I can hardly believe summer is nearly over and it is practically time to get back to school. I am going to miss the summer job I had performing and creating family story time. I learned so much and really hope that the efforts I put forth will be remembered by the kids.
The best storytimes were the ones that I dressed up for. The kids a great time when I walked in with my simple pirate costume – black boots, an eye patch and bandana. I had a key hidden in my boot and retrieved it at the right time while reading Phoebe Gilman’s book “Grandma and the Pirates”. Also, I changed my storytime introduction to “Shiver me timbers / Shiver me toes / Shiver me shoulders / Shiver me Nose!” The kids loved that! Did I mention that I had prefolded newspapers into pirate hats and all the kids wore them throughout the story time as pirates, they don’t like landlubbers! Another thing that happened was the kids picked up some pirate language during the storytime too. They all left saying Arr! and A-hoy! and wearing their pirate hats and using their imagination too.
Another fun storytime I did was storigami. Basically I told a story about a boy named Jerome who was lonely since his best friend had moved away. Jerome started building a house for a big pet dog, and as I told the story I folded a piece of paper. At the end the parents laughed as I couldn’t get the paper to fold right and grabbed one magically on my cart. That day the kids each decorated an origami fish and brought it home. They each felt like they had their own pet fish and were so happy. During this storytime I also told the story of Nanta’s Lion. If you haven’t read this one, it is out of print, but it is a beautiful book and if you get the chance you have to take a look at it. The kids loved both the storigami and Nanta’s Lion book too.
For my final story time I put together a costume as well. I don’t typically like princesses and princesses, but I dressed the part with a shiny cardboard crown and had a purple feather boa around my neck. It was pretty funny. Before I started telling the stories the feather boa came off and was hidden on the storytime cart so it wouldn’t distract the kids. I had chosen some favourite stories and didn’t stick to a theme. One was about some princesses that went to a ball – play on the word “ball” here as they actually played basketball. Definitely I should have skipped this one! I read another story which went over real well with the kids. The story that went over much better with the kids was “Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type”. There is a series of these books, but this one is by far the best! Some of the boys at the back were laughing when I got them all to repeat Click, Clack, Quack – the ducks had got the typewriter! If you haven’t read that one before definitely take a look at it as it has both kid and adult appeal. At the end of the final story time I had crowns for the kids to decorate. The kids used their imaginations saying I want to be a king, queen, prince or princess and I made sure to emphasize that they could be whoever they wanted to be at story time. It was wonderful to see the kids using their imaginations and the crowns turned out really great too!
A few things I learned quickly:
Kids + Glue = Mess
Kids + Sparkles = Worse Mess!
The best crafts are simplest and get the children to use their imagination. Especially at night when parents don’t have any patience — try to choose crafts that the children can do on their own with little or no extra parental help for evening story time.
Story time is the most fun when the story teller is dressed up! Also, for me it was less nerve racking as a story teller!
Finally, story time requires a lot of patience and preparation, but the efforts are worth it. I already miss telling the stories, seeing the reaction of the boys and girls and interacting with them as I did during story time. Though I had days which stretched me to my limits and boys and girls who were to young to attend the story time attending anyway, I hope that somehow all my time and effort made it worthwhile for the group. I hope that parents learned new ways to teach children and that children learned from the stories too. I also hope they all learned that the library is a safe place to ask questions and a great second place to go to after home or school.
Check back soon for a post on Jurassic Trivia – my dino program for 8-11 year olds!