Fourth of July Story Time

The last week of June, I did a storytime for the Fourth of July.  This actually isn’t an easy storytime to find great books for, but I found a few that I thought were winners.  The books I used were Hats off for the Fourth of July by Harriet Ziefert, Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet Wong, and Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer.

Apple Pie Fourth of July hats off for the 4th of Julyolivia-forms-a-band

I also created a flannelboard story based on the Storytime with Miss Tara flannel.  I didn’t think the curling ribbon she used would stand up well to storage, so I substituted glitter.

I hate glitter.

hate gif

It gets all over everything—my desk, face, hands, clothing, chair, and eventually, inevitably, my eyes.  But, what’s more firecracker-y than glitter?  Not much.  So, glitter it had to be.

firecracker flannel

I also created a Red, White and Blue game that I got from Mel’s Desk, but used pictures from Google Images instead of creating ones from felt, ‘cause I’m lazy that way (and I’ve developed what I suspect is a weird allergy to felt which causes itching all over my hands and arms and itchy, watery eyes when I touch it for more than a minute.  TMI?)

For music, we marched, sang, and waved our red, white and blue scarves to the following songs:

Oh, When the Flags Come Marching In (tune: When the Saints go Marching In)

Oh, when the flags come marching in,

Oh, when the flags come marching in,

How we love to see our three colors

When the flags come marching in.


First comes the red, then white and blue

First comes the red, then white and blue

How we love to see our three colors

When the flags come marching in.

by Jean Warren


The Flag is Flying (tune: When Johnny Comes Marching Home)

The flag is flying in the breeze,

Hurrah! Hurrah!

Flying high above the trees,

Hurrah! Hurrah!

The red, the white, the blue float by,

The stars and stripes in the wide blue sky,

And we’ll all stand up

As the flag goes marching by.

by Mary Dixon

I think that I did some playing with the words, and I’m not sure if what I’ve printed here are the original words or the modified words.

At the end of storytime, I did the science experiment “Fireworks in a Jar.”  I didn’t get a picture of this, but if you search it online, you’ll find pictures galore of this cool experiment.  I used an empty plastic jar obtained by buying the monster size of cheese puff balls from Sams and then giving them to my son and his roommate, asking only that they return the plastic jar to me (on pain of death.)  I had filled the jar with water before storytime and hid it under my flannel board, covered in a cloth. Then I pulled it out, explained that we were going to some fireworks in a jar, and added at least a cup of oil and topped it with drops of food coloring.  I was so involved in putting the experiment together that I was surprised to look up and see kids with their ears covered and expressions of wariness (and some terror) on their faces.

Yep.  They expected explosions.  Well, when you tell kids you’re doing fireworks in a jar in the same room with them, they’re gonna expect explosions, aren’t they?  Silly librarian.

So, I reassured them that these were SILENT fireworks, that loud fireworks scared me too, and that I would never do that to them.  They relaxed and everyone enjoyed the experiment after that.  We talked about what was heavier, oil, water, or food coloring, and what they thought would happen when I put them all together.  I got lots of feedback from the kids.  I got lots of oohs and aahs when the food coloring drops broke through the oil and “exploded” into the water.  I explained that this food coloring was water based and therefore heavier than oil.  I kept a firm grip on the jar to prevent accidental spillage, and moved it out of the way quickly after the demonstration was over.

During playtime after stories, I offered the app Finger Works Pro: Amazing (Update 6/27/16: It appears that this app is no longer available.  It has disappeared from my iPad, and I cannot find it on the app store.  Bummer, man!).  It was perfect for a play time activity, and very “fireworkish”.

Red followingPurple one finger

The app is simple.  Soft music plays while tiny points of light with little tails roam across the screen, much like a large school of fish.  Ah, but when you touch the screen, those lights begin to follow the movement of your fingers, or respond to stationary touch by creating beautiful fireworks-like formations, while the lights gradually change colors.  I could literally sit for hours playing with this.

Red three fingersPurple two fingers

Many of my storytime kids don’t have a lot of access to technology, so this was a great introductory app to help them figure out that they could touch the screen and that it would respond to them.  The kids were anxious to get their hands on it.  I held the iPad and directed the kids to take turns.  Up to two kids could touch it at a time, and it was neat to see the interactions created on the app by the different touches.

Green followingyellow three fingers


(I first submitted a review about this app to, and have reprinted much of the same information here.)

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2 Responses to Fourth of July Story Time

  1. Pingback: Chinese New Year Storytime | The Librarian Is on The Loose

  2. Pingback: Fourth of July Storytime 6-29-16 | The Librarian Is on The Loose

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