Friday, July 11, 2014

Squirrels! - A Storytime Outline

Families and I celebrated the little land creature - squirrels! At first I was a little apprehensive with the theme because I didn't know if I would be able to find enough stories or activities that would be great for my storytimes.  But I did! The programs were a huge success! The books were a great choice. The songs were fun.

 Since we squirrels was a the theme the Letter of the Day was "S." I asked the children to name words that begin with that letter. I had answers like "shark," "sun," "sky," "seed," "sea," "sandcastle," "spider," "snowflake," and "snake." I had some pieces from other flannel boards to help enhance the answers.

Nuts to You! written and illus. by Lois Ehlert (T)
I was wondering how the families would react to this story since the text is very simple and the illustrations were so close up. But, I was wrong! They loved it, especially when I shouted "Nuts to you!". 

The Busy Little Squirrel written and illus. by Nancy Tafuri (T)
To get the toddlers more into the story I asked them to help me identify each of the animals and make their animal noise.

Scaredy Squirrel written and illus. by Melanie Watt (P)
I find that reading this story you have to very dynamic and funny. The children loved this book! If you have the time - make props!

Erroll written and illus. by Hannah Shaw (P)
This story went better than I expected. They thought it was funny and silly, especially at the ending.

Ol' Mama Squirrel written and illus. by David Ezra Stein 
I had planned to read this during Preschool Storytime, but we were having so much fun with the other rhymes and stories that we didn't get to it. It happens. This is a fun book too. I was going to have the children make the "chook, chook" noise!  

Open, Shut Them (T, P)
Open, shut them,
Open, shut them,
Give them a little clap.
Open, shut them,
Open, shut them,
Lay them in your lap.
Creep them, creep them,
Up to your chin,
Open your mouth wide,
But don't let them in!
Open, shut them,
Open, shut them,
Give them a really big clap!
Open, shut them,
Open, shut them,
Lay them in your lap.

My Hands Say Hello (T, P)
My hands say hello, (wave hands)
My hands say hello,
Everytime I see my friends,
My hands say hello.

Additional lyrics:
Feet (stomp feet)
Nose (wiggle or tap nose)
Ears (wiggle ears) 
Tongue (stick that tongue out!) 

Grey Squirrel, Grey Squirrel (T, P) 
Before you begin, have the children practice sharking and swishing their pretend squirrel tails! 
Grey squirrel, grey squirrel
Swish your bushy tail!
Grey squirrel, grey squirrel
Wrinkle your funny nose!
Hold nuts between your toes (dance on tippy toes!)
Grey squirrel, grey squirrel
Swish your bushy tail!
Shake your bushy tail!
Mix up the actions to make it a suspenseful yet fun action rhyme!
Modified from Grey Source: Small Town Story Time Lady

Five Little Squirrels (T, P) 
Tune: Five Little Ducks 
1 little squirrel went out to play
Up in the branches one autumn day.
He had such enormous fun,
He called for another little squirrel to come.

2 little squirrels...
3 little squirrels...
4 little squirrels...

5 little squirrels went out to play
Up in the branches one chilly day.
They had such enormous fun,
Then all scurried home 'cause winter had come.
Note: you can change the season if you need to. I switched it to Summer and they went home because it started to rain (we had a really rainy morning we had our storytime).
Source: Storytime Stuff  

Touch Your Nose (T, P) 
Touch your nose,
Touch your chin,
That's the way this game begins.
Find your eyes,
Touch your knees,
Now pretend you're going to sneeze!
Touch your hair,
Touch one ear,
Touch your two red lips right here,
Can you blow a kiss good-bye? (blow a kiss!)
Touch your elbow where it bends
Can you touch your other elbow?
And that's the way this touch game ends.

Five Little Squirrels  (T, P)
This rhyme is so much fun because you're counting UP and not down, which is typical for counting rhymes. I made simple squirrels for this rhyme by using the template created by Melanie Fitz that was shared on the Storytime Stuff blog. I didn't make a tree branch or anything to go with the the squirrels, but I did place them on the lower portion of my flannel boar and moved them up when another one joined in on the fun.
Source: Storytime Stuff 

"Little Squirrel, Little Squirrel" Guessing Game (P)
I really wanted a guessing game rhyme like "Little Mouse, Little Mouse," and I essentially made one. However, I could not come up with a rhyme to go with it. So! All I did was have the children recite, "Little Squirrel, little squirrel, where are you?" before I asked them if a squirrel was hiding behind a certain felt item. This game was a HUGE hit with the preschoolers. Whenever they found a squirrel the room would erupt in loud cheers of victory! Awesome!

When it came to making the felt pieces (tree, bird feeder, bird bath, acorns, and leaves) I mostly drew everything by hand. The leaves was the only thing that came from a die cutter. For the bird feeder I used a piece of scrap laminate and some bird seeds from home to create an "authentic" look.

"Little Squirrel, Little Squirrel" flannel board,
created by Dorothy WP-CC, 2014.

Movement Scarves Dancing (T)
Instead of the usual egg shakers I had the toddlers dance around with the movement scarves. I played one song on the iPod to get them loosened up. Then we played Freeze Dance. This was the first time that I have ever done Freeze Dance with Toddlers, and I was very happy with the result... they knew what they were doing! Yay! The families loved it!

"Little Squirrel, Little Squirrel" Guessing Game (P)
See above.

Tree Hopping (T, P) 
I came across this simple activity while searching the web for more interactive things to for the children to do. This was perfect (especially since my Room of Requirement had two hula hoops handy). I taped die cut leaves to the hoops to make them more tree-like. For Toddler Time I had the little ones jump from one "tree" to another after they picked their craft bag. Since the Preschool Time program was very large (34 children total!) I couldn't do that. So! Instead, they tree hopped as they left the program room after they finished their craft. I even had a couple of parents jump from tree to tree too!
Source: Twiggle Magazine

Ss is for Squirrel Activity Page (T, P)
Since it's summer I really wanted a simple craft (Hey! There's a lot of S's in that sentence!). So I created an activity sheet that the children could color, glue a letter S to, and, for the older kids, answer questions. The body of the squirrel came from a Mailbox image and I erased the tail. The letter S was created by die cutting, and it was glued to the squirrel to be its tail. I typed out a few words that began with the letter S and left empty spaces for the children to write their own words. Several of the children did a really good job at doing this. I also had a little question tucked down in the corner of the page: What do squirrels eat? A couple of children new the answer (acorns or nuts). The is was a perfect craft for everyone!

Squirrel Storytime Craft, created by Dorothy WP-CC, 2014

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