One of my group’s favorite activities is our hide-and-seek flannel board, inspired by this project from Miss Merry Liberry. They love it so much, as well as searching for hidden objects in our other books, that I decided to build a storytime around it!
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox & Judy Horacek
Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow
All Ears, All Eyes by Richard Jackson & Katherine Tillotson
Opening Song: “So Early in the Morning”
To the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush.” We use the ASL sign for “hello” in the first verse.
This is the way we wave hello,
Wave hello, wave hello,
This is the way we wave hello
So early in the morning.
Repeat with clap our hands, stomp our feet, jump around.
Discussion & Sign: I explained that today’s storytime would be all about using your eyes and ears to find hidden objects, then we practiced our sign for Look. My go-to site for learning new signs is ASL University.
Book 1: Where is the Green Sheep? A classic book that also tackles the topic of opposites. As we read, I asked the kids to think about where a green sheep might like to hide.
Action Song: “Roly Poly”
One of my favorite action songs from JBrary, and a great way to reinforce the opposite pairs introduced in Green Sheep.
Fingerplay: “Open, Shut Them”
Book 2: Have You Seen Elephant?. A sweet book about a boy who decides to play hide and seek with an elephant, and then cannot find him anywhere (despite the animal’s size and lack of skill). This is a fun one for the kids, as the elephant is featured on each page in obvious and increasingly absurd hiding places. The watercolor illustrations are bright and beautiful, perfect for panning to a crowd.
Flannel Board: “Little Mouse, Little Mouse”
We had to include a hide-and-seek game! This time, we were looking for a mouse in a house. I made nine different houses in different colors, then hid a mouse behind one and various animals behind some of the others, making sure to leave a few empty. Before checking each house, we asked: “Little mouse, little mouse, are you in the [color] house?”
Book 3: Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt. I really, really wanted to use All Eyes, All Ears because it’s so beautiful inside, but it’s a very quiet story — great for bedtime, but not for a rambunctious storytime group. I had to sub in something more exciting, and Shark in the Park worked well. It also allowed me to repeat a popular activity from our shark-themed storytime…
Activity: “Sherman the Shark”
A project inspired by Sunflower Storytime. I used tacky glue to adhere an old white basket to the back of a cardboard shark. This allows the shark to stand on its own, and acts as a “net” to catch fish. I cut out some creatures and had the kids “fish” for them by picking them out of a blue basket, then we recited the following rhyme: “I’m Sherman the Shark and I’m so hungry! Someone put a nice red crab in my tummy!” We repeated the actions for all of the critters — a green turtle, an orange seahorse, a pink squid, etc.
Closing Rhyme: “Wave Hi, Wave Low”
The version we use, with the ASL sign for goodbye:
I think it’s time, we’ve got to go,
So wave your elbows, wave your toes!
Wave your knees, wave your lips,
Blow me a kiss with your fingertips!
Wave your ears, wave your hair,
Wave your hips and your derriere.
Wave your fingers way up high,
Wave a hand and say goodbye!
Wrapping Up: Another great group, with 22 people and a few new faces. The hide-and-seek themed worked beautifully, and the kids had a great time scanning the pages for “missing” objects. I wish I’d been able to incorporate All Eyes, All Ears, but it just wasn’t right for this group. Shark in the Park worked much better.