Toddler Storytime: Farms

Toddler Storytime – 4/24/19 – FARMS

  • Hello Rhyme – Say Hello
    • This is a great rhyme for saying hello because we get to do it in so many fun ways!
  •  Song – Fingers, Nose and Toes by Cedarmont Kids
    • This is a new one for me, so we will see how it goes. Seems to have some fun stretching and movements.
  •  Transition Rhyme – Ten Fingers
    • I haven’t done a purely toddler storytime in a while, so I wanted to have a transition rhyme. I can’t find where I got this one from, so if it’s you, let me know!

I have ten fingers hold up both hands, fingers spread
And they all belong to me, point to self 
I can make them do things
Would you like to see?
I can shut them up tight make fists 
I can open them wide open hands
I can put them together place palms together
I can make them all hide put hands behind back 
I can make them jump high hands over head
I can make them jump low touch floor
I can fold them up quietly fold hands in lap
And hold them just so.

  • ASL – COW / PIG / DUCK / SHEEP 51a5mwwtdml._sy498_bo1204203200_
    • In getting into a theme, I like my group a few American Sign Language signs to go with the theme. This is great to help frustrated little ones communicate but it also helps make our world a better place by fostering communication with each other. We have a large deaf community near my library so learning just a few signs are great! I usually use Signing Savvy or Baby Sign Language.
  • Rhyme – When Cow Gets Up in the Morning 
    • I may or may not break out the puppets for this one.

When cows get up in the morning, they always say hello.
When cows get up in the morning, they always say hello.
And what do they say? Mooooooooo
And that is what they say.
(Ducks, Pigs, etc.)

  • Book/Puppets – The Cow Said Neigh! By Rory Feek
    • If I don’t use the puppets for the previous one, I may use it here. This is a newer book and is so much fun about the animals mixing up their sounds.
  • Rhyme/Magnet – Whose in my barn? IMG_1258
    • I did this one a while back. I basically added magnets to different animals and hid them behind my bars. Then I described the animals and let the kids should out the answers.
  • Song – Old MacDonald Had a Farm by The Hit Crew
    • I’m not sure if we will clap or sing or what but you can’t have a farm theme without this gem!
  • Rhyme – Ten Fluffy Chicks
    • Really breaking out the magnet board this week. This is one from Sunflower Storytime and it has a nice rhyme but also works with counting.

Five eggs and five eggs  (Add a clutch of eggs each time you say “five eggs”)
And that makes ten 
Sitting on top  (Add the hen)
Is Mother Hen 
Cackle cackle cackle   (Clap hands as you say Cackle!)
What do I see? 
Ten fluffy chickens   (Switch eggs for chicks.)
Yellow as can be. 

  • Book – Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw 61ztgpwqfdl._sy495_bo1204203200_
    • Who doesn’t love these silly sheep! A small book but that just means you have to be more expressive.
  • Rhyme – BINGO
    • We are going to do this the classic way, replacing a letter with a clap each time.
  • Song/Shakers – The Shimmie Shake! by The Wiggles
    • Thank you Wiggles for this one. It’s perfect to shake to!
  • Rhyme – If You’re Happy and You Know It
    • I also like to end my storytimes with this rhyme to see how happy everyone is.
  • Goodbye Rhyme – Say Goodbye
    • I like to start and end storytime with versions of the same rhyme. We use the same words as when we said hello, except we exchange “hello” with “goodbye.”
  • Song – Clean It Up by Laurie Berkner
    • Clean up time!
  • Song – Goodbye, So Long, Farewell by K. Guilmartin
    • I will always put this one on in the background as everyone leaves because I just love it!

How’d it go:

Man, haven’t done a purely toddler storytime in a while. I would probably change a few things next time and maybe add another song, since we got a little restless. But other than that, all went well.

That’s all for now!


The House With Chicken Legs

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson is a juvenile fiction book for 4-6th grade.

Twelve-year-old Marinka lives in a house with chicken legs and is destined to become a Yaga–someone who guides the dead into the afterlife. She has been in training since birth, guiding the dead alongside her grandmother every night. But the dead make terrible friends.

All Marinka wants is a normal life, with a friend who isn’t dead and who won’t disappear an hour after they meet. So when Marinka has a chance to make a real friend, she jumps at it without thinking about the consequences.

Will Marinka ever find a way to live the life she’s always dreamed of? Or will her actions but the whole world at risk?

I totally have a thing for the Yaga myth–really Russian folklore in general. I’ve read several teen and adult books about takes on Baba Yaga but never a children’s book, which is why I was so excited to pick this one up and it didn’t disappoint.

This book has a lot of heart. You can use it to discuss grief and death, the circle of life, but also responsibilities, being selfish vs. being yourself and even the idea of fate. It isn’t a difficult read, even with the theme of death floating around. There is some light humor and a satisfying conclusion.

I loved the personality of the house itself. For a house, she is very expressive. Marinka on the other hand, was a smidgen annoying in that she doesn’t think things through. But that also, isn’t entirely her fault since the truth had been hidden from her for so long. She did grow by the end, but she also got a pretty good deal if I do say so myself.

This would make a good read for 4-6th graders who like a little bit of magic. This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!


STEM Book Club: Spin the Golden Light Bulb

This is our last STEM Book Club until after the summer. I plan on reevaluating and seeing what worked and didn’t work and then picking back up in the fall. That being said, I got some snacks and tried to pick a fun project for us this time. 

Spin the Golden Lightbulb by Jackie Yeager is the first book in a new elementary series called The Crimson Five.

Every year, eighth graders all over the country compete in the Piedmont Challenge in order to win a golden lightbulb and earn a place at PIPS, The Piedmont Inventor’s Prep School. Kia Krumpet is determined to be one of only five winners chosen from her state. And when she learns that just winning a golden lightbulb may not be enough to secure her place at PIPS, she is even more determined than before.

Kia, along with the four other winners, must compete at Camp Piedmont in a challenge that will test all of their ingenuity, brains, strength and heart. Does Kia have what it takes to make it to Nationals? Or will her insecurities cost her big time?

Discussion Questions / Further Reading 

  1. What is this book about? What are the main themes? 
  2. In this futuristic world, kids are “programmed” into a single category of study, which will follow them throughout adulthood. What do you think about this? Could there be anything good about this placement method?
  3. The Crimson Five are singled out for coming from the same school. Do you think this is fair? Should they be held at a higher standard?
  4. At first, Kia isn’t sure about working with a team. Why can working with a team be so much harder? Why can a team help you to excel?
  5. To complete their task, the team must “include elements from each of the six academic categories—Art Forms, Communication, Earth and Space, Human History, Math and New Technology.” Why do you think Kia sees this as an impossible task?
  6. Ignoring the sparkly dust, rotating bunk beds, robotic monkeys and all the other cool tech gadgets, this book is about teamwork and friendship. What are some examples of how the Crimson Five were able to work together as a team in order to do better? 
  7. Each of the member of the Crimson Five have some character trait to overcome. Name a character, their trait and how they overcame it?  
  8. What role does Grandma Kitty have in the story? What does her character contribute to the plot? 
  9. Prediction time! This the first book in a series. Any predictions on where it could be heading? Did you see any instances of foreshadowing? 
  10. Invention time! Kia has more than 67 inventions swirling around in her head. Your turn! What invention would you create that would make the world a better place? 

 Team Building Challenge

 Supplies: sturdy string, solo cups, one rubber bandcup-stack-10

Setup: Tie four, arm length, pieces of string to your rubber band. Place a stack of ten solo cups next to the rubber band and string.

The Challenge: Working in teams of four, students must build a tower of cups using only the string/rubber band tool. Students may ONLY touch the string.

See which team can build their cup tower first. You can also give them different challenges, depending on how quickly they go. Encourage communication and teamwork. It’s harder than it looks!

 Army Man Challenge

 Supplies: one cup, one army man, one spoon, six Popsicle sticks, two rubber bands two feet of tape 19fa68de2a53fdbd737823dee6d19a80

Setup: Give each student a cup with the supplies inside of it.

The Challenge: Working individually, each student will attempt to make an army launcher. They have only the materials in their cups to complete the task. We will then take turns using our launchers to see who can shoot the army man the furthest.

*Adult Supervision required for all STEM activities*


How’d it go:

This was a super low key, fun last STEM club of the season. We had snacks, did a little book discussion and worked on our two challenges. I was actually pleasantly surprised that the kids really liked the teambuilding cup challenge. I totally have to keep that in mind for next time. As for the army men, it was interesting. We got a little crazy shooting our men and at times… each other :-/

I’m glad this club went well for our first round. Till September STEM Club pals!

That’s all for now!


STEM Book Club: The Nebula Secret

For this months STEM book club, I decided to go with an action adventure book all about explorers.

Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret by Trudi Trueit is the first book in a new juvenile adventure series.

Cruz is one of 24 kids across the globe that has been chosen to attend the elite Explorers Academy. Taught by leading researchers, wildlife experts, survivalists and conservationists, Cruz and his fellow explorers are training to become the next generation of great explorers.

But for Cruz this is more than just a dream, this is his legacy. When his mom died when Cruz was just a boy, he knew he would follow in her footsteps at the academy. But no sooner then he receives his acceptance letter, do weird and dangerous “coincidences” seem to dog him.

Can Cruz handle the pressures of Explorer Academy and can he find out who is out to get him and why?

Discussion Questions / Further Reading 

  1.  What is this book about? What are the main themes?  
  2.  What do you think about Explorer Academy? Would you like to see an institution like this? How would a place like this help in today’s environmental struggles? 
  3.  Explorer Academy is extremely competitive, but Renshaw tells Cruz, “My brother says … everybody helps everybody else. The teachers encourage that.” [Page 40] How do you feel about this—knowing that with your help, another student might succeed over you? In this kind of environment, would you hesitate to help a classmate? Why? Why not? 
  4. We saw a lot of different “tech” in this book—some of it real and some of it embellished. What was your favorite technology in this book and why?  
  5. The young explorers are required to wear their OS bracelets at all times. What if the band was available to the general public? What would the benefits be to the health and well-being of the people wearing it? What if people were required to wear it? In what ways could this seemingly beneficial device be abused by an agency responsible for viewing and using its data? 
  6. Why is it so important for Explorer Academy students to study “the characteristics of humanity—why different cultures eat, speak, dress, think, believe, live, and act the way they do.” [Page 111] How will knowing this enhance their experience as explorers? 
  7. The CAVE is a major part of the explorers training. What did you think about this method of training? How far away do you think current technology is toward this goal?  
  8. What is “Cryptography?” Give a few examples of how cryptography was used in this book. 
  9. MAV was Cruz’s robotic honey bee. If you could design your own MAV what would it look like and why? 
  10. This is the first book in a seven book series. Do you have any predictions about where this series could be heading?  

 DIY Cipher Wheel


Supplies: Cardboard; Scissors; 1 brass tack; markers; template; glue.

A cipher wheel is an enciphering and deciphering tool developed in 1470. It consists of one stationary wheel and one “moveable” wheel. A cipher wheel can code and decode messages as long as one has the cipher key. There are many variations of cipher wheels but today we are going to do a basic substitution cipher.

How To:

  • Using your template, cut out the two circles.
  • Trace your circles on cardboard and cut them out as well.
  • Glue or tape the template to the cardboard.
  • Place the smaller circle atop of the larger one. Carefully using a scissor or pen, poke a hole in the middle of each circle.
  • Take your brass tack and secure the two cardboard circles together. The circles should still be able to move.
  • Your cipher wheel is ready for use.
  • To use your wheel, decide which letter on the smaller circle will be your cipher key. Let’s use “R” as an example. Turn your wheel so that the letters A, on the big wheel, and the letter R, on the smaller wheel line up.
  • You can now write your messages in code and give the cipher to those you want to read it.


  • You could also create a cipher wheel with symbols on the smaller wheel.
  • How else could you use a cipher wheel?
  • Can you think of other ways to decode and encode messages?


How’d it go:

This one went pretty well. It was a “cleaner” and easier STEM activity then some of my others, so I wasn’t scrambling to help 20 kids at once. We finished a little early, but overall it was a successful program.

That’s all for now!



I love witty little sayings and putting a bookish spin on some of my favorite things. I used to love Monopoly when I was a kid… even if it did take forever. So creating my own bookopoly board was a must!


For the board itself, I altered the four corners to look like the regular Monopoly squares but with different, bookish sayings. Then for my spaces, I used book covers. Finally, for my “railroad” spots, I used different genres and did them in black and white so they would look like the railroad space.

I actually shortened the board to make things easier for me. That way I also didn’t have to make the chance other special spaces, like the chance spaces. Although, I am totally bummed that my police officer corner space is rotated the wrong way. But the board has been laminated and so it shall stay that way.

Throw in a few fake dollars, a witty saying–Get in the game… READ– and viola!

So. Much. Fun.

That’s all for now!