Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Cookies - Family Storytime

Cookie Storytime

I struggled with a theme for my December storytime. We don't do holidays, but I still like to do something kinda special that fits in with the holiday season, without actually portraying a specific holiday. Last year I did a cookie theme, which was perfect, but didn't want to repeat it so soon. I first decided on "snowflakes" since there's just something magical about snow and I had two non-fiction books of gorgeous photos of snowflake crystals, plus I thought there would be some good crafts to go with it.

However, I was ambivalent with the fiction I found that featured snowflakes, and when I tried some of them out at my monthly outreach visit they definitely fell flat. So, I back-tracked and decided to do the cookie theme again, but to be sure to use different books, hopefully some I had never used before.

I began with a short "Hello" song as I handed out programs, and then warmed everyone up with my new opening song that I learned from Jbrary, "Hello, Everybody". I've found I like this one much more than the one I used to use because it's a little more lively and has motions that I can change up and are more fun. I introduced the theme of cookies, and led them in a fun rhyme where we pretend to make cookies, acting out each step.

Making Cookies

We are making cookie dough. 
Round and round the beaters go.
Add some flour, just two cups.
Stir and stir the batter up.

Roll them, cut them, nice and neat.
Place them on a cookie sheet.
Bake them, cool them on a rack.
Give them to our friends for snack!

After sharing what kind of cookies we each made, I transitioned to our first book by saying now they we've talked about making cookies, we were going to see how many other people worked to provide all the things we need to make our cookies. 

Cookie storytimeI love how Who Put The Cookie In The Cookie Jar by George Shannon shows everything and everyone that goes into making cookies, from the person who manufactures the cookie sheet to the person who cares for the chickens and gathers the eggs. 

Julie Paschikis' illustrations are very bright and cheerful with a folk-art flair and portray multiple skin tones; Shannon's text is uncharacteristically short and simple so that it is a good choice for a wider age range, and has a nice rhythm when read aloud so that it isn't too dry. And for an interesting bit of trivia, George Shannon actually worked as a children's librarian in the library system where I now work very early in his career.

Cookie storytimeThe kids had already spied the next book and were eager to read it, so I went straight to reading The Ninjabread Man by C.J. Leigh and Chris Gall. This is a very fun, modern re-telling of the Gingerbread Man folktale, with the wise old sensei making a special batch of magical ninjabread to test his students. 

When he opens the oven, KA-POW! Out jumps the Ninjabread man, who then disappears with a crack and a flash, subsequently reappearing to test each one of the sensei's students. Though the characters may be slightly different, the ending is the same. This is very cute and funny, and a really fun read aloud.

I followed that with a cookie rhyme with a cookie flannel set I made last year (though I used the yellow star cookie instead of the Oreo pictured this time):

Cookie Flannel rhyme

"Five Little Cookies"

Five little cookies, with frosting galore!
Daddy ate the red one, and then there were four.

Four little cookies, two plus two you see.
Mommy at the green one, and then there were three.

Three little cookies, and before I knew,
Brother ate the white one, and then there were two.

Two little cookies; oh, what fun!
Sister ate the brown one, and then there was one.

One little cookie, yum-yum-yum!
*I* ate the last one, and then there were none.

We did this twice, first naming the color of the cookie, and the second time naming the shape.

Cookie storytime
For our final book I chose one I have read before, but I love it so much I had to use it again. It combines two of my favorite things, dinosaurs and cookies! Cookiesaurus Rex is the king of cookies, so of course he demands to be iced first. At first he's happy, but then he sees other cookies getting sprinkles and other embellishments that he didn't get, so he demands a do-over. Fed up with the cookie's attitude, the baker decides to teach him a lesson, and a hilarious battle of wills ensues! 

Fans of Mo Willem's Pigeon books will love this. The text by Amy Fellner Dominy and Nate Evans is full of attitude and so fun to read aloud, and AG Ford's illustration are gorgeous and colorful.

We ended with singing Cookie Monster's song before moving on to our special craft.

C is for Cookie

C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.

Oh, cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C!


Cookie storytimeFor our craft we decorated cookies! I got small gingerbread man cookies and gave each child two cookies on a paper plate, with about 2 tablespoons of vanilla icing in a small zip-lock bag with the tip of the corner snipped off. I showed them how to hold the icing bag to pipe icing onto their cookie to outline it, make a face, turn it into a ninjabread man, or whatever they wanted.

Piping icing is a great activity for writing skills as it works the muscles of the hand, as well as hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Some kids tried to draw faces or outlines, and others just piped a pile of squiggly icing, but this is more about the process than the product, and it all tastes the same!

I used these cookies last year with no issues, but a couple of the kids this time found them to be too spicy, so next time I may try to find some kind of sugar cookie to decorate instead. 

How It Went
I was really disappointed at the low turnout I had; only two families were there for the whole storytime, plus one mom and toddler that drifted in and out. It seemed everyone was slow getting up and out that day, as several families came in just as storytime ended, plus it was just a slow weekend overall.

But, the kids that were there were old enough to appreciate the books that were my first choice to read, and enjoyed the humor as much as I did. I had not read The Ninjabread Man before, but I though it was really clever and fun to read. I paraphrased a few sections just a bit to shorten slightly. Though I didn't have a very big crowd, it went well and we had fun.

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