By Awnali Mills
This week’s storytime was all about construction. The books I chose were Old MacDonald Had a Truck by Steven Goetz, and Big Dig, a pop-up book by Paul Stickland.
We started with the Alphabet Song, and then I introduced my puppet Gulp. He likes to smash things! He brought out our letter T, and tried to hammer things with it. We talked about T words, and then sang The 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 we read Old MacDonald Had a Truck. I really love this book, but wasn’t sure how it would go over in storytime. Well, it went over just fine. As a matter of fact, one little lady with an infectious giggle thought it was hilarious every time Old MacDonald had something that wasn’t an animal, and that got everyone else to laughing. I love when that happens!
Next, I got out my toolbox—adapted from the one at Storytime Secrets. The kids got to choose the tools, take them out of my toolbox and put them on the flannel board. Then we would sing the verse and do the motions. My version adds a tape measure, and deletes the screws and nails.
Toolbox (Tune: Oh, My Darling Clementine)
Here’s my toolbox, here’s my toolbox
This is where I keep my tools
Here’s my toolbox, trusty toolbox
Take a look at all my tools.
Here’s my hammer, here’s my hammer
See the hammer pound and pound
Here’s my hammer, trusty hammer
Watch me as I pound and pound.
Here’s my screwdriver, here’s my screwdriver
See the screwdriver twist and twist
Here’s my screwdriver, trusty screwdriver
Watch me as I twist and twist
Here’re my pliers, here’re my pliers
See the pliers pinch and pinch
Here’re my pliers, trusty pliers
Watch me as I pinch and pinch
Here’s my wrench, here’s my wrench
See the wrench turn and turn
Here’s my wrench, trusty wrench
Watch me as I turn and turn.
Here’s a saw, here’s a saw
See the saw go see-saw
Here’s my saw, trusty saw
Watch me as I go see-saw.
Here’s my tape measure, here’s my tape measure
See it stretch out so long
Here’s my measure, trusty tape measure
Watch me as I stretch it out.
Then we rolled a song cube and sang Hickory Dickory Dock. We then read Big Dig. I adore the gasps I get when I open the book and the pages spring to life.
I next played The Hammer Song. No, this isn’t the pop culture version, but it’s a variation of Johnny Works with One Hammer. I wish I could tell you who sings it, but it’s on a compilation CD that I inherited. It was great when all the parents engaged and did the motions along with the children and helped them figure out what to do.
For our grand finale, I announced that storytime was over, but the play portion was just starting, and I had a special treat. I pulled out cardboard tubes, wooden ramps and blocks, ping pong balls, and toy cars, and let the kids go to town constructing. Of course, the kids were immediately engaged, but what was fascinating to me was how quickly the parents engaged. One dad was immediately on the floor helping his sons construct (he’d been kind of off to the side during storytime). One mom was supervising her daughter, when dad wandered in, stood for a minute watching, and then got on the floor and started making suggestions. (What was privately funny to me was that he couldn’t figure out why two of his additions to the construction wouldn’t work. Mom fixed one, and I gently explained why the other wasn’t working—learning for everyone!) One mom was playing right alongside her daughter and said to me with a bright smile, “This is amazing! I could do this all day!”