Thursday, March 19, 2015

March update

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot to say about this. I know that most of my views come from random searches and I don't believe that I have any following of any kind. However, in light of the fact that I haven't updated the blog in a number of weeks, Here's my weak and pointless explanation, because in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter. 

The short answer is, I've been very busy.

We had a week of preparing for the giant city Expo. I was working on a "knock your socks off" kind of powerpoint presentation, plus numerous flyers for the event. It doesn't seem like a lot, but of course, the creative void sucked me in and wouldn't let go. On top of those things, I continued my run of normal library programs, but my outreach ramped up this month due to March being reading month. I was staying late working on projects and at the end of the day, this meant the least out of all my other obligations. 

So that's my obligation explanation. However, there is more.

Frankly, I'm burned out by this blog. It takes far more effort to post pictures and text. I'm bored with the format I've chosen and I'm not really sure how to make blogging more fun. The other bloggers I check in with seem to have fun doing it, but I don't really understand why. Sure, it's fun to share information with others, but what's the bigger picture? I still can't see an answer to that, so that tells me that my energies can be spent better elsewhere.

So, if you are a fan of this blog, enjoy what I've put on here up until now. I do plan to return to it at some point, but for now don't expect anything new. 

See you soon!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Missed a week, but I'm back. Happy Tuesday! It's a blanket storytime!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Remember those long gone days where all you needed was a cup of juice, your thumb, and your blanket? It seems that everyone has some sort of special blanket or animal that is used for security during the scariest moments or as our steadfast companion in our early years. There are some great books all about blankets out there and I wanted to talk to our little kiddos about theirs.

The Books:
Blankie by: Leslie Patricelli
Small Bunny's Blue Blanket by: Tatyana Feeney
Flora's Blanket by: Debi Gliori

What we did:

1.) Guessing/Rhyming game: I once had a blanket (Jen in the Library)
Jen used this as a flannelboard game, but I didn't put any colors out, but had them listen to the clues and see if they could pick out the color that rhymed. Only a few could actually guess, but it's still good for the kiddos to listen to other kids rhyming. It gets the idea planted.
I once had a blanket
So soft and so new.
I once had a blanket
and the color was ________!
(Repeat for red, green, yellow)

2.) Action song: Bananas Unite! (
I get so many song ideas from the two outstanding librarians at Jbrary. They work well for both toddler age groups and preschool groups two! This one is just fun, bouncy, and short.
Bananas Unite! (circle arms like a barrel and then shoot them up in the air like a V)
Peel bananas! Peel, peel bananas! x2 (Pretend to peel a banana!)
Chop bananas! Chop, chop bananas! x2 (Pretend to chop bananas!)
Smash bananas! Smash, smash bananas! x2 (Pretend to smash bananas!)
Eat bananas! Eat, eat bananas! x2 (Pretend to eat bananas)
Goooooooooooo bananas! (circle arms, throw them in the air, and jump as high as you can!)

3.) Flannelboard-Ten little bears (Storytime Katie)
I made a reasonable facsimile of this flannelboard done by Katie. Her skills are infinitely better than mine, but it really worked out. This was one of the few times, my kids want to play with the flannel pieces after storytime is over. It was fun.

4.) Brain breaks and body movement
MORE PROBLEMS WITH TECHNOLOGY! Live by tech, die by tech. Today, the wireless couldn't keep up with and the video froze every 30 seconds or so. I tried to finish it a capella, but the kids just stared at me confused as all get out. We only did that one and then said goodbye. Oh well, hopefully next week will run smoother.

5.) Playtime: I veered back toward process art this week. We also did some more fine motor building and gross motor play.
a.) Fun brush painting- Process art really unlocks unbridled creativity in preschool children. Every picture should be different. Each child can express their own vision when provided with materials and little to no instruction outside of how to appropriately use them.

b.) Pla-Doh- A favorite, but this time, fairly overshadowed by...

c.) Tube play- Gross motor and social skill development together as they play, laugh, crawl, and hide in the tubes!

Well, the formatting of this page is starting to drive me just a LITTLE bit crazy, so I will leave you with that. Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Happy Tuesday! Warm up in our Houses and Homes Storytime!

Happy Tuesday Everyone! Another large step the evolution of human culture was the creation of houses and homes. After we left our caves, we were a nomadic people for thousands of years until we discovered that staying put and farming crops was a better/safer way to live. If humans have three basic needs, they are most likely food/drink, oxygen, and shelter. We read books and sang songs celebrating how lucky we are to have nice, warm homes to go to.

The Books:
In a People House by: Theo LeSieg
Froggy Builds a Treehouse by: Jonathan London
A House for Birdie by: Stuart J. Murphy

What we did:

1.) Action song: Here is a house (Storytime Katie)
Here is a house, built up so high (Put arms over head like a triangle roof)
Here are two chimneys that reach the sky (Reach arms up to the sky)
Here is a window (Pretend to open a window)
Here is a door (Pretend to open a door)
When we look inside (Put hand over eyes to look inside)
We see a mouse on the floor. Eeeek! (Scurry fingers up your arm)

2.) Fingerplay: Houses (
A Nest is a house for a robin (Cup hands like a nest)
A Beehive is home for a bee (Put two fists together)
A Hole is a home for a rabbit (Make a circle with hands)
And a house is a home for me! (Make a roof with hands)

3.) Flannelboard- A House for Birdie- I used the book as an inspiration for this. I cut out houses from flannel and then cut a specific shape bird (triangle, circle, oval, rectangle, square). I had the kids help me figure out what shape bird fit where. I pretend that I have no idea what I'm doing and they love to shout NO! when I am wrong. Lots of giggles and super easy to make. I only regret not taking a picture.

4.) Brain breaks and body movement
We continued leveling our champion up.We tried two new songs called Dino stomp and I Get Loose. The kids began asking me to do some of our more familiar tunes. I got requests for the roller coaster song, and one mom mentioned that her little one was singing "Push all the buttons" all week. Perhaps we'll go back to that one. One thing you have to be aware of with technology is it will betray you when you need it most. Today that happened to me. On, you pick a cartoon avatar called a champion. For every ten dances you do, they level up. When they do, something on them changes. Our champion has a bushy mustache. Today, his mustache got very long and grew mustache hands. It was funny. However, it didn't work the first time! The website crashed and while the kids were at playtime, I had to fiddle with the thing and then pull the kids out of playtime to look at it. Jeez...

5.) Playtime- I will apologize for my lack of pictures this week. We didn't have anything very new and how many pictures of play-doh can you look at. 8( Sorry!

a.) House project- I cut out many different shapes out of construction paper. The kids glued them into a reasonable facsimile of a house and trees. It was simple, but this was a difficult week for me to pull activities for.

b.) Play-Doh

c.) House/Animal matching game

Thanks for checking me out. See you next week!
Mr. Mike

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Happy Tuesday! It's an outer space storytime!

Happy Tuesday Everyone! Most kids have a very centered concept of existence. It's fun to expand their knowledge of the universe around them and plant science concepts early by reading and learning about them. Today we mainly focused on the moon, sun, and gravity. I think those three concepts are good enough for preschool. Mine started to lose interest when I went into Earth's neighbors. It was also somewhat challenging to find entertaining books for this age and theme. We made it work and have a great time.

The Books:
My First Big Book of Space by: National Geographic
Moustronaut by: Mark Kelly
Space Walk by: Salina Yoon

What we did:

1.) Action song: Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! (
Zoom, zoom, zoom! We're going to the moon. (Clap hands together on beat)
Zoom, zoom, zoom! We're going to the moon. (Clap hands together on beat)
If you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship. (Pretend you are climbing a ladder)
Zoom, zoom, zoom! We're going to the moon. (Clapping)
In 5-4-3-2-1 BLASTOFF! (Count and crouch as you count down, then jump and shout on BLASTOFF!)

2.) Gravity Dance- I got a collection of fast/slow swing tunes. I explained that Gravity is what allows us to move like we do on earth. In space, we move more slowly and smoothly. We danced fast to some Louis Prima and Sam Gaillard. We danced slowly (Without gravity) to Louis Armstrong. Even Ruby got to dance. TONS of fun!

3.) Flannelboard- Five little rocket ships (
Five little rockets ready to zoom,
This one says, "There's not enough room."
It starts its engine;

Ready to fly, 
Looks at the others and waves good-bye.

Four little rockets...(Continue counting down until...)
one little rocket ready to zoom
this one says "Everyone's gone!"
It starts its engine;
Ready to fly,
It looks at us and waves good-bye!
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-BLAST OFF!

4.) Brain breaks and body movement
We continued leveling our champion up.We tried two new songs called This or That and Push all the Buttons. One little one was dancing so close to the screen, I thought he would crash into it.
HA HA HA! It's working! Some of my storytime moms and grandmas have gotten their own accounts!

5.) Playtime- We had four

stations today. I had a very busy week so we couldn't have our asteroid toss game, and I was mildly disturbed at some of the other suggestions I found on the internet. One involved having kids throw balled up socks at each joke. So we had four stations today

a.) Corn Bin

b.) Planet painting- Kids used a sponge to paint a paper plate any color they wanted. Then, if they chose to, they could stick brown construction paper on the plate to simulate "land". It was pretty fun.

c.) Star scopes- I took toilet paper tubes and put black construction paper over the top, rubber banding it for support. I poked some holes in the black paper to simulate stars and boom. Telescopes.

d.) Star matching game. I made ten starts with numbers 1-10 on them. Then I made a matching set with corresponding dots on them. The kids could play with them and try to match the numbers with the dots.

Thanks for stopping by to check us out. I always have a great time at storytime and I appreciate that you took time to look at what we do.

Mr. Mike

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Happy Tuesday! It's a hibernation storytime!

Happy Tuesday Everyone! One of the most important survival adaptations humans have developed over eons of evolution is the ability to recognize patterns. Our ancestors saw patterns in the weather, stars, and seasons. Recognizing these and adapting to the changes they bring allowed us to develop tools, farming techniques, and helped us recognize the need for homes, moving us from a nomadic people to a settled one. No I did not say that at story time. However, a pattern that the children can recognize is that some animals hibernate, or go to sleep, during winter. So we explored this concept at storytime today.

The Books:
Bear Snores On by: Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Polar Bear Night by: Lauren Thompson
Hibernation by: Anita Ganeri

What we did:

1.) Action Rhyme: Marco the Polar Bear (Storytime Katie)
Marco the polar bear (hold arms out in a circle)
Was white as the snow (hold arms out wide and proud)
He sat down on the ice (sit down)
near the cold river flow. (hug self and shiver)
"Lunch! I need Lunch!" He said. (Rub Tummy)
I will make a wish. (Rub hands together)
He dipped his hand in the water, (plunge hand down)
and pulled out a fish! (pull hand into the air and wiggle it around)

2.) Parachute play- Lots of fun with the parachute. I put some stuffed animals on the parachute and we pretended that they needed some rocking to fall asleep. we moved them slowly, up and down until they were asleep. I would call out springtime and then we shook the animals on the parachute and bounced them up and down! So many giggles and screams of joy.
POINT OF ADVICE: The parachute is loud and may scare some younger ones. Make sure they have a parent near in case they don't like the air in their faces or loud noises.

3.) Fingerplay: Sleepy Bear (Thumbkin from Storytime Katie)
I Used a popsicle stick puppet of a bear in pajamas for this.
Where is Bear? Where is bear?
Here I am...Here I am
How are you this winter?
Very tired, thank you.
Go to sleep! Go to sleep!
Have the kids shout WAKE UP, BEAR! and do it again.

4.) Brain breaks and body movement
We continued leveling our champion up.We tried two new songs called This or That and Push all the Buttons. One little one was dancing so close to the screen, I thought he would crash into it.

5.) Playtime
a.) Car Painting- I just did this for fun. It would be ideal for a cars or things that go storytime theme. Basically, I just provided paper, toy cars, and paint. The kids "drove" the cars through the paint and onto the paper.

b.) Pla-Doh

c.) Hibernation cave- Another simple idea that ended up being quite fun. Since our theme was hibernation I hung to large blankets over the sides of a big table. I provided some stuffed animals and flashlights for imaginary/exploratory play under the table in the "Hibernation cave". It was clear that the kids grasped the idea of hibernation when they keep calling out "I'm tired! I need to hibernate." Or, Shh! I'm hibernating in my cave!"

Thanks for checking in with us. See you next week!

Mr. Mike

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Happy Tuesday! It's a snowman storytime!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today we talked about all the fun things you can do in the snow! Our main focus was on snowmen. I felt it was up and down. When it was good, it was actually great. When it was not so good, I felt it was really bad. If anyone has suggestions of snowman books that aren't so saccharine sweet and overly schmaltzy. The ones I picked were so sweet, I might have lost a tooth somewhere.

The Books:
The Biggest, Best snowman by: Lisa Cuyler
Snowman Magic by: Katherine Tegen
The Smiliest Snowman by: M. Christina Butler

What we did:

1.) Ruby the Chicken builds a snowman- Ruby greeted the kids with her usual southern charm. She talked about things you can do in the winter time. She naturally said silly things that are warm weather activities, but finally she mentioned snowmen. Using flannel pieces we had the kids help Ruby build a snowman on the flannelboard.

2.) Action Rhyme: I built a snowman
I build a great big snowman (hold hands up high)
With an orange, carrot nose (point to your nose)
Along came a bunny (Make bunny ears and bounce)
And what do you suppose? (Shrug shoulders)
That hungry little bunny (Rub Tummy)
Looking for his lunch (Hold hand over eyes like you're looking)
Ate that snowman's nose! (Clap hands on Ate)
Nibble! Nibble! Crunch! (Pretend to eat)

3.) Fingerplay: Five Little Snowmen
Five Little Snowman standing in a row
Standing straight and tall in the bright white snow
Out came the sun, shining hot and bright all day
and one little snowman melted away

4.) Brain breaks and body movement
We continued leveling our champion up. We repeated the same two dances involving the Instant Insanity roller coaster and get yo body movin! We had a great time.

5.) Playtime- I already mentioned that when this storytime was good, it was great, I was speaking about playtime. I feel the three stations were a few of the strongest I've presented since switching my philosophy.
a.) Shaving Cream Snowman- The idea was to spray shaving cream in a bag, seal it, then glue eyes, mouth, and nose onto the bag. Good idea in theory. In practice, the kids ended up spreading the shaving cream all over the table and putting their snowman faces in that and just drawing in it and having a great time. I was inspired with their ingenuity. They took something fun and made it better. Excellent!

b.) Snowman puzzle- I got this idea from the teach preschool website. I printed out a template of two circles. I laminated them for future use. I then gathered buttons, felt noses, and sticks. I spread them out on a tray and covered them in snow. I had the kids use tweezers (or their fingers if they wanted to and didn't mind the cold) to pull the buttons and sticks out of the snow and design their own snowman. It was messy, but a great sensory and tactile experience that helped strengthen their fine motor skills.

c.) Corn tub- Fun for measuring, sensory, and group play. The kids love scooping, sifting, (sometimes flinging) the corn and it's easier to clean up than sand or rice!

Thanks for your click! Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

We're back with a Happy Tuesday Penguin Storytime!

I don't know if you're familiar with Michigan winters, but they can get nasty and bitter when they want to. Sure, we didn't have snow on Christmas and temperatures were around 40 degrees. Once January hit, the winter season was full on. Slippery roads, icy winds, and lots and lots of snow. It's Michigan so we could be at the beach by next week, but we'll just have to wait and see. I was in the mood for a cold weather animal storytime so I chose penguins. Penguins are a great theme for storytime because so many books star penguins. Kids really seem to like penguins too. Maybe it's the way they walk, the cute puffin babies, or the fact that they huddle together to keep warm. Either way, they are always popular.

The Books:
Tacky the Penguin by: Helen Lester
If You Were a Penguin by: Wendel and Florence Minor
Penguin in Peril by: Helen Hancocks

Note to self: Find out how many Helens have written a book about Penguins.

What we did:

1.) Ruby the Chicken puppet- I reintroduced Ruby the Chicken as our storytime mascot. She is a one or two handed puppet. You can put one hand in her to work her mouth and let her wings hang limp, or you can put one hand in your mouth and one hand in a wing, or forego the mouth and put a hand in each wing to make her flap around. She's very versatile and works great with a southern accent. Something about the name Ruby...she should have a drawl. Anyhow, I used her to introduce our topic by guessing animals who were birds (She thought duck) and black and white (she thought cow). The kids cracked up because I had a cow and duck puppet who paraded out from behind my desk and acted like they were going to be the star of the show. Finally I had the kids guess what bird I was talking about when I told them it was a black and white bird who can live in really cold places.

2.) Action Rhyme: Baby Penguins
One baby penguin makes a wish (Point at the sky)
Two baby penguins catch some fish (Slap hands together)
Three baby penguins slip and slide (Wiggle arms)
Four baby penguins run and hide (Run in place)
Five baby penguins look around (Put hand on forehead and cry Mama! In a high pitched voice)
Calling " Mama! Mama! Mama!"
Out waddles mama now the babies are found. (Waddle like a penguin)

3.) Fingerplay: Two Little Penguins (A take on the rhyme two little blackbirds)
Two little penguins out on the ice (Show index fingers)
One bows once and the other bows twice (bow fingers)
Run away penguins, waddle away! (Put hands behind back)
Come back penguins, time to play! (Bring hands back around)

4.) Brain breaks and body movement
Sure these don't have anything to do with penguins, but the music is high energy and they're appropriate for all ages. You can create a free account at It is designed for educators to use as brain breaks for their students. I stumbled on this while volunteering for my son's kindergarten teacher. You have your choice of playing YouTube videos through gonoodle, they have a selection of Zumba for kids, and my favorite Koo Koo Kangaroo. You can set your class up to track the amount of time they have used with their brain breaks and you can pick a champion (avatar) to represent your class. If your class/group does 10 videos/exercises, your champion with level up and change to get stronger. They are seriously fun. We did the Koo Koo Kangaroo songs Roller Coaster and Get Yo' Body Movin! Serious bouncy, silly fun.

5.) Playtime

a.)Penguin paper craft- I am still on a big process art kick, so I made one as an example and let the kids go to town.  This was just one station, but if you just prefer a single craft after storytime this will do just fine. I cut the paper apart first and just let the kids glue it down and put googly eyes on it. You could have older kids cut the paper apart as well.

b.) Play-doh: I plan to alternate this with the sensory corn bin. The kids like to make things with the cookie cutters and other tools I provide. They hang out at the library for a long time after storytime is over and I just love that they want to stay here. It's the place to be!

c.) Penguin memory match- I downloaded two match game decks from the club penguin site and left them out for the kids to play with.

 It was a great return to storytime. I missed these kiddos a lot over the last month. Glad to have such a great return.

See you very soon!

Mr. Mike