This was my first in-person storytime after having to suspend in-person programming yet again as the Omicron wave hit right after I started this position. Patrons have been asking for it for at least a month, but Covid numbers were still too high for me to feel comfortable. During the interim I offered book bundles and did a couple of read-alouds on our Facebook page.
I went with a Spring theme, and of course the weather that day was cold and cloudy and not very Spring-y. I am starting with one all-ages storytime per week, but will divide into toddler and preschool storytimes in the fall (over the summer I will also have separate toddler and preschool programming, but they will will vary and not necessarily be traditional storytimes each week).
I started with introductions and singing "Hello, My Friends, Hello", then moved right to "Hello, Everyone" to warm up with some movement and trying to get everyone engaged, then lead in to our first book with my "Are You Ready for a Story?" song.
For the first book I read I See Spring! by Charles Ghigna and Ag Jatkowska. This is a simple little story that describes all the signs of spring with a rhyming text that is pleasant when read aloud.
I followed that with a song that similarly describes different aspects of spring to the tune of "The Wheels On the Bus":
Springtime Is Here
The rain coming down goes drip, drip, drip;
Drip, drip, drip; Drip, drip, drip.
The rain coming down goes drip, drip, drip.
Springtime is here!
The boots in the mud go splish, splash, splish....
The sun comes out and warms us up....
The kites in the sky go swoosh, swoosh, swoosh....
The frogs in the pond go ribbit, ribbit, ribbit....
The birds in the nest go cheep, cheep, cheep....
Then I read Spring by Emily Dawson. This one is a more straightforward non-fiction with photographs. I pointed out how both books mentioned flowers growing and asked what flowers need to grow. I got the appropriate responses of sun and rain, which I used to segue into the following fingerplay [I like to do this as a flannel board, but the felt set I made had to stay behind with the library where I made it, and I haven't had a chance to make another.]:
Five Spring Flowers
Five spring flowers, all in a row.
The first one said, "We need rain to grow!"
The second one said, "Oh my, we need water!"
The third one said, "Yes, it is getting hotter!"
The fourth one said, "I see clouds in the sky."
The fifth one said, "I wonder why?"
Then BOOM [clap loudly] went the thunder,
And ZAP went the lightning!
That springtime storm was really frightening!
But the flowers weren't scared - No, no, no!
The rain helped them to grow, grow, grow!
I was losing them by that point, so unfortunately had to skip reading Cathryn Falwell's Pond Babies (I should have read that one second) and go to our good-bye song and turn them over to my co-worker for the craft as I had to run to a last-minute urgent meeting.
This simple but cute floral bouquet craft is great for spring, but would also be good for Mother's Day. It only requires a sheet of green construction paper, scissors, a stapler, glue and flowers, which could be cut out of construction paper or colored cardstock with a cricut, die-cut press, or by hand, or more realistic looking flowers could be printed on cardstock and cut out. I opted for the printed flowers on cardstock, but keep in mind the flowers will be white on the back side if you use this method.
- Fold the long edges of the green construction paper together, then make cuts from the folded side towards the edges, leaving an inch intact, so that you end up with a row of strips that are actually loops. I would encourage parents to let the kids do as much of this part as they can or will do, with guidance. Cutting with scissors is a good for developing fine-motor skills that will help with holding books, turning pages, and writing later.
- Carefully roll up and staple the base (the uncut edges) and set upright, with the loop pointing up and "fluff" it out slightly so that it looks more like a bouquet. This will be the stems/leaves of the bouquet.
- Either have the flowers pre-cut or let the adults cut them out (unless there are older kids present who can cut them out themselves) and glue to the tops of some of the green loops; leave some of the loops plain to represent the leaves.
- Optional: Carefully glue ribbon around the bouquet and tie a bow.
How It Went
I had three toddlers and two preschool or older, and I guess I'm going to have to start planning it as a toddler storytime even if I'm advertising it as a "family" or all-ages storytime, because I completely lose the toddlers otherwise, and I'm getting more toddlers than older kids. I might just have one really fun book for the older kids that I tell them they can stick around for while the younger ones move on to do the craft/activities afterward.
I struggle to find books that are appropriate and engaging for toddlers in general, and even more so now with a smaller collection, and I tend to do better with older kids or with babies; toddlers are not my strength. That being said, I had built up a nice group of regulars for my toddler storytime at my last library that was going well, so I know I can do it. I just kinda feel with all the stops and starts, job changes and starting over of the last 2 years, I've lost a bit of my mojo and it's going to take time to build some momentum and get it back.