For this month's edition of my library's Milk & Cookies Story Morning, a great group of mostly 2- to 4-year-olds gathered in the programming room. It's been hot here in Missouri, so families willing to brave the heat to come to the library enjoy getting to relax in our air-conditioned spaces for a while. I'm happy to give them opportunities for hanging around in a program like this:
Opening Song: "Open, Shut Them"
Story: The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli
This bright, simply illustrated picture book hits on a topic that doesn't seem too far-fetched to most youngsters: a crocodile who loves watermelon accidentally swallows a seed, and he's worried he's got a watermelon growing in his belly. This book offers great opportunities for talking about what seeds need to grow, what happens when you swallow something, etc., as well as a perfect invitation for giggles when the crocodile gives a giant burp.
Song: "We're Going to Kentucky"
I learned this song at Guerrilla Storytime at #ala2013, and I've used it many times since. For this story morning group, I handed out egg shakers to accompany our shaking as per the song's instructions. We sang the song three times due to its popularity, with the final verse sung quickly enough to prompt us all to fall down dizzy at the end.
Story: The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, from Oceanhouse Media
This book app shares the story of Chester as his mother helps him overcome his nervousness about going to school. This story has long been a classic for a reason, and I decided to share it this time because preschools will be starting up again soon. I projected the app in its "Read it Myself" mode, which allowed me to go through the app at a pace that suited the children in attendance. I read the story with the help of my own Chester raccoon puppet, whose paw the kids enjoyed kissing after the story. How's that for transmedia storytelling?
Songs: "I'm a Little Teapot" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider"
We rolled the song cube to see what song we would sing next as a group. After twice singing "I'm a Little Teapot," the kids asked to roll the song cube again. I of course obliged, and we launched into an enthusiastic rendition of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider."
Story: Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Michael Rosen and Arthur Robins
For the folk/fairytale portion of our story morning, I decided to share this great version of "Little Bunny Foo Foo," a song it appears many children no longer hear from their caregivers. This small book boasts so many fantastic qualities and early literacy opportunities: it's got great vocabulary ("attitude," "goblins"); it reinforces counting; it's got a repetitive style that draws kids into participating and helps them remember the story; it can be sung; and it's got a bit of silliness mixed in with the moral.
Milk and Cookies Time!
We enjoyed some cinnamon Teddy Grahams and milk immediately after finishing our storytime portion of the morning. Mmm!
As with previous implementations of this program, I set out a variety of my library's educational and open-ended children's toys for the free exploration of the children in attendance. The science station was once again a hit, especially the magnets. Also extremely popular were the library's new alphabet machines, which I decided to purchase after reading a great testimonial about the toys in someone else's library (I can't remember on whose blog I read about it; that bookmark got lost in the transition-from-Google-Reader shuffle. [Update: the original post was on Anna's blog. Thanks to reader Amanda who pointed me to the post!]). I saw kids and caregivers identifying letters, naming images, creating patterns--really, these things are quite versatile.
How have you been incorporating play for preschoolers at your library this summer?