Today was my monthly outreach visit to a nearby daycare, and with it being Spring (finally), I decided to do stories with cute, fluffy animals. I see ages 1 through 4 years old, so I need a range of books, and I start with mostly songs for the youngest, then end with mostly books for the oldest. Since I only have 20 minutes per group, I do an abbreviated storytime and start with a shorter "Hello" song than my usual opening song.
The babies still do best with songs, so after the "Hello" song, we did "Itsy Bitsy Spider" twice, then "The Wheels On The Bus", and "Little Bunny Foo Foo". Then I read Mary Murphy's Say Hello Like This. This book is short and sweet, and features animals and their sounds, which little ones usually like and it's good for phonological awareness. I also like the bold, simple illustrations with heavy outlines for the younger kids, since simple, high contrast images are known to hold their interest. We finished with our "Storytime Is Over" song. Though I love the babies, I couldn't wait to get out of there as they all had nasty, snotty noses!
The 2-year olds really surprised their teachers with how well they did last time, and today they [almost] all sat down and were ready to listen almost right away. After the "Hello" song, we sang the ABC's and "The Wheels On the Bus", then I read Five Little Chicks by Nancy Tafuri, which is a short, simple story that begins with the Mama hen and five eggs, which hatch, producing five little chicks.
The five little chicks then each start looking for something to eat and investigating different things: worms, beetles, butterflies, fish, and strawberries, then finally their mother shows them how to scratch in the dirt near the corn field to look for corn and other seeds. The kids can identify each potential food, and comment on whether they would like to eat it or not.
After that we stood up for a very fun and interactive book, Ellie Sandall's Everybunny Dance! This is a great movement book, as the kids get to pretend to be bunnies and act out the story, dancing, pretending to play instruments, and singing, until the fox comes out and they run and hide! But, as it turns out, the fox only wants an audience. Sometimes I follow this by doing the "Bunny Hop" conga dance, but I thought these kids were too young to follow the steps.
3- & 4-Year Olds
Today they were expecting me, fortunately, so I didn't have to wait very long for them to sit in the story area and get settled. I started with the "Hello" song, then my "If You're Ready for a Story" song. I had planned to do Everybunny Dance! with them as well, but the space was just too cramped, so I had to change my plans. Instead, I read Wee Little Bunny by Lauren Thompson and John Butler, which was probably a little on the simple side for this age, but they were okay with it. The story shows a new little bunny as he plays and frolics, meeting a new friend along the way, then goes home at the end of the day and tells his mother all about his busy day.
Then I asked the kids if they knew what today was. They knew it was the first day of April, but didn't know about April Fool's Day. So I explained that it was a day people played silly little tricks on each other, just like we would see in our story, Barnyard Fun by Maureen Wright. I was SO excited when I found this book! It is the only April Fool's Day book I have found that is suitable for storytime. It is April 1st, and Sheep has a bunch of barnyard pranks to pull on his friends. He sets Rooster's alarm an a hour earlier, replaces Dog's can of food with a can of springy "snakes", serves Pig a "cake" that is just box covered in icing, and connects Cow's dots to make smiley faces. Then Horse decides to give Sheep a taste of his own medicine, with hilarious results!
I concluded with showing them my April Fool's joke, a nice pan of "brownies".
How It Went
This was my third visit to the daycare, and the kids seem to be remember me and are getting used to the routine, so it is going more smoothly each time (not that it's ever gone badly). Today I was greeted by lots of smiles and "Hi!"s, and even a couple of hugs.
Everything worked really well, and I was glad to have the chance to read Barnyard Fun for April Fool's again, and share my little prank. They all laughed and thought it was hilarious when the other animals gave Sheep a taste of his own medicine by shearing him to look like a poodle!