Caterpillars and Copy, an Art Storytime

Books:

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle


Our springtime theme was continued this week with CATERPILLARS. We began by reading Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert. As always, the Ehlert illustrations are beautiful and boldly colorful. Thus they are perfect for sharing with a large group of preschoolers. My group especially enjoyed learning that the pictures in the book are based on real caterpillars. They loved the last few pages which showed the caterpillars and their corresponding butterflies.

Our second book was the classic, Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Before beginning this story, the children learned the signs for “hungry” and “caterpillar.” As we read, they loved repeating the signs. I don’t often enjoy sharing Eric Carle books, but the children very much enjoyed it. They loved talking about all the different fruits.

Flannel:

My flannel this week was a simple butterfly die cut. I had previously made these and dug them out of storage for this storytime.

Counting Rhyme:

Our supporting activity this week was a counting rhyme. I chose to count backwards from seven to reinforce the idea of numbers as distinct within the series.

Counting Butterflies

Seven little butterflies resting on sticks
One flew away and then there were SIX

Six little butterflies watching clouds float by
One flew away and then there were FIVE

Five little butterflies sitting on the door
One flew away and then there were FOUR

Four little butterflies sitting in a tree
One flew away and then there were THREE

Three little butterflies looking at you
One flew away and then there were TWO

Two little Butterflies sitting in the sun
One flew away and then there was ONE

One little butterfly left all alone
He flew away and then there were none.

Art Station:

The art word this week was COPY. We talked about what happens if we put a piece of paper down on top of a wet painting (a basic print). Then I asked what would happen if we painted on a piece of paper and then folded it in half. Then I demonstrated the process which I outlined: Paint, fold, & squish. This is the basic butterfly painting technique which you likely remember from your own youth. Paint on a piece of paper. Fold the paper in half. Press the sides together to make a really good impression. Open your paper to enjoy the beautiful Rorschach pattern. To make things easier for the children, I watered down the paint a bit and pre-folded the papers. The results were BEAUTIFUL.

Featured art station set up:

  • Papers (prefolded)
  • Watered-down tempera paint
  • Paintbrushes

Eggs and Creatures, Flannel Friday

This eggs and creatures flannel was created to be used in my eggs storytime. To find the rhyme I used with them, go check out my storytime post here.

The eggs were just simple egg silhouettes cut from various colors of flannel.

The creatures were printed on milk filter paper (see the Pioneer Woman’s blog for an explaination.) I find that the colors are not as bright as they could be, so I always end up recoloring my color images with colored pencils after they come out of the printer. Then I touch up the outlines with an extra-fine Sharpie marker before cutting them out. The creature images themselves were free clip art pieces I found in various locations across the internets.

Before storytime I hid the creatures behind the eggs so that as each creature was uncovered, it was a complete surprise. Originally I had planned to decorate the eggs to match or give a hint of the creature inside… but maybe that will happen next year.

Eggs and Exhibit, an Art Storytime

Books:

Ollie by Olivier Dunrea
Roly-Poly Egg by Kali Stileman

Our exploration of spring continued this week with EGGs. We began by reading one of my favorite books, Ollie by Olivier Dunrea. The story is simple and perfect for preschoolers. My only complaint is that this series of books is so small, it is difficult to share to a group.

The second story this week was Roly-Poly Egg by Kali Stileman. Before beginning this story, the children learned the ASL sign for egg so they could repeat it as I read the story. I love the illustrations and the bright colors in this book. I also love the way the illustrator has provided a dotted line trajectory of our wayward egg that I can trace to add a little bit of action to the story.

Flannel:

For more details about the Eggs and Creatures Flannel, follow the link. The eggs for this flannel were simple egg outlines cut from flannel. The various animals were created by trimming a piece of milk filter material to 8 1/2” x 11” and then running off a color copy on the material. The result was then color enhanced through judicious use of colored pencil and Sharpie.

Action Rhyme:

My supporting activity this week was a rhyming game played with flannel pieces. I had hidden various animals (who all come from eggs) behind egg shapes. I repeated the rhyme below and let the children fill in the blank. This was a big hit.

I Found an Egg

I found a nest while walking one day.
“Look at all the eggs!” I had to say.
I waited and waited and what did I see?
Craaack! Who hatched? A baby _______ was looking at me.

Art Station:

Our art word this week was EXHIBIT. We quickly defined the word (a display of work) and then we talked about where the children exhibit their work at home. By the way, one of the best things you can do for a child to let them know that their work is appreciated is to display it. I highly recommend taking the time and effort to display their work.

I was running late this week. That is my only excuse for the art project this week which consisted of some printed egg silhouettes that the children could paint on and embellish with collage materials. However, the finished products were so beautiful and creative that you can hardly see the cheap copies they were painting on. They managed (somehow) to overcome my limitations.

Featured art station set up:

  • Printed egg silhouettes
  • Paint
  • Paint containers
  • Brushes
  • Collage materials

Spring and Sandy Paint, an Art Storytime

Books:

  • Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff
  • Mouse’s First Spring by Lauren Thompson

Our new monthly theme is SPRING… also our word for the week. We began by reading Baby Bear Sees Blue. This book has been sitting on my shelf for months while I waited for spring to come around. I love any book that stresses color concepts and this book is wonderful because it manages to talk about colors as a baby bear might actually experience them. For an added bonus, the illustrations are beautiful lino cuts.

Our second book was Mouse’s First Spring. While telling this story, I encouraged the children to make the ASL sign for mouse as I read. Mouse’s First Spring is a bit long, but has a nice amount of repetition in it. Along with encouraging the children to use some sign language, I also encouraged the children to blow along with the wind.

Folder Story:

Baby Bear Sees Blue was presented as a folder story. To create the folder story, I first cut legal sized manila folders in half. On the front of the the folder I cut the simple shapes of the objects in the story (sun, leaf, butterfly, bird, trout, cloud, rainbow, etc.) I then added the embellisments (the stem of the strawberries, the lightening for the cloud, etc.) and laminated the folder. After stapling the sides of the folder together I had nice pockets for my color swatches.

At the beginning of the story, all the children were handed laminated swatches of colored construction paper. They had to wait until their color was mentioned in the story to come up and place their swatch in the folder. This was a challenge for some of the children because this story is pretty long and I don’t generally include these kinds of participatory elements because my group is so big. That being said, the folders were an excellent reinforcement of the colors in the story and it was a nice little break from flannel.

Action Rhyme:

Our supporting activity this week was an adaptation of Frere Jacques.

Spring is Here (tune of Are You Sleeping)

I see robins,
I see bird’s nests,
Butterflies too,
flowers too.
Everything is growing,
The wind is gently blowing.
Spring is here, spring is here.

Art Station:

Our art word this week was SAND. We talked about how artists will sometimes add different materials into their paint to create textures. For paint this week, I provided various colors of tempera paint that had some sand mixed in. This created a very interesting sensory textured finger paint. The children were very excited to get their hands into our special “dirty” paint. I also provided various collage elements for them to stick in their fingerpaint such as hole punches, paper mosaic bits and small pieces of yarn.

Featured art station set up:

  • Various colors tempera paint with play sand added
  • Paint trays
  • Paper
  • Collage materials

Hamsters, Hard, and Soft, an Art Storytime

Books:

10 Minutes till Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann
Pet Shop Lullaby by Mary Ann Fraser


Our pet theme concluded this week with HAMSTERS. We started out by reading one of my child’s favorite stories: 10 Minutes Till Bedtime. This book has very minimal verbiage as the story is told primarily through the pictures… and they are detailed. This book would perhaps be better shared with a slightly smaller group, but we muddled through just fine. The children loved seeing the antics of the hamsters and helping to countdown to bedtime. It was also a good opportunity to talk with them about what kinds of different activities they do as they are getting ready to go to sleep.

Pet Shop Lullaby was our second story in the storytime. I paired the reading of this story with the ASL sign for sleep (see how to sign sleep here). So as I read the story, whenever the word “sleep” would appear, everyone could practice their sign language. Again, this book had a connection to bedtime, so the children had the opportunity to talk about getting ready for bed.

Action Rhyme:

Today’s extension activity was an adaptation of the ever popular “Wheels on the Bus.” I added hand motions to the different activities of the hamster.

Hamster in the Cage (tune of Wheels on the Bus)

The hamster on his wheel goes round and round
Round and round
Round and round
The hamster on his wheel goes round and round
All night long.

The hamster in the cage goes munch, munch, munch
Munch, munch, munch,
Munch, munch, munch
The hamster in the cage goes munch, munch, munch
All night long.

The hamster in the cage goes snore, snore, snore
Snore, snore, snore
Snore, snore, snore
The hamster in the cage goes snore, snore, snore
All day long.

Art Station:

Our art words this week were HARD and SOFT. It was a great opportunity to discuss hard and soft painting tools. Our stamps are generally hard and this week I brought some old Rummikub game tiles to stamp with. Paint brushes are often soft, but this week I decided to use an alternate paint applicator as we had a surplus of giant pom poms in our supply closet. The kids loved the novelty of the different paint applicators and really appreciated the two different types of marks the implements were capable of creating.

Featured art station set up:

  • Two colors of tempera paint in trays
  • Giant Pom Poms
  • Hard, domino-like, plastic game pieces
  • Paper

Swim and Scissors, an Art Storytime

Books:

  • Dogfish by Gillian Shields
  • Swim, Swim by Lerch

    Finishing off pet month, this week we talked about fish. Our word of the week was SWIM. We began by reading the book Dogfish by Gillian Shields. Dogfish is the story of a boy who really wants a dog, but learns to be happy with his goldfish. I was happily surprised to see that the children really connected with the boy’s story.I made Swim, Swim a little bit more interactive by including an American Sign Language component. Each time I read the word “swim” the children were encouraged to make the ASL sign for swim. The children loved the silly fish attempting to make friends with inanimate objects. They were giggling almost the entire way though.

Flannel:

The flannel prop this week was fishes for our counting rhyme. Five fishes were placed up on our board, one in each counting window. One by one they were all snatched from the board.

Counting Rhyme:

Our accompanying activity this week was a version of 5 Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree. Appropriately we had fishes and a shark. I was happy to see that there was very little in the way of anxiety about the shark (I’ve had that happen) and mostly giggles as my “shark” hands snatched each felt fish from the board as we sang. A lot of the children were also quite engaged in making the hand movements accompanying the rhyme.

Five Little Fishes

Five little fishes, Swimming in the sea.
Teasing Mr. Shark, You can’t catch me, You can’t catch me.
Along comes Mr. Shark, As quiet as can be… Snap!

Art Station:

Our art word this week was SCISSORS. The children thought it was pretty funny to have a word with so many s’s. Our project this week was to make a collage. They had scissors to cut their papers, glue sticks and glue with cheap paint brushes. I made sure to also encourage parents of younger children to help their children cut by holding the papers for them, or encouraging them to rip the papers if the child was too young for scissors. Many of the children found oval pieces among my scraps and chose to make Easter themed collages.

Featured art station set up:

  • Scissors
  • Scrap Papers
  • Glue Sticks
  • White Glue in egg cartons
  • Cheap Paintbrushes
  • Background Papers

Dogs and Dark Painting, an Art Storytime

Books:

  • Dog’s Colorful Day: A Messy Book about Colors and Counting by Emma Dodd
  • A Dog is a Dog by Stephen Shaskan

This month we are talking about pets. This week’s storytime focused on the perennial favorite, DOGS. Dog’s Colorful Day is a wonderful book about colors and counting. I love that it is a simple, repetitive story that builds as it goes, but never quite gets to a boring level of repetition. It is short enough to share with a large group, and the continued counting allows for plenty of group interaction.

A Dog is a Dog is a book I’ve been looking forward to reading in our program for quite a while. I was so happy to finally have a chance to share this one. I love the rhymes and the different activities of all the animals as they change from dog to cat to moose to…. The kids enjoyed calling out the new animals as we went along, but I think it was the parents who really enjoyed the absurdity.

Flannel:

Dog’s Colorful Day was presented as a story with a felt prop accessory Dog. As we read, I stuck the various colorful dots as the story progressed. The children loved calling out the names of the different colors as we went along and all had a fun time participating in counting each new dot added to our Dog.

Action Rhyme:

This week’s accompanying activity was a quick little counting rhyme. I used 5 dog silhouettes on my counting windows and removed each one as I progressed through the rhyme.

Five Little Puppies

Five little puppies were playing in the sun.
This one saw a rabbit, and he began to run.
This one saw a butterfly, and he began to race.
This one saw a cat, and he began to chase.
This one tried to catch his tail, and he went round and round.
This one was so quiet, he never made a sound.

Art Station:

Our art words this week were DARK and LIGHT. We talked briefly about the colors of paper that we normally paint on (generally white or other light colors). This week we chose to paint with light colored paint on dark paper (black or dark blue). The pastel shades of tempera paint really popped against the black background and produced a nice-looking finished product.

Featured art station set up:

  • Paint containers
  • Pastel shades of tempera paint
  • Dark blue, purple or black paper
  • Paint brushes

Pets and Polka Dots, an Art Storytime

Books:

  • What Pet to Get by Arthur Levine
  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Our theme this month is pets and we started off the month by reading a few books about picking out a pet. Understandably, our letter for the week was P and we spelled the word “PETS.” The first book for our program was What Pet to Get by Arthur Levine. It is the story of a young boy who has some over the top ideas about what kind of pet he would like to have. The children really enjoyed the engaging illustrations of the pet-related disasters.

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell was our second read of the day. The lift the flap nature of this book was really enjoyed by the children who were having a fun time calling out the animals that they felt were hiding under the flaps. Dear Zoo is always a delightful read.

Song:

The extension activity for this storytime was a pet themed version of If You’re Happy and You Know It. Versions of this song always seem to go over well with my children. They invariably enjoyed acting the parts of the animals as we sung.

If You’re a Pet and You Know It
If you’re a doggie and you know it,
Say, “Woof, woof”.
If you’re a doggie and you know it,
Say, “Woof, woof”.
If you’re a doggie and you know it,
And you really want to show it,
If you’re a doggie and you know it,
Say, “Woof, woof”.

Other pets: cat “meow”, fish “bubble”, snake “hisss”

Art Station:

Our art word for this week was PAINT. We talked a very little bit about the kinds of paint that we use in our art class and we talked a little bit about a few more art words that start with the letter P like “paint brush” and “polka-dot”. Then I gave a quick demonstration of our featured art activity. For this week’s project I provided the children with old wine corks to dip in the paint and stamp on their papers. They also had the option of using chubby paint brushes.

The children enjoyed the process of stamping with the wine corks. They were a perfect size for the whole hand grasp of the younger children. Older children enjoyed the challenge of creating a perfect circle with the corks. This week I provided only yellow and blue paint to reinforce color mixing concepts.

Featured art station set up:

  • Paint trays
  • Wine Corks
  • Chubby Paint Brushes
  • Yellow & Blue Tempera Paint

Colors and Chameleons, an Art Storytime

Books:

Chameleon’s Colors by Chisato Tashiro
Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravette

As our theme for this month is the jungle, we chose this week to focus on chameleons. There is a wealth of stories about the little color-changing creatures, and as this is an art program, I appreciate any opportunity to highlight color recognition. After introducing our letter of the week: C and doing our warm-up activity, we spelled the word: CHAMELEON and then read our first story. “Chameleon’s Colors” is a fiction book by Chisato Tashiro that explains what happened on the day that Chameleon got tired of always fading into the background and decided to help his friends stand out from the crowd as well. The children loved the illustrations of crazily painted animals.

Our second book was “Blue Chameleon” by Emily Gravette. “Blue Chameleon” is a color concept book with a very loose storyline. We talked about the chameleon in this story was lonely. The children loved pointing out the colors as the chameleon attempted to make friends with various animals and objects.

Flannel Counting Rhyme:

Our activity this week was the “Counting Chameleons” counting rhyme. I used flannel chameleon silhouettes on my 1-5 counting windows and removed chameleons as I went.

Counting Chameleon Rhyme

Five little chameleons, creeping along the jungle floor,
One hid away, and then there were four.
Four little chameleons, climbing up a tree,
One hid away, and then there were three.
Three little chameleons, on a vine of flowers blue
One hid away, and then there were two.
Two little chameleons, basking in the sun
One hid away, and there was one.
One little chameleon, walking in a line
He hid away, he sure is hard to find!

Art Station:

Our art word this week was COLOR. We spent a few minutes talking about our favorite colors, then I gave a quick demonstration of our featured art project for the week. This week the children were to color with cray-pas (children’s oil pastels) and then paint over top with watercolor paints. Whenever doing a multi-step process with children this young it is very easy for them to want to skip the first step and move to the end so I do my best to emphasize the heavy scribbles of the first step and downplay the painting. This project is a little bit challenging for some of the children, but the payoff is way the colors of the oil pastels pop next to the watercolors.

Featured art station set up:

  • Cray-pas (childrens oil pastels)
  • Paper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Watercolor tins (liquid watercolor could easily be substituted)
  • Water buckets