Our fall storytime session just ended and our next one starts January 6. I was hired in the middle of this last session, which meant I had to dive into a lot of things headfirst – the big one was being added to the rotation of theme weeks. Each week of our storytimes is loosely themed, and each theme is decided by one of the librarians. We pick our theme, create a list of 10+ books for everyone to draw on for their storytime, and pick CDs and songs/rhymes/fingerplays for people to build into their storytime for that week. We also have to come up with a sensory craft activity for kids to do after.
It was the craft I was most nervous about – I can pick storytime themes in my sleep, and the trickiest part about picking books was making sure the ones I wanted were on the shelf when I was gathering them up. Likewise, gathering rhymes is made much easier with resources like storytimekatie.com out there. But I’ve never planned a craft that was then actually executed by kids before! I was seized with the irrational fear that whatever I planned would flop, the kids would be bored, it wouldn’t work the way it was supposed to. Added to this, which either made things harder or easier depending on my mood, is the fact that my library emphasizes process-based activities rather than product-based activities. We try not to do stuff for the little guys that has a definitive end product, because we don’t want there to be this thought that there’s a “right” way to do the activity.
I had three weeks in this session. My themes were:
And I have to say, after talking to my fellow librarians, I went three for three on my activities – each one was a hit with the kids. This might be the thing I am most proud of so far because of my aforementioned lack of experience; without any practical experience doing crafts with kids, I didn’t have a baseline for what worked and what didn’t.
Here are the crafts I planned!
– Nighttime: for my Nighttime theme we made night collages, using black construction paper, twigs and googely eyes. It was my least process-based activity, but the kids had a lot of fun gluing twigs and making nighttime animals with the eyes. Here’s what it looks like (and where I grabbed the idea from).
– Fairytales: First, let me just say that when I picked this theme I didn’t know that there are almost no fairytale picture books that are good storytime books. They’re all too long! I had to get creative and dig up some good dragon, knight and princess books, including some early readers.
My craft for this week was foil painting, which I thought was enchanted mirror-adjacent, and mostly thought it would be fun for kids to paint on something other than paper for a change. Hoooooly moly, I was right, they had SO much fun with this. Here is where I picked the idea up from.
– Snow: Possibly the week I was most excited for, because I don’t know if you guys know this, but weather books are almost always awesome (I pulled Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by Il Sung Na for this week, which might win as Best Selection for my baby storytime). The craft was snow paint, which unfortunately we only got to do once; no one came to the Monday storytime (because it was WAY too cold), my babies don’t do a craft, and our end-of-session dance party was on Friday. But! The kids who did this one had a lot of fun. Similar to the foil painting, the snow paint was an activity they were familiar with using a new medium – in this case, the paint was a mix of shaving cream and glue, which dried puffy like snow. Check it out here, where I pulled the idea from.
If I have any librarians or other people who work with young children, what kinds of crafts do you like doing? Do you prefer process- or product-based crafts?
Watching: Frozen. Oh my god, Frozen. I actually have too many feelings about this movie to talk about it here – a longer, in depth review will be going up on Boycott Bluray later this week. Suffice to say, I really, really loved it.
Reading: Just finished Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. Deeply affecting and not for the faint of heart – it’s one of those books adults need to read so they know when to give it to teens who need it. What Speak does for rape victims, Wintergirls does for sufferers of anorexia and other eating disorders.