down on the farm...

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. :)

This was a fun theme that I am sure I'll do again soon... you can go in so many different directions with it! The time around, we went with the animal angle and chose stories that featured farmyard friends (hey, that's not a bad theme title). 

Here's the Setlist*:

Song: 'Hello Song'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.

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!

Welcome/Theme Intro
I used this time to sort of prepare my younger kids for some of the action in the stories we were reading that day. We talked about how owls are different from other birds (they sleep all day, they eat mice, they don't 'sing')... and we practiced saying what they did say... a LOT. 

Can you wiggle your finger bones like this? (out in front of our bodies)
And can you wiggle your toes bones 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 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.

Clip Clop by Nicola Smee
I didn't choose this book initially - I went with Farmer Duck, also a very good story, but the kids eyes glazed over. I'd thought this one might be too simple, but if you read it enthusiastically, it's definitely a good one. I love the illustrations and just discovered that there's a Christmas version called Jingle Jingle! I'll be sure to get a copy of that before the snow starts falling! 

Song: 'This is the Way We...' (Farm Chores)
This is the way we plant a seed, plant a seed, plant a seed. 
This is the way we plant a seed - now we'll get it growing!
This is the way we water our seed, water our see, water our seed. 
This is the way we water our seed each and every morning.
This is the way the plant grows up, plant grows up, plant grows up.
This is the way the plant grows up - it's ready for a'picking!
This is the way we pick the food, pick the food, pick the food.
This is way we pick the food and now it's time for eating - YUM!

Song: 'Old MacDonald'
How could we NOT? :D We have a collection of mitt puppets that fit the theme, so every child got to hold up their own barnyard animal. 

Cock-a-Doodle Quack! Quack! by Mick Manning
This book? Huge hit... everyone in the room just loved that baby rooster for seeking the advice of everyone on the farm and even trying "Cock-a-poodle-poo!". :) You know it's a fun story when you look out at your group and the parents and grandparents are cracking up. Plus, the illustrations are so bright and cute. I really liked this book.

Song: 'If You're Happy & You Know It'
I wanted to work in an 'old standard' so that I could use it again in the future. :)

Craft: Make a Farm Animal
We provided the kids with a choice of three animals - a sheep, a pig, or a chick. Each was made up of simple shapes and each had a fun element (the sheep had cottonballs for fleece; the pig had a curly pipecleaner tail; the chick had colorful feathers) PLUS they all had googly eyes (my fav)! 

Goodbye Song: 'The More We Get Together'

This was my third storytime and I think it was the one where I hit my stride. I felt comfortable and happy and probably had more planned than I needed (our storytimes are 30 minutes long). So, if you're new to this game, don't get discouraged if you need some time to get your groove going - and believe me, it's worth the effort. :)

* 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