Notes from the Black Lagoon

Posts Tagged ‘story time

Another successful story/craft hour has come and gone. This week, we read stories about dinosaurs!! And it was a hit. As one little boy put it, “ROOOOOAAAR!”.

Paper Plate DinoParents were amazed by the our paper plate dinosaur craft which, in turn, amazed me! Paper plate crafts are as old as the day is long! I guess many parents don’t think to do crafts with their kids at home (which is, I suppose, why they turn up at the library) or are too wrapped up in the bells and whistles of hi-tech crafts to remember the old stand-bys. But who doesn’t love a paper plate craft? They’re easy, fun, cheap and can be reinvented at any time. The perfect craft IMHO.

After doing many sessions of Story/Craft, I’ve sort of developed a little philosophy behind the crafts the I choose. My main operating principle is that story/craft needs to be bonding time for parents and children (parents accompany children for all story times at the TPL). Some parents seem to expect US to entertain their kids while they rest. However, I see myself as a facilitator during story time. Yes, I read the stories and do the movement activities with the kids, but when it comes to crafts, that’s where parent/child interaction can take center stage. I don’t go around and do craft with the kids. That what parents are for! I tend to instruct everyone from the front of the room and then go set up our snack while the parents and kids craft away happily. As a result, I tend to choose crafts that require both parents and children to complete certain elements. Enter the paper plate dinosaur. I had parents cut out the tail, neck and legs from one paper plate while children colored the “body” on another paper plate. Children had to color the cut-out parts as well and then glue a googly-eye on the head. As soon as parents staple the colored neck, tail and legs to the body, the whole thing is done! Easy, cheap, and fun!

Oh yeah, we also read stories and watch a movie BEFORE we even get to the craft. Here’s what we read today:

Dinopets Dino Pets by Lynn Ploude

A little boy tries very hard to find the right dinosaur to be his perfect pet. Naturally, none of the dinos he chooses work out, but it’s hilarious to watch what goes wrong with each one. All the escaped dinos become tired of being lonely and come back to the boy’s house for a happy ending. Sweet and funny for the preschool crowd.

Dad’s Dinosaur Day by Diane Dawson Hearn Dad’s Dinosaur Day

Mikey’s dad takes a break from fatherhood and becomes a silly dinosaur for a day. The usual school day routine is turned topsy-turvy as Mikey rides his dad (in disguise at T Rex) to school, feeds him the scraps from all the kids’ lunches and stops at a tree for a snack on the way home. Mikey likes all the fun he’s having with his new dino-dad, but soon tires of all the responsibility of having one. Kids will recognize Mikey wants his old dad back and he wants to be a normal kid again. Everything ends well as his regular Dad shows up at the breakfast table but the fun may start again as Mom is suspiciously missing!


Well, this is the second week of my story/craft program and we’ve got a great group of kids this time around. Today’s theme was (appropriately) rain and puddles! I love puddle books and read two of my favs, The Rain Puddle by Adelaide Holl and The Puddle by David McPhail. The Rain Puddle is one of my absolute favorite picture books, a fact I was quickly reminded of when one little girl accidently ripped a page while she was looking at it! Sadly, it’s out of print, so we had to use our best book repair skills and save it from the bin.

Then we made a Rain Stick for our craft. Thanks to this video on Sprout’s website, I was able to watch Nina do this craft and then re-create it for my story time kids.The Rain Sticks were definitely a hit…not to mention very noisy and fun to do! I made a few modifications though from the Sprout version. First, I used wrapping paper to cover my paper towel rolls. I also used sprinkles (or jimmies if you’re from New England) for the noisemakers inside the roll instead of dried rice. Good thing too, as some of my story time friends decided to eat them rather than put them inside the Rain Stick.

Next week: dinosaurs!!!

In typical New England fashion, the weather is atrocious and unpredictable today! Last night it snowed; today it’s warm with monsoon-like rains. Either way, it’s still winter and a crappy day is a good day for soup. Of course, I was too dysfunctional this morning to pack any for my lunch, but I thought I would satisfy my soup craving via story time at the local YMCA preschool (which I visit twice a month). If you need some soup stories, here are the two I read today:

Bravery soup

Bravery Soup by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Under the tasty guise of soup, this story is really about facing your fears! Carlin is a scaredy-raccoon in need of courage. After Big Bear asks him to retrieve a special ingredient for bravery soup in a monster’s cave, Carlin shores up what little he has and sets off with the gifts of armor, food, and a stick from some well-meaning (but overwrought) forest friends. “Remember”, Big Bear says, “you are more brave than you think.” Carlin discovers he’s perfectly capable of navigating through the Forbidden Forest and Skulk Mountain by using his own wits instead. Finally, Carlin faces his fear and the cave monster to obtain the special ingredient box. He returns to a big cheer, but only to find the box is EMPTY! All’s well that end’s well though and Carlin learns that bravery isn’t in a box but in doing things you don’t think you can do! A tasty bowl of a story and a life lesson all in one. This story had the older class of 4 year olds entranced and they loved it!

Duck soup

Duck Soup by Jackie Urbanovic

Maxwell Duck is back as chef extroardinaire in this hilarious book. Max is happily cooking away, trying to invent his own soup recipe. After realizing his special soup needs just the right something, Max trots off to find chives in garden. Enter his three goofy friends with big appetites. Mystified by Max’s disappearance from the scene, his friends are about wolf down some tasty soup when they notice an ominous feather in the broth. Chaos ensues as Brody, Dakotah and Bebe frantically strain Max’s soup and panic over his demise in carrots, potatoes and onions. Upon returning, Max witnesses the destruction of his masterpiece and sits at the dinner table looking understandably demoralized. But, as his friends point out, at least he’s not duck soup! A totally hilarious read for the kids as they realize Max’s “head” is really a potato, etc.

All and all, a satisfying story time inspired by a satisfying meal.