Thursday, October 2, 2014

Make Your At-Home Storytime Kit! A Joint Kids/Caregivers Event

Before I left my job in Missouri, my adult reference colleague Michele Nolan and I were planning our second joint kids/caregivers programming event: a Make Your At-Home Storytime Kit. The premise: while kids were on one side of the partitioned program room doing storytime and open play with me, caregivers were on the other side with Michele making supplies for an at-home storytime kit. The activities were planned, supply lists were made, and... then I left.

But, oh, did I work with some amazing people in Missouri, because my colleague Erin stepped in to lead the storytime portion while Michele directed caregivers, and the event went on without a hitch. Full details, according to Michele:

My adults consisted of parents, caregivers and grandparents. So, while Erin kept the children busy, I then had the adults make their own "At-Home Storytime Kit" that consisted of materials for "Read," "Talk," "Sing," "Write," and "Play," in addition to mentioning how "Math" can be incorporated into any and all of these activities. I had 12 adults signed up with 10 that showed, plus a mom with her kids that asked if she could join in. Even though I physically had 11 at the end of the program I had a few (3) people ask if they could take an extra set to share with others.

And in case you have any doubts whether this type of event would be meaningful for the caregivers, here's the participant feedback:
  • "Really enjoyed having the materials and explanation on how they work with a child's learning."
  • "I wasn't sure at first how this was going to work out with bringing the kids, but it is great knowing that they have an activity for them also."
  • "Have been looking for new and fresh ideas."
  • "Originally came to make this for my daughter to use with her kids, but instead am going to keep it at my house so the grandchildren have something that I can interact with them."
  • "Really glad I signed up for this."
  • "Wasn't exactly sure what I was signing up for, but am glad I did."
  • "Hope to see more of these type of programs."
Success! A resounding success, with caregivers actively engaged in creating early literacy activities to use with their children outside of the library! Woo hoo!

And lastly, the full activity breakdown.

Read - Make a Photo Book
     Caregivers used empty CD sleeves, key rings, paper cut to fit the sleeves, and writing utensils to create a blank book for them to fill in with their child. The premise was to add pictures (drawings, photos, or both) and words together at home.
     Early literacy message: “Creating a book full of images your child recognizes is a great way to build a love of books and reading. You can write words that describe the pictures, talk about the pictures, and create your own stories as you read the book together.”

Talk - Three Little Pigs Puppets
     Using cut paper towel rolls, pig and wolf templates, scissors, glue, and coloring utensils, caregivers created puppets for each character in the story of the Three Little Pigs. Also included was the text of the story for those who needed a refresher. The premise is to then tell and retell the story at home with their child.
     Early literacy message: “The more words a child hears everyday, especially when they are spoken to and with the child, the better. Telling and retelling favorite stories is a wonderful way to pack lots of talking into a fun reading experience.”

Write - Shape Drawing
     Caregivers poured white glue and a bit of food coloring into plastic zipper-top bags, which they then sealed with duct tape. The premise is to encourage children to use a finger to write/draw shapes and/or letters in the goo through the bag.
     Early literacy message: “In order to learn to recognize and write letters, children first need to be able to recognize and draw shapes. Drawing shapes on paper or in a fun substance both helps develop shape recognition and strengthens finger muscles which will be used to hold writing implements.”

Sing - Song Cube
     Empty cube-shaped tissue boxes were wrapped in colorful paper, after which caregivers added images to each of the six sides to represent six common children's songs. The station also included a lyrics sheet. The premise is to roll the cube and then sing with their child the song that goes with the image facing upwards.
     Early literacy message: “Singing songs and nursery rhymes is a great way to help your child hear all the different sounds that letters and words can make. The more sounds they hear in their youth, the easier it will be to sound out words as they learn to read.”

Play - Little Mouse, Little Mouse
     Caregivers used a house template drawn along the bottom of file folders to create lift-the-flap houses. They cut out the houses and colored them different colors, then colored and cut out a small mouse, too. The station included an instruction sheet for this activity, where the caregiver hides the mouse in one of the houses and says with their child, "Little mouse, little mouse, are you in the *color* house?" until they find where the mouse is hiding.
     Early literacy message: “Playing helps children learn and internalize facts about the world. By playing together with your child, you are helping them to work out how the world works while also having fun together.”


  1. What an awesome idea! How long did the program run for? An hour or more?

    1. The program lasted one hour, with caregivers able to take home supplies as needed.

  2. Did you market to a particular age group's caregivers?

    1. We marketed the program for the same audience as our all-ages storytimes, so caregivers of kids 6 and under.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.