Easter Bunny Storytime

Has Spring sprung at your local library? If it has, I’m sure there’s an endless rotation of gardening story times to go around, but I love a good Peter Cottontail sing-along in Springtime.

To preview the songs we sing at the intro and outro of our Storytimes, visit our “Favorite Programming Songs” post under the Children’s Services tab, or under Themes.

Talking Points:

  • For those who celebrate Easter, they are often visited by the Easter Bunny! Has anyone seen a bunny before? Can you tell me what a bunny looks like?
  • How does a bunny move, can you show me?
  • Can you make your hand look like a bunny, now can you make it hop?
  • Why does the Easter Bunny hide eggs for us to find? (Kids can come up with some amazing answers to this one.)

Read: The Easter Bunny’s Assistant by Jan Thomas

Video by Storytime at Awnie’s House

Fingerplay: Here Is A Bunny

Here is a bunny with ears so funny (two fingers in a peace sign to make ears)

And here is his hole in the ground (other hand makes a circle)

At the first sound he hears, he pricks up his ears (peace sign fingers wiggle and perk up)

And hops in the hole in the ground (bunny hand jumps into the circle of your other hand to hide)

Read: The Easter Egg by Jan Brett

Video by Reading Rhino

Sing: Little Bunny Foo Foo (Nursery Rhyme)

Little bunny Foo Foo,
Hopping through the forest,
Scooping up the field mice,
And bopping them on the head.

Down came the good fairy,
And the good fairy said,
“Little bunny Foo Foo, I don’t wanna see you,
Scooping up the field mice,
And bopping them on the head.”

“I’m gonna give you 3 chances,
Then I’m gonna turn you into a goon!”

(I’ll give you 2 chances, 1 more chance…)

What do you think happened to Little Bunny Foo Foo?

Read: Chester’s Colorful Easter Eggs by Teresa Smythe

Video by Ishan’s Story House

Felt Activity: Chester’s Eggs Matching Game! I copied the eggs from Chester’s Colorful Easter Eggs and made my own felt pieces to coincide with the book. As Chester’s eggs are revealed, I add the matching egg to the felt board. When the book is done, I have 6 eggs! Make sure the eggs are numbered for the extension activity below.

The activity below helps children work on predictions and context. Explain to the children–“Listen to a story about a child, then pick the egg you think the child in the story would like best!”

  • First story: Pepper loves the color Purple! She wears purple pants, purple print shirts, and only eats purple things. Eggplants and Grapes! (P for Purple) Pepper’s egg is egg number…?
  • Second story: Owen loves to play with flowers and he grows a garden of daisies all year round. (O for Orange) Owen’s egg is egg number…?
  • Third Story: Robin just loves Easter, it’s his favorite time of year. He loves listening to the birds chirping outside his window at all hours of the day. Sometimes he takes binoculars and watches them chirp in their nests. (R for Red) 
  • Fourth Story: Gina takes loves to play soccer! She comes home with grass stains all over her pants and shirt from sliding to kick the ball. She loves playing outside. (G is for Green)
  • Fifth Story: Yasmine loves to write letters for the holidays to her friends and family. All of her greeting cards have big, huge letters that say “HAPPY HOLIDAYS” on them, with swirly, pretty handwriting. (Y for Yellow)
  • Sixth Story: Bobby fishes with his grandfather every Tuesday. They go out on the boat when it’s really, really early, and the sun isn’t quite up yet. Then they put their lines in the water and wait for fish to bite. It’s Bobby’s favorite time of the week. (B for Blue)

Imagination Play:

  • Hide eggs around the room for children to find on an Easter Egg Hunt.
  • If you have a large group, give recommendations for the children: “find three eggs and bring them back to the storytime corner!” That way all the children have an equal chance of finding eggs.
  • Count the eggs all together.
  • Sort the eggs by color.

Craft: Craft a basket using strips of pre-cut construction paper! RedTedArt has a great tutorial on this. The children can use the basket they make to use on the Easter Egg Hunt, mentioned in the Imagination Play portion of the storytime.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Children will work on inference and prediction making.
  • Children will use chants and cadences to improve phonological awareness.
  • Children will work on fine motor skills, visual cues and counting up.

And that’s the End: I really enjoy a good “hunt” in the library, whether that’s an egg hunt, a treasure hunt, or a bear hunt! Watching the children go totally wild over a group mission is simply bliss. Parents love seeing their kids get so excited, and the nature of a hunt means that children are running, playing, seeking, and associating–the highlights of a good storytime, in my opinion.

Keep Kids Curious!

Chinese New Year Storytime

Xīn nián kuài lè!
年 快 乐
Happy New Year! Chinese New Year is one of the most important celebrations in Chinese culture, and has influenced the Lunar New Year celebrations of many East and Southeast Asian cultures. It’s a great way to introduce the concept of children being citizens of the world.

Talking Points:

  • What are some ways you celebrate New Years with your family?
  • Chinese New Year celebrations have many interesting traditions. Some families gift each other money in red envelopes to bring luck and good fortune for the year. Often you’ll see the color red during Chinese New Year celebrations, because it’s a lucky color–in traditional stories, it scares away the bad dragon Nian and welcomes a good year.
  • Chinese New Year celebration usually begins during the new moon between Jan 21 and Feb 20th, and lunar festivals last for fifteen days.
  • Dragon dance is a form of traditional dance and performance in Chinese culture. The dance is performed during big festive celebrations, like the lunar new year! It is performed by a team of experienced dancers who manipulate a long flexible giant puppet of a dragon using poles positioned at regular intervals along the length of the dragon. We’re going to make our own Dragon puppet as a craft later in Storytime!

Read: Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim

Video by Children’s Books Read Aloud

Sing: If you’re A Dragon and you Know it! (to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It)

If you’re a dragon and you know it,
Show your claws.
If you’re a dragon and you know it,
Show your claws.
If you’re a dragon and you know it,
And you really want to show it,
If you’re a dragon and you know it,
Show your claws.
(Have the kids tell you what other traits dragons have and make up new verses with these traits. Examples: swish your tail, say “rooooar”, stomp your talons.)

Play: Throw a coin into the lion’s mouth for good luck! This is a great game for kids of all ages, especially for the toddlers (if you can prevent them from trying to eat the coins right away). We purchased these coins on Amazon, printed a lion head and used a bucket for the mouth. Image below for inspiration!

Read: Chinese New Year Colors by Rich Lo

Video by Mrs. Kim’s Building Blocks

Scarf Activities: As you read Chinese New Year Colors, pair colorful scarves with the colors depicted in the book. Raise the red scarf, yellow scarf, blue scarf, etc.

Sing: Wave Your Scarf Up and Down (to the tune of London Bridge, as seen on Jbrary)

Wave your scarf up and down, up and down, up and down

wave your scarf up and down, wave your scarf!

Wave your scarf back and forth, side to side, in a circle, etc.

Read: Bringing In The New Year by Grace Lin

Video created by Happy Cultivated

Craft: We crafted dancing dragons from Red Ted Art! Red Ted Art includes a free print out for crafting a dancing dragon puppet. All you need is the template, construction paper, scissors, tape or glue, and some popsicle sticks.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Children will learn about a Chinese celebration, increasing their knowledge of global communities. Families will have the opportunity to participate in cultural traditions, opening dialogue and comparisons of New Years celebrations around the world.
  • Children will practice kindergarten readiness such as color work, critical thinking, fine motor skills and gross motor skills.

Our Chinese New Year Celebration program: We hosted an all-ages family friendly Chinese New Years event at our library this year. We were so grateful to have a Chinese American volunteer who brought significant knowledge to our event and helped us plan and deliver programming. In consideration of COVID regulations, we created activity stations throughout an open room and allowed children and families to walk-through our displays and participate in activities at their leisure. The program lasted and hour and was attended by over 65 adults and children. We were so excited and grateful for this opportunity.

Our activity stations included:

  • Toss a Coin in the Lion’s Mouth, as described in the storytime above.
  • Red Envelopes given to every participant, packed with gold coins wrapped in red string
  • Lucky Red Art, where children learned about the impact of the color red and created their own red talisman (free create)
  • Red Lantern Craft. Children crafted a simple red lantern and learned about the significance of lanterns in Chinese culture.
  • Learn to write Chinese characters. Our volunteer taught children how to write the word “spring” with brushes and scrolls she brought to the event.
  • The Zodiac Race. We played a slideshow on a smart screen which told the story of the zodiac animals. Children could then try to put the zodiac animals in order of how they won the race.
  • Zodiac Fortunes for Teens/Adults. The teen department created zodiac bookmarks which provided fortunes to patrons based on the year they were born.
  • Traditional Clothing. Our volunteer provided traditional formal clothing from China.
  • Book displays. We provided a children, teen and adult book display around our activity stations to support literacy initiatives and extend the experience for patrons.

Photos provided by Savvy B Photography

And that’s the End: I can’t believe how amazing our Chinese New Years programs turned out to be this year. It’s all thanks to our amazing volunteer and our totally enthusiastic staff at the library. Every department pitched in, from Circulation to Youth Services to Reference. Not only did we bring a program we could feel proud of, but the community really enjoyed it and saw value in what we were doing. Hope you’re all having a new year full of luck, good fortune, and good health.

Keep Kids Curious!

Valentine’s Day Storytime

Valentine’s Day is a great way to introduce emotions vocabulary with children. Identifying emotions is an important aspect of being able to regulate emotions. Starting early by giving children the appropriate vocabulary, or the ability to recognize what they’re feeling and put words to it, can also help children develop empathy for their friends and family. The world could always use more empathy!

To preview the songs we sing at the intro and outro of our Storytimes, visit our “Favorite Programming Songs” post under the Children’s Services tab, or under Themes.

Talking Points:

  • Valentine’s Day is a holiday we celebrate with loved ones. It takes place on February 14th every year. Sometimes we write Valentine’s Day cards to friends and family, or give special treats like chocolates and candies.
  • Valentine’s Day is all about love. Who do you love?
  • What does it feel like to love someone? How do we show love?

Sensory Display: I passed out felt cut-out hearts to children in various colors. They held their heart aloft as we played a game. Raise your heart if you feel happy, raise your heart if you feel sad, raise your heart if you feel loving, etc. We made sure to recognize that there are no “good” or “bad” emotions. Then I called the children forward by the color of the heart they received so they could return them to the felt board.

Read: Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis

Video created by Mr. Wil Turner

Sing: “I love you, You love me” (a la Barnie)

I love you, you love me

We’re best friends as friends should be

With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you

Won’t you say you love me too?

Action Rhyme: My Valentine (Identifying emotions rhyme)

My Valentine has feelings, my Valentine with lace,
My Valentine has feelings, he makes an angry/happy/sad/surprised/excited face.

Below is an example of the felt Valentine faces I used, inherited at my library. I would put a Valentine on the board and the children would decide what emotion it was expressing.

Read: LOVE from Sesame Street by Sesame Workshop

Video created by Lolli-Kids Book Club

Finger Rhyme: “I Can Make a Heart” (from JBrary)

I put my hands together, This is how I start (put palms together, as if in prayer)
I curve my fingers right around, (curve the tips of your fingers, rolling inward)
And I can make a heart!

Read: There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Rose by Lucille Colandro.

Video by The Teacher’s Library

Imagination Play Prompts:

  • Let’s try on some emotions today. Let’s pretend to be: happy, sad, angry, excited, funny, tired, etc.
  • Let’s pretend to be someone or something that makes you very happy. I’m going to pretend to make pancakes, because I love eating pancakes!
  • If one of your friends was sad, what would you do to make them feel better?

Craft: I had the children create Valentines for their families using textiles, textured paper, scissors, crayons and markers, tape and various other art supplies. We also have a “lace” crimping cutter that we brought out for the children to crimp the edges of their Valentines.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Children may be able to express their feelings using emotions vocabulary.
  • Children will practice writing their names, cutting with scissors, and identifying shapes.
  • Children will have the opportunity to act out empathy in their imaginative play.

And that’s the End: I love a good holiday Story time, it always feels like the kids are ready to dive into the theme. The free-create craft is a great addition to weeks in-between more “complex” crafts. Kids rarely get the opportunity to create without scripts or instructions, so this one is easy on librarians PLUS best practice for kids, everyone wins. Spreading the love can be a great mission for littles, as well–if you have access to assisted living facilities in your community, the children can decorate Valentines for seniors and their families.

Keep Kids Curious!

Tools Are Cool Storytime

Our “Tools are Cool” Storytime is a great introduction to identifying tools and power tools for kids. Introducing this concept early on can be a strong S.T.E.A.M concept for little creators who hope to build and utilize tools to problem solve.

To preview the songs we sing at the intro and outro of our Storytimes, visit our “Favorite Programming Songs” post under the Children’s Services tab, or under Themes.

Talking Points:

  • Do you know what a tool is? A tool is anything we use to fix, mend or create something. Tools help us build buildings, fix leaks, or repair bikes.
  • Sometimes we build things using instructions, and sometimes we build things using our imagination.
  • Have you ever seen your parents, grandparents or caregivers using tools in your home?
  • Have you ever used a tool to help build, fix, or create something?

Sensory display: Present wooden or plastic tools for the child to pass around. List the names of the tools as you go and mimic the motions of using them. Bop the hammer on your palm as if hitting in a nail, twist the screwdriver with your fingers, etc. You can also print out images of the tools and pair them with their names.

Read: Tap Tap Bang Bang by Emma Garcia.

Sing: “Construction Worker Song” (to the tune of This is the Way we Brush Our Teeth)

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)

Action Rhyme: Five Little Fasteners (Use your fingers and put one finger down after each line to count down with the rhyme)

I’ve got one nail to hammer,

one screw to screw,

one hook to bend,

one peg to glue,

and the last little bolt gets tightened all the way through. 

Read: Tools Rule by Aaron Meshon

Sing: “Johnny/Joannie Works With One Hammer” (Nursery Rhyme)

Johnny works with one hammer, one hammer, one hammer
Johnny works with one hammer, and then he works with two
(Two hammers – both fists on legs; Three hammers – both fists on legs and one foot on the floor; Four hammers – both fists on legs and both feet on the floor; Five hammers – both fists on legs, both feet on floor and nod head up and down; “And then he goes to sleep!”)

Imagination Play Prompts:

  • Let’s build a house together. What should we build first, and what tools will we use?
  • Let’s play Hardware Store. Using play tools make of wood, plastic, or printed images of tools, have children pretend to buy items from you by naming the tool they want.
  • Our boat has sprung a leak! Only special tools can fix these leaks! Name out tools the children purchased in the previous prompt and have them assist you in fixing the boat.

Craft: Paper Tool Belt. We folded a piece of construction paper lengthwise and stapled the sides to create a long pocket. Extra construction paper strips created the “belt” portion, which we taped/glued to the pocket. The children colored the tools below, cut them out, and added them to their construction paper tool belt.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Children may be able to name some basic household tools
  • Children will be using critical thinking in their imaginative play
  • We will have introduced children to engineering concepts, in the most basic sense
  • Children will be practicing early literacy concepts and kindergarten preparedness, such as using scissors appropriately

And that’s the End: I was bereft to learn that the reference to Tim the Tool Man Taylor is officially too old to make. Nothing like a bunch of pre-k’s to make you feel like you’re aging right off into oblivion. Bob the Builder is still a timely reference, though, believe it or not! Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or additional ideas for a Tools-themed Storytime.

Keep going & keep kids curious!