Tuesday, July 28, 2009

And Then...

Below is one of my "And Then" stories. Read it to your child, and when you come to the end where it says "And then...", ask Jacob/Emily what happens next. Copy what they say in a comment, and we'll have fun reading what each other's kids have to say. (This will probably work best with the older kids, especially grade schoolers.)

Maddie dumped her school bag by the front door and headed for the kitchen. She smelled brownies. “Mom, you’re the greatest!” she said as her mom pulled the pan from the oven.

“I know,” her mom replied. “And that’s not the only great thing I did for you today. I picked up some shoes at a garage sale since you wrecked your old ones in that mud puddle incident last week.”

“A garage sale?”

“Yes, that will have to do until we have time to go shopping. Am I still the greatest?” Mom asked.

“I guess so,” said Maddie, taking a big bite of warm brownie.

As soon as she finished, she went to her room and spotted the shoes lying next to her bed. They were odd looking things, made of little squares of different colored leather sewn together with black thread. But they were soft and light weight, so she stuck her feet in them. They fit perfectly.

“I’m going to Nicole’s house,” she called to her mom as she slammed the front door. But when she turned right at the sidewalk, she found she couldn’t move. Her feet felt frozen to the cement. She strained to lift her legs, first one, then the other, but it was useless. She couldn’t move forward. She stared at her feet. Those shoes. Those shoes are doing this! Her next impulse was to get home, and she was relieved to be able to turn herself around. She took a step, then another. That’s better, she thought. But when she tried to turn towards her front door, her feet, or those shoes, kept going straight. “Stop!” she yelled, but the shoes kept walking.

And then…

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fingerplays for July 21-23

Magic Finger

Magic finger in the air.
Magic finger in my hair.
Magic finger on my hips.
Magic finger on my lips.

Ten Little Fingers

Ten little fingers and they all belong to me.
I can make them do things.
Would you like to see?
I can shut them up tight, or open them wide.
I can put them all together, or make them all hide.
I can make them go high.
I can make them go low.
I can fold them all together and sit just so.

Round and Round the Garden

Round and round the garden,
Goes the little mouse.
Up, up, up he creeps,
Up into his house.

If you're looking for "My Kitty" and "Three Little Kittens", check the "Labels" column to the right and click on those titles.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Great Book for Preschool - Grade 2

Every once in a while I run across a new (or new to me) book that really hits the spot. The latest one is Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This book is for those who want to get across to our children concepts such as cooperation, respect, or fairness, but find it hard to put them in terms our little ones can understand. Using the idea of making, eating and sharing cookies, the author does a masterful job of using one sentence and one illustration to make these words perfectly clear. On the first page, a child stirs cookie dough with her animal friends. The text reads "Cooperate means, how about you add the chips while I stir." Any child gets that! Or "Fair means, you get a bite, I get a bite..."

I read this book and thought "Duh! Of course this is the perfect way to make a child understand!" I plan to work this book into one of my preschool storytime themes, maybe "Food." I recommend this book for everyone. You can buy it at MudPuddles Toy store, or of course, check it out from our library, but then you'd have to return it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Which Storytime Should You Come To?

The Sherwood Library, bless them, supports six children's programs each week (not counting the summer reading program). We now have one Baby Time, three Toddler Times, and two Preschool Storytimes. Parents often wonder which one their child should attend, which are the most crowded, and whether there are differences among them. Here is my answer.

Baby Time is for babies as young as you want to bring them, up to the time they are more interested in exploring than sitting in your lap. Of course, that will be different for each child, but this is what I've learned are the patterns.

Because very young babies don't have good muscle control in their necks, the bouncing movements that go along with our rhymes and songs won't be appropriate for them. Once they have good control, they're ready to enjoy the program. We do bouncy songs and rhymes, play with manipulatives, do Ring Around the Rosie (in the parent's arms) and blow bubbles, among other things. Babies love it, usually until they are walking (or really fast crawlers). Then they realize they don't have to sit in one spot, and the other babies and the chairs and toys are much more interesting than a lap. That seems to be around 12 months.

Toddler Time is "marketed" for ages 18 months to 3 years, but many toddlers come earlier than 18 months, and that's fine with me. If they enjoy watching the children, absorbing the songs and rhymes, and interacting with the adult who brings them, then they're learning and getting a lot out of it. They'll be up an participating in no time. We do movement based songs, fingerplays, two stories, one lap activity, and a song with a manipulative such as pompoms or maracas. It's very high energy.

After they turn three, they can start transitioning to Preschool Storytime. Some children are ready for a more literature based program when they turn three, but others aren't ready to sit still for as long as I ask. However, during that transition time it's fine to bring Jacob or Emily to Preschool Storytime for as long as they are willing, whether it's ten minutes or twenty. It doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" change, so it's okay to leave before the program is done. Once they turn four, Preschool Storytime is the right place for them.

At Preschool Storytime (sometimes called "Big Kid Storytime") I usually have four or five books, one of which is a flannelboard or puppet story, or movement based. I always have a wiggle-buster or two thrown in so the kids don't have to sit still the whole time. They never have to sit for more than two books in a row. Each week I have a theme, like Ocean (this week) or Bears, or Naughtiness. I don't do crafts - sorry. There are just too many good books out there to take the time. Besides the fact that I'm just not very good in that department.

FYI, the Tuesday Toddler Time and Preschool Storytime are definitely the most crowded. Wednesday, they're both smaller, and the Thursday Toddler Time is the smallest. You can look at the library website for days and times or pick up a calendar at the front desk, which also lists the themes for each week.

Fingerplays From July 14-16

Two Little Hands

Two little hands go clap, clap, clap.
Two little feet go tap, tap, tap.
Two little hands go thump, thump, thump.
Two litle feet go jump, jump, jump.
One little body slowly turning round.
One little child sits quiety down.

My Kitty

My kitty's tail swishes to and fro.
My kitty sits by a sunny window.
My kitty likes to climb a tree.
My kitty's whiskers tickle me.

Pitter Patter

Pitter patter, pitter patter,
Oh so many hours.
Though rain may keep me in the house,
It's very good for flowers!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Baby Time Rhymes

Here are some rhymes we use with the littlest ones at Baby Time:

Diddle Diddle Dumpling

Diddle diddle dumpling my son John,
Went to bed with his trousers on.
One shoe off, and
One shoe on.
Diddle diddle dumpling my son John.

Gregory Griggs

Gregory Griggs, Gregory Griggs,
Had twenty seven different wigs.
He wore them UP,
He wore them DOWN,
To please the people of the town.
He wore them EAST,
He wore them WEST,
But he never did know which he liked the best.

Say Say Oh Baby

Say say oh baby,
Come here and clap with me,
And bring your happy smile,
Bounce on my lap a while
Shake shake your hands now,
Shake shake your bottom, too
And shake your tootsies ten,
Let's do it again!

These Are Baby's Fingers

These are Baby's fingers,
These are Baby's toes,
This is Baby's belly button
Round and round it goes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This Week's Laugh

This week's theme for preschool storytime was "Babies." I read Daisy is a Mommy and came to the page where Mommy gives Baby a bath, and Daisy (the dog) gives her babies (puppies) a bath.

"How does Daisy give her babies a bath?" I asked the children.

"She licks them!" they answered.

"Aren't you glad your mommy doesn't give you a bath that way?" I asked.

"My mommy does!" one little girl answered. Too funny!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Fingerplays and Songs

This week's fingerplays:

Five Little Babies

One little baby rocking in a tree.
Two little babies splashing in the sea.
Three little babies crawling on the floor.
Four little babies banging on the door.
Five little babies playing hide and seek.
Keep your eyes closed tight now, until I say peek!

Way Up High in the Apple Tree

Way up high in the apple tree,
Two little apples smiled down at me.
I shook that tree just as hard as I could.
Down came the apples,
Mmmm, they were good.

And a song:

Clap Your Hands

Clap your hands,
Touch your toes,
Turn around and put your finger on your nose.
Flap your arms,
Jump up high,
Wiggle your fingers and reach for the sky.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More on Expectations

As a rule, children will live up to your expectations. The real question, then, is "What are my expectations?" I've learned quite a bit about expectations in twelve years as the Storylady. When people ask me how I manage to hold thirty toddlers or fifty preschoolers in the palm of my hand for half an hour, I have to say that expectations are the key.

First of all, I try not to expect more out of kids than they are capable of delivering. I don't expect a two year old to sit still and be quiet for more than three or four minutes. I don't expect five year olds to sit still for four books in a row. When we expect more than a child is capable of, we're setting us both up for failure and confrontation. On the other hand, I have high expectations when I know I'm asking for something they are capable of. Two year olds can learn to sit on their bottoms for a short, interactive book. Five year olds can listen quietly to two books in a row. I think they recognize that when I ask them to do something, I believe they can do it, and I expect them to do it, but my attitude is a positive "OK, let's do this now," and not "Here's what I want you to do and you'd better do it, even though I know some of you won't."

I've also learned not to expect to hold a toddler's attention if I break their concentration for more than about thirty seconds. Those songs, rhymes, fingerplays, and stories have to keep coming one right after the other. If I stop for an announcement, it better be between fifteen and thirty seconds tops, or those little munchkins are gone. And it would be completely unreasonable of me to be irritated with them for wandering off. That's where toddlers are at developmentally, and it's MY problem if I take too long between activities, or spend too much time talking to the adults.

The same is true for the preschoolers. If I read three books in a row that don't have anything interactive (like saying repetitive lines together or movement incorporated into the story) then it's my fault if Jacob and Emily are rolling around the carpet or striking up a conversation in the middle of my book. Those expectations are unreasonable for their age. On the other hand, if Jacob and Emily are having trouble settling down to listen to the first book, I make it clear that "Now it's time to sit in one spot and listen quietly," which is reasonable and understandable for a four-year-old.

As always, praise for doing the right thing goes a long way towards getting the children to repeat the good behavior.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

4th of July Parade

I want to invite you to the Woodhaven 4th of July Parade. This is such a fun parade, much more participant than spectator oriented. Kids of all sizes put on their patriotic colors and decorate whatever transportation they have available to walk the parade. There are bikes, trikes, scooters, wagons and strollers. Even family pets get dolled up and join the fun! Lately the parade has grown to the point that a fire truck leads the way and a police officer follows up. If I remember right, the mayor even rode last year. Wow! We've really arrived in the big time! If you want to be in it, meet at McConnell Court at 9:30am. If you want to watch, find a spot anywhere on Fitch, Pinehurst or Woodhaven Drive. I'll be looking for my little friends!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This Week's Fingerplays

Do these with your child this week. They'll love it! Let me know through the comments if there's one I missed.

Touch Your Nose

Touch your nose.
Touch your chin.
That's the way this game begins.
Touch your thighs.
Touch your knees.
Now pretend you're going to sneeze. (Achoo!)
Touch your hair.
Touch your ears.
Touch your two lips right here.
Touch your elbows where they bend.
That's the way this touch game ends.

Wiggly Worm

Wiggly is a little worm who wiggles everywhere.
Can you keep your eyes on him as he wiggles here and there?
Wiggly starts down at my toes
And wiggles right up to my nose.
He wiggles back down without a peep,
Creeps into my pocket and goes to sleep.

Stretch Up to the Ceiling

We stretch up to the ceiling,
And reach out for the walls.
We bend to touch our knees and toes,
Then stand up straight and tall.