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Cluck, Cluck Little Chickens – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we had fun with those birds that love to cluck, peck and strut, chickens. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

Since a all little chicks start off life as eggs, Mama Hen’s Big Day by Jill Latter was our first book. Mama Hen had a very big day, she was going to lay her first egg. The question, was where? Mama Hen spent the day searching everywhere, but no place was just right. The cozy cave she found already had an inhabitant, a snake. The calm meadow was a frequent playground for the cat. Mama Hen searched everywhere, with no luck, until she came upon the highest point of an isolated mountain. Finally having found the perfect spot, Mama Hen laid her egg. When her chick was born it discovered that the best place to be was wherever Mama was.

Our first activity tackled the scientific idea of making a translucent egg. Prior to Storytime, I placed three eggs in containers, and covered them with vinegar. I dyed the vinegar in two of the containers different colors, and left one uncolored. After approximately three days, I took the eggs out of the vinegar, and, gently, washed off the remaining shells, leaving three translucent eggs. The eggs were bouncy, and several sizes larger than when they started. During Storytime, I placed several eggs in cups, and handed out squirt bottles with vinegar. I had the children squirt the vinegar onto the eggs and watch the reaction. Bubbles formed as the vinegar began to dissolve the calcium in the egg shell. When the children were done making the eggs bubble, I brought out the three prepared translucent eggs to show them what would happen to an egg left in vinegar for several days. Everyone who wanted to was able to touch the eggs, and see how springy they felt. As a final element, I turned on a flashlight and showed everyone how you could see the yolk through the non-dyed translucent egg. While we melted away our eggshells, we listed to “Clucky, Clucky Chicken” from Sesame Street’s Hot! Hot! Hot Dance Songs and “The Chicken Dance” from  Easter Bunny’s Favorite Songs by The Hit Crew.

We laid an egg in our first book, and from that egg hatched a chick. Our second story, Wee Little Chick by Lauren Thompson continued the theme. The newest, smallest, little chick in the barn met all his new friends in this delightful story. As the Wee Little Chick saw each new animal that lived in the barn with him for the first time, they all commented on how small he was. The Wee Little Chick showed them though, that he could stand taller and cheep louder than any of his brothers or sisters. Each time a new farm animal was introduced in the book, the children shouted out it’s name. As we read through the story, the children pointed out all the different farm animals on each page.

In our stories thus far, the chickens had laid eggs and hatched chicks. Well, as everyone knows, chicks grow up to be chickens, and our next book Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure by Anna Walker showed us what amazing experiences a grown chicken could have. Peggy the chicken lived a very quiet life out in the country, with her neighbors the pigeons, until, one day, she got swept up by a gust of wind and deposited in a very unfamiliar place, the city. Peggy saw lots of things she had never seen before. People of all shapes and sizes, stores and even cars. Peggy found a way to adapt to her new environment, but it wasn’t like home, and she missed home. One day, Peggy saw a flock of pigeons fly overhead. She knew those pigeons, and knew if she followed them, they would lead her home, and they did. Peggy found herself back in her quiet house in no time. She enjoyed her adventure, but coming home felt really good too.

Our next activity was also scientific in nature. Prior to Storytime, I placed several eggs in various coverings, such as fabric, water, cling wrap and bubble wrap, sealed them all in plastic bags, and duct taped the zipper part of the bags to prevent a mess. During the activity, I brought out a large plastic cauldron, and our packaged eggs. I then told the children, we were going to see what items best protected the eggs, by throwing the bags, one at at time as hard as we could, into the cauldron. Several of the children were delicate about it at first, but as it became clear that the goal was to see if we could break the eggs, they took to it with enthusiasm. After some time, we discovered that bubble wrap and cardboard best protected the eggs, whereas water and cling wrap did the worst job. While we energetically broke our eggs, we listened to “Chickens” from Hap Palmer’s Animal Antics and “Chickens Go to Hawaii” from The Salamanders.

In our final story, Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman, a grown up chicken wanted to try his hand at an artistic endeavor. There once was a lovely painting of a farm, until, one of the chickens in the painting wanted to make it better. He left his painting, looking for a way to make it more colorful, when he came across a jar of blue paint. In his excitement, he spilled the blue paint all over the painting. Now, the cows, the grass, the farm and even the chickens were all blue. Needless to say, the animals were not very happy. The chicken wanted to make amends, so he set about searching for a way to undo the mistake. He found it in a cup of water. When he spilled the water on the painting, it washed all the blue paint away, except for the portion coloring the sky, leaving the painting in it’s original, beautiful, state.

Miss Hen joined us in shaking dancing and clapping our sillies out with Raffi, and bubbles, at the end of Storytime today.

We start and end each Storytime with music and the children love any opportunity to move and dance around, especially when puppets are involved as they were with our final song. Puppets can be extremely beneficial to children as far as there development, as this article from Early Childhood News outlines. Puppets, when children use them in dramatic play, can help develop language abilities. Children channel their creative voices through the puppets. In addition, puppets can aid in developing confidence with speaking, and learning new words and phrases.

The chickens came home to roost at our Storytime today!

Mother’s Day will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica

Spring Into Fun: Decorate Terra Cotta Pots Craft at North Greenwood

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On Wednesday, April 13th, the North Greenwood Library offered a spring themed craft program for the kids. We purchased small, 4 inch terra cotta pots for the kids to decorate with acrylic paint. They used 1 inch foam brushes and fine detail brushes to make their creations.

You can easily decorate your own terra cotta pot too. Simply lay down a disposable tablecloth or newspaper that can get paint on it. Purchase terra cotta pots, paint brushes, and acrylic paint. Pour the paint onto a paper plate to allow for easy color changes. And that’s it – begin painting! The pots will need time to dry. Then you can fill them with soil and begin planting flowers and/or herbs.

This is a great early Mother’s Day gift or something to spruce up your garden.

Next month join us at the North Greenwood Library for our first ever Legos at the Library program on May 31st from 4:30 – 6 pm.

Our Stories Grow on Trees – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we learned about many different kinds of trees, what they do, and the types of animals that live in them. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

Guess Who’s in the Trees by Camilla de la Bédoyére was our first book. This enjoyable lift the flap guessing game gave us clues about various tree dwelling animals, and just a glimpse of them, leaving us to puzzle out all the animals that called the trees home. Each page was a new creature, and the children enjoyed lifting the flaps to reveal them all. We saw a gibbon, woodpecker, red squirrel and many more fascinating creatures. The vibrant illustrations were a mixture of hand drawn and photographic images, a creative combination.

Our first activity carried on the theme from our first book. Prior to Storytime I printed out, and laminated, images of many different animals that call trees home, including red pandas, leopards and toucans. Before beginning the activity, I not only taped an image of a tree, created from construction paper, to the board, but also handed out the animal images to the children. Then, one by one, a puppet would emerge related to one of the animals. The child with the matching image then came up and placed their animal on our tree. While we populated our tree with animals, we listened to “Woodland Whispers” and “Listen to the Forest” from the CD Favorite Nature Songs.

A Leaf Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas was our next book. This evocatively poetic book showed us all the wonderful roles that leaves, and the trees they grow on, could fill. As we read, we learned that leaves helped clean the air, sheltered animals from rain, were great to pile up and jump in in the fall, and so much more. The children really enjoyed identifying items, and animals, that they recognized as we read.

Tree: A Peek Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup was our next book. This book literally invited us in. The cover showed a majestic tree, with a hole cut out in the center where an owl lived. As we opened the book, the cutout remained, and, as we read through the story other cutouts joined it. As we saw how the tree adapted, and progressed through the seasons, the cutouts always showed something different. From birds’ nests, to changing leaves, each page, with the help of the cutouts, showed the tree in a new light.

Our last activity revolved around technology. I brought out the iPad and the children were able to explore the Trees Pro app. This engaging app had a varied list of tree species. When we clicked on an individual tree, we were shown not only a gallery of images related to it, but also information such as what area the tree lived in. Each child took turns selecting trees they liked from the species list, and scrolling through the images of their chosen trees. Some of the most popular selections were the cork oak and the quince tree, which gave a perfect excuse to mention Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat. As the children explored various trees, we listened to “Trees Need the Sun” from the CD When You Are One.

Children, like trees, reach milestones as they age. This article from talks about various literacy milestones, and at what age children should begin to achieve them. It starts at less than six months old, encouraging caregivers that it is never to soon to read to your baby. The article then progresses through 6-12 months where children might begin to show an interest in their favorite books by doing things like touching them while you read to them. The article goes all the way thorough 2-3 years where it advises that, at this age, children love predictability and will likely want the same book read to them over and over. The article also offers some very informative links at the bottom for sharing books with children of various ages.

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson was our last book. This enjoyably original book needed its readers to move the story along. The tree at the center of our story was changing and growing as the seasons progressed, but it needed help. It needed the children and I to tap, shake, jiggle and interact with the book in a myriad of ways. By doing so, we were able to transform the tree from season to season.

We ended our Storytime clapping, singing and shaking our sillies out along with Raffi from his CD More Singable Songs. Panda, holding an image of his friend the red panda, who made her home in the trees, joined us as we danced through the bubbles to music.

We planted our seeds and they grew into wonderful stories today at Storytime.

Chickens will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica

Nursery Rhymes at Storytime – Toddler Move ‘N’ Read Storytime

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Today we delved into the world of nursery rhymes. Our opening song was “If You’re Happy and You Know It” from 40 English Songs for Kids.

The Best Hawaiian Style Mother Goose Ever by Kevin Sullivan was our first book. This enjoyable, quirky collection took well known Mother Goose rhymes and set them in the tropical locale of Hawaii. Some of the interesting changes included ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ becoming ‘Mele Had a Humpback Whale’ and ‘Humpty Dumpty’ transforming into ‘Tango Mango.’ The children laughed and giggled at all the unusual representations of familiar characters.

Our first activity played off of the idea of Humpty Dumpty. Everyone knows that, in the original tale, Humpty Dumpty is an egg. So, prior to Storytime, I not only gathered up plastic Easter eggs, but also created special paint by combining water, baking soda and food coloring. During the activity, everyone painted several Humpty Dumpty eggs, then, when they were done, put them into several plastic bowls. Once all our eggs were assembled, I poured vinegar over the eggs and everyone watched, delighted, as their Humpty Dumpty creations bubbled and fizzed. As we painted we listened to tunes from 50 Nursery Rhyme Songs by the Countdown Kids.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Jerry Pinkney was our next book. Pinkney took the children and I on a nighttime journey with some wonderful animals. The text contained not only the traditional verse of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star that everyone is familiar with, but also additional verses meant to enhance the story, that were not as well recognized.  In between each new verse were several wordless pages that afforded me an opportunity to simply talk about what we were seeing in the illustrations.The illustrations were beautiful and vibrant and brought Pinkney’s words to life in a wonderful way.

When the Wind Blew by Alison Jackson was our next book. This was a takeoff on “There Was an Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe.” The text itself was reminiscent of “Rock a Bye Baby,” and followed the adventures of the Old Woman in the shoe and her children. One day the wind was blowing very hard and the Old Woman and her children, along with many other nursery rhyme characters, got caught up in the gust. Jack and Jill were trying to fetch water, when a woolly lamb flew over their head. Little Bo Peep’s sheep got blown away, and Little Boy Blue Lost his horn.  In the end, everyone was able to retrieve their lost items, and all was set right. This was a charming tale that brought to life a wonderful cast of characters from children’s nursery rhymes. It also talked about something important, keeping track of the things that are important and knowing what to value most in your life, for the Old Woman that was her children.

Our last activity was all about music and bubbles. I put on the CD Mother Goose Rocks Vol. 1, and, along with our goose puppet Genevieve, the children danced, skipped and frolicked in the bubbles.

Mother Goose’s Pajama Party by Danna Smith was our last book. This rhyming tale told the story of a planned pajama party hosted by Mother Goose. One by one her characters, from the Dish and Spoon, to nimble Jack passed on the invitation. Then, after encountering a crooked man, and walking the last crooked mile, all the nursery rhyme characters arrived at Mother Goose’s House. Once everyone arrived, and was tucked into bed, Mother Goose brought out her favorite book, and read rhymes till all her guests were slumbering peacefully.

Nursery rhymes are a wonderful tools to encourage, and develop, childhood literacy skills. By listening to nursery rhymes children are not only exposed to new words, but they also learn how to use those words and what they mean. This article from the The State Library of Louisiana goes on to discuss how nursery rhymes help children not only learn to identify words that sound alike, but also learn to spell. This article also has a series of wonderful links all concerning nursery rhymes as beneficial tools for literacy.

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

We took a journey through the whimsical land of Nursery Rhymes today at Storytime.

Trees will be our theme next week!

-Miss Jessica


Live Board Game: Candy Land

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This past weekend, a race for the Candy Castle took place at the Main Library with the Live Board Game: Candy Land. The colorful, vibrant Candy Land board was laid out in life size detail, with each land, and character, depicted.

Our first game started out leisurely, with everyone progressing fairly rapidly across the board. Soon though, things got interesting when multiple character cards were drawn. Players who were in the lead, close to the Ice Cream Sea, were suddenly sent back to the Gingerbread Plum Trees, while others in the neighborhood of the Peppermint Forest were spirited ahead to the Molasses Swamp. Things became tense when one player was in limbo two squares away from the Candy Castle, just waiting to draw the right colored card. In the meantime, other players were rapidly gaining on his position. After some maneuvering, and a little luck, we had our first winner!

The next game was played in similar fashion, then things were altered slightly. For our first two games I played the role of dealer, walking around the board with the deck so each player could draw their cards. When the children expressed interest in wanting to be the dealer, I let each child who wanted to have a turn, while I participated in the game itself.

Toward the end of our program a large family joined our game and the level of friendly competition increased. Everyone wanted to beat their other family members to the Candy Castle.

During our program we played six rounds of Candy Land, with different people winning each game. In addition to the Live Board Game, several other board games were set out for people to play. Sorry, Chutes and Ladders and Disney Frozen Surprise Slides, itself a game similar to Candy Land, were the most popular.

Everyone had an extremely entertaining afternoon, many remarking on how much they enjoyed the games!


Some of our winners!

-Miss Jessica