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It’s a Beach Day! – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today, at my final Storytime, we took a trip to the beach, to play in the sand and surf. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

It’s a Seashell Day by Dianne Ochiltree was our first book. Ochiltree’s rhyming tale told the story of a little boy, his mother, and their trip to the beach to look for shells. The little boy found a wide variety of seashells, ten in all. His mother even taught him how certain animals, like snails, used shells as their homes. At the end of a fun-filled day, the boy took his shells home, and made a colorful display out of them. Ochiltree provided detailed end material about all the different sea shells the boy discovered during his beach trip.

To continue with the theme of our first book, our first activity was all about matching shells. Prior to Storytime I not only gathered up a variety of sea shells, but also filled a tray with green colored sand. During the activity each child chose two shells, then as different sea creature puppets emerged holding different shells, the child with the matching shell could come and place it in the sand. We soon had a shell filled beach. One of the amazing things about sea shells is that, with certain ones, if held up to the ear, the ocean can be heard within. While none of our shells were that kind, we did get to hear ocean sounds during our activity with the Beach Sounds iPad app. The children enjoyed playing with the shells in the sand just as much as interacting with all the sea creature puppets. While we matched our shells we listened to songs from Splash Zone by Linda Arnold.

Beach Day  by Karen Roosa was our next book. A fun day at the beach was had by all in this enjoyable, rhyming tale. The beach was populated by a wide variety of people doing all sorts of fun things. From building sand castles, to playing in the waves, to water-skiing out on the ocean, everyone was enjoying their day at the beach. As the sun set, families gathered their belongings and headed back to their cars, sad to be leaving, but happy they got to spend an pleasant day at the beach.

On the Seashore by Anna Milbourne was our next book. A group of children ventured down to the seashore for a day of fun and exploration, and we got to go along. During the course of their day, the children found a myriad of interesting things, from clumps of seaweed, to sea shells. One of the most intriguing things the children discovered was a tide pool. Watching that little pool of water, the children observed coral, anemones and even hermit crabs looking for the perfect shell. We learned so much about the seashore and its inhabitants in this delightful tale.

For our final activity, we built a tide pool of our own. Prior to Storytime, I had not only filled one end of a tray with white sand, but also gathered up other materials that were needed such as a pitcher of water, and plastic sea creatures. During the activity, I had the children help me pour some water into the end of the tray that did not contain the sand. Then, once we had created our beach, and ocean, the children added the plastic animals, and generally had fun playing in the sand and water. We even used a plastic bottle to create waves as we rolled it along the top of the water. As we built our tide pool, we listened to songs from Disney’s Beach Party.

The children were able to help me tell our last story, Spot Goes to the Beach by Eric Hill. Spot’s parents decided to take him to the beach one day. When they arrived they bought Spot a new sailor hat, and some toys to play in the sand with. Spot had a very enjoyable time burying his father in sand, and going fishing. When it was time to leave, Spot even made a new friend, that his parents told him he could play with tomorrow when they came back to the beach. This book had lift the flap elements on every page, and the children were delighted as each time we turned a page and they lifted a flap that revealed something new.

Playing in the sand has wonderful benefits for childhood development, as this article from Early Childhood News outlines. Playing with sand allows children to direct their play in any fashion they choose, and it is a wonderful medium for their imaginations. Sand play allows children to develop their social skills as well if, for example, they are playing with others. By proving children tools with which to explore the sand, such as measuring cups, buckets, or variously shaped materials, children can also learn about other subjects such as math or shapes, while engaging in an enjoyable activity.

Mr. Tom Cat joined us is dancing, jumping and shaking our sillies out in the bubbles, along with Raffi from his CD More Singable Songs.

We had fun in the sun at the beach during Storytime today, and I had such enjoyment at weekly Storytime with everyone! Best of luck to all!

Toddler Move ‘N’ Read will continue next week.

-Miss Jessica

Happy Fourth of July! – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Fourth of July is almost here, and we celebrated today at Storytime. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

The Fourth of July by Cynthia Amoroso was our first book. This was a non-fiction Level 2 reader which showed us many of the basic characteristics of this National Holiday. We learned that Fourth of July was celebrated for the first time over 200 years ago, and that today, people celebrated the holiday by taking trips, attending parades and visiting with family and friends. Red, white and blue, the colors of the American flag, were the colors you saw most during this time of year. The best part of the Fourth of July, as we learned at the end of the book, was watching the fireworks light up the night.

Our first story mentioned red, white and blue being predominant colors during the Fourth of July, and our first activity played off of that idea. Prior to Storytime, I printed out, and laminated not only the words ‘Red,’ ‘White’ and ‘Blue,’ but also various objects that were those colors. I placed the laminated words on the board, kept one set of images to use with puppets, and handed out the rest of the images to the children. One by one, a puppet would hold up an object, and the child with the matching picture would come and place it on the board under the correct color heading. Seeing, and interacting, with the variety of puppets proved to be as engaging for the children as matching the pictures to their correct color. While we matched up red, white and blue pictures, we listened to songs from Celebration of America by Randy Newman.

The first Fourth of July was celebrated during our countries colonial era, and our next book Our Colonial Year showed all about what life was like during that time. As the story progressed from month to month, we learned that people who lived during the colonial period made their own clothes, grew and harvested their own food, and printed their own books, one at a time. The vibrant, patchwork quilt-like illustrations, brought each month, and the tasks associated with it, vividly to life.

Meet Our Flag, Old Glory by April Jones Prince was our next book. This story caught the children’s eyes from the moment they saw it, and they were very interested as we read it. Prince’s rhyming story told us all about our flag, and the many places it was displayed. From ball-fields, to schoolhouses, where children would say the Pledge of Allegiance, to the moon, we learned our flag flew proudly over many different locales. The final pages showed Old Glory behind a backdrop of fireworks. Prince provided a wealth of end material that gave a summarized, yet detailed, history of the flag as it has evolved over time.

Since fireworks ended our last story, our final activity played off of that theme. The Fireworks Arcade app formed the basis of a wonderfully interactive activity. When you first opened the app, the screen showed a blank night sky. I encouraged the children to touch the screen, and the moment they did, bright, sparkling fireworks appeared wherever their fingers were. Once the first child experiment with it, and got such an amazing result, all the children were clamoring to try it. They soon saw that you could not only touch the screen, but drag your finger across it and even hop your finger across it, and this would produce various effects. While we crafted fireworks displays, we listened to songs from Yankee Doodle Mickey.

Our last book, On the Day the Tall Ships Sailed by Betty Paraskevas was our last book. This story, based off a patriotic song written by the author, was always a favorite of mine for this Storytime theme. As we read through the story, we followed the flight of a bald eagle, who, in turn, was following the tall ships as they sailed up the Hudson river into New York Harbor for the Fourth of July celebration. The last few pages showed the magnificent eagle soaring over the crowds of people who had come to watch the ships. The music, and lyrics, were provided at the end of the book.

Mr. Tom Cat joined us as we danced, clapped and shook our sillies out with bubbles and Raffi, from his CD More Singable Songs.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

The beach will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica


Summer is Here! – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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It’s the first official day of summer, and we celebrated at Storytime today. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

It’s Summer by Jimmy Pickering was our first book. Pickering has several books featuring Sally and her dog Sam exploring the seasons. In this rhyming tale, Sally and Sam learned, over the course of a day, some of the things that made summer so much fun. From harvesting vegetables from their garden, to enjoying a cool dip in the pool, to catching fireflies, and watching shooting stars, on a warm summer evening. Sally and Sam knew how to make the most of their summer.

Science was at the heart of our first activity. Prior to Storytime I had not only filled several flat bottomed ice cream cones with a mixture of Jell-o powder and baking soda, but also pour vinegar into various squeeze bottles. During the activity I handed out the squeeze bottles to the children, and encouraged them to pour it over the ice cream cones. The bubbling began almost immediately, to wide eyed exclamations from the children. Vibrant colors and tantalizing smells emanated from our ice cream cones, and the children enjoyed smelling the different flavors as much as making the ice cream cones bubble. While we made our fizzing ice cream cones we listened to “Firefly” from Melany Perkins CD  Animalopolis and “Summertime” and “Summer Days” from Jack Hartmann’s CD Rhythms and Rhymes for Special Times.

Splish, Splash and Blue by Christianne C. Jones was our next book. What better way to spend a hot summer day than at a water-park, as the children in this book learned. Jones has a series of books, each dealing with a different color, and each relating to a particular theme. In our day at the water-park we saw blue floats used to go down the slides, blue sunscreen bottles used to protect the skin and many other blue things. Everyone was tired, but happy, at the end of their fun day. Jones provided end material including fun activities to try and interesting facts about blue things.

Let It Shine by Maryann Cocca-Leffler was our next book. This rhyming story was a wonderful journey through all the activities that made summer so enjoyable. From backyard picnics, to fireworks on the Fourth of July, to fun days at the beach, summer, as we saw was the best season. Everyone got together with friends and family, and had such good times.

In our final activity, science once again played a part. Prior to Storytime I gathered up a wide variety of materials, including plastic ocean animals, key-chains, plastic pirate coins, a bar of soap, coffee filters and other items. I also filled several bowls halfway with water. During the activity I handed out the items to the children, and encouraged them to drop them in the water to see what would sink, and what would float. We had several surprises such as watching one of the pirate coins float, while the others sank, and observing all the plastic animals sink. After everyone had experimented with all the items, I added an additional element. I handed out only the items that sank to the children, placed coffee filters in the bowls and encouraged the children to place the items on the coffee filters. In many cases the filters held up the items, until they became to waterlogged, in others, the weight of the items caused filter and object to sink. The children had a lot of fun seeing what they could get to float. While we investigated floating and sinking we listened to several summer themed songs from Carole Peterson’s CD H.U.M Highly Useable Music.

It’s a Firefly Night by Dianne Ochiltree was our last book. Watching, and trying to catch, fireflies was a wonderful summertime activity that the little girl in this rhyming tale loved to participate in. When night fell, the little girl, and her faithful dog, ventured out into the yard to catch fireflies. The little girl had her jar, and with her daddies help, managed to capture several of the glowing creatures. One by one, she liked to take them out, and watch them glow in her hand, before releasing them back into the night. Several times throughout the story we were afforded an opportunity to count how many fireflies the little girl had captured, and the children demonstrated their counting skills admirably.

When children get older, summer camps can be a very beneficial experience, as this article from the Huffington Post outlines. Summer camps provide children with a variety of valuable skills such as learning independence, physical activity and acquiring new skills. When children are away at camps like these, they are in an unfamiliar environment, where they are exposed to a variety of activities an people. Learning to manage their relationships, and realizing they possess a wide variety of interests and skills, are some of the benefits of sending children to summer camps.

We danced, clapped and shook our sillies out amongst bubbles and with Raffi as our soundtrack, from his CD More Singable Songs.

Summer fun has just begun, and we celebrated the season today at Storytime!

Fourth of July will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica

Play Ball at Storytime – Toddler Move ‘N’Read Storytime

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Today we all showed our athletic side with a sports theme. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

Clothesline Clues to Sports People Play by Kathryn Heling and Deborah Hembrook was our first book. This rhyming tale showed us seven different clotheslines, each with items of clothing, related to a specific sport. The illustrations also contained other objects related to that game. Based on those images, and several clues we had to guess what job was being described. Each clothesline took up a two page spread, and we did not know if we were right in our guesses until we turned the page.

Matching, and puppets, played a role in our first activity. Prior to Storytime I printed out, and laminated, not only images of balls used in different sports, but also images of equipment, and playing fields, that matched the balls. For example, a tennis racket, tennis ball and tennis court. Before beginning the activity, I not only handed out the images of the balls and equipment to the children, but also placed the images of the fields on the board. Utilizing puppets, who would hold up the equipment images and talk about them, one by one the children came up and matched their sports equipment to the correct field. While we matched up our sports we listened to songs from Jack Hartmann’s Follow a Dream CD including, “Sports Dance” and “Olympic Games.”

One Checkered Flag by Michael Dahl was our next book. This counting down book, set at a race track, took us from twelve to one. We began with twelve reporters waiting for the race to start. Soon, ten cars lined up and seven pit workers fixed a car. We counted all the way down to one checkered flag, announcing the winne!. Dahl provided a wealth of end material on the sport of racing.

Maisy Plays Soccer by Lucy Cousins was our next book. Maisy and her friends, Charlie, Dotty and Tallulah, prepared for a soccer game. We saw how Maisy got dressed in her uniform then headed out to the field. It was an action packed game, and most importantly, Maisy and her friends had a lot of fun.

Our last activity was a compilation of many different action packed activities. I not only placed several sheets of bubble wrap on the floor, but put out small beach balls, and round flat pillows in the shape of soccer balls. As we listed to the CD Wiggle Jiggle Fitness Fun the children were able to play and interact with whatever item, or items, they chose. The bubble wrap was incredibly popular.

Goodnight Baseball by Michael Dahl was our last book. This entertaining, engaging story, told in rhyme, took us out to a baseball game with a boy and his father. We saw them arrive at the ballpark, buy snacks and even catch a home run. At the end of an action packed game, where the home team won, the boy and his father said goodnight to the stadium, the players and more, on their way home to a cozy night’s sleep. Dahl used Margaret Wise Brown’s classic Goodnight Moon as inspiration for this enjoyable tale. Dahl has several other sports themed books in his “Goodnight” series.

Sports can be of great benefit to children, as this article from outlines. Being a part of sporting activities can help children develop positive character traits and habits. Sports, especially those involving a team, help children learn to have positive attitudes. It teaches much more than winning and losing, it teaches things like team building and working hard to do the best job you can. The article goes on to list several more advantages to children participating in sports.

As always, we ended our Storytime clapping, dancing and singing our sillies out, with bubbles, and Raffi, from his CD More Singable Songs.

Summer, and Summer Reading has begun, and we celebrated with our theme at Storytime today!

Summer will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica


Quick, Like a Fox – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we went on fun filled adventures with the fox. Our opening song was, “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

Baby Foxes by Megan Borgert-Spaniol was our first book. This non-fiction book gave us wonderful background into the life of baby foxes. We learned that baby foxes were called pups, and that they lived in dens, which were holes in the ground. The mother foxes were responsible for keeping their pups warm, while the father foxes hunted for food to feed their pups. The children enjoyed pointing out the fox pups they saw on each page, and counting the number of pups they observed when there were more than one.

Our first activity was all about Fox in Socks. Prior to Storytime, I printed out, and laminated, the image of the Fox from the Dr. Seuss book, along with various pairs of socks. Before beginning the activity, I placed the image of the Fox on the board, and handed out one of each pair of socks to the children.  During the activity, Felix, our fox puppet, would hold up one colored sock at a time. Felix would then ask the child with his or her matching sock to come up and place it on the board. The children really had fun with this activity, and when we were through, enjoyed organizing all the socks on the board by color. While we matched socks on Mr. Fox, we listened  to “The Fox” from Maria Sangiolo’s CD Planting Seeds.

Come Back Moon David Kherdian was our next book. Fox and his friends, Crow, Opossum, Raccoon and Skunk had a problem, the moon had disappeared and they had no idea where to find it. Clever Fox stated that they should ask wise Owl what happened to the moon. Owl said that he saw Bear take the moon, because he could not sleep with the moon’s bright light shining in his cave. Together, Fox and his friends worked out a plan to retrieve the moon. Crow told Bear a bedtime story, while Fox snuck into his cave and grabbed the moon. Once Fox had the moon, he and his other friends tossed it back into the sky where it belonged.

Fox by Jinny Johnson was our next book. This was another non-fiction addition to today’s Storytime, and in it we learned all about Rusty, the little fox pup. Rusty was born in a den, and had several brothers and sisters. When Rusty was very young, she would forage for worms and other small bugs to eat. Rusty enjoyed romping and playing with her fox siblings, and we discovered that this play was helping them perfect skills they would need later in life. At the end of the book, we saw that foxes had a different sleep wake schedule than most people, fox pups like Rusty slept during the day, and ate at night.

The parachute came out for our last activity. I put on the song “Best of Friends” from the CD Disney Timeless Classics. This song was from the Disney movie The Fox and the Hound. As the song played, the children bounced and rolled small beach balls on the parachute. For a finale, we all grasped the parachute and bounced the balls as high as we could.

The Little Fox Who Lost His Tail by Jedda Robaard was our last book. The little fox in this book had misplaced a vital piece of himself, his tail. This book had fun lift the flap elements to it, where we looked in closets, behind curtains and more for foxes tail. Eventually fox came to a pond, saw his reflection, and realized his tail had been behind him all along!

Reading aloud to your child is extremely beneficial to them. It is a fantastic way to help them develop their literacy skills. Author Mem Fox has a list of tips to help make reading to your child a fun, and engaging activity for both of you. Among the pointers she gives are, do not choose an overly sugary reading voice, let the emotion show through, and use techniques like pausing during key parts of the story. The article goes on to list many more helpful tips and tricks for reading aloud.

We concluded Storytime with bubbles and singing, dancing and shaking our sillies out with Raffi from his CD More Singable Songs.

We had a lot of fun getting to know the fox at Storytime today!

Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime will be taking a short hiatus. 

We will return June 14th when our theme will be Sports to celebrate Summer Reading!!