Wednesday, July 27, 2016

School Storytime, Friday, August 5 @ 10:30

Boo hoo hoo, we're so going to miss all our highly advanced preschoolers who have joined us this summer when they go back to school this fall.  To get everyone in the mood, we'll read all our favorite school books today, and Pete the Cat stars in one of our all time favorites.  Naturally.


  • Pete the Cat, Rockin' in my School Shoes.  Esp. good because Pete the Cat explains where he is as he finds himself in his strange new surroundings -- the playground, the cafeteria, the school library.
  • How Do Dinosaurs Go to School.  Always a favorite series.
  • Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney.  Try to head off those scared and sad feelings at the pass by -- talking about them ahead of time.  Llama Llama misses her mama, but mama comes back.
  • I'm Your Bus by Marilyn Singer
  • Monsters Love School by Mike austin.  These lovable monsters ask the perennial question: Why do we have to go to school? We already can count and we know our ABCs.  And the answer is given! We go to sing! To learn history! To make friends! I might cut a few pages next year, but this was a big hit -- MONSTER SCHOOL had a good ring to it, and Milo thought the monster's mistakes -- ABG -- were hilarious.
  • Maybe next year:
  • Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt. He's not going to kindergarten -- he's launching into outer space.
  • Dinosaur vs. School.  Dinosaur is definitely not enrolling in college.  He's happy once he gets to school though, and finds it's all glue and googly eyes, just his speed.


ABC song
Wheels on the Bus
This is the way we wash our face (have to get ready for school!)


  • Teach about "criss cross applesauce" and eyes and ears here, please!
  • Try teaching this: When they're being very noisy, clap once, and they are to clap back. Then I clap twice, and the kids clap twice.  That should get everyone quiet; if not, clap three times. Positive discipline blog 
  • Try teaching this:  To gather attention before beginning a new story, say to your group, "If you like chocolate, put your hand on your head. If you like pizza, rub your tummy! If you like mashed potatoes, wiggle your arms. 
  • After storytime, have them practice getting in a line.  Then have them count - 1, 2, 3, and divide them up into "centers". Have them each go to a different "center" for an activity: building, art, games or snack. This year we did a Duplo building corner w/cars, and a tablecloth city; a spell your name with pipecleaner corner; and a game with grapes, roll the dice and you can have that number of grapes. I even had a red die and a green die for the red and green grapes.

Dog Storytime, Friday, July 29 @ 10:30

Hark, hark the dogs will bark at Gulf Beaches storyhour this Friday!  

Play: The big and little Scoobies put in an appearance and then we sang our Big and Little song.

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems 
Oh No, George! by Chris HaughtonI am a major fan of Chris Haughton even though he's only written two books. I invited the kids to chorus in on the "Oh No, George!" and the involvement really pretty them in.  Then we did "Well done, George!" with upraised power fist.
I'm the Best by Lucy Cousins. The nice little moral wrapped up in Cousins' bright and cheerful illustrations has worked in earlier years but not this one.
Widget by Lyn Rossiter McFarlandMy little fuzzy stuffed white dog sends this sweet little tale right over the top. It's a perfect storyhour book. It has barking dogs, meowing kittens and a very, very nice story about a little dog who finds a home.
Ivan the Terrier by Peter CatalanottoAs I turned each page to a familiar new story, 3 bears, 3 little pigs, etc., the children waited for Ivan to put in his appearance. Pictures and text bounced along perfectly together. Didn't work this year.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. -- Groucho Marx  (See Bark, George!)


Bella & Rico appear every Friday from 2:30 - 3:30, our pet therapy dogs. 
They loooove all the books on this list.

Dog's Colorful Day:  We'll add our own dots to poor Dog

Oh I wanna be a dog, I wanna wag my tail
Chase cars knock over garbage cans
Bit the lady that brings me the mail
Oh I wanna be a dog
I wanna dig big holes
I wanna chase French poodles and basset hounds
and look for telephone poles
Oh I wanna have dog breath
I wanna learn to growl
Scratch fleas and ticks, and run after sticks
The moon's gonna make me howl

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mouse Storytime? Mice Storytime? Friday, July 22 @ 10:30

Cover image for Whose mouse are you?Cover image for Mouse count    Cover image for Seven blind mice Cover image for Mice

Mouse Count by Ellen Stoll Walsh. I had an enormous snake puppet from PPLC, 10 little mice (actually only 9 because I lost one but who's counting?) a jar, and a stone I quickly harvested from the library landscaping. Remembering all I had learned from magicians visiting this summer, I palmed the mice and pulled them out from behind folks' ears. Wonderful story!

Mouse, Look Out!  by Judy Waite. The children loved joining in on the chorus, "MOUSE, LOOK OUT! THERE'S A CAT ABOUT." Choral reads are always fun.
Whose Mouse Are You? by Robert Kraus. Great pictures, charming, simple story.
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young. This very simply told tale is relative high concept, so I warned the children ahead of time that there was a trick in the story. Luckily this did intrigue the four-year-olds and they really enjoyed this beautifully illustrated tale.
Mice by Fyleman. Love Lois Ehlert's pictures. Love the mice. Love the cat.
Mouse Shapes by Walsh.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Numeroff.  (PPLC flannelboard) This would be a fun one to do with a xylophone. Start by playing a simple  note, and as the requests pile up, change to chords. 

Three Nice Mice: 
3 nice mice, 3 nice mice
See how nice they are, see how nice they are.

They're always polite when they nibble their cheese.

They never forget to say "thank you" and "please"

They cover their noses whenever they sneeze.
They're 3 nice mice, 3 nice mice.

The Old Gray Cat (with TWENTY kids, I couldn't do this as a fun chase song so I skipped it.)
The old gray cat is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping,

The old gray cat is sleeping in the house.

The little mice are dancing, dancing, dancing (children dance)

The little mice are dancing in the house.

The little mice are nibbling, nibbling, nibbling (children nibble)

The little mice are nibbling in the house.

The little mice are resting, resting, resting,

The little mice are resting in the house.

The old gray cat comes creeping, creeping, creeping,

The old gray cat comes creeping in the the house.

The little mice go scampering, scampering, scampering (children run in place)

The little mice go scampering in the house.

The old gray gray cat is sleeping, sleeping, sleeping,

The old gray cat is sleeping in the house. 

This year I am going to do half/circle potato printing:  stamp the half circle and add the whiskers, ears and eyeballs to make a little mouse.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Friday, July 15 @ 10:30: Sun Storyhour, Moon Storyhour, Stars Storyhour.

Intro: Roaring Rockets by Tony Mitton. Watch the rhythm. It's not always there.

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson. New. This is like a Tap! The Magic Tree sort of book.  A lovely book.

Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by the great Eric Carle. I made sure I had on hand the 9780887080265 copy, with its beautiful big pull out pages. "So when you make a wish on a star tonight, take a look at the moon and see if it's big or little.
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers.  So nice that I just happened to have a starfish (rubber) on hand for the ending. I know they liked this simple but appealing tale of a boy trying to catch a star. I heard one child say, "That was a good story."
The Mouse Who Ate the Moon by Petr Horacek.  Adorable. It's not often kids laugh out loud over a book.
Goodnight, Moon. Read with a flashlight shining on the little mouse, etc., and the lights off.  "I have that book," said Carson. "That's a nice book.
Star Wars Colors. We read this as an intro to the craft, which was light sabers and balloons.  I had them leftover, it was a rainy day, so we did them.  It was something different, and the kids loved playing with them.
Ten Twinkly Stars by Julian


  • Moon, Moon, Moon by Laurie Berkner.  Great tutorial on her DVD.
  • Zoom, zoom, zoom. 
  • Motor Boat, Motor Boat -- there's a rocket ship in "How to Catch a Star," even if it's just a paper one.
  • I told them about the magic in seeing a star, and taught them the words to "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight." You get a wish, just like blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. (Good calmer too.)
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Of course.

Story: I had the Big Book for Goodnight Moon, and read it together with the moms. It was a wonderful, sweet ending to the storyhour. "I have that book," said Carson. "That's a nice book."
Play: Disco light.

         Does it get better than tissue paper scraps and glitter glue?  "Go ahead and make it all bumpy" I said. "Because the moon has craters." They left dangling their crescent moons from strings, just in time for Halloween.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Jungle Storytime, Friday, August 3 at 10:30

  • Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae. 
  • Oh, No! by Denise Fleming
  • Animal Boogie by Debbie Harter
  • The Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman OR 
  • Jungle Drums by Graeme Base. I USED my jungle drum, and shortened a couple of pages. 
  • Tiny Little Fly by Michael Rosen
  • Giraffes Can't Dance 
  • Ananse's Feast by Tololwa M. Mollel. 
  • 5 Little Monkeys teasing Mr. Crocodile, of course
  • Down in the Jungle (with the drum, so you can't go wrong)
  • The Wheels on the Bus goes through the jungle -- and the animals are all on board.

Game: Lion Says

Here's a variation on Simon Says: Give commands to your kids. They ARE supposed to do what the lion tells them, and they AREN'T supposed to do what the monkey says. Then start having them jump up and down, roar, make scary faces, run in place, wave their hands in the air, touch the ground, etc.

Painting "Jungle colors and patterns". We squiggled a few lines on the paper with markers and then filled in the different areas with paints, experimenting with colors and different kinds of brushes.

Jungle Beads
Materials: 72" long piece of thin, strong string, floss threaders from the drugstore, beads.

  1. String on large eyed needle  and double back. Even up the ends of the two threads and tie a small bead there to hold the end about 3" from end, so there will be room to tie final knot.
  2. The child can then thread on the beads of their choice. 
  3. When they finish, thread the needle back through the end bead and tie in a knot.  
  4. If desired, glue threads together with Elmers, just to give a finished look.  Animal Boogie

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

My Body Storyhour, Friday July 3 @ 10:30

Pete the Cat and the 4 Groovy Buttons
Eye Guess  E 590 by Phyllis Tildes. OK question and answer guessing book. Or Whose Nose is This? by Randolph.
Molly at the Dentist by Angie Sage. Molly the Monster has two teeth now so her mother takes her to the dentist so he can look at her teeth.  This short, bright lift-the-flap is a perfect intro to a dentist's visit. And it turned out that everyone in the room had teeth -- even Nicholas, nine months old, had just gotten one that week!
I Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont. Bright pictures, funny rhymic text with predictable rhymes -- this book was a great opening number! The newcomers were immediately enthralled.
Me and My Cat by Kitamura.  I thought this might be too high level for the group, but we had a lot of 3s, and they liked it almost as much as I did.
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. OR Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin -- try doing it Simon Says OR Bounce by Doreen Cronin.
Clapping: Mother Mother I Feel Sick, Send for the Doctor Quick Quick Quick by Remy Charlip.  I asked them to clap while I read the words of this jump rope song in book form. I noticed out of the corner of my ear that the clapping diminished three quarters into the book, so maybe I'll shorten it a little next year, but it was fun.


This is the Way We Wash Our Face
We will stomp, we'll stomp around around the room, we are monsters and that's what we do.
Eeny meeny miny mo, show me how your hands go
Head and shoulders

Dr. Knickerbocker, Knickerbocker, No. 9. (and other favorites). This was the first time we sang this sang together, and it was a bit of a challenge but I like it so much -- the numbers go up instead of down!  There are so many countdown songs; five little pumpkins, five little snowmen, that I'm happy to do one that counts up for a change. Sorry I couldn't find a published copy of it available, but if you want to see what it's supposed to sound like, check out the Wiggles' version here: 

Simon Says!

Craft:   Fourth of July.  Gel pens on black paper highlighted with a lot of glitter and sequins.  You gotta live once.

Stamp pads
Fingerprint art.  Remind the kids:  Use a different finger for each color! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Beach and Sea Storytime, Friday, June 26 @ 10:30


  • Be Glad Your Dad is Not an Octopus by Logelin. The VPKs loved this book, but this group was a bit young. And there's not much about octopi in it really.
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell!  by Lucille Colandro. They always love it when you read the chorus as fast as you can.
  • Larry Gets Lost Under the Sea  by Eric Ode. Shortened a tiny bit, but it was a surprise big hit.
  • Silly Faces. See Me...In the Ocean.
  • Don't Splash the Sasquatch by Kent Redeker.   I'm pretty sure the lifeguard is Hispanic.  Didn't get it in time.
  • Ziggy Piggy and the Three Little Pigs by Frank Asch OR 3 Squids.
  • The Pop-Up Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae. 
  • If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON'T by Elise Parsley
  • Sea & Rex by Molly Idle Cute trip to the beach with dino pal.
  • Asiago at the beach
  • Hush Little Beachcomber Moritz
  • 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle
    Penguin on Vacation
    Harry at the Sea by Gene Zion


    The Waves on the Sea (To The Wheels on the Bus)

    The waves on the sea go up and down, up and down, up and down, the waves on the sea go up and down all day long.
    The shark in the sea goes snap snap snap...
    The fish in the sea go swish swish swish...
    The boats in the sea go toot toot toot....
    The gulls on the sea go swoop swoop swoop....
    The babies on the sea go splash splash splash...
    The divers on the sea dive deep deep down...
    Four Little Fishes

    1 little, 2 little, 3 little fishies, 4 little, 5 little, 6 little fishies, 7 little, 8 little, 9 little fishies, ten little fish swimming in the big blue sea. 9 little, 8 little, 7 little fishies, 6 little, 5 little, 4 little fishies, 3 little, 2 little, 1 little fishies, all the fishies swimming back to the sea. Watch out for the sharks!

  • Over on the beach in the sand and the sun
    Lived a big mama turtle and her little turtle one
    Dig said the mama
    I dig, said the one
    And they swam all day in the sand and the sun.
    Over on the beach where the waves lap so blue
    Lived a mama seagull and her seagulls two
    Squawk! Said the mama
    We squawk! Said the two
    And they squawked all day where the waves lap so blue.
    Over on the beach near the tall palm tree
    Lived a little sandcrab
    And her baby sandcrabs three
    Crawl! Said the sandcrab! We crawl said the three
    And they crawled all day by the tall palm tree.
    Over on the beach on the sand by the shore
    Lived a mama pelican
    And her pelicans four
    Swoop! Said the mama. We swoop! said the four.
    And they swooped all day on the sand by the shore.
    Over in the water where the dolphins like to dive
    Lived a big mama fish and her baby fish five.
    Swim! Said the mama.

    We swim! Said the five. So they swam all day where the dolphins like to dive.
  • Song Link

    Sailing Out to Sea on My One Little Sailboat
    Story Time Secrets by Katie Fitzgerald. Here we link to a lovely little song about sailing, including the fingerplay, perfect for two and three year olds. Here's a link to a template for five little sailboats. (I just printed out on 5 different colors of paper.) Very nice but not that popular.

    2016:  We just did fish pictures (I showed them how to do a fish) with lots of seaweed in scribbled crayon, then I showed them how to do watercolor resist on top.

Ooooh, this craft was easy and fun -- for me!  Glue sticks, colored sand, and pretty sea foam creatures with some floaty cellophane seaweed. It was an intense artistic interlude, as you can see by everyone laboring above, and the results were excellent.

Today's Cuteness Award goes to...