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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cute, Cuddly Babies! (Baby-themed preschool storytime)


In the last year there have been no less than 7 babies born to people who work in the library where I work, so I thought a baby-themed storytime would be fun, especially with it being springtime and Mother's Day coming up.

We started with our usual opening song, followed by welcome and introduction, then our lead-in song.  We talked about babies and how the only way they can communicate something is wrong is by crying, which led to our first book, What Shall We Do With The Boo-Hoo Baby? by Cressida Cowell (of How To Train Your Dragon fame).  The kids got to suggest what the baby might need and guess whether what the animals tried would work.

Since the book ends with the baby needing a nap, we transitioned right into a fingerplay about "Baby's Nap":

          This is baby, ready for a nap.     (Hold up 1 finger)
          Lay him down in Mama's lap.     (Lay finger across palm of other hand)
          Cover him up so he won't peep. (Close fingers over)
          Rock him til he's fast asleep.      (Rock hands)
          *Source:  Perry Public Library

Since that one's so short, I followed up with modified version of "Rock-a-bye Baby":

          Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree tops.
          When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
          If the bow breaks, the cradle will fall.
          And Mama will catch you, cradle and all.

And of course once the baby's asleep, what does everyone say?  "Don't Wake the Baby!", which just happens to be the title of our second book, written by Jonathan Allen.  This funny pop-up book with sound affects shows what happens when Dad stays home with the sleeping baby while Mama goes out.  I chose this mostly because it's fun, but I also like that it shows Dad in the role of caretaker.  The book ends with the baby awake and giggling, which leads us into a counting rhyme with different things babies do, "Five Little Babies":

          One little baby rocking in a tree.                 (Hold up 1 finger, rock arms)
          Two little babies splashing in the sea.        (Hold up 2 fingers, pretend to splash)
          Three little babies crawling on the floor.     (Hold up 3 fingers, make crawling motion)
          Four little babies knocking on the door.      (Hold up 4 fingers, pretend to knock)
          Five little babies playing "hide and seek."   (Hold up 5 fingers, cover eyes)
          Keep your eyes closed now, until I say....PEEK!
          *Source:  Perry Public Library

Now to the cutest babies of all, animal babies!  There are a number of books with cute baby animals, but I chose Some Babies Are Wild by Marion Dan Bauer because it features wild animals native to North America.  It has beautiful photographs with a brief statement for each and the name of the animal shown.  I also like that it closes with saying that all babies love their mothers and mothers love their babies, "just as your mama loves you."  At the end of the book is a listing of all the animals featured with some interesting facts and representations of their tracks.  Who can resist baby animals?  After the book, we ended with our usual closing song.

How It Went
Today I was called "the library lady," "Miss Jennifer," and "Miss Story" and was greeted by several hugs  :)  I wasn't sure what the kids would think of the topic, and when I told them several of them replied "Babies?!?" and made a face.  But despite their initial reaction, they quickly got into it.  It turns out many of them had baby siblings at home, or were about to, so they already knew quite a bit about caring for babies and that crying is the only way babies have to communicate that something is wrong.  They liked trying to guess what would calm the Boo-Hoo Baby, and stayed really quiet for a while afterward, until the end of Don't Wake the Baby.  They really enjoyed seeing all the mishaps and hearing the sound affects, especially the cuckoo clock and giggling baby at the end, and laughed at the snoring dad.  As I led into Some Babies Are Wild, I asked what is the cutest kind of baby, and one little boy sweetly piped up "My baby brother!"  They really liked seeing all the cute baby animals.  I thought it was so sweet at the end, when I read the line about "all babies love mama" one little girl said "And I love my Mama!"  All in all, another great storytime.  I'm really going to miss these kids when they move up to the next class.

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