Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow Theme Storyhour Plan

 On Tuesdays, we often participate in our library’s family story hour, complete with fingerplays, parachute play, three stories, songs, rhymes, a craft and a snack.  It’s fantastic!  The kids love it and we all get social time.

However, yesterday, I just could not bring myself to shovel us out, bundle three little children, coral them into the car, drive down yet-to-be-plowed roads and find a parking spot near the library.  So, to abate Luke’s and Nina’s disappointment, I suggested having our own library storyhour here at the house.  “Yes!”  They jumped with enthusiasm.  “What theme?” Luke asked.  “Snow, of course,” I replied, because this week we are reading Ezra Jack Keat’s The Snowy Day and I wanted to continue on with more fun with the book after Monday's awesome The Snowy Day Sensorimotor fun!  And, so it began.

I collected some snow-themed books from the basement while the kids set up a “librarian chair and blanket “parachute”.   Then, I had the kids hold corners of a baby blanket “parachute” to sing:

Here was go ‘round the parachute, parachute, parachute.
Here we go ‘round the parachute,
at our story hour.

The kids immediately corrected me, “Mommy, we sing a new song, now.”  I let them know that Mommy is not our new librarian, Miss Liz, nor our old librarian, Miss Marilyn, and that Mommy Librarian would be using some of the other librarian’s songs and ideas along with some of her own.  Hence, Nina began calling me “Librarian” for the remainder of the morning and eager participants, Nina and Luke, happy onlooker, Jack, and me, “Librarian”, continued on to have a fantastic at-home storyhour.

Perhaps you’d like to borrow some of our spontaneous plan:

  • The aforementioned song, sung once while walking around in one direction and once in the opposite direction, holding a blanket “parachute”.
  • Have children sit down on blankets.
  • Introduce theme with a stuffed toy geared up for snow.  (We used out Spot’s First Christmas doll that comes with a red cap and scarf.) Talk about why the stuffie might be dressed the way he is, what we wear in the winter, etc. and introduce the stuffie and each other: 
    • “Hi.  I’m Spot.  What’s your name?” (Toss stuffie to child, who introduces self and tosses the stuffie back.)

Theme Talk: 
  • Talk about what we already know about winter using book covers for inspiration as needed.
  • Review what the four seasons are, asking children to name them.

“Parachute” Play and Transition
  • Make “wind” for a small snow storm by holding the blanket taut and rippling it just slightly.
  • Make “wind” for a bigger one by making large movements.
  • Play “Colors” by calling out colors the children are wearing and having them hide under the blanket if they are wearing the colors called.
  • Ask children to sit on the blanket again.
  • Do Criss Cross Applesauce Poem.
Criss-cross applesauce.
Give a little clap. (clap hands)
Criss-cross applesauce.
Put them in my lap. (put hands in lap)
Criss-cross applesauce.
Quiet as can be.
Criss-cross-apple sauce.
Eyes on me. (point to self)
  • Do Wiggle Poem.
I wiggle my fingers, (Suit actions to words.)
I wiggle my toes.
I wiggle my shoulders,
I wiggle my nose.
Now the wiggles are out of me,
And I'm just as still as can be.

First Story
    The Snowy Day
  • Read Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day
  • “Read” the illustrations as well as the words.  For example, take note of the rooftops, signal lights, etc. and talk about where you think the child might live.  Or, notice the child’s changing expressions, particularly when the snow falls from the tree onto his head.
  • Include movement-drama breaks such as acting like Peter waking and looking outside or walking with toes in and toes out.
  • Pause to discuss other points as they come up.

Fingerplays, Rhymes and Songs
Who makes us dress in our winder suits? (Pretend to put on coat.)
Who causes us to wear our boots? (Point to feet.)
Who comes on a cold and wintry night? (Shiver.)
Who decorates the windows white? (Draw a rectangular window in the air.)
Who makes the tress glisten in the lane? (Make triangles over heads with hands like fir trees)
And taps on our window with his icicle cane? (Pretend to knock.)
Jack Frost!

Snowflakes falling, falling down (Flutter fingers.)
The wind blows them round and round. (Move hands in a circular motion.)
They whip and whirl in the air. (Move hands around.)
Then land softly everywhere. (Place hands down.)

  • Adapt the plays to do with baby brother, for example, snowing on the top of his head down to his toes.  Then, stand the last one up and make up new actions to it with kids, getting in some good level work and spinning.
  • Sing:
I’m a little snowman
Short and fat
Here are my buttons
Here is my hat
When the sun comes out
I melt away
But I’ll come back another day

  • Transition back to sitting with Criss-Cross Applesauce and Wiggle rhyme.
Geraldine's Big SnowSecond Story
  • Read Holly Keller’s Geraldine’s Big Snow.
  • Make predictions throughout the story:  Why is she looking out the window?  Will it snow?  What will Mrs. Wilson do with the apples?
  • Discuss why Geraldine bumped into Mr. Peters.  Why was she looking up?  Was this safe?  How can we be safe when we are walking?  How can we be aware of our body space?

Rhyme Tickles and Bounces
Here’s a hill.  (Make a hill with your arm at an angle.)
All covered with snow.  (Tickle arm with a hand as snowflakes falling.
We’ll get on our sled.
And, ZOOM!, Down we’ll go.  (swoop a hand down the arm hill.)

  • Repeat rhyme as a bounce (with baby, too), bouncing the entire rhyme and dropping child backwards on “Zoom”, “Want to got to London…fall in” style.
Third Story

Movement Break
  • Act out parts of the story, particularly the onomatopoeic ones.
Stranger in the Woods: A Photographic Fantasy: Snowflake Edition 
Fourth Story
  • Read Stranger in the Woods.
  • Name creatures in the story.
  • Guess who the stranger is,
  • Discuss ways to be kind to animals.



Sincence staying out of the snow, safe at home, to have storyhour worked for us, we are sharing it at worked for us, we are sharing it at We are THAT Family's Works for Me Wednesday.  Enjoy the links there and be sure to leave a comment here to tell us about your recent storytimes or to request one on a particular theme.

I am also linking to Sunrise Learning Lab's Reggio Emilia Wednesday Link Up, for even though our home storyhour was more parent-led than child-led, it was a mini-project.  The kids really wanted to do it and set up the storyhour space, got snack set out like "at real storyhour", etc.  Also, it is part of our greater explorations on the theme of snow - something very present and real in the childen's environment, which is "teaching" them.  Baby steps to Reggio... Check out the links at sunrise Learning Lab for more Reggio inspiration.


Christie - Childhood 101 said...

What a fantastic time you must have had, and so many great ideas. Some days I wish we lived somewhere where it snows :)

The Sunshine Crew said...

Sounds like fun! I just did a post about how my little one does not have a clue about playing in snow, as he has not seen snow since he was a tiny baby.
Love all of your snow themed activities and books. Hope that you will link up to the Reggio Emilia Wednesday thing on my blog.
Also, neat that you left a comment about working on the big red boat. We love cruises as they are easy vacations for families.
Well, have a nice snowy week,

Vanessa Washburn said...

This is a wonderful story time. Any kindergarten teacher would be proud. I wish we could come to your story time on the days out library doesn't offer it. Thanks oyu for the ideas.


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