This monthly early literacy to-go kit was the first type of programming I developed when I started my new position 3 months ago, as this branch had been without early literacy programming for several months, and many in the community either do not have internet access at home or have to prioritize its use for work and/or school for the older children. I have since started doing virtual storytimes on a weekly basis in addition to these monthly take-home kits.
As I start to get caught up and be able to plan further ahead, I am working on making the activities in these kits even more intentional, and coordinating with my virtual storytime themes for the month. So while the kits are designed to stand alone, they also complement and extend the virtual storytimes. My themes for this month are snow, soup, moose, and yeti and I chose the letter "Ss" for the letter of the month.
These are listed on our calendar and now patrons are becoming more aware of them and have started specifically asking for them. I also have been doing an "unboxing" video at the first of the month to show the contents of that month's kit and talk a little about how they support early literacy, and plug the virtual storytime as well. This month's kit contains:
- Sheet with all the suggested activities on the front; songs/fingerplays/action rhymes and instructions for included craft/activities on the back, along with a reminder about the weekly virtual storytime on the branch Facebook page and YouTube channel.
- Book Suggestions:
- Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (print & digital formats)
- One Snowy Day by Diana Murray (print, Vox, & digital)
- If It's Snowy & You Know It, Clap Your Paws by Kim Norman (print, can be sung)
- Every Color Soup by Jorey Hurley (print)
- There's a Giraffe In My Soup by Ross Burach (print)
- Circle, Square, Moose! by Kelly Bingham (print)
- A is for Axel by Kurt Browning (print & digital)
- Songs/Rhymes/Fingerplays (linked to previous posts with full lyrics):
- Five Little Snowflakes (fingerplay, counting up)
- Five Little Snowflakes (fingerplay, counting down)
- Dance Like Snowflakes (larger body movement)
- Stir the Soup (song)
- Included Sensory Craft - Cotton-ball Snowman
- handful of cotton balls
- assorted colors of scrap construction paper
- assorted mini pom-poms
- small Black circles
- sheet of blue paper
- Included Craft - Hand- & Foot-Print Moose
- sheets of blue, brown, and dark brown paper
- Googly eyes
- Included Activity - Play dough
- small cup commercial Play-Doh
- recipe for homemade salt dough
- Coloring sheets
- snowman & snowballs
- moose with a goose
- alphabet soup
- abominable snowman
- Writing activity sheets
- Letter Ss
- Die cut letter "S" for snow
- Die cut snowman to decorate or do with as they please
- Five die-cut snowflakes (to go with fingerplay)
I try to select several books that are available from my library in both print and digital formats, but I prioritize print since it doesn't seem that this community really uses digital, at least for children's books. I try to include books for each theme, but I inadvertently forgot to include a yeti book, and include one counting book and one alphabet book each time. I cautioned that not all children will be developmentally ready for the writing activities, and that backwards letters, letter-like forms, or just scribbles are perfectly acceptable, and not to correct or expect precision; it's the process, not the product for all of these activities.
Though people are asking for the kits, I am not sure how much they are really engaging with them as I would hope. I emphasize in the description that these are for the caregiver and include activities to do WITH your child, but I suspect that many are just handing the crafts to the kids and sadly ignoring the rest as I do not see the titles I suggest being checked out. I know these are trying times and parents may just be too busy managing online school with their older children, working from home, looking for work, etc.