Thursday, July 16

My Five Favorite Storytime Tools (Besides Books)

So, obviously, storytime is storytime because you're sharing stories. You're highlighting books the library has to offer. But! There are so many things to supplement the stories of storytime that make storytime that much more fun for everyone involved! How many times can I say storytime?

Storytime. Storytime. Storytime.

So, here are some of my favorite supplementary tools for my storytimes (and since I usually work with preschoolers, that's the age I'm targeting).

1. Music, music, music!

I wrote it three times because there are multiple ways to go about presenting music in a storytime. My favorite is usually a sing-along CD with some group actions. It gets the kids moving and I love not having to sing a cappella. Favorite albums would include Wiggleworms and Super Simple Songs. Also, Jbrary is a great resource for music (especially if you want themes).

Other fun tools I enjoy is putting instruments in the hands of children, such as shaker eggs or jingle bells. You could even go for a full orchestra with some of the classroom instrument sets available. Or, perhaps, you yourself is rather musically inclined and can perform with a ukulele or guitar—more power to you! Anything to get the kids involved and moving. Music is great practice for rhythm and rhyming skills as well.

2. Felt board

Felt boards and flannel stories (whatever you might call them) provide an opportunity for some really fun visual stimulation/interaction. They can be paired with songs or games or stories or rhymes or all sorts of things. And, they're durable enough to let the kids play with it on their own afterwards. Plus, they're fun to make. I usually have an idea for one included with each of my storytime ideas, or by all means, you should check out Flannel Friday. So. Many. Ideas.

3. Crafts

I enjoy doing crafts with my storytime, but this is definitely a personal decision. I think it's a great way to wind down after the main program and besides the creative benefits, it's a fun way to interact with the kids. They love showing me what they've done and I think it's absolutely adorable. And, with the right materials, you can avoid too much mess. See my craft ideas with each preschool storytime.

4. iPad Apps

This is based on a rather awesome movement to include the proper use of new media in children's libraries. Little eLit explains more, but basically, if we show parents and kids what beneficial digital tools are available to them, then we can help children learn better. I have a whole blog post about it. But I'll summarize here: an animal sounds app is super fun with puppets, and ACPL has a library app with helpful tips and song ideas. Among many others.

5. Puppets

Yes, just like flannel boards, puppets are a great, interactive way to engage kids. I don't know what it is, but my storytime kids are enthralled when a puppet is talking/moving. And they love any chance the can to play with it, pet it, answer it...whatever it may be. You don't even need to have an extensive puppet collection, even just one storytime mascot who can help kids get ready or involved is a genius idea. Love them.


So there's just a few ideas. What about you? Do you have a favorite storytime tool?

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