Friday, December 10, 2010


I like doing storytimes on vehicles because there are so many little boys and girls that just love anything that moves. So I decided on airplanes this week. I started by lining up chairs in rows in our storytime area and we all pretended to take a flight (to Florida, of course. Where else would we go from snowy Minnesota?)

That's Not My Plane by Fiona Watt
I love the "That's Not My..." series. Even older kids and adults like being able to interact with the books by feeling the scratchy propeller, the shiny headlights, the rough seat. And of course I always let the kids feel the pages as I'm reading it. This slows me down, so this time I was smart and had two copies of the same book - one in each hand, letting twice as many kids touch at the same time.

Redbird was a neat book I found that is in both braille and printed text and it has raised bumps under the elements of each picture as well. The story, frankly, is not good and not much of a story. But I read it anyway to the kids the opportunity to touch the bumps on the book and imagine what reading would be like for those who cannot see.

Other books I read this week were:
Airplanes!: Soaring! Diving! Turning! by Patricia Hubbell

Amazing Airplanes by Tony Mitton
I Love Planes!

We got to do something we've been doing a lot at my house lately: make paper airplanes! I gave the kids markers and crayons and instructed them to decorate both sides of a blank piece of paper. Then I folded it into a basic plane (my standby is the dart) and had a space set aside for them to fly their creations. For instructions on how to fold the dart, and other great airplane designs, try the site

This theme was used the week of 12/6/10.
Next week we'll be talking about pancakes.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Big, Bigger, Biggest

I don't know about you, but my own kids have had trouble with size comparisons. Or at least they did early on. They've got it down by now. Seems easy: "A is bigger than B, therefore B is smaller than A". "This jacket is too big for me, but too small for mama." But inevitably they'd say the jacket was too small for me and too big for them, or get it mixed up somehow. So I decided to do a storytime on that. I brought a number of items from my house, each in 3 sizes. I brought spoons (teaspoon, soup spoon, serving spoon), whisks (small, medium, large), jeans (infant, child, and daddy's), and a few other things. The pants were the biggest hit, of course. But for each we figure out which was the biggest, which the smallest, and which in the middle.

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry
The story of a giant squid (not an octopus, a squid) that goes around stating how he's bigger than this fish, he's bigger than that jellyfish, and then of course an enormous whale swallows him. But then he finds he's the biggest thing inside the whale... It's a good book and funny for the kids, I just wish they wouldn't just use "I'm bigger than..." all the time. An occasional "This ____ is smaller than me" would have been nice, since that's what I was working on with the kids this week.

Big, Bigger, Biggest by Nancy Coffelt
I read this book two different ways depending on the age of the kids. For the older ones, I read it how it was written - there are 3 animals in each set and each says a word and 3 synonyms to describe itself (The hippo is big, large, huge, jumbo; the orca is bigger, gigantic, immense, enormous; the dinosaur is biggest, mammoth, humongous, colossal.). For the younger ones, I just read the hippo as "big", the orca as "bigger" and the dinosaur as "biggest". And so on.

What Size? by Debbie MacKinnon
Each page in this book has a number of pictures and a question - "Which is the smallest car?", "What color is the narrowest line?". Nice to see different adjectives - instead of just big and small, they have wide and narrow, tall and short, thick and thin.

I'm the Best by Lucy Cousins
A dog finds that he's the best because he's bigger than Ladybug, swims better than Donkey, faster than Mole, and a better digger than Goose. But then his friends discover that actually, Mole is the best digger, Goose the best swimmer, Donkey is the biggest. But at the end, Dog has fluffy ears, so he's still the best. Good book about comparisons and also about bragging.

I couldn't come up with a great craft to go with this, so I put together a worksheet with different sizes of pictures (balls, stars, etc) and had the kids color them, then circle which item in each group was the biggest. Can't do something complex every week.

This theme was used the week of November 30, 2010.
Next week we'll be doing airplanes!