Burrow and Blue, an Art Storytime


What a Treasure by Will and Jane Hillenbrand
Underground by Denise Fleming

In our continuing CSLP exploration, this week we talked about BURROWS and burrowing animals. We began by reading What a Treasure. I told this story using flannels created by the artist. See the author and illustrator’s website here to download your own. There are a few activities available for free download. I highly recommend checking out the matching game.

Our second book this week was Underground by Denise Fleming. The children had a great time closely reviewing all of the illustrations. We talked about almost all of the animals in the story. The children especially enjoyed finding the buried toy truck on one of the pages.


My flannel this week was taken from the author and illustrators’ website. I will not be posting pics because I do not own the artwork.

Action Rhyme:

My extension activity this week was yet another adaptation of “Wheels on the Bus.” I don’t know a child who doesn’t enjoy singing this song in any of its incarnations.

Underground Animals

(tune of the “Wheels on the Bus”)
The worms in the ground
wiggle wiggle wiggle, wiggle wiggle wiggle, wiggle wiggle wiggle
the worms in the ground
wiggle wiggle wiggle, all day long.

Armadillos in the dirt roll and stretch…
Moles underground they scratch scratch scratch…
The rabbits in their den sleep all night…

Art Station:

This week our art word was BLUE. The children were a bit rowdy so we didn’t have a chance for much discussion and moved straight into our featured art project. This week I provided black, blue and white paint and pieces of blue paper to glue. Unfortunately because of the materials provided, the parents felt that my project was actually meant to be stenciling because the pieces of blue paper I provided were the negative pieces leftover from die cutting butterflies. Most of the parents didn’t completely take over the art projects, but they did lack the spontaneity and variety of past art projects.

Featured art station set up:

  • Paint brushes
  • Paint containers
  • Blue, black, and white tempera paint
  • Glue
  • Pieces of blue paper

Flowers, Flannel Friday

This flower matching game was created for a coworker. These were simple and quick to create.

Each of the flower tops has 1, 2, or 3 glitter circles on it. Each stem either has 1, 2, or 3 leaves on it. I made two sets of flowers and stems and only glued one set together.

These can be played with in several ways. First as a simple matching game with colors. Present the children with the completed flower. Have them choose the matching colored flower top.

Then have them choose the stem with the correct number of leaves.

These flowers can also be used as a counting game, matching the number of glitter circles on the flower tops with the number of leaves on the stem. The child counts the number of circles on the top “1-2-3” and finds a stem with the correct number of leaves, “1-2-3”. This is a great way to make the activity appropriate to an older audience and to scaffold up the activity when the children get bored.

Of course, I can also use these flowers during my storytime in combination with my counting windows. I can place my completed flowers in the appropriate number window while sharing a rhyme.


Thanks to Anna at www.futurelibrariansuperhero.com for hosting this week’s Flannel Friday!

Ants and Artists, an Art Storytime


Ma Jiang and the Orange Ants by Barbara Ann Port
The Ants Go Marching by Sandra D’Antonio

Continuing our CSLP theme “Dig into Reading” this week we talked about ANTS. We began with the Chinese tale Ma Jiang and the Orange Ants. This was a great story to talk about cultures other than our own and since fire ants are a big deal to kids in the south, they easily connected to the fierce orange ants in the story. This story was incredibly long for a storytime group and so required some abridgement, but the overall story was accessible to the children and they enjoyed Ma Jiang’s ingenuity.

Our second story was The Ants go Marching. I will admit that we did not read/sing the entire 1-10. I ended at 5 when “the little one stopped to wave good-bye”. The children did enjoy the marching along with the ants.


This week we played with my “matching flowers game” flannel. The set consists of some flowers and flower pieces. The child’s goal is to match the appropriate flower top with the stem that has the correct number of petals. As with any other matching game, the children had a blast finding the correct flower top and matching with the appropriate flower bottom. Find out more in my Flannel Friday post!

Action Rhyme:

My extension activity this week was a very simple fingerplay. As always, the incredibly simple fingerplay was a big hit with the young ones and older ones.

Ant Hill

I once saw an ant hill,(make fist with one hand)
With no ants about
So I said, “Dear little ants,
won’t you please come out?”
Then as if the little ants had heard my call,
One, two, three, four, five came out.(extend fingers, one at a time)
And that was all.

Art Station:

This week our art word was ARTIST. We talked about how everyone is an artist because everyone has the ability to put paint down on paper (or in some other way make a mark). Our featured art set up this week was a little bit of a twist on finger painting. Initially I had planned on finger painting, but when I was setting up for my class I realized I didn’t have any of my preferred paper for the project. So instead, I gave the children foam rollers and encouraged them to paint on their hands and then make handprints on their papers. It was a project that was enjoyed by all… and hardly any paint was left on my library, so I was pleasantly surprised as well.

Featured art station set up:

  • Shallow paint trays
  • Tempera paint
  • Paper
  • Small foam rollers
  • Paint brushes and crayons for embellishment

Frogs and Feathers, an Art Storytime


Red-Eyed Tree Frog by Joy Crowly
Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme by Marianne Berkes

Our theme for this month is the jungle. After introducing our letter of the week (F) and doing our warm-up activity, we spelled our word (FROG) and read our first story. Red-Eyed Tree Frog is a non fiction book that is still appropriate for sharing with preschoolers, which I appreciate. This book was especially wonderful because it told a very simple story using understandable pictures and posed plenty of questions for its readers.

Our second book was Over in the Jungle: A Rainforest Rhyme by Marianne Berkes. And yes, this book does belong to the genre of books that is based on the song “Over in the Meadow.”


I previously created a flannel story for the book for a coworker. The book itself is beautifully illustrated and did not require a felt story component, but my coworker wanted to give the pieces out at her storytime to have the children bring up the mother animals at the appropriate place in the story. My own storytime is much too large for that kind of interaction, so I just put up the appropriate mother animals as I sang the song. Each mother animal was placed in the appropriate felt counting window to reinforce number concepts as we went along.

Action Rhyme:

Our activity this week was the “Jungle Walk” action rhyme. The kids really got into this one and had lots of fun pretending to walk through the jungle and acting out the animal actions.

Jungle Walk

(Slap hands on thighs for walking sounds and suit actions to words)

Walking through the jungle
What did I see?
A small and jumpy FROG was

A big striped TIGER was

A long green Crocodile was

A long and pretty PARROT was
CAWING at me!

Art Station:

Our featured art station echoed our jungle theme with brightly colored feathers for use as paint brushes and tropical colors of paint. We began the art portion of our program by spelling our art word: FEATHER, and talking about jungle animals that have feathers. Then I explained how a feather might be used in place of a paintbrush. The kids were quite excited by the idea. They love any “alternative paintbrushes” I come up with and this activity was no exception. When it was their time to paint, they loved picking out their feather, swirling it through the diluted tempera paint and dragging it across their paper. Those feathers are small and not easy to grip, so I have to say that this activity is definitely a winner for improving fine motor control.

Featured art station set up:

  • Diluted tempera paint in semi-divided paint trays:
    • orange
    • green
    • blue
  • A selection of craft feathers (I chose to use only the sleeker, more brushlike)
  • Paper

What is Art for Early Literacy

Art for Early Literacy is the name of my public library program designed for preschool children, ages 0 – 5. The program teaches early literacy fundamentals using art as its primary focus. The Art for Early Literacy program is designed to impart early literacy skills, introduce children to art concepts and give children of multiple age an interest levels a chance to explore at their own pace. This weekly program is quite popular and regularly draws a crowd of 30 – 60 children and caregivers.

Key components of my program:

  • A short story time encouraging children and caregivers to come together as a group.
  • Stations that allow me to scale up or down depending on the number of participants and are appropriate for children between the ages of 0 and 5.
  • Non-objective art activities that allow children to explore materials and techniques and learn through trial and error.
  • An environment that encourages children to collaborate, share and explore at their own interest and ability level.
  • Art stations that provide a feeling of continuity while allowing children a variety of explorations as materials are rotated.

The program is designed as a short story-time, approximately fifteen minutes long, followed by an open exploration of our multiple art stations to round out the rest of the hour. My mini-storytime is designed to be appropriate for multiple age groups. We discuss our letter of the week, read two books, sing a few songs, work on a flannel activity or finger play and practice spelling a few words. Storytime is where I introduce new art concepts. It is also where I review the rules for art class and explain the structure of the program to new participants. At the end of story time, I make sure that every family has a ticket which will tell them their starting art station. Then I demonstrate our featured art project and let the children loose to make art.

Currently I provide six to eight different activities which are roughly divided into five stations. At arrival, families are given tickets that indicate their initial station. It is the parents’ job to interest their children in the initial activity. When the child is ready to move on, the parent then looks for an open spot at another station and moves the child in the appropriate direction. I have found that the tickets prevent the attendees from bunching up around the featured art station. The five station categories are: featured project, scribbles, play-dough, needlework and manipulatives.

The featured art project rotates every week. This is also the only project that they get to take home. The rest of the stations feature materials that are changed biweekly or monthly. This allows children the chance to gain mastery and revisit skills. However after a few weeks, we change the way children are interacting with the material so they can expand their horizons and look at the materials in a new light. For more information on my stations, I invite you to read my blog posts: storytimes, featured art project, scribble station, playdough, sewing, manipulatives.

Five minutes before the scheduled end of the program, I sing a “clean-up” song and everyone helps put the materials away and clean up the mess. I have been told that clean-up-time is a favorite among many of the children and they certainly are enthusiastic helpers.