Friday, May 27, 2016

Car Storyhour, Truck Storytime, Friday, June 3 @ 10:30

Storytimes about sheep, cows and pigs are all very well in their place, but when we want to get excited at storytime (and we so often do) we pull out the tales about THINGS THAT GO!!! 

  • Trucks by Mary Lindeen. All the books in the Blastoff series have great pictures and short texts. Three year old boys eat these up. 
  • My Truck is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis.The creator of Miss Spider gives us a funny rhyming book about a stuck truck. Why is it stuck? Why is there a big hole in the road? And what is he hauling anyway? I never knew until I checked out the author's website at Daniel Kirk  that the owner of the stuck truck had a very strong Southern/country twang. 
  • Ride, Fly Guy, Ride! by Tedd Arnold. *Fly Guy is always a hero in my book! When you're not giving him as a first favorite to beginning readers, remember him for storytime. Big plots + brief text = great deliver.
  • Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems. Doo be dooo dooo, the bus driver says, "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus!" in his deep voice. And then the pigeon whines and begs for the rest of the book. Whining and begging. Gee, I don't know why kids universally go for this one, but they sure do.
  • Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble! by Patricia Hubbell. This cheerful books rhymes and rumbles down the road with about one verse per page. There's no story whatsoever, but the ring of the words rhyming through the pages will amuse.
  • Number One Sam. Pizzoli. We can't all come in #1: Sam loses his winning spot when he decides to save the baby chicks instead.  Yay Sam!
  • Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle.  A little like the Big Turnip, but who cares about the Big Turnip when you can read about little blue trucks! 
  • Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw. This very rhymey book is a fun readaloud.


  • Motor Boat, Motor Boat.  The finest song ever written for storytime.
  • THE WHEELS on the Bus (of course!)
  • WHERE is Thumbkin, but the fingers are: racing car, (it zooms) dump truck, big van, helicopter (it twirls), and freight train. I went over this first: "What if your fingers were..." and the kids were really into it!
  • WINDshield wiper WINDshield wiper WINDshield wiper. (Make motion, bending arm at elbow. "Oooh, there's a light rain, just a drizzle" Slow tempo, and then "It's raining harder!" pick up tempo)
  • Dedicated to 3-year-old Quin

    5 little ducks ran in the parking lot
    1 fell down and he went plop.
    Mama called the Big Duck and the Big Duck got hot!
    Always hold hands in the parking lot!
    (4 little ducks, etc.)

    For this one, teach the kids how to go vroom vroom vroom (shift gears), and teach them how to talk in their radios as dispatchers (and what a dispatcher is) 
    5 Big Trucks. 
    Five big trucks go vroom vroom vroom                           
    They hit the road going zoom zoom zoom. (Add screech & exploding sound effects, and crash one car.)    
    The announcer calls out, “Come on back!” 
    But only 4 race cars  are on the track.
              4 race cars go vroom vroom vroom                           
    They hit the road going zoom zoom zoom.     
    The announcer calls out, “Come on back!”
    But only 3 race cars are on the track.
              3 race cars go vroom vroom vroom                           
    They hit the road going zoom zoom zoom.     
    The announcer calls out, “Come on back!”
    But only 2 race cars are on the track.
               2 race cars go vroom vroom vroom                           
    They hit the road going zoom zoom zoom.     
    The announcer calls out, “Come on back!"
               1 race car goes vroom vroom vroom                           
    It hits the road going zoom zoom zoom.     
    The announcer calls out, “Come on back!”
    But no more race cars are on that track!

    I used a hook & ladder firetruck, a garbage truck, a backhoe, a dump truck, and a tow truck. I went over them first with the children (which was good because evidently in England tow trucks are called transporter trucks), and then I hung them from my clothesline. I took them off as they went away and handed them off to the children, talking about where they were going (to put out a fire, dump some stinky garbage, etc.) Don’t forget to get out your imaginary bullhorn when the dispatcher yells.

I hung up this flannel stoplight, "I see these hanging up all over town, I'm not sure what the lights mean." We identify the colors and then the kids tell me I've put them up wrong.  I ask them what the lights mean, and we get to "Green go, Yellow slow, Red stop stop stop."  Then we run in place for a while, freezing, slowing down, and speeding up.  Until I get tired and goof up, and they all goof up too from watching me and it's a funny end. 

Matchbox Cars and Me

I really like matchbox cars. They’re so cute, so small, so infinitely variable. It’s all I can do to keep from collecting them myself, and I hoard away all the lost ones left in my library.

 I didn’t see the point of a craft involving toilet paper rolls that might be made to look like cars, when the world is so full of matchbox cars. Instead we did this: 1. We did the Game
To the tune of "Down Around the Corner at the Bakery Shop". You CAN do a flannelboard, but I just use matchbox cars. INFINITELY preferable.)

Down around the corner at the used car lot
There were 8 big trucks all ready to be bought.
Along came (call on a young patron), all alone,
She hopped in the green one and she drove home.

2. Then we sang our goodbye song (waving our hands in the air because we couldn't clap, we were still holding the cars.) 

3. I had covered a long table with craft paper, and the kids lined up around it with their toy cars.  I made a road down the middle, sectioned off "yards" for each of them, and gave them some duplos to build houses. 

4. While they were doing this for a while, I built a ramp at one end with a lightweight dry erase board held up off the ground by a stool.  I taped it to the table, and many moments of happiness followed as the kids zoomed their car off the table onto the ground. Dunno why this was so fascination, but it was a cheap thrill indeed.
Painting with Cars

Just painting with matchbox cars is fun, but this week I got a shipment of letter stencils from Oriental Trading, and I brainstormed using the letters for a little experiment in blank space. The moms helped pick out a letter for their children, attached them to the pages with just a tiny piece of double sided tape, and then let the kids have at it.

I must admit some of the children were a bit bewildered. Two boys refused to get their cars “dirty” and I had to produce paintbrushes for them. But the rest seemed to have a good time and made some very nice pieces to take home.
Follow this art class up with A CAR WASH!!!

Craft for VPK:  Magnets attached to tongue depressors "drive" the car around the landscape.

10 Ways to Play with Toy Cars
I spent quite a bit of time after the kids painted with their matchbox cars cleaning paint off those tiny tires. What a dork I am! I could brought in a pan and had the kids given them a car wash! Next time!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Food Storytime, Friday, May 27 @ 10:30


Pick a Puppet -- Any Puppet

I start off with my all time favorite turtle puppet and the Vachel Lindsay poem:
I have a little turtle, he lives in a box.
He swims in the puddles, he climbs on the rocks.
He snaps at the mosquitoes, he snaps at the fleas, he snaps at the minnows,
He snaps at me!
He caught the mosquitoes, he caught the fleas, he caught those minnows,
But he didn't catch me!
While I recite I circle the room and snap and nibble at the children by turns. Change words to do with another puppet.
  • Yummy YUCKY by Leslie Patricelli. Ask the kids to rub their tummies to the yummies. 
  • I Really Like Slop by Mo Willems, Elephant and Piggy.  This one is short and too too funny.
  • Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda.  The world's shortest retelling of the 3 little pigs. I used a blow dryer for the wolf's huff & puff to kick it up a notch and all my little two year olds stopped what they were doing and listened. Then at the end, when we find out they had blown out the candles on a birthday cake, we sang happy birthday.  Fun.
  • Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog or The Duckling Gets a Cookie by the great Mo Willems. I've perfected the Pigeon Yell: it's like a regular yell, with a scrunched up face and pulled out syllables, but almost at a whisper. Works better than the extra decibels. This wasn't an enormous hit this year with the young ones.  I think they just didn't quite get it.
  • The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson. This book reads like a wonderful poem about a happy farm in a dreamlike world. A really fun little readaloud, great rhyme, Naomi was very indignant about cows eating cookies.
  • Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar by Margaret Wang. Great clapping song. I had the puppets for the book and read the short one first. Then I passed out the puppets and asked the kids to do it too.  Maybe this would have worked better if I'd gotten everyone into a circle, it was pretty random. But so cute when one little voice piped up, "Not me!"
  • How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food by Yolen.
  • I'm a Hungry Dinosaur by Janeen Brian.  GREAT starter, very interactional. 
  • Gingerbread Boy Loose on the Firetruck, Murray
  • I Will Chop You by Jory John.  Interactional and funny.
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Scieszka. 
  • Watermelon Seed by Pizzoli (so cute!)

  • Down around the corner at the bakery shop
  • 5 Gingerbread Men
  • Peel Banana
Clapping Song
  • Mashed potatoes hot, mashed potatoes cold, mashed potatoes in the pot nine days old
  • Patty cake
  • Bread and butter, jelly & jam

M & M Game:

I made up cards with numbers 1-4 in the M & M colors, set out the dish of M & Ms, gave each child a cup, and started pulling numbers from my pack.  A 2 card meant they could pick 2 M & Ms.  I think next year I would slow it way down.  First I would spin for the numbers and then I would pick the colors. That would have given the 2 year olds a chance to catch up with the 3 year olds.


Shaving Cream & Corn Starch!
We made shaving cream and corn starch clay, and boy was it messy! I defied all warnings and spent a half hour cleaning up.  Which in the grand scheme of things isn't much, but I'm not sure if the moms were all that crazy about this.


I made a trial batch the night before, and as promised by The Imagination Tree, it was extremely easy and turned out perfectly. I brought in the dry ingredients premixed in a Tupperware so set up was very easy. Hot water from the cooler worked fine. While I let it cool off, I divided the playdough I brought in from home. We “baked” a pink cake (Milo forgot that he didn’t want pink and shouted “I love pink!”) and by great good fortune, I had exactly eight children, so we got to have a quick fraction lesson when I divided it up with a cake slice. They played with it while I kneaded the second batch, which was still nice and warm when I divided that too.

I used this recipe from The Imagination Tree, minus the glycerine. Great site; lots of comments from readers. I did not add fancy ingredients like unsweetened Koolaid and lavendar extracts. I’m saving that for the Master Chef Playdough Challenge. This is a site that doesn't require cream of tartar: How-to-Make-Playdough-Without-Cream-of-Tartar/

Fruit Loop Necklaces!

Why do I love making froot loop necklaces so much? 
Because they're tropically lovely AND so delicious?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rain Storytime, Wednesday, May 20 @ 10:30 am

Props: rainstick, dry ice
Move Over, Rover by Karen Beaumont. I do this as a puppet show, Substitute if you don't have all the animals. All the big animal puppets ended up lined up on the puppet theater until the last (skunk? mouse?) shoved them off with a great show of strength.
Cauldron:  We're gonna taaaake an apple, what color do you see? etc.

Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems. Big hit.  Gerald in operatic voice, Piggy's a squeaker. 

Ducks Like to Swim by Agnes Verboven. Mother Duck quacks for rain and all the barnyeard animals helpfully join in.  All that neighing and mooing is great for storytime. 
Rain by Stoljic.  Always a good book.
Where Does Kitty Go in the Rain by Harriet Ziefert.  A real classic.  There's a nice rhymy text on each page, but it's balanced with some excellent info.
Elmer to the Rescue! The rainbow has turned gray! Elmer has to fix it by lending it some of his beautiful patches.
The Rain is a Pain by Rob Scotton. ER. Lot's of rhyme as well as Splat the Cat disaster. OK.
Rain Makes Applesauce by Julian Scheer. Nonsense verse. Request.



Rain on the green grass, rain on the trees.
Rain on the rooftop BUT NOT ON ME!

Eensie Weensie Spider

The Rain (to Frere Jacques)
I hear thunder, (stomp floor)
I hear thunder,
Hear it CRASH. Hear it CRASH.
But I don't fear the thunder
I know it's only thunder

(Flutter with fingers)
I hear raindrops, I hear raindrops.
Pitter pat, Pitter pat
Will it rain for hours?
I know it's good for flowers
But I'd like to play, not stay in all day
Ah, I think it just stopped!

Rainbow Stew trick revisited
(The old version never worked for me and my prop set and I couldn't figure out why. But when I did it BACKWARDS, it worked great! 1.  Show the kids the cauldron (that you've put the paper rainbow in and hold it upside to show that it's empty.  It's not empty -- you're holding the rainbow in place with your magic wand.  2) Pick up the 1st piece of fruit, an apple, and start chanting in a hip-hop rhythm. Hold it up and ask the kids what color do they see? for audience participation. Plop it right in -- it makes a nice noise. 3) When you've finished all the fruit, stir it around, and ask if anyone knows a magic word.  Get them to shout it out, use your magic wand and pull out that rainbow downloaded from Google image!

We’re gonna taaaake an apple, what color do you see?
You see the prettiest RED there ever could be!
We’re gonna put it in the pot
And stir it, stir it, stir it a lot!

We’re gonna taaaake an orange, what color do you see?
You see the prettiest orange there ever could be!
We’re gonna put it in the pot
And stir it, stir it, stir it a lot!

We’re gonna taaaake a lemon, what color do you see?
You see the prettiest yellow there ever could be!
We’re gonna put it in the pot
And stir it, stir it, stir it a lot!

We’re gonna taaaake a pear, what color do you see?
You see the prettiest green there ever could be!
We’re gonna put it in the pot
And stir it, stir it, stir it a lot!

We’re gonna taaaake some grapes, what color do you see?
You see the prettiest purple there ever could be!
We’re gonna put them in the pot
And stir them, stir them, stir them a lot!

Red and orange, yellow and green
Blue and purple colors are seen!
Put them together; what will they be?
(Ask for a magic word and wave your wand!)

The prettiest RAINBOW you ever did see!

Craft Not themed, but such fun: poster paint on wax paper via lids. The advanced kids got a quick lesson in polka dot making using the other end of the paintbrush. My favorite was one very young two who said his was an aquarium; he had added a large sprig of seaweed in one corner.

Coffee filter umbrellas from Sunny With a Chance of Sprinkles

Fans: Prepare: Paper plates folded in half. 1. Children decorate one side of plate: stickers, crayons, etc. 2. Attach crepe paper strips with gluesticks. 3. Fold up and add handle, just a spring clothespin with a big sticker decorating it. You don’t really need to staple them shut — in fact, if the kids were older, I would have told them they could put their secret documents there. Then they had to learn how to work a fan — I didn’t realize there’s a wrist motion to it that takes a little practice. So there’s a lot to learn from this simple little craft.

Next year: same paper plate, no stickers. We haven’t used crayons in ages, so we decorated with them and added a lot of crepe paper fringe. Instead of clothespins, I cut a small hole at center, and after the kids finished decorating and gluing crepe paper, they added (the moms added) the craft sticks and taped them down. Then they were stapled shut.
Elmer: Book tie -in. Give the kids a black and white Elmer and have them fill in with colored squares.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Shape Storytime, Friday, May 13 @ 10:30


  • Ticklemonster by Manceau. 
  • Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald.  A bit like Big Green Monster, i.e., aDORable.  But don't forget to hide the cover!!! And don't forget the intro: this is a guessing game, and it's being read by the brachiosaurus, so be a brachiosaurus!
  • Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh.  Could there be any book that lends itself more to a flannelboard? So charming.
  • Let's Play by Herve Tullet.  Let's see -- a big yellow pom pom and a piece of string?  They really liked this, it was so interactive.  We did it without the pom pom, and even the runners got involved.
  • Friendshape by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  This is really a book about friendship, but the shapes are really cute. The moms really liked it -- for the moms.
  • Brown Rabbit's Shape Book by Alan Baker.  This is a book which uses solid geometry -- the green cubical box, the white cylinder inside, etc.  And I so love blowing up those balloons and letting them go in the audience. I had just used it two story times ago so I didn't use again.
  • Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon. Kinda complex shapes.
  • Go, Shapes, Go! by Denise Fleming.  Again, where are my flannels! 
  • Perfect Square by Michael Hall.  There's a lot of learning going on in this book. You've got the days of the week; the colors on each page, and the shapes, which are not really geometric except for the perfect square.  Get the kids to tell you the colors of the pages as you flip.
  • The Wing on a Flea by Emberley.

Used the toys -- the square bean bags, the oval shaker eggs, the round pom poms and balls, and talked colors and shapes while passing them out. This was fun, but next year I might make this into a real game: pass out the shapes and telling the kids (and their moms), to keep them secret. Put the box in the middle of the room and roll call the shapes: yellow square beanbag! and the kids (and their moms) throw them in. ???


Shape collages, of course!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Mother's Day Storyhour, Friday, May 6 @ 10:30

This week is all about our brilliant storyhour partners – you moms!  
Thank you for wanting the best for your kids every day. 
Thank you for bringing your wonderful children to storyhour. 
Please enjoy t his imaginary flower from     Ms. Travis.  


  • Bread and Honey by Frank Asch.  Thanks, Molly, for locating for me the wonderful book which gave rise to the Monkey Face story.  This is the source of the little monkey whose picture of his mom changes comically on the way home. I drew it on the whiteboard this year, and it went well.
  • Over in the Meadow. I love the Jane Cabrera version with its big bright pictures best, so unfortunately out of print.  You get numbers, critters, and an assortment of verbs. I did this as a clothesline, but I didn't quite hit the right chord.
  • Pouch by David Stein.  I had a kangaroo & joey puppet and we acted out the book, with bee, bunny & bird.  I gave the other puppets to some parents to work.  Ordinarily I would have chosen kids, but this solution was very stress free and I will definitely do it again this way. Take your time with this. Note each time the kangaroo takes more steps: boingy boingy boingy. 
  • Ol' Mama Squirrel by David Stein.  Another fun one -- Mama Squirrel and her many ch-ch ch-ch's.  The moms were great about ch-ch ch-ch'ing with me, and going shoo.  Strangely enough, even the little tiny ones liked this one, maybe the most.
  • Dinosaur vs Mommy by Bob Shea. New. Oh, that naughty dinosaur, trying to take on Mom. Make a point before you read:  Is this a WELL behaved dinosaur?
  • Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse. I had the big book and spent a lot of time introducing the setting, which is very important for the children to understand the choice of the different animals and the way the characters are dressed. 
  • Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino. I love books with strong ending rhymes, and I always pause at the end of the sentence to try to get the kids to guess them. Kids should shout out in storytime. But they don't. Don't think this really works for a very young group.
  • My Mom by Anthony Browne. Simple bright pictures matched up to simple action oriented text make this one my first choice for mom's storytime. Calls for dancing, roaring like a lion and painting.  Don't forget your plant.

  • Mama's Little Baby loves bouncing, bouncing
  • Skinnamarinka
Do NOT try to sing this song.  "Line it" with the kids.  You say "over on the beach" and they say it back. You say "big mama turtle" and get them to say how many turtles.
  • 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.
Mother's Day Bookmark
Materials: Cardstock and an assortment of glitter, punched hearts, markers, scissors, etc.  KISS

Mothers's Day Banner

Materials:  wallpaper, yarn

They made a card and decorated a bookmark as a gift their mothers.  I had punched out hearts of different color which they COULD have assembled as flowers with a center but they mostly just stuck hearts all over their cards and did likewise with the bookmarks.  They were happy as long as they had a gluestick in their hands. 


    Monday, April 25, 2016

    Manners Storytime, Friday, April 29 @ 10:30 AM

    I begin  by explaining that there are different kinds of manners for different kinds of places. (Playgrounds vs. Libraries) Then I talk about the manners people should be using in storytime. Now's your chance to eyeball offenders and get down and dirty, as well as reminding moms you need them too. Good manners means making other people feel good, and when people talk when you're reading a story, it hurts your feelings. You think they don't like it. Rub it in. 

    We always sing our hello song, but there are so many ways to say hello.  In some countries, you always bow.  Here, we sometimes slap hands, but I like fist bump. 
    Excuse Me by Karen Katz
    Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins.  THE BEST!!!
    Please: The Duckling Gets a Cookie by Mo Willems
    Begging: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
    Interrupting: Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein
    Table manners: How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food by Jane Yolen.
    No One Told the Aardvark by Deborah Eaton.  Good for higher level readers, compares human rules to animal ways.
    Mind Your Manners. B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra.  A bit long for a very young crowd, great for 3s and 4s.  "Sip your tea and never slurp" song goes with the "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" tune.
    Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony.  How do you get a donut? You ask nicely. Strange ending though.

    Science:  Animal Talk by Etta Kaner (j591.59), pg. 22. The meaning of different animal faces, showing your teeth, eyes closed, etc.


    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 thankyou and please.
    They always remember to cover their sneeze.
    Achoo! Achoo! Achoo!
    They're 3 nice mice.

    5 little ducks ran in the parking lot
    1 fell down and he went plop
    Mama called the Big Duck and the Big Duck got hot!
    No more ducks running in the parking lot! etc.


    We pretended we were in a restaurant waiting to be served, practiced some restaurant games. This site has some terrific ones: Restaurant Games, I had the table all set with placemat.  I particularly like tic-tac-toe with sugar packets and straws, I Spy, ABC Spy, and Disappearing Objects. 

    We did Disappearing Objects, I SPY, and ABC Spy.  Very VERY fun. 10 - 15 minutes went by easily, and then I told them their order was up.  I passed around the cookies a la Please, Mr. Panda and I got a lot of please and thankyous.


    We made Pigeon and Duckling fingerpuppets using a template from Don't Let the Pigeon Finish This Playbook

    Friday, April 15, 2016

    Pre-K Earth Day Storyhour, Garden Storyhour, Friday, April 17 at 10:30

    What is more magical than planting a seed?

    • Great Intro: Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson.  Soooo interactional.  Tap the magic tree, turn the page, and see howyour tapping made the leaves grow, the flowers blossom, leaves change.  A beautiful book, perfect for any storytime. I used it as the conclusion. I had a small, and very young, group, and it worked very well.
    • Great Intro: The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli.  Plant a seed, yes, but what happens when you accidentally SWALLOW one?
    • Good Story: My Garden by Kevin Henkes.  Henkes once again speaks truly to how we all feel -- we all want jellybean bushes and chocolate rabbits in our gardens, and to be able to plant seashells if we want to grow seashells.
    • Good Story: Searcher and the Old Tree by David McPhail. What do trees do for us?  In a clear, compelling (love weather sound effects) tale, McPhail shows how trees protect us.
    • Classic: The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. The moms and dads all oohed and ahhed in helpful horror as the Mom and Dad and Brother said, "It won't grow!"
    • Good Stories:  Nibbles: A Green Tale and Nibbles: Another Green Tale by Charlotte Middleton.  This book really has everything -- good art, a cute guinea pig, and everything you need to know about seeds and gardening.
    • Longer Tale: Pinkalicious GOES GREEN in Emeraldalicious! "I was strolling in the park...suddenly I tripped on a rock and fell, breaking my tiara and wand."  Pinkie's recycling is like nothing's as if she's been on Pinterest for the last six months. She creates thrones, castles and a boat mobile out of the garbage she finds strewn over her favorite picnic site.  Long for the little guys, but chop it up and add a recycling craft and it's a winner.
    • Longer Tale: Rotten Island by William Steig. "This book is about MONSTERS," I said, and the children clung to each other in mock terror.  I did abbreviate the text, but the kids enjoyed this great story.  Just last week one of my storyhour kids gave me a  big pink daisy, and I pulled that out as The Flower.
    • I Went to the Bay by Ruth Miller. This short, rhyming tale perfectly describes Florida wildlife.
    • The Earth Book by Todd Parr.  I dunno, I like to get my message across with a little more liveliness than Parr uses.
    • Over in the Meadow
    Cupcake Flowers 

    I succumbed to making flowers out of cupcakes, and it worked out OK. It's not the cheapest craft around; cupcake liners really do cost money, so unless you've picked up a couple on sale, this craft may not be that worthwhile. Also, the crafts on pinterest look adorable but they've used beaucoup high price liners. I got some pastel ones and they were so blah I spraypainted them with leftover spray paint. I wasn't sure about this craft but it did accomodate the skill sets of 2 - 5 year olds. Gluing was all the kids HAD to do, but they could also cut the edges of the flowers, cut the yarn, draw, and crumple tissue paper for the centers.  

    Shape Collage
    This year a volunteer punched out some shapes, like hearts and circles and cut rectangles. I showed them how to make flowers and butterflies from hearts. I gave them a pile of shapes and had them play with them on the paper (and also cut them up) before I handed out the paste.

    based on A Seed Was Planted by Toulla Palazeti

    We did this last summer with begonias.  Buy a big, beautiful plant, and then just divide it up into cuttings so that each child can have a new plant.  This works very well with the young ones with no attention spans.