Wow. Okay, storytime was CRAZY today! It was our once-a-session Science and Stories; our theme was construction, and our science today was an investigation of ramps (inspired by LibraryMakers). This was the first Science and Stories in our new space, and a whopping 70 people showed up. Yikes!
I was in a unique and difficult position this time, as I usually select and gather my books for the entire session well ahead of time. This time, we changed libraries, and I went on a week’s vacation right after the library opened (remember—my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary?). At any rate, when I came back from vacation, I had only one day to pull my storytime together. In another weird twist of fate, our very popular new library was swamped and over half of our entire children’s collection has been checked out.
Which makes it really difficult to select certain children’s books. ‘Cause, you know, they’re CHECKED OUT! Aaaand, I didn’t have time to get them from other libraries.
So, I managed to scavenge one book from our heavily decimated new Transportation neighborhood, and got two others from our office storytime collection. The books I chose were Monster Trucks by Mark Todd, That’s How by Christoph Neiman., and Big Dig by Paul Strickland.
I started off with the usual greeting song, behavior rules, weather report and magic bag. Then, I had everyone get up and we sang our Construction Worker song:
This is the way we pound our nails, pound our nails, pound our nails
This is the way we pound our nails, so early in the morning
(saw the wood, turn the screwdriver, drill a hole, stack the bricks, stir the paint, paint the walls)
Credit: Everything Preschool
Then, I read Monster Trucks. I had everyone help me by repeating the refrain “Monster Trucks! Monster Trucks!” This is the beginning of each stanza of the book, which you read each time the page is turned. They got into the chant and really enjoyed it. There are so many wonderful descriptive words in here that my early literacy tip was (something like): “The descriptive words we just read in this book are wonderful for building a child’s vocabulary! Always remember to use as many description words as you can because that helps kids build the vocabulary they’ll need to do really well in school.”
Then, everyone stood up and we sang:
(Make hammering motion with one fist)
Johnny had one hammer, one hammer, one hammer
Johnny had one hammer then he had Two
(Make hammering motion with both fists)
Johnny had two hammers, two hammers, two hammers,
Johnny had two hammers then he had Three.
(Make hammering motion with both fists and one leg.)
Johnny had three hammers, three hammers, three hammers,
Johnny had three hammers then he had Four
(Make hammering motion with both fists and both legs)
Johnny had four hammers, four hammers, four hammers,
Johnny had four hammers then he had Five
(Make hammering motion with both fists and both legs and head.)
Johnny had five hammers, five hammers, five hammers
Johnny had five hammers, then he went to sleep (lay hands like sleeping)
Credit: Everything Preschool
Then, I handed out a different flannel shape to each child (fortunately, I had a LOT of shapes and colors), and had them all bring their shape up to the board as I called out their color, and together we built….something. The kids told me it was a castle. We’ll go with that.
Next, I read That’s How. This was a fortunate scavenge from the collection, because it probably wouldn’t have been a first choice of mine, but the kids really seemed to enjoy it, and it was checked out afterwards. A little girl wonders how different machines work, and her brother explains to her how animals are inside them to make them go. It’s a really fast read, and the pictures tell most of the story. The kids laughed a lot at the silly things the boy told his sister.
I had another flannel sort of activity planned, but we were getting short on time (the building flannels took WAY too long, with all of those kids), so I went straight for the big finale. Big Dig is a pop-up book, and those are (almost) always a huge hit. And it didn’t disappoint this time, either. I actually got oohs and aahs, which I love.
Then, I pulled out a piece of molding and a ping pong ball. I explained that science is all about solving problems. I showed the piece of wood and said it was a plane, then showed the ball and said that it was an object. I told them that their job as junior scientists today was to figure out how to move the object from one side of the plane to the other side of the plane without touching it.
Then, I put out containers of hot wheels cars and ping pong balls, duplos and blocks, and tubes of all sizes, paper towel tubes cut in half lengthwise, pieces of cardboard, and cove molding pieces. I set up some signs around the room explaining what a ramp was, and directing people to see how many ramps they could put together, how far they could get something to go, etc.
The kids had a terrific time. I was so pleased by all the different ways kids found of creating and using ramps. There was lots of cheering and excitement, and one caregiver told me that she had been inspired by the program and was going home to have the kids create a whole building with ramps.