Monthly Archives: June 2012

Rubber Ducky #4–Moon


The theme for this week’s Rubber Ducky Club was the moon, and the early literacy skill for the week was letter knowledge.  Letter knowledge is simply knowing that letters are different from each other and knowing their names and sounds.  At our storytime, we read alphabet books, sang the alphabet song, and played with alphabet stamps to promote letter knowledge.  Reading with your child every day supports letter knowledge by exposing your child to the written word.  There are lots of fun and interesting alphabet books to share!

Opening song:  We hit our knees together

Opening rhyme:  Two little dickey birds

Opening game:  Where is little moon? flannelboard

BookThe Sleepy Little Alphabet, by Judy Sierra.  This alphabet book is also a perfect bedtime book.  The “little” letters of the alphabet are getting ready for bed, and their sounds are used to describe what they are up to at bedtime–“q is quiet as a bunny”.  The rhyming cadence of the text makes it an excellent companion for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (see below).






Activity:  Alphabet soup flannel.  This wonderful idea came from In the Children’s Room.  I recited the rhyme as I pretended to stir in the bowl.  I put the letters up in order (to eventually spell “moon”) and the kids identified them as I put them up on the flannelboard.  This is a great game that I will definitely be using again in the future.








Song:  Skinnamarink

Rhyme:  Hey Diddle Diddle.  I never recite this rhyme right away.  I ask the kids if they’ve heard about the cow and the moon and ask them what happened.  Did the cow go under the moon?  Did she dance next to the moon?  They love it, I guess because it’s so silly.  Then we recite the rhyme twice–and I use the puppets to make the cow (properly) jump over the moon.  Then, all is right with the world once again.





Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault.  Like most people, I completely love Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!  It is about the most fun you can have reading an alphabet book because of its rhythm and silly words (I mean really, who doesn’t love saying “skit skat skoodle doot flip flop flee”?)  And children love seeing the poor, injured letters make their way back up to the coconut tree after their big fall.  As an added bonus, the final pages of the book are a perfect lead-in to…





Song:  The Alphabet Song








Closing game:  rhyme cube (this week it landed on “I’m a little teapot”–we pointed out that teapot starts with the letter “t”)

Closing rhyme:  This is big, big, big

Closing song:  Can you stomp with two feet?

Craft: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom coconut tree.  I got this idea on Pinterest, but regrettably I can’t remember where.  (If you want more of these activities and crafts, puh-leeze look on Pinterest.  There are great teacher and mom bloggers out there who come up with these great activities and share them with us!  It’s a fantastic resource!)  The kids had the option of either tracing their hand and coloring it in for the tree leaves (like I did, pictured left) or they could use one of the HUGE stamp pads to make hand prints (most kids ended up doing the stamped hand prints).  Then, they used the alphabet stamps to make letters falling off of the tree.  I was worried about how parents would feel about this activity because it’s probably the messiest we have undertaken.  But these parents and caretakers were very patient and attentive, and (I think) appreciative of the opportunity to do the activity.  I wish I had taken pictures of the trees, because they all turned out so cute!

As always, we brought out the toys and played for awhile after storytime.




Rubber Ducky Club WILL NOT meet next week.  Bring your completed June early literacy activity log to the Leesburg Library starting July 1 to get your rubber ducky (while supplies last).  Rubber Ducky Club WILL meet at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 9 and Monday, July 16.  Rubber Ducky Club is sponsored by the Lee County Library and is free and open to the public.  For more information, call 759-2369.


Good Night, Good Knight–the puppet show!


This week at all three branches we performed a puppet show version of the book Good Night, Good Knight, by Shelley Moore Thomas.  This is a very cute story of a knight and three restless dragons at bedtime.  Each time the knight investigates the roar that he hears from his post, he discovers a dragon with a new reason for not going to sleep.  The idea to use this book was inspired by the lovely Kay at Storytime ABCs.  I can’t wait to see how her live action performance turns out!  As suggested by Kay, we used the book’s repetition as an opportunity for audience participation.  Every time there was a roar, the audience roared, every time he got on his horse, they shouted “AWAY!”, and every time he rode through the forest, they said “clippety-clop, clippety-clop”.

I made some changes to adapt the book to a puppet show format.  I decided to go with two dragons instead of three–mostly because I didn’t have three dragon puppets.  I also thought that it might get a little monotonous if we did the third dragon.  Plus, I wanted to be able to do the show with three people if necessary.  So we had a girl dragon and a boy dragon–the boy wanted a song (the knight wasn’t much of a singer, so asked the audience to sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” with him).  The dragon puppets are pictured left–They are made by Folkmanis and I dressed them with stuffed animal clothes that I had on hand (I added some embellishments to the girl’s nightgown).

Another difference is that we used a narrator–Princess Paige, princess of the Reading Kingdom.  (We used trees that were already holding books, so we decided to just go with it and call it the Reading Forest–why not?)  One of our fantastic teen volunteers got a princess costume and did a wonderful job as Princess Paige.  She narrated the story and reminded the audience when they were supposed to participate.

Here is a picture of the staging at our main branch, where we used the multipurpose room.

At the end of the show, we covered the knight up with a blanket–it was a cute way to end and it made the audience laugh.  Incidentally, it was my four-year-old’s favorite part!

After the show at the main branch, the kids visited with the puppets and got a coloring sheet designed and drawn by my brilliant artist husband. 








At our two smaller branches, we had a slightly different (scaled down) stage.  We were also able to do a shield craft like this one.  Here’s the one I made–it should be noted that I am NOT the artist.  When things need to be drawn, my husband makes it happen.  This dragon, however, had the misfortune of being drawn by me.








The puppet show was really fun!  Thank you SO MUCH to my excellent teen volunteers!

Next week we are hosting Chehaw’s Nocturnal Animals at Leesburg–10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 26.  We will make our own monsters at Smithville at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27 and at Redbone at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 28.  All summer reading events are sponsored by the Lee County Library and are free and open to the public.  For more information call 759-2369.

Dogs in the library!


Today we had our second visit from the wonderful dogs (and their people!) from Paws Patrol.  Paws Patrol is an organization of volunteers and their certified therapy dogs.  These volunteers generously share their time and sweet animals with the community–in addition to library visits like the ones we had on June 12 and today, they also visit hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other facilities.

When the dogs visit our library, they listen patiently as children of all ages eagerly share books with them.  I love watching the kids search for just the right book to read, and the look of triumph when they have finished reading to their favorite dog.  It literally makes me grin from ear to ear the entire time they are here.  Thanks to everyone who came out to share it with us, and an extra special thanks to the dogs and volunteers at Paws Patrol!  We loved it!

Rubber Ducky Club #3–Princesses and Dragons


The early literacy skill we focused on this week was phonological awareness.  Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words.  This helps children sound out words as they begin to read.  This week we read rhyming books, sang songs, and recited rhymes to promote phonological awareness.






Opening Song: We hit our knees together

Opening Rhyme:  Good Morning Princess Perky Bird (usually it’s Mrs. Perky Bird, but she was feeling royal with her Dixie cup crown, so I changed the words accordingly).







Opening Game:  I put the crown up first, and the kids guessed that it needed jewels.  I held up each “jewel” and we talked about the shape and color as we put it on the crown.  Then we counted how many jewels the crown had.






BookLullabyhullaballoo, by Mick Inkpen.  This book was a hit!  It has rhyming text and plenty of opportunities for participation.  The princess wants to go to sleep but there is too much noise going on outside the castle!  What shall we do?  We’ll tell them to SSSHHHH, that’s what we’ll do!  The kids LOVED shushing at the appropriate times.






Fingerplay:  Here is baby ready for her nap (given our royal theme, I replaced “baby ” with “princess” the first time around, and the second time we did it, I said “prince”)

Rhyme:  Jack and Jill

Rhyme:  Humpty Dumpty (When I do this in our Mother Goose on the Loose storytimes, I have each child come up and knock Humpty Dumpty down off the wall.  I didn’t do it this time because I was using a smaller flannelboard, though).






BookOne Drowsy Dragon, by Ethan Long.  This is a very cute counting book with rhyming text.  The dragon is ready to go to sleep, but his friends are still active.







Activity:  Rum Pum Pum (with toy drum).  This is an activity from Mother Goose on the Loose.  I have a toy drum and I beat the syllables “Rum Pum Pum this is my drum.  Rum Pum Pum this is my drum.  My name is Erin, what’s your name?”  Then we go around and have the kids beat the syllables of their name on the drum.  This is good for phonological awareness because it breaks their name up into smaller sounds.  Plus, they just really love that drum!

Rhyme Cube:  We got “Wheels on the Bus” again!

Closing Rhyme:  This is Big, Big, Big

Closing Song:  Can you stomp with two feet?

Craft: paper plate crown with shape jewels.  I laid out crayons, safety scissors, and glue sticks.  I cut the center of each paper plate into 8 sections and ran off a worksheet that had shapes with their names on them.  The kids colored the crowns and the jewels and glued the jewels on with glue sticks.  They were very cute and easy to do!  P.S. having the names on the shapes promotes print awareness!





Join us for Rubber Ducky Club!  June 25, July 9 and July 16 at 10:00 a.m. at the Leesburg Library!  Sponsored by the Lee County Library, free and open to the public.  For more information call 759-2369.

Library Space Camp


Yesterday and today we had Library Space Camp at our Smithville and Redbone branches!  It really was a lot of fun!  I grew up near the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, so I have always had a fascination with space camp.  Almost from the moment I started brainstorming about what activities to do for this year’s theme, Dream Big–READ! I knew that we HAD to do a space camp.  Basically, I had two stations–crafts and pretend play.  I find it really effective to mix things up like this, because some kids like to do both, but some kids only like crafts or some kids only like playing.





Here’s the “Space Crafts” (hehe–get it?) table.  There’s white glue, glue sticks, scissors, markers, and tissue paper.  The two crafts were paper bag space helmets and design your own CD planet.







Here are a couple of our paper bag space helmets.  You just cut the bottom off of a paper grocery bag, then cut a hole for your face out of the front.  Then, decorate as desired.  I found a printable of decorations that the kids could color, cut, and past on their helmets.  The link doesn’t seem to be working now, but you can get to the image by googling “astronaut helmet craft.”






We recycled old CDs to make our own planets!  I painted the non-silver side of the CDs with several coats of blue or black acrylic paint ahead of time.  The kids just put down some white glue and tore up pieces of tissue paper to decorate their planets.  It was really interesting to hear the stories behind all of the different planets!






The other part of space camp was a pretend play area.  Here, the kids could dress up, take a space walk to Mars, hold things down at Mission Control (pictured at the top of the page), examine the rock samples at the Discovery Lab, and sample astronaut ice cream.

The astronaut dress-up station had gloves, jet pack, grabbers, and bags for the rock samples).  I also created a diagram of special astronaut gear and what it is used for.





Mission to Mars–the kids donned their astronaut gear and tried to collect rock samples with the grabbers pictured above.  (Grabbers were about $3 at Target).  To set the stage (and protect the floor!) I put down some red and orange fabric.  And yes, I actually had a huge bag of rocks to use as Mars rocks.






The Discovery Lab consisted of two pie plates, a food scale, two magnifying glasses, and two paintbrushes (to clean off the samples).  I also printed out some simple “discovery journals” and pencils so that they could record their findings.






Finally, I put up some information about eating in space, and served samples of astronaut ice cream (that is what’s in the Dixie cups!)  The kids really liked the ice cream!







After real space camp, attendees earn a pair of wings.  Library Space Camp is no different!  We gave each participant a pair of wings (as modeled by Baker the Monkey).









We also had a rocketship photo-op that my brilliant husband drew and I painted.  I got the idea for it here.  Our wonderful teen volunteer is trying it out with Baker the space monkey.









All in all, we had a space-tacular time! 🙂

Next week, we are presenting a puppet show based on the book Good Night, Good Knight.  All summer reading events are sponsored by the Lee County Library and are free and open to the public.  For more information, call 759-2369.















Rubber Ducky Club #2–Astronauts and Outer Space


The early literacy skill for this week was vocabulary.  Vocabulary is simply knowing the names of things.  This is important because knowing lots of words helps children recognize written words and understand what they read.  At our storytime, we read books with uncommon words such as “astronaut”.  Reading together every day supports vocabulary development by exposing your child to words that are uncommon in every day spoken language.

Opening Song:  We hit our knees together

Opening Rhyme:  Two Little Dickey Birds

Opening Game:  Where is Little Moon?

Book I Want to be an Astronaut, by Byron Barton.  This book clearly illustrates uncommon words and phrases such as “crew”, “shuttle”, and “outer space.”

Flannel:  If You’re Going to the Moon.  Sung to the tune of “If  You’re Happy and You Know It”.

If you’re going to the moon, wear your boots (stomp feet). 

If you’re going to the moon, wear your boots.

If you’re going to the moon, this is what you’ve got to do, if you’re going to the moon, wear your boots.

If you’re going to the moon, wear your gloves (clap hands)

If you’re going to the moon, wear your helmet (pat head)

If you’re going to the moon, wear all three (stomp feet, clap hands, pat head)

Thanks to Mel’s Desk!

Rhyme:  Hey Diddle Diddle.  I printed out coloring pages of a cow and moon, colored and laminated them, then stuck them on craft sticks with tape.  I asked the kids questions like “Does the cow go under the moon?  No!  Does the cow go beside the moon?  No!  She jumps over the moon!  Let’s recite the rhyme together.”

Action rhymeHere we go up, up, up.  The link shows it being sung, but I just recited it while we went up, down, forward, backward, and round and round!

BookRoaring Rockets, by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker.  (E SPACES MITT) This rhyming book is easy to listen to but it has very good informative content.  “Rockets carry astronauts with cool white suits, oxygen helmets, and gravity boots.”  It also has a countdown, which is fun to read aloud.  While this is one of my favorites to read aloud for a space themed storytime, I think it would be even better to read it one-on-one.  There are lots of unfamiliar words and concepts that could make for great discussion.

Action RhymeZoom zoom zoom!  We’re going to the moon!  The mom in this video does an excellent job of reciting this rhyme with her baby.  However, since we had mostly toddlers in our group, we all stood up and I just recited  the rhyme rhythmically while clapping.  I also added a line about climbing into the rocket ship (we pretended to climb in) and buckling our seatbelts (we pretended to buckle our seatbelts).  Then we crouched down, counted down from five and yelled “Blast off!” as we jumped up.

Closing Game:  Rhyme cube.  This week we landed on “The Wheels on the Bus”

Closing Rhyme:  This is big, big, big

Activity:  Space play dough.  This recipe is super easy and smells good because it uses Kool-Aid packets for the coloring.  I also like it because it uses common ingredients that I usually have on hand AND you don’t have to cook it!  I made 5 batches (pink, orange, red, purple, yellow) and divided each batch into four balls.  I put each ball into a snack size ziplock bag.  I put the bags on the table, along with various play dough toys.  As is mentioned in the link above, play dough is a good activity for very young children because it “builds fine motor skills and strengthens their hands and fingers to prepare them for writing later.”

Of course, we ended with pulling out the toys and having playtime!

Rubber Ducky Club is sponsored by the Lee County Library and is free and open to the public.  For more information, please call 759-2369.  Our next Rubber Ducky Club storytime is scheduled for Monday, June 18 at 10:00 a.m. at the Leesburg Library.

What will you read next? Consult the Future Book Look!


Do you need something to read?  Are you bored with the same old thing?  Do you want to learn about something new?  Then consult the Future Book Look–if you dare!  Simply take a stick from the Future Book Look and go to the shelf.  For example, if you draw the stick pictured, you would go to the 580s.  Once you’re there, browse the section until you find a book about the subject on the stick (in this case, trees).  Then, check out your book, read it, and put it in your summer reading log!  If you have any questions about where to locate the call number section on your stick, just ask library staff.  You never know what the Future Book Look will throw at you–will you draw secret codes, animals, monsters, archaeology or jokes and riddles?  Or….something else?

You can find the Future Book Look in the juvenile nonfiction section at the Leesburg Library.





Dream Big and add YOUR star to our sky!


For those of you who haven’t already registered for summer reading–it isn’t too late!  Come in to any of our branches and ask for a reading log at the desk.  If you can, come to the Leesburg Library to decorate a star to put on our night sky!

Also remember that registering your child or grandchild for summer reading makes you eligible to enter them in the Think Big! Save for College! Sweepstakes.  The prize is $5,529 for the child’s future education expenses, as well as $1,529 to the child’s home library for materials and programming.  There are also prizes of $1,529 awarded to the library with the greatest number of entries and the greatest percentage of registered users, so every entry counts!  Visit for more details and to enter to win.





Here’s what’s coming up next week!

Monday:  10:00 a.m. Rubber Ducky Club at Leesburg

Tuesday:  10:00 a.m. Thronateeska Planetarium at Leesburg

*ALSO on Tuesday at Leesburg, check out “Wag a Tale at the Library”  starting at 1:45 p.m.  Children of all ages can read to specially trained therapy dogs*

Wednesday:  3:30 p.m. Library Space Camp at Smithville

Thursday:  10:00 a.m. Library Space Camp at Redbone

All summer reading events are sponsored by the Lee County Library.  Free and open to the public.  For more information call (229)759-2369.

Critter Campout–Redbone 6/7/12 (slideshow)


We had a great time at the Redbone Critter Campout!  Check out a slideshow here.  Don’t forget to pick up your critters at Redbone TODAY starting at 2:30 p.m.







Coming up at Redbone next Thursday, June 14 at 10:00 a.m.—Library Space Camp!  Don’t miss our astronaut ice cream samples, space-crafts, and simulated space walk to Mars!  We’ll also be hosting Thronateeska Planetarium at Leesburg Library at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 12.

Also, if you haven’t registered for summer reading yet, it isn’t too late!  Just ask for a reading log at the circulation desk of any of our branches and start reading away!

All summer reading events are sponsored by Lee County Library.  Free and open to the public.  For more information call (229)759-2369.

Critter Campout–Smithville (slideshow)


We had a great time at Smithville’s Critter Campout!  Check out the slideshow of their antics here.  Don’t forget to pick up your stuffed friends today starting at 3:30 p.m.!

Be sure to join us at Smithville at 3:30 p.m. next Wednesday, June 13 for Library Space Camp!  We’ll have space-y crafts, sample astronaut ice cream, and have a simulated space walk to collect rock samples from Mars!