Monday, December 17, 2012

Time to Hibernate! A Story Time Plan

I offer one evening story time every month in an attempt to make story times available to children whose caregivers work or who attend preschool during our regular morning sessions. Attendance at these evening programs has been spotty at best, so I tried something new this quarter: advertising the program theme on our events website and in our quarterly program guide. That means I needed to select my program themes several months in advance--something I don't normally do. We had a decent turn-out for our recent hibernation-themed story time. Here's what we did:

Time to Hibernate! Story Time

Opening Song: "Open, Shut Them"

Talk: We spent a few minutes learning what it means to hibernate; several kiddos chimed in with what they knew about hibernation. We also practiced saying the word: "Let me hear you say 'hibernate.'"

Story: Old Bear by Kevin Henkes
     This beautifully illustrated book has simple, brief text and invites plenty of opportunity for dialogic reading. On every season's spread, we talked about what we could see in pictures and what we remember seeing in those seasons here in Missouri.

Song: "Where is Brown Bear?"
     I used stick puppets with images of a brown bear, a groundhog, and a chipmunk to add a visual to this song (see photo above). The children really loved it--they especially enjoyed seeing the animals go to sleep, which I mimed by setting the puppets on the floor.
"Where is Brown Bear?"
(tune: "Where is Thumbkin?")

Where is brown bear*?
Where is brown bear*?
Here I am!
Here I am!
How are you this winter?
Very tired, thank you.
Go to sleep.
Go to sleep.
*can be repeated with different hibernating animals

Story: Hibernation by Margaret Hall
     This non-fiction title introduces young children to the concept of hibernation. It talks about different animals that hibernate and why; how they get ready; and how they find places to spend the winter months. The children were fascinated to see all the different animals that hibernate; they knew about bears and groundhogs, but the bats and frogs took them by surprise. The big photos are great for sharing.
Matching Game: Colored Bears
     I spread out lots of different colored bears on the story time carpet and, one color at a time, I encouraged the children to take the bears to our felt board cave to hibernate. It just so happened that my story time audience was pretty knowledgeable and confident regarding their colors, but they still enjoyed the interactive aspect.
Craft: Making hibernation caves
     Each child received a white die-cut bear and a blank white sheet of paper. Bears could be decorated however they wanted, and the white sheet of paper was the bear's cave; I encouraged the kiddos to draw the things their bears might want when they wake up in the caves. I saw berries to eat, a radio to listen to, leaves for a bed, and plenty of other great, creative ideas. The last step of the craft was to staple a black sheet of paper over the cave, thus closing the cave door until spring. One child asked his mother if he could hang his cave on his bedroom wall so it was ready for him to open in the spring. Adorable!


  1. Thank you for posting this! I like the idea of the non-fiction book (applies to the Common Core) and hearing of the children's reactions to it.

  2. I really like the idea of practicing the word hibernate. Great tips! thank you for posting. Blogs like these are helpful for someone who only has a year of experience leading storytime. I'm always looking for ways to make it more educational and creative. I think having the children decorate the outside of the cave with items the bear would need when it wakes up is an excellent idea too.


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