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Today was all about ghosts, goblins and spooky creatures of all descriptions. Halloween is fast approaching and we celebrated during Storytime. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.
Mouse’s First Halloween by Lauren Thompson was our first book. Thompson has a series of books, that focus on different holidays and seasons, featuring Mouse, sometimes alone, sometimes with his sister Minka. In this tale, it was just Mouse who was experiencing his first ever Halloween. As he left the house on Halloween night, Mouse encountered all manner of things that at first seemed a little scary, but turned out not to be frightening after all. A swooshing sound was just bats flying overhead, a rustling sound was just dried leaves and a giant glowing face turned out to be just a jack-o-lantern smiling in the dark. Mouse met Trick-or-Treaters, and even got some candy. In the end Mouse learned that sometimes, what seems scary can turn out to be lots of fun.
For our first activity, the children and I pretended to be monsters. We played Laurie Berkner’s “Monster Boogie,” from her CD The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band and the children and took the opportunity to stomp around the room in our best Frankenstein impressions. I brought out the shakers, and everyone was able to add a little musical accompaniment to their monster imitations.
Everybody do the Monster Boogie!
Minerva Louise on Halloween by Janet Morgan Stoeke. Stoeke has a series of books featuring the lovable chicken Minerva Louise doing all manner of interesting things. In this lively, humorous tale, Minerva Louise got to see all the preparations that went into a fun Halloween. From decorations, to costume selection, to Trick-or-Treating, Minerva Louise got to experience it all. She even got complimented on her clever costume, even though she wasn’t wearing one!
Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara was our next book. A little girl and her feline companion moved into a haunted house. Was the little girl frightened? Certainly not, she knew exactly what to do. She rounded up all the ghosts and put them…in the washing machine. Once they were cleaned and dried she put them to a variety of practical uses including hanging in the living room as drapes and covering the dining room table as a table cloth. The children chuckled and laughed all the way through this charming tale as the little girl thought of increasingly clever uses for her ghostly roommates. To better reinforce and reflect the subject matter every page was illustrated in only three colors, black, orange and white. This is a perfect Halloween tale for younger children, and those who don’t like the scarier aspects of the holiday.
Our first activity was borrowed from Storytime with Miss Sara and was entitled “The Ghost Ate What.” Prior to the activity I handed out different colored ghosts to all of the children. Then we began our guessing game, with help from Seymour Spirits, our libraries resident ghost expert. Each time we mentioned something new the ghost would eat, like grape juice or apples, we asked Seymour what color the ghost would become. Seymour usually guessed the right color, but sometimes his answers were just silly. For example when we asked him what color the ghost would become after it ate chocolate, Seymour said delicious, not brown. The children really enjoyed Seymour, laughing at all his crazy answers. As we mentioned each new color, the child with that ghost was able to come up and place it on the board. Here are the words:
The Ghost Ate What?!
Ghosts are white right?
That means they should only eat things that are white.
Milk, yogurt, vanilla ice cream.
Well, these ghosts were adventurous and they liked to try new things.
This ghost ate an apple, what color did it become?
This ghost drank some grape juice, what color did it become?
This ghost ate some broccoli, what color did it become?
This ghost ate come chocolate, what color did it become?
This ghost drank some lemonade, what color did it become?
This ghost ate a carrot, what color did it become?
The very last ghost really liked chocolate chip cookies, what color did it become?
I’m Seymour Spirits, the library’s resident ghost expert
This is what happens when ghosts drink too much grape juice
Children enjoy activities where they have to guess answers to questions based on a handful of clues. Apart from being entertaining, these types of activities can also help build literacy skills. As this article from Get Ready to Read discusses, literacy activities involving guessing and riddles are an excellent way to increase vocabulary and help children associate words with objects. The article enumerates many different activities parents can do with their children to help improve literacy in a fun, engaging way.
Pumpkin Eye by Denise Fleming was our last story. Fleming is well known for her children’s books that describe sounds and actions with a simple, sometimes repetitive text. In this story Fleming described what would be encountered on a typical street Trick or Treating during Halloween. The glow of jack o lanterns, the whooshing of bats, the plethora of unique, creative costumes and much more. The beauty of Fleming’s book is that at first it just seems to be describing typical autumn sights and sounds, not until the end did she tie it all together by stating that everything she had described meant Halloween had arrived.
Today, Tom Cat joined us for our closing song, “Shake My Sillies Out” from More Singable Songs by Raffi. Tom Cat is one of the children’s favorite puppets, so any excuse to bring him out is welcome.
Show us how silly you are Tom Cat
We had a terrifyingly good time at Storytime today. Happy Halloween!
Numbers is our theme next week.
Today we held a Glow in the Dark Halloween Carnival at the Main Library. We had five different games available to play, each with fun prizes, plus a Spooky Reading Corner.
Knock Down the ball gave players a chance to knock down one (or more) bottles lit up with glow sticks, using only a plastic baseball.
Who can knock down all four bottles?
Our Glow in the Dark Bowling lane was easily our most popular event. Players were give three chances to knock down as many bowling pins (water bottles with glow sticks inside) as possible.
Everyone tried their hand at Glow in the Dark Tic-Tac-Toe. It was especially fun to see children competing against their parents, one little boy was a natural at it. We created our Tic-Tac-Toe board using glow in the dark duct tape. Our game pieces were crafted out of cardboard, with either an ‘X’ or ‘O’ painted on with glow in the dark paint.
Three in a row to win
Bean Bag Skee Ball was another popular game. Four paper plates were set up on the floor, each with different point values. The goal was to hit the paper plates with bean bags. Everyone loved to try their skills at this, and it was not as easy as it looked.
Score the most points by tossing your bean bag
Our final game was Ring Toss. We set up plastic targets of various heights, and players had to try to loop a glow in the dark ring over the targets. This, like Bean Bag Skee Ball, was not easy, but players loved to come back again and again to try their luck.
Finally, we offered a Spooky Reading Corner, where stories were read from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark both by Alvin Schwartz. The chance to hear a spooky tale, with only a flashlight for company, was a big draw. Everyone loves a good ghost story!
The soundtrack to our carnival was provided by Kidz Bop Halloween. We all enjoyed the carnival to the tune of Halloween hits such as Thriller and
Werewolves of London.
All of our carnival guests had a glowingly spooky good time today. Happy Halloween!
We are excited to offer a new program series for families in our community. Sensory Storytime are designed for children on the autism spectrum or who are sensitive to sensory overload. While similar to traditional storytimes in using books, movement and music to promote literacy and learning, Sensory Storytimes integrate therapeutic activities to stimulate all five senses and promote learning in a comfortable environment. Our goal is to provide a relaxed and welcoming storytime experience for children and their caregivers. A visual schedule guide will be used which allows children to see the order of events for the day. We encourage parents who use a daily personal visual schedule to include the library storytime in their schedule of activities. We are working with USF CARD to create a library storyboard to post online. This pictorial storyboard will walk you through a visit to the library. We invite families to join us in November.
Sunday, November 9th, 1 p.m. School Age Sensory Fun for elementary aged children and teens.
Thursday, November 18, 4 p.m. Sensory Storytime for children six and younger in physical age or developmental age.
Today we all took a trip to the zoo to visit with the animals. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids. Even Mr. David danced along with us this morning!
Everyone clap and show how happy you are
Two at the Zoo by Danna Smith was our next book. This was the rhyming tale of a boy and his grandfather who went to the zoo together. As the pair visited each animal, they counted how many of each they say, and the children and I were able to count along with them. One bear, two parakeets, three alligators all the way up to ten hogs. Our story ended with the boy and his grandfather getting a snack, seeing a show and riding a train before departing the zoo after a fun filled day.
For our first activity we rode the Animal Train. I put on the CD Having a Ball with Music by Mar Harman and the children and I rode on the train with the animals. Each child chose their favorite puppet from a group of stick puppets, each representing an animal mentioned in the song. Then, as the song played and each animal was called to board the train, the child with that puppet got up and started to dance. As an extra added attraction, we had puppets join us for our ride on the Animal Train.
Choose your favorite stick puppet and get ready to board the train
Join us on the train Mr. Rabbit!
Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Dog rode with us into the station as the Animal Train came to a stop
I turned our next book, Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell, into an interactive activity. In this delightful tale a child has written to the zoo asking for a pet. One by one, the zoo sent a selection of animals, one more outrageous than the last. For this activity I printed out, and laminated, not only pictures of each of the animals mentioned in the book, but also pictures of the crates and baskets they were shipped in. Here is a printable version of the animals and crates from Kidz Club. Prior to Storytime the pictures were placed on the board, hiding the pictures of the animals beneath their respective crates and baskets. As we read through the story, and the child opened his latest package from the zoo, one child would come up and pull off the image of the crate or basket to reveal the animal beneath. We learned, right along with the child in the book, what animal the zoo had sent him. The last package the zoo sent the child was the best, and most appropriate of all, a dog.
What did the Zoo send? An elephant…
…and a giraffe, a lion, and a camel! I wonder what was in the final crates?
My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall was our next book. Each page of the story had a different animal illustration, and each of the animals were constructed entirely out of hearts. Each animal displayed it’s own characteristic. We saw hopeful herons fishing for a meal, silly seals balancing balls on their noses and cool penguins waddling around on the ice. At then end we discovered each of these animals was really a stuffed animal that belonged to their faithful zookeeper, a young child, who after a busy day tending his animals, was fast asleep.
Our last activity employed the use of the iPad and the app “Free Animal Sounds.” This is a wonderful app that allowed the user to hear the sounds made by many different animals. From horses, to birds, to big cats and much more, the user simply had to click on a picture of the animal to hear several different sounds it makes. The children took turns selecting various animals to listen to, and their reactions upon hearing the noises the animals made were wonderful. The best one was when one of the children selected the leopard. It let out such a mighty roar, which sent the children scurrying away. The lure of hearing more animals soon drew them back though, and we had lots of fun discovering what various animals, some familiar some less so, sounded like. This activity was an enjoyable way to better relate to the animals we were reading about in our books today. Also the ability to make sounds, and phonological awareness, is an important milestone in childhood literacy. Learning to read begins with communication skills, and communication skills begin with sound, as this article from Reading is Fundamental examines. The article outlines important literacy milestones in children from birth to age six, and the first item on the list is that children begin to make sounds that resemble the words adults use. As children learn to make these sounds, they will in turn learn the words that are associated with them. Once they learn the words, they can begin to discern their meanings, and that words convey a significance. The process continues to build toward literacy skills from there.
What does a cuckoo sound like?
The View at the Zoo by Kathleen Long Bostrom was our last book. This was a hilarious look at what the animals at the zoo thought of the people who came to visit them. At the beginning of each day the animals had to primp and preen to get ready for their new crop of visitors. Once the people arrived we got to see all the different animals, and how they showed off for the people at the zoo. Penguins danced on the ice, snakes hung low from the trees and birds called out in a variety of ways. At the end of the day, as the people were leaving, all the animals were settling down to sleep. It had been a long day, and they had to rest to be able to do it all again tomorrow.
Everyone got up to dance to “Shake My Sillies Out” from the CD More Singable Songs by Raffi.
Shake, clap and jump your wiggles out
We had lots of fun visiting all the animals at the zoo today.
Next week our theme is Halloween and costumes are encouraged!