Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Outreach Story Time!

Smelly bears, animal motions, and a variety of trucks; that's what we've got going on at my library outreach story times this summer. I feel like creating program plans for summer story times can be difficult--kids have so much stimulation in the summertime that they don't necessarily have it in them to sit still for a thirty minute story time. What's a librarian to do, then? I opt for choosing stories that have high audience appeal and lots of opportunities for movement and interaction. Throw in some fun and familiar songs and rhymes, and maybe a craft and some bubbles, and all the little kids forget about the pool and the playground during story time.

Opening Song: "Open, Shut Them"

Story: Big Smelly Bear by Britta Teckentrup
     Big Smelly Bear is big and smelly, and he likes being that way. Sometimes he wishes he had a friend, but other than those moments he is totally content. Totally content, that is, until he gets a horrendous itch on his back that he cannot scratch by himself. A fluffy bear remarks that she might help Big Smelly Bear if he would bathe first, and after a bit of persuading, Big Smelly Bear hops in the lake to clean off. Now he has no itch, not stench, and a new friend. This is a great silly story that gets lots of giggles, and it also doubles as support for why baths are important. A timely topic for a dusty summer, I think.

Fingerplay: "Where is Thumbkin?"

Story: From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
     In lovely pictures with plenty of white space, Carle takes the reader through a list of common and popular animals and some of the actions they can do. The penguin can turn his head, the giraffe can bend his neck... and after each of these animals, the child is asked if he or she can imitate the movement. I like to have everyone stand up for this story, and we take our time going through it. By the end, we've made something of an animal action parade, with kids turning their necks, waving their arms, kicking their feet, and having all sorts of fun. Great story for wiggly ones, and it reinforces vocabulary along the way.

Rhyme: "I Am a Windshield Wiper" (modified from Storytime Katie)

I Am a Windshield Wiper
I am a windshield wiper (bend elbow atop other arm)
And this is how I go (move arm up and down like a wiper)
Back and forth, back and forth (continue wiper motion)
To get rid of the rain and snow! (complete motion)

Story: Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia
     This book is fantastic on several levels. One, it has a variety of trucks, and in my experience almost all young children love trucks. Two, it has repetitive words and motions for each truck, so the reading is interactive as kids say the words and do the motions along with the reader. Third, the story has direction; the story starts with a messy field, and during the story the trucks work to turn it into a beautiful park. I love to show the opening and closing picture spreads after we're done sharing the story so kids can really see the work the trucks accomplished.

Craft: Garbage Trucks
     Sticking with the final trucks theme, I have coloring sheets showing a large garbage truck for each child. I have crayons and colored pencils out for each child to color his or her garbage truck, and I also have glue sticks and scraps of tissue paper so kids can glue "garbage" onto their trucks. Kids love the versatility and open-endedness of this craft, and they love crumpling up the tissue paper, too. Moms and teachers appreciate how relatively simple yet fun the craft it.

     For outreach story times that take place in the library branch, we often times conclude the story time by turning on our bubble machine. Kids flock to it, which means staff can begin to clean up after the craft. Since we use the bubble machine at the end of these sessions, it also signals to the children that story time is almost over--once the bubbles stop, they find mom or dad and head out into the library. The bubbles are lots of fun and help to frame the story time.

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