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Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!-Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today in Storytime we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Seuss, which was March 2nd. Our opening song was 40 English Songs for Kids.

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If you’re happy and you know it…

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dance along with Mr. Tom Cat!

Our first book was, possibly, the most well known of Dr. Suess’ works The Cat in the Hat. Sally and her brother were stuck inside on a cold, wet day, with nothing to do. That all changes when a fun loving Cat, and his precocious companions, Thing One and Thing Two, arrived at their house. The Cat showed Sally and her brother lots of interesting ways to have fun inside, despite the protests of the family fish. Various puppets, including the Cat, the Fish and Thing One and Thing Two, made appearances for our lively story.

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Look there he is, The Cat in the Hat

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“No, no, that cat should not be here when your mother is out!” said the fish

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But the Cat just brought his friends, Thing One and Thing Two, to play

The parachute came out for our first activity. To the tune of “Ted, Audrey and the Trees,” from The Lorax Original Motion Picture Score we bounced lots of Dr. Seuss themed characters up and down on our parachute. The Cat in the Hat, Horton the elephant, Fox in Socks and even the Lorax himself went for a fun ride today!

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There go Horton, the Cat in the Hat and the Lorax, flying through the air!

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? was our next book. Mr. Brown was a very vocally gifted individual. He could make lots of different sounds. As we read through the story, we all tried to imitate the sounds Mr. Brown made. We mooed like a cow, hooted like an owl, and even tried our hand at chewing gum like a hippopotamus (I bet you didn’t know they chew gum!). Each time a new animal was mentioned in the story, a puppet of that animal popped up from our stage, to the delight of the children.

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Mr. Brown can moo like a cow, can you?

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He can also whisper like a butterfly, and chew gum like a hippopotamus.

Next, we read one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, Green Eggs and Ham. We followed Sam I Am on his amazing adventure as he traveled from place to place valiantly attempting to get the man he met to try the delicacy that is green eggs and ham. Sam tried to entice him to eat the delicious food in various settings, such as boxes and trains, and with different animals, like foxes and goats. The man was adamant that he simply did not like green eggs and ham. Eventually, to get Sam to stop pestering him, he decided to try it, and to his amazement found he really liked the strange colored food.

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I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I Am

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Then, I tried them. Now, I do so like green eggs and ham.

After our story, the iPad came out, and we utilized the app 123 Kids Fun Music for our last activity “Horton Hears a What?” A stick puppet of Horton popped up from our puppet stage to play this musical guessing game with us. Taking turns, the children came up to the iPad one by one, and selected one of the many varied musical instruments this app demonstrated. As each one was played, Horton tried to guess what the instrument was, with great sucess. Not only was this an entertaining activity, but listening to music this way also helps children’s cognitive abilities. The children are able to associate different musical sounds with the instruments that make them. This article from Big City Moms shows how activities such as this help develop creative thinking.

Our last selection was a story from the collection entitled The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories. Our tale, The Strange Shirt Spot, was the story of a young boy who inexplicably found himself with a strange spot on his shirt. He did not know how it got there, but he knew he had to get rid of it before his mother saw it. He tried all manner of methods to remove it, but it seemed that the spot would just move from one object to another. For example, when the little boy tried to wipe the spot off with a cloth, that turned out to be his mother’s best dress, the spot then stuck to the dress. When the family cat walked by, and rubbed up against the dress, the spot got stuck on him! The attempts at spot removal got more and more hilarious, and outlandish and had the children giggling and laughing. Finally, the strange spot ended up right back where it started, on the boy’s shirt.

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Where will the mysterious shirt spot go next?

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Oh, no! I looks like the spot that was on the boy’s mother’s best dress…

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is now stuck to his cat!

Today, we had a new friend join us in when we shook our sillies out, from Raffi’s CD More Singable Songs, it was Mr. Hippopotamus from the Mr. Brown story we read earlier!

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Shake your sillies out Mr. Hippopotamus.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss and thank you for providing us with a creative, educational experience that was also a lot of fun!

Pets will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica

Library Visits- Come On Down and See Us

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We had a grand visit at the Main library today from the Suncoast YMCA. The Early Learning Readiness group from the Highpoint Branch came for a library tour and storytime. This group of parents and their young children came to learn about all the resources the public library offers to families, particularly in early literacy.  Would you like to bring your school, recreation, or church group to the library? We welcome visits from the community and with adequate time to adjust for staffing we are happy to work with you on a planned visit. Please visit here for more information.

Light as Day, Dark as Night – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today our theme was the contrast between light and dark, day and night. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

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If you’re happy and you know it, jump for joy!

We started off Storytime in the bright sunshine of the day with our first book Polar Bear Morning by Lauren Thompson.  Little polar bear cub awoke in her den at the start of a new day. She walked out into the brisk arctic air, when suddenly something came sliding down a hill and landed in a heap at her feet. It was a snow cub! Together polar bear cub, and her new best friend snow cub, spent the day exploring the arctic and visiting all the other animals that shared their frozen world. To add another dimension, two polar bear puppets joined us for this story, each taking on the role of one of the bear cubs we were reading about. Polar bear cub would be back later in Storytime.

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Polar Bear cub and her friend Snow Cub explore their Arctic world on a bright, sunny day.

“Zany Lights” was our first activity, an action rhyme very loosley based on an idea borrowed from Children’s Programming Monthly Vol. 3 No. 8. I modified it greatly to fit this theme by turning it into an interactive puppet activity. Prior to Storytime I pre-made circles in various colors, laminated them and glued them to Popsicle sticks. Each color had a corresponding motion associated with it. During Storytime, a dialogue took place between me and a polar bear puppet, describing each motion that was associated with the different colored circles. Each time I held up a new circle, the children identified it’s color, and then, with the help of our polar bear, we learned which motion to do.Here is the original rhyme the activity was based off of:

Yellow means slow down,

And green means go

And red means stop.

It’s all the other colors

That’ll make your mouth drop.

When you see a pink light,

It means hop like a bunny.

When the light is purple,

Make a face that’s funny.

When the light turns orange,

You should bark like a dog.

When the brown light shines,

You can oink like a hog.

When the white light’s bright,

You should give a loud roar.

When the light turns blue,

Fall asleep and snore.

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Polar bear said, “When the light is purple, make a funny face!”

One Magical Day by Claire Freedman was our next book. This rhyming tale showed us how all the different animals on a farm spent their day. Puppies played with each other, pigs rolled in the squelchy mud and lambs frolicked in the hills. As the sun began to set, we saw a donkey settling down to sleep. The last page showed an owl, high up in the trees, welcoming the night. Several times throughout our story, puppets of the animals being talked about made appearances.

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During our magical day, we read about ducks, horses and more. When nighttime arrived, so did an owl.

The Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na was our next book. In this delightful story, with an owl as our guide, we learned all about how animals sleep. Elephants make noise while they sleep, while whales sleep whilst still swimming. Each animal was vibrantly depicted, and shown slumbering in its own way. When we came to the end, the sun rose and all the animals awoke, ready for a new day. All except the owl, it was time for it to sleep. Just like in the book, an owl puppet guided us through the night, showing us all the interesting ways animals sleep.

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Our friend owl was back, to show us how animals slept through the night.

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Whales slept while they were still moving!

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Giraffes slept peacefully, all by themselves.

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When morning came, it was owl’s turn to sleep.

Prior to beginning our next activity, I let the children each choose an instrument. Then I put on “The Night We Made it Noisy in Boise Idaho,” from Jim Gill’s CD Make it Noisy in Boise, Idaho. As the song played, the children, played, shook, or banged their instruments, as loud as they could. The song told us to be as noisy as we could, and the children did a fantastic job. To add to the fun, Mr. Tom Cat joined us, dancing right along to the music.

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We all made it noisy in Boise, Idaho! Even Mr. Tom cat danced with us.

As promised, for our final book, our friend little polar bear was back, as was her puppet, this time in Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson. Little polar bear cub awakened one night in her den. She crept out of her den to explore the nighttime arctic world. Many of the animals she met in the first book were now fast asleep, but little polar bear cub saw two amazing sights, shooting stars, which made an appearance with the help of a flashlight, and the Northern Lights. After her adventure filled night, little polar bear cub made her way safely home.

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Look at the shooting stars polar bear.

In varying degrees books written in rhyme, along with rhymes and rhyming songs, were an integral part in our program today. Being exposed to rhyme helps children break words down to make them easier to comprehend. It also helps a child’s spelling abilities by introducing them to words that sound similar, and in some cases are spelled similarly. Children are able to recognize these patterns as they learn to read, improving both their reading and writing skills. This article from Gemmlearning.com outlines these points, and goes on to expound on the benefits of exposing children to rhyme.

At the end we shook our sillies out with Raffi, and Mr. Tom Cat who joined us in the fun and merriment.

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Everyone shake your sillies out. You too Mr. Tom Cat.

We journeyed from day to night in Storytime today, having many fun filled adventures along the way.

February 24th there will be no Storytime. When we return on March 3rd our theme will be Dr. Seuss, to celebrate his birthday!

-Miss Jessica

Happy Valentine’s Day! – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we celebrated Valentine’s Day. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

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If you’re happy and you know it…

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pat your head!

Sweet Hearts by Jan Carr was our first book. This story, written in rhyme, told the tale of a little panda on a mission. He set out to hide Valentine ’s Day hearts all over the house for his family members to find as surprises. His baby sister found one in her crib, his mother found one by her coffee mug, even the family dog received one in his food dish. All the while the little panda was convinced no one knew who was hiding the valentine’s, but perhaps his parents knew all along.

Our first activity was a musical motion song entitled “Simon Says,” from the CD Drew’s Famous Kids Valentine’s Day Hits. Before beginning the activity, I handed out hearts to all the children. Then, as we listened to the song, we used our hearts to follow the motions Simon told us to perform. We waved our hearts in the air, moved them to the left and right, placed them on our head and more. The children really enjoyed the various movements associated with this song, and motioning with the hearts made it that much more silly and fun. This type of activity augmented skills associated with listening and following directions. The children were told we would be following directions from the song, and they had to listen to know what to do, Music was a large part of today’s Storytime. Having children listen to music or play games where music is a major component aids in childhood development. This article from Education.com encapsulates the many benefits music gives children with regards to education and development.

Simon Says

Simple Simon says…

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put your heart in the air.

The next book read was If You’ll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant. This story is a favorite of mine for Valentine’s Day Storytime. It was told in rhyming verses and was the tale of a little boy who created unique Valentines for his family and friends. His cat, dog, grandmother, and more, all got their own unique Valentine. At the end we saw the little boy receiving a valentine of his very own, from his loving mom and dad.

Love, Splat by Rob Scotton was our next book. Scotton has a series of books about the adventures of Splat the Cat. In this Valentine’s Day edition Splat had a Valentine that he wanted to give to Kitten, the cat in his class that he really liked, but she had another admirer. It was really fun to see how Splat worked through his problem and plucked up his courage. In the end, he received a surprise from Kitten herself that made it all worthwhile.

After our story out came the CD player and one of our puppets. Laurie Berkner’s  “There’s a Little Wheel a-Turnin’ in my Heart” offered a perfect Valentine’s Day themed song. The song can be found on her CD Buzz, Buzz. For each verse there is an accompanying action. Each action was demonstrated prior to playing the song so the children would know when to act out each part. Clapping, stomping, barking, with our dog puppet, and honking were just some of the fun sounds, and movements, we acted out.

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Everyone enjoyed all the movements with this song.

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Especially when our dog joined us in our dancing.

Mouse’s First Valentine by Lauren Thompson was our last book. Thompson has a series of books featuring Mouse, and sometimes his big sister MInka, celebrating different seasons and holidays. In this story, Mouse followed Minka as she crept around the house gathering items. A bit of red paper, some lace and even a little ribbon. What was Minka making? The children and I were all curious to find out, which we did, along with Mouse. At the end we saw the Minka made her little brother Mouse his very first Valentine’s Day card, which Mouse just adored.

After our final book, we all stood up and shook, clapped and jumped our sillies out along with Raffi, from his CD More Singable Songs.

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Clap your sillies out everybody!

For our craft today we made a pop up Valentine’s Day card. Using our die cut machine I cut out hearts in Valentine’s Day themed colors. I then taught the children how to make springs out of two strips of construction paper, instructions for this can be found below, just click on the image for a detailed explanation. We glued the springs to the front of our cards, and then glued the hearts to the springs. The children were then able to decorate their cards and address them to whoever they chose.

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Who will I give my Valentine to?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

Day and Night will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica

Penguins and Puffins-Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we celebrated those enchanting black, white, and in some cases, colorful, birds, penguins and puffins. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids, in which Mr. Tom Cat and his guest Penguin, joined us in our dancing and clapping.

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Today, not only Mr. Tom Cat, but also a penguin joined is in showing how happy we were

Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon was our first book. Yoon has a series of books featuring her loveable penguin and his many zany adventures. Our story began when a little penguin found a curious object. It was small and brown, too hard to be food and too brown to be a snowball, but that was about all Penguin knew about the strange object. Penguin and his new find became best friends, they did everything together. One day though, penguin’s brown object let out a great big sneeze. That was when Penguin’s grandfather told him that his pinecone needed to be in a forest where he could grow strong, not living in ice and snow. So Penguin, being the good friend that he was, took pinecone home to the forest. Penguin returned home to his icy world, but he always wondered what happened to pinecone. One day, he decided to go find out, and it turned out pinecone had grown into a big, strong pine tree. When you care for something that caring spreads.

Our first activity was an original one that I called Piper and the Penguins. Piper was one of our penguin puppets, and she was looking for a new friend. Prior to Storytime I printed out, and laminated, images of penguins in various colors, and during the activity I kept one set and the children were given a set. Utilizing a dialogue between Piper and I, one by one the children matched their penguin to the one I held up. We went through many different colors, with Piper always telling us that she wanted her new friend to just be black and white. Each time a new color penguin was mentioned, the child with that color would bring their penguin up to the board, and Piper would offer a silly answer as to why that color penguin would not do for her. Eventually, we found Piper the perfect penguin friend, a black and white polka dotted penguin.

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We tried lots of different colors, but eventually Piper the penguin found her new best friend. She was black and white and polka dotted!

If You Were a Penguin by Wendell and Florence Minor was our next book. This book, written in rhyme, asked the question what could you do if you were a penguin. The children and I were treated to a delightful array of activities that could only be performed if we were penguins. From diving really deep underwater, to having an all black and white wardrobe, the possibilities abounded. At key points in the story, our penguin puppets acted out the motions that we were seeing the penguins in the book perform. At the end we learned that many of the things penguins could do, we could do too. Minor provided a wealth of interesting facts about penguins in her end material.

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One thing we learned from this story is that penguins can live in warm, or cold, places

Polar Opposites by Erik Brooks was our next book. Alex was a big polar bear, and Zina was a tiny penguin. These physical differences were just the beginning of how these two were opposites in so many ways. Alex and Zina lived at opposite ends of the earth. Alex was loud where Zina was quiet, and the differences went on and on. Just because these two animals were vastly different did not mean they could not be friends, and the best of friends they were. Alex and Zina always found a way to come together.

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Alex and Zina were polar opposites

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Though, best friends can always meet in the middle

The parachute made an appearance for our last activity. “Penguin Parade” from the CD of the same name by the Banana Slug String Band was put on. This song told us a lot about penguins, and some of the other animals they encountered in the arctic. Each time a new animal was mentioned, a puppet of that animal was tossed on the parachute, while a puppet of the same animal danced with us from the puppet stage. We saw fish, seals and of course lots of penguins!

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We bounced our fish and seal, while the puppets danced with us

Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek was our last book. One day two puffin friends, Peter and Paul, got swept out to sea in a storm. Peter’s only thought, where was his friend Paul. Paul was funny, and noisy and black and white, which should have made him easy to find, right? Well, it turned out, Paul was a little hard to track down. A blue whale came to Peter’s aid, and with the whale’s help Peter searched and searched for his missing friend. The whale brought Peter to visit many different birds, from toucans to penguins, but none were exactly like Paul.Just when Peter despaired of ever locating his friend, he found Paul safe and sound. Horacek’s illustrations were so vibrant and lively, with deep rich colors that conveyed motion very well. We added to this story with the use of puffin, whale and penguin puppets. Each time a new bird was mentioned, a puppet of that bird made an appearance, and the children loved seeing our stick puppet of Peter riding around on the blue whale’s back.

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Puffin Peter, and the blue whale, searched for Paul

Today, not only Mr. Tom Cat, but also a penguin, joined us in shaking our sillies out from Raffi’s CD More Singable Songs.

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Jump your jiggles out Mr. Tom Cat and Penguin

A truly enjoyable Storytime.

Valentine’s Day will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica