Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 A'Comin'!

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day don't have anywhere near the impact on children that Christmas does---those holidays don't have presents and they don't have the readily grasped mythology of Santa Claus, reindeer, and Christmas trees. Not to mention that I can't think of any good New Year's songs. So our New Year's Eve storytime was actually a grab bag of vaguely related items.

For post-Christmas Day reflection, we had this poem by Marchette Chute, with felt cut-outs on the flannelboard:

I wanted a rifle for Christmas,
I wanted a bat and a ball,
I wanted some skates and a bicycle,
But, I didn't want mittens at all.

I wanted a whistle
And I wanted a kite,
I wanted a pocketknife
That shut up tight.
I wanted some boots
And I wanted a kit,
But I didn't want mittens one little bit.

I told them I didn't like mittens,
I told them as plain as plain.
I told them I didn't WANT mittens,
And they've given me mittens again!

Then we read The Mitten by Jim Aylesworth. This is a familiar story that has also been done by Jan Brett and Alvin Tresselt, but I like the illustrations in this one by Barbara McClintock. 

We also read How to Be, by Lisa Brown, and Chicken Soup with Rice, by Maurice Sendak.

For our craft, we made mittens.  I cut out the mitten shapes, and the children decorated them with crayons and stickers. I also printed out pictures of the animals that squeezed into the boy's mitten: squirrel, rabbit, fox, bear and mouse.  I used pictures from MS Word clip art, and printed them in grayscale, so that the kids could color them (and so that I could save money on printer cartridges.) 

The kids cut the animals out for themselves, or their moms did it. Then we punched holes around the mittens and laced them together. The kids did a good job of lacing.

All in all, this activity involved a lot of different fine motor skills: coloring, cutting, punching, and lacing. I provided blunt-tip tapestry needles for those who wanted to try them, but some did their lacing with scotch tape on the end of the yarn.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Fun

Today we read Max's Christmas and Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve. Our flannelboard story was the Christmas one from Frog and Toad All Year. We had some seasonal songs and rhymes, and ended by singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I have a Rudolph puppet that can hide down in the chimney and then slowly come up as the children sing, which adds to the fun.

I am always looking for good puppets. I noticed that my Rudolph, and also the similar Jingle Bear (which can be pulled down inside a gift box) were made by Dakin. Unfortunately, this company, which made lots of stuffed animals and puppets, is now defunct. So I'd better take care of my irreplaceable puppets!

Hope you have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas, Christmas Time Is Here - - - -

The Northstate Library System sent me a huge bin full of moose puppet show stuff. Not only the Morris the Moose puppet show that we are presenting tomorrow, but a bunch of related items. This included a small moose puppet and all the flannelboard props needed for telling If You Give a Moose a Muffin.  Today at preschool storytime I did Moose/Muffin and the kids really liked it.

Our books today were Snowmen at Christmas and Santa's New Suit.  We sang SANTA, to the tune of BINGO.

I know a man in a furry red suit, and Santa is his name-o---
I know a man with big black boots, and Santa is his name-o---
I know a man with a long white beard, and Santa is his name-o---
I know a man with eight reindeer,and Santa is his name-o---
He comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve, and Santa is his name-o---
S-A-N-T-A,  S-A-N-T-A, S-A-N-T-A, , and Santa is his name -o.

Another fun song to sing and act out is "I'm a Little Pine Tree," sung to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot":

I'm a little pine tree, tall and straight  (stand tall and hold out your arms like branches)
Waiting at Christmas for you to decorate.
Don't forget to put a star on top  (hold one hand on top of your head with fingers spread out in a star)
And please be careful that the balls don't drop.  (make two fists and lower them close to the ground, then clap)   POP!

The thing about the balls breaking takes a bit of explanation for some children. Some kids are not familiar with glass ornaments. But they all like clapping loudly.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Let it Snow!

Really what we've got here is rain, and lots of it. Which is good. But snow was our theme for today, and our line-up included:

The Snowy Day
A Hat for Minerva Louise (gotta love that chicken)
Snowmen at Night

On the board, we had a snowman made out of pellon and felt, and we sung (to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot):

I'm a little snowman short and fat.
Here is my scarf and here is my hat.
When the snow is falling come and play.
Build a snowman every day.

We also stood up and sang the classic "Once There Was a Snowman":

Once there was a snowman, snowman, snowman,
Once there was a snowman, tall, tall, tall.  (Stretch yourself up tall with your arms circled over your head)
In the sun he melted, melted, melted,
In the sun he melted, small, small, small. (Slowly "melt" until you are a puddle on the floor.)

 For our craft we made snowmen out of Chinese take-out boxes. These are very cheap if you buy them from a restaurant supply store like Cash & Carry in Chico. I got 50 for under $6. We decorated the faces with paper eyes, noses, and hats, and the backs with Christmas stickers.

My kids had a choice of a tophat a la Frosty, or a Santa hat with cotton ball trim.What other kind of hat could he have?  Baseball cap, woolly watchcap?  Or how about a snowlady with a snowflake decked chapeau?

These make handy gift boxes or treat containers.

Happy Holidays!  Hope you find some snow so you can make a real snowman!


Red ripe peppers and green leaves--looks kind of Christmas-y, doesn't it? The pepper plants lost all their leaves to the frost a couple weeks ago, but they were lovely and productive while they lasted.

I always like to grow a variety of peppers, sweet and hot both, and it's fun to try a new kind every so often. This year I had Anaheims, several types of bells, this pimento, jalapenos, and anchos. The peppers are gone from the garden, but there are several bags of chopped peppers in the freezer, so we can have salsa, even in the winter.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bears, Bears, Bears

The theme today was bears, with a big bear puppet, Going on a Bear Hunt activity, and a couple of bear books.

We read an old classic and a new classic: Blueberries for Sal and Orange Pear Apple Bear. Blueberries for Sal is a long book, and I wondered if it would hold the interest of the younger ones in the group, but it did. They were involved in the story. And Orange Pear Apple Bear, by Emily Gravett, is a delight. The concept is so simple and the execution is so attractive and engaging. It subtly teaches about colors, shapes, and narrative sequence, with only five words plus some clever pictures.

Here's the fingerplay we did:

One little bear, wondering what to do,
Along came another bear and then there were two.
Two little bears, climbing up a tree,
Along came another bear and then there were three.
Three little bears, ate an apple core,
Along came another bear and then there were four.
Four little bears, found honey in a hive,
Along came another bear and then there were five.
What did they do with all that the honey?
They ate it all up---Yummy, yummy, yummy!

Our craft was a paperbag bear puppet with blueberries.

A paperbag puppet is nothing new, but I thought it was fun to give him some blueberries. We used the eraser ends of unsharpened pencils to do our stamping. Luckily I had a couple blue ink stamp pads. Most of the bears had blueberries everywhere! Messy bears!