Time for family! This is a great, relatable theme, and one that the kids (and parents) seemed to love.
The Family Book by Todd Parr
One Special Day by Lola M. Schaefer
Baby Love by Angela DiTerlizzi
Sign of the Week: Each week, I plan to teach 1 or 2 signs that correlate with our theme. Today, we learned the signs for Mom and Dad. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.
Introductions: “Let’s All Clap”
We usually start this song while people are trickling in, to learn each others’ names. I demonstrate the song with my own name, then move around in a circle. It is sung to the tune of “Ten Little Indians.”
Let’s all clap ’cause ____ is here, ____ is here, _____ is here!
Let’s all clap ’cause ____ is here, _____ is here today.
Opening Song: “We Wave and Say Hello”
Discussion: We spent a few minutes talking about families, and naming some of the family members we could think of. The kids were quiet today, and I had to prompt all of the answers or supply them myself. So, we dove right into our first book.
Book 1: The Family Book. I might have been living under a rock, but in two years of storytimes I’ve never included a book by Todd Parr. His books always seem heavy-handed, and the bold, simplistic illustrations don’t do anything for me. But this was one of the best family-themed books I could find in our collection, and the kids seemed to like it just fine.
Flannel Activity / Song: “Who Is Knocking At My Door?”
Courtesy of Story Time Secrets! I whipped up a quick and chintzy flannel board to correspond to this song, sung to the tune of “London Bridge.” I made four separate doors, and had already hidden the figures behind each one beforehand. The pieces didn’t stay on the board very long; I’m not sure flannel boards are a great match for this group.
Fingerplay: “Open, Shut Them”
This is one item I plan to repeat each week, to give our sessions some consistency. Today we added additional verses, courtesy of JBrary. This was a nice bonus for a few of our families, who have already known “Open, Shut Them” for ages.
Book 2: One Special Day. This is a sweet, beautifully illustrated book about a boy who is about to become a big brother. On each page, he is described by a phrase such as “Spencer was strong. Strong as a bear!” — only instead of saying the word bear, one is pictured on the page, so I had the kids guess each animal as it appeared. This was a great way to get them involved. The book happened to feature an elephant, which was the much-cherished favorite of one of my new kids. He nearly screamed when he saw the page, and jumped in to supply a lovely elephant sound, which made everyone laugh. Afterwards, we had a quick discussion about being big brothers and sisters, which launched into…
Song: “If You Have a Brother”
This song, adapted from “If You’re Wearing Red Today,” was created by Abby the Librarian. We ran through the song six times, and I had the kids stand and perform a simple activity (hop like a rabbit for instance, or blow a kiss) if the chosen family member was a match. We sang for brother, sister, mom, dad, grandma and grandpa.
Book 3: Baby Love. Another sweet story about a young family and their first baby. Simple, repetitive, and quick. Every other page repeats the phrase “sweet kiss, warm hug,” so I encouraged the kids to sit in Mom’s lap for this one and share some cuddles. For the kids who didn’t want to (and myself), we have ourselves a hug and blew a kiss to the crowd whenever prompted.
Wrapping Up: This was an antsy group, so I scrapped plans to teach them “Skinnamarink.” We rolled our Song Cube and quickly ran through the chosen song — “Rain is Falling Down,” — and then waved goodbye. Our families hung around for another twenty minutes playing with our toys. I try mingle during this time, and spend a bit of time with each child.
My antsiest group yet. I had the same number of people as last week, but the energy level was much higher. This is the first session where I’ve had to make quick, on-the-spot revisions to the plan, but it seemed to work out just fine. I had a couple of parents comment on the group’s rowdiness after we’d finished, so I know it wasn’t just in my head.