what pet to get?

PLEASE NOTE: I have a backlog of storytime themes and activities from my first month on the job that I would like to document here; please pardon the dust as I try to catch up. :)

Because I was brand new to my position *just* as storytime was starting, this was a theme that I was nervous about. There was really no need because it was one of the best ones we did - and I learned a lot about how flexible we can be with our themes. 

Here's the Setlist*:

Song: 'Hello Song'
Hello, everybody! So glad to see you...
Hello, everybody! So glad to see you.
Hello to _____, so glad to see you!
Hello to _____, so glad to see you!
I first heard this when I attended a Music Together class with some friends of mine and our children (of course). It's catchy and repetitive so parents and children learn it fast. Plus, it welcomes every child by name (we wear nametags) and we even welcome baby siblings, moms, dads, and grandparents when they're with us.

Welcome/Theme Intro
We talked about the pets we own and the pets we'd like to own. I asked them if different animals (fish, dogs, cats, walruses, dinosaurs, ants, etc.) would make good pets. Then I asked them if they'd ever had ants in their pants to transition to our wiggles activity. :) 

Can you wiggle your fingers like this? (out in front of our bodies)
And can you wiggle your toes inside your shoes where no one can see? 
(they always look) :)
And can you wiggle your shoulders? How about your nose? What about your knees? 
(we look hilarious)
And can you keep wiggling like that and move around in a circle?
Now, let's reach up HIGH... (high voice) and down LOW... (low voice) 
And let's tuck in our bottoms and sit right down... for a story.

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
I decided to do stories about the most common of pets - dogs and cats. This was a dog book I haven't read before and it's such a cute one. George's mother gets increasing frustrated as she pleads with her puppy-son to "Bark, George". When George does anything *but*, a trip to the vet reveals what he's been up to. The ending of the story might leave little ones perplexed, but the adults in the room make it pretty clear that they "got it". :)

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
This is NOT your common cat tale. Pete is one cool customer and he loves his shoes, no matter what happens to them. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be making Pete's shoes into a flannel story in the future, but I want to hone my skills first so I can do them justice. I just made up my own little groovy, snapping tune to go along with Pete's lyrics, but some copies come with a link to an audiobook version of the book. I'm not going to check it out; I don't want to spoil how I imagine that groovy little tune. :)

Song: Bingo
Perfect song, amiright? This, too, is a (*super easy*) flannel in the making, especially for the 2-3 year olds, who are new to the song and need some help with the letters. I am just going to cut them out with our Ellison die... for the next time I use the song!

Song: Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes
What does this have to do with anything? Nada. I was being flexible with the theme, remember? :) I hadn't realized until I was struggling with Pets that lots of storytimers have go-to songs that they do with their group so that by the end of the session, the kids know those songs/rhymes really well. This might be one of mine - we go faster and faster and the kids love it. 

Pet Wash by Dayle Ann Dodds
Quick and funny rhyming story about two kids who will wash just about any pet you can get... but they have to draw the line somewhere. I liked the introduction of all kinds of different animals as pets - even those very unlikely to make it past the Mom & Dad approval process. It was also a good segue into our next book...

What Pet to Get by Emma Dodd
Jack has convinced his mother that they need a pet. The question now is, what pet to get? Jack considers a number of options - all of which his mother pretty logically shoots down - until he finally arrives at a funny, flip-the-flap-to-reveal conclusion. There were two Jacks in one of my storytimes and they really liked hearing their names in this story. :)

Craft: Make Your Own Pet
Mrs. M had the brilliant idea of just cutting a regular ol' paper plate so that it looked like it had ears. Then we have every child a pair of yellow circles for eyes, a black circle for a nose, six grey yarn scraps for whiskers... or mouths, or eyebrows, or whatever! We decided to tell the kids to make whatever they wanted - and they sure did! I had a pet werewolf and a pet dragon come out of those supplies... but I just kept making cats. :D

Song: 'The More We Get Together'
I didn't realize that this is a Raffi song... I love the tune and the sentiment, and we sing it at the end of every storytime. I ask the kids to bring whatever craft we worked on to the carpet to share with the other kids and we use it as a prop for the song.

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

* I call my storytime plans "Setlists" because I actually carry a half sheet of paper into the Story Room with me to remind me what I'm doing. It's all keyword/notes, so that's what it looks like to me - a setlist. And, "setlist" cracks me up. We're rockstars! :D