Tag Archives: preschool storytime

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.

More Preschool Storytime Content:

Find additional storytime content at the links below:

Storytime Resources (includes all storytime outlines)
Virtual Preschool Storytimes
Virtual Baby Storytimes
Virtual Toddler Storytimes
Virtual Family Storytimes (including themed special events)
All Virtual Storytime Outlines

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

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

Fingerplay: Five Little Hot Dogs

Discover more Fingerplays. —

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

Discover more Book Retellings. —

Action Rhyme: I’m a Little Dump Truck

Flannel Song: BINGO

Discover more Flannel & Magnet Activities. —

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 & Piggie Storytime 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.

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.

More Preschool Storytime Content:

Find additional storytime content at the links below:

Storytime Resources (includes all storytime outlines)
Virtual Preschool Storytimes
Virtual Baby Storytimes
Virtual Toddler Storytimes
Virtual Family Storytimes (including themed special events)
All Virtual Storytime Outlines

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

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

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

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

Song: Banana Banana Meatball by Blazer Fresh

Action Rhyme: Funky Spunky Monkey

Retelling: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Discover more Book Retellings. —

Action Rhyme: Dino Ditty

Magnet: Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?

Discover more Flannel & Magnet Activities. —

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Virtual Preschool Storytime: Week 1

My first go at virtual preschool storytime!

This was a particularly interesting experience for me because in the past I’ve only really filled in for this age range, and I’ve used most of my go-to content for toddlers the last few months. I’m not against reusing the same content for toddlers and preschoolers (as is age appropriate), but part of my stretch into preschool storytimes includes building our YouTube content for preschoolers, and I don’t want to just make duplicate videos for this age range.

I’m not quite as swamped with virtual programs at the moment, so I used last week to dig into the child development and blogs for this age range. It’s been fun! I have a nice pile of new (to me) content that I’m excited to try out over the next month.

As usual, there are more videos here than content that actually fit in a 30 minute storytime. I like to give myself options, and I make videos often 3-4 days before I go live. Plus, more content for YouTube is just another way for our patrons to access storytimes.

More Preschool Storytime Content:

Find additional storytime content at the links below:

Storytime Resources (includes all storytime outlines)
Virtual Preschool Storytimes
Virtual Baby Storytimes
Virtual Toddler Storytimes
Virtual Family Storytimes (including themed special events)
All Virtual Storytime Outlines

Preschool Storytime Intro Song & Rhyme

Early Literacy Tip: Pick stuff you love. The kids can tell if you hate what you are reading. They can always tell.

Book: The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson

The Cow Loves Cookies: Wilson, Karma, Hall, Marcellus ...

Song: Drivin’ In My Car by Ralph’s World

Action Rhyme: Cool Cat

Retelling: Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

Discover more Book Retellings. —

Fingerplay: Wiggle Fingers

Discover more Fingerplays. —

Magnet: Little Fox

Discover more Flannel & Magnet Activities. —

Manipulative: Shakers

Closing Song: Elmo Slide by Sesame Street

Virtual Baby Shark Storytime

This has been a crazy past week of storytimes, but I kicked off May family storytime Saturdays with Baby Shark Storytime!

I ran this program in person back in January to a whopping 185 people! While that was just a few months ago, it feels closer to three years, and it was also something easy enough for me to replicate virtually that has a strong following.

We had a 30 minute storytime followed by about 10 minutes of Baby Shark bubbles and dancing. Videos of most content can be found below–as usual, there are a few more videos than I actually had time for during the storytime.

I also made a PDF for families filled with Baby Shark activities to do at home. See and download below:

We had about 63 live viewers, with 100 one-minute views by the end of the live recording. Not a bad turnout for one of our slowest virtual storytime days of the week.

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!

Introduction Song

We sung and danced along to Shake Your Sillies Out. I can’t upload a YouTube video of this one because of copyright.

Fingerplay

Apparently I never uploaded the video of the fingerplay we did to get ourselves settled for our first story.

We did Two Little Sharks:

Two little sharks in the deep blue sea,
One named Luna and one named Lee,
Swim away Luna, swim away Lee!
Come back Luna, come back Lee!

Continued with: Swimming on a wave…Dorothy and Dave

Book: Baby Shark

Baby Shark: Bajet, John John: 9781338556056: Amazon.com: Books

Song: The Goldfish Song by Laurie Berkner

Puppets: Slippery Fish

Magnet: 5 Sharks in the Bathtub

Book: Shark in the Park

Shark In The Park: Nick Sharratt: 9780857534781: Amazon.com: Books

Closing Song: Baby Shark

Extras

Baby Shark Storytime

Baby Shark is popular. I know this. I use the song regularly in my storytimes for all ages. However, I don’t think I realized how popular until I had 185 kids and adults crammed in our programming space for Baby Shark Storytime.

Like many libraries, we are generally short-staffed on the weekends. While we provide a weekly Saturday storytime, many of our other popular programs, especially for the 0-5 crowd, take place on weekdays. This works better for us, and those events still get large crowds, but working parents do not often get a chance to attend these party style events.

This was my second Saturday Tales @ 10 “takeover” (read about Mother Bruce Storytime to learn about my first one). I like using this programming slot for a bigger event because you have a guaranteed built-it audience (our regular weekend storytime attendees), and you also provide an opportunity to attract new faces to the library without having to ask for an additional staff member to work that weekend to cover your desk time.

Baby Shark Storytime was a celebration of all things Baby Shark. We had a shark-themed storytime followed by a collection of shark activities in place of our regular free play.

My storytime powerpoint is available below:

Baby Shark Storytime

My storytime followed a very similar structure to our standard family storytime. I tried to not make everything Baby Shark related so that parents wouldn’t pull their hair out (though, surprisingly, I think this just confused parents).

Opening Song: I Wake Up My Hands by Rainbow Songs

Opening Rhyme: Open, Shut Them
Open, shut them; open shut them.
Let your hands go clap, clap, clap.
Open, shut them; open, shut them.
Drop them in your lap, lap, lap.

Walk them, walk them,
Walk them, walk them,
Right up to your chin, chin, chin.
Open your little mouth,
But do not let them in!

Book: Bedtime for Baby Shark
This baby shark title has some easy to replicate hand motions without just singing the song (which we will get to) as a group in book form.

Song: Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Old Town School of Folk Music

Fingerplay: Two Little Sharks
Two little sharks in the deep blue sea.
One named Luna and one named Lee.
Swim away Luna, swim away Lee!
Come back, Luna, come back Lee!

Action Rhyme: Slippery Fish
Slippery fish, slippery fish, swimming through the water.
Slippery fish, slippery fish, Gulp, Gulp, Gulp! (clap)
Oh no! It’s been eaten by a…

Continue with: Octopus, Great White Shark, Humongous Whale

Magnet: Five Sharks in the Bathtub
One shark in the bathtub
Going for a swim
Knock, knock (clap twice)
Splash, splash (slap knees twice)
Come on in! (wave)

Book: Shark in the Park

Music: Baby Shark! by Pinkfong

Magnet: Five Little Fishies
Five little fishies, swimming in the sea.
Teasing Mr. Shark — “You Can’t Catch Me!”
Along comes Mr. Shark, as quiet as can be…
And (claps) SNAPS that fishy right out of the sea!

Closing Song: Shake Your Sillies Out by Rainbow Songs

Activites

After the storytime, many parents bolted because 185 people in a room meant for 75 is a lot.

But for those folks that stayed, we had some activities in the room as well as a scavenger hunt around our youth department.

Shark Fin Hats

Since this was my “easy” craft, it ended up being a bit more complicated than I would have liked. Each headband required 2-3 grey strips of paper–1-2 for the standard headband and another across the middle that the grey shark fin would be attached to. A standard shark fin shape was printed on grey cardstock to create the fin.

Shark Clothespin Puppets

The more complicated craft. Kids colored their own shark prints (found here) to make moveable shark clothespin puppets. I tried to have folks use glue dots instead of bottled glue to attach the sharks to the clothespins. That wasn’t the best idea, as they didn’t stick very well.

Pin the Fin on the Shark

This is exactly what it sounds like. Kids played pin-the-fin-on-the-shark with our lovely Baby Shark banner print from our marketing department. They received a button made on our button maker afterwards.

Feed the Shark Bean Bag Toss

This game was designed to be a standard bean bag toss game. Kids threw our toy fish into the shark’s mouth. They received a sticker after a successful throw.

This sort of worked out as planned, but essentially became a fascinating activity for our younger kids (ages 0-2) who just wanted to pick up the fish, put them in the shark’s mouth, take them out, put them in the basket, and dump them back out. Since this activity seemed to work best for the little kids, this helped the flow of the room since the older kids focused on the crafts.

Baby Shark Scavenger Hunt

Our last activity was our Baby Shark scavenger hunt, which got parents and kids out of our cramped programming space and into the youth department. After completing the scavenger hunt, each kid received a Baby Shark bookmark.

Wonderworks: Animals in Winter

Occasionally, I get the opportunity to fill in for other regular storytimes at my library. I don’t often have the chance to work with preschoolers, but last week I presented our weekly Wonderworks storytime. This STEM storytime is designed for ages 3-6 with a collection of station-based activities afterwards allowing attendees to explore that week’s theme.

Whenever I get a chance to present Wonderworks, I typically connect the theme to animals. Last week, we talked about what animals do in winter, particularly hibernation, adaptation, and migration.

There are many great books on this topic, but I was right in predicting that my audience would be young (it was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and we had a ton of first time families and mostly children that were either 2-3 or 7-8).

We used a big book to read Sleepy Bear by Lydia Dabcovich. While the book is quite simple for the intended age range of this program, we were able to talk about the illustrations and the behaviors of many of the animals on the pages. We had a lengthy conversation about how we know the seasons are changing, and what we saw in the pictures that reflected that.

The flannel rhyme “Five Little Penguins” was definitely the hit of the storytime. We didn’t get to the book Mother Bruce, which we were going to watch via the Weston Woods video, due to lack of time, which I expected.

My full storytime outline is below.

Wonderworks STEM Stations

After storytime, folks were welcome to participate in a variety of activities that allowed them to further explore that week’s theme. These included:

Animal Tracks in the Snow

I cut out accurately-sized outlines of a polar bear track, deer track, raccoon track, and bird track out of thin foam. Attendees used markers on white butcher paper to trace and color in animal tracks in the snow, with the option of practicing writing skills by writing the name of the animal beside the track they made.

Blubber Experiment

Whenever possible, I like to include a small “experiment” in Wonderworks station-based play, where kids can learn more about a topic, make a hypothesis, and then test their hypothesis to see if it was true.

This week, we learned about blubber. We talked about this briefly during storytime when we talked about how animals, like polar bears and penguins, adapt during winter.

A coworker brought me a small bag of ice just as station play was beginning, which I dumped into our pre-set bin of water. Three kids at a time stopped by my station. They put their hand in the water and determined that it was, in fact, cold. We talked about how many winter animals in the Arctic and Antarctic swim in much colder water than this every day.

They then could test out three possible blubber substitutes–cotton balls, powdered sugar, and shortening. Quart sized ziploc bags were lined with each substance, and another quart size bag was placed in the middle inside-out, with the bags duct taped shut. That way, the child’s hand was protected from both water and the blubber substitute.

This is where science failed me–according to the internet and my own tests of this experiment, shortening acts as the best insulator. For whatever reason that morning, all three substances provided the same amount of warmth. The idea of explaining blubber still worked overall, even if the specifics of the experiment didn’t quite work.

This was definitely a popular activity, though I did have to manage it the whole time, since water was involved and our audience skewed young.

Find the Goslings Scavenger Hunt

Ten goslings were hidden around our activity center, and little ones had to practice their counting skills to find them all.

Download geese to hide around your room or library here.

Polar Bear Craft

Art is far from my favorite subject, but I like to include something art related in station-based play. I would have preferred something a bit more open-ended, but since I knew I would have to stay with the experiment station, I included an activity that was a little more straightforward in this polar bear craft.

Preschoolers practiced their fine motor skills by cutting out their own polar bears, and many got creative in coloring their bears and camouflaging them to match their backgrounds.

Polar Bear Craft printable outlines can be downloaded below:

App Play: Endless Alphabet

My last station incorporated technology. The Endless Alphabet app is definitely expensive ($8.99), but it is a high-quality app that helps little ones expand their vocabulary and practice identifying letter and recognizing letter sounds. During the storytime, we used the app as a group to talk about the word “camouflage.” Attendees were free to explore the app and and vocabulary words they liked. All ipads were locked to only allow access to that app.

Stuffed Animal Sleepover

While a Stuffed Animal Sleepover is certainly not a unique program idea–a quick Google or Pinterest search will quickly bring up ten or more articles featuring libraries who have run this type of event–it is still one of my favorites. In addition to being downright adorable, it helps young kids practice parting with precious items for a brief amount of time–an important skill.

Last week, we had 17 stuffed friends spend the evening at the library.

Drop Off Storytime

I structure my Stuffed Animal Sleepover with a drop off program and then an all day next day pickup. This evening program means less attendance than we would receive during the day, but it also means providing a program for our working parents.

Our program was designed for ages 2-6 and followed a standard storytime format, with the idea that each child’s stuffed animal acted as their “baby”–meaning the attending children bounced their stuffed animal and helped them participate in the rhymes and songs. The full storytime PowerPoint is available below:

We had some library owned stuffed animals on hand for any drop-in attendees who did not bring their own stuffed animal but wanted to participate.

Before starting the storytime, as families came in, they worked on information sheets for each stuffed animal. These sheets helped us give each stuffed animal the best experience and eased the fears of some of our younger attendees.

We ended our stortime by singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with Raffi and putting our stuffed animals to sleep underneath our parachute. We had a few kids who were hesitant to part with their stuffed friends, but they did eventually.

Stuffed Animal Sleepover Photo Time

After the storytime is over, the real fun begins. I had two hours to take as many pictures as possible, design souvenir albums, and assemble the albums. Even with plenty of help, it was a whirlwind few hours!

I had a few planned photos, and everything else was just what worked best at the time. I knew I definitely wanted photos of:

  • Stuffed Animal Dinner Party
  • Stuffed Animal Glow Party
  • Youth Dept. Treehouse
  • Book Sorter

Some of my favorite photos are below:

After taking pictures, I inserted the pictures into our souvenir photo albums, printed them, and had teen volunteers help stuff the albums so they were ready for pickup the next day. A sample album is featured below (with one of our sample photos featured throughout):

All of our stuffed friends were picked up the next day, with lots of adventures to share with their owners.

Mother Bruce Storytime

Mother Bruce is one of my favorite book characters. If you haven’t read, or, even better, listened to, the book Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins, track down a copy now. It is a funny read, perfect for preschool through first or second grade. The audiobook, read by Roberston Dean, is a particular favorite of mine with excellent pacing, great sound effects, and an original musical score that brings the grumpy old bear to life.

I was determined to celebrate one of my favorite storytime characters at the library. We had a great Saturday morning with a family storytime and a visit from Bruce himself!

My storytime outline is below.

We didn’t get through all of these activities (I often plan way too much). Goin’ on a Bear Hunt was a group favorite.

Mother Bruce Storytime Activities

After storytime, folks were welcome to participate in a variety of themed activities. These included:

Mother Bruce Ears & Gosling Craft

Visitors cut out bear ears and attached them to brown headbands. Optionally, they could also cut out yellow goslings to tape to a string hanging off the back of their headband (so your goslings would follow you everywhere, just like Bruce’s).

Goin’ On a Bear Hunt Obstacle Course

No preschool program is complete without some physical fun. Little ones explored our Goin’ On a Bear Hunt obstacle course. They completed some of the activities we did as a group during storytime including climbing a mountain, crossing a river, walking through a wheat field, and going into a cave to find our bear puppet.

Find the Goslings Scavenger Hunt

Ten goslings were hidden around our meeting room, and little ones had to find them all! When they found all ten geese, they got to pick a Mother Bruce bookmark.

Download geese to hide around your room or library here.

Gosling Match

I love to give little ones an opportunity to play in water. Just like a fair game, little ones could pick up rubber “goslings” and try to find two with matching colored bottoms.

This didn’t work quite as planned, as my ducks shifted and didn’t want to stay bottoms down in the water.

Meet Bruce!

The star of the event–Bruce came to visit! After sufficient warning to prepare little ones for a visit from the big bear, Bruce stopped by for photos and to participate in the crafts and activities. The Costume Specialist store in Columbus, Ohio lets libraries borrow book character costumes for free, and these visits always make an exciting addition to any program.