The class shared a number of program successes they had with activities for preschoolers beyond storytime (thank you Katie Salo for inspiration).
Superheroes - Each child decided what kind of a superhero he/she wanted to be and made a cape and mask. I found a superhero fill-in activity sheet and each child (with the help of their parents) filled in the blanks. I was the Lightning Librarian (in costume) and I read my sheet out loud so that they had an idea of what they needed to do. We then played some super games. I had a yard of blue felt. I made some clouds and tall building out of tag board. The kids laid on the felt as if they were flying over the buildings. We took photos of each child. We ended the program with refreshments- small sub sandwiches (which the kids made), chips and a drink.
Winnie the Pooh Party - Near A.A. Milne's birthday in January, we host this annual shindig for pre-schoolers. They all love the (Disney version) of Pooh, (which is Miss-Renee-The-Purist's only objection!) so we play that up, with related crafts, Pooh or Tigger masks for everyone, gummi bear snacks, as well as Teddy Grahams, etc. There is a Blustery Day "kite-flying" (kite shaped cut-outs on wooden dowels) in the library, and a march all throughout the library, yes, where the grown-ups are too, because hey, we can, and lots of honey-related goodies, too. We do read one or two short Pooh books, and show a Pooh video (short). Lots of games, like tossing "honey" bags, three-legged Piglet race, and so on.
Dinosaur Evolution - I did a small program on dinosaurs and fossils. My plan was for the preschoolers to make their own fossils using model magic and sea shells. My thought were that they would be excited about using these 2 materials. Wrong! They got pretty bored after 5 minutes. After I noticed this, I passed around a small, Ellison shape T Rex. Who would have thought that a paper dinosaur would have been the hit? The children proceeded to decorate the paper dinosaur with model magic. I guess what’s less is more? Be flexible and change up the program if the children aren’t interested!
Dig Into Discoveries - a series of three programs for preschoolers that were highly successful:
- Dig Into Gardening: Short story (big book of Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert) and then we planted lettuce! There were baby pools filled with potting soil so the kids could fill their own flowerpots. Then I had seeds pre-sorted into Dixie cups for the kids to plant. They could also put stickers on their flowerpots. Many of the kids returned to the dirt to dig around after their pots were finished.
- Dig Into Dinosaurs: Short story (big book of What If The Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most), and then digging for "dinosaur bones" in the sand. The dinosaur bones were doggie treat rawhide bones purchased at the dollar store. I also hid small plastic dinosaur toys and seashells in the sand. I had 3 plastic baby pools (same pools from above program) full of sand "borrowed" from our landscaping people. The kids had shovels, buckets, and paintbrushes (also from the dollar store) to brush off their "fossils."
- Dig Into Nature: Short Story (Maisy's Nature Walk?), then an outdoor scavenger hunt! I bought gift bags with handles from the dollar store and pasted a simple scavenger hunt list (with pictures) on the outside. The families had a great time looking for all the different items. The families who got the most items "won" a package of sun-sensitive paper to have more fun outdoors looking for interesting objects.
Birthday Fun - For our children's library's 2nd birthday, we threw us (and our Library Dragon, Booker) a birthday party! We read the story (melodrama style) of how Booker came to live at the library. We had certain words that they reacted to, with the help of signs we held up. We played Musical Dragon Footprints, and if they were left out they had to choose a silly thing to do from a jar (which were color-coded according to easy or hard and I directed each child about what color to choose) and then jump back into the fun. After that, we went outside and sang Happy Birthday to Booker, who was hiding in his tree. Our finally thing before handing out cake pops was a balloon drop. It was a hit! I think what made this event a hit (besides the balloon drop), was that we tried to gear it young, but worked in things to spice it up for older kids, AND we made it as much like a child's birthday party as possible. I didn't want to just have a special "birthday storytime". We wanted to have something that would be familiar and a definite celebration.