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Sunday, February 2, 2020

Kindness - Family Storytime


Kindness Storytime


I had a little trouble deciding on themes for this month. I've already done several versions of Valentine's Day, Love, and Hugs & Kisses themes in the past and didn't really want to do that again, especially since my storytimes this month fell at the very beginning and end of the month rather than close to Valentine's Day. I had several new themes partially planned, and was trying to decide which of them to use, when Todd Parr's latest book came in and inspired me to do a "Kindness" theme.

I started with a simple "Hello" song as I passed out programs and greeted people, and briefly went over storytime expectations; then we warmed up with "Hello, Everybody" for a little gentle movement. I introduced the topic of Kindness, which is a kind of an abstract idea, especially for young kids. I said it can sometimes be hard to explain what it is, but our first book would give us lots of examples of ways to show kindness. Then we settled down and led in with "If You're Ready For a Story".

Kindness Storytime
I love Todd Parr's books for young kids, with their bright, simple illustrations and straightforward presentations that always reflect kindness, tolerance and inclusiveness, so I was excited when we got his latest book, The Kindness Book. 

This book gives several examples of being kind to other people, the earth, and animals, and reminds kids they need to be kind to themselves, too (which came in handy later), and is illustrated in his signature style.

Then we sang a familiar song with some new verses I made up to go with the theme:

The More We Get Together

The more we get together, together, together;
The more we get together, the happier we'll be.
Because your friends are my friends, and my friends are your friends,
The more we get together, the happier we'll be.

The more we help each other, each other, each other;
The more we help each other, the happier we'll be.
Because helping is kindness, and kindness is helping,
The more we help each other, the happier we'll be.

The more we share together, together, together;
The more we share together, the happier we'll be.
Because sharing is caring, and caring is sharing;
The more we share together, the happier we'll be.

The more we show kindness, show kindness, show kindness;
The more we show kindness, the happier we'll be.
Because kindness is sharing, and helping, and caring;
The more we show kindness, the happier we'll be.

Kindness StorytimeFor our second book I chose one that actually has a story and illustrates acts of kindness without being too heavy-handed or even using the word "kindness", plus it fits the winter season. In The Most Perfect Snowman by Chris Britt we meet Drift, a snowman who is teased for not having all the accessories the others have and is lonely, and sad, until three children come by and generously give him a hat, mittens, a scarf, and best of all, a big carrot nose! Now he is perfect. But when he comes upon a cold, hungry bunny, he shows incredible kindness and compassion.

Since both books were a bit on the long side, I decided it was best not to read another, but to finish with an old traditional song before moving to the craft.

Skinnamarink

Skinnamarink a dinka dink
Skinnamarink a doo,
I love you!

Skinnamarink a dink a dink
Skinnamarink a doo,
I love you!

I love you in the morning,
And in the afternoon
I love you in the evening,
Underneath the moon…

Skinnamarink a dink a dink
Skinnamarink a doo,
I love you!

Craft/Activity

Kindness Storytime, Kindness Craft
While looking for other books to use, I came across the classic by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, The Kindness Quilt. It was too long to actually read in storytime with the younger crowd we usually get, but I thought it would be a great inspiration for a piece of collaborative art.

I printed out a bunch of squares that at least somewhat resembled quilt squares, most with a large open space in the middle. While I didn't read the book, I quickly went through what it was about, and showed how this class drew pictures of acts of kindness and put them together like a quilt on the bulletin board, and that this is what we were going to do.

I put out the squares and some crayons on tables, and told them if they wanted a copy of their art to take home, I would be happy to make a photocopy. After they were all done, I mounted them each on different colors of construction paper and then hung up together like a quilt.

Kindness Storytime, Kindness craft, kindness quilt

How It Went

I had a pretty good crowd for a weekend, and it went pretty well. Though they stayed engaged with the Todd Parr book, I think they enjoyed The Most Perfect Snowman the most because it had an actual story. They participated very well with the songs, but as always, I lost several when it came to the after storytime activity. 

On the weekends people always seem to be in a rush, and don't want a full storytime, and have little interest in any structured activities after. The kids also didn't really quite understand that they were supposed to draw something related to showing kindness, and I ended up with mostly random drawings and scribbles, but that's okay. I realized I had gotten carried away with the idea of doing collaborative art (I really do love the idea of collaborative pieces for public places) and this activity was really more suited for school age. It still made a nice piece to display, though, and a few of the kids were really proud about their art being part of it.

On little girl was a major perfectionist and started to get upset when she marked with a different color than she intended, saying she had "ruined it". As a perfectionist myself, I could see she was about to have a meltdown, and I stepped in and reminded her that she also needed to be kind to herself, and that actually helped! Her mother was able to talk her down from there. She was so cute, after she was finished and her mother helped her write her name on her picture, she wanted her baby sister's name on it, and my ("the librarian's") name on it as well.

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