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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Outreach Storytime - Colors!


Since this was the first week of the new school year for most of the daycares, we decided to choose a basic concept to start with.  We used quite a few different books this week, since we had a number of good ones to choose from.  Each group got 2 or 3 stories and usually 2 songs or activities in addition to the "Story Song" at the beginning, for a 20-25 minute session each.  These are the books we ended up using:

Snappy Little Colors by Dugald Steer and Derek Matthews.  You can *never* go wrong with a Snappy pop-up book!

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean is fun because the kids get to identify what Pete stepped in, guess what color it turned his shoes, say "Goodness, No", and sing Pete's song, which kids really like.  Pete is very popular with this age.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle has bright bold, illustrations and a very repetitive text, so the kids usually catch on quickly and join in saying the words.  To make it even more fun, ask them what sounds the animals make.

Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a fun little book with cut-outs and mixed up colors.  Short but sweet.

Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin is a fun book that uses cute little monsters to teach colors and show how to blend primary colors to make secondary colors.

Where Is Green Sheep? by Mem Fox has the audience trying to find the missing green sheep, who turns up at the end sleeping under a bush.  Also introduces contrasting terms.

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a classic book about three white mice who get into the paint and discover how to make new colors by mixing red, blue, and yellow.

Spicy Hot Colors by Sherry Shahan incorporates a few things from Hispanic culture and the Spanish words for the colors.  The text can be a little awkward in a couple of places, though.

Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett stars a lonely chameleon looking for a friend who changes colors with each object he encounters.  Some people really like this book, but I found it dull.

Lunch by Denise Fleming shows a hungry mouse eating his way through several fruits and vegetables the kids can try to guess.  I find the illustrations a bit too abstract for younger kids.

We also used a few different activities.  One was a felt board with different colored houses, similar to this one by Amy, and a mouse and random food items to hide behind them.  We would repeat the rhyme "Little mouse, little mouse; are you in the (color) house?", then peel back the house to see what might be hiding underneath.  With the smaller groups, I would have each child take a turn choosing a house to look behind.  With the larger groups, we would just point and have the group say the color (for pictures of the actual flannel set I used and a more detailed description of how I used them, see Week 2). 

The second one was another cute flannel board with a rhyme about ice cream flavors and flannel pieces to build a multi-flavor ice-cream cone, as shown on Nikarella's blog post.  I gave each child an ice cream scoop, then as we said each verse, they would each bring up the appropriate one and add it to our ice cream cone.  At the end we counted our scoops.

Our third activity that we did with every group is the simple song to the tune of "Mary Had A Little Lamb,"  "If You're Wearing Red Today":

               If you're wearing red today, red today, red today;
               If you're wearing red today, please stand up!

This is a nice simple song you can stretch out for as many versus as you like, and can modify to vary the action taken, or make it more specific, such as "If you're wearing red shoes...".

How It Went
All together, we visited 5 different daycares and provided storytime for 17 different classes.  We had a lot of fun with this theme, and had a great selection of books and activities.  I liked using Brown Bear, Brown Bear with the younger kids, especially the ones who were starting a new class or on the storytime bus for the first time since it is simple and repetitive and almost everyone has read it before.  I though having a familiar classic would make them feel less apprehensive.  My personal favorites were Pete the Cat, which was a big hit and many were already Pete fans, and Snappy Little Colors which of course was a big hit since it had bright, bold pop-ups.  Other books that were received well were Lemons Are Not Red, Mouse Paint, and Monsters Love Colors.

I only used Spicy Hot Colors with one group, and the kids weren't that into it, but I'm not sure if that was because of the book or because of a very disruptive boy who ended up having to be taken off the bus.  Blue Chameleon and Lunch got mixed results, working okay for one group, but falling flat with others.  I find Blue Chameleon a little boring and the illustrations in Lunch are colorful, but some are too abstract for younger kids, and it's hard to draw them in when the very first food is a turnip, which none of them can relate to.

All the groups like the "If You're Wearing..." song, and it was cute to see how they would grin and get excited when they had on the color mentioned.  Both the mouse house and ice cream flannel boards where a big hit.  They loved the suspense of looking for the mouse, and who doesn't like talking about favorite flavors of ice cream!

One funny incident in an otherwise extremely well-behaved class.....In the middle of a story one little boy turned his head and out of nowhere LICKED the face of the girl sitting next to him!  I never imagined "Please keep your tongue to yourself" being something I would have to say in storytime :)

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