Tag Archives: summer reading

Ready, Set, Read!–1, 2, 3!


Bubble machine (sing Hello Bubbles and One Little Two Little Three Little Bubbles)

Opening song: Hands are Clapping (to the tune of Skip to My Lou) Hands are clapping, clap clap clap, hands are clapping, clap clap clap, hands are clapping, clap clap clap, clap your hands my darlings.  (feet are stomping, bodies are wiggling)–I think this one was in this year’s early literacy summer reading manual

Opening game: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes (sing 3 times–first time slow, second time a little faster, third time “super sonic speed”)

photo(11)Book: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and James Dean (E CATS LITW)








photo(15)Flannelboard Activity: My groovy (red) buttons.  I printed these buttons onto different colored paper, laminated them, and put a bit of velcro on the back.  I handed these out to the kids and instructed them to come up with their button when I called that color.  Then I said “My buttons, my buttons, my groovy (red) buttons.”  The kids with red buttons came up and put them on the flannelboard.  Then we counted how many red buttons we had.  We did this for each color.  Then we went back and counted the total number of buttons.







photo(6)Song: Bubble Bubble Pop.  I made these cards and we sang the song demonstrated adorably (as always) by the Jbrary girls here.








photo(12)Book: One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Jane Cabrera (E COUNTING CABR)








photo(10)Book: Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd (E COLORS DODD)









Parachute activity: 3 little monkeys jumping on the bed

Parachute activity: Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! We’re Going to the Moon!

For both of these we put my three monkey puppets on the parachute and sang/recited the rhymes.  Three Little Monkeys got a little out of hand (they all fell off and some bumped their heads prematurely) so we had to put some of them back on.  It wasn’t perfect, but boy, did we have fun!  This is something I definitely want to incorporate more in my future storytimes.



photo(14)Closing game: animal action cube–we toss this at the end of storytime and imitate an animal.  This has really been fun!








Bubble machine and playtime

Craft and activity: bingo markers and teddy bear counter sorting

photo(9) photo(7)





Fizz Boom READ Mad Scientist Laboratory


group fizzLast week was our summer reading finale!  We did a mad scientist laboratory and the kids loved it!  We had three stations: the first was a craft station for an Einstein hair headband and goggles.  Both templates are in this year’s summer reading manual.  The kids colored their hair and glued it onto construction paper strips that we then taped or stapled in place around their heads.  The goggles…were a labor of love for me.  I cut them out, laminated them, cut them out again, punched holes, and threaded a rubber band through each side so that they could wear them.  It was extremely time consuming but SO worth it because the kids looked amazing doing their experiments!







fizz graphThe next station was basically a vinegar/baking soda reaction.  What made it a little different is that I put a few drops of liquid watercolor at the bottom of the cup, then covered it up with baking soda.  Sort of like this, just adapted for a much larger crowd.  When the kids used their pipettes to squeeze vinegar on top, the color was revealed.  Then they graphed their results on our chart.








rowan goop goop group goop










The last experiment was making non-Newtonian fluid with cornstarch and water.  This was fairly messy, but the kids’ (and parents’!) reactions were priceless!  I know that personally I am fascinated by the stuff.


Summer Reading Recap Week 3–Pirates Ahoy!


pirateDuring the week of June 18-20, we hit the open sea for Pirates Ahoy!  All four libraries had fun pirate crafts to do–a treasure map, a parrot, and an eye patch.  As space permitted, we also tried to include some fun pirate-y accessories.  My fantastic teen volunteer Lexi dressed up as Captain Lex to round things off.  It was a blast!









pirate crafts REDThe first craft we did was a treasure map like this one.  For this, we cut off the bottom of a brown paper lunch bag, then cut it up the side.  Then, the kids were invited to either draw their own treasure map or use a worksheet that I provided (I used the illustrations from this coloring page).









001We also did a parrot craft that I found over at Sturdy For Common Things.  Like Rebecca, I copied the template onto different colors of cardstock.  Then, the kids embellished them with wiggle eyes, feathers, and crayons.  The template is great because it shows you how to fold it so that you can tape it onto the kid’s shoulder–so cute!

To finish off, we decorated eye patches.  I used this template on white cardstock.  I cut them out and punched holes in either side, the threaded a thin ribbon through so that they could wear it.








pirate ship oak








At Leesburg and Oakland, we had the space to set up a pirate ship (complete with bubble machine)!  Here, the kids could swab the deck, try their hand at tossing coins into a treasure chest, and play “Lex Says”.  The kids really enjoyed interacting with Captain Lex, even though he sometimes made them walk the plank!






pirate lexi reading RED





We had a great time at Smithville and Redbone, too!  At Smithville, the kids played with a parrot puppet while they did their crafts.  At Redbone, kids enjoyed stories from Captain Lex (see top photo).

Recap–Dig Into Reading Weeks 1 and 2


Dig Into SloganWow, I can’t believe that summer reading is more than halfway over!  What a great four weeks it has been!  In fact, it has been such a whirlwind that I am just now able to sit down and recap some of it!  During weeks 1 and 2 of our school age program each of our four branches enjoyed visits from Chehaw Park (see here for a slideshow) and Dino Camp.



Dino Camp consisted of four activities: make your own dinosaur skeleton with pasta, experiment with fossils, measure the T-Rex footprint, and dig for and classify baby dinosaurs.

008I got the idea for this craft over at Prekinders, but I made my own worksheet so that the older kids could write down information about their dinosaur, such as its name, color, how big it was, what it ate, and where it was discovered.









006The fossil activity was fairly straightforward, but the kids loved it–I put out little plastic dinosaur and sea creature toys and the kids made impressions of them in dirt-colored clay.  I used Crayola Model Magic, which had an awesome consistency and didn’t get everywhere like regular Play-doh.  Model Magic is supposed to air dry, so if you were doing this at home you could set them out and let them harden.  Since I was reusing it, I just kept mine in a large Ziploc bag and it was fine.






005For the T-Rex footprint activity, I cut out and painted a footprint that was approximately the size and shape of a T-Rex footprint.  I taped it on the floor and provided rulers to invite the kids to measure the foot and compare it to their own feet.






















The most popular activity BY FAR was the digging for and classifying baby dinosaurs.  I got these dinosaur eggs from Oriental Trading, but I decided that the eggs were too difficult for the younger kids to open, so I transferred them to some plastic Easter eggs.  (Note: I didn’t use all of the dinosaurs, just the ones that we had the most of.  Also, I wanted them to be fairly easy to recognize and distinguish from one another.  I ended up using Brachiosaurus, Mososaur, Spinosaurus, Parasauolophus, Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, Plesiosaurus, and Corythosaurus.)  I “buried” them in dried rice and beans and put the container on sand-colored fabric with an inflatable palm tree (also from Oriental Trading).  Then, I printed out pictures of each dinosaur (along with one or two distinguishing characteristics) and attached them to paper plates.  The kids  were instructed to get an egg, open it, then try to match the baby  dinosaur to the picture.  To make it more scientific, I provided a couple of magnifying glasses so that they could look closely at the characteristics of each baby dinosaur.  Even the older kids LOVED this activity.  The rice was a little messy, and traffic flow was something of an issue with our larger groups, but it was definitely worth it.








LEGO Club–Redbone (slideshow)


Thursday was LEGO Club at the Redbone Library!  We had a great turnout, and there were many brilliant creations.  See a slideshow here.

For my librarian friends out there, I would highly recommend this program.  Yes, it can be a little difficult to come by the blocks, but once you have them, you have them forever.  This is a low maintenance program that is fun for a wide range of kids (we offered big MegaBloks, Duplo, and LEGO).  I started publicizing the club several months ago, and put requests for blocks on Facebook, here on this blog, and on posters around the library.  I did require preregistration, though I understand that many libraries do because of the quantity of blocks.  Although I was anxious about not having enough blocks, the kids played just fine with the ones that we had.  I will say that they are particularly interested in the figurines, so be aware of that!  Another tip that I read somewhere (I’m sorry–I don’t remember where) is this: keep the blocks on a cloth.  That way, all you have to do to clean up is gather up the cloth and pour it into your storage bin.  This tip saved me a TON of time!


All in all, this was a successful program, and I am looking to pick it up on a regular basis in the fall.  I welcome any suggestions about times, days, and frequency of meetings (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly).

LEGO Club is sponsored by the Lee County Library and is free and open to the public.  For more information call 759-2369.

LEGO Club–Leesburg Branch (slideshow)


We had our first LEGO Club at the Leesburg Branch today!  It. was. SO. MUCH. FUN!  I have really been looking forward to this program, and I was not disappointed.  I am planning to offer regular LEGO Club meetings during the school year, so if you enjoyed this program, please give me your feedback about what you would like to see in the future.

For now, though, please enjoy this slideshow of our creations!



LEGO Club is coming to Smithville at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11, and to Redbone at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 12.

LEGO Club is sponsored by the Lee County Library and is free and open to the public.  For more information, please call 759-2369.

Smithville and Redbone–Monster crafts! (plus slideshow!)


Last week at Smithville and Redbone we made toilet paper/paper towel roll monsters and a cute little folded paper monster bookmark.

For the bookmark, I just brought glue sticks, scissors, and a huge box of scrapbooking paper.  See this tutorial for instructions on how to make them.  I cut the bookmark shapes out ahead of time, and the kids assembled them and decorated them.

I’m always looking for new ways to use toilet paper and paper towel rolls, so making monsters seemed to be a great use for them.  I brought them, plus decorative paper, pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes, ribbon, and whatever I had lying around.  I recommend having a hot glue gun on hand to attach pom poms and anything else white school glue just won’t hold.  I also brought a hole punch for attaching pipe cleaner tails, horns, and legs.

Check out the slideshow of our creations, plus some “monstrously good” reads!  (I have been having trouble with the slideshows playing on Firefox lately.  If you are having the same trouble, try changing your browser.  It worked for me!)


There are no summer reading activities scheduled for this week.  I hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July!  Next week we’ll be back with Rubber Ducky Club at Leesburg 10:00 a.m. on Monday, then LEGO Club: 10:00 a.m. Tuesday (7/10) at Leesburg, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (7/11) at Smithville, and 10:00 a.m. Thursday (7/12) at Redbone!  We are still accepting LEGO donations!

Summer reading events are sponsored by the Lee County Library and are 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.

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.

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.