating between baby and toddler programs, so I don’t know when I will see this age range again outside of themed Saturday specials (Pinkalicious, I’m coming for you!).

Generally, I ended up with too many pieces this week that were a touch too long when all put in the same program (longer book, longer song, longer retelling). Virtual attention spans are still short, even with my preschool friends.

Background: While my library is closed during the COVID pandemic, we are hosting five virtual storytimes a week, livestreamed through our Facebook page. While those livestreams are deleted soon after they are complete, we are also making YouTube clips of select elements of our storytimes that our patrons can view anytime they would like–and that I can share with all of you!

Find additional content at the links below:

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Reading

Encourage your child to choose books they are excited about, even if you think the story is too long for their attention span or bedtime. Try a “picture walk” if you really think the book is too dense, but consider trying to read it–their patience may surprise you when they are genuinely interested.

Book: Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao: Zhang, Kat, Chua, Charlene ...

Song: Waiting for the Elevator by Laurie Berkner

Fingerplay: Two Little Friends

Book Retelling: Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London

Action Rhyme: Zoom Zoom Zoom

Flannel: Five Fancy Peacocks

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 6

Another week, another storytime. Lots of first time selections for me this week–actually all of this is first time activities except for the opening and closing song. Yay new stuff!

Background: While my library is closed during the COVID pandemic, we are hosting five virtual storytimes a week, livestreamed through our Facebook page. While those livestreams are deleted soon after they are complete, we are also making YouTube clips of select elements of our storytimes that our patrons can view anytime they would like–and that I can share with all of you!

Find additional content at the links below:

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip:

Talk about print awareness. Start reading a book upside down and let your child figure out what is wrong. Locate the cover, title, and author’s names. Talk about reading from left to right.

Book: Bedtime Bonnet by Nancy Redd (Watch Book Talk Video here.)

Bedtime Bonnet: Redd, Nancy, Myers, Nneka: 9781984895257: Amazon ...

Song: Teddy Bear by Jazzy Ash

Fingerplay: My Garden

Book Retelling: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Action Rhyme: Show Me How You Move

Manipulative: Shaker Time

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Paw Patrol Rescue Academy

Paw Patrol and I have a bit of a history. During spring break 2019, I planned a program featuring one of the most popular kids TV shows of the time. It was scheduled for a Friday morning, and while we could tell from patron questions that there was some excitement, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had been planning for a storytime followed by eight hands-on games, crafts, and activities where you earned badges, and ending with an obstacle course where you earned your Paw Patrol “uniform” (hat and necklace).

Before the program started, I debated dropping the storytime portion because my overzealous planning had led to very little room for attendees to sit down before completing their activities. I believe I left the room to get extra supplies about 30 minutes before the program and was extremely surprised to realize that there were over 100 patrons in the hallway. Waiting for a program that started in 30 minutes. A program that was supposed to take place in meeting rooms that have a firecode of around 200 when the room isn’t filled with tables and activities. The storytime portion was dropped, and by the end of the program over 300 people stopped by.

I have never written about that program on this blog because it didn’t go the way I had hoped (high attendance or not), and I didn’t actually have that many resources to share. Pre-COVID, I had been planning to try this program again this summer with quite a few modifications. Post-COVID, this program turned into another online special storytime, following the path of the recent Baby Shark Storytime and Elephant & Piggie Storytime.

Enjoy watching me make a fool of myself promoting this program in the below video. I think the video did help, as we had more people at this virtual program than Elephant & Piggie three weeks prior (about 76 at Paw Patrol).

To help continue the Paw Patrol fun at home, I curated a PDF packet that we shared with event participants. Download it here and view it below:

The general storytime layout is below, with videos where applicable.

Backdrop Setup: Pennant banners and Paw Patrol shields helped make my backdrop more on-theme to increase the Paw Patrol excitement:

Paw Patrol Intro: We got ready for storytime with the Paw Patrol theme song and explained our mission: to complete training activities to earn six Paw Patrol badges and become junior Paw Patrol members.

Book: Pit Crew Pups from Five Puptacular Tales

Amazon.com: Five Puptacular Tales! (PAW Patrol) (Step into Reading ...

Badge #1: Flying Badge with Skye: Airplane Song by Laurie Berkner

Whenever it was time to earn a new badge, we received pup mail. We had to guess which pup’s badge we were going to earn based on the front of our mail and then read about our challenge.

Our first challenge was to practice our flying skills with Skye!

Badge #2: Water Safety Badge with Zuma: Zuma Are You In a Boat?

Badge #3: Safety Badge with Chase: Crazy Traffic Light

Badge #4: Fire Safety Badge with Marshall: Hurry, Hurry Drive the Firetruck

Badge #5: Construction Badge with Rubble: Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia
This was supposed to be just a read of the book, but I couldn’t get a copy of the book in time, so it turned into a last minute magnet. I’m sure I’ll reuse this set at some point in a toddler storytime.

Amazon.com: Tip Tip Dig Dig (All About Sounds) (9781906250829 ...

Badge #6: Handyman Badge with Rocky: Our Friend Rocky Had Some Tools

Graduation: Now that we had earned all six Paw Patrol badges, as shown in our Paw Patrol Badge Zone:

We recited the Paw Patrol Pledge:

And danced the morning away as Junior Paw Patrol members!

Closing Song: Pup Pup Boogie

Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 5

I managed to incorporate shapes this week! I feel like I cover colors frequently and wow we have counted a lot in past weeks, but shapes always slip through. I haven’t put in the time to find enough great shape rhymes, but I’m going to work on that.

I’m preparing for a Saturday special storytime this week–Paw Patrol!, so a lot of storytime favorites appeared this week to make this preschool storytime a bit easier on my brain.

Background: While my library is closed during the COVID pandemic, we are hosting five virtual storytimes a week, livestreamed through our Facebook page. While those livestreams are deleted soon after they are complete, we are also making YouTube clips of select elements of our storytimes that our patrons can view anytime they would like–and that I can share with all of you!

Find additional content at the links below:

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip:

Playing is so important developmentally—and a ton of fun! On the go, I Spy in the car can help build vocabulary. At home, act out a story or play dress up–maybe recreate a story like today’s book!

Book: What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night by Refe and Susan Tuma

What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night: A Very Messy Adventure - Kindle ...

Song: Monkey Dance by The Wiggles

Fingerplay: Old Brass Wagon

Book Retelling: Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau

Action Rhyme: Point to the Ceiling

Flannel: Little Crab, Little Crab

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 4

Due to last week’s surprise preschool storytime, I have a bit of time with this age range–6 weeks in a row. I’m passing babies back to a coworker for a few weeks as I dig into the preschool age range. Lots of fingerplays, direction-practicing, and letter and number skills!

Background: While my library is closed during the COVID pandemic, we are hosting five virtual storytimes a week, livestreamed through our Facebook page. While those livestreams are deleted soon after they are complete, we are also making YouTube clips of select elements of our storytimes that our patrons can view anytime they would like–and that I can share with all of you!

Find additional content at the links below:

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Singing breaks up words into syllables, slowing down the sounds that words make. It also introduces new vocabulary!

Book: I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

Amazon.com: I Got the Rhythm By Connie Schofield-Morrison ...

Song: Wiggle Your Lah-Dee-Dah by Ralph’s World

Fingerplay: Five Green and Speckled Frogs

Book Retelling: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

Action Rhyme: There Was a Crocodile

Flannel Song: Five Little Ducks

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 3

Surprise preschool storytime this week! This was a little more tossed together. I’ve also realized I focus so much on counting.

I’m working on bulking up the diverse titles in my home library to help with these and future storytimes. I’m still quarantining books I get from work for a while when I bring them home, so I’ve really been creating storytimes from my home collection a lot, and most of my books are animal focused. This is a part of my personality–I also beg for a lot of animal programs–but I need to expand, and I want to show that in my storytimes. This preschool storytime isn’t a great example, but it is on my mind.

I’m also working on really digging into the musicians I use in storytime and creating a collection of diverse artists to regularly pull from. This project has gotten sidelined more than I would like as I didn’t expect to be quite so exhausted and to lose quite so much time during my work in-building days.

Background: While my library is closed during the COVID pandemic, we are hosting five virtual storytimes a week, livestreamed through our Facebook page. While those livestreams are deleted soon after they are complete, we are also making YouTube clips of select elements of our storytimes that our patrons can view anytime they would like–and that I can share with all of you!

Find additional content at the links below:

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Build writing muscles with scribbling, coloring, and fingerplays.

Fingerplay: Five Little Hot Dogs

Book: Swallow the Leader by Danna Smith

Amazon.com: Swallow the Leader (lap board book) (9781328482655 ...

Song: Jump! Jump! by Joanie Leeds

Book Retelling: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean and Eric Litwin

Action Rhyme: I’m a Little Dump Truck

Flannel Song: BINGO

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Elephant & Piggie Storytime

10,000 years ago, in the days that were March, spring break week was supposed to end with an Elephant & Piggie Party. We had borrowed the full body costumes for some guest appearances, I had too many games and crafts planned to fit in our space, and we were expecting a decent crowd–last year’s Paw Patrol event, on the same day and time, had 300 people.

But before spring break, our library closed because COVID, etc., etc., etc., if you are reading this post in 2020 or soon after you don’t need me to rehash the details again. If you have no idea what COVID quarantining was…well I’m surprised this blog is still being used. Hopefully Google still exists too. Anyway, last weekend, I was able to bring part of the Elephant & Piggie Party online with Elephant & Piggie Storytime.

We had a smaller turnout than we would have had in person–just 51 online viewers during our Facebook Live event–but there were many familiar faces and the engagement in the comments was amazing.

To help continue the Elephant and Piggie fun at home, I curated a PDF packet that we shared with event participants. Download it here.

The general storytime layout is below. I wish I could share the whole video with you because some of the best parts just aren’t in the pre-made YouTube videos. I added a few screenshots for your enjoyment where I could.

Find additional content at the links below:

Backdrop Setup: Pennant banners and book covers helped make my backdrop more on-theme to increase the Elephant & Piggie excitement:

Elephant & Piggie Intro: We got ready for storytime with my go-to storytime intro song: Shake Your Sillies Out by Rainbow Songs.

Fingerplay: I Have One, I Have Two, I Have Three Little Piggies!

First Book: Let’s Go for a Drive by Mo Willems

Let's Go for a Drive! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) (An Elephant ...

I used to perform this book as a puppet show back when I was a teen volunteer, so I’m very familiar with the content. I included some props and got quite energetic in sharing the book:

Song: Elephants Have Wrinkles by Rainbow Songs

Magnet: Piggie, Are You In a Book?

Magnet: Five Elephants in the Bathtub
**This was the planned starting point for Pigeon takeover. I made a full video for YouTube, but this wasn’t part of the storytime beyond the introduction.

Pigeon Takeover: I’ve been trying to think of ways to use virtual storytimes to my advantage. In a room full of kids, I could never transform a storytime space like I’m able to by covering the camera for a minute and swapping out decor. Hence, Pigeon Takeover was born.

**Our storytimes are live. This would have been much easier pre-recorded, but it wouldn’t have been half as fun.

How This Worked:

  • While swapping out magnet pieces from Piggie, Are You in a Book? to start what I told viewers was our next activity, Five Elephants in the Bathtub, I really pressed play on the iPod Touch I use for music (connected via bluetooth to a speaker), starting a Spotify playlist. The playlist contained 7 door knocking sounds followed by the Hot Dog! song by They Might be Giants (Pigeon likes hot dogs!).
  • Once the knocking started, I pretended to ignore it while making an annoyed face before apologizing to viewers and telling them I needed to check on the door. I’d be right back!
  • As soon as I was off camera, stuffed Pigeon made an appearance, using a sign to make his opinions known:
  • I moved the Pigeon Storytime sign up against the camera before swapping it out with a black washcloth. The Hot Dog! song continued to play and my awesome coworker kept the shenanigans going in the comments while letting viewers know to keep watching.
  • In a minute, I swapped out as much of the decor as I could, focusing on: the books on the bookshelf, stuffed animals, and hanging up as many Pigeon book covers and pre-cut Pigeon images on top of the Elephant and Piggie decor as I could manage. These were all pre-taped and on a table off camera.
  • I positioned myself with the Pigeon headband and holding some of Pigeon’s signage. I made sure before I started that my chair was close enough to the camera to remove the wash cloth in a clean motion. I stopped the music, moved the wash cloth, threw in a “is there a bird on my head?” joke, and let my confusion show before accepting my fate that I was now in a different storytime:

Book: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems, Hardcover ...

Since this was now Pigeon storytime, we had to wrap things up with a Pigeon story.

Closing Song: If You’re an Elephant/Piggie/Pigeon and You Know It!

Extra: 5 Little Pigeons Jumping on the Bed

Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 2

Back to preschool! I’m not sure how many more of these I will get to do as we move back into the library in the next few weeks, so I’m excited to have another opportunity to program for preschoolers. I particularly like being able to retell books with flannels, puppets, and props, which just isn’t something I can do as much with babies, since everything is so action-oriented due to those short attention spans. I even broke out one of my personal flannel sets for the camera this week, since I’m filming from home anyway.

I’ve really enjoyed virtual programming–there is something freeing in not having a group of kids in front of me. I know many don’t feel this way, and it was an adjustment at first, but I am much less self-conscious without kids and adults staring at me. I’m not nervous beforehand the way I am for an in-person storytime. I also enjoy the YouTube videos–it is an interesting way to make what feels like a more permanent footprint with our services. I know we will be virtually programming for a while longer, but I hope we also continue some version of our YouTube presence after this is over. There are always people who can’t make it into the library, but some of those people can watch us on their devices. It’s a different way to reach our community.

Background: While my library is closed during the COVID pandemic, we are hosting five virtual storytimes a week, livestreamed through our Facebook page. While those livestreams are deleted soon after they are complete, we are also making YouTube clips of select elements of our storytimes that our patrons can view anytime they would like–and that I can share with all of you!

Find additional content at the links below:

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip & Book: Grandma’s Tiny House by JaNay Brown-Wood (Watch Book Talk Video here.)

Grandma's Tiny House: Brown-Wood, JaNay, Burris, Priscilla ...

Early Literacy Tip: Have your preschooler tell you a story they are familiar with.

Song: Banana Banana Meatball by Blazer Fresh

Action Rhyme: Funky Spunky Monkey

Retelling: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Action Rhyme: Dino Ditty

Magnet: Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street