I’ve mentioned briefly before that our Children’s Librarian retired a few weeks back. One thing that her leaving meant was that I would be taking over the WeeRead (infant to 3 year olds), Baby and Me, Toddler Time, and Preschool storytimes (on top of the K-2nd that Mary and I work together on, and two 3rd-5th grade book clubs that I run solo). Yowsa!
Thankfully, the Preschool, K-2nd, and Book Clubs are repeats of what we’d done over the past four weeks (thank goodness for that change in format that I recently implemented). It’s only the baby/toddler storytimes that I need to plan. Our Children’s Librarian left with a great deal of information and had created a sheet of songs/rhymes for the next two weeks’ storytimes, but no real activity or books to go along with them. The theme was scarecrows. I grabbed the three books that our library has on scarecrows and was rather disappointed in them. They’re lovely and evoke the moodiness of fall, but I was like, “For babies or toddlers? Heck to the no.”
So the other day I threw this together and did my first storytime with it the very next day. It was enough of a success that I decided to share it with the world in case anyone would like to use the resources that I’ll provide for free (woohoo!).
The inspiration for what I did came from a Raggedy Ann book that I had when I was very young. It had a mouth that you could make smile or frown depending on what was happening in the story. Obviously if I have a very vivid memory of that book several decades later, then it would be fun to do my own version. Therefore I made a scarecrow that would smile or frown! Click on any of the images below to get a printable pdf or jpeg that you can use:
- Print out the “no mouth scarecrow” and the mouth onto cardstock paper.
- Cut out the mouth (smoothing out the rough edges).
- Attached a small brass brad to the mouth (using mounting putty).
- Poke a hole in the “no mouth scarecrow” and stick the brad through.
- Finally, attach the brief story outline to the back of the page.
The simple story worked great. I elaborated on the simple bullet-points, and try and work the audience depending on what they had a reaction to (such as did they enjoy the sad moments more, or the happy?). I had the kids make gestures (like plants growing), sounds (crows cawing), and also asked them to show me a happy or sad face. We also went through one of the picture books and just talked about the pictures without reading the long story. Finally, we had a coloring time where I had made a coloring sheet of our emotional scarecrow, and the kids used a special crayon (6 CRAYONS IN 1!) that’s perfect for little hands still gaining motor skills. Click on the image below to get your very own coloring sheet:
I think that I may do a similar storytime in the future for the preschoolers, and after doing my short story, ask them to create a story where the scarecrow would be happy or sad. I think it could get creatively silly in no time.
Also worth noting is that this would work really great as a felt storytime as well (with even more emotions added in).