Saturday, March 9, 2019

Lions, Tigers, & Bears 2019 - Family Storytime

I first did this theme about 3 years ago, after seeing someone else mention it and thinking it would be fun (and it was!). I thought it would be perfect for the younger crowd I get for this weekend family storytime as it embraces their natural inclination to be wiggly and noisy, rather than fighting it, and I was able to find a great new set of books to use for it.

We started with our welcome song and introduction. I asked if anyone knew what movie the line "lions, tigers, and bears; oh my!" came from. None of the kids really did, but a couple of them were fed the answer by their parents (The Wizard of Oz, if you didn't know). Then we talked about how to distinguish lions and tigers, and some different types of bears. 

Lions, tigers, and bears storytimer
Then we sang our story song to get settled for our first book, Don't Wake Up the Tiger! by Britta Teckentrup. This is such a great book for younger, wiggly crowds! It's fairly short and simple, with bold, bright illustrations and very interactive. 

Tiger is asleep, but the other animals need to get past her with their big bunch of balloons, without waking her up. Frog has the great idea to float over her with a balloon. But the animals need the audience to help keep Tiger asleep by rubbing her nose and belly, and singing her a lullaby. At the end, it turns out it's Tiger's birthday, and we all sing her "Happy Birthday".

lions, tigers, and bears storytimeSince we sang two songs as part of the story, I asked the kids if the wanted to do a song, or go right to another book, and they wanted a story! For the second story I read our longest one, Lion Lessons by Jon Agee, which was another interactive story with lots of movement about a boy who is taking lessons on how to be a lion, from a real lion! (I should've done it first to be true to our theme, but I was hesitant since it was longer.)

There are stretches, looking fierce, roaring, sprinting, eating, hiding, and pouncing, and the boy doesn't perform to the lion's standards. But then he excels in the last test, looking out for a friend. This was a really fun book! (For a somewhat similar one, check out You Are a Lion! by Taeeun Yoo that does lots of different animal yoga poses).

Then it was time for a song where we could pretend to be lions even more!

If You're A Lion...

If you're a lion and you know it, give a ROAR!
If you're a lion and you know it, give a ROAR!
If you're a lion and you know it, then your ROAR will surely show it.
If you're a lion and you know it, give a ROAR!

Shake your mane, show your claws, give a growl, swish your tail...

lions, tigers, and bears storytime
Then it was time for one last story, and I asked them which animal did we have left to talk about, and they quickly responded "Bears!" I chose this sweet, simple book by Nancy Tafuri that I had not seen before, Mama's Little Bears. This has sparse text and follows three little cubs as they explore their surrounds while Mama fishes a little while longer. 

This is great for positional prepositions as they look over, under, in, up, and down and discover blueberries, birds, salamanders, mice, otters, and owls (all mothers with young as well). In the end they call for Mama, and she finds them and they give each other big bear hugs, which prompts all the caregivers to give their little ones hugs as well.

We followed with a song that included all 3 animals:

You Can Hear...
(to the tune of "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain")

You can hear lions roaring at the zoo...ROAR, ROAR
You can hear lions roaring at the zoo...ROAR, ROAR
You can hear lions roaring, you can hear lions roaring,
You can hear lions roaring at the zoo...ROAR, ROAR

tigers growling.....bears snoring....

And then sang our closing song and brought out the optional craft.

Since we get such a young crowd, I try to keep the crafts as simple as possible. I saw a picture on Pinterest of a simple "mask" to resemble a bear, made from a paper plate with the center cut out for the child's face to peek through. I decided to that, but provide materials and examples for all three options.

I cut out the plates, sorted out crayons in shades of yellow, orange, brown, and black; provided scrap paper in brown, yellow, and orange for cutting out ears, and curved pieces of brown for lion manes, plus craft stick handles, scissors, and tape.

Lion, tiger, or bear cutout mask craft

How It Went
I had a decent turnout today, with about 10 kids, mostly age 2-4, with a couple just under 2 and one older sibling around 6-8, and we had a lot of fun. The kids really enjoyed the theme and getting to participate with the story in Don't Wake Up The Tiger! and acting like lions and other animals with Lion Lessons and the songs. They did a great job identifying the animals in Mama's Little Bears, but were stumped by the otters.

I think I got the most participation and answering of question by the children today, as compared to any other of these weekend family storytimes I've done. Two or three of them couldn't stay sitting and often wondered around or up close to me, and I told their parents that they were fine and we don't expect the little ones to sit still and be quiet, and they often are listening better and absorb more than we think.

As usual, several skipped the craft, but the ones that did it seemed to really get into it, adding additional details like whiskers. All in all, it was a really great storytime!

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