Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sorry I'm Late!

It's been a busy week having my college-age daughter home, and I'm late posting the goings on at Storytime this last week. But Sara is back to Spokane now, and I'll be back in my routine, a little sadder, but happy to see my firstborn doing well.

Preschool Storytime

The theme was "Spring", which makes me happy. I always get so giddy when everything gets colorful and the trees green up. The frogs are making an amazing amount of noise, and Mr. Robin is dive-bombing my kitchen window - and sitting on my husband's car rear-view mirror and pooping all over it. He's not feeling as happy as I husband, not the robin. Mr. Robin looks very cheerful.

Anyway, we read:

Four Puppies, by Anne Heathers. This is a Little Golden Book from 1960 that I have from my childhood. It's one of those books that for some inexplicable reason caught my fancy when I was just learning to read. Maybe it's because I had collies growing up. Maybe it's the adorable illustrations of those puppies trying to put the petals back on the rose. I loved this book. It's out of print, and neither the library nor Amazon have it, but you can find it on Ebay.

"The Garden" from Frog and Toad Together, by Arnold Lobel. Poor Toad expects his garden to grow overnight, and works very hard to keep his seeds happy.

In the Rain With Baby Duck, by Amy Hest. I love imitating a whiny pouty Baby Duck.

It's Spring, by Else Minarik. Weird little cats, but a silly story that makes kids giggle.

When Will It Be Spring?, by Catherine Walters. A bear cub keeps waking up during the winter, thinking spring has come, only to be fooled over and over again.

We did the "Rain for the Garden" finger play and pretended to fall into puddles. You can find the words in the labels on the right.

Toddler Time

I wasn't sure if there would be more or fewer kids at Toddler Time this week. (By the way, I loved seeing all the big brothers and sisters visiting from elementary school!) So Tuesday at 9:30 we had about 8 kids, 10:15 was 40! Wednesday and Thursday were smaller groups, so we got to blow bubbles, which I don't usually do when there are tons of kids. (I got away with it Tuesday at 10:15 by doing it early before everyone had arrived.)

The books we read were:

No, David!, by David Shannon. Did you know this book is autobiographical? There's a great note at the very beginning of the book where David Shannon tells about writing a book when he was little with drawings of a naughty David and only the word "no".

Lemons Are Not Red, by Laura Seeger. This is a great book for teaching colors. The cut-out layered pages are fascinating for the little ones too.

Baby Time

We had a few 2-3 month old babies this week. So adorable! It's easy at Baby Time to adapt the bouncy rhymes to the age of your baby. There's no one right way to do them. Whatever works for you and your baby is fine.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

At the Risk of Sounding Preachy...

I've been thinking about writing on this topic for a while, but I've been afraid some people might be offended. But since it's Michelle Obama's thing, I guess I can just say I've jumped on her bandwagon. You know, the childhood obesity thing.

Let me say up front that I don't have any particular children or parents in mind, and I'm not relating these thoughts to anything that has to do with Storytime.

My main thought is that children are not learning what it means to eat to satisfy hunger. When children (and adults) graze all day long, or are fed snacks every couple of hours, they don't learn to listen to their body's signals and recognize the feeling of hunger and fullness. They learn to eat because they are given food, and to stop when the food is gone. This sets them up for a lifetime of bad habits.

Some parents seem to think that only bad parents allow their children to get hungry. They make sure that never happens by feeding them something every couple of hours, and by making sure snacks are always available in the purse, car or diaper bag. Then if a child says "I'm hungry," the goal is to immediately take care of it. The truth is, we shouldn't eat until we are hungry, and the food should be a meal. A snack should be eaten one time, if and when the child is actually hungry, not because it's three o'clock and that means it's snack time.

Hunger is not a bad thing to be avoided at all costs. Hunger is a signal that it's time to eat. If we wait and watch for that signal, I believe our children, and us too, would have much healthier bodies.

Friday, March 19, 2010

This Week at the Library

First of all, YES, I have a regular Storytime schedule next week during Spring Break.

Baby Time

It was nice to have out of town visitors this week! We had fun watching one little boy discover how to scoot an overturned box around the room. Who needs to pay $50 for a fancy push toy? Flip a box over and watch them go!

Toddler Time

Lots of newcomers to Toddler Time too! A few said to me rather apologetically, "This is our first time. Maybe next week he/she will want to participate." Please don't feel that way! Let your child grow into it at his/her own pace. There is no "right" way to participate in Toddler Time.

Our books this week were:

No Biting!, by Karen Katz. The kids have fun trying to guess what is okay to bite, hit, push, kick and spit. This is an excellent teaching tool for those having problems in this area. The kids are fascinated by it.

Here Are My Hands, by Bill Martin, Jr. A fun book for showing and naming parts of the body.

Preschool Storytime

Our theme was "Transportation" so we had fun talking about all the ways to get from here to there.

Minerva Louise and the Red Truck, by Janet Morgan Stoeke. One of our favorite characters was back. She always gets some giggles out of the kids.

Pig Pig Rides, by David McPhail. Pig Pig uses his imagination to turn his bike into a race car, horse, rocket, etc.

On the Go, by Anne Morris. Pictures from around the world show us unusual ways to get places.

Truck Stuck, by Sallie Wolf. This is a great book for practicing getting information from illustrations. It's almost a wordless book, but there are all kinds of interesting things going on in the pictures. Elvis, a clown, kids and a lemonade stand, musicians, dogs.

Preschool to the Rescue, by Judy Sierra. A mean, nasty mud puddle gets ahold of all kinds of vehicles and a bunch of preschool kids have to rescue them. The fun part is that the reader thinks the vehicles are real until the kids come out and you discover they're just toys.

On the flannelboard we sorted transportation vehicles into those that go on tracks, roads, in the water and in the sky.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I get so excited when spring rolls around. Ask my kids and they'll tell you I'm almost giddy when the trees green up and the flowers start blooming. January is my absolutely least favorite month of the year. The Christmas decorations come down, the trees look dead, no flowers, blech! Then the crocuses stick their heads up, then the daffodils, then the cherry trees and weeping willows and WAHOO!

Al's Garden Center sent out their spring magazine-thing, and it had a great idea in it. Take a 2 liter pop bottle and cut it in two about four inches from the bottom. Put potting soil in the bottom, plant some seeds (especially near the edges), and stick the two halves back together (top over bottom) and screw on the lid. Then tape it shut and watch it grow! You can spritz some water in the top if it looks dry. What a great terrarium! Your little ones can watch seeds sprout, especially the ones on the edges where you can actually see the roots go down. When the plants get big enough, you can plant them outside in the yard. Kids get so much satisfaction from watching something they planted grow successfully. Try one terrarium of flowers and one of vegetables.

Let me know how it turns out!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This Week at the Library

Baby Time

We're celebrating little Cale (did I spell that right?) learning to walk - and not even 10 months old! A couple of others are at that borderline phase between Baby Time and Toddler Time. That baby phase is so short! Bring your little one to Baby Time as long as he seems to get something out of it and don't worry about switching to Toddler Time before he/she is 18 months old. That lower age suggestion is just that - a suggestion.

Toddler Time

I love the conversations I have with the little ones. They're so random and honest and uninhibited. I think we could learn something from them...

This week we read:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Bill Martin, Jr. Many of them really got into the "responsive reading" of it. I had fun doing the voices. I finally figured out how to talk like a goldfish!

Two Bear Cubs - can't find the author at this time. Maybe this is out of print. I'm at home and can't find the book on Amazon. The kids loved the idea that the two cubs couldn't find their mother, but she was watching them all the time.

Preschool Storytime

Our theme this week was "Owls". This is a fun topic for me because at one time I was a Zooguide and traveled with the Zoomobile to elementary schools in the area. While I was never a bird handler, I did get to watch and listen to the presentations about owls, and I learned a few cool facts about them.

We read:

Look Who's Counting, by Suse MacDonald. Better than your average counting book.

Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell. I saw someone do the little owl puppet for Bill "I want my mommy!" so I decided to try it. What a hit!

Lazy Ozzie, by Michael Coleman. The kids love going back to find the mom on every page. I just wish Ozzie had a few more consequences for lying.

The story I told on the flannelboard was Good Night Owl, by Pat Hutchins. I'm not too good at the bird call imitations, but it's still fun.

Friday, March 5, 2010

This Week at the Library

Preschool Storytime

Our theme this week was "Hippos" and I managed to squeeze in six books! Yeah, I ran a few minutes over, but I just couldn't leave out George and Martha.

We read about Owen and Mzee, a true story about a giant tortoise and young hippo who became fast friends at an African game park. Mostly I showed the pictures and told about them, as the book is nonfiction and fairly lengthy.

Our other books were:

The Snarlyhissopus, by Alan MacDonald. A cute rendition of the "telephone game" plot. Similar to The Aminal.

Never Babysit the Hippopotamuses, by Doug Johnson. I have an ancient tape recording of this, so we got to listen to the story with music and sound effects.

George and Martha One Fine Day, by James Marshall. This book has five very short stories, and I read the last three. Of course, I picked them so I could say BOO!! and see how many kids jump!

What Could a Hippopotamus Be?, by Mike Thaler. This book is out of print! I'm so happy, though, that nobody cried when we got loud this time.

Face to Face Safari, by Sally Hewitt. A gorgeous pop up book!

Toddler Time

Yay! Some of you came to the 9:30 Tuesday Toddler Time! I think we had over 20 kids, and the 10:15 was definitely smaller.

Someone again seemed disappointed that their child doesn't seem to participate, and a couple of moms left when their child didn't engage and got a little disruptive. While I appreciate taking your child out when he or she is definitely done with Toddler Time for the day, please keep bringing them back. Toddler Time isn't something to try just once and say "Well, that didn't work!" Some kids need time to warm up to it, some may not be ready this month, but will next month. Keep trying!

Baby Time

More twins! It's so much fun to see twins, and whew! lots of work, but I'm happy to take one on my lap if the baby is willing. The little five-week-old was absolutely adorable too!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In the Kitchen

The kitchen can be such an amazing classroom. There are lessons to be learned about the natural world, chemistry, math, language - you name it, it can all apply. Let's look at something as basic as making cookies together.

But first, you have to promise not to worry about making a mess, or having things turn out just right. No control freaks! Any mess can be cleaned up, and the cookies will turn out just fine if there's an extra tablespoon or two of flour, or a tiny bit too much salt. (But please do spill the vanilla - yum!)

So you get out your ingredients, and there's a vocabulary lesson. Flour, sugar, baking soda, butter, eggs, salt, chocolate chips. And equipment: spoon, bowl, measuring cups, measuring spoons. You soften, mix, measure, level, cream, stir, scoop, spoon (and spill).

You mix the butter and sugar together and start to cream it. That's hard work! First the sugar stays looking like sugar, but then it dissolves into the butter and gets fluffy. Isn't that interesting!

You break the eggs and look at the parts - shell, white, yolk, and what's that little white stuff? What's the yolk for? What's the white for? What's the shell for? Your child starts to stir and sees the yolk break and how it mixes together. A little biology lesson.

You start to measure the flour, sugar and baking soda and vanilla with the cups and spoons and learn about the different sizes. 2 cups, 1 1/2 cups, 1 teaspoon. Now we have math going.

You can talk about what the baking soda does, and how the heat makes it change from a liquidy, mushy substance into soft cookies, and how when the cookies cool they get harder. Chemistry!

Then you put on some fun music really loud and dance as you clean up, starting with licking the spoons and bowl, of course! Hey, you're a homeschooler!