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Friday, February 17, 2012

Envelope Box Theater

Jodi and Debbie from Menomonie shared an excellent idea at the SLP workshop about a perennial favorite at storytime. They made this great house-front out of an envelope box:

As you can see, the kids really enjoy the box. It's even better when paired with this little poem:

Inside the little house,
There lives a little mouse.
Hear him scamper?
(scratch inside of box)
Hear him creep? (scratch again)
He’ll come out if you say peep!
(Kids say
PEEP), then poke mouse out of door or window)

They did this for us at the workshop. Some may say this is indicative of my maturity level, but I was thrilled--I was so excited to see the mouse that was doing all that scratching! I can see why the kids think it is terrific.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Storytime Superpowers

I have decided, after nearly 2 decades of being involved with children's librarians, that superpowers come from sharing ideas. Now that there are so many active and useful blogs out there (not to mention Pinterest), there are some great places to get ideas. And after the SLP workshop, I came home with some great ideas from real, live people.

Marge Loch Wouters posted a great list of her favorite blogs for storytime inspirations a few weeks ago on the WLA's Youth Services Section blog. That same blog has a re-post from the ALSC (American Library Service to Children) blog about how blogs help a children's librarian plan storytime. Great stuff! What are your favorite blogs for storytime ideas? Let me know.

And now for a real-life idea from the Summer Library Program workshop: Debbie Nelson from Menomonie brought a sleeping bag with eyes and a slithery forked tongue safety-pinned on to it. She slipped out of her shoes and proceeded to disappear into the boa constrictor, while reciting the Shel Silverstein poem I'm Being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor.

More ideas coming! And be a superhero and share yours! Post in comments below or send more complicated (or picture-laden) ones to me and I'll post them for you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Curing Cabin Fever in Prescott

Art Therapy in the form of valentine-making

Prescott Public Library hosted a Cabin Fever Fest on Saturday, February 11 that was guaranteed to cure kids' winter blues. Dr. Becky diagnosed each child as they entered the meeting room - of course every single one had a bad case of cabin fever. She then gave each child a 'prescription' with a list of therapies they could take to cure their cabin fever. Art Therapy was a paper valentine craft; Play Therapy involved building racetracks out of paper towel and toilet paper tubes, then racing cars down them; Cognitive Therapy was a Scavenger Hunt to find things in the library, with a small prize for doing the hunt; Physical Therapy consisted of 2 indoor snowball fights, each lasting about 5 minutes; for Music Therapy, I played a couple of Putamayo kids tapes; and, finally, children visited the Pharmacy to get their medicine = microwave s'mores. Of course, every child was completely cured by the time the program was over.

I have to admit that inspiration for this program came from a listserv post where the poster described the racetrack-building activity. "What a perfect cabin fever activity," I said and we were off! The age range we targeted was 3-12 (plus parents/caregivers), but most of our attendees were 3-6 year olds. As it turned out, the local 4K program had a Cabin Fever open gym just before our activity, so most of our attendees came straight from there.

This program was pretty easy to organize. I used scavenger hunt sheets and prizes left over from National Gaming Day. The racetrack-building activity requires only paper tubes, tape and little cars - I raided my son's Matchbox car collection for those. The s'mores were popular and I think I'll make them again for a "Dream Under the Stars" camping event during the summer.

Play therapy with paper towel tubes and matchbox cars!