Friday, April 5, 2013

Storytime - Pirates

Sorry for the long period in between posts. I have a new job and I'm super busy and distracted. Several months ago I did a pirate-themed storytime. Kids love pirates (a topic I feel like adults never think about unless reading about Somali pirates or watching Pirates of the Caribbean). There were so many books to choose from, but I ended up with these two that we enjoy at home. And, of course, we had Pirate's Booty for a snack (which the kids loved).

The first book is How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long and David Shannon (author of the "David" book series).  My son loves this book and its fun to read out loud. I love kid's books where kid's can imagine themselves in the story and this one fits the bill. The kids enjoyed it.
I also read Pirate Pete by Kim Kennedy. My son loves this book, but its a bit long in my opinion (and repetitive, not in a good way). The kids enjoyed it but they were definitely getting antsy by the end of the story, so it was craft time immediately after. 
I did something a little different this week, and we did a group craft. We built pirate ship by Alex's Toys. Each of the kids decorated part of the ship and then we put it together (using tape instead of glue). It was fun and it now lives at the bookstore for everyone to enjoy.  

Fun storytime and fun theme! There's so much to do with pirates, I expect to do another pirate storytime soon.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Great Quote

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Storytime - Winter

The first week in December, I facilitated a winter themed story time. We read some fun books, talked about hibernation, had a "snowball" fight and made marshmallow snowmen.  We had a ball!

The first book we read was Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buchner. This is a popular book - several of the kids were familiar with it. Its a fun story about all the wacky adventures snowmen have while we are asleep, explaining why they sometimes look different than how we left them the night before. This is a fun book for all ages.

The next book I read was Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner. I LOVE this book! The story is about a boy and his dad cross country skiing, and the animals they pass over who are hidden and hibernating in the snow.  Its beautifully illustrated and the kids had lots of fun finding the animals in the snow.
The hardest part about story time is getting the kids to sit still for several stories.  I tried something new this week - an indoor snowball fight! The kids LOVED this!! We had a parents vs. kids snowball fight and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely! It was fun, got everyone moving, and was a needed break for the kids in between stories. Honestly, if you are looking for something fun and safe for the kids on long winter days, I can't think of a better way to spend $15. The snowballs are made of a super soft - injury proof!

For a craft, we made very simple marshmallow snowmen. This ended up being easier and less messy than I was expecting and, of course, the kids loved making them and eating them!
When our snowmen were complete and ready to eat, we all sat back down for another story,  Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows.  This is a cute story about a train full of animals getting ready to hibernate.

Everyone had a great time with this theme!  I'll leave you with some advice from the bookstore:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Storytime - Halloween

Last Saturday was the last market of the season for Fenton Street Market (aside from the special holiday markets). We wanted it to be extra special, so Megan and I brainstormed and came up with the idea to have trick or treating at the market along with a Halloween story time. We had a beautiful day that was, quite literally, the calm before the storm (the storm being Hurricane Sandy). With this Halloween being up in the air, quite a few kids took advantage of the 75+ vendors at the market with treats. It seemed like most of the vendors got a kick out of it.

I really love Halloween and monsters, so this story time was a fun one for me. My son loves all the books I read and we've been reading them at bedtime in preparation for Halloween. The other kids got a kick out of the gross, spooky and silly books, too.  

The first book I read was Halloween Night by Marjorie Dennis Murray.  This one is about a house full of monsters preparing for a Halloween party, but the "guests" of the party are too terrified to stay. Lots of gross and creepy things in here, with beautiful illustrations. The kids thought this book was very funny.  
Next up was In the Haunted House by Eve Bunting. This one is about a girl and her dad who visit a haunted house...but only one of them enjoys being scared. This is a quick read, with lots of spooky illustrations.  
Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler and S.D. Schindle was the next book I read. This one is my favorite of the group - the illustrations are hysterical! The book is about a skeleton who tries conventional means to get rid of his hiccups (drinking upside down, eating a spoonful of sugar), none of which are successful because, well, he's a skeleton after all. The kids loved this.
The last book I read was Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting. This one is a little stranger than the others (although all the "monsters" prove to be kids in costume at the end). One of the costumes is a devil, which all the kids asked about and I had no interest in attempting to explain (I just said a devil is a monster).
My friend Kim took a bunch of pictures during the story time, which was great! 
Here's my boy getting ready to hear the stories...

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For a craft, we made reflective Halloween necklaces. These were a bit more complex than I expected, since they require a great deal of gluing rather small pieces. All the kids made them, some with more success than others.
After story time, we went trick or treating and came home with tons of yummy treats! Fingers crossed the Hurricane Sandy doesn't cancel Halloween for us this year!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Storytime - Owls

The theme of storytime this week at Novel Places Bookstore was owls. There are TONS of kid's books about owls, so it was easy to find some fun ones to read at storytime. My 4 year old informed me a week or so ago that owls are "creepy because they're always going off with witches" so I made sure to read books about non-creepy owls. 

I started off by asking the kids what they could tell me about owls. They said "they live in trees", "they say whooooo", "they sleep in the daytime" and "they eat snakes." Nothing about witches, thankfully!
The first book I read was Little Owl's Night by Divya Srinivasan. The illustrations in this book are ridiculously cute! The book is about the various things a young owl sees on his nighttime adventures - lots of other cute animals are featured in the book. The kids really liked this one, and pointing out things in the illustrations (like a bear sleeping with a fish in his paw). 
The next book I read is a favorite in our house, Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood.  This book is about a little owl who stays awake during the daytime one day and sees lots of beautiful new colors that he normally misses at night. Great for teaching colors and just in general, its a good book about seeing the beauty in things we take for granted.
Next up was Owl Babies by Martin Waddell. All the kids already knew this one - its pretty popular. The book is about baby owls who wake to find their mother "missing" but soon find she just went to get them some yummy snacks.  I think this one is especially popular with working moms, since it reinforces the idea that mom always comes back. The illustrations are adorable.
At this point, we took a break and made our craft, owl masks from Oriental Trading Company. This was a good craft - it was easy enough that all the kids could do it themselves and the masks were fun to wear.
The last book I read was Owls by Gail Gibbon. This book has tons of factual information about owls, but, having read it to my son several times before, I knew I would need to skip some sections and paraphrase others. By far, the favorite parts of the book were those detailing owls eating habits (slurping up a snake) and digestive abilities. This storytime was all boys and they love to hear the gory details. 

Saturday here in Maryland was very cold, but we were all cozy at the bookstore learning about owls!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Current Favorite Story - Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show

I always like to pass on when I find a gem of a children's book, and this one is our new favorite! Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show by Michael Buckley is about the brave Kel Gilligan and the amazing stunts he performs without fear...stunts like using the potty and getting dressed on his own (and my personal favorite, letting his mother finish a phone call uninterrupted). The book is very funny (and full of events my 4 year old can relate to) and a lot of fun to read aloud. We're really enjoying reading it at bedtime in our house!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Storytime - Empathy

Last month I decided to do a storytime with a theme that is very important to me - empathy. As a parent, I feel there is no better lesson I can teach my child than to treat others with caring and kindness. However, if any of you have parented a four year old boy before, you know this is easier said than done. I used these books to teach the lesson as best I could.

The first book I read was Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman. I really love this book. It's a sweet story but funny, too and perfect for little boys. The story is about a boy who finds a robot in the woods but believes the robot and is sick and attempts to nurse him back to health. The robot later tries to do the same for the boy. Very cute story about caring for others, friendship and reciprocity.
Next I read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. In retrospect, this story is probably a bit grim for younger kids, although none of them seemed bothered by it. This is the story of the Three Little Pigs, as told by the misunderstood "Big Bad" Wolf, who is a victim of sensationalism by the media. This is actually more graphic than the original story, but it offers an interesting perspective for kids - there are 2 sides to every story.

The next book I read was One by Kathryn Otoshi. This book is about how to stop bullying and the importance of standing up for ourselves and our friends. With the added benefit of teaching colors and numbers, the book focuses on the power of ONE - what one person can do to help another. Great book, great lesson. One of the kindergartners at storytime told me they read it in his class at school.
The last book I read (after craft time) was Hurty Feelings by Helen Lester. This is a book about a hippo who may be considered a bit of a cry baby. The book is humorous, with a focus on understanding the hippo's feelings. The kids enjoyed it (especially the dramatic crying bits).

There were lots of ideas I kicked around for craft time, but I think one of the most important ways to create empathy is to listen and get to know other people. So I asked the kids to pair up with someone they didn't know well and "interview" the person. This required some help from parents for the younger kids, but the kids asked each other what colors the other liked, what their favorite things are, etc. The kids each then created a craft for each other based on that discussion. Ideally, this would work better with older kids, but its never too early to teach kids to listen and how to get to know each other better. Here's a couple pictures from craft time.

I'm hoping to explore this theme with another storytime in the near future.