Saturday, June 22, 2024

Art Storytime - Preschool

Art Storytime

As with the previous toddler storytime, this preschool storytime took place during the third week of summer reading, which had an "Exploring the Arts" theme as part of the overall "Adventure Begins at Your Library" summer theme, so our books and one of our songs were about art, and the activities afterward were arts-related.

We started with a "Hello" song, introductions, and expectations, then proceeded with our warm-up song for the month, "Hello, Everybody". Then I introduced the topic of exploring the arts, and asked the kids to name different types of art. They immediately came up with painting, drawing, and coloring, and with a little prompting added music and dancing, and I added sculpture. One of the kids also mentioned jewelry-making. 

After our lead-in song, I read our first book, simply titled "Art", by Patrick McDonnell. There is a little word-play involved, as it is about art, but the boy's name is also Art. 

Though I wish the book were a little bigger and had bright, bold colors rather than muted ones, I liked that it was short and simple, had motions to mimic, colors to identify, and showed various types of art - zig-zag lines, wavy lines, dots, splotches, blotches, splatters, black & white doodles, and full-color drawings.

I followed this with an action-song about painting to the tune of "This is the Way We..." (aka "Do You Know the Muffin Man"):

This Is the Way We Paint

This is the way we stir the paint, stir the paint, stir the paint.
This is the way we stir the paint, when we are painting.

This is the way we dip the brush, dip the brush, dip the brush.
This is the way we dip the brush, when we are painting.

This is the way we paint on the canvas, paint on the canvas, paint on the canvas.
This is the way we paint on the canvas, when we are painting.

This is the way we blow it dry, blow it dry, blow it dry.
This is the way we blow it dry, when we are painting.

This the way we hang it up, hang it up, hang it up.
This is the way we hang it up, when we finish painting!

For the second book I chose Arlo Draws an Octopus by Lori Mortensen and Bob Sayegh, Jr. I chose this book not only because it has a cute story with colorful illustrations and a child of color, but primarily because I love the way it addresses creativity, making mistakes, perfectionism, and frustration.

Arlo is trying to draw an octopus, but in the end becomes frustrated because he doesn't think his drawing is good enough, and doesn't really look like an octopus. He initially tries to push through, and reminds himself that it's okay not to be good at something, because no one is good at everything, and recalls some of the things his friends & family are not good at. But he ends up crumpling his drawing up and throwing it in the floor. But, in a twist ending, he discovers that an actual octopus thinks it looks just like his aunt!

This story was a little long for this group, and I was started to lose some of the kids by then end, so I decided to scrap the song I had planned, and do something more engaging instead. In the story, Arlo thinks his attempt at drawing all the suckers on the octopus's tentacles looks more like a bunch of bubbles, so I decided to do bubbles instead.

Then I ended with a "Goodbye" song, prefacing it with saying we did have activities afterward, but we would go ahead and sing our goodbye song now, in case we didn't get to say goodbye to all of our friends later.


Just as I did for the toddler storytime earlier that week, I had a variety of different artistic activities for them today to "explore the arts":
  1. Sculpture - I provided multiple cans of Play-Doh, rolling pins, cookie cutters, rotary cutters, and plastic knives.

  2. Painting - The kids are always excited about using paint, and this time I jazzed it up by giving them a few unusual items in addition to thick and fine paintbrushes - textured paint "brushes", textured scrapers, sponges, cotton balls, bubble wrap, and fluffy bath scrubbers made of wadded plastic mesh, along with red, blue, and yellow paints. When they asked for other colors, I reminded them they could mix the primary colors to make new colors.

  3. Music - I provided a variety of musical instruments: maracas, bells, cymbals, triangle, tambourines, wooden sounder, and toy microphones.

  4. Drawing - I put crayons and paper out on one table, but I don't think any of the kids actually chose to do this activity, finding the often forbidden-at-home paint, play-dough, and musical instruments much more exciting.
How It Went 

I would have preferred to have had one of the books be about some type of art other than drawing/painting, but I couldn't really find anything suitable in our collection about sculpture, dance, or other types of art. I did find one board book about musical instruments, and in hindsight I wish I had used it instead of Art. I had originally thought I might be able to sneak it in as a third book, but since Arlo was on the longer side a third book just wasn't going to work.

The kids really enjoyed the play-dough, painting, and musical instruments since unfortunately most parents don't allow those activities at home. My assistant did not particularly enjoy the musical instruments, but sometimes you just have to let kids do the noisy, messy things. Especially when they are not only very developmentally appropriate, but also bring such joy, and they get so limited opportunities to do them elsewhere. This was a much smaller group than for toddler storytime, so it was not as noisy at chaotic.

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