Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Truck Time

Today the theme was trucks.  We read Duck in the Truck, by Jez Alborough, Machines at Work, by Byron Barton, and The Little Dump Truck, by Margery Cuyler.

On the flannelboard we had My Little Car is Red, sung to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell---

My little car is red, my little car is blue,
I drive and drive and drive and drive until I get to you.
My little car is green, my little car is yellow,
I drive and drive and drive and drive so I can say "Hello!"

The cars were easy to make out of felt--just a VW bug shape, two wheels and a window.

Now if I could just think of a good rhyme for pink--then I could have a new verse. Hmmm---  wink? think? blink?  I need a new line, and a couple new cars.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Garden Variety . . . Turkeys!

We've had these wild turkeys wandering around the neighborhood for a few weeks now. This morning I found them out in the orchard, feasting on windfall apples and walnuts. I counted a dozen nice young turkeys. Now if they will just stick around until Thanksgiving . . . .   I'm no Annie Oakley, but there must be someone who will shoot a turkey for me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to make a talking puppet

This little guy is easy to make and stars in his own fun story. The story will help you remember how to fold the puppet.  The model comes from The New Origami, by Steve and Megumi Biddle.  They have a story to go along with it, but I like mine better.

As you fold and tell, make sure that the viewers can get a good look at each change as you go along.

Instructions:  Start with a square of origami paper, any color, white side up. Fold it in half like a book.

Story:  One day I was at home with nothing to do. I heard a knock at the door. I went to the door and opened it, but no one was there. (Open and shut the paper like a door.)

Instructions:  Open the paper flat and fold the right and left top corners down to meet the middle foldline. Now it's a house.

Story:  I looked all around the outside of the house, but didn't see anybody. When I turned around to go back inside, I saw something on the front porch.

Instructions:  Fold the top point down to the bottom edge. Now it's an envelope.

Story:  There was an envelope!  Somebody had left me a letter. I picked it up and read the message.  It said:

Climb the hill behind your house,
There you'll find a friend.
Not a dog, or cat, or mouse,
Just fun without an end!
Instructions:  Fold the right and the left corners down so that what was the top edge now lies along the middle foldline. Now it's a hill. Show the hill to your audience.

Story:  Fun without an end! That sounded good to me, so I ran right around the back of the house. There was a little hill there. I often climbed up and and played on it, but I had never seen anything unusual there. I wondered what was waiting for me at the top. I started to climb up the hill.

Instructions:  Open up both the flaps that you just folded down to make the hill. Fold the top edge of each flap down so that it lays along the fold line created by the last fold. These two folds make the creature's ears. But don't show the creature yet. Instead, hold up the backside of the model to show the little house where the creature lives.

Story:  When I reached the top of the hill I looked all around, searching for whoever sent me the note. Off to one side I saw a little low house, like a doghouse. I'd never seen that here before. I wondered if there could be something, or someone, inside.

Instructions:  Fold up the lower two corners so that the bottom edges lie along the line formed by the center colored portion. Tuck the corners of the lower folds under the upper ones.

Story:  I looked inside the little house. I saw some kind of bundle. I wasn't sure what it was. (Turn the model over and over to show how it looks like a wrapped up bundle.) So I gave it a poke.

Instructions:  All you have to do now is draw two eyes on the face. Your talking puppet is complete! Hold it at the sides, under the ears, and move your hands in and out to make it talk.

Story:  All of a sudden the thing opened its eyes and spoke to me!  It said, "Do you like songs?"  "Yes, I like songs," I said. "Well, sing along with me then!" And it started to sing.

(Introduce a fun song, or use the puppet to introduce another story, or any other activity.)

This is an easy model for children to learn. Once they have made their talking puppet, they can add other features if they want to, like a nose, a tongue, hair, eyebrows, etc.

Origami for one

Last Thursday was the first after school storytime for this school year. I must not have done enough publicity, because I only got one little girl. Since I didn't have an audience, I didn't do the story I had planned (Momotaro). Instead we just did origami together. We made a traditional model, the ball (sometimes called a balloon or a water bomb) which is fun and pretty easy. It's in lots of basic origami books, and you can find directions here:

We also did a talking puppet. The model comes from Steve and Megumi Biddle's book, The New Origami. I don't think it's available online, but I have the book at home. I made up my own story to go with it. I'll post it when I get some pictures.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fly, Fly Away

Today it was birds---Kevin Henkes Birds and The Baby Beebee Bird, by Diane Redfield Massie. I'm really glad that the latter book was reissued with new illustrations by Steven Kellogg a few years ago. It's a fun story, and the kids like to "beebee bobbi beebee bobbi" along with with that wide-awake little bird.

One of our rhymes was "Two Little Blackbirds."

Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill, (hold two index fingers in front of you)
One named Jack and one named Jill.  (wiggle one finger, then the other)
Fly away Jack, fly away Jill, (Put each finger behind your back)
Come back Jack, come back Jill.  (bring them back out front.)

You can change this one up by singing about:

Two little blackbirds sitting on a cloud
One named Soft, and one named Loud
Two little blackbirds sitting in the snow,
One named High, and one named Low. (or Fast and Slow)  With the appropriate voice and gestures.

Our craft was---you guessed it---birds, as seen here:  I love the No Time for Flashcards blog. She has lots of great craft ideas, especially for the younger set. This one was so pretty that I really wanted to do it, even though I knew it wasn't an easy one for children to do. Fan-folding is too tricky for many of them. But they got to color their wings and put the whole thing together.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Our Many-Colored Days

Today at storytime we talked about colors. Our books were:
My Many-Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss, and
Who Said Red?, by Mary Serfozo, plus
my own Peter Rabbit magic coloring book, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear with flannelboard figures.

For a craft we played with red, blue, and yellow playdough.  I made three batches last night (!) but it is very quick and easy to make.  Here's my recipe:

Homemade Playdough

2 cups water
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup salt
2 cups flour
few drops of food coloring

Mix all the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Add the food coloring to the water if you are making one color of playdough. If you want to make more than one color, mix in the food coloring after it is cooked, when you knead it. Heat ingredients on medium setting, stirring constantly. It will set up quickly. Playdough is done when it holds together and pulls away from the side of the pan. Turn it out on a plate or cutting board to cool. Knead when cool enough to handle, and have fun!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Veggie Time

One of my favorite things to do for storytime---I do it every year---is to bring a big basket of fruits and vegetables. Most of them--the tomatoes, corn, squash, peppers, beans, eggplant--are from my garden. A few things, like the carrots and mushrooms, come from the store. It's fun to talk about them, their colors and shapes, and see which ones the kids recognize and which they don't. They know carrots, they don't know eggplant. I was surprised this year when no one recognized green onions.

We did this a couple weeks ago, and then read Growing Colors, by Bruce McMillan, and Up, Down and Around, by Katherine Ayres. Our craft was making veggie prints. They used a variety of cut up veggies as stamps. Very colorful!

Monday, September 6, 2010

I used to keep track of storytimes on index cards. Then I used a spiral-bound notebook. I started using the computer, and then I thought---Why not a blog? So that's what this is for--storytimes and library activities and fingerplays and crafts.