Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spring Storytime: Picnics

Monday was a gloomy, snowy day in New Albany... and we had a picnic with our storytime kids! I had a very small group today since the weather was so cold and wet, and I had several new kids who forgot or were sick last week. It was a small group, but a good group!

Opening Song: My Hands Say Hello

Memory Box: This week's Memory Box item was a piece of watermelon from the book Ready for Anything by Keiko Kasza.

Book: Ready for Anything by Keiko Kasza. This was maybe a little long for my kids - I have a young group and today I had several younger siblings with us. I think it would be perfect for Kindergarten or early elementary, though.

Song: I passed out bells and we rang them to the beat of Teddy Bears' Picnic. I like this version better than the one I actually used:

The song has a nice beat and you could add marching, too, if you wanted!

Felt: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.Of course, there are tons of ways to use this story, but I used a flannelboard set I bought from Lakeshore Learning several years ago. Of course, the caterpillar isn't actually having a picnic, but he's eating lots of different foods, which is what we do on a picnic!

Song: The Ants Go Marching. We have lots of different foods at a picnic. Do you know what ELSE we have lots of? ANTS! We stood up and marched around the room singing the first two verses of this song. You could go longer if you wanted, but my kids weren't super into it, so we just did two rounds.

Book: The Beastly Feast by Bruce Goldstone. I love this book for its rich vocabulary and rhyming text. All kinds of different animals bring rhyming foods to this beastly feast!

Activity: I passed out plastic food and had the kids bring it up and put it in our picnic basket when I called the food they had. If you don't have plastic food, you could make felt pieces (would be very cute for the feltboard with a checkered felt "blanket" to put them on!) or even laminate paper pieces.

Closing Song: Do You Know What Time It Is?

Take-Home Craft: Paper plate watermelon. We include the supplies and instructions in the take-home packet, along with a book list and activity sheet with early literacy activities. For this craft, you just color the paper plate to look like a watermelon, fold it and staple all the way around. We found that the staples will even go through the craft stick.

Although it's pictured above, I skipped Mouse's First Summer for the Monday session. I did read it with the very young, quiet crowd I had for our Tuesday evening and it went over very well with them. I was glad it had watermelon in it (for the memory box) because there's no way that crowd would have sat through Ready for Anything. They were just too young!

Alternate Books: If you don't like or don't have any of the books mentioned above, here are some alternates for read-aloud or display. Many of the books I've found about actual picnics are a little long or wordy for preschool storytime, but you can throw in any books about food. You can also look for seasonal books on spring or summer or sunny weather. And you could even tie in books about bugs or animals you might see while you're on a picnic.

Over in the Meadow by Jane Cabrera (Where might we go to have a picnic? A meadow!)
We're Going on a Picnic by Pat Hutchins
The Best Picnic Ever by Clare Jarrett
Kite Flying by Grace Lin (While we're on our picnic, we can fly a kite!)
The Ants Go Marching by Ann Owen
Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli (We picnic in a park and what else do we do in the park? Swing!)
Sam's Sandwich by David Pelham
Mouse's First Summer by Lauren Thompson
Oh My Gosh, Mrs. McNosh by Sarah Weeks (In the park!)
McDuff Saves the Day by Rosemary Wells
From Fruit to Jelly by Shannon Zemlicka

What other books would be great for a picnic storytime?