I’ve been working on adding some new lesson plans to my collection for the Storytime for 2’s & 3’s, and have been very happy with the three I’ve just added. A couple of weeks ago I added a singing theme lesson plan, and it went over very well; I was pleased by how many books I was able to find that are either songs turned into picture books, or picture books that feature classic nursery rhymes, or picture books that can easily be either read or sung. The three books that I used with the group were The Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinsky, Boom Bah! by Phil Cummings, and Today is Monday by Eric Carle. In addition, of course, there were twenty-plus other books that I pulled and placed around the room for the quiet time (when each adult shares a book with their child).
Then last week I debuted my Monster storytime, which was a huge hit. I was very careful in planning this one, and especially in picking the books that would be featured, because I didn’t want to create a fear in these kids that didn’t already exist, since these kids are so young and impressionable. Best of all for the Monster storytime were the two Folkmanis puppets that inspired it: Blueper and Twickety. The kids absolutely LOVED the puppets, and came up and gave them hugs and gentle pats on the head – and asked to have the monsters taste their fingers instead of our usual Zebra puppet fingertaster. The two books that I read aloud were Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems (one of my all-time favorites), and Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty. Both are just the right combination of silly and didactic – yes, there’s a lesson in each, but it doesn’t hit you over the head, and the humor in each keeps the lesson from being cloying.
Tomorrow I’ll be debuting my new Mouse theme storytime, using two mouse puppets from Folkmanis. This afternoon I’ll be making some feltboard pieces for the story All For Pie, Pie For All by Valeri Gorbachev; there will also be another book – no feltboard pieces – that will precede it: Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse by Lindsay Barrett George (I like that George’s book features mice that live in the wild and mice that live in our walls). And each child will taste like a different kind of cheese when Zebra tastes their fingers at the end.
It’s a lot of work to add these new storytimes to my repetoire, most of which work is done at home, but it is so fun to have some fresh new material and new themes. Storytimes are only as good as the level of excitement brought by the presenter, and I’m always more jazzed about something new and fresh than something I’ve done too many times before. At some point, though, I’ll run out themes and ideas…but that’s ok, the older storytimes will then seem fresh again. And now I’d best get going on those feltboard pieces: a cat family, a mouse family, an ant family, and a rapidly disappearing divided pie.