Opening Song: "Open, Shut Them"
Story: Giggle, Giggle, Quack by Doreen Cronin
This story, about a farmer who goes on vacation and leaves his brother in charge of some mischievous animals, affords great opportunities for paying close attention to the pictures. I ask the children to pay attention to Duck--he's trouble!--and the object that he picks up. By the end of the story, the whole room feels in on the secret that Duck has been playing jokes on the farmer and his brother.
Fingerplay: "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed"
I encourage the kiddos to use their five "monkeys" to help me with this rhyme while I use my finger puppets. Throughout each chorus, children make their fingers jump up and down on the bed; they get really into saying the rhyme. What a great way to work on fine motor skills with finger movement while also engaging in rhyming, counting, and cause and effect.
Story: Horseplay! by Karma Wilson
Does anyone rhyme quite as well as Karma Wilson these days? My children always seem captivated by the lyrical nature of the text, and this amusing story of some horses intent on playing all the time was no exception. The fanciful pictures are a hoot, too.
I Went to the Zoo Today
I went to the zoo today!
And what did I see?
I saw a great big elephant*
Looking at me!
[make elephant* noises]
Story: Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
Kitten doesn't really misbehave in this story, although she does get into some messy situations while in pursuit of the full moon, which she mistakes to be a bowl of milk. This Caldecott winner boasts a lovely, quiet story along with the beautiful illustrations, making the book a great closer for a story time.
Song: "If You're Happy and You Know It"
Other materials on hand: Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas; Old MacDonald Had a Farm by Jane Cabrera; "Apples and Bananas" on the ukulele
Spring outreach often means visiting preschools where the classrooms span a number of ages. This main "Animals Misbehavin'" story time might not be appropriate for all ages and audience attention spans, so my outreach bag also included a few shorter stories and some additional lyrical elements. I'm lucky in that my staff, who occasionally go out on these outreach visits, feel confident about choosing books and interactives that fit the crowd; I just make sure the Story Time bag has plenty of great options.