Monday, December 26, 2016

The Three Little Pigs

This storytime is one of the reasons that I started using fairy tales with my STEAM storytimes. I had seen so many cool examples on Pinterest and other librarian blogs where the kids were challenged to build houses for the little pigs and see if they could withstand the big bad wolf. 


Hello Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Opening Rhyme: Hands Go Up

Flannel Board: Traditional Three Little Pigs

Story: The Three Ninja Pigs by Corey Rosen Schwartz

Tune: “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”

Roll, roll, roll around 
In the mud all day. 
That is what the pigs all do. 
What a way to play!

Roll, roll, roll around 
That is how they stay, 
Oh, so very nice and cool
On a sunny day!

Dance break: Action cube to "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"

Story: Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale by Steven 

Song: Button Factory song

Hey, My name is Joe 
And I work in a button factory, 
I've got a house and a dog and a family, 
One day the boss came up to me and said 
Are you busy, Joe? I said no, 
He said turn the button with your _____.
1) Left hand 
2) Right Hand 
3) Left Foot 
4) Right Foot 
5) Tongue

Craft/Activity: Build the pigs a new house

Final Story: The Three Little Pigs Count to 100 by Grace Maccarone

Goodbye Song

How it actually went: 

The kids absolutely loved the first book, The Three Ninja Pigs. They were attentive and commented throughout the story. There seemed to be something in the air this week, however, because during the transitions between stories and songs the children became very animated and had a hard time settling down to the task at hand. 

They seemed to simply humor me with the first song, but they really enjoyed using the action dice with different dance moves on it. 

The second story brought the opportunity to discuss the different building materials used by the architectural pigs: scraps, glass, and stone. 

The Button Factory Song was a new one for this group, but it's one that I plan to bring back. It took them a bit to pick up on it, but by the end they were laughing at me trying to sing while turning a button with my tongue. 

For craft time, the children were challenged to build a new home for the three little pigs. When they felt that they had built the best home they could, then it was time to challenge the Big Bad Wolf (aka, my hair dryer).

The Big Bad Wolf is ready to huff and puff and blow some houses down.

Before we began, I reminded the kids that as always, everything in my storytime is an experiment and a chance to learn, nothing has to be perfect. Even still, the craft didn't turn out quite the way I had hoped. I wanted it to be open-ended so that they could try different things and experiment, but now I'm wondering if I need to provide a little more structure. I have craft caddies that I put each set of supplies in. The children were given: 2 pieces of card stock, 10 pipe cleaners, 10 drinking straws, 20 wooden tongue-depressor-type sticks, 5 rubber bands, a long strip of masking tape ( I didn't measure, but each one was the same length), scissors, and a glue stick. 

This was one of those times where two out of the three houses built, were essentially done by the parents. I'm new enough in my profession and in this position, that I'm not really sure yet how to combat this. For now, I do my best to work with the kids who are working on their own; I try to encourage them with questions and ideas. Honestly, all of this is new to me too, so I'm figuring it out with them. 

House #1.

House #2. I was not able to get a picture of house #3.

After the houses were done, it was time to challenge the wolf. Overall, the houses did fairly well. They went sliding across the table, but they did not fall over. 

One of the kids catches house #1 before it can fall over the edge of the table.

House #2 goes up against the Big Bad Wolf. 

I really like the concept of this one, I just need to find a better way to present the house-building portion of the program. Live and learn. 

Also, The Three Little Pigs Count to 100 is a super fun STEAM title. It's got numbers and shapes, and it's full of other fairy tale characters. I really enjoyed it, and the kids seemed to like pointing out the familiar characters. 

*Disclaimer* As always, even though this post contains links to Amazon, I do not receive any compensation for any sales that may result from these links. I just provide them as a quick and easy way to find more information about a title. 

Monday, December 19, 2016


I acknowledge that this one is a bit of a stretch, but I had just received my new LEGO Education LearnToLearn set from my grant request, and I was really excited to use them. I used the Cinderella story as a chance to challenge the kids to build a new carriage for Cinderella to get to the ball. This could easily qualify as an Engineering storytime also, but I decided that cars are a form of technology, and so used it for my Technology week. 

One of the things I like about STEAM is that there is a lot of cross-over of ideas, so the same program could work for multiple concepts. This means that even though I divide STEAM out into separate rotating weeks, I am always willing to adapt and include multiple concepts in the same week or change up my rotation in a way that makes sense. 


Opening Song: Put Your Hands Up High

Opening Rhyme: Hands Go Up

Story: Cinderella illustrated by John Kurtz

Song: The Mouse ran
Tune: "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" 

The mouse ran around the room, 
(make circling motions with arms) 
The mouse ran around the room, 
The mouse ran around the room, 
And what do you think he saw? 
He saw a great big cat. 
(Raise arms and make a large circle) 
He saw a great big cat, 
He saw a great big cat, 
So what do you think he did?
The mouse ran into his hole, 
(squat down) 
The mouse ran into his hole, 
The mouse ran into his hole, 
Safe and sound at last. 
(cover head with arms.)

Source: Preschool Education

Rhyme: Pumpkin, Pumpkin

Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground, (touch the ground)

How'd you get so big and round? (make a big circle)
Once you were a seed so small, (pinch fingers together)
Now you are a great big ball! (make a big circle)
Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground,
How'd you get so big and round?

Source: DLTK

Story: Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood

Activity: Lego carriages

Goodbye song

How it actually went: 

I had four kids attend this storytime, two regular boys and two new girls. I hid the LEGO kits in the back throughout storytime because I knew that the minute the kids saw them, I would lose their attention. 

We started out with a traditional telling of Cinderella (well, a traditional adaptation for children, this version did not include the stepsisters cutting of their toes and heels or having their eyes pecked out by birds). The only difference is that the illustrations feature black characters. Since I feel that representation is important, and these characters better reflect my patrons, I felt like this was a good version to use. 

Since mice and pumpkins are pretty central to the traditional Cinderella tale, we sang about mice and pumpkins. 

Next we read Interstellar Cinderella by Debora Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt. This is by far my absolute favorite version of Cinderella, and pretty much the whole reason that Cinderella became the fairy tale for Technology week. The kids were intrigued to see a Cinderella story take place in space, and to see a version where she opts not to marry the prince in the end. I did have to explain to them what a socket wrench was, though. 

Normally at this point I would sing some more or have some kind of game before moving on to our craft/art project, however, because I knew the LEGO carriages would take a while I opted to dive right in to those. I told the children that Cinderella's carriage had broken down, and it was up to them to make a new one so that she could still get to the ball. Because we read Interstellar Cinderella, I gave them the option of making her a new rocket ship also. 

Cinderella with her new jet pack.

Back view of Cinderella's jet pack.

Some of the children had no problem with the idea of an open-ended challenge and dove right in. Other children were very intimidated by the idea, so I tried my best to work with them and prompt them with questions and encourage them to give it a try. When we start on an open-ended activity, I always emphasize that my storytimes are about experimenting and learning, and their projects do not have to be perfect. When something does not work out, that is when we learn. 

This was the first carriage to be completed.

This child frequently played with LEGOs, and was able to quickly determine the best way to make a carriage with wheels.

In the end, everyone was able to come up with something, and I think they had fun. They were disappointed that they couldn't take the LEGO kits home with them, but they understood. I am incredibly grateful to our amazing Friends of the Library group for funding my request for a LearnToLearn Core Set, and I can't wait to use them again. 

This was the final carriage to be completed, though I suppose it could qualify as a cross-section of a space ship, since it does not actually roll. 

Another angle of the final carriage/space ship. 

A row of Mr Learnie creations. Mr Learnie is the character that children build when they are finished with their projects. He requires every single piece from an individual LearnToLearn kit, so by building Mr. Learnie you know that all of the pieces are going back in the bag.
*Disclaimer* While this post contains links to Amazon and other retailers, I am not set up as an affiliate, so I do not receive any compensation for any sales that may result. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Chicken Little

After searching on Pinterest and other librarian blogs, I decided that for my science week, I would use the story of Chicken Little (or Henny Penny) to discuss gravity.


Opening Song: Put Your Hands up High

Opening Rhyme: Hands go up

Story: Chicken Little by M.J. York

Song: Cluck, Cluck Red Hen 
Tune: Baa-Baa Black Sheep

Cluck, cluck red hen 
Have you any eggs? 
Yes sir! Yes sir! As many as your legs!
One for your breakfast 
And one for your lunch! 
Come back tomorrow, I'll have another bunch!
Cluck, cluck red hen, 
Have you any eggs? 
Yes sir! Yes sir! As many as your legs!

Source: KidsSoup

Rhyme: This Little Chick

This little chick ate corn today. (Hold up thumb.) 
This little chick ate worms, they say. (Hold up first finger.) This little chick ate yellow meal. (Hold up second finger.) This little chick ate a potato peel. (Hold up third finger.) 
And this little chick like a fluffy ball, (Hold up fourth finger.) Ate a teeny, tiny, bit of all! Corn today! Worms they say! Yellow meal! Potato peel!

Source: Same as above

Story: Brave Chicken Little by Robert Byrd

Activity: Dropping objects to see how things fall

Craft/Activity: Parachutes

Final Story: Chicken Little by Rebecca and Ed Emberley

Goodbye Song

How it actually went:

In a big change from the previous week, where I had only one child, this storytime had eight! I know that in some libraries, that's nothing, but I was excited to have so many kids in what is typically a low-volume storytime. 

For our "drop things and see how they fall" activity, I put together what I called, experiment bags. They were paper bags that contained an assortment of items that I found in our storage room. Each bag had: a feather, a pom pom/cotton ball, a checker piece, and two marbles. I set up four cardboard boxes around the room so that as the children dropped their objects, they wouldn't scatter all over. As the kids dropped stuff into the boxes, I asked them to think about why some things might drop faster than others. I also pointed out that their bags had two marbles so they could test objects of the same size. I think they had fun dropping stuff, but they also tired of it pretty quickly and were ready to move on to the next task. 

For our take home craft we made parachutes. I adapted it from the parachute activity in Explore! Forces and Motion.

*Side note* I absolutely LOVE this series for STEAM projects. They are technically aimed for children 7-10 years old, but I can usually find a way to adapt them for 5-7 year olds. 

For this activity, I put together little parachute kits for each kid. I pre-cut the plastic grocery bags into octagons, and put all of the holes in for the yarn. I pre-cut nine equal strands of yarn, and I gave each child a small rubber ducky to attach their parachute to (we have a ton left over from Summer Reading Club). 

I don't usually like to do too much prep work, but this was the night before Thanksgiving, and we were closing early so I couldn't afford to have the kids go over our allotted time. I was also more concerned with having the kids experiment with gravity and air resistance than about being creative with this particular activity. 

For the most part the parachutes worked well, and there was only one almost meltdown when someone's yarn got tangled.

This week there was time to finish up with our final story before singing goodbye. 

Overall, I think things went alright. Each week is as much an experiment for me as it is for the kids. What are your thoughts? Have you tried making parachutes with your kids? Let me know how things worked out in the comments. 

*Disclaimer* While this post contains links to Amazon, I am not currently set up as an affiliate, so I will not receive any compensation for any sales which may result. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Jack and the Beanstalk

This was my very first attempt at mixing STEAM and fairy tales. I decided to tell different versions of Jack and the Beanstalk and give the kids a chance to practice measuring things in the room. 


Opening song: Put your hands up high
Tune: Do Your Ears Hang Low?

Put your hands up high
Put your hands down low
Put your hands in the middle
And wiggle just so
Put your elbows in the front
Put your elbows in the back
Put your elbows to the side 
And quack, quack, quack
Source: Jbrary

Opening rhyme: Hands go up

Hands go up
Hands go down
I can turn myself around
I can stand up, on just one shoe
I can listen, so can you
I can sit, I'll show you how
Storytime is starting now

Source: I found this on Pinterest a long time ago, and have been using it for so long I don't recall the original source

Story: Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne

Song: Five Cows All Brown and Tan
Tune: Five Green and Speckled Frogs

Five cows all brown and tan 
Chewed their cud again and again 
So they could give milk sweet and pure. 
Squirt! Squirt! 
One left the barn one day 
So she could find more hay. 
Then there were four cows brown and tan. 
Moo! Moo!

Source: Pre-K Fun. I switched it up a bit because I had it in my head that Jack's cow was brown, but a look through the various book versions I had actually showed a mix of colors. 

Song: Climbing up the Beanstalk
Tune: She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain

He'll be climbing up the beanstalk when he comes
He'll be climbing up the beanstalk when he comes
He'll be climbing up the beanstalk, he'll be climbing up the beanstalk,
He'll be climbing up the beanstalk when he comes

Additional verses:
He'll be hiding from the giant
He'll be taking lots of gold
He'll be chopping down the beanstalk

Source: This is my own adaptation, but not my original idea. I could see that someone else had come up with something similar, but couldn't see their version without paying for it.

Story: Jack and the Baked Beanstalk by Colin Stimpson

Activities: Measuring items in the room

Pentominoes (if time)

Craft: Make your own beanstalk

Final Story: Jack and the Beanstalk by Nina Crews

Goodbye song: Time to Say Goodbye to Our Friends
Tune: If You're Happy and You Know It

Oh it's time to say goodbye to our friends (clap, clap)
It's time to say goodbye to our friends (clap, clap)
Storytime is done today, so come again another day
It's time to say goodbye to our friends (clap, clap)

Source: This is another one that I've used for a long time, so I don't remember where I originally found it. 

How it actually went:

I only had one child show up for this storytime, so things didn't go quite like I had wanted when we got to the activity portion of the program. The first couple of stories went over well. My one kid was very attentive and participated by asking questions and commenting on the pictures. 

When we started on the measuring portion of the program, I had initially envisioned handing out rulers and letting the kids explore, but it wound up being more one one one. I had a paper beanstalk on the wall with both giant and Jack sized footprints leading up to it. We measured each foot print and we measured the beanstalk. Then I asked him to estimate how many giant footprints it would take to reach the top of the beanstalk. We did the same with Jack's footprints. His estimates were really close each time! As it turned out we did not have time to play with the pentominoes.

My paper beanstalk laid out on the floor. It measured just over six feet tall.

Next it was on to craft time. Ahead of time I prepped the beanstalks by gluing green paper to paper towel tubes and then hot gluing that to a paper plate. I try not to prep too much so the kids still have some room to get creative, but hot glue is one exception to that. 

Craft time ran over, as it often does, so I did not have time to read my final story. 

Overall, I think this was a decent first try. I will definitely attempt this one again after some time has passed. I'll probably make some changes next time around also. 

*Disclaimer* While this post contains links to Amazon, this is purely for informational purposes. I am not currently set up as an affiliate and will receive no compensation for any sales that may result from this post. Feel free to shop with the retailer of your choice. :)